The monsoons are a magical time in Goa and along much of the Konkan coast. The varied shades of green and the rich colour contrast are pure soul candy. Meandering through Goan villages during this season is one of life’s great pleasures. These images were taken yesterday.

Paddy farming in Bodiem

Paddy farming in Bodiem, Bardez
5D Mark III, 24-105L

 
Hanuman temple in Pirna

Hanuman temple and monsoon clouds in Pirna
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
Shooting the breeze on a monsoon evening

A lazy monsoon evening in a Goan village
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 

Blog entries dealing with the monsoon are consolidated here.

 
 
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  • Marlies Meister - September 14, 2012 - 6:15 pm

    Wonderful pictures 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Dr. Ronnie Coutinho - August 6, 2012 - 10:16 am

    Wonderful pictures
    Makes one nostalgic
    Thank you
    RonnieReplyCancel

  • Thomas Pindelski - August 5, 2012 - 2:12 pm

    Love the intense color renderings in these pictures.ReplyCancel

  • jc - August 5, 2012 - 1:58 pm

    Thanks Rajanbab,

    Loved pic 1

    best

    jcReplyCancel

Continued from Part 1.

Following the photographs are three short videos, the last of which reveals the unbelievable colours coating the inner wall of the crater.

Surrounding scape seen from top of peak

Surrounding scape from top of the peak
5D Mark III, TS-E 24L II

 
Primed for the descent

Primed for the descent
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 

The elevator platform looked well-engineered and deploys the safety braking mechanism found in all cable elevators. (Thank you, Elisha Otis.) Sound safety procedures were followed including securing us to the platform via the harness.

Transport: moving platform

Transport: elevator platform
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 

The first batch of four was gently lowered into the crater, the descent to the floor 120 metres below taking around 10 minutes. On the way down it got very dark very quickly, and this combined with platform shake was not conducive to still photography.

Crater Wall

Crater wall during descent (ISO 3200)
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 

On the floor of the magma chamber I quickly put my tripod to work. These colours are the handiwork of Nature, not the Photoshop Saturation slider.

Chamber wall

Chamber wall
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
Phantoms in the chamber

Phantoms
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 

I played with the last image, obliterating its local contrast (Clarity slider set to minimum in Lightroom).

Painter's canvas

Painter’s canvas (same as previous image with very low local contrast)
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
Crater funnel seen from the chamber

Crater funnel seen from the floor
5D Mark III, TS-E 17L

 
Wide angle view of the wall of the chamber

Wide angle view of the chamber walls
5D Mark III, TS-E 17L

 
Börkur Hrólfsson

Börkur Hrólfsson, guide extraordinaire
5D Mark III, TS-E 17L

 

We spent around 45 minutes on the floor of the chamber. Back at the base station we were offered coffee and a light meal with a choice of traditional Icelandic lamb soup (Kjötsúpa) and a hot vegetarian item that was inscrutable but delicious nevertheless.

Delicious hot vegetarian something

Hot and delicious vegetarian something
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 

Before our trek back I chanced upon Árni Stefánsson, the man behind the Inside the Volcano enterprise. “This is a world heritage site,” he intoned. I wanted to tell him that the whole of Iceland (minus the unsightly jumble that is Reykjavík) is a world heritage site.

Árni Stefánsson, the prime mover behind the project

“This is a world heritage site” – Árni Stefánsson, the prime mover behind the project
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
 

The videos were shot with Canon 5D Mark III and the Zeiss ZE 50mm f/2 Makro Planar lens. The first and the third cuts were taken handheld on the moving elevator platform, and it was a struggle having to constantly adjust focus, deal with shake, and fight fogged glasses.

Descent into the Crater

 
 

Börkur Hrólfsson dispenses pearls of wisdom on balancing techniques on uneven ground.

Entry into the Chamber

 
 

Colours on the crater walls.

Journey Up and Out of the Crater

 
 
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  • Premanand - May 29, 2014 - 9:24 am

    Splendid! Now I want to visit Iceland and do “Inside the volcano” once before I die. Also all the while I was reading the post I was imagining how much fun will it be with Samarth also accompanying me, asking million questions all the while. But that will have to wait for nine years at least, official age for the tour is 12+. 🙁ReplyCancel

  • Sanjeev - August 1, 2012 - 1:00 pm

    Rajan, your brilliant compilation of photos and information is the next best thing to being there.

    You capture the essence of the place.

    Thanks for the efforts and SHARING !

    I am sure Iceland Tourism Dept would consider reimbursing your expenses 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Jon - July 30, 2012 - 2:26 pm

    Rajan, that was an amazing job of handheld shooting! Had it been me viewers would have succumbed to motion sickness.ReplyCancel

  • Börkur Hrólfsson - July 24, 2012 - 4:48 am

    What a great show ! The only thing is, that now people know my age ! 🙂ReplyCancel

Close to Reykjavík, Iceland, amid the bleak but hauntingly beautiful lavascape of the Reykjanes peninsula, lies the trio of peaks Þríhnjúkagígar (Thrihnjukagigar, which translates to ‘three peaks craters’). What distinguishes this crater that has lain dormant for 4000 years is its allowance for a vertical descent into its magma chamber. Following several years of study and groundwork by a team lead by Icelandic doctor and environmentalist Árni B. Stefánsson, the tour Inside the Volcano began operations last month, offering controlled access to small guided groups.

We made the sortie on the morning of July 19. The first installment of this two-part photo essay deals with getting to the Þríhnjúkagígar base station after a trek of of 4.5 Kms through the lava field, the second part covers the actual drop into the cavern.

In my backpack I carried two Canon EOS 5D Mark III bodies and three lenses (Canon Tilt-Shift 17mm f/4 L, Canon Tilt-Shift 24mm f/3.5 L II, and Zeiss ZE 50mm f/2 Makro Planar).

 
Location of the volcano

Location of Þríhnjúkagígar (Thrihnjukagigar)
Courtesy: Google Earth

 

The morning was overcast and moist, a near perfect setting for this austere landscape. We assembled near the parking lot for a briefing by our assigned guide Þórunn.

Briefing before the trek to the crater

All set to head out
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
Volcanic scape of Reykjanes

Lavascape of Reykjanes
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
Our lovely guide Þórunn

Our lovely guide Þórunn
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 

The 50 minutes hike across the lava field is fairly easy but more challenging than a leisurely stroll through Keukenhof. A good pair of hiking shoes with ankle support is essential to forfend damage to body parts.

The trek begins

The trek begins
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 

Three at last!

The three peaks of Þríhnjúkagígar

The three peaks of Þríhnjúkagígar come into view
5D Mark III, TS-E 24L II

 

At the base station we were welcomed by the Inside the Volcano team and decorated with harnesses and helmets.

Base station next to Þríhnjúkagígar

Base station
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
Electric generators power the operation

Electric generators power the operation
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
Path to Þríhnjúkagígur

Path leading to the crater
5D Mark III, TS-E 24L II

 

Continued in Part 2.

 
 
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The farm Hólar in Öxnadalur in north Iceland yesterday afternoon.

Hólar farm in Öxnadalur, north Iceland

Hólar farm in Öxnadalur, north Iceland
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
 
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  • The Gardener - July 17, 2012 - 9:43 pm

    Your photo blogposts are so beautiful! I always enjoy enjoy viewing them.ReplyCancel

  • Raji - July 10, 2012 - 3:43 am

    Lovely image; conveys the sense of scale very well. Brings back fond memories of Icelandic landscape.ReplyCancel

A group of Icelandic bikers enjoying the lovely morning today in Þingeyri (Thingeyri) in the Westfjords.

Shooting the breeze over coffee

Shooting the breeze over coffee
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
Icelandic bikers in Þingeyri

Icelandic bikers in Þingeyri
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
 
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