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  • Ranit Dholey

Oceanic

Updated: Jun 27

'The only time you should be looking back, is to see how far you've come'.


In another age, in another time, some wise old man came up with this brilliant line.

All of us, in our lives, go through a hundred different struggles of our own, of one nature or the other.

If you, dear reader, have indeed made some time out to read the musings of an unromantic fellow like myself, then you should rejoice, as you have overcome all the trenches that life threw at you, and you live to fight another day.


But sometimes, to gauge how far we have come, we need to retrospect.



A few days back, I was looking back at the hundreds of different images I have captured over the span of two and a half years. It seemed extraordinary to me how my work has changed with time.

I have travelled far and wide. I have been to countless places and I have shot a hundred sunsets.

And all of a sudden, I discovered a problem with my images. I will try to provide an explanation of the same.

Supposed you, dear reader, have just woken up from sleep, and someone takes your photograph.

And then, later in the day, while you are all dressed up for work, someone takes another photograph of you. Will these two images look the same?

Most definitely, they will not.

One would make you look sluggish and drowsy, while in the other one, you would be sharp and presentable.

Much the same way, when we travel to a far off land and do landscape photography, we are only capturing the place, as it is, at that point of time, while being completely oblivious to how the place changes through the seasons and weather. We cannot say we know how this place looks unless we have seen any and all surprises that the place can offer. How the leaves form dew in the morning, how the waters freeze during winter, and how the snow thaws at summer: we must be a witness of all the tiny details underneath the blanket, to really admire and understand the beauty of this place.

Opportunities like this are hard to get, as we are working people, and we cannot afford to go on a year long holiday. Fortunately, I was offered a solution.

My work, much like the way it had led me to Hyderabad a few years back, demanded me to travel to Bhubaneswar, the city of temples.

Bhubaneswar is a coastal town at the Eastern coast of India, and it houses incredible architectures of temples and pagodas. Most of the sea beaches along the Eastern coast, happened to be at a distance of a few hours from Bhubaneswar. Thus, I got the chance to really observe and photograph how the coastline changes through the seasons.

For the more observant of my readers, this would, in turn, account for the recent flush of sea-beach-at-sunset photographs on my Instagram account.

Work and life balance is a delicate equilibrium to maintain, as I found out when I worked all through the week, and travelled on the weekends to the far off beaches to capture a golden sunset, or a cool sunrise. It takes a toll on your body and health as you get no rest whatsoever.


But the rewards outweigh the complications. Through multiple visits at various times, I got to see, and I still am seeing, the intricacies and the minor details that the sea shores hide from normal view.

One of the places that I had travelled to was Chandrabhaga, some 6 kilometres from Konark, which is in turn 60 kilometres from Bhubaneswar. The road leads through a heavily forested region which houses deer and other small animals. Before you know it, the road opens up to a vast and open sea.

The beach of Chandrabhaga is one the cleanest and most lonely that I have come across. You get to see jellyfish which wash ashore, tiny crabs which scuffle around, and birds of prey which circle the skies hoping to grab a fish to eat. The place was as peaceful as they come.

Being the featureless beach that it was, Chandrabhaga is a difficult place to photograph. I, however, was fortunate enough to spot a very interestingly shaped log which lay across the rushing waves. I could visualise an image, a long exposure, but the rough waves rocked around the dead log like rag.


I waded halfway into the sea, set up my tripod, and framed a composition very carefully. The ND 16 filter went on, I was ready: the only missing ingredient was good light.


What followed was one of the most incredible sunsets I had ever seen. Violets and magentas and oranges were flying across the sky. At one point I just stopped trying to get photographs, and gazed in amazement.

The image which I captured was one the most difficult ones I had taken till date, as I had to struggle with the rushing waves. The situation was complicated by the log which was tossed around by the sea, thus resulting in blurry images. Nonetheless, I managed to time it properly and captured this image with few seconds long exposure.


Nature hides its best bits very well, and only after we have really worked through its layers and peeked underneath, can we gaze at its wonders in astonishment.



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