Flying to Infinity

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Ganesh H Shankar
Flying to Infinity
Long since it has been my dream to freeze a wild draco (Draco Dussumieri) in mid air. Though I have made a few images of them during last few years I could never get them in flight (some of my earlier images are here at my site). All my attempts at freezing it on flight were in vain. There are several challenges. First of all it is very difficult to find one in wild. Secondly, even when you notice it on a well camouflaged tree bark it is very difficult to keep track. We need to spend days tracking it to make images in flight. It remains hunting ants on an average for about 45 minutes in a tree before it jumps to one of the several nearby trees in the wild. The transit time in flight is typically 1/2 second (depends on the how far next tree is). Its ability to maneuver in mid air is amazing (it can make easy turns) and all calculation of dof/focus easily goes for a toss.

Made this one at a remote village near foot hills of Western Ghats. I could not see them during last couple of my visits to this place but luckily Kiran Sham who was also with me photographing noticed this. Next three days we spent most of the time spraining our neck by constantly staring up and keeping track of it for hours. For every ~2700 seconds (45 minutes) of looking up all we had was on an average 1/2 second of it in flight. But we really enjoyed the challenge. Seeing it in flight is a pleasure by itself.

This one is close to full frame. I could have cropped to show it bigger but some how I liked the composition as presented - giving me a feel of it flying to infinity, the vast space down there creates an aura of mystery in my mind. There is a novel in Kannada named Karvalo written by Poorna Chandra Tejaswi. It is a story of a scientist searching a flying lizard in our jungle of Western Ghats. At the at he indeed finds out one just before it flew down a vast valley in Western Ghats. This image relates to that story in my mind..
Mon Oct 18, 2010 7:52 pm
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Ganesh H. Shankar
Wishing you best light,

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Ganesh H Shankar  Joined CNP On 24 Apr 2008    Total Image posts 630    -   Total Image Comments 5698    -   Image Post to Comment Ratio 1:9    -   Image Comment Density 39     -     Total Forum Posts 832

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Commentby Venu Dharmaji on Mon Oct 18, 2010 8:39 pm

This is an incredible shot!!!
Hats off to your patience and I believe that it always pays off at some point :-)

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Regards,
Venu



» Last edited by Venu Dharmaji on Mon Oct 18, 2010 8:39 pm; edited 1 time in total

Commentby kiran_sham on Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:28 pm

:) Fabulous! One minor correction to the stats... If you consider the third day's attempt also into the math, the number (of seconds to wait for it to fly) would go up very high... So it wouldn't be wrong if you said that this moment occurs once every 3600 seconds either!
And about this image, this is just great! The way you have controlled the DOF though the lizard did not really fly parallel to the frame (as we were hoping for) is just too good!
I will post my not-so-sharp version soon :)



» Last edited by kiran_sham on Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:29 pm; edited 1 time in total

Commentby Ganesh H Shankar on Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:40 pm

Would love to see your version Kiran ! I badly missed that split second. It was a great experience..

--
Ganesh H. Shankar
Wishing you best light,

Image
Personal Websites Fine Art Nature Photography
Facebook Pages Ganesh H. Shankar | Fine Art Nature Photography | Art Of Life

Commentby Ashwini Kumar Bhat on Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:48 am

This is fantastic! I was staring at this image with my jaws open for a good 5 minutes! I have tried photographing this once and I know the pain of it. Kudos to you and Kiran's efforts. Great result at the end. This one will be there in the memory for a good long time! Very hard to better this one! Kudos!

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Cheers,
Ashwini Kumar Bhat
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My scribblings | My Portfolio

Commentby Kaushik Balakumar on Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:30 pm

Fine moment - very well captured. Lots of planning and patience has yielded fine results. Liked the translucence in its 'wings'.
From your experience with Draco-flight images, do you think, using telephoto lenses are ruled out ?
Also did you use any camera trap kind of aids for this ? Thanks for sharing this image and the write-up Ganesh.

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Regards,
Kaushik
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Commentby Ganesh H Shankar on Tue Oct 19, 2010 1:06 pm

Kaushik, I am mostly sure 600mm f4 and 500mmf4 are ruled out thanks to very narrow dof. 300mm f4 is a possibility but with low probability. I used 200mmf4. What makes it difficult is start of the flight is a jump not a flight ! We will loose focus very quickly.

I have not used camera trap for this. I don't think it is possible to use camera traps to make an image of it in flight. I have seen an image of a draco in flight made by Frans Lanting but it was a **captive** Draco (Draco volans) . The image is here. I think it is very well possible to use camera traps for captive ones not for the wild ones.

--
Ganesh H. Shankar
Wishing you best light,

Image
Personal Websites Fine Art Nature Photography
Facebook Pages Ganesh H. Shankar | Fine Art Nature Photography | Art Of Life



» Last edited by Ganesh H Shankar on Tue Oct 19, 2010 1:12 pm; edited 2 times in total

Commentby Sriharsha Ganjam on Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:14 pm

No words for this Ganesh! No matter how well I put it, it will still fall short of praising you on this ground breaking image. Kudos sir kudos!!!