This online shoebox contains random pictures, notes, whatever. I've been a professional writer-photographer for so many years now. It's a damn good excuse to carry a camera around.

Posted By Lester V Ledesma

I'm not really used to having myself get splashed all over a newspaper front page, but it's nice to get the chance to tell some stories I've never told :


You can read the entire web version in the Manila Bulletin online :)

Posted By Lester V Ledesma
#2 - Cruising the Dal Lake


Just after sunrise, Kashmir's fabled Dal Lake is a place of stillness and beauty. The morning fog hangs heavy in the air, stretching all across the horizon like a milky blanket. The green-topped shoreline, the white-topped distant mountains, and the countless wooden houseboats all seem to glow under golden sunlight. It is this gorgeous backdrop that I find myself being part of.

I sit on a roofless shikara, a thick woolen blanket wrapped around me. My butler Akbar rows quietly at the back while I take in the scenery. The morning smells of mildew on leaves, mixed with the scent of freshly-baked roti bread from a nearby floating bakery. Everything in this lake adds up into such a mind-numbingly beautiful sum. This is one boat ride that I never want to end.

#1 - Lidder Valley, Kashmir

An excerpt from my article in Asian Photography Magazine:

"...A few days later I go on a camping trip to the nearby Lidder Valley, where the white-topped Himalayas form a constant presence on the horizon. On horseback and on foot – and with my camera always on hand – I explore slopes and fields inhabited by smiling Urdu shepherds and wandering Gujjar tribesmen with their livestock in tow. Needless to say, throughout my trip I take all kinds of shots – close-up portraits of farmers smoking their sheesha pipes on wooden shacks, telephoto landscapes of snow and sky, headshots of Urdu women carrying firewood on their heads – each of them carrying treasured bits and memories of this truly magical journey"


"But I still have one more picture to take. On my last evening in Kashmir, I am once again behind my tripod-mounted EOS 5D, framing what must be my hundredth landscape image. In the growing darkness of dusk, I set my aperture to f8, and my shutter speed to a slow 30 seconds like I have done many times before. This one will be different, though, for right after I activate the shutter, I run to the front of the camera, and with a flashlight, draw a smiling face in the air. The resulting image isn't my best, but it does show how I feel about visiting this most legendary of places. Yes, I am happy to have seen paradise"

Not a bad year at all :)

Posted By Lester V Ledesma
Shikara, houseboat and the Dal Lake. These are the symbols of Kashmir:
Kashmir Colors

I'd go back there in a hearbeat.




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