Photographer Braves Sub-Zero Temperatures to Capture the Winter in Ladakh, India

Venkitesh Ramachandran Photographs Ladakh, INdia In Winter

In northern India lies Ladakh, a territory full of high-altitude plateaus, lakes, and mountain ranges. Within the oft-contested Kashmir region, it is one of the few places in the country where a photographer might encounter frozen lakes and extreme winter weather. IT professional and landscape photographer Venkitesh Ramachandran has made it his goal to photograph India's hidden gems—among them Ladakh in winter. His incredible images of the region depict an unforgiving yet beautiful landscape that is simultaneously lonely and awe-inspiring.

Ramachandran first picked up photography in 2015 while on a trip to Thailand. Since then, he has made a serious study of travel and landscape photography using his Nikon D750. He snaps portraits of India, his home country, while on trips with his family and has also trekked solo in the Himalayas on his quest for the best shots. This experience in an extreme environment prepared him for Ladakh in winter where the low temperatures and wind chill can be dangerous for those without the proper experience and equipment.

“I have not seen many photos of Ladakh, especially winter shots,” Ramachandran said. “I really wasn’t expecting glorious sunrise or sunset. I know the clouds are going to be gloomy with a few optimistic colors here and there. So, I was more focused on mood expressions and the loneliness type of shot.” These images—shot at up to 18,000 feet in altitude—capture a remote world including scattered human subjects framed by imposing mountains.

The natural elements made photographing Ladakh a challenge. Some shots were hard to focus because Ramachandran's eyes watered from the wind or the tripod swayed under the camera. Other times, the temperatures were so cold he could not remove his gloves to depress the shutter. The wind and altitude also made breathing more difficult, but it was worth it. Ramachandran says of Ladakh, “I really want people to explore India as there are so many hidden gems. My advice: go well prepared as it is a very high altitude and oxygen levels are low. You need to be in good shape and wear at least four layers of clothes to keep yourself warm.”

While a level of expertise is necessary to remain safe on winter expeditions in Ladakh, everyone can enjoy Ramachandran's stunning shots of the region's beautiful landscapes. You can follow his work on his website and Instagram.

Photographer and IT professional Venkitesh Ramachandran has been photographing the hidden gems of India for years.

Venkitesh Ramachandran Photographs Ladakh, India In Winter

Among these is the extreme yet beautiful winter landscape of the Ladakh region in the north.

Tso Morri Lake at Sunset

With sub-zero temperatures, high winds, and extreme altitudes, photographing in the region is not easy during winter.

Ice in India

Prepared by his solo treks in the Himalayas, Ramachandran was able to capture lonely, moody shots of the beautiful mountains and lakes.

Venkitesh Ramachandran Photo of Lake and Mountains in IndiaSomeone all alone on the beach in winterDark Knight at Pangong ladakh in winterBatman Begins in Lakadh

Venkitesh Ramachandran: Website | Instagram | Facebook

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Venkitesh Ramachandran.

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Madeleine Muzdakis

Madeleine Muzdakis is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and a historian of early modern Britain & the Atlantic world. She holds a BA in History and Mathematics from Brown University and an MA in European & Russian Studies from Yale University. Madeleine has worked in archives and museums for years with a particular focus on photography and arts education. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, film photography, and reading while cuddling with her cat Georgia.
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