A Demon enters the Bumthang (the Prakar Lhakhang Tshechu in the Chumey Valley of Central Bhutan) Tshechu from the Monastery door, Heralded by the sounding of the drum and a gong by two novice Monks. A third young Monk serenely watches the Demons Dance during the Prakar Lhakhang Tshechu in the Chumey Valley.
This Dance is the last dance of the last day of the Tshechu and is marked by wild spinning and leaping. The demons are chased off one by one in wild leaping displays of flashing whips and clanging discordant drums, it is the most primal and spectacular dance of the whole Tshechu, well worth the wait.
Shot a few minutes after the previous image in the Gangtey Monastery temple with the young Monks at Prayer being led by a senior Monk. Shot very discretely with the Fuji XPro-1, again with the permission of all the Monks.
Bhutan Photographic Tour March 2014
I will be headed back to Bhutan in March 2014 with a small group of 10 photographers for another 15 day Photographic Tour of Bhutan. I currently have only 3 places remaining for that tour and the early bird discount of $600 expires December 23rd, if you would like to read more you can go the Photo tour of Bhutan page on my site, the booking form can be downloaded from there.
A more subtle shot of the Monks of Gangtey Monastery, this is shot inside the temple with the permission of the abbott and the Monks. Not really an appropriate place to use the Hasselblad, so this one is shot on the Fuji XPro-1, a remarkable little camera that hardly makes a sound! Just what you need for inside a temple as the Monks are chanting. This image was shot on my latest photo tour of Bhutan.
The Hasselblad H4D-60 is not really a travel camera… it being huge, heavy and not very subtle. But It’s such a lovely camera to use, and the results are nothing short of spectacular, which makes it all worth it. Its a hard camera to use quietly, as the shutter makes an almighty “thunk” which tends to echo around the space in places like Dzongs (Temple fortress of Feudal Bhutan) and temples.
This Image shot in the Thimpu Dzong on my last photo tour of Bhutan in the angled light of late afternoon as a group of Monks crossed the courtyard. Shot on the Hasselblad H4D-60 with the Hasselblad 100mm f2.2.
Since there are so many Monks in Bhutan I can hardly only put up one image, so here are a few more. Mostly photographed in the Dzongs and temples of Punakha, Trongsa, Thimpu and Bumthang.
Path to Enlightenment
It seems the Monks are used to being photographed, I guess they are an easy target, but if you are on the path to enlightenment being magnanimous with a group of photographers is just one small test along the way. Either way they were all very friendly and obliging, or perhaps gracious is a better description.
Don’t forget to click on the images to see the bigger (and better) version. All three of these images were shot on the Canon 5D Mk II with a Canon 24-105mm f4L
Bhutan Photographic Tour 2013.
The dates for the Bhutan photo tour for 2013 are up! I have redone the whole tour for 2013 and reduced the number of participants to a maximum of 10 people to ensure plenty of personal contact time. You can read about the new Bhutan photo tour for October 2013 on this page
Over 10% of the population of Bhutan are Buddhist Monks, so when you are there you tend to see a lot of them about. The Dzongs, which are old feudal fortress temples dotted all across Bhutan, are now used as centres for Government offices and are also house the Monk bodies of Bhutan, quite aptly symbolising the close relationship of the counties government and its religion. In fact Bhutan is one of the only countries that has its religion (being Buddhism) written into its constitution.
Buddhism in Bhutan
The Buddhism of the majority of the population Bhutan is what they call middle path Buddhism, that is they won’t kill animals, but they occasionally will eat meat if one of their livestock dies from an accident or old age. As a tourist in Bhutan you are usually served meat or fish with most meals, as the Bhutanese assume most Westerners want to eat meat, but the great irony of this is that all the meat for tourist consumption is imported from India!
This image shot in Thimpu Dzong, with the permission of the subject, with a Canon 5D Mk II and a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L lens
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