Equipment: EOS 5D Mark III EF17-40mm f/4.0L USM
EXIF: 17mm f/16 1/125 ISO 50
This shot appeared in my Ladakh Photo Story in Aug 2014 issue of ‘Smart Photography’, India’s leading photography magazine.
Ice Needles at Tso Moriri
End of May 2013. For us in plains, it was peak summers. In Ladakh, spring was still in the air. Tso Moriri (Lake Moriri) was in the melt and closer to its edge, there was a thick honeycomb of pristine white ice needles. Some unseen undercurrent was creating a clear curved divide giving the surface of the lake 2 brilliantly differing hues of turquoise and purple. At the far end of the lake, on the horizon, were the hallmark barren beige mountains of Ladakh. Dense cumulus clouds, seemingly made of fluffy cotton, were gently wafting over the horizon. The challenge was to capture it all.
I decided to go ultra-wide (17mm) with an ultra narrow aperture (f/16). Even with ISO 50, I still was on 1/125 shutter speed. These settings gave me a depth of field till infinity. I knew that the ultra wide lens would also give greater prominence to the beautiful foreground element (the ice needles) while keeping all the background elements in sharp focus. Since the shutter speed was way faster than the necessary ‘inverse of focal length’ requirement, I decided to shoot hand-held. I kneeled, just about a metre or so away from the ice needles (as the hyperfocal distance at 17mm is less than a metre – 0.6 metres, to be precise), focused on those, used the bottom 1/3rd of the frame to exaggerate the foreground and shot. The result was this piece of beauty.