Ice Monochromes (Hemis N.P.)

24 to 30 January 2018, Hemis National Park, Ladakh.

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(Ladakh Trip).

Links go to posts with the colour versions of the images (where there may also be more information). If an image does not have a link (or a caption), the preceding one applies.

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This post shows details of ice in Hemis National Park. In most cases, captions are superfluous.

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Abstract, Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Waterfall, Wilderness

A bank of ice around a gravel bar in the Indus River.

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Abstract, Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Waterfall, Wilderness

A frozen waterfall between out first camp and the village of Rumbak.

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Abstract, Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Waterfall, Wilderness .

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Abstract, Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Waterfall, Wilderness

Frozen rapids in the river.

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Abstract, Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Waterfall, Wilderness

Views of the frozen river.

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Abstract, Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Waterfall, Wilderness .

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Abstract, Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Waterfall, Wilderness

Exploring the frozen river with a macro lens.

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Abstract, Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Waterfall, Wilderness .

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Abstract, Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Waterfall, Wilderness .

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Abstract, Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Waterfall, Wilderness .

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Abstract, Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Waterfall, Wilderness .

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Abstract, Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Waterfall, Wilderness

More details of the frozen river.

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Abstract, Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Waterfall, Wilderness .

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Abstract, Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Waterfall, Wilderness

A small plant struggling to survive though covered by the icy river.

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Glimpses of Snow Leopards

30 January 2018, Hemis National Park, Ladakh, India

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We knew when we signed up for the tour that there was no guarantee that we would see a snow leopard.  It was also not a good year for the purpose because there had been unusually light snowfall so the snow and the snow leopards were much higher and further away than usual.  However, this was the day when we found the missing “S” and “W” to turn “No Leopards” to “Snow Leopards”.

We were just emerging from our tents for breakfast after our first night in the new campsite at the head of the Rumbak valley when the cry of “Snow Leopard!!!” rang out from the small plateau about thirty feet above us.  So we grabbed cameras and raced up there (relatively speaking and perhaps inadvisedly, given the altitude).  Three of our guides were up there with spotting scopes and we were able to take turns to look through them and see snow leopards.  There was a mother and two cubs and she was conducting a learning exercise in “how to hunt blue sheep”.  One of the cubs ran at the blue sheep too soon though, so the blue sheep ran away.  I didn’t see that but I did see a snow leopard run across my vision as I was looking through a spotting scope.

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Architecture, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness, Wolf

Here is an image containing a snow leopard (towards the top left corner) courtesy of expedition photographer and doctor Andrew Peacock (For his photography see footloosephotography.com).  He is using a high resolution full-frame Canon camera, a 600mm lens and a 1.4x teleconverter for a focal length of 840mm.  I estimate from Bing Maps and Google Earth that the snow leopard was about two kilometres away.  If you want to see it more clearly, click on the image.

In theory I could have got an image nearly as close albeit with a smaller, lower resolution sensor and not quite so stellar a lens but my lens was damaged and wouldn’t focus for far distances.

We could see more clearly through the spotting scopes which had a much higher magnification than 840mm, probably equivalent to 3000mm and perhaps 4000mm.  At other times through the scopes I saw blue sheep, golden eagles and a bird with a white head and black body that was described as potential food for the golden eagles and was probably a Himalayan Snowcock.

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There were also more distant snow-capped peaks visible from where we were viewing the snow leopards.

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Architecture, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness, Wolf

This is a red-billed chough (not actually in focus at larger magnification).  It is similar in appearance to the white winged chough that we have in Australia (and in the reserve out the back from where I live) but they are only distantly related.

 

Architecture, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness, Wolf

After lunch we took off seeking more snow leopard sightings.  From a similar viewpoint to where we views the snow leopards, here are some ponies returning to Rumbak village.

 

Architecture, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness, Wolf

Another stone pen.

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Architecture, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness, Wolf

Ancient wall and mountain view.

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Architecture, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness, Wolf

Footprint of a Tibetan wolf.

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Architecture, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness, Wolf

Where I have circled in red is either another snow leopard or probably the same one, though we are up a different valley and several kilometres from out first sighting.  This is at 560mm or a full-frame equivalent of 780mm, so the snow leopard is a long way away.  This is taken with my lens so it is out of focus.  Even so, at 1:1 I can just make out, though blurred, a head and ears above the rock line and a body and legs below.  You will not be able to see this even if you click on the image for a larger view.

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Architecture, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness, Wolf

A plant struggling to survive though covered by the icy river.

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Architecture, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness, Wolf

Apart from the snow leopards, there were also dramatic views available of mountains and coloured rocks.

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Architecture, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness, Wolf .

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Architecture, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness, Wolf .

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Architecture, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness, Wolf

This one has a chimney so it is clearly an old house and associated pen.

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Moving Camp

28 January 2018, Hemis National Park, Ladakh, India

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It was decided that we should move camp up river to the mouth of the side valley that heads to the village of Rumbak.  This afforded different opportunities to look for snow leopards and offered better vistas.

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One gas bottle to be loaded on the right side of a pony.

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Another one coming up…

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… to be loaded on the left side.

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And off they go…

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They know the way…

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…and in any case there’s only one path.

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Crossing the river over a small bridge

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Now behind the ponies (who walk faster than us), we pass by the frozen waterfall again.

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And I pause for some images of the frozen river.

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A Buddhist flag on a trackside stupa…

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… and more of the inscribed stones.

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Abstract, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wildernes

It’s a couple of hours walk and we’re getting close now.  A view towards the end of the main valley.

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Jools crossing the ice at the frozen stream beside our destination with the camp starting to take shape in the background.

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The tents are now up and we’re starting to get organised inside them.

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After lunch we take off again in search of snow leopards.  There are other structures than the tents around.

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Maybe all but at least some of these were dwellings because some have chimneys.

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Most appear not to have been in use for a long time.

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Abstract, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wildernes

We are heading off towards the end of the valley.

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This is the side valley to the left.

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Some more blue sheep are visible though they are not really in focus due to the damage to my long lens.

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Snow leopard paw print!

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Heading back now, there is a row of ancient stupas above the ridge to the left.

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Another old stone shack.

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… and a last view towards the mouth of the valley.

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Frozen River

27 January 2018, Hemis National Park, Ladakh, India

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We headed off for the ridge where we had searched the distant mountain sides for snow leopards on the first day. When we were almost there, the spotters told us no snow leopards were visible so we kept on going up the valley.  This became a day when I was mainly looking for macro opportunities.

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I was struck by some of the patterns of lichen on the rocks.

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… and the variety of colours as well as patterns.

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Abstract, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

This is the large stone pen I had photographed from a greater distance on the first day.

A few people ventured further than we did up the distant valley to the left and found four snow leopard paw prints at a place with a commanding view where one had stood and searched the vista for blue sheep.

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A section of the dry stone wall at the pen.

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A bush bearing red buds.

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The buds appear to be rose hips so it must be a wild rose.

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Leaves and shadows.  The stream actually had running water here (rather than ice).

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Pebbles on the bottom distorted by the running water.

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Ice and dry vegetation.

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Back in camp for lunch.

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The dining tent is the big green one on the right.  Ours is the light coloured one second from the left.  The long drop toilet is in the background with two compartments was very modern as it had rickety seats over the holes.

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After lunch I ventured out looking for shapes in the frozen river with my macro lens.

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Abstract, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness .

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Abstract, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness .

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Abstract, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

Ice pig.

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Abstract, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

Perhaps a face.

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Abstract, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness .

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Abstract, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness .

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Abstract, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness .

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Abstract, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness .

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Abstract, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness .

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Abstract, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness .

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Abstract, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness .

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Abstract, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness .

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Abstract, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness .

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Abstract, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness .

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Abstract, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Macro, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Snow Leopards, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness .

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WBSW6: Gliding on Glass

10 September 2017, At sea near Maria Island, Tasmania
Wineglass Bay Sail Walk Day 4

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(Click on any of these images to see them larger if you want).

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We sailed north this morning on a fine clear day and a glassy sea.

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A glassy sea implies no wind so we would have been powered by the engine.

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I’m sitting on the bow here, looking back.

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I was impressed by the patterns in the wake at the side of the ketch.

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And I’m picking off selections with a very long lens.

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Abstract, Australia, Ketch, Maria Island, Nature, Photography, Sailing, seascape, Tasmania, Travel, Wilderness, Wineglass Bay Sail Walk, Yachts

An interesting mixture of the sharp and real and the abstract and dreamy.

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Submersed in the magic of nature…

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Ethereal boundaries and transitions…

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Probably these conditions didn’t last long as we steamed out of a sheltered anchorage.

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All these images were taken within less than eight minutes.

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