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.

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Muker Meadows | Sony RX1rII
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From Crackpot Hall to Keld | Sony RX1rII stiched
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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.

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Muker Sunset | Sigma DP3 Merrill

 

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.

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

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.

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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 …

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Soul Machine, Wakefield | Sony Rx1rII

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Mountain Sunrise, Nepal | Sigma DP3 Merrill

Have a happy 2017.

Richard

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.