Sunday, August 26, 2012

My Apple iMac Desktop Photo

I finally managed to set-up and install my 27” Apple iMac – after 3 months of its arrival. I have been too darn busy to go through the installation process, backing up the files on the old computer and transferring them to the new iMac, which I still haven’t done - I mean transferring the old files to the new Mac.

Migrating from a poorly calibrated 17” monitor to a stunningly brilliant billboard sized 27” LCD takes a bit of getting used to. Apple has always been noted for its GUI (graphical user interface). The brilliance of their monitors takes your breath away!

First thing that I needed to do was to look for a great looking Desktop image to compliment the capabilities of the Apple Monitor. I settled for the following image, which I shot a few weeks back. I love the strong colors and the ethnic miscellany of the knickknacks that go into making this interesting piece of jewelry worn by the women from Laya.

Since the mid 80’s when I pioneered the import, adoption and use of modern technology in Bhutan, even at the risk of going bankrupt, I never allowed myself to lag behind in acquiring the latest and the spunkiest of technology. But as I grow older, I am beginning to realize that technology has an adverse effect on the competence of human beings. As new and more efficient technologies are invented, there is a proportionate loss of humanness in us. The heart is shrinking and the mind is getting oversized. Even as the medical science is advancing by leaps and bounds, we suffer more and more strange and incurable diseases. Even as our cities grow larger and glitzier, it is becoming less and less livable.

Every human endeavor is directed towards securing our future and protecting our lives. But the evidence that is emerging is that we have achieved exactly the opposite. The earth is at peril because our technologies have become very efficient.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Death of an Iconic Photographer

-->Prabuddha Dasgupta was one of India’s most celebrated fashion photographers. He died of a heart attack on 12th of this month, on his way to the airport after a photo shoot near Mumbai. He would have been only 56 years old next month.

I never met the great photographer but I was due to play host to his maiden visit to Bhutan sometime this year. I was informed of the planned visit by his wife, Tania Dasgupta – a much sought after book designer based in Delhi. She designed my book “Bhutan Birds”.

I have been robbed of a lifetime opportunity to meet a photographer of immense talent. And, Bhutan missed the opportunity of being photographed by an unconventional visualizer.

The Ministry of Culture, Government of India is hosting a Memorial Meeting in honor of the great photographer on August 25th 2012. I will not be able to attend it but I take this opportunity to offer my condolences to his wife and two daughters.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ancient Textile and White-bellied Heron

-->I am currently photographing some rare and ancient Bhutanese textiles. I have always held the belief that Bhutanese weavers are second to none - in their artistry and technique of weaving. Their choice of color combinations is a visual treat. I have never complained that the Bhutanese textile is too expensive - I have always been sorry that really good stuff is beyond my reach.

Now that I have seen some old pieces that I had never seen before, I am simply awed. The quality and artistry and fineness of work of those weavers in the bygone era were miles and miles ahead of what you see now. I am so awed by the skills and craftsmanship that was prevalent those days - it is simply humbling to hold these masterpieces in your hands. Even with the improved and consistent thickness and finish of the modern thread, the present day master weavers, as good as they are, are simply no match to those weavers of the past.

What amazes me is the complexity of the patterns and motifs woven into those fabrics. Mostly, the textiles are woven of rough spun raw silk. But the finish is so fine – it is as if an artist sat down to draw the motifs and patterns with pencil on paper. And they are soooooooooooooo colorful!

In one of the old pieces that is called Chagtsi Pangkhep, I came across a motif that intrigued me for days. Then, when I re-photographed the piece, it dawned on me that the motif that intrigued me had a striking similarity with Bhutan’s rarest bird – the White-bellied Heron. Take a look at the following photo of the bird and the motif placed side by side. Don’t you think the motif looks so much like the rare bird for which Bhutan is famous?

Please take note of the hunched back, the tall legs and the extremely long neck ending in an equally long beak depicted in the motif. No other bird looks like this one. It is amazing how accurately the bird’s physical attributes have been executed on thread. That is the level of skill that existed in the past.

This brings us to the question: Is it possible that the White-bellied Heron was an inhabitant of Bhutan since many centuries and not a recent discovery when it was first sighted in Sonagasa, Punakha in 1974?

To understand more about the White-bellied Heron, please read my post titled: “BHUTAN: Birding Capital of the World” which can be found at:

Friday, August 3, 2012

World At A Macro Level

-->Close-up photography or more popularly known as “Macro Photography” is a very tedious work. You have to work with extremely high apertures and even more extreme, breath stopping slow shutter speeds. The biggest challenge is to control glare and reflection from the object’s shinny surface. But when you do manage to overcome all the difficulties and challenges; the result you get is quite something. Even the most unassuming object can turn out to be most appealing and quite different from what the naked eyes see.

 A small section of a Bhutanese Lady's Jiru or Necklace