Dead Car Zone, Merna Mora Station

Flinders Ranges, South Australia, 15th and 18th August 2016

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This is on the first day and the fifth days of the Flinders Ranges workshop ..

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On the rise above Merna Mora Station, there was a dead car and agricultural debris zone.

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The first two images were taken on the afternoon of the first day, the reat on the afternoon of the fifth.

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Some items had been there a long time.  Note the wooden wheel spokes here.

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Australia, Flinders Ranges, Landscape, Macro, Merna Mora Station, Nature, Photography, South Australia, Travel, Wreck .

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Australia, Flinders Ranges, Landscape, Macro, Merna Mora Station, Nature, Photography, South Australia, Travel, Wreck .

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Australia, Flinders Ranges, Landscape, Macro, Merna Mora Station, Nature, Photography, South Australia, Travel, Wreck .

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Australia, Flinders Ranges, Landscape, Macro, Merna Mora Station, Nature, Photography, South Australia, Travel, Wreck .

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Australia, Flinders Ranges, Landscape, Macro, Merna Mora Station, Nature, Photography, South Australia, Travel, Wreck .

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Now where was that puncture repair kit?

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There were commanding views from this place as well.

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Fancy a quick spin?

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And we came back later to a nearby spot for the sunset.

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Australia, Flinders Ranges, Landscape, Macro, Merna Mora Station, Nature, Photography, South Australia, Travel, Wreck .

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Nilpena Station and Moralana Track

Flinders Ranges, South Australia, 18-19 August 2016

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This is on the fourth day and the morning of the fifth day of the Flinders Ranges workshop ..

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I think these first four images were taken in the early morning from near Merna Mora Station where we were staying.

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Again, the mountains on the outside of Wilpena Pound, but with a different foreground.

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Silhouetted sheep in the morning sun.

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Architecture, Australia, Flinders Ranges, Landscape, Macro, Merna Mora Station, Moralana Track, Nature, Nilpena Station, Photography, South Australia, Tawny frogmouth, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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In the afternoon, we headed north along the main road. This is an abandoned house near Parachilna.

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The we visited Nilpena Station.  Sturt’s Desert Peas in the garden.

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This is a tawny frogmouth (an owl) in a tree beside the house.

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A few old farm vehicles were lying around.

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And the cattle thoughtfully arrayed themselves around a windmill.

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Next day, we headed out along the Moralana Track, starting not far from Merna Mora Station.

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There were rainclouds around but it did not rain.

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Eucalypts offer lots of bark patterns and colours.

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Architecture, Australia, Flinders Ranges, Landscape, Macro, Merna Mora Station, Moralana Track, Nature, Nilpena Station, Photography, South Australia, Tawny frogmouth, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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There were some wildflowers, too.  Native daisy of some kind.

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Native hibiscus.

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Don’t know this one.

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Still along the Moralana Track.

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Arkaba Woolshed and Brachina Gorge

Flinders Ranges, South Australia, 16-17 August 2016

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This is on the afternoon of the second day and on the third day of the Flinders Ranges workshop.

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We headed off west of Merna Mora Station for the late afternoon and sunset, I think to Motpena.  This rather spare image shows the texture of the sand leading up to the bush on top of the sand dune.  I was using a tilt shift lens, tilting it so that the plane of focus was along the sand rather than a plane perpendicular to the camera.  This is a rather time consuming exercise and I only just had time to complete the image before the group moved off.

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We returned to a nearby windmill for the late afternoon light and sunset.

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There were some cattle wandering round as well.

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This is part of the sand dune area where I was photographing earlier.

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The windmill again, “Southern Cross 14” inscribed on the vane.  Probably old water tanks beside it.

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Next morning, we took a road south of the Flinders Ranges to Photograph the dawn.  From a nearby hill, this is Arkaba Woolshed, built in 1856.  Ken Duncan no doubt did it better but if you were to order a print from me, I might charge less than $2,800 to $4,735.

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A wider panorama, taken just after all the colour bled out of the morning into a hole out of picture to the left.

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The isolation a telephoto lens can bring.  You can see this hill in the previous picture.

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Another distant view from the same vantage point.

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This is still the Flinders Ranges from the South, but an hour later and we are further east.

As with the other panorama (and other images), you can see more detail if you click on the image.

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I’m not sure exactly where we are for this and the next three images, but we are approaching the National Park from the south and heading towards the Wilpena Pound Resort where we had lunch.

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Architecture, Australia, Cazneau Tree, Flinders Ranges, Central Bearded dragon, Landscape, Macro, Merna Mora Station, Nature, Photography, South Australia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife, Yellow-footed rock-wallaby .

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This is the Cazneau Tree.  Harold Cazneau was a New Zealand photographer who came to Australia in 1908 at the age of 26.  He photographed this tree in 1937 and called his image “The Spirit of Endurance”.

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The Cazneau Tree.

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This is a central bearded dragon in a small tree.  Not sure whether he saw us coming, was waiting to grow wings, was waiting for a passing fly, or just up there to admire the view.

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Central bearded dragon.

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Perhaps you might like to see one of Australia’s spectacular wildflowers?  Well, you’re out of luck.  This is Paterson’s Curse, an introduced noxious weed, poisonous to cattle and the scourge of farmers, but pretty nonetheless.

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We are now in Brachina Gorge, showing a typical long-eroded hilltop of the Flinders Ranges.

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We also managed to see the rare yellow-footed rock wallaby.  Admittedly these two images could be sharper but there is another image or two in a later post.

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Architecture, Australia, Cazneau Tree, Flinders Ranges, Central Bearded dragon, Landscape, Macro, Merna Mora Station, Nature, Photography, South Australia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife, Yellow-footed rock-wallaby .

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

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

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Frozen rapids in the river.

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Views of the frozen river.

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Exploring the frozen river with a macro lens.

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More details of the frozen river.

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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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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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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.

 

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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.

 

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Another stone pen.

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Ancient wall and mountain view.

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Footprint of a Tibetan wolf.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is the side valley to the left.

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

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

Snow leopard paw print!

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

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

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

Another old stone shack.

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

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

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

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

… 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 .

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

A section of the dry stone wall at the pen.

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

A bush bearing red buds.

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

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

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

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

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

Pebbles on the bottom distorted by the running water.

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

Ice and dry vegetation.

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

Back in camp for lunch.

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

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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