Winter in Swaledale 2 – Muker Minimalism

Yesterday’s wintery conditions in Muker provided an ideal opportunity to take a couple of hours out from the renovation of the Old School and shoot some minimal monochrome images, before using these as a basis to create something a little dreamier using movement blur in Analog  Efex Pro.  It might not be everyone’s taste but it was a joy to be a little more creative.

DSC04420

DSC04420-Edit-2

DSC04408-Edit-2

DSC04408-Edit-3

DSC04428

DSC04427-Edit-2

DSC04438-Pano

DSC04438-Pano-Edit

 

Sigma SD Quatto H – First Shots

I’ve only had literally 20 minutes shooting with the Sigma SD Quattro H (paired with a Sigma 18-35mm DC) but couldn’t resist pushing out these shots. I was blown away when I first processed images from a Sigma Merrill … and I pretty much have the same feeling processing these. Can’t wait to get out and really put the camera through its paces.

_DQH0016
Occupation Lane, Muker | Sigma SD Quattro H
_DQH0027
Purple | Sigma SD Quattro H
_DQH0029
Slate Roof | Sigma SD Quattro H

Post- processed using SPP and Lightroom.

 

Discovering Muker, 1950 Restored

A recently re-discovered print of Muker, measuring 6 feet by 3 feet, found in Reeth Memorial Hall, and dating to circa 1950, one year before electricity came to the village and four years before the creation of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Considering its age it’s in remarkable condition. Who took remains a mystery but whoever it was, had a fine eye, a fine camera and a fine set of muscles to carry it!

_DSC3568
Muker, Swaledale, circa 1950 Original

And hopefully the restored version below, now on sale to generate funds for Muker Village Hall, does the original photographer justice.

_DSC3566
Muker, Swaledale, circa 1950 Restored

 

 

Conversations at the Old School – Sigma Foveon Cameras

A wonderful thing about working in the Old School Gallery is the many conversations we have with the folks who visit; whether it’s the American lady who suddenly recited three Robert Frost poems, or the ex RAF Nimrod pilot who told me tales of flying over the North Atlantic, or the Chinese film maker recently returned from Tibet. We learn so much in these conversations and hopefully give a little back on the subject of art, crafts and photography.

DP0Q1239-Pano
Ivelet Bridge, Swaledale | Sigma DP0 Quattro

A recurring conversation concerns Sigma’s “secret” cameras with their magic Foveon sensors. The trigger is the overheard debate between customers, discussing whether an image is a photograph or painting. It quickly moves on to the vibrant colours and immense detail, even in the far distance … and that brings us to the technical bit about Bayer sensors and Foveon sensors, micro-contrast, photons and wavelengths.

DP0Q1552-Edit-4
Muker Meadows Sea | Sigma DP0 Quattro

If the technical bit doesn’t kill the customer off they invariably buy the print! … And one camera club member liked the print so much he returned to say he’d bought the camera!

DP0Q1328-Edit
Muker Meadows, Swaledale | Sigma DP0 Quattro

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the top selling photographs in the gallery are taken by the Sigma DP0 Quattro. It offers something different from Bayer sensored cameras that the buying public seem to be instinctively drawn to, unbiased and unburdened by any technical knowledge or heavyweight marketing budgets. And as a photographer it provides me with a distinctive, unique, tool with which to capture the stunning scenery that surrounds our tiny village in upper Swaledale.

Richard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making Tracks in the Dales

So many tracks, which to follow?

_DSC3400
Above Askrigg, Wensleydale | Sony RX1rII
_DSC3396
Above Askrigg, Wensleydale | Sony RX1rII
_DSC3240
Pennine Way, Swaledale | Sony RX1rII
_DSC3487
Occupation Lane, Swaledale | Sony RX1rII

 

_DSC3503
Occupation Lane, Swaledale | Sony RX1rII
_DSC2459
Occupation Lane, Swaledale | Sony RX1rII
_DSC2563
Track to Muker, Swaledale | Sony RX1rII

Discovering History At Muker – Wain Wath Force

My short journey to reach the Cart Ford above the Foss, where you cross the Rushing River, began by The Small Cultivated Field. I passed through The Clearing, then on up the Dale, gaining height as I climbed through Grazing Land. If I’d been visiting my friend Waendel at his Woodland Clearing I’d have taken the pass before The Clearing, careful not to stumble and fall into the potholes full of cooling butter, and down past Sigemund’s Rock, or perhaps climbed up the hill to see if Sjon was at his Look Out Hill, then down past the Row of Shepherds Cottages. But today it was to the Cart Ford I was headed, to take photographs of the Foss and just beyond The Spring I found the very spot.

Richard

(Translations below 🙂 )

 

DP0Q1579-Edit
Below Wain Wath Force | Sigma DP0 Quattro  

 

DP3M1522
Below Wain Wath Force |Sigma DP3 Merrill
DP3M1525
Below Wain Wath Force | Sigma DP3 Merrill
DP3M1519
Below Wain Wath Force | Sigma DP3 Merrill

Old Norse & Old English Translations, with thanks to http://www.daelnet.co.uk/placenames/index.cfm

Cart Ford (Wain Wath)

Foss (Waterfall)

Rushing River (Swale)

The Small Cultivated Field (Muker)

The Clearing (Thwaite)

The Grazing Land (Angram)

The Spring (Keld)

Sigemund’s Rock (Simonstone)

Sjon’s look out hill (Shunner Fell)

Shepherds Row  of Cottages (Hardraw).

Waendel at his Woodland Clearing (Wensleydale)

 

 

 

 

The High Seas of Muker, with the Sigma DP0 Quattro

Landlocked though we are, when the wind blows, the wild flower meadows become our sea.

DP0Q1543
Muker Meadows, Swaledale | Sigma DP0 Quattro
DP0Q1552
Muker Meadows, Swaledale | Sigma DP0 Quattro
DP0Q1482
Muker Meadows, Swaledale | Sigma DP0 Quattro
DP0Q1563
Muker Meadows, Swaledale | Sigma DP0 Quattro
DP0Q1544
Muker Meadows, Swaledale | Sigma DP0 Quattro

Discovering Muker – Wild Flower Meadows

The Muker wild flower meadows are beginning to come into their own in early June, which for me means a desperate search for interesting angles and compositions.  The image below is my favourite hand held “sketch” so far and I’ll head out early tomorrow with a tripod and (hopefully) interesting light.

DP0Q1328-Edit

The meadows are an inspiration for artists and photographers alike, with the vibrant colours of Buttercups, Clover and Crane’s-bill, scattered all around, broken by the staight lines of dry stone walls and field barns.

DP0Q1328-Edit-Edit

The Sigma DP0 Quattro is fast becoming my camera of choice for the meadows; its wide lens capturing immense foreground and its colour rendition and tonal rage showing the wild flows at their best, whether in colour or monochrome.

Richard

Discovering Muker – Composition

Yesterday’s beautiful day in Swaledale held the promise of a great evening’s photography, but as it approached closing time, and my chance to get out, the sky became overcast and the light flat. Nevertheless there was still chance to explore the countryside and search for interesting compositions so I pulled my boots on and headed out.

_DSC2770
Muker Meadows | Sony RX1rII
_DSC2773-Pano
From Crackpot Hall to Keld | Sony RX1rII stiched
_DSC2783
Grass & Barn near Thwaite | Sony RX1rII

And then, after a quick pint at the Farmer’s Arms, the sky had cleared and overcast turned into  gorgeous sunset.

DP3M1448
Muker Sunset | Sigma DP3 Merrill

 

Discovering Upper Swaledale – Muker to Keld

An early morning walk from Muker to Keld, and back via Angram, to judge the morning mood. The weather was overcast, and light flat, until I arrived back at Muker, at which point the sun decided to come out, and then stay out all day. Sods law.

 

_DSC2617
Track to Muker | Sony RX1rII

 

_DSC2627
Looking back to Buttertubs | Sony RX1rII
_DSC2630
Angram | Sony RX1rII

_DSC2632

_DSC2637

_DSC2643
Upper Swaledale | Sony RX1rII
_DSC2648
Straw Beck, Muker | Sony RX1rII

Muker Monochrome – Year of Discovery

Our new life in Muker, Swaledale at the Old School, provides the opportunity to explore the countryside around, understand the light,  read the weather, revisit scenes as the seasons pass, judge the moods, and develop a feel for the landscape with an intimacy I’ve never had the opportunity to do before. I’m sure it will take a year or two before I have a portfolio worthy of the landscape, but  discovery is my favourite part of the process, and the process has begun.

Richard

_DSC2563
Track to Muker | Sony RX1rII
_DSC2585
Neighbours | Sony RX1rII
_DSC2567
On the path to Thwaite | Sony RX1rII

New Life, Muker

Again it’s been quite some time since I troubled the blog with a new post, but since Nepal I’ve had no time to pick up a camera, let alone point it in the right direction,  but there’s good reason …

… in that we’ve upped sticks, moved North, and bought an Art Gallery and Craftshop in the tiny village of Muker, Swaledale, and opened on Thursday 13th April.

It’s been a busy few months but the couple of snaps below might just provide a taste of why it’s worth the effort!

The gallery’s website is http://www.theoldschoolmuker.co.uk, and if you’re ever travelling in the area, feel free to drop by.

_DSC2459
Evening walk above Muker | Sony RX1rII
DP3M1406-Pano
Foveon Sky’s from the Garden | Sigma DP3 Merrill

Everest Base Camp – From Blog to Book

It’s been nearly two months since I last troubled this blog. Life has been fairly hectic of late (which I’ll save for a future post), but one background project that has now, finally, reached completion has been to turn my EBC blog posts into a book; not a book “available to the public from all good retailers and bookshops” you understand, though that would be nice, but instead a personal, tangible, memento of the trip, that can sit proudly alongside my other books on photography on the shelf in the downstairs loo.

dustjacket

Given that the base material was already contained in the blog posts, it’s taken an inordinate amount of time and effort – rewriting and expanding the text, designing layouts, spell checking, selecting images, captioning images, lining up, etc. – and the proof reading has sent me goggle-eyed, but now its done, and ordered and being printed somewhere in the world I know not where, I’m quietly satisfied with the final product and, like a kid waiting for Christmas, can’t wait for it to be delivered.

opening-page

For those interested I chose the Blurb website which uses the BookWright application to create the book. There are already many, many websites that list the pros and cons of book printing sites (which I used to choose Blurb) so I’m not going to cover that here, but once I got to grips with both the BookWright application and the Blurb website (and it did take a little time) the process became pretty straight forward and flexible. My biggest problem was proof reading (always my Achilles heal) and I’m still sporting errorrs know!

If you’re interested in seeing what the finished book looks like follow the link below and click on Preview. Be careful not to click on Add to Cart or you’ll become noticeably poorer!

http://www.blurb.co.uk/bookstore/invited/6875925/e9a021487fb5d2d7d3cbddc6354c688aadff6d2f

Some additional screen shots follow.

Happy reading  🙂

Richard

first-days

mani-and-lukla

pano

everest-pano

kathmandu

equipment

12 Images of 2016

Twelve favourite images from 2016; an unforgettable year of travel that took us to Norway’s Lofoten Islands, the Isle of Harris in Scotland, and the Himalaya of Nepal, but begins with two shots of my home county of Yorkshire, England.

In order taken … click on a the image to see the bigger picture …

1. Hole of Horcum, North York Moors, England. Shot in the winter on the drive home from Whitby, East to West across the North York Moors, and perhaps the only photo of the Hole of Horcum that doesn’t feature the Hole.

ebcnov2016rw-3-of-12
Hole of Horcum, North York Moors | Sigma DP3 Merrill

2. Saltburn Pier, North Yorkshire, England  A flip of a coin decision somewhere in the Winter desolation of the North York Moors took us to Saltburn, and a perfect sunset as the tide receded. When your lucks in …

ebcnov2016rw-1-of-12
Saltburn Pier, North Yorkshire | Sony RX1rII

3. Utakleiv Beach, Lofoten Islands, Norway. A million photographers on the beach sent me stomping up the sand in search of solitude and a clear shot. All I found was a pile of lumpy old rocks!

ebcnov2016rw-10-of-12
Utakleiv Beach, Lofoten, Norway | Sigma DP0 Quattro

4. Olstind, Lofoten, Norway. Leaving it as late as ever it became a race against the storm, wading through two foot deep snow to find a spot that pointed up the valley. We won by five minutes!

ebcnov2016rw-1-of-1
Olstind, Lofoten, Norway | Sigma DP0 Quattro

5. Pipework, The RERF, Leeds. An odd shot to throw in, but an image that perhaps only the Merrill with its extraordinary tonal range could take, and the culmination of a year long project to photograph the build.

ebcnov2016rw-9-of-12
Pipework, The RERF, Leeds | Sigma DP1 Merrill

6. Boat & House, Isle of Harris, Scotland. A mouldy old boat, a broken down croft and a dull, wet, miserable day; anywhere else awful, on the isle of Harris, wonderful.

ebcnov2016rw-2-of-12
Boat & House, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII

7. The Gloaming, Isle of Harris, Scotland. The rooftops of Northton silhouetted against the bay, then out over the sea to the mountains of Harris. Not such a bad midnight view.

ebcnov2016rw-12-of-12
The Gloaming, Isle of Harris | Sigma DP3 Merrill

8. Soul Machine, Wakefield, England. Discovered in the middle of a farmyard machinery graveyard on a local walk, the truck has seen better days, but wears it’s scars with dignity and soul.

ebcnov2016rw-11-of-12
Soul Machine, Wakefield | Sony Rx1rII

9. Himalayan Mountain Stream, Nepal.  A rock, water and time, combine to create an example of nature’s perfection.

ebcnov2016rw-5-of-12
Himalayan Mountain Stream | Sony RX1rII

10. Himalaya Trail, Nepal. A line of Mani stones stretches along a tree-lined, sandy trail, overlooked by the sacred mountain of Kumbila shrouded by cloud ; a microcosm of everything I loved about Nepal.

ebcnov2016rw-6-of-12
Himalaya Trail, Nepal | Sony RXrII

11. Suspension Bridge, Nepal:  A texture and detail of Nepal; the polished slats of a metal footbridge suspended 30 meters above the turbulent, mountain river, captured in Foveon detail by the Sigma DP3 Merrill.

ebcnov2016rw-8-of-12
Suspension Bridge, Nepal | Sigma Dp3 Merrill

12. Mountain Sunrise, Nepal. Not many things are worth climbing out of a nice, warm bed for, but this was one; truly a jewel on a crown.

ebcnov2016rw-4-of-12
Mountain Sunrise, Nepal | Sigma DP3 Merrill

Have a happy 2017.

Richard

EBC Trek, Nepal, Nov 2016 – Group Shots

For my fellow trekkers rather than the wider world, some shots of our party, John (Yorkshire), Charlie, Rob, Sarah, Cameron, Deborah, John (Aussie) and Reisa, plus our guide Dumbar and his assistant guides. Thanks for making it a fabulous trek!

_dsc1597
Safe Landing, Lukla
_dsc1627
Nepali Flat!
_dsc1635
Dunbar with willing Helpers
_dsc1639
Top of the world, Mende
_dsc1737-2
Yak Man
_dsc1844-2
John & Charlie’s old haunting ground
_dsc1897
Shadow People
_dsc1908
Memorials
_dsc1930
Cameron at Basecamp
_dsc1947
Basecamp
_dsc2017
John Ascending
_dsc2035
Three Yorkshiremen
_dsc2038
The group united
_dsc2040
Final Stop

Kathmandu – The Sights, Sounds & Smells

After 15 days trekking in the serenity of the Himalaya the sights, sounds and smells, of Kathmandu hit you like a brick. Diesel fumes fill the air, people fill the streets, and crossing a road is ten times as exciting as crossing a suspension bridge. And though the hotel staff tried to be dissuade me from exploring on foot, I loved it! The vibrancy of the place is tangible; workshops, garages, market stalls, shops, offices, all mingled together, stuffed with people, all working hard to make a living, all working hard to get by. Compared to the shopping malls, supermarkets and office blocks of the West, this is real life in the raw. The earthquake of 2015 which sadly cost Nepal nearly 9,000 lives is still in evidence especially around Durbar Square as you’ll see from a number of the images, but what remains is still spectacular and I would urge you to visit.

_dsc2065
Kathmandu, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
_dsc2071
Fully Loaded, Kathmandu, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
_dsc2083
High Wires – A Sparky’s Nightmare, Kathmandu, Nepal | Sony RX1RII
_dsc2073
Shored Up, Kathmandu, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
_dsc2154
Public Transport, Kathmandu, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
_dsc2127
Thamel Market, Kathmandu, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
_dsc2114
Rickshaws at the Ready, Kathmandu, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
_dsc2129
Rickshaw, Kathmandu, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
_dsc2077
Temple, Kathmandu, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
_dsc2085
Royal Palace, Durbar Square, Kathmandu | Sony RX1rII
_dsc2095
Royal Palace Guard, Durbar Square, kathmandu | Sony RX1rII
_dsc2096
Royal Palace, Durbar Square, Kathmandu | Sony RX1rII
_dsc2099
Royal Palace, Durbar Square, Kathmandu | Sony RX1rII
_dsc2103
Durbar Square, Kathmandu | Sony RX1rII
_dsc2108
Earthquake damage, Royal Palace, Kathmandu | Sony RX1rII
_dsc2110
Palace Guard, Kathmandu | Sony RX1rII
_dsc2118-pano
Seto Machindranath Temple, Kathmandu | Sony RX1rII
_dsc2123
Seto Machindranath Temple, Kathmandu | Sony RX1rII
_dsc2141
Pashupatinath Temple Cremations, Kathmandu | Sony RX1rII

And within this vibrant city remain pockets of calm; the courtyard of Dwarika’s Hotel where we’re staying; inside the Old Royal Palace in Durbar Square; the Pashupatinath Temple, the oldest Hindu temple in Kathmandu; and there’s a passionate, religious, spirituality. People really do believe! And though religion is not my bag I envy their unshakeable and shared faith in the divine.

After two days in the city our trekking group is beginning to dissipate, John and Deborah to Australia, Reisa to Los Angeles, Cameron to Scotland, Sarah to London and John, Charlie, Rob and I, to Manchester, and from there to Yorkshire, and Dunbar to his home in Nepal. It’s strange to think that I’d not met one of them before and am unlikely to meet any of them again, and yet we’ve literally shared the ups and downs of what’s known as Nepalese Flat. I walk into arrivals at Manchester, bid farewell to the three Yorkshire friends, grab a coffee and wait for Polly to arrive and take me home. Something has clicked inside me and life will never again be the same.

Everest Base Camp Trek, with the Sigma DP3 Merrill

In a post specifically for Sigma enthusiasts I’ve collated the shots of the EBC trek taken with the DP3 into one post, so you don’t need to look at that horrible Sony thing 🙂

With a weight limit of 15kg, and the Sony already in the bag, I had to choose from one of my three Sigmas as the second camera. The Merrill DP3 was the obvious choice given its focal length, but more than that I’ve always been blown away by the DP3’s resolution and sharpness, and of course that Foveon look.

All shots were taken at ISO100 as it the Foveon way, all were handheld.

dp3m1201

dp3m1208-pano

dp3m1220

dp3m1225

dp3m1226

dp3m1232

dp3m1250-pano

dp3m1267

dp3m1286

dp3m1300

dp3m1307

dp3m1308

dp3m1309

dp3m1313

dp3m1314

dp3m1319

dp3m1320

dp3m1321

dp3m1322

dp3m1326

Everest Base Camp, A Photo Diary – Everest

Part 4 of the diary focusses on the final upward trek to Base Camp and to our ultimate high point of Kalapatther, at 5,545m.

Tuesday 15th November: Lobouche to Everest Base Camp (5,300m) then Gorak Shep (5,165m)

_dsc1914
Nuptse, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
_dsc1917
The Way to Base Camp, Nepal | Sony RXrII
numtse-pano
Nuptse, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
_dsc1925
Avalanche, Nuptse | Sony RX1rII
_dsc1927
Glimpse of Everest, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
_dsc1943
Khumbu Glacier, Nepal  | Sony RX1rII
_dsc1945
Nuptse, Nepal | Sony Rx1rII

Wednesday 16th November: Kalapatthar (5,545m) then down to Perchiche (4,280m)

_dsc1950
Everest & Nuptse, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
dp3m1300
Everest, Nepal | Sigma DP3 Merrill
_dsc1998
Everest & Nuptse | Sony RX1rII
_dsc1958-2-pano
Everest, Nuptse pano with Ana Damblam (right) from Kalapatthar, Nepal | Sony RX1rII Stitched

Diary Notes – Days 12 & 13

Tuesday 15th November: Lobouche to Everest Base Camp (5,300m) then Gorak Shep (5,165m)

Day eleven. I’ve no enthusiasm to take notes and have little recollection of the walk to Base Camp. I’d thoughts of wondering around the camp and down to the Khumbu Ice Fall, taking creative, cool photos, but physically and mentally I’m gone, and in this truly incredible place I can only take a few shots of the incredible scenery. Though I look surprisingly ok on the photos I can’t honestly recall the walk back to Gorak Shep, other than being last back, or anything about the evening. Everyone is feeling the altitude, but most are faring better!

Extract for Sarah’s daily blog.

“We tried to eat something but no-one felt like much so we set off for the next three hours which would take us to Base Camp. Our group had reduced to six. The Australian couple [John and Debora] had decided not to come at all today due to severe altitude sickness and so were heading down to a lower altitude today. One of the Yorkshire men [John] was so exhausted having got to Gorak Shep that he stayed there. It was a reminder of just how hard this is and sad that we all couldn’t achieve what we had set out to do”.

Wednesday 16th November: Kalapatthar (5,545m) then down to Perchiche (4,280m)

Day twelve (am). It’s -15c as we leave the teahouse at Gorak Shep. We cross the flat ground to the base of Kalapatthar and I strain my eyes to look for the summit. For the first time I seriously worry that I won’t have either the will or the energy to make it to the top. Each step of the climb is effort, every false peak a personal crisis, I can’t keep up with the (slow) pace and fall off the back of the group. An hour in and I decide it’s enough. Up ahead the group pause for breath. I reach them and ask Dunbar if we return down the same path (my plan is to stop and wait for the group to return). He answers yes but before I decide what to do the group press on. I have no choice but to follow. I reach the summit, the last of our group. I’m exhausted and find a place to sit. What a view! The magnificent vista of the Everest Massif, down the Khumbu Glacier, to Ama Dablam and beyond. I manage to take a series of shots to create a panoramic image and eventually summon the energy to clamber around. The word awesome is so often misused. This place truly is awesome. We take photos (I try to smile but it looks like a grimace) to prove our accomplishment then it’s time to head back down. Am I glad I didn’t stop, give up, turn back, absolutely, I may be spent but I made it to this unique and incredible place!

Shooting Notes

No insights or interesting takes, It’s just compose and shoot, trying to avoid people spoiling the view. 

Everest Base Camp, A Photo Diary – Higher Ground

Part 3 of the Photo Diary covers days 9-11 as we leave the trees behind and climb above 4,000m, visit Ama Dablam Base Camp, reach the Khumbu Glacier, and trek to Lobouche, at 4,931m our jumping off for Everest Base Camp.

Saturday 12th November: Ama Dablam Base Camp (4,576m)

_dsc1853
Kwangde Re, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
_dsc1857
Everest (just) & Lhotse, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
_dsc1860
Ama Dablam, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
_dsc1861
Ama Dablam Base Camp | Sony RX1rII
_dsc1867
Ama Dablam Base Camp, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
_dsc1865-pano
Ama Dablam Base Camp, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
_dsc1868-pano
Ama Dablam Base Camp, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
dp3m1286
Ama Dablam, Nepal | Sigma DP3 Merrill

Sunday 13th November: Pangbouche to Dingboche (4,360m)

_dsc1874
Everest Massif & Lhotse, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
_dsc1878-pano
Tawoche & Arakamtse Peaks (left), Awi Peak (Right), Nepal | Sony RX1rII Stitched
_dsc1885-pano
Dingboche, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
_dsc1880
Prayer Flags, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
_dsc1893
Making Tea overlooked by Ama Dablam, Dingboche, Nepal | Sony RXrII

Monday 14th November: Dingboche to Lobouche (4,931m)

_dsc1903
Tawoche & Arakamtse Peaks, Nepal | Sony RX1rII Panoramic Mode
_dsc1905
Frozen Yak Pasture below Arakamtse Peak, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
_dsc1906
Arakamtse Peak with just a glimpse of Cholaste Tso, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
_dsc1907
Looking back, Ama Dablam (left) & Thamserku (right) Nepal | Sony RX1rII
_dsc1908
Khumbu Glacier Terminal Moraine, Everest Climber Memorials, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
_dsc1910
Khumbu Glacier overlooked by Nuptse, Nepal | Sony RX1rII

Diary Notes – Days 9 to 11

Saturday 12th November: Ama Dablam Base Camp (4,576m)

Day eight. A 6am start after no sleep, steep climb up to Ama Dablam Base Camp to push way past 4000m and for the first time leave the trees behind! Superb views of Lhotse and Everest though Everest is partially hidden. Arriving at Base Camp Dunbar spots climbers high up near the summit of Ama Dablam through binoculars. We all take turns but I can’t make them out. It’s my first day without a headache after Deborah, one of our party and a physiotherapist by training, prods at the back of my neck for literally 2 minutes. Unbelievable and I’m forever thankful. Return to Pangbouche at 3:30pm but again can’t get warm. Sit by the fire for 30 minutes, then shower, before back to the Observation Room (and warmth) before tea. Can’t eat.

Sunday 13th November: Pangbouche to Dingboche (4,360m)

Day nine. Made no diary notes, and very little recollection of the day, which indicates my state of mind. What I do recall is barren, but spectacular landscape, immense high mountains over the valley on our left, walking through boulder fields and yak grazing pastures, and it’s stunning. Unfortunately the camera is used less and less because the lack of sleep, food and cold, are having an impact. When we get to Dingboche I must feel ok as I take the camera out for a wander to see if there are any interesting shots to take. Evenings, nights and mornings, are now fading into one, as typically all I do is head for my bed and a hot water bottle. Ask me anything about the teahouse in Dingboche and I’d struggle to answer.

Monday 14th November: Dingboche to Lobouche (4,931m)

Day ten. An early and at this height very cold start. I walk in a daze. Thirty minutes in I see Rob sink to the ground; the cold has got to him! Dunbar feeds him hot water (we all carry hot water in our bottles now, cold water would freeze). Fifteen minutes later Rob is well enough to continue, though to his disgruntlement Dumbar (rightly) takes his rucksack. Yorkshire pride maybe bruised but in this place pride really does come before a fall In the early afternoon we reach the moraine of the Khumbu Glacier. It’s hard going and each step takes real effort, but I feel like we’ve reached a milestone; the glacier means that Everest, though still hidden, is close! At the top of the moraine we pass the memorials of mountaineers who have lost their lives on Everest; a place of real contemplation. After lunch we have the choice of staying at the teahouse or walking to a viewpoint overlooking the Khumbu Glacier. Four of the party opt to remain. I, despite being spent, out of sheer stubbornness* choose to go; a mistake. On returning I’m asked if it was worth it. My immediate and unequivocal answer is NO (though I’m in a minority of one), not because the view wasn’t stunning but because my batteries are totally depleted and I missed the opportunity to rest and recuperate. I’m not alone, John, the doctor in our party, is suffering from a chest infection and from the altitude, is in a bad way, and can go no further. Tomorrow he and Debora will head for lower ground after making it all this way.

* During the many miles of training for the trip, it was the thought of being fit enough to do the optional excursions that drove me on!

Shooting Notes

It was all point and click with the Sony, with the Sigma making a solitary appearance for a close up of Ama Dablam. I didn’t have the energy or enthusiasm for anything else!