Mammoth Cave, Kentucky USA

On a recent road-trip from Florida to Vermont, we visited the Mammoth Cave National Park. We planned our trip by looking at a map of USA, and pointing our finger at states we wanted to pass through. Kentucky was one of them, and it just so happened that the world’s longest cave happened to be on our route.

The entrance to the cave was a tiny metal doorway in the middle of a thick forest. As our guide lead us up the pathway, we felt like we had just walked onto the set of Lost.
“Don’t worry about the spiders” he said, pointing up to the corner of the doorway, “they’re harmless.”
I barely caught a glimpse of spider legs before they retracted into a crevice.
The doorway was at the top of a steep metal stairwell. We carefully descended 14 storeys (280 stairs) in single file through the vertical rock shafts. Down into the earth we went, via narrow, dimly lit passages and creaky metal staircases bolted to the rock. The tour guide spoke with the southern Kentucky twang of Col. Sanders, and was quite experienced and educated in the geology of the caves and history of the site. It was a really interesting tour and we were stoked on our decision to stop here!

Lake Skate

Having recently moved to a small country-town called Moultonborough, in New Hampshire, it gave me the chance to dust the cobwebs from my Penny skateboard and take it for a spin down some of the steep hills leading to the lake.
My first time out on Lake Winnipesaukee was breathtaking, and it was such a change from living in an apartment in the residential country-club land of Florida.

The forested surroundings lined with smooth, sloped, quiet roads made for an epic arena for exploration via skateboard, and “skitching” (skate-hitching) on the back of a friend’s mustang.😉

 

Starry Night Skies

 

As I begin to learn the skills needed to master different aspects of photography, I am drawn particularly to capturing images of the night sky with various subjects either silhouetted or lit up and imposed against it. There are many different methods of night photography, mostly all of which incorporate long-exposure. This can range from single long-exposure stills, to time-lapsing, to compiling of multiple long-exposure images for star trails which show how the sky seems to rotate about the earth. I find this fascinating and have only hit the tip of the iceberg in this amazing area of photography.

Here is one of my experiments so far.

40 sec exposure with a torch used to 'paint' light on the trees

40 sec exposure with a torch used to 'paint' light on the tree

40 sec exposure with a torch used to 'paint' light on the rocks
For all three of these images I used a 40 sec exposure and a torch to ‘paint’ light onto the rocks/trees.

 

 

Visit to NYC

Every time I am here I am filled with awe at what an enormous, thriving organism this city is. I love New York. It’s amazing buildings and interesting people induce a natural wonder or ‘high’ when ever I return to this wondrous place.

The skyline view of NYC mirrored from a pier on New Jersey side
The skyline view of NYC mirrored from a pier on New Jersey side
Buildings at the south-west corner of central park
Buildings at the south-west corner of central park

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Columbus circle
Columbus circle
View from the bus on the way back out of the city
View from the bus on the way back out of the city

All images courtesy of Gideon Dariyal Heller ©

Mt. Washington

Sheer depth.

At 6,288 ft (1,917 m) , Mount Washington is the highest peak in Northeastern USA, and home to some of the planet’s most severe weather (holding the surface wind speed world record at 231 mph).
Teetering up this steep rollercoaster of a mountain is treacherous and scary on a clear day – which was magnified by the dense fog surrounding the car all the way up. With the car in first gear pointing to the sky, and all of us on the edge of our seats watching the 2-ft of visible road for the half-hour ascent, this was definitely one of my more memorable experiences.
I really did not think driving up a steep road could be so exciting – but was surprised and overall it was an amazing trip.

Next time we will be hiking – and we are hoping for a more visible sunrise😉

Leaping high
Leaping high
Stunning view
Stunning view
Cairn
Cairn
Cairns
Cairns
Gusty winds make standing on rocks precarious
Gusty winds make standing on rocks precarious
A mountainous backdrop creates good portraiture
A mountainous backdrop creates good portraiture
Cairn
Cairn
Exploring some misty precipices
Exploring some misty precipices

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The winding road up to the summit
The winding road up to the summit
Handstand at 1,917 m (6289 ft) above sea level
Handstand at 1,917 m (6289 ft) above sea level
solitary
Solitary
at the base of the mountain
At the base of the mountain
river hopping
River hopping
ravine at the bottom of mt. washington
Ravine at the bottom of Mt. Washington

Who, or what, is Dariyal?

Dariyal is about discovery. The clichéd “wanderlust” that bites when you step off your home turf, out of your comfort zone and into new territory. There life begins.
The desire to travel and explore goes hand in hand with the desire to capture moments and share your experiences.

To be looked back on forever.


The first time arriving at J.F.K. International airport in New York, I am wonderstruck. With a 6-hour layover, I immediately take the chance to jump on a bus-ride into the daunting metropolis of high-rise buildings, hotdog stands and yellow cabs that is Manhattan. A place I have only seen and heard of in movies. In a dream-like state I wonder through the bustling streets with three new friends I have barely just met on the plane.

In the beginning, my neck is almost constantly craned upwards towards the pinnacles of skyscrapers which protrude up into the clouds and obstruct most of the sky from view.

All around me, towers of stone and glass shadow the streets and shimmer with reflections of the afternoon sun.
And then there’s the noise.
The intermittent whining of a distant siren drones out snippets of loud conversation drifting by on the wind. The humming, buzzing, beeping, whooshing sounds of vehicles and pedestrians. Everyone seems in a rush. Everyone has somewhere to be. As I look around me, with my backpack on and a small, digital camera dangling from my wrist — I see people in suits, dodging cyclists as they look up from their wristwatches and cellphones. A fashionably dressed woman clutches her hat as she dashes across the street to climb into a hailed cab with her shopping bags. An elderly man in dirty work-clothes is leaning against a railing while dragging his cigarette deeply through stained and wrinkled fingers. A group of school kids gather together on stone steps, comparing humorous videos on their cellphones. A heavy-set woman rests, out of breath, with her arm on the wall, half way up the staircase of a subway exit.

And everywhere the voices sound so foreign. The american twang drifts past my ears from every direction and I can’t help but feel like I’m in a real-life movie. My mind has been buzzing this whole time, as cinematic views and camera angles drift past my eyes. If only I could capture all of this as I witness it. I wanted to share it. I wanted to let all my family and friends at home see and feel what I was experiencing.

Under Construction: The New World Trade Centre dwarfs surrounding high-rise buildings. © Gideon Heller 2012

Artitexture: A mirrored image of the buildings in the court district of NYC. © Gideon Heller 2012

Since then I have been working in country clubs mostly as a server, and applying myself to learning photography and video work when I have had the time (or energy). It has taken me four seasons of alternating between the northeast and southeast coast of USA to discover and develop my dreams and passion for the camera. Each season is so different to the last, and yet somehow still the same. People come and go, responsibility in the workplace increases, you gain respect as people learn about you and what you are capable of. The comfortability starts to creep in, but then the desire for more tugs at your sleeve  and every so often you are awakened back up.