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Give Peace A Chant by David McMahon

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This was my first image to get 500+ views since I joined Red Bubble in May 2009 – but, interestingly enough, not the first to get 1,000+ views or even 1,500 views!

This depiction of two hand-crafted Buddhist prayer wheels was shot inside a shop called Chamba Lama in the New Market, Calcutta, in mid-October, 2006.

1,766 views and 24 favourites on 9 November 2013

There was a nostalgic element here, because I went to school in the Himalayan town of Darjeeling, where it was commonplace to see wizened old Tibetan men and women with beautiful creased and lined faces, lips moving in reverence as their hands twirled their prayer wheels.

The wheels are held in one hand and the tops rotate slowly and rhythmically as prayers are offered. On the metallic scroll closest to the camera, you can actually see the Sanskrit lettering that spells out the all-powerful incantation “Om”.

This was one of a series of four shots taken in tricky lighting – but it has a slight edge over the other images, because of the depth of field and the presence of the second prayer wheel in the mid-frame area .

I do not crop, enhance or post-edit my images in any way. Shot with a Pentax K100D, using a Sigma 18-125mm lens. F5.6, 1/10 sec, ISO 800, focal length 78mm.

Featured in METALLIC JUNKTION, May 2009.

Featured in BUDDHA, May 2009.

Featured in ’60s GLORY, September 2009.

Featured in ’60s GLORY, December 2009.

Winner, BUDDHA PURNIMA Challenge, May 2010.

Featured in TRUE COLOURS OF ASIA, June 2010.

Featured in STORY THROUGH IMAGE, December 2010.

Featured in SPECIAL MOMENTS, January 2011.

India3 – 3088

Walkley Award-nominated journalist, novelist and wedding photographer at davidmcmahonweddings.com

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  • © Karin  Taylor
    © Karin Tayloralmost 6 years ago

    beautifully captured david, so rich the colours and the gold :)

  • David McMahon
    David McMahonalmost 6 years ago

    Thank you, Karin. Really appreciate the comment.

  • catherine walker
    catherine walkeralmost 6 years ago


  • David McMahon
    David McMahonalmost 6 years ago

    Thanks, Catherine – the light was just right for what I wanted to do. I shot four frames, and this was among the best two.

  • alykat
    alykatalmost 6 years ago

    great shot :)

  • Thank you, Alyson. I was lucky the light was really soft at the time.

    – David McMahon

  • Caroline Fournier
    Caroline Fournieralmost 6 years ago


  • Thank you, Caroline. As a kid, I was in school in Darjeeling, in the Himalayas – and I was accustomed to seeing old people using their prayer wheels. This sight brought back great teenage memories.

    – David McMahon

  • Chamika Amarasiri
    Chamika Amarasirialmost 6 years ago


  • Thank you very much, Chamika

    – David McMahon

  • Tomas Abreu
    Tomas Abreualmost 6 years ago

    Beautiful capture…

  • Much appreciated, Tomas. It was a great subject

    – David McMahon

  • hsien-ku
    hsien-kualmost 6 years ago

    superb. the subject is beautiful and the colour is perfect

  • Thanks so much, Hsien-Ku. The tones of the metal were just right in the light.

    – David McMahon

  • manda76
    manda76almost 6 years ago

    wonderful work

  • Thank you very much. Great to get your feedback.

    – David McMahon

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