This is will be a small part. How is the resort? The rooms? We will come to that later. Right now, we are in a rush to take the photo of the Cicada.
The hotel staff had given us almost an entire block. The block was divided into separate rooms. The rain had slowed down a bit. The dry time was settling in. No time to waste. Literally dumped our bags for the time being in the room and out came the cameras. All of us had to settle in with the camera gears. Camera? Check. Flash? Check. Batteries? Check. Umbrella? Check. Chalo… But wait…
when we came by Jeep, I had got a fair idea of the terrain we will be in for the duration of the trip. Part of this was the final approach path to the base of the resort. It’s not a gradual gradient. Its a sudden incline. While going down you dont feel anything. But when you have to go back to the resort after lugging your camera equipment drenched in rains, it tests your physical energy. We started our decline towards the cicada spot. As you climb down, there is a stream crossing. We were in peak monsoon which meant the water was in full force. Our jeeps could easily navigate the crossing but on foot and in rains, its a different story.
The area was such that, to your left there was an immediate drop. The edges were enforced by decent size rocks. To your right was the wall of the small hillock that continued for a bit before flattening out. The rocks were butter smooth because of continuous water flow and anybody could tell these were there since long. When the water is flowing fast, you cannot do an immediate judgment of the depth of the stream. Sure it was walk-able, but is the water ankle deep? Knee-deep? i didnt know this and I was going to find out soon. There were two options to cross the stream. The first was to balance out on the smooth rocks and walk over to the other side. The second option was to wade through the stream at its shallow point and cross the section. The problem of the rock option was the gum-boots. Those who have used gum-boots before, know the “grip” situation. One wrong step on the rocks and i could injure myself or my camera equipment. I chose the second option – wade through water. It was almost 7pm. Turned on my head torch and began my walk through the stream. I chose to walk little close to the rocks cause I could see the area was shallow. Nice and slow, one hand on my camera and SPLASH! There was a random trench in the path and my gumboots went straight in. The boots were now filled with water. Thankfully i didnt fall down. After i crossed the stream, I had a new headache. Take out the water from my boots. I joked to the others, I must have accumulated around 2 liters each in my boots. Not to mention, my socks also were drenched. The combination was making this weird and funny “blyack blyack” sound as I walked ahead. No time to take out the water as it was nearly dark and we still did not reach the Cicada spot. All of us had a general idea of where the Cicada was but the darkness and short burst of rains was making it kind of difficult. All were looking to our right, torches aimed at the bushes, when I think Jignesh/Datta announced that they found our Cicada.
Instead of me describing what a Cicada is, I will share a nice detailed link for you to go through the details of the lifecycle of a Cicada etc.
When the Cicada comes out of its shell, there is a short window where the Cicada looks absolutely spectacular. They have these hypnotizing neon colors and as they dry up and get exposed to oxygen, they turn to their brown/green colors and climb further up on trees to find mates. Our specimen had just come out of its shell and was fairly stable, resting. All of us were excited to see a fresh molt Cicada. All of us took turns in taking photos while Yuwaraj Sir gave some tips. I was the last one to take photos in the Phase 1 because the Laowa Kx800 arms when extended take space. It doesn’t like people standing besides it. Haha. Here is the photo from the front. It was the only photo I had where the wings were in tact-sharp focus.
With Phase 1 – Usage of Flash done, it was time to do “Backlit” style photos. Again all of us took turns to compose and take photos of the Cicada. While many took photos from the front, I noticed the soft abdomen which was particularly opaque. One could see the inner workings. Thought to combine that and the neon wings together into one photo.
We had to wrap it up. It was
Guests had arrived on the room courtyard and were waiting for me. Particularly this Geometrid Moth.
There is a trail that proceeds ahead in the forest but was particularly close to our rooms. All of us spread out in that area to find subjects. Half asleep and tired, finding subjects in pitch darkness was taking a toll on the minds. Out of nowhere, Jignesh and Yuwaraj Sir spotted a pair of Malabar Gliding Frogs. They were busy mating and were not majorly disturbed. We also found one stick insect and a worm. Jignesh decided to stay back while the rest of us retired to our rooms.
Good start to our macro trip. 3 days lie ahead.
Part 3 Next.