Monk walking in monastery, Bhutan


Never underestimate the power of gesture in a photograph to make it come alive.

It was late in the day when we wandered through the Punakha monastery in Bhutan. The light was low and side lighting the walls adding a nice texture. It was relatively quiet – the admin side of the monastery was closed, and only a few monks were sitting outside in a doorway when we came around the corner. But it was a nice scene and some of us photographed them while others focused on details of the amazing architecture.   Suddenly I spotted this one monk heading for the exit door. I saw the possibilities for a simple photograph with him silhouetted against the sidelight wall as he was walking in the shade. I waited for him to get into a position that helped balance the window and shadow in the upper right. But what I didn’t expect was when he started wrapping his robe/shawl around him – that moment when the fabric waved in the breeze, coupled with his lifted foot, gave a gesture to the scene that went beyond being a still life. Let’s just say I was a elated in that moment – with the moment I captured.


I am looking at returning to Bhutan in 2016, having done three trips there, the last one in 2011, it’s time to return! But I am looking at eastern Bhutan, the less travelled area, this time. Stay tuned!

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