Saturday, March 17, 2007

Sunrise Birds in Bangalore

March 17

After a long flight from Frankfurt to Bangalore we finally landed around 12:30 in the morning, and then had to the queue to get into the country. Passports and visas stamped,  bags collected and loaded into the taxi we head for the Gateway Hotel on Residency road, a short walk from the office. 2:30AM and we finally make it into bed, thank heavens tomorrow is Saturday. The office is open, but not at full strength so after a few meetings in the morning our host Ravi takes us out for a bit of site-seeing. While visiting a nearby temple I see three lovely models in traditional dress posing for a photographer, I mount my Sigma 150/2,8 macro lens and stand a few feet behind him as he photographs. With no warning he simply gets into his waiting car and is driven away, before the girls have a chance to move I ask if I can take a few shots and they agree. Talk about Karma..

The next morning we see these ladies pictures on the front page of a Bangalore newspaper, wishing everyone a happy Ugadi (New Year).
We continue our site-seeing with a walk around Lal Bagh Botanical gardens and on crossing a bridge over one of the lakes we see the hungry carp competing for the crumbs being thrown by visitors. Armed for bird photography I get a close up shot with the 400/5.6

Since it's a full work day on Sunday I make arrangements with the front desk for an early morning photo excursion. At 4:45 a driver picks me up and drives me to a reservoir about 45 minutes away. It's pitch black and I see people sleeping along the road, while others have already begun making their way into town on foot, on bicycle or waiting for buses.
As we near the reservoir it begins getting light very quickly, and at 6:30 the sun begins its very quick ascent. The light near the equator deteriorates quickly, by 9AM it's just to bright. But we still have an hour or so of good light.

A little green bee-eater poses on a barbed wire fence and using my 500/4+2X extender I get close enough for a full-frame shot.

Closer to the reservoir a Brahminy kite is finishing up a fish it has caught and at 7:30 it is time to head to the office. .

The return trip takes 90 minutes and I make it into the office by 9AM. I give my driver a $5 tip and he is ecstatic, he asks if I will make another trip. "Tomorrow morning" I tell him and he says he will be ready.

On our return trip the next morning I have the good fortune to see a red-naped ibis who lets us get close enough to only need the 500/4+1.4X extender

In the shallows of the reservoir a little egret is having a feast on the many small fish.

While a short distance away a greenshank and his reflection break the mirror-like surface of the shallows.
It's 7:30 and time to head back, but a little ringed plover poses and allows me a few shots before head back into the noise and chaos of downtown Bangalore.

If you make it to Bangalore, don't limit yourself to the city, there is fantastic nature and landscapes to be seen within a short distance from the city. But remember to get up early if you want the best light.