The Old School Welcomes Giles Davies

The Old School is delighted to showcase the work of Giles Davies, a new and welcome discovery for our little gallery in Swaledale. Summit-Thorpe-CloudLO  Through the medium of collage Gile’s creates images reminiscent of the fells and mountains that surround us, carefully matching the colours, textures and shapes of the scene with cuttings from colour magazines. Look from a distance and the collage blends together into a wonderful, vibrant landscape. Study more closely and you’ll find crowds of people, roads, cafes, flowers, lily ponds and tens of other abstract images, combining to create a whole much greater than the sum of its parts.Snowdon-icy-dawnLOWe think it’s wonderful, magical and quite unique stuff, and we’re sure you’ll think the same.

Richard & Polly 

 

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.

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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.

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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

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equipment

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.

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Everest Base Camp, A Photo Diary – Descent

The final post of the diary covers our descent from Kalapatthar back down to Lukla, and from there to Kathmandu.

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

No photos.

Thursday 17th November,  Perchiche to Tashinga (3,450m)

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Thamserku, Nepal | Sony Rx1rII
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Ama Dablam, Nepal | Sony RX1rII

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Friday 18th November: Tashinga to Monjo (2,850m)

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Mountain Sunrise, Nepal | Sont RX1rII
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Mountain Sunrise, Nepal | Sigma DP3 Merrill
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Looking back to Everest, Lhoste & Ama Dablam, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Saturday Market At Namche Bazaar, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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High & Low Bridges Over Dudh Koshi, Nepal | Sony RX1rII

 

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River Crossing, Nepal | Sony RX1rII

Saturday 19th November:  Monjo to Lukla (2,804m)

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Himalaya foothills | Sigma DP3 Merrill
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Old Bridge, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Starfield, Nepal | Sony RX1rII

Sunday 20th November: Lukla to Kathmandu

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Foothills, Nepal | Sigma DP3 Merrill

Diary Notes

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

Day twelve (pm). Descending Kalapatther I start to lag behind, then a sudden energy surge and I descend quickly – almost running – to catch the rear of the group, then I totally blow up! I struggle in last to Gorak Shep for lunch. I feel completely shot with a five hour decent to Perchiche ahead. As we set off Charlie asks if I’m ok and our guide, Dunbar, takes one look and immediately takes my pack.  Despite the help I can’t keep up the pace and drop back with Dunbar as the others go ahead.  At the mid-point rest I, under instruction, continue down, but am soon caught, passed and again drop behind. Dunbar, concerned that I will delay the group reaching Perchiche before dark, finds a porter who agrees to take the group down. I’m relieved that I’ll no longer hold them up. We follow, with Dunbar constantly urging and encouraging me to walk faster. I try but immediately blow up and have to stop; if he’d had a rope he’d have tied it round me and pulled me along. Round a bend and the smoke that marks Perchiche comes into view. My heart sinks, it seems incredibly distant, the sun has long disappeared behind the mountains and its getting cold. We arrive in total darkness and I head straight to the bedroom and sit on the bed. Dunbar brings tea and a hot water bottle to warm me up. I sit there in a trancelike state, in my full outdoor gear, without the will or the energy to drink the tea or to climb into bed. Eventually I force myself. Today is my nadir.

Extract for Sarah’s daily blog.

“The afternoon we knew would be hard as it would involve a further five hours of walking to get down to Pheriche. What made it harder still is that one of the group [me] started suffering from altitude sickness at the top of Kala Patthar and so was walking very slowly and we were worried for him. It was another reminder of how hard life is here. There was no real option but for him to keep walking to get lower. Our guide suggested that the remaining five of us navigated ourselves down to avoid walking in the dark! So we did! The thought of having to come down the steep rocky slopes in the dark made me much braver and I came down them very quickly!”

Thursday 17th November, Perchiche (4,280m) to Tashinga (3,450m)

Day thirteen. In the morning, with the drop in altitude, I feel much better and eat some cornflakes. Though I have to walk like John Wayne due to chapped thighs I have no problem keeping up with the group. At lunch at Thyangboche I eat again. Back below the tree line, and with some food inside, if feels like someone flicked a switch and I’m suddenly myself again, rather than the pathetic sod of the previous few days. I even take some photos!

Extract for Sarah’s daily blog.

“We met up again with our Australian couple, the husband of which had suffered from severe altitude sickness. He looked so much better and it was lovely to see them. He had been seen by a local doctor who had said that he was, at that point, a 10 out of 12 on the severe altitude sickness grading. A ’12’ is an unconscious state and the doctor said that at that stage, some people do not make it. It was such a shock to hear that. We have seen so many people suffering from various illnesses that it brings it home just how hard the environment is here. I am inawe of those that go further up the mountains and what they must go through to achieve their ambitions”

Friday 18th November: Tashinga to Monjo (2,850m)

Day fourteen. Despite my chapped legs and other unmentionables a favourite day of the trip, starting with a wonderful sunrise over the mountains. At Namche, after a superb lunch of spring rolls, (all food now tastes delicious) we’ve an hour to ourselves and I head straight to (what looks like) a chemist to buy medicine and soothing cream; relief at last! We re-cross the suspension bridge over Dudh Koshi and when we rest by the river I balance the camera on my rucksack and take some long exposures shots. 

Saturday 19th November:  Monjo to Lukla (2,804m)

Day fifteen. It’s like the day after a bad hangover. I feel fantastic and full of beans and nothing hurts! I put the walking poles away so I can more easily use the camera and snap away, focusing on the everyday textures and sights of the trail, rather than the mountains, and I’m in my element. Some of us take a side trail instead of the main path. The scenery is magical and for excitement we get to cross a dilapidated bridge one at a time. The full group meets up further down the valley for lunch before the final push to Lukla. In the evening we distribute tips to the guides and Yak man along with giving away surplus equipment. This is the last we see of our two assistant guides who’ve looked after us so well. After dinner I take the camera out for one last chance to photograph the stars in the clear Himalaya air.

Sunday 20th November: Lukla to Kathmandu

Day sixteen. Up early, breakfast, and soon make the 50 yard trek across to Lukla airport. I watch the planes start to come in and fly out, no dramas. After an hour or so we get the call and head for the plane. The pilot guns the engines and we set off down the slope, rising into the air 20 yards before the end of the runway and the vertical drop to the valley floor. Another perfect flying day and I snap the foothills through the airplane window. An hour later and we’re driving through the craziness of Kathmandu to the hotel, a complete contrast to what’s gone before, trek done.

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)

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Nuptse, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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The Way to Base Camp, Nepal | Sony RXrII
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Nuptse, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Avalanche, Nuptse | Sony RX1rII
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Glimpse of Everest, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Khumbu Glacier, Nepal  | Sony RX1rII
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Nuptse, Nepal | Sony Rx1rII

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

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Everest & Nuptse, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Everest, Nepal | Sigma DP3 Merrill
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Everest & Nuptse | Sony RX1rII
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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)

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Kwangde Re, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Everest (just) & Lhotse, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Ama Dablam, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Ama Dablam Base Camp | Sony RX1rII
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Ama Dablam Base Camp, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Ama Dablam Base Camp, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Ama Dablam Base Camp, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Ama Dablam, Nepal | Sigma DP3 Merrill

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

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

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

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Tawoche & Arakamtse Peaks, Nepal | Sony RX1rII Panoramic Mode
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Frozen Yak Pasture below Arakamtse Peak, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Arakamtse Peak with just a glimpse of Cholaste Tso, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Looking back, Ama Dablam (left) & Thamserku (right) Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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Khumbu Glacier Terminal Moraine, Everest Climber Memorials, Nepal | Sony RX1rII
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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!