Saturday 27 October 2012
First light revealed a crystal clear morning with a hint of pink in some wispy clouds. Below the Trongsa Dzong was slumbering. I took a shower and wandered down to the dzong, knowing it would be some time before the sun was high enough in the sky to reach the dzong itself. The problem I had was that breakfast started at 7.30 and were leaving promptly at 8.30, but would the sun reach the dzong in time.
I had already decided I would miss out on breakfast, but at 8.00 the sun was only just touching the roof and top of the walls. However, this might work to my advantage, enabling me to darken the foreground which included unwanted subjects like a car park and security building.
I packed up and ran up the steps to the hotel, during which time the sun crept further down the dzong's walls, so I had another opportunity to shoot from my hotel balcony. It really was a great location.
The day ahead was a long drive. We must have turned more than 1,000 corners as we climbed up to Pele La, the high pass we had crossed a few days before on our way to the centre of Bhutan. The landscape seemed quite different when viewed from the other direction, and although the sun was well overhead and the light very directional, it was almost like a side-light on the steep mountain sides. We found some shapely trees to photograph with distant slopes creating mysterious backdrops. A polarising filter helped control the specular highlights and I wondered if I had chanced on a technique that could help create interesting images from uninteresting midday light.
We photographed trees, distant ridge lines, yaks, prayer flags, farmers, ponies and some amazing light as we travelled towards Wangdue and our evening accommodation.