Sunday, January 12, 2020

The Mighty Gungchen Taag (Tiger Mountain)

I have been chasing this long shot of the mighty Gungchen Taag (6,784 Mtrs.). Finally this morning I managed to get the shot that I would say is closest to what I have in mind. This morning was the 7th attempt.

I have been to the base of this mighty peak – and got snowed in and stranded for a total of 5 days. I was camped at a place called Lingmithang – about 2 hours trek from Laya village. But I could never get the shot I liked. The following is the best image of the peak I could get from Lingmithang – not quite to my liking.

Gungchen Taag as seen from Lingmithang, Laya

During a trip to Wangdue last year to photograph the perilously located Gaselo village, I passed by a location from where I could see the peak looming large in the distance. Since then I made 6 trips to scout for a suitable location from where I could shoot the full view of the peak.

Taking a picture of the peak itself I could do – from a number of locations. However I wanted something interesting to be included in the image. Looking around I realized that if I could locate the right location and height from where to shoot – I could include Nobgang Monastery in the scene. That is precisely what I managed to do in the following scene.

The mighty Gungchen Taag shot from Wangdue with Nobgang Monastery in the foreground

According to the weather forecast, we are supposed to have 3 clear, rainless days. So I headed for Punakha and reached the location from where to shoot – by 6.30AM, only to find that entire Wangdue valley and the Lhakhang was blanketed under a thick layer of mist.

Wangdue valley completed hidden under a blanket of mist

The mist covered Wangduephodrang Dzong

Damn!!! The weather forecast was accurate about clear skies – but nothing was mentioned about the rising mist. Well, nothing to do but wait. The mist cleared up after nearly 2 hours and I began shooting. The image of the mighty Gungchen Taag with Nobgang Monastery in the foreground was shot exactly at 8:13 AM this morning.

People only see the beautiful images – they are clueless about the pains that go behind acquiring the images.

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