Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Nathula Pass

Nathula Pass as seen from Bori Goma. This is the Tibetan side of Nathula ... I think on the other side is Sikkim.

Blue Sheep at Gonzola, Haa

A pack of Blue Sheep at the Gonzola Pass

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Alpine Regions of Haa

Now that I am back from my trek, I am inundated with requests from friends to mail them some photographs of what I saw in the frigid regions of Haa. It is an arduous process to mail images … so I am uploading few photos here on the Blog so that my readers and friends around the world can see them.

I intend to go back on the same trek after about a month. I want to shoot the lake Tsonapata when it is completely frozen! And, I want to shoot the full moon over Kanchenjunga with a long lens – perhaps with a 300mm or a 500mm super telephoto. The photo earlier posted was with a wide angle. I am going to use a polarizing filter so that the moon and the snow-capped Kanchenjunga stand out – should be AWESOME!!! But my pony man warns me that the passes may not be open :(

Camp Fire At Nob Tshonapatta

A camp-fire in full blaze under the gaze of the moon.

Caravan Of Ponies At Gonzola

A caravan of sure-footed ponies cross the treacherous Gonzola Pass. They will return ladden with cheap Chinese goods. The smuggling of goods from Tibet has got to be a trade of desperation. The goods they bring are high volume and low value - so there is no worthwhile profits to be made. But the people I spoke to say that it makes them enough money to buy pony feed. There has got to be a better way to make money to buy pony feed!

Golden Chundugung

Chundugung in the evening sun. This is the abode of Aap Chundu, protecting deity of the the people of Haa. At its base is the Haa-Chu Kangu - source of the Haa river.

Campsite at Gonzola

My camp at the Gonzola Pass. At 15,770 ft., it is the highest point on the entire trek route.

Mt. Kanchanjunga From Gonzola

A close-up of Mt. Kanchenjunga as seen from Gonzola Pass. A 200mm telephoto was used to acquire this image.

The Famous Nob Tshonapatta

The famous Nob Tsonapata - I would love to reshoot this lake when it is completely frozen.

Pack Ponies at Nob Tshonapatta

Pack ponies passing over Tsonaphingey just before arriving at Nob Tsonapata

Pack Ponies on Tsona-La

Pack ponies atop the Tsona-La between Nob Tsonapata and Miruna
(Altitude: 14,370 ft.)

Kanchenjunga And Other Mountains

The mountain range with Mt. Kanchenjunga as seen from Gonzola

Friday, December 16, 2011

Full Moon Over Mt. Kanchenjunga

I just returned from a long and arduous trek to the Alpine regions of Haa. I was photographing the high peaks and the lakes in that area. The landscape is simply stunning.

My pony man assures me that I am provably the first one to have undertaken such a long trek in the thick of winter. In his 15 years as a pony man, he does not know of any other person – either Bhutanese or chilip - who took the route that I took: entering from Damthang, trudging up the dreaded Gonzola Pass and plunging down to the desolate Sinchulumpa and traversing across to the famous Nob Tsonapata  and terminating at Takchu Goenpa above the Haa valley.

Of the many beautiful sceneries along the trek route, the photo below was an unexpected surprise. The full moon is seen setting over Mt. Kanchenjunga whose snow-capped summit is seen emerging out of the morning cloud. I didn’t expect to see the famous mountain from Bhutan. Talking of which, you may remember that the night of the full moon was a lunar eclipse. Sadly, I couldnt get an image of it since the sky was over-cast.

Over the days, as I get time, I will post more images. I am particularly proud of the image of lake Chundu Lha-Tso that I acquired while camped at Bori Goma. The pony man assures me that I am provably the first one ever to photograph the lake which is considered the heart of the protecting deity of the Haaps - Aap Chundu.