Chance encounter.

A Goan Hindu from California. A Muslim from Bosnia, reborn as a Hare Krishna. A historic Christian abbey in the beautiful Swiss town of St. Gallen. What are the odds of the three converging?

Yajña Krsna Nam Das (that’s his Hare Krishna name) was born as Amir in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I was admiring the Baroque interiors of the St. Gallen Cathedral and he was quietly meditating.

Yajña Krsna Nam Das (Amir from Bosnia-Herzegovina) in St Gallen, Switzerland

Meditation in the St. Gallen Cathedral
5D Mark III, 24-105L

 
St. Gallen Cathedral, St. Gallen, Switzerland

St. Gallen Cathedral, St. Gallen, Switzerland
5D Mark III, 24-105L

 
Frescoes, St. Gallen Cathedral, Switzerland

Frescoes on the ceiling
5D Mark III, 24-105L

 
Yajña Krsna Nam Das (Amir from Bosnia-Herzegovina) in St. Gallen, Switzerland

Hari Bol! Yajña Krsna Nam Das
5D Mark III, 24-105L

 
 
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  • Premanand - June 16, 2014 - 9:07 am

    Superb images! The cathedral looks so well lit. Is it because of the white walls or was there any other source of light? I was mentally comparing the above images with Basilica Bom Jesus and think Bom Jesus is a bit on the darker side. What say?ReplyCancel

    • Rajan Parrikar - June 16, 2014 - 5:49 pm

      As can be seen in the first photo, the Cathedral has a lot of natural light filtering in from the windows.ReplyCancel

Magnificent desolation.

Askja is a caldera of the Dyngjufjöll volcano in the north-central Highlands of Iceland. With a length of 200 kms and width ranging from 5-20 kms, it is the largest volcanic system on the island.

This is a bleak, primordial landscape, not easy to get to given its remoteness. To the north of the caldera lies the vast and barren expanse of the lava field Ódáðahraun which translates to “Lava of Ominous Deeds.” As part of the training for the Apollo programme, NASA dispatched its astronauts to this area, and I suspect that it was here in Askja that Buzz Aldrin had his first brush with “magnificent desolation.”

My wife and I, along with my dear friend and guide Börkur Hrólfsson, made a day long expedition to Askja in the summer of 2012. I had intended it as a preliminary get-acquainted-with-the-lay-of-the-land foray. But with Börkur there are no half measures. Testing the limits of stamina and human endurance, he pulled off a marathon session ploughing non-stop for 18 hours through this difficult terrain; it was one hell of an introduction to Askja. As the images suggest, this area is an overflowing treasure trove of photographic gems.

Aside: this is the first post featuring images processed on my new toy.

Colourful hills in the Askja desert, Iceland

Askja, a volcanic wonderland
5D Mark III, TS-E 90

 

The explosion craters Viti (lit. hell) and its larger sibling Öskjuvatn (lit. Askja lake) were formed in an eruption in 1875. In 1907 two German scientists vanished in Öskjuvatn and their case remains unresolved to this day.

Viti explosion crater in Askja, Iceland

Walls of Viti explosion crater
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 

In the image below, the dots in the centre of the lake are Icelanders enjoying a dip in the mineral-rich tepid waters of Viti.

Viti explosion crater in Askja, Iceland

Viti
5D Mark III, TS-E 24L II

 
Viti and Öskjuvatn in Askja, Iceland

Viti and behind it, Öskjuvatn
5D Mark III, TS-E 24L II

 

Öskjuvatn panorama, Askja, Iceland

Panorama of Öskjuvatn and Askja
(Click on image for larger view)
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
Börkur and Veena in Askja, Iceland

Börkur and Veena near Öskjuvatn
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
Volcanic pebbles at Askja, Iceland

Indian spices? Pebbles cooked in volcanic broth
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
Pattern of ice and volcanic ash in Askja, Iceland

Pattern of ice and volcanic ash
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 

Desert sands near Askja, Iceland

Lone hiker and sand desert
(Can you spot him? Click on image for 100% crop)
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
Lambagras in Askja, Iceland

Life finds a way: Lambagras in the Ódáðahraun desert
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
Ódáðahraun lava field near Askja, Iceland

Ódáðahraun lava field
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
Ropy Lava near Askja, Iceland

Rope lava (aka Pāhoehoe lava)
5D Mark III, TS-E 24L II

 
Superjeep in the Ódáðahraun desert near Askja, Iceland

Börkur’s superjeep in the Ódáðahraun desert
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
 
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  • Jens - June 23, 2014 - 3:09 pm

    Great pictures of the fantastic landscape in and around the Askja! I especially like the first one with the lava stream and coloured caldera rim. Hope to be back there soon.
    Regards
    JensReplyCancel

  • Borkur Hrolfsson - June 10, 2014 - 4:21 pm

    Great photos. Brings back good memories. We need to go there again, this time in late August, to catch the first brush of snow, and twilights.ReplyCancel

  • Thomas Pindelski - June 10, 2014 - 1:56 pm

    A spectacular slide show. I was especially taken with the second and its thoroughgoing surrealism, the composition heightening the sense of disorientation. The later ‘pattern of ice’ commands similar qualities.ReplyCancel

  • Premanand - June 10, 2014 - 12:59 pm

    Barren yet beautiful!ReplyCancel

Uniting babes the world over.

In Lisbon, Portugal

Walking in Lisbon
5D Mark III, 24-105L

 
In Zurich, Switzerland

Wheeling in Zürich
5D Mark III, 24-105L

 
 
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  • Premanand - June 3, 2014 - 12:55 pm

    Rajan bhai, how did the “babe” from Lisboa react at being photographed by the Indian paparazzi? :-) No hard feelings please.ReplyCancel

    • Rajan P. Parrikar - June 9, 2014 - 11:51 pm

      Premanand,

      There was no reaction. She continued walking. We were both in a public space.ReplyCancel

Patience pays. Sometimes.

I sought out the same locales in Zürich a few days later (see the preceding entry). The light was sweeter, the skies had more character.

Grossmünster at sunset in Zurich, Switzerland

Grossmünster, final light
5D Mark III, 24-105L

 
St Peter Church, Zurich

St. Peter Church, final light
5D Mark III, 24-105L

 
 
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