Zooming into the Frozen River of Ladakh
~ by Dhritiman Mukherjee
PUBLISH DATE: April 1, 2021
Ladakh Series (Part - I)
An explorer at heart, Dhritiman Mukherjee has braved against countless odds to capture amazing photographs in the wild. An accomplished nature and wildlife photographer, he is always looking out for the next adventure. So, when we wanted to put our camera, Sony Alpha 7R IV & Sony Alpha 7R III, to the ultimate real-world extreme weather test, there was no one better than Dhritiman for the job.
When we informed Dhritiman of the challenge, he instantly told us the perfect place for the test: Ladakh. More importantly, Ladakh during the peak winter season.
The entire landscape of Ladakh is engulfed in snow and the tricky part is to spot animals. So when we asked what he will capture with our gear, he simply smiled and listed down a few places he had in mind.
This is the story of how Dhritiman along Sony Alpha 7R IV & Sony Alpha 7R III captured the frozen Zanskar river and overcame the countless natural challenges to capture the perfect shot.
In his bag, Dhritiman packed the Sony Alpha 7R IV camera, Sony Alpha 7R III, Alpha 9 along with Sony 12-24 mm f/4 G ultra wide angle zoom lens, Sony E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS lens and an underwater camera housing.
Man, Machine & Nature
Dhritiman didn’t just want to challenge nature he also wanted to capture the ethereal beauty of Ladakh in sub-zero temperatures.
“Ladakh is picturesque. It is covered with awe-inspiring landscapes, blue skies and meandering rivers. It is a heavenly work of art done in strokes of brown and grey with stripes of silver beside the Indus River. For my expedition, I decided to capture the Zanskar river.” – Dhritiman.
This time though, Dhritiman faced a series of unforeseen challenges in front of him.
“On the day I shot pictures of the Zanskar river, the temperature was minus 25 degrees Celsius. When I reached the Zanskar river, I saw that the water was filled with dust, icicles and snowflakes. Apart from that, because the entire land was covered with snow, the visibility was not at all great. Another big challenge for me was that the river was flowing. So, it was a huge risk for me to enter the water. Though, once I managed to dive into the murky waters, visibility inside the water was also an obstacle. As I dived deeper, the oxygen levels dipped considerably.” – Dhritiman
When it came to his gear, Dhritiman was carrying with him the Sony Alpha 7R IV camera along with the Sony 12-24mm f/4 G ultra wide angle zoom lens and an underwater camera housing.
He admits that he fell in love with the Sony Alpha 7R IV camera. He told us that the camera’s 61.0-megapixel full-frame Exmor R™ CMOS sensor delivered unprecedented resolution, fine gradation and low noise. It captured various hues of the frozen river perfectly. Be it the snowflakes or the icicles in the river, he captured every detail in perfect resolution.
He further elaborates, “The camera’s lightweight and enhanced body durability helped me to shoot pictures effortlessly. Usually, I take a lot of measures to safeguard my gear while I am shooting. However, with this amazing camera, I simply covered the camera with an underwater housing and that’s it. I was ready in just a matter of minutes. Since I spent an entire day under the freezing waters, the camera’s body and new design gave me complete freedom to shoot pictures without any worry, at all.”
Appreciating the Sony Alpha 7R IV’s shutter speed, he added, “it offers excellent clarity with exposure handling that is truly admirable.”
A sturdy camera that thrived in sub-degree temperatures, the Sony Alpha 7R IV surpassed Dhritiman’s expectations. Talking about the reliable nature of the camera, Dhritiman says, “The Sony Alpha 7R IV's enhanced sealing has been applied to the battery cover, terminal cover and all joints of the chassis, and a double-sealed sliding mechanism replaces the hinge to the media compartment lid for better moisture resistance. A cushion around the lens mount has been added to ensure reliable operation in challenging environments, making the camera a perfect companion for sub-degree temperatures.”
But, apart from the camera, Dhritiman also had a few thoughts to share with us about the lens.
“The 12-24mm f/4 ultra wide angle zoom lens offers high resolution at ultra-wide angles. It offers unprecedented expressive potential for landscapes and other expansive subjects. I am impressed by how the lens’ refined ultra-wide-angle optics capture sweeping scenes with dynamic perspectives in outstanding resolution and clarity. The lens’ compact and lightweight form factor is just the perfect cherry on top of an already great tool.”
Armed with our gear, Dhritiman clicked some stunning pictures of the frozen Zanskar river. We are ecstatic that our gear passed his tests with flying colors and helped him capture spectacular photographs of the river and its beautiful elements. Do check out the gorgeous pictures of the river below on our page.
Stay tuned to know more about how he captured the wildlife in the cold temperatures in Ladakh.
In the upcoming series, he is going to recall his experiences of capturing wildlife, the hues of Ladakh in extreme weather condition and some fun behind the scene incidents which made his journey memorable.
To view Dhritiman Baja Expedition Click here