Everest Base Camp, A Photo Diary – The Journey Continues

Part 2 of the photo diary of the Everest Base Camp, covering days 4-8 of the trek as we spend our time acclimatising below 4,000m.

Tuesday 8th November: Namche Bazaar to Mende (3,700m)

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Namche Bazaar, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Kwangde Ri, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Mani Wall, Nepal | Sony RX1rII

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Thamu, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Mende, Nepal | Sony RX1RII
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Mende, Nepal | Sigma DP3 Merrill
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Mende after Dark, Nepal | Sony RX1rII

Wednesday 9th November:  Mende to Thame (3,801m) and back

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Mountain River, Nepal | Sony RX1rII Stitched
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Trail to Thame, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Thame, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Thame, Nepal | Sony RX1rII

Thursday 10th November: Mende to Tashinga (3,450m)

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Lhotse (centre) and Ama Dablam (right), Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Lhotse & Ama Dablam, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Ama Dablam, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Last Rays, Tashinga, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Mountain Sunset, Tashinga, Nepal | Sigma DP3 Merrill

Friday 11th November: Tashinga to Pangbouche (3,863m), via Thyangboche

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Kwangde Ri, Nepal | Sony RX1rII

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Thyangboche Monastery, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Thjangboche Monastery, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Khumbila, Thyangboche, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Mani Stone with Kumbila as the backdrop | Sony RX1rII
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Ama Dablam, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Ama Dablam, Nepal | Sony RX1rII

Diary Notes – Days 4 to 8

Tuesday 8th November: Namche Bazaar to Mende (3,700m)

Day four. A favourite day as we walk through forest. I hang back from the group and despite being shadowed by the two assistant guides feel like I have the trail to myself. As we arrive in Mende the mountains are beautifully framed and lit. After dark I take the tripod out to shoot the stars. The moon is too bright to see the Milky Way, but there are thousands of stars peppering the sky. It’s cold, but what the heck. Physically I feel fine accept for that nagging headache. Dunbar doesn’t think the headache is altitude related, which is a relief, but the height is getting to me in other ways as I start to lose my appetite.

Wednesday 9th November: Mende to Thame (3,801m) and back

Day five. An acclimatisation day and a chance to become accustomed to the altitude before pushing past 4000m. The landscape becomes more barren as we climb to Thame, nearing the tree line, but the scenery remains stunning with Lhoste and Ama Dablam as the backdrop. We return to Mende as the sun is casting its last rays and I stay outside to capture the sunset. In retrospect staying out in the cold too long.

Thursday 10th November: Mende to Tashinga (3,450m)

Day six. No diary notes but from recollection and the photos. The scenery is wonderful and I capture a couple of my favourite images from the trip, but the six days of constant headache is gnawing away at my enjoyment and preventing me sleep at nights, I’ve developed a chest infection and altitude cough, and I can no longer eat*. Those things aside I’m physically fine with neither aching limbs nor sore feet! I decline the chance to pay 250 rupees (£2.50) to see the skull of a Yeti though I refuse to accept that they don’t exist!

* It’s difficult to describe the loss of appetite. It’s not just a lack of hunger, it’s that I can’t physically face the food, let lone eat it. I cut small slices in toast in two, then four, before I can stomach a small bite, and even that is tough to chew and impossible to swallow.

Friday 11th November: Tashinga to Pangbouche (3,863m), via Thyangboche

Day seven. Headache and chest infection makes this a fairly miserable day and I’m running low on painkillers. The camera stays largely unused. On arrival I can’t get warm so go straight to bed. It doesn’t help. Eventually I get up, find the gas stove in the Observation Room, watch the staff struggle to light it, and then try and warm up. Other members of the group arrive. They express worry, say I need to eat more and talk about the number of calories needed. If only it were that simple! It’s halfway through dinner before I feel something like. My appetite is totally gone now, it’s a push to eat a bean. No food, no fuel, it doesn’t bode well, and the cough and chest infection make it difficult to talk. I wake at 12 midnight and count the hours. No more sleep. Tomorrow will be fun!

Shooting Notes

Shooting stars in the cold, dark, Nepalese, night took preparation. The camera was set up – ISO, manual focus, shooting mode, live view, etc. – and attached to the tripod inside before heading out in down jacket, gloves and hat. It was difficult to focus on the stars, so the trick was to find another subject to focus on at “infinity” and lock this in. To change camera settings in the dark a torch with red beam proved invaluable. As for exposure it was just guess work. Unfortunately the moon was bright and robbed us of the chance to see and photograph the Milky Way, so the main tip I can give is to go to Nepal and the right time of the month!

Everest Base Camp, A Photo Diary – First Days

It’s a nearly two weeks since I landed in a cold, rainy Manchester, after three weeks trekking in Nepal, and it’s taken that time to get some photos and notes of the trip in order. The original intention was to set a limit of one photo per day and one post, but it proved too difficult and too limiting and so I threw that idea under a passing oliphant and instead decided to do the complete opposite and provide a comprehensive photo diary, complete with brief diary and shooting notes at the end. I’m sure there are many, many, EBC trekking posts that are more informative and better written, but hopefully the pictures go someway to redress the balance.  More posts to follow over the coming days.

Day 1: Katmandu to Lukla, then onto Monjo (2,850m)

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Another Safe Landing, Lukla Airport | Sony RX1rII
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Kusum Kanguru SW Face | Sony RX1rII
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Kusum Kanguru | Sont RX1rII
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Mani Stones overlooked by Nupla | Sony RX1rII
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Nupla | Sigma DP3 Merrill

Day 2: Monjo Acclimatisation Day

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Looking Up Monjo High Street, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Looking down Monjo High Street, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Tomorrow’s Journey Toward Namche Bazaar & Beyond | Sigma DP3 Merrill Stitched
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Monjo des. res. Overlooked by Sacred Khumbila | Sony RX1rII
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Khumbila & the Road Ahead | Sony RX1rII
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Khumbila | Sigma DP3 Merrill
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Mountain Stream Study 1, Monjo, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Mountain Stream Study 2, Monjo, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Prayer Flags, Mountain Stream Study 3, Monjo, Nepal | Sony RX1rII

Day 3: Monjo to Namche Bazaar (3,445m)

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High & Low Bridges crossing Dudh Koshi | Sony RX1rII
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High & Low Bridges Crossing Dudh Koshi | Sony RX1rII
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Everest First Sight | Sigma DP3 Merrill
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Namche Bazaar | Sony RX1rII
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Thamserku | Sony RX1rII
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Namche Bazaar | Sony RX1rII
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Namche Bazaar | Sony RX1rII
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Namche Bazaar | Sony RX1rII
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Namche Bazaar | Sont RX1rII
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Namche Bazaar overlooked by Thamserku | Sony RX1rII

Diary Notes – Days 1 to 3

Saturday 5th November: Katmandu to Lukla, then onto Monjo (2,850m)

Day one. The alarm goes off early! There’s no lie in, and after the long flight from Manchester via Abu Dhabi I could really use one. Overdressed and overheated (an attempt to make the luggage weight of 15kg) we’re expertly guided through the chaos of Kathmandu airport check-in by our guide, Dumbar, and now sit in a mini-bus on the tarmac watching, our Twin Otter plane being checked, fuelled and loaded, with bright, red, Mountain Kingdom kit bags. The Twin Otter will take us to Lukla, 2,800m up into the Himalaya, and the start of our trek. The sky is blue, the weather calm, a perfect flying day. If you want a tip sit on the left to see the spectacular white wall of mountain peaks. We fly into Lukla without a hint of danger. And what a flight! What an incredible introduction to Nepal’s high country! The World’s high country. After a relaxing cuppa, a sorting of kit bags and lengthening of walking poles, we plunge into the sights, sounds and smells of the Himalaya. I’m lost in a state of awe.

Sunday 6th November: Monjo – Acclimatisation Day

Day two. Acclimatisation does not mean rest! It means an early start and a slow but strenuous hike straight up, then down, a near vertical Yak trail to gain, then lose, 600m of altitude. After lunch the afternoon is more relaxed as we take in Monjo, get our first view of the sacred, unclimbed, mountain of Khumbila, and, from the National Park checkpoint, the trail ahead. In the late afternoon I take a camera and tripod down to the stream we crossed at the foot of the village and lose myself in the moment. It takes five minutes to walk down the trail to find the stream and twenty minutes to walk back up! Even at 2,800m the effect of the thinner air is very real.

Monday 7th November: Monjo to Namche Bazaar (3,445m)

Day three. More incredible scenery as we first follow the river, then climb up and over suspension bridges, heading toward the market town of Namche Bazaar. On the way we catch our first glimpse of our ultimate destination, Everest. In the afternoon, to gain more metres, we climb to the Sagarmatha National Park Visitor Centre. From there we have distant views of Everest and Lhotse but I find myself more enthralled by the mass of rock close by, Thamserku. In the evening I head out with the tripod to take street shots of Namche at night, and as I wander I stumble on a view of the town dominated by Thamserku behind. At 3,445m I’m starting to feel the altitude. I’ve yet to shake off the nagging headache I’ve had since I arrived in Nepal, and combined with my first bout of the craps I’m not feeling my best.

Shooting Notes

With a weight limit of 15kg I limited myself to two cameras, the Sony RX1rII and, for those shots that needed some extra reach, the Sigma DP3 Merrill, the latter of which I hope will also provide some unique Foveon images. Incredible really that with the former currently costing ten times more than the latter I’ve absolute faith in the Merrill. The Sony’s 35mm lens means it’s out most of the time, but in the bright conditions the Sigma is in its element. When walking there was no real chance to use the tripod, we didn’t stop in a place long enough, so the majority of shots are handheld unless stated. All Merrill shots are at ISO100.

Textures & Colours of Nepal

From the serenity of high mountain trails, to the shock and vibrancy of Katmandu, an assortment of textures and colours that instantly send me back to Nepal.

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Texture & Colours – Nepal

Shooting Notes

A complication of Sony RX1rII and Sigma DP3 Merrill shots, post processed in Lightroom.

A prize for whoever can guess which shots come from which camera 🙂

Himalayan Sunrise – Sigma DP3 Merrill

Trekking in the cold first light of day, deep in the valley’s shadow before the sun has chance to rise above the ring of mountain peaks. Thirty minutes later it makes its entrance!

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Himalayan Sunrise | Sigma DP3 Merrill

Shooting & Processing Notes

Shot using a Sigma DP3 Merrill, handheld @ ISO100,  f13, 1/320 second. Post processing Lightroom and Analog Efex Pro.

Everest Base Camp – Take Off

7:25pm GMT, Thursday 3rd November, 2016

old-manchester-airportThe time is 7:25 pm GMT. This blog has been published to just as the wheels of an Airbus 330-200 leave the tarmac at Manchester Airport, England. Onboard the aircraft are 262 passengers everyone of whom has survived the airport’s human processing machine and, apart from the odd pair of Tommy Hilfiger trousers, resisted the temptations of the brightly coloured, scandalously priced, duty free shops.

7:20pm GMT, Thursday 3rd November, 2016 + 15 hours
If you stumble on this blog in the 15 hours after its publication, the time it will take the Airbus to reach its destination, it’s highly likely that our 262 are sealed in an airtight, lightweight, aluminium tube, traveling at a speed of 630 mph, 41,100 ft above the Earth’s surface, separated from the stratosphere by the thickness of a rubber seal. flightsSuspended in mid-air by a perfect differential in air pressure between the shorter lower surface and longer upper surface of those sticky out things we call wings, and largely oblivious to the truly remarkable and unnatural situation they find themselves in, our 262 are likely to be feeling bored, restless, dehydrated and slightly grumpy; eating, sleeping, monitoring the engaged sign on the toilet, toying with their smart phones, and wondering when the stewardess will finally notice them. They will have already ignored the safety briefing and quickly exhausted the entertainment offered by the in-flight magazine. Though cacooned in their metal bubble, isolated from the rest of humanity, they’re not alone. Buzzing around the globe at this moment are perhaps 10,000 similarly shaped, sealed, metal tubes; perhaps 2 million fellow human beings in transit, waiting to set foot back on terra ferma.

But there’s one of our 2 million that’s not sleeping, or bored, or grumpy, but instead feeling exhilarated and slightly apprehensive. This is because the plane he’s on, that Airbus 330-200 from Manchester, is filled with enough fuel to reach Abu Dhabi and from there onto Katmandu, a distance of 4,603 miles. That person is about to realise the dream of a lifetime. That person is me. Travelling with me, tucked up somewhere safe in the darkness of the aircraft’s hold is my bright red Mountain Kingdom kitbag, filled with 15kg of everything I need for a 15 day trek to Everest Base Camp (and back) except for all the things I’ve forgotten or never thought to take. But 1kg per day feels like plenty, especially as most of it is flapjack and chocolate. Though looking calm and composed on the outside, inwardly I’ll be: (a) wincing at the money I’ve spent on kit – single handedly staving off the UK’s post Brexit recession: a new rucksack, trekking trousers, wiking base layers, socks, a head torch, running tights, trekking poles – the list goes ever on, (b) fretting over my levels of fitness (low) and levels of fatness (high) compared to my fellow trekkers, (c) checking and re-checking the symptoms of altitude sickness, or worrying about my propensity to suffer from the craps in foreign climes and the lack of toilet facilities on the trail, or (d) practicing the Nepalese for “thank you” knowing that with a brain the size of a goldfish I’ll have forgotten the words ten seconds after I mutter them. I will already be (e) missing Polly, and Sam and Harry, back home in good old Blighty, but above all I’ll be (f) highly excited for what me is the adventure ahead, to visit the people of Nepal, and to see the World’s highest mountain.

7:20pm GMT, Thursday 3rd November, 2016 + 30 hours

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If you’re reading this blogpost 30 hours after publication, if the weather is kind in the Kingdom of Nepal there’s a good chance that at at this very second 15 human beings, and their 275kg of kit, are squashed into a Twin Otter aircraft as it makes its one and only attempt to land on an airstrip perched on the ridge of a mountain 9,383 ft tall. Ahead a plane has only just touched down and behind there’s another on our tail; given its remote location this is a busy place! In good weather, at the height of the season, 60 flights per day touch down each one packed with trekkers and climbers decked out in the latest in outdoor active ware by fashion labels such as: North Face, Berghaus, Montane, Mountain Equipment and Mammut. It my not be London, Paris, New York or Munich, but we’re all looking pretty good in our cool gear and wrap around sunglasses.

Lukla, reputedly the most dangerous airport in the world, the aircraft, operated by reputedly the most dangerous air operators in the world, but flying in removes five days of trekking; five days those fifteen people can’t spare from their busy (mostly) western lives so they take the risk. There are no hire cars at Lukla, no taxis or curtesy buses, no first class lounge to sip cheap wine and scoff peanuts. There’s one way out and one way in and that’s on two feet, and so, having squeezed ourselves out of the Twin Otter and collected our kitbags, that’s what we do.

7:20pm GMT, Thursday 3rd November, 2016 + 13 days 

everest_base_campWind on to 13 days after publication, a small party of trekkers, tired, aching, and headachy, after 10 days of walking, reach a height of 5300 metres and make their way into Everest Base Camp. Barring avalanche, earthquake, injury and sickness, I hope and aim to be among them. Having reached our goal, the group won’t stay long. We’ll take a look around, take some photos, and head back down the hill. As I look around my thoughts will be of those for whom the trek is just the starting point, those folks for whom the real business begins here. Over 11 days we’ve climbed 2500 metres; to summit Everest there’s another 3,500 metres of serious climbing to go. Whatever your thoughts about organised climbing parties, and tourist climbers, you need to have balls to take on the pointy end of journey. My thoughts will also be of those for who the real business ended here, on this mountain. It’s a dangerous place!

6:40 am + 30 minutes GMT, Wednesday 23rd November

terminal-one-passenger-arrivals-gate-at-manchester-airport-uk-e7c9kdA slightly dishevelled person heads out of customs and into the arrival hall at Manchester Airport, a stone lighter, more tanned and slightly fitter than when he last was here, adventure completed. Around him the good folk of Manchester will be absolutely indifferent to this one arrivee  (they have their hopes, dreams, worries and stories to tell) accept perhaps one. That one will be be Polly, my fiancé and partner for the last 5 and bit years. I’ll have missed her massively in the days I’ve been away, and when I’m back it will be time to begin another adventure together; to find our perfect home somewhere in a village (with pub) in the Yorkshire countryside, where we can chill and walk, find true contentment, and plan our next trek together.

Richard

Illuminating York 2016 – Sony RX1rII

Another great chance to take the camera out on an Autumn evening in the city, this time in the historical city of York.  No tripod meant high ISO’s, wide open apertures, and some post processing in Lighroom.

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Illuminating York | Sony RX1rII @ iso2500.
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The Star In The City, York | Sony RX1rII @ is02500
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Illuminating York | Sony RX1rII @ iso2500
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Illuminating York | Sony RX1rII @ iso2500
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Illuminating York | Sony RX1rII @iso800
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Illuminating York | Sony RX1rII @iso2500

Autumn in Nidderdale 3

The third and final image from Sunday’s walk; the shimmering reflection of Autumn colours in the pond set perfectly in the aptly named Fishpond Wood.

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Fishpond Wood Reflection | Sony RX1rII

We’d set off with the intention of visiting Guisecliff Tarn, in Guisecliff Woods, a second attempt after failing to find it exactly one year ago. Back then we took too long wandering along the river Nidd, captured by the stunning colours (below). This time Skrike’s Wood and Fishpond Wood, blocked our path.

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River Nidd | Sigma Merrill DP3

Next week we’ll make a 3rd attempt!

Autumn in Nidderdale 2

Sunday’s journey to Nidderdale in the Yorkshire Dales proved to be rich pickings on the photography front with the second Autumn panoramic view, this time of Skrikes Wood.

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Skrikes Wood, Nidderdale | Sony RX1rII

In the past I’ve struggled with woodland scenes, which is slightly annoying given that they’re perhaps my favourite landscape, but on this occasion, concentrating on the hillock covered in the red Autumn fall and the composition of the tree trunks (rather than trying fit everything in) I came away reasonably content that I’d captured the feeling I had when I first looked through the opening in the dry stone wall. Printed big I think it could prove quite effective.

Shooting Notes 

3 stitched images taken with the Sony RX1rII at f22 for big depth of field, at iso100, on a tripod, post processed in Lightroom and Elements.

 

 

Autumn in Nidderdale – With the Sony RX1rII

I’ve be far too busy lately and nearly missed this year’s Autumn colours, but today, travelling through the Dales, we found a perfect view of Nidderdale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  When the scene looks this good photography becomes simple 🙂

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Nidderdale, Yorkshire Dales | Sony RX1rII

Shooting Notes

3 shot panorama, using the Sony RX1rII at iso400 & f9, stitched & post processed in Lightroom.

Putting in the Miles

Over the last few weeks and months I’ve been putting in the miles in the Great British Northern countryside, in preparation for next month’s Everest Base Camp trek, accompanied by Polly, my kids Sam & Harry, my old friend Brad, and of course Morgan the dog.

Though the primary purpose was fitness and weight loss, I couldn’t resist taking the camera. The following images range across Cumbria’s Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales, the North York Moors, and Yorkshire’s East Coast on the Cleveland Way.

I can’t say I’ve shed many pounds, but I’ve enjoyed every moment, except perhaps the popping the massive blister at the end of the three peaks 🙂

Richard

Hole of Horcum, North York Moors

Simon’s Seat From Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire Dales

Great End from Seathwaite, Lake District

Ingleborough and Whernside on the 3 Peaks Walk, Yorkshire Dales

Cleveland Way, Yorkshire Coastline

North York Moors

 

St Gemma’s Hospice Leeds Art & Photography Exhibition & Sale 2016

Next week it’s the 16th St Gemma’s Hospice Leeds Art & Photography Exhibition & Sale 2016 in Leeds, and I’m contributing to this great cause by exhibiting 8 images (below) all of which are available to buy on the day.

The event will be held at The Grammar School at Leeds in Alwoodley. A percentage of the sale price from each piece of art goes towards the vital work of St Gemma’s Hospice. As always, there will be work from a wide range of artists across the city, with something to suit every budget.The exhibition runs from 27th-30th October and costs £3 per person to enter.

An Old Friend – With the D800 & Sony RX1rII

3 years ago, on the first leg of our 90 mile walk along the Dales Way, I came across this sad old tractor, and couldn’t resist taking its portrait with my Nikon D800.

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Old Dales Tractor | D800 & 50mm 1.4G

Today, in training for a longer walk, a trek to Everest Base Camp, I came across it once again, slightly worst for wear, and a few more cobwebs, but still standing strong, and snapped it with Sony RX1rII.

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Old Dales Tractor | Sony RX1rII
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Old Dales Tractor | D800 & 50mm 1.4G
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Old Dales Tractor | Sony RX1rII

 

Soul Machine

On a tramp around our local woods we happened upon a farm machinery graveyard brim full of mechanical contraptions of all shapes and sizes, and for what purpose I have no clue, and in one corner, overgrown with weeds and ivy, this old wreck of a flatbed lorry, with more soul and pathos than the Mona Lisa. Surely some mechanical miracle worker should rescue it before it finally succumbs to its fate.

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Soul Machine | Sony RX1rII

Shooting Notes 

Sony RX1rII, hand held at ISO 100. F6.3.

Leeds Artsmix Diary – “A Boat & A House”

“I don’t get it” snorted the women passing our Artsmix stall last Saturday. “It’s a boat and a house, I don’t get it!”. “It’s art” I said. “It’s autistic” she replied. “I don’t get it” she repeated to her friends shaking her head as she walked off, “it’s just a boat and a house” and that, I suppose, was me told.

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Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII

But I love this image. I love the colours and contrast in the stone. I love the symmetry of the picture juxtaposed with the irregularity of the stonework. I love the tones in the boat. I  love the sense of age and decay and mood. I love the sense of place and time, and times past. I love the gradual reclaiming of human habitation and activity by nature. I love that in a 100, 200, 500 and 1000 years, the essence of the scene will remain the same, but the man made objects will erode, whilst nature exerts her ultimate authority.

So who’s right, me with my over analysis and poetic pretensions, or the lady with her no nonsense, straight forwardness? Well I guess we both are. Art is subjective after all!

Richard

 

To the Isle of Harris, The Slow Way

“It’s the journey that counts, not the destination”.

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If your destination is the Isle of Harris in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides there’s good grounds to say sod the journey, catch a plane to Stornaway, and be sitting in the dunes of Luskentyre before you can say “Traigh an Taoibh Thuath”.

… but by taking the quick way you might just be missing out …

Over five days of travelling Polly’s Slow Way took us back to old favourites – Rannoch Moor, Glen Coe, Elgol, Sligachan, and Eilean Donan; and for us new discoveries – Glenfinnan & Loch Sheil, Arisaig, Isleornsay & the Quiraing on Skye. As is so often the case on our travels the highlight was a random, spur of the moment detour, to kill time before our ferry left for Skye. From Arisaig we took a single track road to Rhumach, discovering calm, sheltered, “tropical” bays, pebble beaches, rocky outcrops pushing into the sea, and views out to Eigg, Rum, and to the distant Cuillin on Skye. We had just a few minutes to sit by the shore and take in the views  before climbing back into the car, but we’ll be sure to return and stay for a while on our next slow journey up the West Coast.

Holiday snaps in order of discovery follow.

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Loch Shiel, Scotland
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Glenfinnan Viaduct, Scotland
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Loch Shiel, Scotland
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Rhumach with the Cuillins on the horizon, Scotland
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Rhumach, with Eigg & Rum, Scotland
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Rhumach Lobster Pots, Scotland
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Ornsay Lighthouse, Skye

 

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Beinn Na Caillich, Skye

 

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Elgol & the Cuillin, Skye
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Claigan Coral Beach, Skye
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Talbet, Isle of Harris
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The Black Cuillin, Skye
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Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

 

Defeated by the Beaches of Harris

Wow, crossing from East to West on our journey from the ferry at Talbert to Northton on the A859 and suddenly there’s Luskentyre right in front of you, white sands, emerald sea,  a stunning introduction to the beaches of Harris.

Over the next six days I tried to capture just a hint, a smell, a touch of their beauty, but ultimately headed home defeated. Whether it was due to weather, or timing, or lack of creativity, or an unfamiliarity with the landscape, or lack of technique, I don’t know, but it was certainly not through a lack of inspiration.

But no photographic series on Harris would be complete without a shot of a beach so some feeble attempts and holiday snaps follow.

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The Teampall, Northton, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
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Luskentyre, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
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Luskentyre, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
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Scarista, Isle of Harris | Sigma DP0 Quattro
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Teampall, Northon, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
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Luskentyre, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
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Northton, Isle of Harris | Sigma DP1 Merrill
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Seilebost, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
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Scarista, Isle of Harris, Sigma DP0 Quattro

 

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Northon, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII

 

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Borve, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII

If you want to see some photos that do the place justice take a look at Ian Lawson’s Harris Tweed @ http://www.ianlawson.com/prints/outer-hebrides/ . Better still go along if Ian has another exhibition.

Shooting Notes

The shots above are taken with the Sony RX1rII or Sigma Merrill or Sigma Quattro cameras, post processed in Lightroom.

Morgan The Whippet

Morgan the Whippet doesn’t often make an appearance on these blog pages, but she’s a constant companion on Polly and my travels … And so time for her 15 minutes of fame!

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Morgan The Whippet, Isle of Harris
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Morgan The Whippet, Isle of Harris
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Morgan The Whippet, Loch Shiel
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Morgan The Whippet, Pembrokeshire
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Morgan The Whippet, Yorkshire Coast
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Morgan The Whippet, Pembrokeshire
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Morgan The Whippet, Lake District
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Morgan The Whippet, Lake District
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Morgan The Whippet, Lake District
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Morgan The Whippet, Lake District
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Morgan The Whippet, North Yorkshire

 

 

The Northton Jogs – Isle of Harris

Get up. Make cup of tea. Drink cup of tea. Shorts, trainers, t-shirt, hat on. Camera in rucksack. Rucksack on. Stretch. Down the track from the cottage to the Northton’s main street. Turn left. Past the houses. Past Croft 36, excellent buns. Past the Temple Cafe, excellent food. Past the lane to the beach. Through the gate. Onto the machair. Harassed by Redshanks protecting chicks.  Right. Onto the sands of Traigh an Taoibh Thuath. Aim toward the sea. Onto Scarista. Follow water’s edge out across the bay. Meet sand dunes. Find gap in fence and right onto the A859. Past grazing cattle. Round the corner. Up the hill. Turn right back onto Norton’s main street. Complete the loop. Stop to take photos whenever needed.

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Machair, Northton, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
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Traigh an Taoibh Thuath, Northton, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
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Looking North across the sands to the hills, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
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Looking South back to Northton | Sony RX1rII
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Emerald sea, Scarista, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
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The Dunes, Scarista, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1RII
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Grazing Time, Isle of Harris | Sony RXirII
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Northton, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
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Ceapanhal, Northton, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
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Northton, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1RII

Not the most conventional approach to photography I admit, and I’m unsure it will catch on, but you do cover some ground, it’s a great excuse to take break in the middle of a run, and it’s only possible because the Sony is so small and light!

http://www.richardjwalls.com

 

 

The Golden Road, Isle of Harris

Returning from Lewis in the North to Harris in the South, and to our base in Northton, we took the Golden Road, avoiding the fertile Machair and white beaches of the West coast in favour of the barren landscape of the East.

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Des Res with Boat, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII 

Down this coastline the land is unforgiving, a thin covering of earth icing over the bedrock lying inches below the surface. It may be beautiful but few people would chose to scratch a living here, but then few had a choice after the forced evictions of the Clearances.

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Red Tin Roof, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII

The single track strip of tarmac twisted around sheltered sea inlets, lochans full of water lilies,  grey rocky outcrops and abandoned crofts; driving required full concentration and focus – why do you always meet an oncoming vehicle on a blind bend?

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White House, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII 

As we wound slowly on the weather closed in, obscuring our view, and the rain tipped down as it only can on Scotland’s West Coast. A quick glance at the map and we couldn’t believe our lack of progress South, having driven what seemed many miles and for over an hour.

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Monet, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII 

With my mind tired after a full days driving we swapped seats. Polly drove and I gazed through the passenger window through the haze of rain at the passing landscape. It was the buildings that took my eye; signs of human habitation scattered down the coastline.

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Wooden Bridge, Isle of Skye | Sony RX1rII 

An old red telephone box, a long abandoned croft complete with decaying boat, a red tin roof, a wooden bridge crossing a brook, houses dotted along the coastline, the boat builders yard.

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Communication Centre, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII 

… And so every so often we stopped, and I took another photo, and ran back to the car to shelter from the rain.

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Seaworthy? Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII

Looking at the images afterwards, the thing that’s striking is the buildings’ temporary nature; the total lack of impact on the landscape. If a giant bent down and lifted them away, the land would be what it was a thousand years ago, and what it will be in another thousand years.

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Boatbuilders Yard, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII 

The only thing left would be the road, a permanent scar down the East Coast, a permanent reminder people once made their home here.

Richard

 

A Room with a View – Isle of Harris

“I spent many hours and drove many miles, chasing the perfect scene and perfect light, only to find it was right there in front of me all along”.

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Room With a View Northton, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII 

During our six days on the Isle of Harris I fell in love with the view from our window. Past the fence that marked the boundary of the croft; over the rooftops of Northton, beyond the fertile machair and the lagoon and sands of Traigh an Taoibh Thuath, and out over the sea to the distant mountains that dotted the horizon.

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Machair, Northton, Harris | Sony RX1rII 

The scene was ever changing: every day, ever hour, every minute, natures rhythms offered a different picture. South Westerlies driving the weather from our back; the spur of bright, yellow, sand expanding and contracting with the tide; mountains clear as a bell one instant lost in mist in another; the hazy sunshine of midday transforming into the gloaming of midnight.

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The Gloaming, Northton, Harris | Sigma DP3 Merrill 

For six days the television remained unplugged, books left unread, music set to silent, games unplayed, our view offering all the entertainment we needed.

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Sunny Day, Northton, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII

 

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Bleak Day, Northton, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
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Final Day Reflections | Sony RX1rII 

And on the sixth and final day we became a part of the scene, before heading for the ferry, to Skye, and onwards to home.

 

http://www.richardjwalls.com