Shoot for Mint

A few days ago, as a birder and the author of a light-hearted article on the Bangalore Bird Race I was interviewed by Archana Pai, who wanted to write an article about birders in Bangalore. Later, Hemant Mishra of Mint called me up and we organized a gathering at Lalbagh to do the photo-shoot.

Also called were Nirmit (18) and Abhijna Desai (14)…Abhijna was accompanied by her dad and her younger brother, Ganesh. Here they all are:

Arun Desai,Ganesh,Hemant,Nirmit,Abhijna Lalbagh 270208

I have never been the subject of a photography session before and was very interested to find out how Hemant would go about it. Here’s Hemant in action:

photography on the rocks lalbagh 270208

While we were waiting for Abhijna to turn up, I looked at the statue of the great Kannada poet, Ku Vem Pu, at the West Gate:

kuvempu bust outside lalbagh west gate 270208

I suppose we all thought that we would wander around, watching birds, and Hemant would shoot us while we were about it. I couldn’t be more mistaken! The ..er..focus was on the shots, not the birding activity. So, we went hunting for good “spots” where Hemant could take photos:

looking for a good birding spot

When Hemant decided that the angle and the sunlight and background were just right, he posed us, and started clicking while asking us to stand still. This was very funny for us..it was the first time we were standing as a group, looking up into the trees at no bird at all!

In fact, even if one of us turned to look at one of the birds in the vicinity, we were obviously disturbing the “set” of the shot, so even when I could see, out of the tail of my eye, a Chestnut-Tailed Starling in the branches of the flowering Silk-Cotton tree, I had to keep my face firmly turned towards a Jacaranda tree where there was not even a crow or a mynah present!

The only bird that I managed to take a reasonable shot of was this FERAL DUCK ( domestic ducks that have been turned loose in Lalbagh), swimming its way perkily near us:

duck on the lake

But the beauty of the approaching summer was all around us, and here are the flowers of the Tabebuia and the Jacaranda, colouring Lalbagh with their loveliness:

beauty of lalbagh as summer approaches

A scimitar-like Gulmohar seed pod caught my eye:

seed pod

and so did this burst of yellow on the shores of the lake:

golden fountain lalbagh

Even the rock formations and grass reeds looked so lovely in the evening sunshine:

grass and rocks lalbagh near siddapura gate

And the lotus in the lake looked still beautiful, though a little overblown by now:

fading lotus lalbagh lake

Ganesh, of course, was very interested in Hemant’s camera, and was very happy to assist him with holding the flash:
ganesh arun hemant and camera 270208 lalbagh

Abhijna, whose earrings showed her to be a “key” person in her home,

abhijna desai the key person!

approaches bird-watching in a most organized way. Her note-book on birds, with lovely sketches and neatly-written info, impressed me a lot. Here’s the entry and drawing about the Small Green Bee-Eater in her notebook:

Abhijna's bird notebook

As the sun set over Lalbagh,
Sunset over Lalbagh lake

And the light faded,

sunset afterglow lalbagh 270208

The enjoyable photoshoot came to an end…..

Hemant talked about the days when he was an artist in Mumbai and then took up photography first as a hobby, and then as a profession, and moved to Mumbai. The previous day, he had a shoot at Hosur; all in all, his job lets him meet an interesting mix of people, and a mix of indoor and outdoor shoots, too. An interesting profession to follow!

Nirmit is studying Mechanical Engineering at BIT, and is a great fan of aeromodelling, and he found a lot to talk about with Abhijna’s dad, who is into that hobby too. Abhijna studies at the Basavanagudi campus of Kumaran’s and says that she loves birding as a hobby. I found both these youngsters pretty knowledgeable about birds.

A great way to spend an evening, I think. I have no clue when the article is likely to appear in the “Mint” newspaper, but I look forward to it..because I know that Hemant has got some excellent shots!

3 Comments so far

  1. preran (unregistered) on February 29th, 2008 @ 2:10 pm

    Lovely article and lovelier pics! Nothing beats a morning walk at the lalbagh followed by breakfast at Kamat or MTR. Can’t wait to make my next trip. Bangalore, I guess, is one of the two capitals down south that has all the four seasons going for it. And in Bangalore, it is difficult to choose one over the other. Great post, again!


  2. harish (unregistered) on March 1st, 2008 @ 5:38 am

    Hi Deepa,
    Fantastic photoblog, it had me smiling all through, and remembering my last visit to Lalbagh.
    -harish


  3. lifeandtheliving on March 8th, 2008 @ 12:26 am

    I’m really impressed by Abhijna’s notebook and sketches. I keep a notebook but have never really done a decent job of the sketches. And that too at 14!

    When I saw the introductory paragraph I really hoped there would be a whole lot of birds we could see… sad that didn’t really happen. Maybe next time.



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