How to score big on the dry jungle photography challenge

Photo blog of Masinagudi, Tamil Nadu…

Wildlife adventure on our mind. Destination: Masinagudi. One of the five forest reserves of the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park, 250 kilometres from Bangalore, Karnataka. Nestled between the three states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Enveloped by the lush Nilgiri forests. A resort buried in the deep of the jungle, with patchy mobile connectivity. The promise of exciting jeep safaris and treks. The prospect of encountering dangerous, wild animals and exotic birds. Just one downside…the weather.

Last lap of February…still a few months before rains completely transform the landscape. Fantasy: blooming foliage and deep green. Reality: spindly tree branches and brown grass. Not the best time of the year to experience the full glory of the jungle. But we’re here, now. Plan B. Love it like it is. See it for what it is. Raw. Rough. Unpainted. Unadorned. Dry. Earthy. Natural. And no less magical.

The many moods of Masinagudi…captured on our camera. Lazy swaying palms lining the highway, reminiscent of coastal tranquility, hammocks and backwaters. An unending scatter of creepy, crooked, leafless trees along the road leading into the forest reserve. Bald patches where forest fires left their unsightly marks behind. A stubbornly snaking path that refuses to straighten out.

Cheeky birds that jump onto branches and peck around for feed. Sometimes blending into the background and sometimes standing out with bright beaks and feathers. A neglected lamp dangling from a thatched roof. Something mysterious about its dust- lathered glass case. A solitary tree-house clinging to the unfailing support of its host tree. With nothing but the wind for company. Mud huts of the resort glowing in the soft warmth of the setting sun, like a painting that you want to reach out and touch.

Animals at home in their natural surroundings. Graceful deer and peacock sharing the same grass. A herd of wild boar stopping to stare at unfamiliar intruders. A bed of crunchy, crisp fallen leaves that make you rethink the phrase ‘dull brown’. Huddle of trees fighting for space among a silence so profound you can hear your own breathing. The stark contrast between the hustle of urban life and the stillness of nature. Life unconstrained. Pure. Free. As it was meant to be. 

And the most spectacular forest sunset that washes the endless canvas of the skies with a million shades. Gold, pink, amber and flame. An artwork that unfolds, live before your eyes. A hypnotic red ball of fire that gets darker and bolder with every second, holding you captive as it dips downwards, and finally gets swallowed into the darkness completely.

So are you still timing your stint at forest photography for ‘perfect’ conditions?

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Dry jungle photography at Masinagudi

 

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