Wow… What a year!!
As I go through the photographs of the past 12 months I realise that there was so much happening that a lot of nice images went under the radar.
With both the kids abroad, it was wonderful to begin the year with a rare family trip to Tadoba Andhari Tiger Sanctuary. Our own cubs apart, the highlight of the trip was our encounter with tigress Maya and her cubs.
I did get a number of nice images including the bay-backed shrike and the Indian roller.
When it comes to bolstering my wildlife image folder, a trip to Goa never disappoints. The one we did towards the end of January 2022 was no exception, the Tickell’s flycatcher being a classic case in point.
In early February, work finally began on project that was a personal dream of mine- the butterfly garden at Holy Family Hospital. Full credit to Alison Lobo for helping to make that one a realisation. The image below was taken in its initial phase after all the junk was cleared out.
Back to Goa in March. Red-whiskered bulbuls are so common that they tend to be almost boring. The key word there was ‘almost’. Every once in a while they will strike a pose that will make them impossible to ignore.
The wild fig tree was fruiting attracting a (by now predictable) wide variety of birds, the most consistent of which are the Asian Koels. Seen below is the female Asian Koel.
A bonus was in store on this trip in the form of a couple of unusual birds – the banded bay cuckoo and the grey-bellied cuckoo.
By April 2022 the Butterfly Garden at the Hospital was finally ready and full of beautiful plants and flowers. Each day after work I found it extremely relaxing to spend a few minutes here before heading home.
The transformation was nothing short of miraculous, making it a truly fitting subject for a ‘Happy Easter’ greeting card!
I was in the process of going through the images of 2022 when a friend called wondering why I didn’t post more images of sunrises given the location of our apartment. The image below was taken in April 2022.
For me, Mumbai is at it’s most beautiful in the month of April. It’s the time of the year when, for a very brief period, a number of trees begin to flower almost simultaneously. Between the bougainvillea, Indian Laburnum, crepe myrtle, Indian copper pod, and the tabebuia the city is a veritable riot of colours. I carried my camera on my way to work during the entire month and the images below are a few samples of what I shot.
May literally flew by with a coast to coast trip to the US to take in the graduation ceremonies of both the kids. It began in San Francisco in late April with Rohan’s graduation…
…soaking in the beauty in the picturesque and laid-back town of Healdsburg…
…cycling, black skimmers, Old Mission Church and Stearn’s wharf at Santa Barbara…
… sight-seeing, wine tasting and hot air ballooning at Napa Valley…
… San Diego Old Town, flamingoes at San Diego Zoo, The Coranado Ferry landing, San Diego Harbour…
… a brief stopover at Maryland…
… and finally Rhea’s Graduation at the Yankee Stadium in New York!!
It was one mother of a trip and even putting the images together was exhausting!
The images above were taken 6 years apart and mark the uncertain beginning and the triumphant end to an impressive phase in my daughter’s life!
Between the end of May and beginning of June I made several trips to Lokhandwala Lake. The common kingfisher, spot-billed duck, white-breasted waterhen and purple heron are a few of the many images depicting Mother Nature’s contribution to the beautiful side of the lake. The fifth image, representing the sum total of our contribution as Mumbaikars, speaks for itself.
1st July 2020… Doctor’s Day celebration. One of the silver linings of an otherwise dark pandemic was that it forced us to consider a change of venue for holding official functions. The foyer of the hospital was, in my opinion, a huge improvement over the 6th floor auditorium!
Speaking purely as a photographer, this cheese board by Vanessa in July 2022 was absolutely irresistible!
The image with a 9kg catla was one of a truly magical morning of Sunday fishing in July at Powai Lake. I landed (and released) over 15 fish that day including another 8Kg catla and several rohus and mirgals. It more than made up for all those occasions when I went home with nothing but a ‘modle baut’. (For a literal translation I suggest you bounce the phrase off someone who hails from Goa.)
Calangute, Goa. August 2022. I test the amazing focus tracking capabilities of the Canon EOS R5 on a bee that was hovering in the backyard.
August 2022. The butterfly garden at the hospital is thriving and attracting hordes of butterflies including the tailed jay below.
Although not rare, a nice image of a mottled immigrant had always eluded me till this trip to the Glenmark bungalow in Khandala of all places!
In September ’22 our son popped the question and both Vanessa and I are thrilled… we could not have asked for a nicer or more beautiful daughter in law! The proposal took place over New York in a helicopter. Since none of my lenses were powerful enough to capture the occasion, you’ll have to make do with the image below taken at our home in Mumbai at Christmas in 2021.
October 2022. Calangute, Goa. This giant redeye skipper paid regular visits to the bed of butterfly pea flowers (would be grateful if someone could confirm the id) typically in the late evening and early mornings.
24 October 2022. Diwali. The crackers had reduced considerably (probably as a direct result of the steep rise in cost of fireworks). However there was more than enough on show for me to get this merged product of 19 images taken from the bedroom balcony of our 21st storey apartment.
November. We were invited to a fabulous destination wedding in Phuket, Thailand. I got some really nice images of the bridal party. Below are a few taken from our hotel room…
Our room was on a higher floor giving me an eye level view of a surprisingly large number of birds including the oriental honey buzzard below. The bees that can be seen on and around the bird are a dead giveaway on how it gets its name!
30th November 2022 was a landmark day in my life. It was the day that I retired from health care. As I eagerly look forward to pursuing my other passions, the lack of images to mark the occasion was more than compensated by the large number of heart-warming messages from colleagues and patients.
Judging from the feedback in three visitor’s books I must say my exhibition, Timeline, in mid December went off exceedingly well (even if I say so myself!). Apart from the exhibits, Vanessa and Rhea’s lovingly compiled cheeseboard and Good Drop Wine Pvt Ltd’s great selection of wines contributed significantly to the overall success. A special thanks too to Photostop whose support went way above and beyond their fabulous print quality.
Christmas mass was in Goa and was heard at St. Diogo’s Church in Guirim, Sangolda Goa. The fact that it was a beautiful church was purely incidental. Truth be told, the decision to go there was based on the rumour that it had the shortest service in the State.
The two images of this hyper-active spot-breasted fantail taken in our Goa backyard just after Christmas ’22 aptly summarise this review. It been an action-packed and highly eventful year. Viewing it in hindsight, however, is after a point, a waste of time and we’ll be better served to focus on the future as we eagerly look forward to see what 2023 has in store!
Wishing all of you a very happy New Year and hoping to see you again next year… same time, same place!