Monday, June 11, 2007

The Faces of Bhutan

While in Bhutan, I became enamored with the people that we met and the many faces of Bhutan. At the Prakhar festival we had the great fortune to visit with the monks who were dancing and also to photograph the people who were attending the festival. Two of the photos in this post reflect the faces of Prakhar.

Many of Bhutan's young men are novices studying to become Bhuddhist monks. This is a very honorable position for a young man and it was great fun to meet and photograph them both at school and after their studies had ended for the day.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bhutan - The Monks of Prakhar

In 2006, I had the great fortune to be able to witness and to photograph the dancing monks in Prakhar, a small village in Bhutan. The dance festivals are central to the religious life of the Bhutanese people and are great expressions of art, dance, and are performed to honor Guru Rimpoche. The monks who dance in the festival are to me, some of the most gifted performers that I have had the pleasure of seeing.

The costumes are very ornate, heavy, and voluminous. The monks were dancing in the courtyard of the monastery on a very uneven surface of cobblestones - barefoot! As can be seen in the photos above, they are world class and were breathtaking to watch.

I hope that you enjoy these photographs as much as I enjoyed taking them and if you have the fortune to travel to Bhutan, a highlight of your travels will be to attend a festival.

Wow! It's Here!

I am not sure if I fell under the spell of having the newest Canon on the block, but I picked up my brand new EOS 1ds Mark III last week and have been out getting familiar with it and the new 580EX II flash. The initial learning curve was pretty low and soon I was off shooting. As you can imagine, one of the first settings that I tried was the high speed continuous shot mode. I can now personally attest that 10 frames per second live is just as fast as it sounds in the marketing videos.

After using the 1ds Mark II for almost a year, the controls on the Mark III are easy to use and very intuitive. I wish that the Mark III had been available last year when I was in Bhutan with Tewfic El-Sawy. The festival dancers that we captured would have made a magnificent flash show.

The clarity of the image when matched with the Canon f2.8 lenses is just short of phenomenal for me and I know that I am going to really enjoy both the Marks when I am in Bali.

I am disappointed, however, to find that my Apple MacBook Pro, Adobe CS2, and Adobe Lightroom do not recognize the Mark III raw file. My Epson P2000 reads a file in the raw image but the forums are indicating that it is actually reading the embedded .jpg file from within the .cr2 file.

Do I like it? You bet I do. Does it shoot like a dream? So far. Have I read the horror stories in the dpreview forums? Yep - but it is a brand new model and there will always be some bumps.

One definite drawback to taking the new Mark III and 580EX II flash to Bali - Two more manuals to read.

29 days, 2 hours, 58 minutes until wheels up.