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Old 29th September 2011, 17:54   #16
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Default Re: Kaas - God's own masterpiece!

Great pics SDP, especially for those of us who either missed out totally this year or missed out on the sights despite being there, due to the rains/ weather

Please put up more great snaps. I hope your kids are doing well and raring to go there next year. My son has been pestering me for a return trip ever since we returned, but I am suspecting its for the kandi pedha
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Old 29th September 2011, 19:51   #17
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Default Re: Kaas - God's own masterpiece!

@SDP - Wonderfully written TL. Straight from the heart. Good to read that you lived your dream (i don't mean owning the bungalow ) but about your wish to visit Kaas.

Snaps are beautiful. I missed out this time around as well. Now again the wait for next year.
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Old 29th September 2011, 22:08   #18
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Default Re: Kaas - God's own masterpiece!

@selfdrive & @amitwlele, thank you!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By now, its already been an hour since I have reached the Kaas plateau. I have already clicked ~100 snaps in the last hour. My limited photography experience has also plateaued out (pun intended ) and everything has started looking the same. The question that is bothering me: Didn't I click the same thing some 2 minutes back? Now what?

I look around for inspiration. There are a whole bunch of 'professionals' around. They are trying different perspectives. That's it!


This is how things are looking standing up.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1380.jpg

This is how things are looking when I go down on my knees.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1382.jpg


The flower bed is just 6 inches tall. So even while I am on my knees, I am looking at the flowers from the top. A few guys are lying down on the ground. I find that a bit awkward. But I have ran out of options. I look around, (don't want too many spectators,) and slowly sit down. Still a bit conscious, I rest one elbow on the ground and in a semi-laid-down position, lower the camera as close to the ground as possible and without looking through the viewfinder (because I couldn't), click a snap. It comes out as shown below.

I have missed the flowers completely and managed to capture only the sky.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1383.jpg


After one more unsuccessful attempt, I realize that Kaas wants me lie down and accept it as it is. There are no shortcuts. I leave all inhibitions aside and completely lie down on the ground. My upper arm and shoulder are touching the ground and my left ear is an inch away from the ground.

And suddenly everything starts looking different.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1389.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1392.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1393.jpg

I quickly put on the 50mm prime and open up the aperture completely.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1385.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1386.jpg

I try the telephoto and love how it is isolating one layer of flowers from the others.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1398.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1401.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1403.jpg


I have seen mother nature bring the man down to his knees (and even flattening him) many times: tornados, earthquakes, floods etc etc. And therefore, slowly there was a negative connotation that was attached to the term 'bring down to the knees'. In Kaas, for the first time, I experienced the positive meaning of going down on the knees and being flattened (by the beauty of mother nature)!

<to be continued>

Last edited by SDP : 29th September 2011 at 22:32.
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Old 30th September 2011, 10:08   #19
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Default Re: Kaas - God's own masterpiece!

@sdp,
nice pics,
you have made this simple travel-story more interesting by good narration.
waiting for more.
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Old 30th September 2011, 20:12   #20
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Default Re: Kaas - God's own masterpiece!

Thanks AshishPallod!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


A tall white one!
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1437.jpg

There were a lot of different insects. Spotted this beautiful green one.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1450.jpg

There were others with less dramatic colours.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1436.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1489.jpg

Hey, wait a minute, that's a new variety of flowers! I spot a few more nearby.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1409.jpg

A little further down, I see the thing below, which I could not categorize as either flowers or leaves.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1411.jpg

Another new variety! Doesn't that remind you of the USB symbol?
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1414.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1415.jpg

A closer look.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1420.jpg

Then there are those water-beads trapped in a web.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1441.jpg

I see something new again. How would this look when it blossoms?
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1439.jpg

The answer is nearby
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1431.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1457.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1459.jpg

Bright yellow specks on top of fluorescent purple fibre strands. Beautiful!
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1460.jpg

One more variety! I am on a roll!
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1444.jpg

There is a small lake, which has a good concentration of pink flowers next to it.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1462.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1469.jpg

Irrespective of how much I try not to repeat similar snaps, when you see something like this, you have to click.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1449.jpg


Last edited by SDP : 30th September 2011 at 20:20.
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Old 30th September 2011, 22:41   #21
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Default Re: Kaas - God's own masterpiece!

I go to the 'ground floor' a few more times.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1471.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1472.jpg

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Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1482.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1483.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1484.jpg

Since my 'models' did not accompany me, I have to borrow.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1495.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1497.jpg

I walked quite a lot and now there is no longer a dirt-track. There are just 5-6 people who have walked all the way to this point. Let me explain it with a map. (Click on the map to open a bigger copy.)
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-kaas-details1.jpg
The area with pink border is the Kaas plateau. The road on the right is the one coming in from Satara. See the parking spot at the junction where a small road goes towards one Ghatai Devi temple and then rejoins somewhere near the Kaas lake? Yes, that's where I parked and then followed the yellow road up the plateau. Halfway on the plateau, you will find another road (marked in white) forking out towards the right (I hope you are facing Bamnoli). That road is a dirt road and is not tarred. The main tarred road (yellow one) just spans about a kilometer of the plateau. The orange coloured routes 1 and 2 are the ones I took on foot.

On route 1, as I start approaching the end, I could see 2 waterbodies. The one on the right is the Kaas lake and the one on the left (towards the Ghatai Devi temple) is the Urmodi backwater.

I approach the end of the plateau.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1500.jpg

That's the Kaas lake on the right.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1501.jpg

The main road is visible in the distance. (Ah, I need to walk all the way back.)
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1502.jpg

That's the Ghatai Devi temple and Urmodi backwaters.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1503.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1504.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1505.jpg


At one of the rocks towards the edge, I see a new variety of small flowers. Unfortunately the wind is strong and despite multiple attempts, I end up with a shaky picture.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1512.jpg

Last edited by SDP : 30th September 2011 at 22:59.
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Old 1st October 2011, 16:40   #22
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Default Re: Kaas - God's own masterpiece!

I walk back towards the main road and spot this bird. Looks like some type of Lark.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1524.jpg

Some snaps while walking back.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1532.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1556.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1560.jpg

Looks like you need a white car with a beacon on top to be able to park on the plateau.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1534.jpg

A multi-colour rangoli.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1542.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1548.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1549.jpg

A red ST bus adds another colour to the landscape.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1551.jpg

I cross over to the other side of the road. Here's the dirt-road that I mentioned earlier.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1573.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1674.jpg

On this side, there are a lot more Donald ducks.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1559.jpg

A complete family of ducks.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1579.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1653.jpg

Couple of views from this edge of the plateau.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1583.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1585.jpg

I see a small watering hole and couple of guys intently clicking photos.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1704.jpg

I decide to check it out.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1710.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1709.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1708.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1732.jpg

This is going to be the last but one post for the Kaas leg of the travelogue. So a few snaps of how Kaas mesmerises everybody:
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1737.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1491.jpg

Even kids.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1676.jpg

And dogs
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1735.jpg

Its almost 1PM. Its been 4 hours since I came to the plateau. The sun is getting harsher by the minute. The morning breakfast has evaporated long back.

I start walking back towards the parking place.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1700.jpg

Last edited by SDP : 1st October 2011 at 16:51.
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Old 1st October 2011, 21:29   #23
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Default Goodbye to Kaas

I have a poor-man's macro photography setup. That basically means I have a reversing ring which costs 250 Rs

So here are 12 chosen macos taken by reverse-mounting the 50mm prime lens. The interesting part about this setup is the focussing distance and the really shallow depth of field. I was able to get as close as 2-3 cms to the flowers. None of the snaps below are cropped (may be one). Loved how the miniature subject was filling the frame! The depth of field was around 2mm! You breathe or there is even a light breeze, and you have everything out of focus. Fantastic experience!

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1597.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1613.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1618.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1623.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1627.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1630.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1640.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1649.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1686.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1717.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1722.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1587.jpg

Since morning, I had clicked 516 snaps (167 of which have made it to this travelogue). I spent 4 hours on the plateau and covered a lot of ground on foot. I was carrying 3 lenses and a Nikon D90. Lost count of how many times I had swapped lenses during those 4 hours. Now I understand why people carry multiple camera bodies! The camera is about 9 months old and I am still not very conversant with a lot of features and settings. Struggled a lot with continuous autofocus, the CPL and the exposures in general, but learnt a lot also.

With this post, the Kaas part of this travelogue comes to an end.
Bamnoli, Sajjangad and lots more is coming. Stay tuned!

Last edited by SDP : 1st October 2011 at 21:47.
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Old 1st October 2011, 23:56   #24
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Default Re: Towards Kaas

Quote:
Originally Posted by SDP View Post

The first one is a 'opening-soon' resort.

A closer look at the resort. Looks promising, isn't it?
I stayed in this resort for a night for my this year visit to Kaas. (17 Sep 2011). Even though they are not open officially, they accommodated us. Very decent place and highly recommendable. The valley view is mesmerizing. Sitting in the balcony in the night, watching the Satara valley and thinking about the next day Kaas visit, is divine.

Last edited by ajmat : 2nd October 2011 at 10:43. Reason: no whiskey pls
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Old 2nd October 2011, 10:17   #25
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Default Re: Towards Kaas

Quote:
Originally Posted by kj302 View Post
I stayed in this resort for a night for my this year visit to Kaas. (17 Sep 2011). Even though they are not open officially, they accommodated us. Very decent place and highly recommendable. The valley view is mesmerizing. Sitting in the balcony in the night, watching the Satara valley and thinking about the next day Kaas visit, is divine.
@kj302, That's great. What's the name of the place? Can you please PM me (if you have any) contact details of somebody managing the resort. How are the rates like? Any snaps of the interiors? Sorry for asking too many things, but my experience with hotels in the Satara city has not been pleasant (to say the least). So I am definitely scouting for better places to stay in that area. Thanks.

Last edited by ajmat : 2nd October 2011 at 10:43.
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Old 2nd October 2011, 20:40   #26
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Default Towards Bamnoli

Onwards to Bamnoli

1:02PM -> Got back to the car after a 4 hour marathon session on the Kaas plateau. There are hardly any big trees on the plateau. So I am positive to see some tan tomorrow. The left arm which was on ground for some snaps, is itching a bit. I take 2-3 big gulps of water from the bottle in the car and start towards Bamnoli.

I make a call to the wifey and tell her that I am back from Kaas and the network would be better now. Came to know from her that the daughter is doing OK, no new issues since morning . Later, one weird thought came to my mind: if my family would have been there with me, how much time would I have spent on the plateau? Would I have walked all the way to the edge of the plateau? How much time would I have got to experiment with the camera?

The answers are obvious. There is always a silver lining to the dark crowd.

Although I have never driven on this route, thanks to TBHP, I know the route by heart. As expected, I see the Kaas lake while descending from the plateau.

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1743.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1744.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1745.jpg

I see the Bamnoli village and glimpses of the backwaters from the road. But I am really tired and HUNGRY, so I decide to postpone the photography on this section for the return trip. On hindsight, not a very good decision as I assumed that the weather and clarity would be similar or better while coming back.

1:45 PM -> I park the car by the side of the road, in front of the Santaji dhaba. The place is crowded with visiting families. I grab a place at a table where 2 bikers were having their lunch. I pick up the plastic jug from the table, I go out and splash my face with liberal amount of water. It feels good. I go back in and order the veg-thali. The food arrives after what seems like and eternity. The vegetable was spicy, but the chapatis were soft and large. A spoonful of shrikhand kept the sweet tooth happy. I wolf down the meal in less than 10 minutes. The hunger pangs are gone, I feel much better.

I start the car and go down to the boating club area. I park there.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1746.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1747.jpg

Its 2:35PM. I am in no great hurry. I make inquiries at the booking counter. There is one guy who is efficiently handling the counter and spitting instructions into the mouthpiece of a PA system. There is no waiting, but since I am alone, he would need to 'adjust' me with some other groups.

<to be continued>

Last edited by SDP : 2nd October 2011 at 20:55.
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Old 2nd October 2011, 23:20   #27
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Default Bamnoli - Boat ride

In the current season, you can go to Triveni-Sangam and Datta-mandir combo or Tapola. Finally joined a group of 6 raja-babus from IslamNagar for the TriveniSangam-DattaMandir trip.

We all got in the boat around 3:00PM. Its supposed to be a one and half hour boat-ride. Settled down in a as comfortable position as possible on the wooden planks in the boat.

The guy who painted the boat got carried away while spelling "Amit" .
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1748.jpg

The red boats waiting for their turn.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1749.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1750.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1753.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1756.jpg

The water was clean and had a fantastic green shade.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1757.jpg

The hills lining up the backwaters are beautiful.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1760.jpg

That's the Bamnoli boating club starting point.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1761.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1764.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1765.jpg

See that house? I envy the owner of that house for the view he has.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1766.jpg

We move westwards and the waterbody seems endless. The hill is so distant. It seems like the boat would fall off the edge of the horizon.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1767.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1769.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1772.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1773.jpg

Beautiful greenery everywhere.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1775.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1777.jpg

Adjust the mid-tones and the clouds look fantastic.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1778.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1781.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1785.jpg

Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1787.jpg

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Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1794.jpg

Partially submerged trees.
Kaas - God's own masterpiece!-dsc_1795.jpg

Last edited by SDP : 2nd October 2011 at 23:25.
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Old 3rd October 2011, 08:15   #28
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Default Re: Kaas - God's own masterpiece!

Brilliant photographs with splashing of colours with excellent narration, SDP. I feel like visiting Kaas immediately!
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Old 3rd October 2011, 16:52   #29
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Default Re: Kaas - God's own masterpiece!

SDP, I just love the way you narrate these little things in your travelogue. Beautiful.
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Old 3rd October 2011, 18:14   #30
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Default Re: Kaas - God's own masterpiece!

Very nice photographs. And you've taken the right decision to try out taking photographs lying down, that has given a total different perspective than the other photos that you've shot. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward for more photographs of Bamnoli and other places that you might've covered.
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