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General Blog

Prayer Flags At Chela La

Prayer flags at Chele La, Bhutan.
24mm lens, 1/200 second @ f16, ISO 100

Chele La is a 4000 metre pass accessible by road in Bhutan. I've visited it twice now and I'm looking forward to a third trip later this year because there are so many opportunites!

All around Bhutan you will see clusters of prayer flags, most commonly on small hills or outcrops, and definitely at mountain passes. When you arrive at the top of Chele La, you can't but be impressed by the numbers of prayer flags and how they stretch for a kilometre or more up the ridges either side of the pass. For photographers, it's a wonderful exercise in capturing patterns and shapes, but it can also be challenging to produce a composition that isn't as chaotic as the placement of the flags.

Unlike many of my other images, this is a more 'common' viewpoint of a small 4WD track leading between two groupings of flags. I've cropped it horizontally so the flags with their vertical poles create a contrast, especially the slightly angled ones. The sky has been darkened and desaturated, but I've kept a blue colour cast - at this height, it was a little on the cool side.

Hopefully it's an image that interests you. As our world becomes smaller with easy travel and internet communication, finding places like Bhutan are becoming increasingly difficult - and Bhutan is also changing. Fortunately, the government takes a common sense approach to tourism and, unlike neighboring Nepal, Bhutan seems to be richer culturally for it.

David Oliver and I have confirmed we're taking a group there this November, so if you're interested in learning more and seeing a small brochure, click here.

And if you'd like to see the original file without any processing, click through to the website for the full article. 

Processed raw file before adjustments.

Looking at this file, you can see that I have gone quite hard on the shadows (lightening them) and the highlights (darkening them)! Sometimes producing a flat file in the raw processing software is a good place to start for a photo you intend to complete in Photoshop. 

And if you're interested in a photography workshop later this year, I have trips going to Karijini, Kununurra, the Daintree, Arnhemland, Whitsundays, New Zealand and Bhutan. Full details on the Better Photography website!


Peter Eastway Uses

Peter Uses

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