Monday, May 6, 2024

Journey of Mercy & Optimism

This was a journey of hope and mercy that I ought to have made by mid-February this year. But life teaches us to accept that compromise is the rule - that there will always be occasions when IMMEDIATE is more pressing than URGENT. Anyway, I was finally able to make my long overdue journey to the fabled Trashiyangtse - on the 1st of May, 2024.

On this trip I did not carry my bird photography gear because as a bird photographer, it dawned on me early in life that fundamental to my journeys will always be the fulfillment of my life’s passion - bird photography. Photography will always be my final destination! On this trip I needed to remain focused on making it to my geographical destination in time ---- and make the return journey without any distractions.

I had the opportunity to finally test out the recent phenomenal gift of the mirrorless Canon R5 camera body. Coupled with a 200mm zoom lens, I shot the distant image of Gangkhar Puensoom from atop Shingner, above Ura in Bumthang. The following massively cropped image will testify to the competence of the famed camera body that boasts one of the highest megapixels of any Canon camera body.

The above image of Gangkhar Puensoom was shot with a 200mm Canon Zoom Lens from atop Shingner in Ura, Bumthang. In order to test its sharpness and resolution, the original image was cropped by about 60%. As can be seen, even at this level of cropping, the image comes through extremely sharp and smooth!

At Trashiyangtse, I photographed the famous Chorten Kora. I wasn’t so terribly enamored by the Chorten because I had visited the place many times in the part – the first time was when I was just 11 years old!

The famed Chorten Kora located in Trashiyangtse. It has a unique annual cultural festival during which time even Dakpas from Tawang in Arunachal Pradhesh of India come visiting.

On my return journey yesterday, I stopped by the wayside - past Rukubji - to record the following photograph of a signboard of a Solar Farm under construction.

The changing face of Bhutan's energy production landscape. Looks like solar energy is going to be an important part of our focus - compact, manageable in terms of size, financing and technology, faster return on investment, less perilous in terms of financial and political bondage etc. Although claimed to be less harmful to the environment, it is a claim that I am not yet prepared to accept whole-heartedly. I think there are aspects that we are ignoring. Still, I believe that harnessing the power of the sun is the lesser evil way of doing things.

The above project - coupled with a few other ongoing installations that I have noticed around the country, encourages me to believe that Bhutan is now onto a new phase in our aspirations in the area of energy production. The phenomenal surge in domestic consumption of electricity and the shift away from the traditional method of energy production and financing, tells me that we have encouraging future ahead of us. I hope we stay the course.

On a different note, I am happy that I have finally been able to deliver the promised gift of a complete set of bird photography camera gear for use by the students of Trashiyangtse Primary School – to vitalize their Birdwatching Club started by their teacher Lopon Tandin Wangdi.

The gift was made even more meaningful - by the fact that it was gifted on 2nd of May - a day celebrated in Bhutan as Teachers’ Day.

But I came back a worried man. The primary purpose of my trip was to deliver assistance to three little school girls in Trashiyangtse. It is not that they were found wanting in any way - they are all growing up to be healthy, responsible girls. But I can see that a situation is developing - quite naturally and normally - that has me worried for the future. It is a situational development that I cannot interfere with - it has to - and it will come to pass - as a natural progression of life. But in its passing, the disruption of life and living that it will cause - that is what is worrying me. Sadly, as of now, I am not prepared - rather, I am not sure how I should go about tackling the problem that is imminent.

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