Winners announced for December 2017 Trek Photographer of the Month

December was a busy month with all our winter treks on in full swing. Kedarkantha, Brahmatal and Dayara Bugyal saw the first batches of the season open up this month. Other treks such as Sandakphu Phalut, Kuari Pass, Hari ki Dun and Deoriatal-Chandrashila witnessed dramatic changes in landscape as the weather turned from autumn to winter.

We received over 500 nominations in Decembers. Going through these pictures was a delight. The variety of landscapes that these treks depicted was immense. Our judge, Vishwajeet Chavan, thus had a tough task cut out for him shortlisting 10 nominations.

Here are the winners for the Trek Photographer of the Month December 2017.

Our judge has picked out the top three winners. We also have a Trekkers’ Choice Prize!

Trek Photographer of the month

Vikalp Gupta – Brahmatal

Brahmatal lake at sunset

We have never seen a picture capturing these colours at Brahmatal lake in the past. The light and reflection here made me hold my breath for a moment. Vishwajeet says “this photograph is a proof that one does not need a high end camera gear to capture  a beautiful picture. Combinations of right framing, composition and a tini-tiny factor of luck can also turn a photograph taken from a phone, very appealing. The symmetry, still reflections and the golden hour gives a sense of calmness which trekkers often experience on a trek.”

 First Runner Up

Abhishek Mane – Kedarkantha

Billion star hotel

We always knew that the mountains are a great place to gaze at the stars in the sky but this picture is something else. Our judge nominates this picture because it reflects the photographers’ finesse. Here is what he has to say about this night time photograph –  “while capturing the picture apart from the difficulties faced technically one also needs to have a mental strength and desire to step out of the warm tents in the sub zero temperatures to get this shot rightly captured.”

Second Runner Up

Srishti Poojari – Kedarkantha

View of the meadows on the Kedarkantha trek

If you ever wondered why Kedarkantha is a great winter trek, this picture clarifies everything. What makes this picture appealing for our judge is “the movement of the trekker heading towards the Campsite, which helps the viewers to delve into the picture very elegantly.” It perfectly captures the essence of a winter trek.

Trekkers’ Choice Award

 We are revoking the Trekkers’ Choice Award for December 2017.

Nominations

Biswajit Chanda – Kuari Pass

Peeping out in the snow

Who wouldn’t want to huddle into a cozy sleeping bag with such snow around!  For Vishwajeet, “this picture truly captures the experience of trekking in winters. Many a times trekkers cocoon themselves into their warm tents during harsh weather and just simply sit back and enjoy the view from inside. Good balance between positive – negative space,  beautiful framing of the tent and the yellow color in a white background makes it just perfect.”

Sugandha Saurabh – Kedarkantha

Kedarkantha summit

Our judge, Vishwajeet, says of this picture “No, it is not staging. In fact, the photographer has patiently waited for the trekker to reach the right spot, that being, a point where the sky meets the mountain top. He has tried to capture the essence of an arduous summit climb.  Standing at the pinnacle, surrounded by cobalt sky with a golden spread of clouds makes this picture appealing and deep.” For me, this image creates a renewed longing for the mountains!

Rajat Shanker – Deoriatal-Chandrashila

Fifty shades of blue from the Chandrashila summit

Summit views are a favourite shot with most trekkers. According to Vishwajeet, “what makes this photograph stand out of the rest are the minor adjustments with the framing to avoid and involve  certain elements. Meaning a slight adjustment in framing a shot. Whats beautiful is the golden ridge acting as a leading line and taking us into the depth of unending layers of blues.”

Hassan Kumar Gundu – Kuari Pass

Silhouette of a trekker against the clouds

We don’t usually have black and white pictures in our nominations but this one was different. As our judge explains, “there are only specific type of pictures which should be converted into black and white, this is one of them. The human standing amidst the rising clouds with the peaks in the background gives the picture a heavenly look and symbolizes perseverance.”

Hassan Kumar Gundu – Kuari Pass

Children of Dhak village

We all find the children in the villages on our trekking trails adorable. Some of them are incredibly bold. But this picture tells a different story. Here is why Vishwajeet is moved by this image – “The eyes of the children say so much about the people and their saddening conditions. Although the local folk get to live in a heavenly place their lives are far from perfect. Technically sound, with nice balance of blue color makes it very appealing. And the flares scattered over the frame signify the various filters through which we see life around us.”

Yashwant K – Kuari Pass

Night sky at Khullara

Yet another night sky picture in the nominations. And each one so different from the other. Who could have imagined such variety in the setting! Says our judge “Who wouldn’t want to stay in such a Campsite. The arrangement of the tents feels quite welcoming and the extreme low angle adds an extra amount depth to it. The picture has nice balance of the night sky and the mortal world below.

Omkar Tapkirkar – Deoriatal-Chandrashila

View enroute Chandrashila summit

Vishwajeet nominates this photograph because “apart from being perfectly exposed and nicely composed the frame creates an extra awe due to the yellow ochre grass and the hues of blues and whites in the background. The human element is a cherry on top helping us realize the magnitude of the landscape.”

Vishwajeet Chavan, our photo contest judge for December 2017, is currently pursuing film making with a specialisation in cinematography from Annapurna College, Hyderabad. Photography and mountains have been his twin interests since childhood. Har ki dun, Deoriatal-Chandrshila, Kedarkantha, Kashmir Great Lakes, Buran Ghati, Brahmatal are some of the treks he been on. On a few of these, Vishwajeet went as a photo trekker for Indiahikes.  

 

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Sneha Rao

Sneha Rao

Sneha is an erstwhile HR professional from Bangalore, now living in Mumbai. She has trekked several trails in Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Kerala and Meghalaya. She holds the Green Trails idea close to her heart and enjoys researching and writing about the environment.

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