Capturing Wildlife in the icy locales of Ladakh

~ by Dhritiman Mukherjee

PUBLISH DATE: April 22, 2021

After the success of the “Zooming into the Frozen river in Ladakh” series, Sony Alpha community brings forth the second chapter of the Dhritiman Mukherjee’s Ladakh expedition. This article talks about the beautiful animals and birds he captured and the challenges he overcame using Sony gear.

For his expedition, he packed his bag with the Sony Alpha 9 camera and the Sony Alpha 7R IV camera. Among the set of lenses, he used the Sony E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS lens and the Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G lens.

Wildlife of Ladakh

“Each species is a masterpiece, a creation assembled with extreme care and genius”, motivated by these thoughts about the marvels of nature, Dhritiman ventured into the icy cold locales of Ladakh in extreme winter. He explains, “A large variety of animals inhabit Ladakh. They have grown accustomed to the extreme weather of the Great Himalayan range. The best part about Ladakh is that wildlife aficionados get to experience some of the most exotic wild animals residing against the backdrop of blue skies, snow-clad peaks and rugged mountains.”

During his expedition, he photographed the Tibetan wild ass (also known as Kiyang in Ladakhi language), Ladakh Urial (Shapo), Eurasian Lynx (Eeh), Ducks, Wolves, The Common Rosefinch and several other animals.

Recalling the challenges Dhritiman faced in Ladakh, he says, “Even though, I was fully aware that there will be snow in January, I had no idea that it would be so hard to spot animals in the snow. Another challenge was that since Ladakh experienced heavy snowfall, the visibility dropped sharply. I had to trek for a minimum of 20 to 25 kms everyday to click pictures.”

Zooming into the wild with Sony

An avid explorer at heart, Dhritiman shares that despite the obstacles he encountered, he never thought of giving up. “I chose to visit Ladakh in winter because I truly wanted to capture its unique wildlife creatures. During my 15-days visit, I used to wake up at dawn, brave the extreme weather and venture out with my Sony gear. To capture the wildlings, I used the Sony Alpha 9 camera as my primary camera and the 12-24mm F 4G lens.”

Recollecting his experiences, he says that he loved capturing the Eurasion Lynx on his Sony Alpha 9 camera. “It is a rare species of cats found in Ladakh. What makes it a delight for the camera is its distinctive long tuft of hair on its ears. Eurasian Lynx is an excellent climber and is known to be quite a secretive and elusive animal. A nocturnal creature, I managed to capture this mysterious wild cat at dawn with my Sony Alpha 9 camera. The camera performed exceedingly well in low-light situations. I love how the camera’s anti-distortion electronic shutter allows silent shooting without mechanical mirror and shutter noise.”

As he showed us his shots, he paused for a while and told us about an impromptu underwater test that Dhritiman put the camera through. While capturing a bird sitting atop a stone in the Hanle river, Dhritiman shares, “It was so sudden. I was sitting by the river and I spotted this magnificent bird calmly sitting on the stone. I quietly immersed the Sony Alpha 9 camera along with an underwater housing into the waters and captured this photograph.”

Sifting through the pictures, he stopped at a picture of Kiyangs. He ardently recalled, “I clicked this picture at the Hanle village. It was early morning and the Kiyangs were dusting. I composed the picture in such a way that I managed to get the Kiyangs against the backdrop of the Himalayas in the soft morning light.”

He further says, “There is a picture of a raft of ducks paddling in water. The camera’s high-speed continuous shooting along with the excellent shutter speed of up to 1/32000 second offered me complete control to click this picture.”

When it comes to the Sony camera’s favourite feature, Dhritiman said, “I love the camera’s AF/AE live-view tracking. It helped me capture this Urial. Since the animal moves around so quickly, I thought I won’t be able to photograph this gorgeous animal. However, Sony Alpha 9 alleviated all my doubts and I shot a lot of pictures of the Urial. The camera’s anti flicker shooting allowed me to shoot pictures without any disruption,”

He fondly shared that the 12-24mm lens enhanced his shooting experience. “While I was trekking in the snow, I came across a pack of wolves. The 12-24mm F4 G lens offered me fast and quiet Autofocus. The lens is so lightweight and compact. It thrived in the harsh climate. A superior ED glass is fitted in the lens which further improves the sharpness and clarity throughout the image area,”

We are ecstatic that our gear assisted Dhritiman in capturing enthralling pictures of the wildlife species in Ladakh.

Do check out pictures of the stunning birds and animals below on our page.

Stay tuned to know about all the behind the scenes action during Dhritiman’s Ladakh expedition.

Dhritiman Mukherjee

About Dhritiman Mukherjee

One of India’s most accomplished nature and wildlife photographers, Dhritiman Mukherjee is an explorer and wanderer. In the last twenty years, he has pushed his limits as a photographer to do work that is compelling as well as scientifically essen... Read more

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