The township of Gangtey sits at a height above 3000m, cradled by a beautiful and sheltered valley. It's cold here in the winter, so cold that the Black-necked Cranes like to visit for a few months each year. The farmers don't mind, as the potatoes fields are long harvested by then and sent off to market. These are amazing folk, surviving in such a sparse landscape. I enjoy my time in Gangtey, with it's majestic monastery and peaceful skies.
Photo Essay | 28 images | Phobjikha Valley | Bhutan
Tsechu at Tamshing
Tamshing is a small temple in the central Bhutanese region of Bumthang. This is a small temple with just a handful of monks, but each year the community gathers to celebrate the spirit and traditions of Bhutan. Cham dances are performed during the Tamshing Tsechu over the course of three days, with monks dressing in the black-hat and other cham costumes.
Photo Essay | 34 images | Bhutan | Bumthang
Trongsa to Dochula
Once the centre of power in the Kingdom of Bhutan, Trongsa Dzong is now a stopping point for travellers heading east. And a beautiful stop at that. Once you clear the thin air of Dochula and Yotongla the high fields of Central Bhutan offer an immense sense of space, with very few villages hidden in the mountains.
Photo Essay | 35 images | Bhutan | Trongsa
Tigers and Nuns
Paro is where the western world meets the Kingdom of Bhutan, and is the departure point for travellers after exploring lands to the east. One final challenge greets us however, the ascent to Tigers Nest. A remarkable temple clings to the side of a rock, ironically intended to provide solitude and isolation from the outside world. Now the entire world comes here to see it.
Photo Essay | 36 images | Himalayas | Bhutan
Tangbi to Jakar
A landscape of powerful rivers, silent mountains and sacred temples. Central Bhutan is a long drive from the cities of Paro and Thimphu, a winding route that hugs the valleys. But a beautiful drive. You get a sense of the wilderness that is Bhutan, a taste of the forests and a glimpse of life in the Himalayas.
Photo Essay | 31 images | Bhutan | Bumthang
Tang and Nang
Dancing monks. Smiling lamas. Bhutanese farmers dressed in their finest. We were guests at a couple of festivals in Bhumthang this week. Moments like these are rare and treasured.
Photo Essay | 38 images | Bhutan | Himalayas
Tamshing Phala Choepa
Softly softly, like a snow leopard hiding in the Himalayas. The quiet temple of Tamshing rests peacefully all year, until the annual festival. Rustling with colour and kindness, the locals crowd inside to celebrate the monks, the chams, the blessings. It's festive, unpredictable and vibrant.
Photo Essay | 58 images | Bumthang | Bhutan
Punakha to Phobjikha
Just a hundred miles apart as the raven flies, Punakha and Phobjokha couldn't be more different. The richly terraced rice fields of Punakha enjoy a semi-tropical climate and the grandeur of one of Bhutan's most elegant Dzongs. Phobjokha is home to potato farmers, migrating cranes and sub-zero mornings in the winter. It's a modest journey between the two that reveals so much about Bhutan.
Photo Essay | 56 images | Bhutan
This valley lies at an altitude of 2800m, too high to grow rice but a happy climate for the Black-necked Cranes who visit every year from Tibet. Potatoes are the crop of trade in Phobjokha. Most rural settings you'll see when visiting Bhutan have a sense of abundance, but no here. Phobjikha Valley is sparse and dramatic, a narrow thread of green hidden by the mountains near Pele La.
Photo Essay | 33 images | Bhutan | Gangtey Valley
Monks of Chimi Lhakhang
Chimi Lhakhang is the known as the Temple of the Divine Madman. Phallic symbols dominate the entire area let alone the temple, as the founding monk had something of a passion for women. To this day the blessing from monks at Chimi is known to bring good luck to those seeking to have a baby. For our photography tour it just brought us some lovely photos of monks and their traditions.
Photo Essay | 17 images | Phunakha | Bhutan
Far from the Temples
This photo essay was taken during my 2012 photo tour, a collection of landscapes, people and details that remind me of the Druk culture. Some images are evocative of my favourite moments during that two weeks, others connect with memories across all my journeys in Bhutan. There's more to this country than just temples and monks.
Photo Essay | 32 images | Bhutan | Himalayas
Dragons in Winter
Bhutan is also known as "The land of the thunder dragon", which sounds like they must have terrible weather or something. Maybe if you plan to go hiking at 7,000m, that gets a little snowy. It's always a surprise for my guests when they discover how gorgeous Bhutan is in the middle of winter. It does get cold overnight but while the sun is shining in the daytime the light is magnificent and the air is full of joy. It's my favourite time of year to be in the Himalayas. These images were taken on my trusty little Lumix G9 during the 2019 photo tour, just before Christmas.
Every year I travel to Bhutan and every year it's a unique journey. This winter we made our way to the Trongsa Dzong for their annual festival. This valley is amazing and beautiful, and the dzong is one of the most majestic in all of Bhutan. Trongsa Dzong was also the first site for the unified kingdom of Bhutan. This photo essay travels from Thimphu, to Punakaha to Gangtey and on to Trongsa. Bhutan is wonderful.
Photo Essay | 69 images | Bhutan | Himalayas
Cameras and Tigers
This set of images is a little induglent, a collection of images from my most recent journey across Bhutan. It covers the early morning climb to shoot Taktsang, the snow capped peaks of Gasa and the festival in Punakha. I regard this as one of my best journeys ever, that perfect mix of experience and excitement. I only visit Bhutan once a year because I want it to remain special for me, and each year it's like rediscovering an old friend. Few people get a chance to see Bhutan in such depth ans splendour, and with the help of some fabulous people such as Rinzi and Tshering we found ourselves blessed with opportunity and inspiration. Thanks guys.
Every temple in Bhutan has a festival once a year. Some are big and some are small, but all of them are unique. This year I took my photography tour to Bumthang, one of my favourite parts of the country, and met some lovely novice monks in a very modest temple. Some were cheeky, some were serene and a few were slightly drunk. Together they were wonderful.
Photo Essay | 32 images | Bumthang | Bhutan
Bhutanese Black and White
This set of images inspired a feature I wrote about letting the experience take precedence over the exposures. The idea is to take your time and experience the moment before you try to capture the moment. It's a technique that gives you greater ability to express something special in your travel photography, but also opens the door to unexpected and wonderful experiences. It's what follows from my three guiding principles... Go Slow, Get Closer, Let the Light Guide You.