Kaas, the plateau of bliss, the ‘valley of flowers’ of south India is a biodiversity hotspot very close to Satara, in Maharashtra. This place is well known for the annual bloom of various types of wild flowers and its amazing reptilian life. It was very high on my wish-list of places to visit for a long time. It finally happened over the past weekend. With all my camera gear in tow, went there to make the best of the opportunity. However, nature had drawn up its own agenda :-)
The receding monsoon was at its peak and poured its heart out. All days except the first of the three were pretty much washed out. The powerful winds and the rain gave very little chances for us to take our cameras out. They were neatly packed and tucked away. There is a quote that says, ‘The best camera is the one that’s with you…’. To that, I would add ‘…one that’s with you and you can use...’. Thus, my iPhone 5S became my companion and my primary camera.
Many friends of mine have done an exceptional job at using their mobile phones for nature photography in Kaas and elsewhere. Surely no comparisons there :-) This was my first attempt and to be frank, was pleasantly surprised. All the images below are straight from my phone. No additional processing here, other than the basic stuff that the default app on the phone provided.
Second half of the first day, we could see the ominous dark clouds raising over the plateau hinting at the way things were going to be.
Once the rains started, there was just no letting up whatsoever. The plateau wasn’t even visible at times, completely covered in mist.
Soaked in water, the plateau was interspersed with puddles of water, slush and green.
All the little ponds and pits were full. The mist, the greens and the water made for some stunning scenes everywhere.
The bloom this time has been pretty good is what the folks there were saying, thanks to the generous monsoon received. The bed of the beautiful Utricularia flowers was just mesmerising to see.
The Kumudini lake, named so, after the lovely white kumudini flowers was completely covered with the lovely blooms. These flowers are also known as water snowflakes. A beautiful sight, embellished further by the heavy downpour, mist and winds.
Weathering the powerful winds and rain, the beautiful flowers were going through their biological cycle. Here are a couple of endemic and endangered species which we found around the Kumudini lake ( Ceropegia media & Ceropegia jainii )
No scarcity of water anywhere. Little cascades like these were to be seen every step of the way.
And streams with muddled waters created some lovely layers and riot of colours.
Albeit the trip turning out to be totally different from what I had thought it would be like, have to say that it was a great experience. Surprisingly, my phone was robust enough to survive the rains and am quite pleased with the results too. Am now planning to go on an exclusive iPhone photography outing soon :-)
PS: No affiliation with Apple or their products, nor was I paid for this post ( not that I would be ) ;-)