June 2013 | The Top Post !

Indian Turnsole - Heliotropium indicum

Indian Turnsole - Heliotropium indicum


Its is a small herbal plant and native to India. It is found in all kinds of jungles specially near  the stream. It can even be seen near gutters / sewage water outlets in urban areas.

The spiral-kind inflorescence is unmistakable characteristics of this flower. Flowers are seen on one of the petiole which is around 1 ft tall. Flowers are tiny and violet faint violet in color. Mature flower turns white.Butterflies from tiger species are often seen nectoring on these flowers.

Photography tips:

  • Macro lens is must to get close-ups of the flowers.
  • Choose the best bunch of flowers. Mostly the half of the fluorescence is matured flowers which are faded and dried. Avoid such petiole. 
  • Capturing the shape of the inflorescence is very common. Capturing a nectoring butterfly on the flower can be the cherry on the ice-cream.

Quick Facts:

Common Name: Indian Helitrope, Indian turnsole
Marathi: Bhurundi (भुरुंडी)
Botanical Name: Heliotropium indicum
Family: Boraginaceae (Forget-me-not- family)


Scarlet Milkweed - पिवला चित्रक

Scarlet Milkweed - पिवला चित्रक

Scarlet Milkweed - पिवला चित्रक

         This is an introduced variety to India and now naturalized here. It is plant o significance for two reasons: Decorative garden plant and food-plant for common butterflies from milkweed family like crows and tigers. there are more varieties of flower with same Marathi name ' Chitrak (चित्रक)' like blue, white and red. Marathi name 'haladi Kunku' literally means turmeric-vermilion, because of its color yellow-red.  Flower appear in bunches. Buds are pinkish in color. Milky sap is other characteristics of scarlet milkweed, similar to every other milkweed (and that's the name !). It's an evergreen and annual flowering shrub. 

Photographing Scarlet Milkweed:

Scarlet Milkweed - पिवला चित्रक
Buds of Scarlet Milkweed - पिवला चित्रक
Two best angles for this flower to shoot are eye-level and top-angle. In an eye-level shot following things should be taken care of
  • choosing good bunch f flower
  • Choosing right point of focus
  • adjusting depth-of-field to get blurred background
Take a note that, Bloomed flower and buds are completely different in appearance.Top-angle is useful to get dew drops. Here photographer may need help of one more person unless the shrub is short enough to shoot from top.

Few more photography tips: 

    Scarlet Milkweed - पिवला चित्रक
  • As this flower may grow for more than six feet, taking an eye-level shot and high-angle shot may be difficult. 
  • Shoot this flower in early morning.  At this time of the day, dew drops can be captured, buds may be captured and also wind will be low. Scarlet milkweed branches are thing and long. Even a breeze can shake branches to unwanted levels as far as macro photography is concern.
  • Use macro lens to capture single flower or dew-drops. Tele lens ( ~300 mm) is useful to get good blurred background.
  • Try to take advantage of red-yellow combination choosing right background color. Green is good choice, specially considering the easy availability.
  • Try to include caterpillar in the frame to make photo more informative and interesting. This plant is host to common butterflies.

Quick facts:

Common name      : Scarlet Milkweed, Bloodflower, Silkweed, Indian root
Marathi name        : पिवला चित्रक Pivla chitrak, Halad kunku
Botanical name      : Asclepias curassavica 
Family                   : Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed family)

Scarlet Milkweed - पिवला चित्रक
Dew drops on Scarlet Milkweed - पिवला चित्रक


What God could have ?

तू तेव्हा तशी ….

तू तेव्हा तशी …. 

सकाळी दिसलीस 
बेचैन करून गेलीस 
मनातली आग 
का नाही विझवलीस ?

तुझ्या नक्षीदार ओठांना 
सांग कुणी घडविले ?
नजरेने केलेस घायाळ तू ,
तेवढे पुरे का न झाले?

तू चालताना अशी 
मी का विसरलो वाट ?
तू हसलीस जशी 
संथ पाण्यातली वाट …. 

Image Source:

Rangoon Creeper or मधु मालती (Combretum indicum)

Rangoon Creeper or मधु मालती

Have you smelt a light, soothing scented breeze in the evening when passing by a house with a garden? Half the chances are, aroma is of the Rangoon creeper flowers. The vine climbs high and creates a bush in itself, and normally seen on the property gates welcoming you. Five petal flowers, appears in scores, facing the ground like pendant. Pink petals and green trumpet like structure are characteristics of these flowers. Perennial nature and hundreds of white flowers turning to pink makes it a must-addition to garden. 

Quick facts:

Common Name: Rangoon/Burma Creeper

Marathi name: मधु मालती

Botanical Name: Combretum indicum

Family: Combretaceae (Rangoon creeper family)

Love is like a beautiful flower ....

Fern patterns

Fern patterns

Texture and patterns has topped the list of my photography subjects. And happened due to a single reason, end of season. Around Mumbai, for butterfly, flowers, and macro photography, season ends around December. After that, its like famine in the photo world for macro photographers. In Cotigao, I started capturing textures and then realized that pattern photography is twin of texture photography. Here is some of initial work about this form at Brick making site at Vangani, some new patterns discovered from older photo albums.

Here are two photographs of fern pattern I took in local nursery ( I don't know the species, sorry for that :-) ). First one is my favorite mainly because of the back-lit conditions. Here light reveals not only 3D embossed impression but also the texture of the fern leaves. Second one I took just after gardener watered the plants. Looking for more patterns this rainy season. Rain has already started around Mumbai, its time to go out !

6 New patterns photographed !


Hostel 14 , IIT Bombay
Hostel 14 , IIT Bombay 

Common blue bottles mud puddling at Yeoor
Common blue bottles mud puddling at Yeoor

There is nothing in a caterpillar !