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You loved these 50 landscapes the most in 2016!

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Mid air waterfall

Bhutan

Small or large, every single waterfall is unique and amazing and I had several wonderful encounters with the mossy ones.

This is just lowest portion of a very high waterfall where almost all of it is in thin air, and you can see the water coming down as a misty veil down to wettest portion of the ground. You can see the amount of water diminishes radically the further up you go, and ends into nothingness.

The water seems to fall off the ledge and into a tunnel or vertical cave cut in half.

Perhaps it was a cave at one point and then erosion in time opened it up and then the water was free to fall in the wind, spraying the surroundings. This process is ongoing, so the waterfall might be in a canyon in the far future. During high winds the waterfall is very unpredictable and taking a picture rather risky.

From afar it looks really amazing, but standing right next to it it’s not that easy to get a good view as it is only a few meters between it, me and the edge of the shoulder of the road. Perhaps with a hundred or more meters further back I would have had a brilliant view. Instead the best view is from the road further down, albeit a bit too far again.

In the rainy season I imagine this will be a very wet and amazing place to be – free car wash at best – and a bit dangerous at worst.

Image Copyright © 2017 +Morten Ross
Image Capture Date: 06 April 2017 13:34
Altitude: 2494 meters

#waterfall #nature #landscape #bhutan

#PhotoManiaScandinavia +Photo Mania Scandinavia curated by +Walli Werner +Ronny Årbekk +Robert Walter +Jakob Schüssler +Sebastian T. +Chandro Ji

#LandscapePhotography +Landscape Photography curated by +Margaret Tompkins +Eric Drumm +Chandler L. Walker +Krzysztof Felczak +AJ Lim +Jeff Beddow +H Peter Ji +Jani Westman +Dorma Wiggin +Ranco Sevla Sevla

#hqsplandscape +HQSP Landscape

#BTPLandscapePro +BTP Landscape Pro , owned and curated by +Nancy Dempsey

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Dochula dawn II

Dochula Pass, Bhutan

I was very fortunate to come here in time for the sunrise with a cloudless sky. Very slowly I had a growing idea of the magnificent snowcapped mountains to the north and west, and as the light increased I was greeted with a completely clear sight of the tallest mountain peaks in Bhutan.

This shot does not include the highest peak as this is the farthest to the west of the view from this location and if I understand the painted map of the peaks they have erected here, that should be Khang Bum at 6494 meters. Further to the east, where the sun was rising, the highest peak, Gankar Punsum, stands more than 1000 meters taller (7564 meters).

This is such an amazing location in so many ways, but standing here alone in the morning amongst the 108 stupas as the warming rays of the sun paint the landscape in the softest of tones is something that will be remembered for a long time.

Image Copyright © 2017 +Morten Ross
Image Capture Date: 17 April 2017 05:45
Altitude: 3123 meters

#landscape #dawn #mountains #himalaya #bhutan

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Cold shower, warm colors

Rhododendrum arboretum

Bhutan

After a long day, with delays due to road work, we were approaching the Pele La Pass as the day was fast approaching twilight. The pass is a great location for the amazingly beautiful and ever rarer satyr tragopan (Tragopan satyra), but time was running out. Yet I was not in any way going to pass by this amazing location, dotted with blooming rhododendrons, coloring a landscape with snow on the ground after the recent thunderstorm.

All the rhododendrons were in fact just past their prime, and had started to drop flowers. This is a wide open location with sun most of the day. Yet today (mid-April) the snow came back for a short visit and with it the greys of the sky, and the white patches of snow on the ground made the rhododendron flowers stand out so much more than in a bright and sunny day.

I made the most of the time here before we had to move on to hopefully see some birds at the pass. It was very dark already, but at the pass the sky was clear – we had left the thunder clouds behind by the rhodrodendrons. Thus we had adequate light for a little while at the pass and even saw the incredibly beautiful male satyr trogopan.

The drive to the hotel in the nearby valley of Phobjekha was in the dark of night, and so was my trip from it the day after, as I left way before dawn to experience the first light at the beautiful Pele La Pass. Thus my experience of Phobjekha was only of that which is seen in front of the car and lights from houses. And in front of the car a fox decided to cross – what a lovely sight!

Image Copyright © 2017 +Morten Ross
Image Capture Date: 13 April 2017 17:29
Altitude: 3042 meters

#spring #flowers #landscape #bhutan

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Just in time

Chelila, Bhutan

I got up very early to get to the pass in time for the sunrise, so I could find a suitable location to set up gear and capture the rise of the sun.

During the drive up to Chelila I noticed how the time was fast approaching the sunrise, and the darkness was giving way to the twilight. Yet the road signs showed many kilometers still ahead to the pass. I was getting more and more anxious and wondered why the driver wasn’t keeping up – there was after all the only car on the road.

Just as I anxiously requested that we stop so that I could find a spot where I could glimpse the sun in between the characteristic trees, as I found them more interesting as a foreground than just a valley and a distant horizon, my guide informed me that the pass itself was a no go for landscape captures as a huge power line was going straight through there and is in the way of the sunrise. I was unaware of that, and thus we needed quite a bit less time than I’d thought. Still there was not much time to spare!

I quickly had to decide a place in between the trees and set up gear only seconds later see the very top of the sun’s disk over the horizon. Oh my what timing!

Experiencing this morning at this location was more incredible than I expected, and I was so grateful that this morning was not a cloudy one. It could have been a place inside the clouds!

If had had gone the morning after, I would have had a very cloudy morning and seen nothing of the sun.

Timing is everything!

Image Copyright © 2017 +Morten Ross
Image Capture Date: 18 April 2017 05:37
Altitude: 3723 meters

#landscape #sunrise #mountains #forest #himalaya #bhutan

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A glimpse

Mangdechhu river, north of Trongsa, Bhutan

I had hoped to get close to this beautiful river before nightfall, and headed northwards where the Trongsa highway crosses the river. At first it looks promising, as the village just a few hundred meters up the road was quite close to the river, I continued in the hopes that the river would have some pristine sections with just forest-clad mountain slopes.

Instead the road climbed ever higher, and became more and more narrow and unstable, until the driver uttered how uncomfortable he was continuing. That says a lot on how bad this local road really was. It was as bad as the death roads of Bolivia gets, and we decided to turn at the first possibility. The road continued to climb ever higher and further from the river, and then we met some huge trucks and an excavator in full swing widening the road. How on earth these huge trucks managed to get up here on this incredibly narrow and unstable road, is beyond me. You get a glimpse of the road on the right side as a bright disturbed patch in the hillside.

We passed the excavation site and after a bit found a flatter section, closer to the next village, where we turned around and also realised that getting closer to the river would most likely be very far ahead, or only possible by local trails – just as in Trongsa. So much for trying a new road and finding a place to get close to the river.

Instead all I could get from the road here was several glimpses of the river far below, also just like in Trongsa, such a typical scenario in Bhutan where the valleys are very deep and only reached when the road needs to cross it to get to the other side where it will climb to the next mountain pass eventually.

Despite an unsuccessful close encounter of the Mangdechhu river I had a great road trip and amazing views of a landscape dressed in dense forest in spring hues of greens dotted with flowering trees and the distant sound of a river.

Mangdechhu runs through, or passes, Trongsa, and not long after that a 720MW hydroelectric power plant was under construction (https://goo.gl/gIF034). Although I was told about it, and continuously encountered huge pipeline-segments for the 13.5 km long headrace tunnel stored at various locations alongside the road on the eastern bank, I wondered where it was as I did not see any dam. Only when I was on the other side of the river, and on the highest point of the road facing Trongsa did I get a glimpse of the large dam. That is how deep the valleys are!

Image Copyright © 2017 +Morten Ross
Image Capture Date: 08 April 2017 17:43
Altitude: 1965 meters

#nature #landscape #himalaya #bhutan

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Undulating sound of water

Trongsa, Bhutan

Before nightfall and a night in Trongsa I hoped to get closer to yet another amazing river, Mangdechhu, that again was far down a deep valley from the road I was travelling on. Mangdechhu river looked powerful and so pristine from my vantage point several hundred meters above it, and I really wanted to get a closer look before nightfall.

That was much harder than I thought, as the roads only intermittently met up with the river in the valley, where the roads and villages were close to It, making it impossible to capture a natural image of the elements. In time before nightfall I had to admit defeat and headed back my hotel for the night and stopped before this amazing waterfall. It is very close to the main road that is undergoing heavy duty upgrade and is thus like an open sore in the landscape. Yet this beautiful waterfall was just out of harm’s way and I hoped to capture it before it became completely dark. It’s quite amazing that where I stand the rocks and vegetation is completely disturbed from the construction work and people coming and going, but the wall itself is pristine and completely covered with plants and mosses.

As I was looking for a spot to set up gear I couldn’t help but notice the amazing undulation of the water hitting the pool. The waterfall was not sounding static but in waves as the water was traversing the air. It was such a soothing and amazing sound as it made the waterfall all the more a living being than just a place of gravity drawing the water down. Just listening to it was like hearing the water from above hitting the pool in slow motion.

Image Copyright © 2017 +Morten Ross
Image Capture Date: 08 April 2017 18:19
Altitude: 1890 meters

#waterfall #nature #landscape #himalaya #bhutan

#PhotoManiaScandinavia +Photo Mania Scandinavia curated by +Walli Werner +Ronny Årbekk +Robert Walter +Jakob Schüssler +Sebastian T. +Chandro Ji

#LandscapePhotography +Landscape Photography curated by +Margaret Tompkins +Eric Drumm +Chandler L. Walker +Krzysztof Felczak +AJ Lim +Jeff Beddow +H Peter Ji +Jani Westman +Dorma Wiggin +Ranco Sevla Sevla

#hqsplandscape +HQSP Landscape

#BTPLandscapePro +BTP Landscape Pro , owned and curated by +Nancy Dempsey

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Dochula dawn

Dochula Pass, Bhutan

What a difference a day makes! This was my second visit to this location, as my first was during the bright midday sun and hordes of visitors of yesterday. I immediately wanted to come back next morning to hopefully experience a daybreak of clear skies and soft colors.

I was not disappointed!

Weather can be unpredictable, and the pass could have greeted me with low clouds and no colors at all. Instead I was greeted with a freezing cold and cloudless Dochula with fading stars as the sun climbed ever higher towards the mountainous horizon.

I was the only visitor, and the guards were approaching to check me out, and I feared I would be asked to leave as it was outside opening hours, but was only checked out and left to enjoy the vista and set up gear.

The view is stunning, and the fact that I could catch the sun rise from this position was incredible.

Perhaps this location has become most famous for the stupas seen here, 108 in total, erected in 2003 in memory of fallen soldiers in a conflict with Indian militants. This is perhaps the most beautiful of all such monuments, and standing here all alone with the rising sun, made the experience amazing.

Image Copyright © 2017 +Morten Ross
Image Capture Date: 17 April 2017 05:40
Altitude: 3124 meters

#dawn #sunrise #landscape #stupas #himalaya #bhutan

#PhotoManiaScandinavia +Photo Mania Scandinavia curated by +Walli Werner +Ronny Årbekk +Robert Walter +Jakob Schüssler +Sebastian T. +Chandro Ji

#LandscapePhotography +Landscape Photography curated by +Margaret Tompkins +Eric Drumm +Chandler L. Walker +Krzysztof Felczak +AJ Lim +Jeff Beddow +H Peter Ji +Jani Westman +Dorma Wiggin +Ranco Sevla Sevla

#hqsplandscape +HQSP Landscape

#BTPLandscapePro +BTP Landscape Pro , owned and curated by +Nancy Dempsey

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Dawn in April

Pele La, Bhutan

At home I can just walk outside and enjoy the wonderful dusk and dawn as I please. On most of my travels I have also made certain I had a short distance from my hotel to my favourite scenic spot for the sunrise or sunset. But in Bhutan, if you’re not trekking in the high alpine regions, your bed is far away from the mountain passes accessible by car. Thus you have to get up hours before sunrise to make it in time for dusk, as I have here.

It is so worth it, as what you see, hear and smell is simply going to stick to your heart for life! At this time you will most certainly be the only human, as the tourists in general are not interested in this early morning vista or activity, except the rising branch of birding tourists. Yet I did not encounter any other birding group here during my several hour long stay.

Watching the snow-capped mountains slowly being colored by the increasing light from the sun approaching the horizon was just the first of so many incredible encounters at this location. I told my guide that this should be used as a camp site as it was so incredibly beautiful in so many ways, but also so rich in flora, fauna and avifauna. And perhaps most importantly – the road is closed, so not a single car would pass – thus nature’s own sounds rule here. If I was able to stay here I could experience it all hours of the day, not just as a visitor in the early morning. By staying in one place nature will just happen in front of you, and the wildlife will reveal itself as if you’re not there.

Image Copyright © 2017 +Morten Ross
Image Capture Date: 14 April 2017 05:50
Altitude: 3384 meters

#landscape #flowers #mountains #morning #spring #himalaya #bhutan

#PhotoManiaScandinavia +Photo Mania Scandinavia curated by +Walli Werner +Ronny Årbekk +Robert Walter +Jakob Schüssler +Sebastian T. +Chandro Ji

#LandscapePhotography +Landscape Photography curated by +Margaret Tompkins +Eric Drumm +Chandler L. Walker +Krzysztof Felczak +AJ Lim +Jeff Beddow +H Peter Ji +Jani Westman +Dorma Wiggin +Ranco Sevla Sevla

#hqsplandscape +HQSP Landscape

#BTPLandscapePro +BTP Landscape Pro , owned and curated by +Nancy Dempsey

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The flow of early morning air

Thrumshing La pass, Bhutan

Even though distances in Bhutan are not that great by air, on land they can take days, and thus to go from point a to b, a layover of the very basic nature is sometimes required when you want to go to remote places. Last night was one such bed and breakfast. It looked like a normal convenience store from the outside, but inside was a big and wonderfully warm bhukari (space heater) with guests huddled around for warmth, rooms with mattresses and blankets, and a kitchen providing meals to in-house guests or to those just stopping by. During my stay many road workers came here for warmth, tea, and food, as Bhutan is working hard on improving all their main roads by the end of 2018.

It took a while for my guide and driver to find it, even though it was right next to the road, but it was late in the evening and we had had a long drive. Daylight faded quickly, and with it the sounds of humans faded and the sounds of nocturnal wildlife took over, one being an owl nearby. I was set to get up by 04:00 the next morning to reach the Thrumshing La pass as early in the morning as possible, so I was all about eating my dinner and going to sleep as soon as humanly possible. A few hours later it was time to get up and I chose to walk outside to pee and with it experience nature at a time where humanity is still fast asleep.

I was greeted with starriest of skies, so crisp and clear! It was so cold, yet so incredibly beautiful as all the sounds I could hear were those of nature! An not light pollution!
I was so grateful for his stay, at this authentic and simple Bhutanese bed and breakfast.

Despite leaving so early it later became clear I should have left an hour earlier, as the sun in this image has already risen beyond the golden hues of dawn. But I did capture the very last of clouds flowing through the fir forest below, before the heat of the sun made it all vanish into thin air.

If I had not stayed at the bed and breakfast I would have been here when the sun is highest in the sky and the light at its hardest and the colors washed away, so I am and was very grateful to have been here at this early time in the morning. Another risk of coming later in the day is that the amazing views could have been completely engulfed by clouds!

Image Copyright © 2017 +Morten Ross
Image Capture Date: 07 April 2017 06:36
Altitude: 3695 meters

#landscape #himalaya #bhutan

#PhotoManiaScandinavia +Photo Mania Scandinavia curated by +Walli Werner +Ronny Årbekk +Robert Walter +Jakob Schüssler +Sebastian T. +Chandro Ji

#LandscapePhotography +Landscape Photography curated by +Margaret Tompkins +Eric Drumm +Chandler L. Walker +Krzysztof Felczak +AJ Lim +Jeff Beddow +H Peter Ji +Jani Westman +Dorma Wiggin +Ranco Sevla Sevla

#hqsplandscape +HQSP Landscape

#BTPLandscapePro +BTP Landscape Pro , owned and curated by +Nancy Dempsey

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