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Contrasting with the previous entry of the Himalayan landscape without any visible sign of humans, I also love the Bhutanese traditional rice terracing found all over the mountainous countryside, like this image from the far East of Bhutan in the region of Mongar.
Bhutan is a land of small holding subsistence farming, and the vast majority of the land is still under thick native forest, in fact the forest cover is increasing yearly and it’s basically forbidden to clear new land for farming. The Bhutanese landscape is very mountainous, the valleys are steep and with only a few exceptions, narrow, so every bit of flat space is utilised carefully for cropping. When the land is not flat, they make it flat with terracing. Very clever use of space and it makes for beautiful scenery.
On my last Photo Tour to Bhutan I found myself gazing more and more at the magical Himalayan Landscape.
Last year I made two trips to Bhutan, one in the Himalayan Spring in April, and again in Autumn in November. Both times of year are beautiful and in quite different ways. In Spring the rice is just being planted and the fields are beginning to go green, the trees are starting to sprout new fresh leaves and the land is waking up from the big freeze of winter. Autumn of course is the opposite, the rice is being harvested, vegetables are being stored, the chillies are all on the roof being dried for winter use and the land is slowing down ready to go into hibernation. Both very different views and it was a new perspective for me to see both ends of the seasons in one year, to revisit places who on the last visit were planting when they were now harvesting.
The other thing I noticed last year was that I found myself shooting more landscapes of Bhutan. On previous photo tours of Bhutan (2016 will be my 7th trip there) I was almost totally captivated with the people and the culture, it’s so very different to where I am from that it was hard not to be. These last two trips it felt like I was re-seeing the amazing Bhutanese landscape, both the natural world and the place that the Bhutanese people have made within it for what really is thousands of years.
Click the “Read More” to see the raw processed version of this image straight out of Lightroom before final adjustments in Photoshop. Read the rest of this entry »
I just returned from Melbourne where I went to watch the judging of the Australian Professional Photography Awards (APPAs) where I managed to achieve 3 Silver awards… Of course I submitted 4 Gold with distinction images (at least in my mind), but something happened to them on the way over and they transformed to three silvers and one bombed out completely at 78 (No award, Silver award starts at 80 points).
The judging was certainly fierce, and there were no free rides handed out. I look back on many of my past entries that got easy silvers, and I doubt they would even get a look in now. I think that really shows how the standard of photography in Australia has risen, my own with it I hope, and the competition is now very intense.
Dark moody skies are my favourite type of lighting, especially for the stunning landscape of Iceland. Beautiful little timber churches also look magic contrasted against the surreal green/yellow of the Icelandic landscape with jagged peaks receding into the distance behind them, especially with low clouds moving in on the tops of those peaks. Bright blue sky and sunshine is lovely, don’t get me wrong, lovely to sit in the sun and watch the world go by, but I usually leave my camera in the bag then. I’d much rather brave the cold blustery conditions and risk getting rained on to get that lovely soft diffused light you only get with dark stormy skies.
This year has been a huge year for travel for me, I’ve had Photo tours to Bhutan, Cambodia and Iceland with a few weeks scouting trip to Norway for tours next year, and in a few weeks I’m of to Bhutan again for the second time this year… I have so many new images that I don’t know where to start!
So, for want of a better plan I will begin with an image from my most recent trip to Iceland, where I ran two photographic tours back to back with Iurie Belegurschi. One of the locations I was really keen to go to on this trip was the Southern Highlands of Iceland with its amazing volcanic landscape and the painted hills. Read the rest of this entry »