City of Walking Fire

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A scene from Fasnacht festival in Leistal, Switzerland.

In this old town, people carry fire through the city gates to mark the beginning of Fasnacht. This is a cherished tradition that punctually starts at 7 pm every year in mid-February since one can remember.

People form all walks of life participate in this crowd funded event with inspiring zeal to uphold the local culture and tradition, and to make merry with everyone. The whole seemingly dangerous event was organized with impeccable detail – this shouldn’t be surprising in Swiss. Fire safety personnel were manning the streets with water hoses and extinguishers, ready to tackle any untoward situation. Each of those who were carrying heavy bunch of fire sticks did his or her part by wearing helmet and jacket. However, there were instances when the loosely coupled fire sticks fell on the participant’s back, or, much worse,  when the heaviness of fire was overpowering the balance and starting to fall, these were taken care by prompt fire personnel, who doused any falling fire, and the cheers of BRAVO! from all around.

The whole event lasted for around two hours. One might wonder how so many people carrying lethal amount of fire were managed, preventing havoc that could’ve occurred by running into one another .Participants were divided into groups. Some groups consisted of people carrying fire on their back while others of those who pulled a humongous fire cart. There was a near perfect timing and synchronicity among each group. With safe distance between each group tacitly maintained, the parade progressed stopping every few mins, to allow some time for fire personnel to cool down wooden constructed city gates. The sequence of events was as follows; A group came with fire, People around cheered, group stopped and waited for few mins, City gates were ready for next group, the group marched ahead, people cheered for upcoming group. This sequence was continuously repeated for two hours without even a slightest detour – expect none when you’r in Swiss. My friend was keeping count of the groups, but they were so many that he lost his count.

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Keep Calm and Yawn as Wide as You Can

Hippopotamus Yawning

On a dull summer afternoon, I was wandering in a Zoo searching for a perfect shot of the day, which was progressing without any luck with animals, all of whom appeared to be lazy and hungry, waiting for their meal.

When I was about to call it a day standing next to Hippopotamus enclosure, I was surprised to see Hippo starting to yawn. Quickly reacting to freeze the moment that I have never witnessed before, I got this shot where the Hippo flaunts its canines menacingly, betraying any sign of drowsiness.

Walk of Fire

 

 

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A scene from Fasnacht festival in Leistal, Switzerland.

In this old town, people carry fire through the city gates to mark the beginning of Fasnacht. Carrying fire on their backs or in bandwagons is a cherished tradition that starts at 7 pm, when the town bell is struck, every year in mid-February since one can remember.

In the cold of winter, it was pleasantly warm to feel the heat from a massive fire parade.

Animals make great models!

Animals are best subjects for photography for various reasons: One, They never pose (cats are exception!). Two, They don’t ask to show preview after every click. For a photographer, they present immense variety in style, composure, and expressions that a human model can never match.

Animal photography is a type which doesn’t require one to be a pro. With little understanding of animal behavior and lots of patience anyone can make good pictures.

An affordable, safe, and convenient location for animal photography is your nearest Zoological park.

Some useful tips before going to Zoo for photography are given below:

  1. Check weather. Its preferable to go in cloudy or cool weather.
  2. Take only one zoom lens with you. Try to be light and fast.
  3. Lens hood to prevent scratches on lens from fences.
  4. NEVER use flash. It irritates animals and can be dangerous.
  5. Always make sure that you are at safe distance.
  6. Search for different angles and composition.
  7. Never shoot standing among the crowd. Doing so might damage your lens.
  8. Try to predict the next move of your subject.
  9. Getting best pictures might take lot of time. Come prepared with lots of patience.
  10. Try to go alone or with photographer friends to avoid distraction.

These are some of my photographs from a recent trip to Zoo in Hyderabad.

Lioness yawn

Hippopotamus Yawning

Lioness water play

Cheetah

Butterfly

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White Bengal Tiger

Feel free to share and download the images for wallpapers.

– Khalid Khan