Amboli trip for Reptiles & Amphibians – July 2017

Tour Date: July 14th (Friday) – 16th (Sunday), 2017

Introduction

Amboli is a hill station in south Maharashtra, India. Amboli lies in the Sahayadri Hills of Western India, one of the world’s “Eco Hot-Spots” and it therefore abounds in a variety of fairly unique flora and fauna.

This August, join Wild India Eco Tours in search of Reptiles, Amphibians and other macro subjects into nature at Amboli.


Gallery

Here are few clicks from our previous trips. More clicks can be found on our facebook page at Wild India Eco Tours.


Tour Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival at Amboli by 02:00 PM. The resort in Amboli is located at around 120 Kms from Kolhapur and around 30Kms from Savantwadi. Check-in followed by lunch, introduction of members and some rest. Explore the campsite surrounding in evening followed by dinner (at around 8:00 PM). At 9:30 PM, proceed to our 1st night trail to Shirgaonkar point.

Day 2: Explore the campsite surrounding early morning. Have breakfast by 8:30 AM and proceed on a walking trail to Parikshit point. Back for lunch by 1:30 PM, followed by some rest. Explore the campsite surrounding in evening followed by dinner (at around 8:00 PM) and than proceed to our 2nd night trail at 9:30 PM to Mahadevgad.

Day 3: Explore the campsite surrounding early morning. Have breakfast by 8:30 AM and proceed on a walking trail to Parikshit point and return by 12:00 PM. Post lunch, check-out by 2:00 PM. Tour ends.

Tour Cost: 7900/- ** Per Person (Ex. Amboli)

Tour cost includes

  • All entry fees and guide charges
  • All meals at the resort for 2 nights and 3 days
  • Accommodation on twin sharing basis
  • All Taxes and service charges
  • On board Mineral water and snacks

Tour cost do not include

  • Soft Drinks, Laundry Charges, Phone Calls, Tips etc
  • Any kind of insurance, Medical or/and Emergency Charges
  • Any extra meals not included in the above itinerary.

**INR prices are applicable to resident Indians only. Non Resident Indians (NRI) and Foreign Nationals please email us for tour cost at info@wild-india.in


Reblog: Exploring Metering Modes

his is the third in a series of four articles about exposure by Andrew S Gibson – author of Understanding Exposure: Perfect Exposure on your EOS camera. You can read the first lesson, which explored the reasons for using program, aperture priority and shutter priority modes, and the second lesson, which explained why your camera’s meter gets exposure wrong.

01.jpg

In my last article I looked at the fundamental reason why your camera’s meter sometimes gets exposure wrong. Camera meters measure reflected light, and will give an incorrect exposure reading if the subject is lighter or darker than average (you can read the article again for a full recap).

But there’s another reason why your camera’s meter may get the exposure wrong – and it’s to do with the metering modes that your camera has. Most cameras have several exposure modes (my Canon camera has four). Each exposure mode is designed with for a different purpose, and works a specific way. If you are struggling with exposure, it may be because you don’t fully understand the way the metering mode that you are using works.

Most digital SLRs have the following exposure modes:

Centre-Weighted Metering

02.jpg

This mode weights exposure towards the centre of the viewfinder, as per the diagram above.

Centre-weighted metering works well if your subject is in the centre of the frame. If not, you have to point the centre of the viewfinder at your subject, hold the shutter button half-way down to lock in the exposure, then reframe.

Centre-weighted metering has been around a long time – if you own an old film camera it may be the only metering mode that it has. It’s predictable and easy to use once you understand that the camera is metering from the centre of the viewfinder.

Spot Metering

03.jpg

The camera takes an exposure reading from a circle in the centre of your viewfinder. The diagram above shows the spot metering circle in the viewfinder of the EOS 5D Mark II.

Spot metering takes practise. Remember in the last lesson we learnt that cameras measure reflected light, and that the camera is expecting the tones within the area that it meters to average out to mid-grey? If you point the spot metering circle at a tone that is lighter or darker than mid-grey, the camera will give you an incorrect exposure reading.

One way to use the camera’s spot meter is to point it at something in the scene that is mid-grey in tone. Grass is a good example, and one approach to metering is to simply use the spot meter and take a reading off any grass or greenery in the scene.

Another technique is to use an 18% grey card (you can buy these from photo retailers). I’ve seen these used by portrait photographers. They ask the subject to hold the card up, take a reading from the card, then put it away, set the camera to manual mode and use those settings. They only need to re-meter if the light changes.

Another situation where spot metering comes in handy is when you have a bright subject against a dark background. This can happen during a theatre performance or a concert. You can take a reading from the subject and the camera will ignore the background.

Partial metering

04.jpg

Works just like spot metering but with a larger circle. Like spot metering, it works well for metering brightly lit subjects against dark backgrounds. You can use partial metering for taking a reading from a larger part of the subject than the spot meter.

Evaluative Metering

05.jpg

Note: Evaluative metering is Canon’s term and the one that I’ll use in this article. Nikon uses matrix metering and Pentax and Sony use multi-segment metering.

Centre-weighted, spot and partial metering all take an exposure reading from the centre of the frame. Given that most photographers prefer to place the main subject off-centre for compositional reasons, this means that taking an exposure reading with one of these modes is not always the easiest way to work.

Evaluative metering was developed by the camera manufacturers to make it easier to measure exposure with off-centre subjects. The camera divides the viewfinder up into zones and compares exposure readings from each zone to come up with a suggested exposure setting. The above diagram shows the way the viewfinder is divided up into 63 zones on some EOS cameras.

The camera weights the exposure reading towards the active autofocus point (or points) as they are likely to be covering the main subject. It takes into account the readings from nearby zones and analyses the contrast of the scene to come up with an exposure setting.

Each camera manufacturer uses a slightly different process in their evaluative metering modes. While the manufacturers don’t release precise details of how their cameras calculate exposure in evaluative metering mode, there will be a guide in the instruction manual. It’s well worth a read so you understand how it works on your camera.

My preferred way of working is to use evaluative metering, take a photo, look at the histogram and then adjust the exposure if necessary. For me, this is the simplest way of arriving at the optimum exposure. However, everybody works differently and once you understand how the other metering modes on your camera work you may find one of the others is best for you.

Exposure Compensation

Now that you understand more about your camera’s exposure modes, and why they may get the exposure wrong, you need to know what to do when the exposure is incorrect.

If you are using an automatic exposure mode, the easiest way is to use your camera’s exposure compensation function.

06.jpg

If you’re unsure how to set exposure compensation then check your camera’s manual – each camera is different. On mine, I just turn the Quick Control dial (circled above) on the back of the camera with my thumb. I like this way of working because I can dial in exposure compensation while looking through the viewfinder.

If the photo is underexposed, use exposure compensation to increase the exposure by a stop or two. Then check the histogram to see if the exposure is correct (if you’re unsure how to read the histogram, then read this excellent article).

If the photo is overexposed, you can use exposure compensation to reduce the exposure.

07.jpg

The amount of exposure compensation applied should be displayed in the viewfinder. Again, check your manual. On my Canon cameras the display looks something like the diagrams above. The top display shows zero exposure compensation, the middle display shows +1 stop exposure compensation and the bottom display -1 stop exposure compensation.

Source: http://digital-photography-school.com/exploring-metering-modes/

Goa: Birding and herping

Talking about Goa, the first few things that conjure up in the mind are the beautiful beaches, the shining sun, exotic holidays, alcohol (for those inclined towards that) and of course relaxation. I am no different. I had a chance to visit Goa for the first time about 7 years ago for a vacation with my family. Never knew then, that there existed another side to Goa covered with greenery.

The Western Ghats, which form most of eastern Goa, have been internationally recognised as one of the biodiversity hotspots of the world. Western ghats are well known for their rich flora and fauna. According to Wikipedia, Goa’s wildlife sanctuaries boast of more than 1512 documented species of plants, over 275 species of birds, over 48 kinds of animals and over 60 genera of reptiles. Goa has many famous ‘National Parks’, including the renowned Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary on the island of Chorao. Other wildlife sanctuaries include the Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Molem Wildlife Sanctuary, Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Madei Wildlife Sanctuary, Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary, and Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary.

During the period from 2014 to 2016, I have the privilege of making five visits to Goa (twice during the rains looking for amphibians and reptiles (herping) and thrice during the December – January months for birding).

You arrive at Goa (either at the airport or at Madgaon railway station). You are driven to the far east side of Goa, to the outskirts of Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary. After about 15 minutes of driving, you find yourselves surrounded by lush green forest. It is a sight to behold and the weather too is pleasant. Nestled in the middle of the greenery, we arrive at the resort which is one of the best places to stay and explore. Near the resort, we can easily spot Little Spiderhunter, Purple Sunbird, Forest Wagtail, Malabar Hornbill, Vernal Hanging Parrot (the only parrot found in India) and many many varieties of birds during year end. But that is not belittling the rainy season in any way, as we get to see a wealth of amphibians, insects and reptiles.

We also visit Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Tambdi Surla, some interior parts of Goa and finally a visit to Zuari River & Maina lake. During the months of December and January, we have 6 sessions of birding in which one can easily see over a hundred species. We also have a night trail to catch a glimpse of nightjars, frogmouths and owls just outside the resort.

During the visit in the rainy season, we get the opportunity to visit Mhadei Wildlife sanctuary. It is an hours drive from our resort as we pass through the scenic beauty of the western ghats. The tracks of Mhadei are full of blood sucking leeches. Anti leech socks are a must-wear during the trail. Walking through the woods while it is raining is a unique experience. The evening trail at Tambdi Surla is fascinating. The thrill of walking in the darkness with humidity, coupled with the pouring rains gives goosebumps and it is definitely a not-to-be-missed experience.

Speciality
A visit to Zuari river is an opportunity to get a glimpse of six species of Kingfishers viz White-throated, Pied, Common, Collared, Black-capped and Stork-billed. Other birds to sight include Osprey, White-bellied Eagle, Greater Crested Tern, Peregrine Falcon. If you are lucky, you will also get to see ‘mugger’ crocodiles.

Our Visits
Feb 2014, Dec 2014 & Dec 2015 for birding

Aug 2014 & 2015 for herping

About Western Ghats
The Western Ghats, spread over six states in western and southern India, cover an area of approximately 165,000 sq. km. They are far more ancient than the larger and better known Himalayas. The Western Ghats forests, rivers, and grasslands contain an extraordinary diversity of species, including rare and threatened species and endemics found nowhere else in the world.

Source: Wikipedia

About Goa
The widest belt of forests along the western ghats is in Goa and neighbouring Karnataka state.

Source: Wikipedia

Planning for wild life tour visit www.wild-india.in

Birding heaven – Chopta

At Wild India Eco Tours, Chopta – Uttarakhand is one of our favourite bird-watching destinations and this tour in April 2016 as good at it gets. We sighted over 140 species of birds and got some mesmerising views of the the beautiful snow clad Himalayas. Key sightings from bird-watching perspective included the Pygmy Wren & Scaly-breasted Babblers, Chestnut-headed Tesia, Bearded Vulture, Red-billed Chough, Golden Bush Robin, Koklass Pheasant, (more…)