My Year In Pictures: 2016

Time doesn’t fly, I’m certain of that.

I’m just being honest.

It’s been a long, weary year and I was actually beginning to wonder if it was going to end at all. And I think this has been a horrible year. Not just because of what’s been happening in the world, but also—more so—because it’s been a year of disappointments, despair and facing harsh realities on a more personal level.

Nevertheless 2016 did have its moments; and here I am telling you about some of these momentary instances of happiness.

January.
I’d bought a new 70-300 and was running wild around my terrace with it. And this was the first bird I photographed with the new lens.
A beautiful Coppersmith Barbet, right here in Calcutta.

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We’d gone to visit a farm somewhere in the suburbs and I ran around with the tripod a bit. And I found this Indian Roller poised on a tree. Brilliant hues of blue and ochre, lit up by the early sun. It had either been drenched by the morning dew or had ventured to the water-body nearby—both highly unlikely—but the wet feathers add to the beauty of this portrait.

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Sometime around March when it was slowly beginning to heat up, I ran into this Commander butterfly in the backyard, and I haven’t seen one since. It was sitting on a red scarf, when photographed, and flew off soon after I took this picture.

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While gazing out of my window after a tropical summer storm one afternoon, I found this Black Drongo gazing intently back at me. This isn’t a black-and-white picture, by the way. It was dark and cloudy and seems monochrome. Besides the Black Drongo was, well, black too.

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I never meant to click this picture. Returning home one day in May, I was experimenting with my camera from the front seat of the car, wondering whether I should photograph the sky or not and was, incidentally, on Manual Focus.
This was what I shot (quite by mistake.)

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On a weekend visit to my grandma’s in another part of the city, I found this dry branch from her bonsai and these little bottle-neck flies sitting on it: upside down. I think it’s the background which is making flies look nice.

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We’d been asked to do a photography project on ‘Cityscapes’ from school and I scoured the city for something unique.
I chanced upon this scene in the suburbs of Calcutta.
And this picture contains the essence of India’s march towards modernisation. As sleek high-rises are built, the shanties in front remain; poverty remains; economic inequality remains. The poor are left all alone and forgotten.

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Around September when the festivities of India were just beginning, I found this Barn Owl outside on our portico one night. I used my in-built camera flash. I tried to capture it in flight, but in vain. Need more practice, I guess.

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Everyone goes around during Durga Puja photographing the same stuff over and over again. I tried something new—well not entirely, new. I saw something like this somewhere online—and was rewarded just last week with a first prize in a photography competition where this was my entry.

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The year was drawing to a close, and we visited some acquaintances in rural Bengal. They had a farm sort of thing, and I found this very shy lamb following its very annoyed mother everywhere around. I wonder if the mother was called Mary, by any faint chance.

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Our mandatory wildlife visit this year was to Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra. Old and weary, this Indian Bison lost one horn—and his place in the pack—and was mournfully chewing away in a gloomy part of the forest.

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On one of our safaris, we drove right through a whole tribe of Grey Langurs. They were such a lively lot: chattering, munching leaves, playing around and—of course—scratching each other.
This husband was photographed consoling his despondent wife (girlfriend?) or/and picking out lice from her untidy hair.

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A wonderful way to end our last safari (and this year.) This is the tigress Chhoti Tara of Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, who was supposedly crossing the tracks (as she does almost everyday) to meet her lover/husband. I won’t say this photograph is beautiful, because what is really beautiful is the tigress: regal, dignified and gravely expressive.

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