Rising Anxiety


Bangladesh is one of the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change with millions expected to be displaced in the next 40 years. PHOTO: Probal Rashid

Developing countries are the most hit by climate change. Its effects—higher temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, rising sea levels, and more frequent weather-related disasters—pose risks for agriculture, food, and water supplies. At stake are recent gains in the fight against poverty, hunger and disease, and the lives and livelihoods of billions of people in these countries. Bangladesh is one of them, with a rapidly increasing number of ‘climate refugees’.

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The Power of Parks


Photographs of Yosemite National Parks composed by Stephen Wilkes. Courtesy: National Geographic

Which side are you on – the one that believes national parks are the past or to the side that sees the future in these stretches? As long as national parks figure on your maps and feature in your scheme of things, you must know that the National Park Service is celebrating its centennial this year.  In commemoration, National Geographic looks at how to preserve these wild spaces:

“In March 1868 a 29-year-old John Muir stopped a passerby in San Francisco to ask for directions out of town. “Where do you wish to go?” the startled man inquired. “Anywhere that is wild,” said Muir. His journey took him to the Yosemite Valley in California’s Sierra Nevada, which became the spiritual home of Muir’s conservation movement and, under his guidance, the country’s third national park. “John the Baptist,” he wrote, “was not more eager to get all his fellow sinners into the Jordan than I to baptize all of mine in the beauty of God’s mountains.” Today around four million people a year follow their own thirst for the wild to Yosemite.”

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Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Finalists

The 2015 British Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition has recently come to a close, and, as always over the last fifty-one years, the results are fantastic and fascinating to see. Below check out a brief slideshow of some finalists below, which met the judges’ goals: “outstanding images that raise awareness of nature’s beauty and fragility, while also championing the highest ethical standards in wildlife photography. From intimate animal portraits to atmospheric landscapes, groundbreaking photojournalism to innovative technique, the 2016 jury wants to see it all.”

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Becoming Insta-Ready

In one of my previous posts I mentioned the importance of always being camera-ready in Xandari. Now, having learned my lesson, I make sure my camera gets charged everyday because Seth and I have created an Instagram account for Xandari. The idea to make an account for the hotel had been stirring in my mind for a few weeks. However, it wasn’t until I was about to take another breathtaking sunset picture and a dreaded “memory full” warning sign popped up on the camera screen that I realized the concept could no longer remain dormant; it had to become a reality!

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Butterflies from the Butter-files

As I mentioned in the “flora-file” series (see posts #1 and #2, more are forthcoming), I’m posting a number of photos I collected during my time at Xandari Resort & Spa this summer. Some of these photos aren’t of plants, so I’ve got to think of another punny name for this post featuring butterflies: what about the “butter-files”? It’ll have to work for now! Continue reading

Bald Eagle Encounter In Paonia, Colorado


This Bald Eagle is one of at  least two that fly through the valley where I live in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. This one surprised me by swooping down meters away from me as I read a book outdoors on a warm winter day. Springing from my post on the roof of my house, I scrambled down onto  the deck and into my kitchen in a mad dash for a camera. The eagle had thankfully not left its position in a tree barely thirty feet from my house in that time. With a harsh glare radiating from the sun just short of dead center behind the eagle Continue reading

“Shipwrecked pictures” from the Albert Khan museum : can our community help identify these photographs ?

Back in 1912, french millionaire Albert Kahn hired Stéphane Passet to be a photographer for the monumental project Archives of the planet, an iconographic memory of societies, environments and lifestyles around the world. From 1909 to 1931, Albert Kahn  commissioned photographers and film cameramen to record life in over 50 countries. The Archives of the planet were a collection of 180,000 metres of b/w film and more than 72,000 autochrome plates, most of which are held at Museum Albert Kahn in Boulogne, close to Paris.

Autochrome was the first industrial process for true colour photography. When the Lumière brothers launched it commercially in June 1907, it was a photograhic revolution – black and white came to life in colour. Autochromes consist of fine layers of microscopic grains of potato starch – dyed either red-orange, green or violet blue – combined with black carbon particles, spread over a glass plate where it is combined with a black and white photographic emulsion. All colours can be reproduced from three primary colours. Some of the autochrome pictures available today are however unidentified, some happen to be of Bombay. Who among you in the Raxa Collective community can help locate these sites?

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Beauty of Jordan: Wadi Araban Sunset


Wadi Araba is a section of the Jordan Rift Valley – one which separates a stretch of Israel and Jordan (Wadi means valley – Araba means dry and desolate). The day these photographs were taken I found myself facing the sun descending over Israel while my Bedouin companions alternated between relaxing and preparing an exceptional meal baked in a cut steel drum buried in the fine sand of the dune we stood upon.  Continue reading

Georgian Dragon

I shall resist the underwhelming urge to throw in a bit of canonical wordplay concerning St. George, and merely say that this is my first insect photograph with my new 50mm F1.8 lens. The dappled sunlight behind the dragonfly is a testament to the glory of shooting with this enormously apertured lens – the bokeh is a pleasure to both create and to view. I was only in Georgia for ten days in between Kerala and New York, but it was a pleasure to step out of my grandmother’s (an avid odonatophile) back door to find this dragonfly patiently waiting for me. Continue reading

Granite Ghost – Revisited

As the monsoons blow through Kerala, the native dragonfly and damselfly populations in the area appear to wax and wane along with the water levels. A sunny day by any water body guarantees sighting at least one species, but as is only so common during the season, overcast days dominate the calendar. Nevertheless, Kerala’s entomological biodiversity remains  as strong as the summers, during which dozens of Odonate species whizz back and forth teritorially over their little stretch of pond-shore or riverbank.  The main reason that these insects are not out in force as frequently as the rest of the year is that they are most active in hot and dry climates, particularly in direct sunlight. Contrarily, monsoons traditionally offer respite to natives, being wet and (slightly) cooling. When they’re not visibly hunting or mating, dragonfly and damselfly populations are probably strongest in the larval stage – extraordinarily aggressive aquatic predators. I got lucky a few days ago on a sunny day on the backwaters when I saw a Granite Ghost – in my books a rarer species of dragonfly that I’ve only sighted once in Goa.

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5 Lenses For Every Vacation

Hey guys,

All of us photobugs and travel-junkies have struggled with the age-old question: which lens should I bring on my River Escapes backwaters adventure or my Roman holiday or my trip to the moon?

As a casual photographer, I’m not crazy about specs. I don’t get the numbers and technical terms! JUST TELL IT TO ME STRAIGHT! I know there are people out there who are like me, so Ben, Milo, and I will make it as easy as possible to understand which lens YOU need to bring on your next vacation! We’d also love to know what YOU brought on your last vacation!

See which of description fits you best:

  1. I’m out to shoot wildlife. Tell me what I need to know.
  2. I love architecture and the built world. What should I bring with me?
  3. I’m a tourist who’s going to stick out like a sore thumb, but I really want to capture candid portraits of interesting people– help!
  4. I’m going to a naturey place filled with dust/humidity/dirt/whatever and I don’t want to constantly change my lens. What’s the best daily walk-around lens?
  5. I’m going on a service trip and I’ll be working on a construction site. How do I make it look epic?
Here’s what we’ll be introducing from our private collections today:
  1. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM with 2x extender
  2. Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
  3. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8
  4. Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM
  5. Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS


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