Like most trips in my life, this has been planned and postponed for a long time before it actually happened. This trip was special though, for many reasons. To begin with, I took this trip with the best of the company – my wife, two close friends, my bike, and 50 fellow biker friends who were absolute strangers at the beginning of this trip. I finally got to bring out Royal Enfield, and test it out on the toughest of curves and terrains. Covering/Touching Srinagar, Sonmarg, Kargil, Leh, Khardungla, Nubra Valley, Pangong, Pang, Keylong, Manali in the duration of 15 days, roughly a year ago.
wedding photographer clicks all photos on his own
Coming to images, my wife and I have a sort of tradition going, of taking an image of us on every trip we take together, that also best represents our trip or the location. While we were spoilt with choice in terms of the number of breathtaking compositions this trip offered, we decided to shoot at the Pangong Tso. It’s a high grassland lake located at a four -hour drive from Leh, most of which will be rough and dramatic and 60% of the length of the lake lies in China. However, the most interesting thing about it is that it practically changes it’s colour based on the weather. It covers a wide array of colours – blue, violet, indigo, green, yellow and an additional not-so-flattering colour, all in just one day, as the day keeps progressing. So on the 9th day of the trip, the morning after reaching Pangong, we woke up at 4AM, dressed up for the shoot ( you won’t be judging us for not showering if you touched a drop of that ice cold water) , wore as many additional layers as possible to keep warm and drove to the location. Now, at this point, a task as simple as walking felt impossible. Like there were canon balls chained to our feet to be precise. The temperature was at 0, or ridiculously close to it, there was wind, strong, cold wind, and we were at 20,000 ft above the sea level, which also meant the oxygen levels are nowhere close to the levels our bodies are used to. While we kept telling ourselves it was going to be worth it all when the water turned into any of the beautiful colours we anticipated, the weather kept getting worse until it was clear that today, it wasn’t going to. So we sleeplessly, breathless-ly, and frozenly, began our 2 hour long shoot at 7AM. Since it was just the two of us at the location, I had to run back and forth between shots and use a remote control to click these. While I was slightly disappointed, my wife was very happy with the output and we returned to our beds to get some well deserved sleep.
Though the initial plan had two days to Pangong, it was later cut to a 24 hour stay, most of which was spent freezing ourselves and sleeping! So we begged the team until they extended the stay a little and got a whiff of as much of Pangong as we could.
As self-critical, I am of these images and as much as I complain about the hurdles at this shoot, these are another set of memories from another new terrain we explored together, and that sure makes them special to me.
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Shoot Location: Pangong lake, Leh
Camera Used: Sony a7rII, 16-35mm lens.
Costumes : Bhargavi Dundigala , Bhargavi Ambati.