Featured Photo – Tibetan Uprising Day, 10 March 2012

Tibetan Uprising Day

Tibetan Uprising Day:  a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles for human rights in Tibet.  This photo was taken in 10 March 2012 with a Nikon D90, 50mm f/1.4 at f/1.4 at ISO 1600 at 1/160.

Tibetan Uprising Day March in Los Angeles, CA, 10 March 2012. Tibetan Uprising Day, observed on March 10, commemorates the 1959 Tibetan uprising against the presence of the People’s Republic of China in Tibet. The failure of the armed rebellion ultimately resulted in a violent crackdown on Tibetan independence movements, causing the Dalai Lama and his cohorts to bail in the middle of the night, fleeing across the Himalayas to India where he still lives today.

I was here as a member of three groups: Tibet Connection (I edit the English radio show about Tibetan culture, news, and events), Los Angeles Friends of Tibet, and the L.A. Street Photography Meetup group (I invited members of this group to show up!). The Tibetan Association of Southern California was also there, of course.

Self-immolations In the past year, about 25 Tibetans have set themselves ablaze to protest the lack of freedom and human rights that exists in their country at the hands of the Chinese. China invaded Tibet in the 1950s and has brutally repressed the Himalayan country. The military occupation and brutality was cranked up in light of the 2008 Beijing protests and has not abated. No outside press has been allowed inside Tibet since then. Thankfully, no one set themselves ablaze during our Los Angeles march.

During our march, many of us held signs asking, “Why are Tibetans setting themselves on Fire? The self-immolations were on everyone’s mind. During the candlelight vigil, Tibetan children read the names of those who had set fire to themselves in the name of freedom. The people ranged from nuns and monks to laypeople of all walks of life, and was an emotionally moving vigil.

Photographing the march Photographing the march presents interesting challenges.  The light was very bright by the Staples Center, with lots of contrasting shade, but the sun disappeared quickly by the time we got to the Chinese Consulate, resulting in very dark light. For these two featured photos, I kicked up the ISO so I could capture the natural light without resorting to an off-camera (wireless) flash.  While I did take a few flash photos, I ended up preferring the natural light. By the time I took the photo below, it was almost completely dark.

For most of the march, until we got to the Chinese Consulate, I had been using the 18-200mm lens, which is quite flexible.  However, at f/3.5-5.6, it ain’t the fastest lens.  I switched to the 50mm f/1.4 and then kept moving.  This is the same lens I use for concert photography as well.

Candlelight Vigil for Tibetan Uprising Day

Candlelight Vigil for Tibetan Uprising Day in front of the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles.  This photo was very dark, so I used an ISO of 2000 (the other photo is 1600), 1/160s shutter speed, and an aperture of f/1.4.  The same equipment was used.  I wanted natural light because I thought it was beautiful, so I didn’t use my wireless off-camera flash here despite the very dark light.

Equipment:  Nikon D90 12.3MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only, Nikon 50mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras


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