KENRO IZU PHOTOGRAPHY

1999LAD49

Ladakh #49, India 1999
I flew from Delhi to Leh, a capital town in the Ladakh region. I was in a plane of a local airline well-known for its irregular service due to the rough weather of the region. Leh is situated at an altitude of over 3500 meters, so I had to spend some time acclimatizing myself—a good opportunity and excuse for "sightseeing". After a few days spent exploring Leh, I load my equipment into a tiny Suzuki Jeep and together with a guide, set out for the western part of the region. Often, the wheels of our Suzuki skid dangerously on the gravel road close to the edge of 300-meter cliffs but this is a kind of driving experience of the India that I remembered from the past trips.

On the second day, I was suffering from diarrhea and nausea, asked my guide to arrange cooked vegetables without the Yak oil or Yak butter that is invariably added to food throughout the Himalayan region. This gives the food a distinctive flavor that does not bother me when I am in good health, but in my present situation it does not help my appetite. When we stayed in a village named Alchi, our wild-driving but otherwise gentle an kind driver brought me a bowl of apple and yogurt with a thick topping of honey. It is almost enough to bring tears to the eyes of the wimpy photographer.

After several hours of skidding over the loose dirt of winding roads with terrifying cliffs to one side, the scenery begins to take on a surreal aspect. We have reached the Ramayuru area that is famous for its "moonscape", a landscape that the elements have carved out over in almost eternal time, an unearthly scene... The Ramayuru gompa, a temple that is one of the main subjects of this trip, can be seen in the distance, sitting on top of the mountain as if an integral element of the scene. It emits the prayers and determination of a people, and stands in total harmony with nature.

Using a compass to work out the direction in which the sun will set, I decide where I want to set up the camera. And wait the moment to come. I watch the shadow of the mountains to the west begin to grow, accelerating in every seconds. I can clearly see the movement of the shadow of a mountain behind the gompa but the gompa itself remains shining brightly in the sun.

When the consciousness becomes synchronized to the movement of the light, and the purest state of consciousness emerges, one enable to sense the atmosphere that normally cannot. When the light on the gompa reaches its highest intensity, my consciousness also reaches a peak. As I release the shutter, by it's own sound, my consciousness slowly descend back to its usual, dim state.