Adimalathura Beach

Adimalathura beach, Trivandrum

Kovalam, Shanghumugham and Veli beaches are very popular in Trivandrum. But, there are a few other beaches which are more beautiful and tranquil. One such beach is Adimalathura, a little south of Vizhinjam before Poovar. This is also called Chowwara Beach by some.

A few high end resorts like Niraamaya, Travancore Heritage etc are nearby. there is a Shiva temple and a hill top Christian shrine.

Photography and the Environment

I never thought that my activities as an amateur photographer had an impact on the environment. In a casual talk with my daughter, Sruti Harihara Subramanian, founder of Golisodastore.com she emphasized that every activity leaves impact the environment. Our duty is to keep it to the minimum.

As an amateur photographer from the film era, I shudder to think of the environmental damage a small film processing unit would have brought about with the all its toxic chemicals. There was a miniscule recovery industry trying to salvage milligrams of silver form the negatives.  This is one of the reasons why we lost some of the early movie negatives.

In the pre electronic flash era, we had single use flash bulbs and cubes which were discarded after every frame.

We were then, blissfully unaware of the damages we were causing.

Thankfully, we have moved to a digital age with lesser use of toxic chemicals and materials. However, the astronomical growth of photography has its impact on consumption of material and energy and leaves behind a huge carbon footprint and e-waste.

I am happy that environmental awareness is increasing in the industry. The proof of this is a Special Green Issue of the Amateur Photographer (June 6, 2020) with a feature “How to be Greener – How Photographers can reduce Carbon Footprint”.

With an array of new gear being introduced regularly with improved features there is a natural tendency among photographers for GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). This could lead to large carbon footprint by way of manufacture and disposal. Thankfully, many professional photographers go for trading-in or ‘rescuing’ their old gear instead of blind upgrade.

In this context, my policy of ‘essential gear only’ (imposed partly by budget constraints) seems to be an eco-friendly practice.

I am also happy to learn from the above mentioned magazine that many professionals while ordering props, albums, clothing etc. for shoots are looking for eco-friendly options. Hope this trend catches up.

God’s Own Country

God;s Own CountryGod's Own Country
God’s Own Country

Where else can it be other than Kerala!

Though the backwaters of Kumarakom and Alleppey are very famous, one can find an equally picturesque location in many other parts of Kerala.

This resort, Aquasserenne, is on the Paravur lake in Kollam district.

Nikon D40X, Nikkor 18-55 @ 18 mm, f/11, 1/80 ISO 100 (on tripod?) November 2011.

Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary

A nice weekend outing near Chennai

Many of us lament that unlike Delhi, Bangalore or even Trivandrum Chennai has fewer options for weekend outings near the city.

On closer examination, I find several options ex-Chennai which are not well known or well presented by the authorities and enthusiasts.

One such is the Nelapattu bird sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh which is a little over hundred kilometres from Chennai.

Along with 3 NRI friends (birders &  photographers), I visited this place recently and was happy with the experience.

From Chennai hit the Madhavaram roundabout and take the Calcutta Highway.  Getting into the Andhra Pradesh border you cross Tada and Sullurpeta.  Just after the toll booth, take a right turn under the flyover. There is a railway line to cross after which you take a left turn into a village road. One kilometre down this road you can see the gate of the Sanctuary on the left.

The Sanctuary is open from 8 a.m. till 5 p.m.

Entry ticket for adults is Rs. 25. Camera Rs.100 Binoculars Rs.50. Car parking Rs.100.

The car can go inside up to the tourist Centre parking lot. On the way, we could see a Deer Park and a few cottages under construction. The Sanctuary has an area of about 400 hectares In the middle is water body which with its trees form the centre for the Birds to flock and roost.

There is a well-designed path about 500 mtrs long encircling the pond with convenient viewing Towers.

Being a weekday there were hardly any other visitors and we had the entire area to ourselves. I can imagine the crowd during weekends with school children, picnickers, tourists and others besides serious enthusiasts.

The Sanctuary is famous as the largest Pelicanary. Besides pelicans, there are several aquatic birds including open-billed storks, ibises, herons, and egrets. {see photographs}

A view of the Nelapattu sanctuary
A view of the Nelapattu sanctuary

A pelican in flight
A pelican in flight

Even in February, it was quite warm and we carried our own water. The centre had provided mineral water bubble tops at various places. And there were signs of a small canteen and a tuck shop.

 

Nalepattu.jpg
List of birds at Nalapattu Bird Sanctuary

 

The Calcutta Highway (GNT) is fairly good but be prepared for speed breakers, barricades, and traffic indiscipline., There aren’t many options by way of restaurants on the way unlike the Chennai-Trichy and Chennai-Bengaluru highways. If you are fussy about food, better carry with you as we senior citizens did. We supplemented it with some snacks on the way.

The staff at the centre were very friendly and ready with information. Being the first week of February there were lots of birds. A few weeks later, it may not be the case.

We got quite a lot of good frames and were overall happy with the experience.

On the way back we went into the Sriharikota Road through the Sullurpet town hoping to see more birds especially flamingos but we were disappointed. We just had a glimpse of the Sriharikota Gate and some egrets and herons in the receding backwaters and saline marshland. Pulicat Bird Sanctuary Information Centre which was partially closed informed us that we were too late as the birds left in January.