Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Birthday Wish, few pictures with stories

Few more pictures to share. However, the ones I would be sharing here are NOT MINE. I have taken the liberty to use them in my blog as it belongs to a very good friend of mine. I genuinely feel that it must be shared; more people see them and feel some unexplainable joy, because that's what I feel each time I see these snaps.

They will absolutely! as they make me happy each time I see these amazing pictures again and again; they never cease to amaze me. The collection is not exhaustive; so I am going to share the ones I love the most.

Each picture has a story; a story of a passionate lover of nature, a story of an ardent admirer of even the most frivolous object, a person who can get crazier and freakier and do anything to capture the beauty of nature. I am not exaggerating here, I am only playing down. I say this because some of the pictures have changed me forever. It has taught me to appreciate small things, to pause amidst the fast life and take in the beauty that's in abundance all around us but we are blind to see them. It has taught me to believe that everything has a reason behind and whatever happens; its for good.

I have learnt all this because of my friend who celebrates his birthday today. Before sharing some of his marvelous snaps, I would like to wish him on his birthday.

MANY MANY HAPPY RETURNS OF THE DAY GAUTAM. And congrats on reaching your Quarter Century or Silver Jubilee :-D

And yeah, I started developing a keen interest in photography after seeing his works. So He is my Guru. I try my best to be half as good as him. Now to some of his pictures and the story behind few of them.

On the way from Leh to Manali. This picture was taken during a short lunch break. Instead of eating something to revive his strength, he has roamed around and captured these tiny mounds.

On the way from Leh to Manali

Keep waiting for these creatures to fly and then snap!!!

Night sky.....

Freaky guy that he is....had this penchant to capture The Taj Mahal at 6 AM. I would say its all worth the effort.

How perfect would this be if not for that concrete piece!!

Heights of craziness here. He wanted to see the golden temple at sunrise. Seems he missed it as the train was delayed. Still he managed to capture the golden temple at sunrise. Wonder how? He simply slept by this pool in freezing weather and woke up at sunrise!!! Wont believe me? Please see the next snap.

Golden Temple at night. In the foreground is his bed!

A beautiful silhouette of a man seeking solitude. That man in the picture is his friend who was just walking ahead of him. If it were me, I wouldn't have had this idea of a beautiful picture, instead I would be running to keep up pace with the friend.

In Gautam's words - "Majestic view of the almost unclimbablee peak, Indrasan (6220 m). The flatter Deo Tibba (6001 m) by the right side behind Indrasan. And yes, we did not even think about going to that avalanche, rockfall, landslide prone area. It would also have a number of hidden crevasses. Climbing it is tougher than Everest."

The famous musical fountain in front of Bellagio Casino, Las Vegas.

What can I say? Instead of seeking blessing, photographing a sadhu

Can you guess what it is??

Hazy and obscure smoke from agarbathis(scented stick). He captured this while sleeping inside a truck's cabin. Can you spot the lady walking?

Snowy railway track while on the way to Grand Canyon, Arizona

Road side mutton tikka in Leh

Leh - desert?

On the way to GC, Arizona

A young Lama and an older lama at a Buddhist monastery in Leh. Observe the old man, calm and serene and now the kid. :-)

Khardung La - 37 kms from Leh. It is the highest motor able road

I don't know what word to use to describe the craziness here. Its raining. On the terrace is the water tank. Collect some leaves and twigs and place the camera on it. Set timer. And sprint to the other end of the water tank to capture a self portrait!!

Do you remember Polar Express? This was captured on the way to Grand Canyon, Arizona

An old ship in San Deigo

12:30 AM. Everyone is asleep. Neighborhood is calm. Our man decides to write a poem to his friend as a birthday gift. Starts writing a couple of lines, spots a book on India nearby. Some creative thing flashes. Runs outside, collects some dry leaves, places them on a table, keeps the book and a rose beside along with the calligraphic pen and the paper on which the poem is being written. Lights a candle and captures this abstract picture very quickly to light out the flame to avoid fire alarm set off

Don't believe me? See the next picture.

Background of the abstract

While walking on the streets of NYC, found a couple with their young kid. The father is lighting mom's cigarette while the kid is looking at them....

A busy Promenade street in LA, people rushing. How beautiful it is to slow down, look around and take in the mood. Gautam just did that!

Hmm, interesting photo. I forgot the story behind it.

San Deigo skyline

I would keep sharing more photos on and on. Let me just stop. And this is Gautam finally :-) Contended and happy.

PS : Gautam, I hope you didn't mind me sharing your snaps here without your permission. Just took the liberty. Many Many more happy returns of the day again :-)

PPS : I was awarded Most Courteous Blogger Award by Gautam few days back. I thought today was an appropriate day to put it up. This is what he said - "This award is only for Insignia, for being so courteous to all those who visit her blog, and for respecting the point of view, and critics of every visitor."

Thanks a ton Gautam for finding me courteous. I do know I am way too courteous than required most times, but thats the way I am, and I find it tough to change!!


  1. Nice Pictures. Happy Birthday Gautam.

    Happy Birthday to you
    Happy Birthday to you
    Happy Birthday dear Gautammmmm
    Happy Birthdayyy tooooo yooouuuuuu

  2. Congrats on the award:)
    Pics were breath-taking. Your friend is mighty talented. Many happy returns Gautam!!!

    @ Gautam - I loved the photo of Golden Temple at sunrise the most and your auto-timed snap in the rain. Falling short of words to compliment.

    I hope we get to see more. I love looking at pics.

  3. gethu photos.i love people who go to lengths just to click a pic.if your frnd got a flickr stream put the

  4. May Gautum click more wonderful photos in the years to come.

  5. Happy Birthday Gautam..

    I have shared my views about these images already with you guys..

    have a great day and year ahead buddy :)

    @ Insignia, thank u :)

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Wowwwwwwwwwwww...........BreathtakingPhotographs! :) Amazing!
    Happy Birthday Gautam...!

  8. # Insignia

    thanks for the journey. I needed it.

    # Gautam

    Many happy returns of the day dude.

    See my page. You will find some thing(though I am not committing time because i am crazzy about it more often then not...)

    # Insignia & Gautam

    Can I take the liberty to get pictures from here.

  9. # insignia


    for new & nice template template.

    Keep Smiling!

  10. congratulations on the award!!!

    Pictures are very beautiful, the way that founbtain at Bellagio is captures..awesome.

  11. happy b'day gautam...and bout the pics...oh my god, all were breathtaking. I always wanted to go to leh and after seeing these mind blowing pics...i have no option but to go asap

  12. OH!
    my hands are shivering as i type.
    i need some time to digest this...

    bindu, you are one crazy woman...

  13. Many happy returns of the day..
    No what would a person want more then having such beuatiufl and good friends around...


    I loved the pictures and i am envying them so much now, how do you get time to do all this.. Leh- NY OH MAN I wish i can do the same ... Beautiful is the word..

  14. Awesome photos Gautam! And happy birthday!

    Insignia, great of you to post these photos up :D

  15. Congrats for the award.
    Awesome pictures!!

  16. Gautam,

    You must know this, but you are truly, truly gifted. That pic with calligraphy pen had turned out so beautiful, and then to know how basic was your entire setting, it was just amazing.

    I had never been much into photography, but Insignia's description made me realize for the first time, every picture has a story behind it, but provided there is passion behind it. And to call your madness merely passion would be am injustice. Glad to know you have found your true love in photography. Congratulations on that! And not to forget, a happy b'day to you!


    Thanks for sharing. Also, thanks for the way you shared it. This was truly one of the most beautiful posts on blogosphere that I have read. Though your description was in background, you really had the knack to not try to force the beauty of pics on the reader, as they were all beautiful in their own unique way. But where your skill came into place was in knowing precisely how much information to give. Had you not followed up the bare minimum setting used at Gautam in clicking the calligraphy pen pic, I would have never realized the genius that Gautam is.

    You know, I usually skip posts with pics, but your pic-posts have been l8r brilliant. So, that I went through this post with rapt attention and actually, felt a twinge of sadness that the post ended.

    And see, something that everyone loved, and left Gautam's hands shaking because of happiness, for that you apologized for not taking permission, makes you a sinner.

    But, a courteous sinner! :P

    Sorry, couldn't be more curt-eous. ;)

    Cheers and thanks, again!

  17. Sorry for the typos:

    *minimumu settings used by Gautam.

    *just brilliant.

  18. A very happy birthday to you ,Gautam.
    Insignia, congratulations and thanks for the lovely pictures.

  19. Happy B'day to Gautam and a pat on your back Inni to share these pics :)

    The pics are super cool..beyond appreciation through words !

    I noticed what was intended in the Lamas pic ! Wonderful observations and takes !

  20. SG,

    Thank you on Gautam's behalf :-)

  21. lostworld,

    Thanks much. My friend is really really talented, he just doesn't realize that.

  22. soin,

    My friend hasn't got a flickr account. He puts all the pictures on orkut.
    If you are interested, I shall give his orkut profile link.

  23. Holy Lama,

    I pray and wish the same. Thank you :-)

  24. Neha,

    Thanks. Its my pleasure to be sharing these amazing works.

  25. Megha,

    Thanks, I shall pass on your compliments and wishes to my friend.

  26. Makk,

    It was my pleasure to be sharing these beautiful snaps.
    Regarding using the pictures, I am not sure if you asked Gautam's specifically or the pictures from the blog; whatever; you can sure take them
    Both I and Gautam click pictures for memory and we are passionate about it. As long as you aren't going to use it for commercial purposes, its fine by use

    And thanks for being considerate in asking for permission. Most of them would just use them without prior permission

  27. Oh! Thanks Makk. Is the template nice?

  28. Antarman,

    Thank you. I will convey your compliments about the picture to my friend.

  29. Gayathri,

    Thanks. will pass on the wish and the compliment to Gautam. And yeah!! pack your bags and go to Leh!!

  30. Gautam,

    Am I crazy? Thanks for the compliment :-P
    You deserve it Gautam. And yeah why are your hands shivering?
    You absolutely deserve it dearie :-)

  31. Bikram,

    I shall inform Gautam that you had some queries and let him answer that :-)

  32. Shaunak,

    It was my pleasure sharing such wonderful pictures.
    I will convey your wishes to Gautam. :-)

  33. chitra,

    Thanks for the compliments :-)

  34. Ketan,

    Thanks for these straight-from-your-heart words. I do realize your genuine thoughts in your comments.

    Gautam doesn't realize his talent level. He just loves nature and things around him so much and he captures them for future memories.
    But thats his plus, he does it without any expectations and thus it turns gorgeous.

    It was my pleasure to be sharing these beautiful works. Good things are for sharing. I wanted others to also enjoy and experience the joy that I experienced.
    Every picture does have a story behind it..and yeah as you added provided there is a passion behind it. Each picture here has not only passion but love, admiration, realization behind it.

    The post had to end :-) All good things come to an end. I was feeling apprehensive about already posting so many pictures. I had lots more, but difficult to put all as it would bore the readers.

    I did commit a sin by not asking his permission, but I was gutsy as I knew he would pardon me :-)

    Thank you very much for your honest comment, I understand that you meant each word :-)

  35. And Ketan, dont worry about the typos. Its fine :-)

  36. Chowla Sir,

    I will convey your wishes to my friend. Thank you :-)

  37. Nu,

    Pleasure sharing the pictures. I will pass on your compliments about the pics to my friend.
    Aaah, you noticed the Lama? The young Lama is queer isnt it? :-)

  38. those were some fantastic snaps ! Simply awesome !

    Many congratulations !

  39. Happy birthday Gautam :D
    congratz on the award :D
    and pictures OMG!!!!Leh looka like a gate to paradise...
    suprb captures :D

  40. Happy birthday Gautam :D
    congratz on the award :D
    and pictures OMG!!!!Leh looka like a gate to paradise...
    suprb captures :D

  41. So damn creative!!
    Wonderful work!
    I loved each and every picture and the story behind it...
    Gawd..I'm so jealous of good photographers...!!I never get it right when it cmz to photography...
    Kudos to your frnd!!

  42. Dear SG,

    Thank you very much for this birthday song! I can hear the tune. I am glad that you like the pictures. :-)

  43. Dear Lostworld,

    Insignia, surely deserves this award for treating everyone with so much courtesy. This is her little space which she can call her own; a virtual space that isn’t really virtual, especially during the times when everything real around in the world seems virtual. She is such a good host for her blog, welcoming everyone with so much warmth. I am sure everyone, just like me, feels so happy and rejuvenated after reading her posts.

    I am glad you liked the photos. Thank you for your compliments. The auto-times snap in the rain was taken using a very basic point and shoot camera. This photograph is a bookmark for a small story.

    I was in Coorg along with some friends. We stayed in a cottage and were relaxing one morning. Two other friends and I wanted to walk around a little bit and somehow I missed them and was all alone. I started climbing up a hill and there was a small water plant. Though it was restricted area I loitered around and got in. There were huge tanks with some 25 feet deep water. In the photo I am standing on one wall of the water tank. I put the camera in timer mode and ran like crazy to get there. Now that I look back, I remember that I did not know swimming back then. I thought it was worth the risk. :-)

    “No one is perfect. Everyone will make mistakes in life. But very few can make sacrifices...”

    The mood I was trying to capture was that of a man bidding farewell and saying goodbye to his lover forever.

  44. Dear Soin,

    Thank you very much for your comments. I have not found the time to open a flickr account unfortunately. I first put my photos on picasa, then orkut came along. All my friends wanted me to post the photos on orkut. Now facebook came along, and I have some of my photos there. I don’t think I would be able to handle another website for photo dump!

  45. Dear Holy Lama,

    Thank you very much for your motivation. I really appreciate it.

  46. Dearest Neha,

    Thanks. I really enjoyed all your comments that you gave during chat. They really meant a lot to me. I am working on this masters project thing, so am not able to chat. I think you pinged me a couple of times, but could not find time to get back. Once this project work gets done, I will bug you day and night. LOL!

  47. Dear Megha,

    Thank you very much for your compliments and wishes.

  48. Dear Makk,

    Thank you very much for your wishes. I did have a look at your page. The photographs and poems are very nice. Thanks for inviting me look at to your page. I am glad you feel that my photos are worth using in your blog. Feel free to use the photographs. I am sure you will use them in the right manner.

  49. Dear Antarman,

    Thank you very much for you compliments. I am glad you like the picture.

  50. Thank you so much for your wishes Gayathri. Leh, Ladakh is a very unique place. Make sure you visit the place. I got there without any plan, so experimented a few things, and so if you wish, I could suggest some good things to do in Leh..

  51. Dear Bikram,

    Thank you very much for your wishes. Yes, I am indeed very lucky to have a friend (a pen friend) like Insignia, who, unconditionally thinks so high of me. I am sure you will visit Leh one day. Good luck with that endeavour.

  52. Dear Shaunak,

    Thank you for your compliments and wishes. Till now, only my friends have seen my photographs. I am glad that even you guys like them.

  53. Dear Chitra,

    Insignia truly deserves this award. Thanks for your compliments, and am very glad you like them.

  54. Dear Ketan,

    Thank you for you warm wishes.

    Insignia is probably the only person who got to see the set for the calligraphy photograph. I tried my hand at calligraphy after reading Angels and demons by Dan Brown. While the concept of ambigrams by itself is fascinating, the feeling when the pen scrubs on the archaic looking paper is something I cannot easily describe. It reminds me of the countless letters written by all our ancestors to communicate everything a man possibly can describe. It brings the history into perspective. I used to write letters to my friends during childhood and I miss those days. Sometimes those letters would be many pages long.

    Something about the idea of letter writing captivates me and, I feel, the fact that Insignia and I are pen friends says something about this. When I hear the gentle rustle of the calligraphic pen, I feel transported into a dingy room with the fragrance of smokey firewood, crafted mahogany tables, candles, rolled sheets of papyrus, and carved feathers dipped in Indian ink.

    I found the flow of this post very cheerful and bubbly, and honestly, I feel that the photos look good mostly because of the way Insignia presented them. Just like you, I too felt a tinge of sadness to as the post finished. I don’t think I am as passionate about photography as I would like to be, but, all the comments for this post have been extremely motivating. On behalf of Insignia and myself, I wish to thank you so much for taking time to see this post.

  55. Dear Chowla sir,

    Thank you. Feels nice to receive your compliments and wishes.

  56. Dear Nu,

    Thank you very much for your comments, compliments and wishes.
    The Lamas’ portrait is one of my favorites. There is something about that little kid and the way he was looking at me. He literally haunts me in my dreams from time to time.

  57. Dear Haddock,

    Thank you very much for your compliment. Your name reminds me of those good old days when I used to read Tintin comics.

    Billions of blue blistering barnacles! :-)

  58. Dear Kavi,

    Thank you for your compliments. Glad you like them.

  59. Dear Rajlakshmi,

    Thanks for taking time to look at them. And thank you for your wonderful compliments.

  60. Dear Jaunty,

    Thanks for your compliments.
    Ya! Insignia did a fabulous job in narrating the story! Taking photographs is not as difficult as you think. If you have a good camera, and if you think about the photo for a couple of seconds before taking a photograph, I am sure you would be able to take nice photographs.

  61. Dear Insignia - You really deserve the Award. You are great and that is called friendship who loves their friends wholeheartedly and appreciate their work.

    Your description on each photograph of Gautam is extremely good and it reveals how much you like Gautam's work and creativity.

    I love both of you.

    Happy Birthday to you Gautam and congrats to you on receiving excellent appreciation and thoughts from a lovely friend Insignia.

  62. Good heavens! These are marvelous. Every photo beats the previous one. Each one is in competition with each other. I esp. liked that abstract photograph with India book, dry leaves, rose, candle and poetry. Creativity at its best. You are brilliant Gautam. And Happy Birthday!
    By the way, which camera (and its model) was used to capture these masterpieces? Just curious.
    And thanks Insignia, for sharing them. Had you not done so, I'd have missed something spectacular. :)

  63. Hi Insignia,

    Love the new look of your blog.
    Very pleasing for the eyes.

  64. Ketan,

    Thank you. Glad you liked the template.
    I really found the witch very cute

  65. Dear Naidu Sir,

    Thank you very much for visiting this space. I was shocked with joy of course, even before reading your comments.
    Your name was sufficient, I don't get why Gautam thought whatever I did was worth sharing it with you.
    What makes his work more special is his passion and his genuineness. And Gautam is a wonderful human being.

    But this means a lot to me, I am lucky to have known him. I am honored to be receiving your comments.

    Thank you. :-)

  66. Karthik,

    Thanks much for your appreciation on behalf of Gautam.
    He found your comments too over whelming.
    Gautam uses Nikon D40 :-)

    Its my pleasure, how would I not share things that are so beautiful? :-)

  67. SG,

    Thank you. Glad you liked it.
    Found the witch rather cute.

  68. Gautam,
    great pics, the one with the lake especially. THE one with the cycle you must submit somewhere asap!
    Photography has more to do with 'dna' as opposed to talent, or so i Believe:D

    someone had to do the needful,and bring this into this 'poral',well done

  69. Kish,

    Thanks for your comment. Glad you liked the pics. Gautam has not really considered submitting his snaps anywhere until now. There are so many of them which are definitely worth submitting to a contest. Its his passion but hasn't yet taken to the next level.

    Anyways, I thank you a lot for the encouragement, on behalf of Gautam. He will be overwhelmed :)

    And yeah!! good things are to share and hence I did it :-)

  70. Whatever little I have done, can only be attributed to my dad's care, love, affection, encouragement and sacrifice. There is no limit for the adjectives that can be used here. Though my mother has played a pivotal role in my life, I will focus on my dad. He had too many responsibilities and never really had an opportunity to do what he really wanted. Then I come along, irresponsible, carefree, selfish and I do whatever I want! This is only because HE lets me do it and has striven so hard to make this platform for me. Never has he stopped me from doing anything; good or bad. I am truly lucky.

  71. @ Kish.

    Thanks for you comments and encouragement. Like I always say, it is not me, it is my dad. I don't think I have used his DNA to it's fullest potential. I am a lazy bugger.

  72. Happy Birthday
    excellent pic collection

  73. @ Insignia & Gautam

    Thanks for granting the permission.

    Have a look to see some thing for both you.


    I hope you like it this way...!

  74. sm,

    Thank you. Will convey it to my friend

  75. Makk,

    Sure thing. Your poem compliments the picture. It was great!! My comments on your blog :-)

  76. Thank you for your compliments sm,
    and Makk, that was a wonderful poem.

  77. The first thing I did was I have saved all the pics on my system. Now I'm having a VERY VERY tough time deciding WHICH should adorn my desktop (I hope I'm not violating any copyright issues :D).

    I'm struggling for words now.. wow that has never happened before.. Gautam, you have the world's MOST BEAUTIFUL gift. You portray the things around us SO crystal CLEAR, like EVERY little detail has been amplified manyfold. Not many people are blessed with this extraordinary talent. These are truly some of the FINEST pictures I have seen (and I've seen quite many).

    Wow, so much for my struggle with words :) Keep up with the great work! And if you decide to turn pro, be rest assured that you'll go places. All the best!

    Insignia: Those were some AMAZING descriptions :) Although pictures do speak a thousand words but the desc made it a more exciting deal for me. And off course thank you for bringing out this fantastic post. Or else, all of us would have missed out on this treasure trove forever :)

  78. Hi smitzy,

    Thank you so very much for your amazing comments and appreciation. I will sure let Gautam know about it. He will be very very happy.

    No issues about you saving all the pics. No copyright violation. We are sure you will use them in right way :-)

    It was my pleasure to be sharing such beautiful pictures to you all. And the description was required to tell the story behind each picture, Gautam's struggle to click them.

    Thanks again! :-)

  79. Dear Smitzy,

    Thank you very much for your wonderful comments. I am so glad you liked the photographs. Feels so good that you refer to this compilation as a treasure trove. Only Insignia can make these photos looks so beautiful.

  80. when i visited your blog i read the first post and then saw those pictures too, the first thing or rather the first word that came to my mind is passion, it's not about how you do it when you do it, it's about how passionate you are about your passion. seriously one of the best blogs i have read in a long while.

  81. Very very beautiful picture.

    Happy Birthday to Goutam

  82. prithvi,

    Thanks a lot. Its encouraging. I am passionate about whatever I do and this is one such thing :) Keep visiting.


    Thanks. I will pass it on to Gautam. :)

  83. A very Happy birthday to Gautam!
    I simple loved the photographs here!
    Khardung la, the self potrait and reflections in it, The Abstract are the ones that i liked most.. However All are Beautiful and a treat to the eyes :)
    Kudos to you for sharing them! :)
    Loved them all!

  84. Shesha,

    Will convey it to Gautam for sure :)
    Gautam is a genius in capturing even the ordinary of things in a enticing way. It was my pleasure to share it.



I'd love to know what you thought :-) Please shoot!