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


Featured Photo – Human Rights Day

The Light Of Hope:  Human Rights For Tibet

The photo is entitled “The Light Of Hope” and shows a Tibetan man preparing for a candlelight vigil to mourn those in Tibet who have been recently been killed, and to pray for peace and human rights for Tibetans and all people. This photo has been shown at various events, Tibetan support group websites, The Smithsonian website, and the Lonely Planet website.

International Human Rights Day
December 10th is the date that was chosen to honor the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation, on 10 December 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the first global proclomation of human rights.

Stop Torture In Tibet
Stop Torture In Tibet – Human Rights For all

Human Rights Day is also the anniversary of Nobel Laureates His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Lui Xiaobo being awarded their prizes (although Liu was unable to accept his in person, being in prison in China)

In what has been called by some the worst single human catastrophe since the Jewish genocide during World War II, Tibet has been under Chinese occupation for nearly 50 years. Tibet has often been erroneously portrayed as a mysterious “Shangri-La”; unfortunately, the harsh reality is that this remote Himalayan country has been the victim of the worst of China’s well-documented human rights atrocities, having faced over four decades worth of Tiananmen-like agony since the Chinese invasion in 1949. China’s human rights violations were brought to light to the majority of the world in 1989 due to the infamous shooting of the unarmed student protesters in Tiananmen Square. The following is a small list of some of the documented atrocities that have befallen Tibet and its people:

  • Over 1.2 million Tibetans, or one-fifth of the population, have been killed as a direct result of the Chinese invasion and occupation.  Most of the Tibetans killed have been unarmed.
  • China has been dumping nuclear waste on the Tibetan plateau, polluting the headwaters of many of Asia’s major river sources. China has admitted to this, confirming the existence of a 20 square mile dumpsite for radioactive pollutants near Lake Kokonor, the largest lake on the Tibetan plateau.
  • China has established a massive resettlement policy of Chinese to Tibet, causing the Tibetans to become minorities in their own country. Chinese is the official language, and Tibetans are frequently barred from education, or if admitted to schools, are educated in an attempt to make them “Chinese” in their way of thinking. Tibetans are regularly subjected to a dizzying array of Chinese propaganda, including movies, newspapers, and radio. Tibetans who help to promote The Chinese cause are rewarded monetarily, and gain rights that most Americans take for granted.
  • One out of every ten Tibetans has been imprisoned, usually for merely exercising free speech in a non-violent manner.
  • Religious freedom has been abolished. More than 6,000 monasteries have been destroyed, with only a handful remaining, having been restored for the benefit of tourists. Media people who are allowed to visit China are taken to sections of Tibet made to look like a movie set.
  • Strip-mining in Tibet’s forests, depletion of natural resources, and the extinction of wildlife are chief results of China’s environmental policy.
Equipment:  Nikon D50, 18-200mm VR Nikkor lens, black and white processing in Photoshop CS4. The effect was created simply by creating another layer, turning that black and white, and then erasing the effect everywhere except by the candle.  The photo is entitled “The Light Of Hope” and has been shown at various events, Tibetan support group websites, The Smithsonian website, and the Lonely Planet website.
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