Landscape Monochromes (Hemis NP)

24 January to 2 February 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, the preceding one applies.

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Black and White, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Wilderness

Walking in.

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Black and White, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Wilderness .

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Black and White, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Wilderness .

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Black and White, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Wilderness .

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Black and White, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Wilderness

Rumbak.

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Black and White, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Wilderness .

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Black and White, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Wilderness .

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Black and White, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Wilderness .

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Black and White, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Wilderness .

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Black and White, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Wilderness

Blue Sheep.

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Black and White, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Wilderness .

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Black and White, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Wilderness

Moving Camp.

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Black and White, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Wilderness .

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Black and White, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Wilderness

Glimpses of Snow Leopards.

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Black and White, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Wilderness .

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Black and White, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Wilderness

Rumbak Revisited.

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Black and White, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Wilderness

On the Roof of the World.

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Black and White, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Wilderness .

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Black and White, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Wilderness .

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Black and White, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Wilderness .

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Black and White, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Wilderness .

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Black and White, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Wilderness

Stok Kangri, highest peak in Ladakh.

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Black and White, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Wilderness .

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Black and White, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Wilderness .

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Black and White, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Wilderness .

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Black and White, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Wilderness

Moonlight.

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Ponies and People Monochromes (Hemis NP)

24 January to 2 February 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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Black and White, Blue Sheep, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet, Yak

A bridge festooned with prayer flags and banners.

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Black and White, Blue Sheep, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet, Yak

Our drivers conducting a ceremony to bless our trip with good fortune.

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Black and White, Blue Sheep, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet, Yak

Ponies coming to pick up our baggage to the camp.

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Black and White, Blue Sheep, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet, Yak

Tashi the Yak.

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Black and White, Blue Sheep, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet, Yak

Ponies.

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Black and White, Blue Sheep, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet, Yak

Tea is on the way.

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Black and White, Blue Sheep, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet, Yak

Blue Sheep.

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Black and White, Blue Sheep, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet, Yak

Crossing the ice in the frozen river.

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Black and White, Blue Sheep, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet, Yak

Loading the ponies to move camp.

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Black and White, Blue Sheep, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet, Yak .

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Black and White, Blue Sheep, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet, Yak

Moving camp,

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Black and White, Blue Sheep, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet, Yak .

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Black and White, Blue Sheep, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet, Yak

Crossing the icy stream in front of the new camp.

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Black and White, Blue Sheep, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet, Yak

Ponies returning to Rumbak Village.

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Black and White, Blue Sheep, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet, Yak

Rumbak Village.

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Black and White, Blue Sheep, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet, Yak .

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Black and White, Blue Sheep, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet, Yak

Walking through Rumbak Village on the way to the High Plateau.

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Black and White, Blue Sheep, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet, Yak

Walking out.

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Black and White, Blue Sheep, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet, Yak

Slipped on the ice.

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Black and White, Blue Sheep, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet, Yak

Back to the bridge.

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Rumbak Monochromes

24 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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The village Rumbak, the great metropolis near where we were camping, is in Hemis National Park.

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Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet

Walking into Rumbak.

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Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet

One of the many carved stones.

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Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet .

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Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet

Stupa and ruins beyond the village.  Path over the mountains behind the stupa.

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Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet

Remains of ruined house.

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Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet .

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Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet

A closer look at the stupa.

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Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet

A corner of the village’s ceremonial hall.

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Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet

A Buddhist flag on the trail up the main valley.

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Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet

Our first campsite.

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Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet

Another Buddhist flag.

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Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet

More stones with writing.

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Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet .

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Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet

Ancient huts or houses.

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Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet .

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Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet .

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Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet

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

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Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet

The track across the ice into Rumbak.

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Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet

Inscribed stones.

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Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet .

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Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet .

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Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet .

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Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet

Inscribed stones and stupas.

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Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet

A row of stupas.

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Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet

Stupas and house.

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Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet

Stupa with blue sheep horns guarding the village.

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Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet

Blue sheep horns and mountains.

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Black and White, Buddhism, Hemis National Park, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Monochrome, Photography, Rumbak, Street photography, Tibet .

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Walking Out

2 February 2018, Hemis National Park, Ladakh, India

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Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

After breakfast, we packed up and prepared to walk out of the national park.  Here the ponies are being fed prior to taking our stuff back along the trail.

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Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

Our villager support crew is packing everything up with remarkable speed and efficiency.

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Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

A view of the frozen river.

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Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

The ponies pass us by carrying all our baggage.  The chairs appear to be going back to Leh too.

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Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

 

One pony has slipped over crossing the ice on the frozen river.  He is soon lifted up and got on his way.

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Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

Back in the cars, here are some views of the River Indus.

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Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness .

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Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness .

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Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness .

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Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

You may remember, this bridge was in the first image of the post Walking In.  With some symmetry, this is the last image for Walking Out.  These ponies are from another group.

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On the Roof of the World

1 February 2018, Hemis National Park, Ladakh, India

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Hemis National Park, Horses, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Night Photography, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

We are on our way to climb a high plateau behind Rumbak village.  Passing through the village, here is a pony and three donkeys in a sheltered pen attached to a house.

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Hemis National Park, Horses, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Night Photography, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

A blue sheep skull in front of a house with animal feed on the roof.

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Hemis National Park, Horses, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Night Photography, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

Here we are climbing up to an intermediate ridge.  In the high altitude, climbing is very slow going.

 

Hemis National Park, Horses, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Night Photography, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

Turning around, Jools is behind me.  Further back, Emma (wearing red) is pausing for breath and Tashi, our chief guide and organiser, is monitoring her progress.

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Hemis National Park, Horses, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Night Photography, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

We have reached the intermediate ridge.  There is a stupa on a high point in the middle though you may need to click on the image to see it.  They occur in places where you wonder about the effort to build them.  You can also see a trail up to there.

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Hemis National Park, Horses, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Night Photography, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

I paused for this panorama.  Stok Kangri, to the right of the cloud at the left, is the highest peak in Ladakh at 6,150 metres (20,200 feet).

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Hemis National Park, Horses, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Night Photography, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

Some of the others set off immediately for the small high plateau.  I followed them after a time and missed the brief period of calm with no wind that those others encountered.  This and following images are from the high plateau.

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Hemis National Park, Horses, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Night Photography, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

We are at 4,300 metres or 14,100 feet.

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Hemis National Park, Horses, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Night Photography, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness .

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Hemis National Park, Horses, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Night Photography, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness .

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Hemis National Park, Horses, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Night Photography, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

I called this post “On the Roof of the World”, a phrase which normally relates to Tibet.  Well, we are on the Himalayan plateau in an area that is historically and culturally Tibetan (though part of India) and we are at one of the highest levels of Ladakh.

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Hemis National Park, Horses, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Night Photography, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness .

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Hemis National Park, Horses, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Night Photography, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

A closer view of Stok Kangri, highest peak in Ladakh.

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Hemis National Park, Horses, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Night Photography, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness .

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Hemis National Park, Horses, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Night Photography, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness .

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Hemis National Park, Horses, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Night Photography, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness .

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Hemis National Park, Horses, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Night Photography, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness .

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Hemis National Park, Horses, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Night Photography, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

Back in camp, I decided to venture out late at around 9pm when it was dark (and cold) for an image of the stars with the land illuminated by the light of the full moon.

We are at the same point where we viewed the three snow leopards.  They were at the skyline at far right or perhaps further to the right.

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Hemis National Park, Horses, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Night Photography, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

There may be some constellations visible, for those who can pick them.  Click the image for a larger view.

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Rumbak Revisited

31 January 2018, Hemis National Park, Ladakh, India

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On this day we went back and revisited the village of Rumbak.

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Blue Sheep, Common Redstart, Eurasian Magpie, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Tibetan Snowcock, Travel, Wilderness

This is the route across the frozen river to the first house.  There are two considerations here.  First, the ice needs to be thick enough to walk on and second, it can be slippery and you don’t want to fall over.  You can see footprints on the ice towards the right.  In general you find a flat place to cross, watch the colour and consistency of the ice and if necessary, you can throw some handfuls of dirt on it.  Disconcerting at first but almost normal after a while.

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Blue Sheep, Common Redstart, Eurasian Magpie, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Tibetan Snowcock, Travel, Wilderness

I wanted to get some more pictures of the fascinating inscribed stones.

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Blue Sheep, Common Redstart, Eurasian Magpie, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Tibetan Snowcock, Travel, Wilderness

And in some places there can be a lot of them.

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Blue Sheep, Common Redstart, Eurasian Magpie, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Tibetan Snowcock, Travel, Wilderness .

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Blue Sheep, Common Redstart, Eurasian Magpie, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Tibetan Snowcock, Travel, Wilderness .

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Blue Sheep, Common Redstart, Eurasian Magpie, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Tibetan Snowcock, Travel, Wilderness

Inscribed stones and a stupa (or chorten).

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Blue Sheep, Common Redstart, Eurasian Magpie, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Tibetan Snowcock, Travel, Wilderness

A row of stupas (inside the village).

A stupa was originally used to house the remains of the Bhudda. Later this became sacred texts and images, or the stupas were simply sacred in their own right as a supporting object for meditation.  Stupa is the Sanscript word, Chorta the Tibetan and Dagoba the Sinhalese.  In China, Japan and Korea, the stupa developed into the pagoda.

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Blue Sheep, Common Redstart, Eurasian Magpie, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Tibetan Snowcock, Travel, Wilderness

Stupas and residences.

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Blue Sheep, Common Redstart, Eurasian Magpie, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Tibetan Snowcock, Travel, Wilderness

One of the residences that also doubles as a homestay.

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Blue Sheep, Common Redstart, Eurasian Magpie, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Tibetan Snowcock, Travel, Wilderness

There were maybe four of these, mini-stupas surmounted by blue sheep skulls and other “sacred” objects, and coated by what may be an iron oxide pigment.  I didn’t ask about the significance of these but I wonder whether they are to keep malign spirits out of the village and represent the pre-Buddhist Bon religion, whether rolled up as part of local Bhuddhism or separate.

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Blue Sheep, Common Redstart, Eurasian Magpie, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Tibetan Snowcock, Travel, Wilderness

More engraved stones.

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Blue Sheep, Common Redstart, Eurasian Magpie, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Tibetan Snowcock, Travel, Wilderness

This is I think a common redstart on the engraved stones.  It is actually out of focus, as with all the bird images in this post, but hopefully I can get away with it at this size.

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Blue Sheep, Common Redstart, Eurasian Magpie, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Tibetan Snowcock, Travel, Wilderness

The shed and some of the houses in the background have animal feed on top, to prevent them being prematurely devoured.

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Blue Sheep, Common Redstart, Eurasian Magpie, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Tibetan Snowcock, Travel, Wilderness

This is the Eurasian magpie, bactriana subspecies, unrelated to the Australian Magpie.

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Blue Sheep, Common Redstart, Eurasian Magpie, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Tibetan Snowcock, Travel, Wilderness

I had wanted to get some photographs of them but they do not hang around when a camera is pointed at them so I sat down on a vantage point near the village and waited.

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Blue Sheep, Common Redstart, Eurasian Magpie, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Tibetan Snowcock, Travel, Wilderness

This is a Tibetan snowcock, which I had previously seen but also been unable to photograph.

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Blue Sheep, Common Redstart, Eurasian Magpie, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Tibetan Snowcock, Travel, Wilderness

They are quite different in colouring to the Himalayan snowcock I mentioned in an earlier post.  They are in the pheasant family and though they can fly, they seem disinclined to do so in most circumstances.

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Blue Sheep, Common Redstart, Eurasian Magpie, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Tibetan Snowcock, Travel, Wilderness

There was something interesting the magpies in this small gulley.

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Blue Sheep, Common Redstart, Eurasian Magpie, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Tibetan Snowcock, Travel, Wilderness .

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Blue Sheep, Common Redstart, Eurasian Magpie, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Tibetan Snowcock, Travel, Wilderness

Hello!

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Blue Sheep, Common Redstart, Eurasian Magpie, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Tibetan Snowcock, Travel, Wilderness

Mmm.  That bag looks interesting.

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Blue Sheep, Common Redstart, Eurasian Magpie, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Tibetan Snowcock, Travel, Wilderness

Are you still here?

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Blue Sheep, Common Redstart, Eurasian Magpie, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Tibetan Snowcock, Travel, Wilderness

Ahh.  Lunch!

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Blue Sheep, Common Redstart, Eurasian Magpie, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Tibetan Snowcock, Travel, Wilderness

Blue sheep skulls on top of a shed.

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Blue Sheep, Common Redstart, Eurasian Magpie, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Tibetan Snowcock, Travel, Wilderness

Skull, inscribed stones, stupa and house.

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Blue Sheep, Common Redstart, Eurasian Magpie, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Tibetan Snowcock, Travel, Wilderness

Down below the camp, at the main river.  The platform is covered by inscribed stones and I presume it qualifies as a stupa.

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Blue Sheep, Common Redstart, Eurasian Magpie, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Tibetan Snowcock, Travel, Wilderness

A frozen mini-waterfall in the village near the camp.

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Blue Sheep, Common Redstart, Eurasian Magpie, Hemis National Park, Ice, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rumbak, Tibet, Tibetan Snowcock, Travel, Wilderness

And the wider view.

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

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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