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Romancing the mountains – through a photographer’s eye

Photography is an art of visualization which has to be perfected by practice. Just as each person has his own highly individual fingerprint, he also has a unique viewing pattern. Seeing is a highly subjective occupation and depends on what is important to you, the beholder. Your brain ensures that you see what you want to see. And if you happen to be a Photographer, you occupy a special place in the world of seeing as you are not just a viewer, seeing is your profession. You see to the point of exhaustion, most photographers take the world as it is and make a strictly personal selection from the vast number of fleeting images that constantly strike the eyes.

Athirapally water falls1
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The Himalayas are a favourite place for landscape and mountain photographers. There is always a magnetic pull in the hills that pull a person to come to the Himalayas: A religious tour to cleanse oneself and worship the holy mountains, a touristic hunt for adventure and scenery, an exploration of the mountains or a photographic journey to record the amazing images on your camera.

Photographing the Himalayas is at the same time one of the easiest and also the most difficult subjects to approach. It is easy because the mountains are so familiar and accessible. Besides being all around us, they are permanent and do not move, so all that is necessary is to get there with a camera. Finally, for the simplest shot, there are no extreme technical difficulties.

view enroute village chilling
view during the trek (2)
on the chadar
my foto on cover page




Despite this, one accepts the fact that there is an outstanding difference between ordinary postcard-type views and a creative landscape photograph. Most people are unaware of the amount of work that goes into creating a particular magical photograph. Landscape photography is extremely rewarding but it has its moments of frustration. You learn from your own mistakes. A landscape, however pretty, cannot be sufficient in itself unless it includes certain elements. For example, a sunrise with all its glorious colors can be unexciting. But if the frame includes a tree, a mountain, or even a river, the beauty of the shot is enhanced.

The mountains offer the most dramatic landscapes; in particular, the absence of people gives more scope to photography. The bonus of high altitudes is clear air and fine visibility as well as a viewpoint that often permits shots down the clouds. Some elementary preparations are a must. UV scattering at high altitudes is considerable and a strong UV filter for your camera is a must.

One should take extra precautions while photographing snow. Snow even at low altitudes is a special photographing problem. Snow crystals are good reflectors of UV light and snow under the blue sky will be recorded as a distinct blue. A realistic rendering of the shot is quite difficult and the outcome is often both under and overexposed. Experience helps in avoiding such situations, but even beginners can take lovely pictures. Utilising low-angled sunlight is the best tactic for snow photography.

Here are some DOs and DONTs as well as a checklist of equipment:

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  • Think of the mountains first.
  • Do some research about the Himalayas where you are heading to.
  • Read and study what other photographers have is done before.
  • Watch where you set your tripod and camera bag.
  • Enjoy yourself and every opportunity to shoot that you get.
  • Help the person next to you, this can be the difference between getting a photograph or not


  • Ignore the efforts of other photographers in your group.
  • Pluck any wildflowers or eat any wild fruits.
  • Forget that no picture is worth the welfare of our natural heritage.

Equipment Checklist :

This list should serve for almost any conceivable shot under normal conditions.

  • Camera body: preferably a DSLR perhaps with extra body and lenses.
  • Lenses: in terms of priority, a wide-angle, a tele, and normal and a macro lens.
  • Flash unit
  • Tripod
  • Neck strap
  • Lens hoods
  • Lens caps
  • Lens cleaning items: tissues, blower, brush, etc.
  • Extra memory cards, and batteries.
  • Plastic bags
  • Lint-free cloths
  • Gloves
  • Well-padded case suitable for backpacking
  • Silica gel
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