It was a winter evening at Syntheri Rocks near Dandeli. The evening light fell at an angle on the river and we sat there, watching the drama – light bounced off the surface of the water and together, they painted the rocks with vivid colors. One particular spot caught my attention, where reflections of the water and light assumed very interesting forms on the rock formations. I settled down on the banks of the river, hoping to get a bird in the frame to complement these patterns in the background. I waited for a Blue Rock Pigeon to fly down to the water, for some of them were nesting on top of the rocks. The pigeons didn’t oblige, but in a few minutes, Wire-tailed Swallows arrived on the scene. With their fast and acrobatic flight pattern, they just skimmed the surface of the water at high speeds. The light gleamed and shone on their wings, and I knew then that I had to capture one of these in my frame. I was aware that it would prove to be a huge challenge, even the best auto-focus tracking engines in the camera world struggle with such subjects. In my opinion, freezing the motion of any swallow or swift in flight is a challenge best left to God! However, I decided to try my luck and sat there. My best bet was to get the bird against a dark background, as it would be easier for the camera to focus on such fast subjects, if the background is black, or of a uniform colour. After about 30 minutes or so, my patience paid off. It was a thrilling experience, to see the image I had visualized staring back at me on my camera screen!

Ashwini won the ‘Photographer of the Year’ title for this image at the recently concluded photography festival – Nature InFocus.

Ripple Effect