I think Bhutan is almost unique in this modern world, in that the culture and beliefs are strong and firmly rooted in their present day society, The Bhutanese have mobile phones and computers, they wear Nike shoes, many of them study overseas, almost everyone speaks English, yet they daily wear traditional dress, eat their traditional foods, participate and believe in their culture and festivals. It is an amazing country with a beautiful juxtaposition of the old and the new existing side by side and rarely conflicting.
This image is of a young woman who works for the local government of Punakha, she has a few minutes before her work day begins. She works in a 17th Century Dzong, she wears traditional Bhutanese dress and she is sending a text message on her iPhone 5…
Shot with the Fuji XPro-1 and the 35mm f1.4 lens
A pair of Buddhist Monks enjoying the sunlight, shot from the balcony overlooking the courtyard of Punakha Dzong in Bhutan. I think the shadows make the shot.
Shot with the Hasselblad H4D-60 and Hasselblad 100mm f2.2 lens on my recent Photo Tour to Bhutan. Don’t forget to click the image to get a bigger version.
I have finalised all the details for my photography tour of Bhutan for next year and the web page has been fully updated. Next years tour differs from this years tour, which is leaving next month (october 12th), in that next year we are going in March, which is Spring in Bhutan. This means all the wildflowers will be out, it also means the festival around which I base the dates for the Bhutan Photo tour will be different.
Bumthang Festivals for the Photo tour of 2013
Both this year and last year the tour dates revolved around two fantastic festivals in the Bumthang region of Bhutan, The Jambay Lhakhang tshechu (religious festival) in Jakar and the Prakar Lhakhang tshechu (religious festival) in the Chumey valley. Both of these festivals are as authentic as it gets and worth the travelling into the scenic mountainous region of Bhutan, not that you need any further reasons, the scenery in central Bhutan is spectacular even on a bad day!
Punakha Festival for the Photo tour of 2014
For 2014 by arriving in spring it opens up the possibilities for seeing other festivals. For next years tour I have set the dates to coincide with the Punakha Dromchen tshechu, which takes place in and around the stunningly beautiful Punakha Dzong (temple fortress).
This festival commemorates a pivotal victory of the Bhutanese over the Tibetan army in the 17th century that took place in the location where the Dzong now stands. The Punakha Dzong was built to ensure the Tibetans would never be able to sneak up the Punakha valley again, and the festival that happens in spring each year has a dramatic re-enactment of this battle as the main event. We will be there to photograph it.
If you would like to join me at the Punakha Dzong (which is pictured above) for this unique festival go to the Bhutan Photo Tour webpage to read all the details and reserve your place.
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