I was born and raised in Goa. My photographic interests lie in landscapes, people, portraiture, culture, architecture and photojournalism. Geographical areas of focus are Goa, Iceland, and the Death Valley region of California.
I have photographed extensively in my homeland Goa, recording its land, culture and people, elements that express its sui generis ethos. I have documented the destruction of Goa's environment and its slide into the ugliness and urban chaos that characterize today's India.
Over the past decade, I have traveled all over Iceland, to most of its remote areas, in an ongoing in-depth exploration.
I strive to create images that comport with my sensibilities and idea of beauty. My photograph is an interpretation, not a faithful documentation of “reality." The exception is when I am working on a photojournalism project. I like to think of my images as "reality" refracted through my personal aesthetic prism.
As a general principle, I do not insert objects that were not already present in the frame when I took the shot. However, I allow myself the license to erase objects that violate my sense of compositional balance or beauty. My artistic impulse is expressed well in the words of the great mathematician Hermann Weyl:
"My work always tried to unite the true with the beautiful; but when I had to choose one or the other, I usually chose the beautiful."
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, Bardez 5D Mark III, 24-105L
Hanuman temple and monsoon clouds in Pirna 5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP
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.
Following the photographs are three short videos, the last of which reveals the unbelievable colours coating the inner wall of the crater.
Surrounding scape from top of the peak 5D Mark III, TS-E 24L II
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: 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 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 5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP
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 (same as previous image with very low local contrast) 5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP
Crater funnel seen from the floor 5D Mark III, TS-E 17L
Wide angle view of the chamber walls 5D Mark III, TS-E 17L
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.
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.
“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.
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 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.
All set to head out 5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP
Lavascape of Reykjanes 5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP
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 5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP
Are we there yet? 5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP
Three at last!
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 5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP
Electric generators power the operation 5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP
Path leading to the crater 5D Mark III, TS-E 24L II