Shot Story: “How I Captured This Stunning Sunrise in Rambha, Odisha”

In dramatic storm light…

Ever since we chanced upon landscape photographer Ranit Dholey‘s work, we have been smitten. In the first of a series that will delight and educate nature lovers and aspiring photographers, he tells us how he took this incredibly beautiful shot. Over to Ranit:

Stunning Sunrise in Rambha Odisha
Stunning Sunrise in Rambha Odisha

“Starting from the southern fringes of Puri in Odisha, heading further south will get you to the large and tranquil lake of Chilika.

When travelling by train, once you cross the Chilika lake, all of a sudden you will start seeing hills jutting out of the clear blue waters.

If you get down at the next train station, which looks as desolate as a physicist in a fine art convention, you will arrive at the tiny town of Rambha.

All trains heading towards Vishakhapatnam mostly do take a stop in this tiny station, albeit for five minutes at max.

The image that I will be talking about today was shot in this quaint and beautiful locale.

Small, lonely Rambha

Rambha has only one or two places where you can spend the night, and Odisha Tourism’s Panthanivas was what I chose, in place of its excellent location and exquisite marine cuisine.

Any photography location requires proper scouting to get the best possible position to take the photograph. Having done my homework quite diligently, I knew Rambha was more of a sunrise spot rather than a sunset. Still, for the sake of exploring, I took a circuit around the bank of the lake, scoping out possible compositions and trying to identify unknown birds. The time being peak rainy season, there was always the danger of snakes slithering around the mud banks. So while returning from my venture, as the sun had set, I was a little nervous. Thankfully, I came back in one piece!

The next morning, I was up at 3 AM preparing for the shoot. It was around 4:30 when I left the hotel, and something seemed a little odd. The eastern sky just behind the mountains, was glowing like a supernova, while every other direction was a dark shade of grey. It turned out that a huge mass of rain cloud had just broken in the east, with torrential rainfall concentrated in a small region some 2-3 km away from the shoreline. It was from this cloud break that the first rays of the sun were able to penetrate.

The Shot

It is widely regarded in photography that storm light is the best light, and my word was it incredible! Hues of pinks, reds and violets were flying from the East, with the sunlight refracting through the rains.

Stunning Sunrise in Rambha Odisha
Stunning Sunrise in Rambha Odisha

I quickly composed an image with one of the boats by the lakeside and snapped away. I knew I had a few minutes at max before the rain, coming ever closer, hits the shoreline.

Just as I had finished, the rain came pelting down and I ran for cover. Thankfully, I got the shot.

In all my years of photography, I have rarely witnessed light like this, and I owe it all to the small and lonely town of Rambha.”

Follow Ranit on Instagram @ranitdholey

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