Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Too many targets

There is a shortcut through the wilderness between Rampur and the Dehra Dun region, which we took early next morning.

This day led us again through misty, high-altitude jungle and I still remember it as probably the most beautiful day of the whole trip.

It is said, every photo should have a little red in it...

...or at least a creek with long exposure.

I loved that jungle.

And the people in the villages.

I found people in Himachal very beautiful. They are more mixed, more diversified there than in Ladakh, some of them with very special and delicate features, especially the girls. Whenever we saw a good-looking girl on the road we stopped and I got out to photograph her, with Soni occasionally translating; he enjoyed this - sorry to say so - model-hunting and after a while we just cried "target at one o'clock" whenever a promising girl showed up. Sadna, shown in the image below, was spotted by me but a few days later it was Soni who found the really big opportunity.

I was amazed by her soft, almost Caucasian features; she was very kind too, even if a little camera-shy.
And there was Anna, too. She liked to pose but her brother was close by. He was carrying a sledgehammer and didn't like my camera at all, no matter my politeness and the two polaroids I gave them. The feeling was mutual as I didn't like his sledgehammer. Anna, too, could easily pass for a European.

In general, I prefer photograph girls to boys because they tend to be smarter, more camera-happy and last not least more pleasing to look at. (In exchange, boys get more beautiful as they get older. They get wise, with a tough life written all over their face. On the other hand, life in the Himalayas takes its toll on female beauty very soon.) Boys usually started doing crazy antics whenever I wanted to photograph them but they weren't even remotely funny.

This was just another situation with boys ruining a photograph with their grimaces. However... look at that girl in the background, with the white ribbons in her hair. She attracted me already through the viewfinder. Her name was Madhu. First laughing and cheerful...

...but when I singled her out she became serious and made a stern face that she kept no matter how I tried to make her change her expression.

I pretty much liked her but in hindsight I realize that the real hero of the day was Sonia - fun, full of energy and immensely cute.

Madhu, Sonia and Sabina with the obligatory polaroid. Sonia obviously loves being in the middle of things.

As we continued, there was a waterfall above the road and Soni used the opportunity to take a free shower.
Meanwhile, an open jeep came along; the passengers got out and skirted the waterfall, giving me the chance to photograph one of them.

Uttaranchal's roads are among the worst in India and it was indeed here that we got stuck in the mud - first time after driving several thousand kilometers in the Himalayas. Nothing serious though.

We even met an old Muslim, doing his evening prayers on the roadside. At first he was a little grumpy but then he didn't really seem to mind it, though.

It was a tiring and long drive but the scenery was always great.

Of course, our way to Mussoorie would have been much shorter if I don't ask Soni every five minutes to stop for a photo break.

Her name was Lalita. My personal favorite.

And in the end, Mussoorie and dinner - at last.

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