17 October 2012

From Misty Monsters to Off-road Races - Part 3

Contd. from - From Misty Monsters to Off-road Races - Part 2

It's been ages since I last updated about our trip to Wasgamuwa in June 14, 2011, so thought of wrapping up the story with this post.

After our heart-racing adventure at Pitawala Pathana we headed to the place where we were supposed to pick up our lunch. It was past 1pm so naturally we were tired and starving too, since the breakfast and snacks have disappeared long ago. But to our dismay by the time we go there, the place was closed and our lunch packs have already been sold off! So when the time was little past noon our bus took off once again combing through the countryside backdrops looking for a good eatery by the roadside.

But we only found one after 1.30pm, a place tucked away in a rural town. It wasn't anything sophisticated, a small space with a few tables and chairs, barely suffice to fit in our starving crew. Since it was past the eatery's usual lunch time, they said it'd take about half an hour to ready our meals. And directed us to a nearby stream, flowing under a bridge we just passed, to get a cool dip before the lunch.

* The pics were taken from my old mobile cam, CTRL + Click on them to zoom in.

The view from under the bridge

 We got off the bus and strolled along the road until we reached the bridge. A foot path next to it led us down to the stream below. It was a beautiful stream meandering its way wrapping around smooth rocky terrain. The guys went on further up and started their own water games, making a big ruckus and splashing water in all directions. We girls simply relaxed right beneath the bridge on a smooth flat rock and freshened up with the chilled water. After chatting heartily and a round of snaps we started collecting smooth pebbles. We saw time to time the village folks gathering around the stream to wash clothes or bathe.

A village folk washing clothes

After getting back to the countryside eatery we were starving once more, but was soon drawn by the tempting aroma of food coming from the cinder shaded kitchen. We savored the delicious rice and curry still puffing steam off the plate. And it was complemented with sweet yogurt for dessert. After the hearty meal we got back into the bus which was parked near a lush paddyfield.

Paddy field by the roadside

And this time our bus headed towards the much desired destination - The Wasgamuwa National Park! And so let me fast forward the time to 4.30pm. We reached the place a couple of kilometers away from the park and boarded two safari cabs. After zooming past a rural hamlet we finally arrived at the park's entrance.

Our safari ride was nearly two hours long, and ended right about the park's closing time. We were first greeted by a pack of spotted deer and later we spotted a variety of birds including peacocks, peahens, cormorants, egrets and even eagles (or hawks). We also encountered mysterious sightings like crop circles and twisted grass, and got to know they were created by foraging elephants who twirled the grass to pull them out.

Well.. if I go on about it, I'll need another post or two to finish so now I'll let the photos do the talking along with their captions.

 Abundance of water

 Mesmerizing skies

Grazing wild buffaloes

Serene backdrops

 Solitary giant

Sturdy guards of a herd

Golden savannah

Track through the jungle


And that winds up the story of our Wasgamuwa trip. By the way if you wondered what was this title going on about some off-road races, well it was actually the safari ride itself. Cause there were times we felt like we were flying instead of driving through the jungle, as the cab went up and down speedily zooming past the tricky terrains and winding tracks. So this made most of my pics to come out with motion blur, and only a handful turned out clear.

There were couple of times we felt shivers down the spine. One was when we came face to face with a solitary elephant and our guide was explaining us to be very very quiet in their presence when observing. But that advice didn't get through to the four year old twin girls of my colleague who was also with us. And one little girl went on in a loud voice, "ammi... aliyaaaa... aliyaaaaa" (mom eleeeephant, eleephaaaant!) and the other too chorused with her, but was soon muffled by their terrified mother. We were lucky since the elephant gave only a glare and continued grazing.

The second time was when we came face to face with a herd of female elephants who were guarding one or two young elephants. The young were almost covered in tall grass and we were only a few meters away from them. The guide told us to be motionless and silent and got off the cab to remind the other cab. Just then one elephant guard became restless and blew a big puff of dust into the air and trumpeted, as if to warn us to retreat. We were totally frozen, as we expected one of them to come charging at us any moment. But all they did was give a good glare and leave the site in a hurry. It was a sight to behold seeing all the adult elephants surrounding the little ones and rushing further into the jungle.

We left the park past 6.30pm and I think I got back home past 1am! We made tons of memories and had loads of fun, but the most unforgettable are those encounters with nature, which I'm sure can be relived even after decades have passed.


See the rest of the pics of our Wasgamuwa safari over here.

22 September 2012

Butterfly Idols

Why are they called butterflies? They are nothing like the creamy butter or the pesky little flies.

Up, up and away!
Common Sailor on jasmine leaf
It's not just during the great migration, but throughout the year we get to relish butterfly sightings almost daily. Not just one or two varieties but butterflies of various kinds with distinct colors and designs would hang around our neighborhood and yard. Though during off season they come in small numbers. I had failed many a times trying to capture them with my old cam phone. Since these fellows are always too swift, agile and elusive.

Grey Pansy on Sepalika leaf

As time passed I wanted to get to know them better, like how I learned the names of some birds frequenting the neighborhood. Being able to tell them apart from their colors is one thing, but correctly identifying them is a whole different thing. So bit by bit I'm trying to learn how to identify them by name and tell them apart with the help of butterfly guides. Though I've seen many types I wasn't so lucky to capture them all, since whenever I rush back with the cam, they've already disappeared. 

At first... I took shots from far with the fear of missing a chance. But with time I learnt to step closer as silently as possible. That's when I noticed that some butterflies don't mind posing for the cam as they don't even budge when my camera comes face to face with them.

Face to Face
Grey Pansy on yellow bell flower leaf

I used to think that life in the butterfly world must be all sunny, sweet and nice. They are dressed to the nines and live carefree lives. But that was until I started observing them more closely. Few times I found some butterflies and moth with tattered wings, silently expressing the hardships of their miles long journeys. Fluttering those fragile powdery wings to ride along the currents between gentle zephyrs and strong winds. Evading predators, storms, scorching sun and heavy showers. Getting lost in dense forests, looking for a dew drop in barren lands.

Upside down
Common Sailor on yellow bell flower bud

Life is never easy... not for them... not for us.


For more butterfly shots drop by my Picasa album - Butterflies

01 August 2012

Time lapse with Kadupul

Kadupul or the Dutchman's Pipe (Epiphyllum oxypetalum) is one of a kind flower which takes about a little over five hours to bloom, and choose to do so in the night past 10pm. A few times we received Kadupul from a neighbor and I decided to try some close up shots (with macros) at different intervals. On two different days (June 20th and July 4th) I captured the blooming process in various angles of two Kadupul flowers. It was simply bewitching to watch, hour after hour, how the pointy long bud transforms into a striking delicate beauty in full bloom.

And to make a time lapse, I picked few snaps from each shooting and arranged them in order. The only tweaking I did was, using Paint.NET, cropping, resizing and slightly fixing the brightness, contrast, level and saturation.

I'll let the pictures do the talking from now on,
[ CTRL + click to zoom in]

For more info on Kadupul check Wikipedia.

03 July 2012

The Legend of the Green Elves

After a spell of downpour I was clearing the weeds when I chanced upon an interesting creeper that was stealthily running towards a grass bush. I peeped into the bush hoping to find its head from tail but then.. what I encountered was even more interesting no doubt. There they were... about 8-10 in numbers.. keeping a low profile amidst the slender leaves.. and staring at me in the corner of their eyes. I knew at once they were no ordinary folks, but the ones from the Kingdom of Sprites, the Green Elves!

They secretly whispered to each other and suddenly disappeared behind the slender leaves of the bush. I rushed back home, cleansed my hands, grabbed the camera and dashed to the site. This was a moment I couldn't miss. But when my camera took a sneak peek and started clicking right and left, the magic was gone! The green elves were no more. But instead... I found them, about 8-10 in numbers.. playing hide and seek with my cam, those known by the name.. grass-leapers!

Want to see how they look like?

Now a bit of zooming and...

If I'm not mistaken, this little fellow was missing a hind leg!

But the zephyrs whispered.. the legend of the green elves still continues... in the Kingdom of Sprites... unbeknown to human kind.

PS: These grass-leapers (or grasshoppers as humans call them) were only 2-4 cm in size!

05 June 2012

Larger than life

Here's a few macros I took somewhat recently.

* This butterfly (or maybe its cousins with the same hues and patterns and dots) visit our front yard almost daily. It loves to perch on jasmine leaves and stay still for a while, as if basking in the warm sun rays. After attempting for few days I was lucky on this day as it posed for me in a carefree manner. Maybe it wanted to show off its beauty.

The only tweaking I did with this photo using Paint.NET was - trim, resize, enhance brightness and contrast, enhance saturation.

* There was this big banana leaf lying on the table (it was cut off to pack some flowers for a neighbor who was to go on a pilgrimage next morning). On a whim I sprayed some water and it formed into droplets. Then I tried a few macro shots. The pinkish highlight over the droplets were from the window curtains.

Did the same tweaking as above.

* We get power cuts sometimes unexpectedly, but now it has become a lot better than ages ago. So when it happened right before the Vesak, I grabbed the chance to snap this candle light.

* This blue flower was surrounded by yellow bell flowers so that's why it has this strange yellowy background.

*This flower is a variation of the above bluish flower, and has faint blue traces here and there.

Well.. that's it. Have a great week ahead!

12 May 2012

Vesak Decor - 2012

Haven't been to my blog or blogroll in ages, so to do some justice I'm going to do a post about my Vesak decorations for this year. Though it won't be anything lengthy and descriptive as last time. I missed the chance to post some pics of my last year's decor, let alone take any snapshots of it as I was busy with work. But now that I'm back to freelancing, I've got more time at hand to spend as I wish.

I started out with the recyclable plastic frames (the same frames I used for Vesak decor in 2010). So first scraped off the previous year's decor, which came off easily. And after looking at the odd colors of tissue papers I got down this time (as it always happens that it's not I who happen to buy them) I decided the lanterns should be multicolored as usual. So after toiling for 2-3 days, battling with sticky flour glue (paappa) and making a confetti carpet right around me, I came up with these designs at the last moment.

Yep, the first lantern was put up on 5th (Vesak day), and the 2nd and rest of the designs came a day and a two later! -__- That's it for the background story, and now let's move on to the photo tour.


More pics can be seen here

Have a great weekend!

28 February 2012

Change of URL

Hi everyone!
I should have posted this first and then done the change, but somehow did the vice versa and now there's lots of updating to do.

Yep, I've gone from 'harumisfotoblog' to 'vividencounters'! Why? Well.. I thought of doing so when I changed my username sometime back, but didn't know how it'd affect everything so kept procrastinating. And today on a whim I just tried it out. lol It's kind of sad to bid farewell to my old name, Harumi, for good.. but change is inevitable.

Have a superb week ahead!

25 February 2012

Different Perspectives

Hi everyone! How have you been?

I'm back to freelance writing since January 2012 and life's been nice and slow so far. Though the field isn't publishing as I hoped.

Anyhow today I will not continue the 3rd part of the story (about my trip to Wasgamuwa), as I hope to save it for the next time. Instead I thought of sharing some of my photographic attempts. And there's a good news too. I bought a new digital camera (as I need one for work plus for hobby as well :D) though it's nothing sophisticated. But it's quite handy and I really like its quality and the smart li'l tricks that comes along with it. The camera is a BenQ AE100 with 14MP resolution and 5x Optical zoom. So it's good enough for the time being.

So here's a few shots I took with the new cam.

1. Solitary bird
This is the tweaked version, with enhanced saturation using Paint.NET. You'll see the original below. All the photos are cropped and resized as their original size seemed bulky for uploading.

2. Hungry Hunter
This hawk or eagle that I captured on 8th of February 2012 might be the same fellow (or a cousin of it) whom I snapped an year ago during our local New Year (Avurudu) season in mid April 2011. You'll see a few more of its pics in my Birds album.

3. Fiber mishmash
Couldn't resist taking a bunch of Macro shots with the camera's 'Super Macro' option. So this messy fiber mass is none other than a portion of a coconut husk.

4. Sepalika
Another macro and this time it's a flower. Sepalika is the local name of this small flower (sadly I'm not aware of its English name) , which I've tweaked into a black and white. You'll see the original photo below.

5. Webbed Beauty
This teeny weeny fellow was spotted sometime ago in our backyard majestically sitting on its webbed throne. Sadly my good old mobile cam couldn't capture it at all. It only showed a blurry blot. And after a few rainy seasons passed I never thought it'd have survived and so when I saw it again on 12th of this month, I was able to take a good look at it with the help of my new cam.

This spider is just a bit over 1 cm in length and breadth and was wearing this amazing gem studded costume. I never would have believed it's a spider if not for the beautiful web it was weaving between two small bushes as you'll see in the one below.

That's all for today. If you want to check for more, you'll find the new updates highlighted in my Albums page. Have a wonderful weekend!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...