Monsoon Magic - Macro Photography Bootcamp
Of the many mysteries that cosily subsist in the Sahyas is a hill station at 690 metres that's home to unusual flora and fauna, and waterfalls and temples.
And it calls out to the explorer in you. To croak with its frogs, slither with its snakes, flutter with its butterflies, and revel in its sunsets.
How is it?
The lush-green rainforests of the Western Ghats in Amboli, mist-cloaked and moss-ridden most of the time in the year, are still relatively unexplored, thus waiting with many-a-song of nature in its chest waiting to be sung.
Amboli isn't a place that'll make it to the popular-places chart, but that's precisely a part of its charm. For it's a marvel that fills your senses to the brim with natural beauty that only the keenly observant and careful seeker can discern.
For those who feel the hum of the forest as a faint echo in their ears whenever they think of one, the emerald-draped Amboli, with its many waterfalls generously used as pearly embellishment on the fabric she wears, is heaven.
What you will see and photograph:
When you find yourself in the winding paths of Amboli forests, searching for the little wondrous creatures such as insects, snakes and frogs, you are in all likeliness to find them in good number as they happen to be the primary subjects of macro photography. The place is also known for a variety of flora, and you can always expand the range of subjects you can make pictures of.
Snakes may include the green vine, the Malabar pit viper, the bronzeback tree snake, and the olive forest snake, while the amphibian starcast may feature celebrities like the Malabar gliding frog, endemic specialties like the Amboli toad and the Amboli bush-frog, and understated beauties like the Dobson's burrowing frog and an assortment of wrinkled frogs.
The forests patches, coffee plantations, grasslands on hill slopes and streams afford ideal opportunities to photograph various subjects including wild flowers, many species of mushroom and fungi, snails and crabs.
This colourful pre-eminence of lesser-known wildlife constitutes the unique versatile attraction of this marvellous land which will let you take a plunge into a bottomless ocean of macro photography.
All along the way, the Tour Skipper will ensure that the intricate and often abstruse concepts of macro photography in the wild, whose complexities compound with variables like weather, subject and light, are demystified.
During the breaks, you can relax reflecting on the pretty view of the hills, trek up to the nearest waterfall, watch birds or veer off on a nature-trail, all of which will conspire to cast a web of fascination so you return with experiences and pictures as diverse as the ecology of Amboli itself!
Sachin has been documenting many of the less-known and little-noticed aspects of the wild and constantly perseveres to share his experiences with citizens and scientists, especially through his photography website which is an enriching resource for budding wildlife enthusiasts and naturalists. An active supporter of many conservation NGOs, Sachin invests a lot of his time in their outreach activities and has led several expeditions in search of rare species, even rediscovering a 'lost' species of frog 73 years after its first sighting and description. For his stellar work in photography, Sachin has been honoured with prestigious accolades, including the Photographer of the Year award by Sanctuary Asia in 2008 and the first prize at the DJ Memorial Photo Contest in 2013.
Sachin's work may be enjoyed on his website at www.landofthewild.com, and regular updates of his latest work can be found on his Facebook Page.
Read more about Sachin here.
WHY GO ON A TOEHOLD PHOTO TOUR?At Toehold, we are passionate about photography just as you are, which lets us understand your travails and needs perfectly. And we use this insight to specially design our Photography Tours so they give you a toehold to excel at the art and set you up for success.
The Toehold team at your disposal will keep you tuned and geared, so you come in empty-handed but go out with bagful of images and tales of an experience that is better lived than heard.
- A clinically organized tour with utmost attention to your comfort and needs
- An open, informal environment that promotes interactive learning
- A team that will strategize and work to a plan to optimize opportunities and ensure a great tour
- Practical, hands-on assistance in photography from the tour Skippers both in the field and off it
- A wealth of subject matter knowledge
- Individual interaction with the Skippers over general or specific issues
- First-hand learning from the masters in the art and craft of photography
These exclusive, informative and interactive sessions are -
TESTIMONIALS BY OUR PREVIOUS TOUR PARTICIPANTSPhotography enthusiasts who were a part of a similar Tour previously said:
Mystic magical monsoons of enchanting forests of Coorg, little did I know the secrets it would reveal under the watchful guidance of frogging experts Sachin Rai and Phillip Ross. With the little wonders "just hopping up to say "WARTS UP"...and the excitement of venturing out...night walks...torchlights, gumboots, raindrops, moonlight, small streams.. with our day and night jaunts on this enthralling photo tour, interspersed with a laugh a minute (not charged for) with the riotous jovial skippers, highly recommended tour...dont say I never toad you!!
- Neelu Bhatt, Bangalore
With so many new creatures, night treks and amazing photo opportunities, this expedition was like entering an altogether different world! Many thanks to Toehold for making this my most memorable trip in recent times!
- Fredrik Liverfors, Bangalore
The Coorg Tour was one of the most exciting expeditions I've undertaken in recent times. I want to be a part of this event every year!
- Sarita Dattatreya, Hyderabad
I had a lot of expectations from this Tour and I can honestly say that they've been exceeded. The amount of learning about the small creatures of the night forest was immense, and the time back at the camp was great fun.
- Anjali Haridass, Bangalore
- DAY 1 20 July 2017, Thursday: Arrival and Check-in, Evening Walk and Overnight in Amboli
After reaching Amboli and settling in, the Tour Skipper will facilitate a mutual introduction and serve an orientation to the Tour. That evening, we walk into the wild to get acquainted with the terrain and the weather, and the creatures we will probably encounter over the subsequent days.
We then return to camp and treat ourselves to a delicious dinner and hit the sack with the forest sounds lulling us to sleep.
- DAY 2 21 July, Friday: Morning and Evening Exploration; Overnight in Amboli
This morning we will start early and go out in Amboli for a walk. The forest patches are a great place to see many waterfalls and insects. You will return by breakfast and rest till lunch, and after the afternoon meal, set out looking for more insects and flowers and various other creatures that would make ideal subjects for macro photography.
In the evening, we will explore the area for creatures that are active in the night, returning by dinner time. We watch in amazement the wonderful adaptation of many beautiful frogs to life in the rainforest, and hear their calls from vantage points in the bush.
- DAY 3 22 September, Saturday: More Exploration and Photography; Overnight in Amboli
With a similar agenda as day two, but with the added programme of landscape photography, we spend time picturing waterfalls and streams using slow shutter-speed and other techniques.
In the evening we enjoy another herping session, particularly after dark, looking to make the most of our time. The Tour Skipper will assist extensively in dealing with the enormous challenges of photographing the subjects in dark conditions.
Back in the camp, we enjoy a final interactive session with the Skipper and have our images reviewed if desired before dining and putting our heads to them pillows.
- DAY 4 23 September, Sunday: Post-Breakfast Checkout and Dispersal
On this last morning we will check out after breakfast and return home with an experience to cherish, much learning to remember and use, and many pictures to process and share!
Exclusive of service tax
Exclusive of service tax
Frequently Asked Questions
- Who can participate in this Tour?
This Tour is open to everyone above the age of 18 (unless accompanied by a parent or guardian). If you are younger than 18 and can't bring an adult guardian, please talk to us to find out if we can accommodate you.
What are the requisites?
Apart from nurturing an interest in forests, wildlife, lesser fauna, flora, photography or any combination of these, participants should be fit enough to walk moderate distances in sometimes slippery and wet habitat for up to four hours at a stretch. If you are unsure of your fitness level or suffer from known illnesses, kindly consult your physician before signing up for the Tour.
I am a newbie in nature photography. Am I eligible?
Absolutely! This Tour is meant for fledgling as well as experienced photographers. Beginners get all the advantages of learning on and off the field from Toehold's eminent Skippers. In fact if you are a newbie, you should jump on this terrific learning opportunity and sign up right away! However, to make the most of the Tour, we recommend that you be familiar with the basics of photography. If you're not, we suggest you sign up for a Art and Science of Photography Workshop first.
What physical challenges can be expected on this Tour?
Apart from encountering rain and consequent wet and slightly slippery terrain, the presence of leeches can be bothersome. Although leech bites are entirely harmless, they can be a pestilence, since nobody likes to be bitten! As a remedy, Toehold will provide you with special socks that offer effective protection from leech bites.
- Is it safe to venture out at night? How will we manage to take photographs?
Tour Skipper Sachin Rai carries a wealth of experience doing photography in these conditions and will lead Tour participants in a safe and organized manner. Photographs of fauna will be taken without using camera flash and with the help of a spotlight in a manner least stressful to the animal being photographed.
- What equipment do you suggest on this Tour?
Apart from the obvious macro lens offering a focal length of around 100mm, you may bring along a macro lens of a longer focal length if available. The habitat, especially in the monsoon and at night, poses lighting challenges, so it is a boon to have a camera body that performs well at high ISOs and a lens that has a large aperture (f/2.8 or f/4) and/or image stabilization. For birds, a focal length of at least 400mm is ideal. A wide-angle or normal zoom to capture landscapes or creative perspectives of wildlife is recommended. However, if you do not have appropriate equipment, there is no need to fret. Toehold offers an exhaustive array of cameras and lenses for hire, so you can hire what you need. Click here to see what we offer.
- How sure are you about photographing wildlife on this Tour?
Considering the meticulous attention to timing we pay while scheduling Tours and the local expertise we leverage, we believe that it would be extremely unfortunate if our sightings and photography were unsatisfactory. However, since we will be in an uncontrolled environment, and wildlife encounters are subject to prevailing weather and other vagaries, we do not claim that sightings are guaranteed.
- How different are your Photo Tours from ordinary tours?
Unlike travel agents who plan your holiday from a remote destination to places they sometimes haven't experienced themselves, Photo Tours offer a comprehensive toehold to experience a place through the guidance of a professional photographer. The common ingredients in all our Photo Tours are fun and a lot of learning and knowledge sharing. Besides, most or all of our Tour participants are photography enthusiasts, which keeps the group in harmony and helps make your experience focussed.