Hi Friends, I am back! Well after a long... 2008 was bad yr... bad bad year... anyway, I am getting on track. Last year I have pushed myself a bit in photography by appointing myself to a self assignment named "30 Mornings At Sukhna Lake Chandigarh". Starting from 30 Nov 2008 it was finished on 29th Dec 2008. I have made a post on my blog but I am writing the same story here too. So please you please read my experience and do let me what u think Sukhna Lake Chandigarh An introduction. Sukhna Lake is a man made lake which came into existence in 1958. It is spread over 3 Sq. Km. The main attraction on the lake are places to sit, food outlets, boating, shikaras, ducks, migratory birds and play area for children. You can also find artists who make portraits etc. The assignment. I decided in mid November after Chandigarh Carnival about going on self assignments. After a long break due to fever and weakness, getting back in action on Chandigarh carnival was enough boost for me. The first thing I can think of was Sukhna Lake. So I decided to go there for 30 regular days from 30th Nov 2008 to 29th Dec 2008. But the question was what time? I had never been to the lake for long in early mornings. I decided the timings from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM. As per my thoughts two hours were enough and I was quite right in that. The Experience. You can not even imagine how these 30 days were like. I never thought I could have so much fun on single place and so many subjects on single place. Even after 30 days I am feeling like I can go for more 60-100 days! On the very first day I reached on lake at around 6:40 AM so that I can start on time. I was totally out of knowledge for morning photographs and settings required, so first day was not that good. Although I learnt that coming before 6:55 AM is of no use. On the second day I was very much confident about the time and the things I was looking for. I spent around 1 and half hour over there and got some good shots but still I was not satisfied. I was feeling like these 30 days may get ruined due to lack of knowledge about light and all. As I kept this assignment big time secret, asking an expert was also not possible. The thing is I feel if I tell someone what I am thinking of doing everything gets ruined. Although I know this is an superstitious nature but I have many reasons to believe in this. Anyway, moving onto third day, I became very sure what I have to do to get good and clear shots as accidentally I know the desired settings for aperture and shutter. Clicking against sun and getting typical yellow background and silhouette is really like living in heaven. I also had some very funny experience with ducks on third day. I was sitting there enjoying clicking some ducks. One of them was eating the pieces of roti lying just next to me. While going back she hit my foot and almost fell on the next stair. She quacked loudly and looked at me. I dont know why, I said Sorry. But that arrogant duck (I am using this as it was not my mistake. I didnt even moved a cm), opened her wings and hit me really hard. I was like Oh my God! She hit me without any reason! I was so shocked that I missed the shot in which you might have a look how egoist these ducks can become! Fourth day was a blessing for me. I came to know about the fact that clicking against Sun in different manners can give me superb shots. Till fourth day, people around there were not habitual of me and kept on giving me weird looks. The experimenting with Sun kept on moving on some more days. Still I was hesitant to click faces of people as I have never been to a place like this. But the hesitation completely disappeared on the sixth day. I clicked some good photographs of people doing exercise there. All the time I kept in mind that I have to keep on experimenting on different kind of shots. On seventh day, some very great shots were captured in my cam. It was Gods blessing that I went every spot right on time. On day 6th I saw duck fight while I was giving them bread to eat. I was not able to click as it was my rule to first give bread to ducks followed by Surya Namaskar and then I get my cam in action. I wished I could get a shot like this. Guess what! I GOT THEM THE NEXT DAY!!!! I find many people who do not believe in God but I think that was my dedication for work due to which God made some really good shots for me. I still do not believe what all I got!!! Anyway, another thing which got clear in my mind was The Rule of Thirds. Till date I was not very sure about what exactly it is but during the assignment I did some pretty good experiment in that too. Another thing which fascinated me was chipmunks. It was like I can not complete my day without their photographs. Bread for ducks and Bajra for birds and chipmunks became a part of my gear. There were five chipmunks near the police quarter at lake. I dont know how these little cuties are so daring! I regularly sat near the place where I put the Bajra to them to eat. They do not have any hesitation in coming near me and eating the food. Some of the pics were so interesting which I also posted n flickr profile. I say them fighting and kissing too! There is a banyan tree on the lake which is HUGE. I also tried some shots in which sun was behind it. All came good. There are also some flowers which are full of dew drops. Amazing colors they have! I dont know why that tower made me fall in love with it! (Hey I have no plans to go there and commit suicide ). I tried my best to manage some shots in which I got people, chipmunks, flowers, birds, along with the tower. It was really hard as camera I am using is not good in focusing as fast as DLSR. But hey it can give too good results! On day 10th, I again feel now what to click? I got so disappointed with myself that I sat on a stair and tried really hard something to click. Unbelievably, I got some good frames of flying birds! A very famous photographer who is also a friend told me that clicking flying bird in perfect frame is almost impossible for amateurs like me when he was showing me some photographs he clicked in a temple. As he is too experienced, I was not sure if I can get some good shots of flying birds. But hey! God is for everyone. 10th day was dedicated to flying birds 11th day bought a delight for me as I found a cute artist making drawing of the lake early morning. She was too busy in her work that I watched her for a while, clicked a pic and moved. Day 12 was full of macro experiments. Next day I found a cup placed on the lake side. I sat down and managed to get sun exactly on the top making a cup full of sun . The experimenting goes on and on everyday but some standard clicks like silhouette, ducks and chipmunks were my favourite models. Day 16 was a big time fun. I found a green color bottle on the lake. Playing with it along with Sun was totally amazing experience for me. 17th day God fulfilled one more wish by filling the blues with greys! There were clouds. Too good patterns! On the same day two of my friends were there which was a shock cum surprise for me. Flying birds, running people, jumping chipmunks, people who sing but have worst voice ever thought, people giving bread to ducks, etc were a common stuff for me. But sometimes these common things became very unusual especially when I spotted a pair of chipmunks kissing or I managed to find spider webs full of dew drops. These webs with droplets were also a blessing for me. Although I didnt get the desired result but clicking such a thing on a day when I thought today is no photo day, was a big time surprise. The reason of no photo day was fog. HUGE SHEET OF FOG covering lake. 25th to 28th day were full of small experiments and repeated shots of many places. I found one couple sitting very beautifully there. Also a bird couple kissing . The biggest surprise came in form of a baby duck on 29th day. Oh she was too cute! Last day as too much fog was there I was not able to click many shots. But overall the experimental assignment went too good and I am looking forward to continue this for more days on some other place. Here are the stats: Total Photographs Clicked: 4000+ Total Photographs selected: 700+ Total Expenditure on the assignment: Come on this is priceless I want to make some points clear about the lake. 1. If you go early in the morning say 8:00 AM, you will find lake totally clean. But in evening its full of litter. If you really want to know how it becomes so clean every single morning, then go to the lake and see those 10 people cleaning whole path early from 6:00 AM. Once you see them you will feel shame on yourself if you have ever littered on the lake. 2. Never try to scare the ducks. They are there for the beauty of the lake and not for playing. Feed them only what you can think of eating. Please do not throw stuff which is not edible like old rotis full of fungus (Yes, some jerk tried to feed them with such stuff also. Unfortunate but bitter truth.) 3. Please try to use dustbin as keeping the lake clean is our duty. Always: 1. Carry your litter to the garbage can. 2. Appreciate the work of people there. P.S. If you want to enjoy clicking, wake up early and go on the lake. Going after 8:00 AM will make you miss many shots. The sound of trumpet can not be heard coming out of Raj Bhawan if you can not go at the time of sunrise! Those who want to see some more shots can see this link.