I have just returned from leading my ‘Thunder Dragon Through The Lens’ bespoke photography workshop in breathtaking Bhutan. In partnership with Leica Singapore, I shot exclusively with the mirrorless Leica SL system while I was in Bhutan. This week I was offered the keys to the @leicastoresg Instagram account to share my impressions and experiences while working with the SL and the Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24–90 mm f/2.8–4 and Leica APO-Vario-Elmarit-SL 90–280 mm f/2.8–4 lenses, as well as showcase a handful of my favourite images from my photographic adventures across the enigmatic Himalayan Kingdom.
Hello, my name is Scott A. Woodward (@iamscottawoodward) and I am a Canadian visual storyteller who lives in Singapore and shoots across Asia and around the world. I have just returned from leading a bespoke photography workshop in breathtaking and enigmatic Bhutan. I shot exclusively with the Leica SL while in Bhutan, and this week I’ve been given the keys the Leica Store Singapore Instagram account to showcase a few of my favourite photographs from my adventures in the “Land of the Thunder Dragon”. Cradled deep in the creases of the soaring Himalayas, Bhutan is a spectacular mixture of stunning, rugged countryside, centuries-old architecture, vibrant and colorful culture and welcoming locals. I made this photograph of the Great Buddha Dordenma framed by prayer flags from Kuensel Phodrang Nature Park as the sun rose over Thimphu on my very first morning in Bhutan. Using the Leica SL’s internal integrated sensors and the horizon line that’s visible both on the monitor and inside the EyeRes electronic viewfinder, it’s simple to keep the camera level, even when shooting handheld landscape imagery. 📷: #LeicaSL | Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90mm f/2.8-4 ASPH | 1/200 sec | f/11 | ISO 100 #Leica #LeicaCamera #LeicaSG #LeicaStoreSG #LeicaStoreSingapore #thimphu #bhutan #thunderdragon #buddhadordenma #buddhapoint #kuenselphodrang #igsg #sgig #singapore #natgeo #travel #travelgram
Photographer Scott A. Woodward’s @iamscottawoodward Instagram takeover continues… Bhutan’s natural light is soft and golden, and the prayer-flag-strewn, snowcapped-mountain vistas are beyond breathtaking. Friendly Bhutanese in traditional dress fill bustling city markets, while smiling monks in flowing maroon robes inhabit the ancient monasteries that dot the craggy countryside. I made this photograph at Chimi Lhakhang, a Buddhist monastery perched on a hill just outside Punakha. It was late afternoon golden hour as I explored the 15th century temple grounds and stumbled upon this stunning sliver of sunlight slicing down a long hallway. As I dialed in the camera’s Exposure Value (EV), I could see the scene instantly brighten and darken inside the Leica SL’s EyeRes electronic viewfinder, which meant that perfectly exposing my portrait of this young novice monk was simple. 📷: #LeicaSL | Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90mm f/2.8-4 ASPH | 1/250 sec | f/8 | ISO 100 #punakha #bhutan #thunderdragon #chimilhakhang #Leica #LeicaCamera #LeicaSG #LeicaStoreSG #LeicaStoreSingapore #igsg #sgig #singapore #natgeo #travel #travelgram
This is the third day of photographer Scott A. Woodward’s @iamscottawoodward Instagram takeover. Enveloped by the Indian plains to the south and the mountainous Tibetan regions of China to the north, Bhutan is home to vast breathtaking natural topography, disparate climatic regions, and a proud people with a colourful culture. While in Bhutan I attended the Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival, an annual commemoration of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo and the Armed Forces’ victory over Indian insurgent forces residing in southern Bhutan in 2003. It is a unique celebration in that all choreographed dances are performed by the Royal Bhutan Army rather than the monastery. The Leica SL’s fast, sharp autofocus made it possible to track the performers and the Maestro II series high-performance processor allowed me to capture rapid consecutive exposures at 11 frames per second as the performers danced and weaved and leapt high into the air. 📷: #LeicaSL | Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90mm f/2.8-4 ASPH | 1/1250 sec | f/6.3 | ISO 100 #dochula #dochulapass #bhutan #thunderdragon #dochuladrukwangyelfestival #Leica #LeicaCamera #LeicaSG #LeicaStoreSG #LeicaStoreSingapore #igsg #sgig #singapore #natgeo #travel #travelgram
Today’s the fourth day of our Instagram takeover by Canadian visual storyteller Scott A. Woodward @iamscottawoodward. Buddhism was introduced to Bhutan in the 7th century AD and today more than 75% of the nation’s nearly 800,000 residents are Buddhist. As such, countless Buddhist monasteries pepper the rugged hillsides throughout the rolling countryside. I made this candid photograph at Punakha’s Nalanda Buddhist Institute, a monastic school (shedra) established in 1754, while some of the monks relaxed during a brief mid-morning break on the hillside overlooking the valley. Unlike a tradional DSLR, the mirrorless Leica SL offers edge-to-edge autofocus coverage across the entire frame, allowing for quick, tack sharp images even when my main subject is outside the centre area of the frame. 📷: Leica SL | Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90mm f/2.8-4 ASPH | 1/500 sec | f/8 | ISO 100 #punakha #bhutan #thunderdragon #nalandabuddhistinstitute #Leica #LeicaCamera #LeicaSG #LeicaStoreSG #LeicaStoreSingapore #igsg #sgig #singapore #natgeo #travel #travelgram
This is the final day of Scott A. Woodward @iamscottawoodward Instagram takeover, and he has saved the best for last. Dzongs are massive Bhutanese fortresses whose main purposes were to fend off enemy attacks as well as function as the seat of central government authority. Bhutanese dzong architecture is distinctive with towering exterior walls surrounding a complex of courtyards and temples, and they house both the district government offices and the monastic clergy. Paro’s imposing 15th century Rinpung Dzong – meaning “Fortress on a Heap of Jewels” – is a perfect example of this unique Bhutanese building style, not to mention a fitting title for the final photograph of my Instagram takeover. This long exposure, low-light photograph of the dzong in Paro during a brilliant crimson and magenta sunset is a testament to the true power of the Leica SL: intentionally doing without a low-pass filter, the camera provides excellent dynamic range, beautiful contrast rendition, sensationally vivid colour and the highest image quality even in the most challenging of lighting conditions. 📷: #LeicaSL | Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90mm f/2.8-4 ASPH | 36 sec | f/18 | ISO 50 #paro #bhutan #thunderdragon #parodzong #rinpungdzong #Leica #LeicaCamera #LeicaSG #LeicaStoreSG #LeicaStoreSingapore #igsg #sgig #singapore #natgeo #travel #travelgram