Milky Way Meditation: Natural High in the Himalayas (Long Exposure Night Sky Photos in India)

 

9305kenlee_ladakhchortenmilkyway-20sf28iso1600-flatPlease click on the photo to view it larger and more clearly!  Thanks!

After ten days of clouds and seemingly constant rain, the sky was finally clear. Clear, I say!I was so happy. High above Leh near Leh Palace, I watched the moon set and smiled as the Milky Way slowly emerged, one of the first times I’ve seen the Milky Way in the Northern Hemisphere. And I had the photographic equipment to capture it in all its Himalayan glory at approximately 3657/12,000 ft. in elevation.

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Title:  Milky Way Meditation
Info: Nikon D7000, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens. Light painted the stupa. ISO 1600, 30 second exposure, f/2.8 20 June 2013, 2:24 am.
Photographer:  Ken Lee
Location:  Leh, Ladakh, Indian Himalayas.

Equipment:  Nikon D7000, Tokina AT-X 116, Feisol tripod.

VISIT ME, VISIT ME!
You can see more of these photos here  on my Ken Lee Photography Facebook Page (poke your head in, say hi, and “like” the page if you would, uh, like). We discuss long exposure, night sky, star trails, and coastal long exposure photography, as well as lots of other things, so I hope you can join us!

And you can go to the Ken Lee Photography website, which has more photos from Ken Lee.  Thank you very much for visiting!

 

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Leh Palace Milky Way – Long Exposure Night Sky Photo in the Himalayas

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Please click on the photo to view it larger and more clearly!  Thanks!

This is the front entrance to Leh Palace, with the beautiful Milky Way on the left, taken a little after 3 in the morning.

Leh Palace is a forbidding place, and particularly at night, spooky. But the renovation of the interior has done away with some of the eeriness, while keeping to the 17th Century architecture.  Here, I light painted the front entrance.

Light painting is a photographic technique in which one moves a light source while keeping the shutter open for longer periods of time, and is really a performance of sorts. The light can be used to selectively illuminate parts of the subject, or to “paint” a picture by shining it into the camera lens. I’ve usually light painted subjects, as this is more of my interest.

Title: Leh Palace Milky Way
Info: Nikon D7000, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens. Leh Palace was light painted with a bright flashlight. ISO 3200, 20 second exposure, f/2.8 20 June 2013, 3:03 am.
Photographer: Ken Lee
Location: Leh, Ladakh, Indian Himalayas.

Equipment:  Nikon D7000, Tokina AT-X 116, Feisol tripod.

VISIT ME, VISIT ME!
You can see more of these photos here  on my Ken Lee Photography Facebook Page (poke your head in, say hi, and “like” the page if you would, uh, like). We discuss long exposure, night sky, star trails, and coastal long exposure photography, as well as lots of other things, so I hope you can join us!

And you can go to the Ken Lee Photography website, which has more photos from Ken Lee.  Thank you very much for visiting!

 

Shanti Stupa Dream – Long Exposure Night Sky Photo, Himalayas (and Happy World Photography Day!!)

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Please click on the photo to view it larger and more clearly!  Thanks!

First of all, Happy World Photography Day!

The luminescent Shanti Stupa is a steep 555 steps above Leh at over 3657m/12,000 ft. in elevation, and was built by Japanese Buddhist Bhikshu Gyomyo Nakamura in 1991 when there were no roads or lights, using six donkeys for help. The stupa holds relics of the Buddha at its base, and was enshrined by the Dalai Lama. I’ve gone here on each of my three visits to Ladakh, the first time in 1997, six years after it was completed. As a bonus, I have been in contact with Mr. Nakamura, thanks to Joan L., and I am honored and super excited to say that he’s been describing how he built this and was complimentary toward my photos of the Shanti Stupa area!!!!

I “light painted” this incredible stupa with a flashlight in this 30 second exposure on a mountain overlooking Leh, past Changspa.  If you’ve been to Ladakh’s capital city of Leh, then you’ve seen it.  You can’t miss it.  It’s lit up at night as well, although they fortunately turn the lights off, making it easier for us night sky photographers to get a good photo of it without the harsh contrast of the lights!  Very sweet of them.  😀

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Title: Shanti Stupa Dream
Info: Nikon D7000, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens. Light painted the stupa. ISO 200, 30 second exposure, f/2.8 19 June 2013, 12:15 am.
Photographer: Ken Lee
Location: Leh, Ladakh, Indian Himalayas.

Equipment:  Nikon D7000, Tokina AT-X 116, Feisol tripod.

VISIT ME, VISIT ME!
You can see more of these photos here  on my Ken Lee Photography Facebook Page (poke your head in, say hi, and “like” the page if you would, uh, like). We discuss long exposure, night sky, star trails, and coastal long exposure photography, as well as lots of other things, so I hope you can join us!

And you can go to the Ken Lee Photography website, which has more photos from Ken Lee.  Thank you very much for visiting!

 

Shanti Prayer Flags – Long Exposure Night Sky Photo from Buddhist Himalayas

8580kenlee_india-shantiprayerflags25sf35iso400-flatPlease click on the photo to view it larger and more clearly!  Thanks!

Tibetan prayer flags whipping in the wind, sending prayers to the heavens on the way up to Shanti Stupa in Leh, Ladakh. Leh is about 3524 meters (11,562 ft.) in elevation. Shanti Stupa is a steep 500 steps above that, and was built by Japanese Buddhist Bhikshu Gyomyo Nakamura in 1991. The stupa holds relics of the Buddha at its base, and was enshrined by the Dalai Lama.

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Title: Shanti Prayer Flags
Info: Nikon D7000, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens. Light painted cliff and prayer flags. ISO 400, 25 second exposure, f/3.5, 18 June 2013, 11:39 pm.
Photographer: Ken Lee
Location: Leh, Ladakh, Indian Himalayas.

Equipment:  Nikon D7000, Tokina AT-X 116, Feisol tripod.

VISIT ME, VISIT ME!
You can see more of these photos here  on my Ken Lee Photography Facebook Page (poke your head in, say hi, and “like” the page if you would, uh, like). We discuss long exposure, night sky, star trails, and coastal long exposure photography, as well as lots of other things, so I hope you can join us!

And you can go to the Ken Lee Photography website, which has more photos from Ken Lee.  Thank you very much for visiting!

 

Featured Photo – Himalayan Festival During Monsoon Rains

White Mask Dancer, Ladakh, India

White Mask Dancer, Ladakh, India, taken in the pouring rain

For my Featured Photo this week, I’m choosing the White Mask Dancer.  This was taken in some heavy Himalayan rain during the Hemis Festival in Ladakh, a Tibetan Buddhist region in India.

I want to emphasize here that sometimes you can still get really interesting shots in less than ideal conditions.  Sometimes, you have to work for them.  Sometimes really hard.  During many of the shots that I took, I was being pushed and jostled.  I sat in mud, in rain, next to crying kids.  During some of the shots, I even briefly had an adult sitting on my shoulder while I was seated cross-legged in the mud!

The monsoon rains came down hard.  I tucked my camera inside my waterproof jacket, pulling it out when shooting, since I had difficulty managing my umbrella, the jostling, and the photography simultaneously.

Prayer Beads, Ladakh, India

Prayer Beads, Ladakh, India, taken under less-than-ideal conditions….if you consider pushing, shoving, sitting in mud in monsoon rains, and someone sitting on your shoulder to be “less than ideal”.

The devout in the audience fingered their mala beads while watching the performance, devoted to the birth of Guru Padmasambhava, who brought Buddhism to these far Himalayan reaches of the world,  Many of these people had traveled from the farthest corners of Ladakh to attend the festival.

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Unfortunately, after the festival at Hemis, returning to Leh wasn’t that simple. It continued raining. I stopped and talked to a few of the monks, and went inside the main temple to hang out. When I came out, there were still streams of people walking downhill. The problem is that there were no buses to meet any of these streams of people. The only buses we saw were already full and pulling away.

After about an hour of waiting for buses, about half of us, numbering in the hundreds, started walking downhill towards Karu, along the main highway. We were all soaking wet and shivering while walking downhill. I don’t know how long that took, but it was several kilometers away, and it seemed to take a really long time.

Nikon D50, Nikkor 18-200mm VR lens, a muddy REI waterproof jacket, and a small umbrella purchased in Ladakh.