Monday, November 16, 2015

Ladakh: Pangong Lake

The highlight of my trip to Ladakh was a visit to Pangong Lake. Situated 4,350 meters above sea level and measuring 134 km long, the lake crosses a much-disputed section of the Indo-Chinese border. To get to the lake requires a special border permit and a harrowing six-hour drive from Leh. The first half of the week, the road to the lake was closed because heavy rains had caused landslides. Even once the road was open it was a terrifying drive, mostly because there was no guard rail to keep cars from sliding off the unpaved, narrow, and windy road. As someone who gets carsick easily and absolutely hates driving alongside cliffs, it wasn't the best six hours of my life.

The gorgeous lake made the drive worth it though. The crystal clear water mirrored the amazing hues in the sky, and combined with the enormous barren mountains rising out of the shore it made for a pretty spectacular place for photography. At night, the clear skies turned into a starscape, with the clearest view of the Milky Way I’ve ever seen. Since we were in a shared van we could only stay one night, but I could easily spend a month photographing the lake and hiking around the area. If you're in Ladakh, Pangong Lake is a must-see.

Milky Pangong
The Milky Way over the mountains surrounding Pangong Lake, Ladakh. At an elevation of over 4,300 meters high, there isn't much atmosphere to block out the stars!

Starry Pangong
A sky full of stars above Pangong Lake, Ladakh. (This also makes a pretty nice phone wallpaper.)

From Space


Pangong Textures 4

Pangong Textures 3

Pangong Textures 2

Pangong Textures 1

Pangong Twilight
Prayer flags on the shores of Pangong lake at twilight.

Free Holy Tibet
Tsering Dondup, our homestay host in Pangong Lake, poses in his home. In 1959, Dondup fled to India on foot after Chinese Communist troops invaded Tibet. You can read more about Dondup here:

Pangong Homestay
My room at a small Tibetan homestay on Pangong Lake, Ladakh.

Mountain Marmots
Marmots survey their surroundings. We came across these guys on the side of the road to the lake. 

a quickr pickr post

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Ladakh: Leh Valley Area

In August, I had the chance to visit Ladakh, a part of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir situated high in the Himalayas along the Indo-Chinese border. I can confidently say that Ladakh is the most beautiful place I have ever visited. At 3,500 meters (11,500 ft) high, the barren landscape and deep blue skies were like nothing I’ve seen before. Driving around the area was a treat, and I spent most of the time on the road hanging out of the car window camera in hand trying to capture the passing landscape. There was no shortage of monasteries and pretty valleys to visit, many of which are pictured below. The highlight of the trip was a visit to Pangong Lake, which will have an entire post dedicated to it. 

I was only able scratch the surface of what there is to see in Ladakh during the week I was there, but with any luck I'll be back soon. Hopefully these photos will give you a taste of what it’s like!

Thikse Gompa
Thikse Monastery, Ladakh. Taken from the Shey Monastery across the valley.

Stok Range
Clouds gather over the Stok range in Leh, Ladakh. The Stok range is one of the most popular trekking routes in the area.

Leh Stupa
A stupa on the outskirts of the town of Leh. Behind it, the Stok Range.

Alchi Paintings
Buddhist paintings inside the Alchi Monastery in Ladakh. The paintings are some of the oldest in the Ladakh area.

Hemis Stairway
A winding staircase at Hemis Monastery, Ladakh.

Prayer Bell
A prayer bell inside of Hemis Monastery, Ladakh.

Hemis Stupa
A stupa at the Hemis Monastery. The high altitude in Ladakh gives the sky an unreal blue hue.

Mountain Light
Clouds move across the mountains creating dramatic shadows. 

Leh Valley
Looking over the Leh Valley. To give you a sense of scale, the small buildings in the center of the image are hangars that could probably fit a full commercial airliner inside.

Between the Royal Enfield motorcycle, the monks, the prayer flags, and the old solar panel, this photo feels very Ladakhi to me.

Shey Stupas
A line of stupas outside of the Shey Monastery in Ladakh.

Leh Monk
A monk at the Leh Monastery looks over the Leh Valley.

Ladakhi Ceiling
A beautiful ceiling surrounded by paintings in the Leh Palace.

The Hard Way
A lightening bolt over the mountains in Leh, Ladakh. I didn't have a tripod with me, so I got this shot the hard way by pointing my camera towards the storm and setting it to burst mode with as long a shutter speed as I could hold steadily. After a few hundred shots I finally got one with lightening in it. Next time I'll bring a tripod...

Leh Town
The main market street in Leh, Ledakh. On the mountains to the left, a monastery and the Leh Palace look over the town.

a quickr pickr post

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Return to Gaya, Bihar

My team and I returned to Gaya in March for a second visit to Bahsa Pipra and Badil Bigha villages, the sites of one of our rural electrification projects. This was a shorter visit, and like with Dhankya I didn't take as many photos the second time around. Still, I did manage shoot some fun portraits of a few men in the village showing off their motorcycle as well a a few snapshots of daily life in Bihar. Enjoy! 

Gaya Biker
A man sits on a motorcycle outside the Gaya Junction train station in Bihar.

Gaya Snacks
A street food vendor outside the Gaya Junction train station takes money from a customer.

Foreign Friend
Look! A foreigner! 

Bahsa Pipra Portrait 1
A resident of Bahsa Pipra village, Gaya, Bihar.

Bahsa Pipra Portrait 2
A resident of Bahsa Pipra village, Gaya, Bihar.

Biker Portrait 1Biker Portrait 2Biker Portrait 3

These guys were really excited to have their portraits taken with their motorcycle. 

Biycle Portrait

a quickr pickr post

About Me

My Photo
Photographer, China enthusiast, climate & energy buff. Working in Delhi with the International Innovation Corps.



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