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Sathish Jothikumar
23,865 followers -
Photographer, Traveler, and an occasional engineer in lovely California
Photographer, Traveler, and an occasional engineer in lovely California

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“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children's children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.” - Theodore Roosevelt

One of the proudest legacy of the 26th President is the crown jewel of the American conservation era - the National Park system. And while I have been fortunate enough to visit 34 of these memorable places, very few have stuck to my mind and my heart, and one of them is the Canyonland National Park. And nothing captures the essence of this rugged desert terrain like the view from Mesa Arch at sunrise, an arch suspended over a vertiginous cliff overlooking a vast canyonland.

One of the rituals as a photographer is to make the dawn trip to Mesa Arch, squeeze your tripod in between the two dozen others, and eek out a few shots just as the sun crests the horizon, and one more just as it disappears behind the arch. While it is photogenic place, it was the view that the location presented that I found the most endearing: cliff walls glowing yellow in the morning sun, stupas, stacks, and hoodoos silhouetting in the slanted light, twisted canyon disappearing into the vast expanse of the horizon. The sense of belonging and being humbled by nature is perhaps the primary reason why such regions must be preserved for posterity.

Canyonlands National Park
UT USA

#nationalparks #sunrise #hdr #panorama #desertsouthwest
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"Have you watched the dance of the Northern Lights on a dark winter's night?
Or stood outside in the pure spring air, listening to the melodies of birds?

Have you let the plants be your seat, as you breathed in their scents and noted autumn colors?
Or looked at all the life in the grass, strolled on the shore, skipped stones, caught a trout or petted a soft eider ducking?

I know every inch of this land. I am aware of every elf mound and know where to find pretty lichens and sheltered birds' nests. I have sensed the sea's odour in the spring and lain in midnight fog waiting for the fox. Standing in the hayfield late in summer, when it gets dark early and the terns have flown south, I have felt both gratitude and sadness. There is no end to the signs of people living with the land, generation after generation.

Dear Reader: Please feel heartily welcome. Enjoy your stay here. We are sure you and yours will treat all the land of the Icelanders with consideration. We ask you to show fairness and respect when judging the activities of us residents. Certainly we hope for Strandir to touch you with its magic wand and lead you into the group of the privileged. At the end, have a nice trip home and come back soon."

Found on a remote roadside in the Strandir coast of Iceland

Strandr, Westfjords
Iceland

#iceland #blackandwhite #remote #travelphotography #westfjords
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I made my way on the mound of soft snow, hoping to catch a peek of the snow-capped peak before last light. My feet sank in in the loose snow, and I was unsure of my footing, but I trudged on. I was determined to not miss what was about to happen.

I had driven up to this mountainous wilderness in the northern part of Washington hoping to cash in the fabulous weather. Two days of heavy snow was followed by a weekend of glorious sunshine and bluebird skies, and I was ready to flex my new camera in this winter wonderland. I spent the day trudging up steep trails to spectacular vista points whose panoramic views were unforgettable. Mt Baker stood valiantly under the bright sun with an thick coating of white, while on the other side, photogenic Mt Shuksan's glaciers were indistinguishable in the snow.

I hurried back down the 3 miles of trail, hoping to get back to the trailhead before dark. And just before the last turn, I spied Mt Shuksan again, ready to catch the last light. I stopped on that mound, waiting for the colors to turn, the alpenglow to appear, and the belt of venus to rise. And when they all did, the result was this beautiful image of the last light on Mt Shuksan

North Cascades National Park
WA USA

#sunset #alpenglow #pnwonderland #nationalparks #northcascades
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The vista stretched endlessly. The blue calm waters of the Pacific wrapped around the tiny island I was atop, while in front, right below the setting sun, lay volcanic cones of various shapes and sizes. The landscape was barren, almost a moonscape, save a few pieces of vegetation: the volcanic soil with its poor nutrients and the harsh windy weather aren't kind to flora and fauna.

And yet, Galapagos is one of the best wildlife hotspots. Phytoplankton thrive at this unique confluence of warm and cold ocean currents, resulting in a region rich in biodiversity. Between the unique avian dwellers and visitors, including the blue and red-footed boobies, the magnificent frigatebirds, albatross, and even penguins, the lush and colorful aquatic life swimming everywhere, the giant iguanas and tortoises, and so many more, you can easily lose track of how amazing this destination is.

The Bartelome island, home to this amazing vista, wasn't originally in my itinerary, but due to scheduling issue, I ended up at the top, and enjoyed this expansive view during the afternoon, with the warm sunlight setting aglow the landscape around. And I was glad I made it

Galapagos
Ecuador

#panorama #galapagos #sunset #ecuador #nationalparks
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The aptly named Little Venice in Colmar, was full of surprising delights. Turning around one corner, I found a small garden replete with a period fountain adorned with a statue, crumbling walls covered in vine, and a timber-frame house standing gallantly. Around another street, and I found rows of beautiful historical houses and structures carefully nurtured, a testament to the city council. If those timber-frame houses could speak, they would narrate oodles of tales from its long storied history.

They might have been residences, shops and tanneries during their glory years, but now they have been converted to souvenir shops, cafes, and restaurants, serving the throngs of tourists exploring the heart of the Wine Route. As the sun sets and the light disappears, the tourist crowd dwindles, leaving behind fairly empty streets devoid of the energy and activity of the day. And while this may be forlorn, it is just perfect for photography, especially during the blue hour.

Colmar
Alsace, France

#europtrip #france #alsacewineroute #bluehour #cityscape
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I had barely expected rain, let alone snow, in the dry Eastern Sierras during a Memorial Weekend a couple of years ago.

And so, when I driving up the steep incline towards North Lake in Bishop Creek Basin, I was rather surprised to see this beautiful dusting of pristine white as soon as I climbed above 7000ft. I had just hiked on a nearby trail the previous day, drenched in sweat and slipping in slushy snow patches along the way, and to experience the vast mountain range coated in this beautiful white was extra-ordinary.

I pulled into the parking lot and made my way on that freezing dawn towards the still shores of the North Lake. And as I came out of the clearing in the trees, the vast valley opened up; the still surface of the lake lay in front of me reflecting the long mountain range dusted in but a mere few inches of snow. And even that was sufficient to transport me to a winter wonderland, and have a completely different experience from just 24h prior.

I captured this beautiful panorama while waiting for the sun to strike the peaks (it never did). I adjusted the color temperature to reflect the frosty dawn I was experiencing.

Bishop Creek Canyon
CA USA

#californiadreaming #easternsierras #snow #northlake #winterwonderland #reflections
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The Pacific beaches of Costa Rica were special in one sense - tropical rainforests that descended right from the mountains onto the golden sands. Perhaps one of the best places to witness this was the beautiful surf of Playa Uvita in Parque Nacional Marina Belleno. From the shore arose multitudes of ridges, ranges and valleys topped by the rain-bearing clouds swept off the warm Pacific that provide life-giving water to the dense rainforest.

I had a chance to explore this beautiful place one early morning during my visit to 'Pura Vida' destination of Central America

Playa Uvita
Puntaarenas, Costa Rica

#puravida #costarica #playa #beach #travel #centralamerica
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Thin wispy clouds arced around the sky as though drawn with a talented paintbrush. And from high above the plains, these masterful strokes of white seemed to stretch forever, hovering over the beautiful golden rolling hills east of the Bay Area of California, highlighting one reason why I was in the Golden State. In the distance I could spy the prominence of Mt Diablo and the other hills of the Diablo Range rising above the buckled terrain formed by the multiple faults cris-crossing the terrain, including the famous Hayward fault that was running just below.

The slanted evening light highlighted the rolling hillscape, bringing into view hidden features in dramatic scales. And even though I stood there and admired the view for a long time, I never got tired of the vast open space stretching in front of me. I can't wait to once again explore the nooks and crannies of the rolling hillscape dotted with vineyards, ranches, and the occasional windmill.

Mission Peak Regional Preserve
CA USA

#blackandwhite #eastbay #bayarea #goldencalifornia #hiking
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Thin wispy clouds arced around the sky as though drawn with a talented paintbrush. And from high above the plains, these masterful strokes of white seemed to stretch forever, hovering over the beautiful golden rolling hills east of the Bay Area of California, highlighting one reason why I was in the Golden State. In the distance I could spy the prominence of Mt Diablo and the other hills of the Diablo Range rising above the buckled terrain formed by the multiple faults cris-crossing the terrain, including the famous Hayward fault that was running just below.

The slanted evening light highlighted the rolling hillscape, bringing into view hidden features in dramatic scales. And even though I stood there and admired the view for a long time, I never got tired of the vast open space stretching in front of me. I can't wait to once again explore the nooks and crannies of the rolling hillscape dotted with vineyards, ranches, and the occasional windmill.

Mission Peak Regional Preserve
CA USA

#blackandwhite #eastbay #bayarea #goldencalifornia #hiking
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The Hiroshima Peace Memorial was one of the saddest places I visited. It recollects the history of the events that transpired on Aug 6 1945 through powerful stories: stories of angst-ridden mothers and father searching for their children, some buried, some burnt, some barely clinging on to life. There were stories of children who, despite knowing they were going to die, were calmly telling their parents that it is going to be ok. All of these stories, and more, were preserved so that the horrors of war can forever be remembered.

Why did I bring it up now? I felt that it was apt given the apathy we seem to have developed towards the loss of human lives. The Peace Memorial showed truly what happened when humanity turned against each other, and yet, countless wars have been fought since. And similarly, the recent (in)actions by our own leaders made me realize that someday in the future, humanity would look back at this day and age, when we seem powerless to stop something as trifling as gun violence, and wonder why we never learnt from history.

The issue (of gun control) may be complex, and may have different meanings for different groups of people, but the consequence is the same: red and black. It is most certainly time to elevate the right to live over the right to bear arms.

During the Hiroshima bombing, a 2 year old girl was exposed to severe radiation, and developed leukemia at the age of 12. She started making these paper cranes hoping it'll help her recover. She made more than a 1000 paper cranes, but recover, she never did. But these cranes (some pictured here) became a symbol of peace

I sincerely hope through these events (the shootings) which have resulted in senseless loss of lives, we can create a symbol that can unite the citizens of this country against gun violence.

Hiroshima
Japan

#guncontrol #hiroshima #peacememorial #papercranes #worldwar2
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