Shot Story: “I Stood Chest-Deep In the Sea in Odisha To Click This”

And the fruits of this labour swept us off our feet!

Here’s a stunning shot by landscape photographer Ranit Dholey, clicked in the middle of a wild sea. Only from true passion for your art can such courage stem. Here’s the story behind the shot, in the lensman’s own words:

“The Indian Ocean curves around the Odisha coastline for quite a few hundred kilometres, before it reaches Visakhapatnam. All along this journey of the ocean caressing the sandy beaches of Odisha, there comes one location which is very different from the rest.

After boarding a train to Berhampur station on Odisha border, a 40-minute auto-rickshaw ride will take you to the southernmost beach of Odisha, Gopalpur. The array of huge, polished rock formations by the seashore is what makes Gopalpur a very unique location.

My first visit to Gopalpur was on a winter morning. While the placed looked plenty promising to me, it was my second visit which really made me realise how incredible this place actually was. It was a windy afternoon just before a certain virus wrecked havoc on the entire planet, when I reached Gopalpur the second time. The first thing that struck me was the sea, which looked very wild. As Gopalpur is mostly East facing, it was more of a sunrise location. The evening was spent with tea and pakodas on the dilapidated ruins of a fort by the lighthouse.

The morning was cloudy and windy, not the most favourable of conditions. Nonetheless, when I reached the beach, it looked much akin to a father’s reaction to his son flunking school, absolutely ferocious. With my heart throbbing somewhere near my throat, I waded into the waters which was quite high for my liking. Every now and then waves chest high would come roaring, thus asking serious questions on my life decisions. I dug my feet into the wet sand as deep as I possibly could, and my Vanguard tripod was sturdy enough to perhaps even weather a rampaging elephant. With my tripod and feet securely embedded, I concentrated on what was going on ahead.

odisha dance of the waves
The majestic shot. “Dance of the Waves”. Courtesy – Ranit Dholey

The rocks in front were getting pelted with huge waves every few minutes, so the subject was quite clear. Now, because I wanted a longer exposure time to capture the motion of the water, I had to make sure that the tripod doesn’t shake.

Not. Even. An. Inch.

Amidst the waves trying to drag me out, this was quite a difficult feat. But nonetheless, my composition was all set.

However, the light was missing. I waited patiently for fifteen minutes with the sea rip roaring all around, and then the clouds broke. A small hole appeared among the clouds ahead, which was large enough to allow a shaft of sunlight to shine on the violent ocean below. And there was my image.

This image which I called ‘Dance of the Waves’, has gone on to be exhibited in multiple galleries, ever since it was shot on that unpredictable morning in Gopalpur.”

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