2014 Ladakh Photo Trek…WOW!

 

Shey Monastery, Leh, Ladakh

Shey Monastery, Leh, Ladakh

 

Piet Van den Eynde, Alou and I just concluded what might have been the hardest workshop I have ever ran. Not because we didn’t have fantastic participants. On the contrary, we had great participants, many of whom were repeat clients. Not because they were not all really talented photographers – they all were – even though that is not a requirement to participate in one of our trips. It was because so many things just happened. Like God looked down and said, “I think I’ll give you a little run for your money, Matt. You need some new stories to tell!”

It started when one participant emailed us the night we arrived to India and explained that her aircraft she was flying had one of their engines go bad and they had to make an emergency landing in Toronto. She explained she might be late. Talk about scary! But she made it and joined us a day late. Then within hours of that email I get another from another participant that said he had visa issues and maybe be several days late! When it rains… He made it two days later.

While all this was unfolding, we received news that there was major flooding in the Kashmir Valley where we had planned to run a four day add-on to the Ladakh trip. The flooding was so severe that we decided to cancel the Kashmir add-on both for our sake and in respect of the people experiencing the flooding. Frankly, it would be dangerous as well as tacky to visit as a tourist while people where struggling for their very lives.

If that was not enough, while camping at 15,000 ft one of the participants had issues with altitude and was evacuated to lower altitudes. But wait… there’s more. As a result of the flooding in neighboring Kashmir all communications with the outside world was relegated to visits to a local phone booth. Yes, they still have phone booths, but only one or two were operational for the whole city of Leh in Ladakh. Can you say, “lines of people”?

But we managed. We carried on and had fun, made friends and took some amazing photos. We replaced the Kashmir add-on with a trip to the Nubra Valley and I thinks folks were happy with the choice. I am pretty sure participants walked away with stunning, unique images to add to their portfolio. That’s one of the good things about leading workshops in India – photo opportunities are low hanging fruit. It doesn’t mean anyone can take a good photo, but it does mean everyone has the chance to.

If this has got you thinking of  joining a workshop (or in fact, if this is scaring you from joining one), know that we also have a more luxurious workshop in Rajasthan in February 2015, for which there are still a couple of places available.

 

Camping for several night was both exciting at 15,000 ft and cold! (click for a larger view)

Camping for several night was both exciting at 15,000 ft and cold! (click for a larger view)

 

Participants stop on a drive around Tsorak Lake, Ladakh to photograph the mountain light.

Participants stop on a drive-around Tsorak Lake, Ladakh to photograph the mountain light.

 

Tsokar Lake is a salt lake with many huge salt flats that the local nomads take advantage to harvest salt for their livestock.

Tsokar Lake is a salt lake with many huge salt flats. The local nomads take advantage of this to harvest salt for their livestock.

 

Alou stand on what looks like a mirror, Tsorkar Lake.

Alou stand on what looks like a mirror, Tsorkar Lake.

 

In Lamayuru, Piet gave participants lessons in off-camera flash.

In Lamayuru, Piet gave participants lessons in off-camera flash.

 

What trip with Piet Van den Eynde would be complete without using our Fujifilm Instax printer to pass on photos to our new friends?

What trip with Piet Van den Eynde would be complete without Fujifilm Instax prints being passed to new friends?

 

Mike Alexander shooting in a dark monastery in the Nubra Valley.

Mike Alexander shooting in a dark monastery in the Nubra Valley.

 

France Leclerc prepares to photograph Kiang (Tibetan Wild Ass).

France Leclerc prepares to photograph Kiang (Tibetan Wild Ass).

 

 

 

 

Video Blog #10 Photo Interview with Fernando Gros and more…

 

 

Yes, it is true, this is a video blog post. I know you thought it was dead and gone. Well it was only sick. ;-)  I have tried breathed into it new life. Well, I least I hopes to.

This Sunday I am off to Ladakh, India for a two week workshop. After Ladakh the group heads to Srinagar, Kashmir. Then in February, 2015 I head back to Rajasthan. The question begs answering are photo workshop worth it? Are they worth the time and the financial investment? So this issue we will look at the benefits of photo workshops. To do this I have an interview with Fernando Gros from FernandoGros.com. Continue reading

Tip: Use Your Sports Watch to Geotag Your Photos.

 

(Note: all images taken with the new FUJINON LENS XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR)

 

Are you a runner? If you are, I would guess that you have a sports watch with a GPS function. There is a high probability that you can use this watch to geotag your photos. I can’t write this with certainty that it will work with all watches, but there is a really high probability that yours will work. Continue reading

PetaPixel Playing With The Truth

 

 

NPPA-ID

In a recent blog post the tech/photography site PetaPixel suggested a workaround for getting more camera gear on your next flight. The solution is, just lie. Forge your own press credentials and say you are with a media service. Apparently the major airlines have deals for traveling media professionals and will allow extra baggage for just $50 a bag. As a traveling photographer always worried about weight,  I read through the PetaPixel article with interest. That is until I reached the bottom of the post when author DL Cade quoted Canadian photographer Von Wong (another Fuji x-photographer) who said, just make your own credential. “Boom. Instant proof.” Seriously?  Continue reading

Jessie’s Venice

 

f/4, 1/9 sec, at 19.1mm, 200 ISO, on a X-Pro1

A rainy evening in Venice.

 

I haven’t posted photos by Jessie (my daughter) in quite some time. Frankly, it is because she hasn’t been shooting. School kind of gets in the way of photography. But while traveling Italy she has found the time and seems to have gotten her mojo back. Again, I am very proud of her images.

PS. Jessie’s loving the X-Pro1 and the 18-55 mm.

Continue reading

Florence at Night

 

It goes without saying many people have photographed Florence at night. But I haven’t. So here is my contributions to an already large body of work on this beautiful old city. I hope you enjoy these. Tomorrow we are off to Venice. Ciao!

 

Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore or Il Duomo di Firenze.

Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore or Il Duomo di Firenze.

Continue reading

How to Photograph and Still have a Family Vacation.

f/6.4, 1/680 sec, at 14.5mm, 200 ISO, on a X-E2

A view of Florence from atop the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore or Il Duomo di Firenze.

Florence is the capital of the  Tuscany region of Italy. The city is viewed as a cultural, artistic and architectural treasure. Florence is also known as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. It is the home to such wonders as Michelangelo’s David and Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus and countless other historic works of art. Of course, when you are on a family vacation the goal is to see all these wonders and stuff yourself on gelato, pizza, prosciutto and still have time to shop.  If you’re like me you also want to try to grab time to take memorable photos in the midst of all this. Continue reading

Buongiorno From Roma

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona

 

We left Rome today and are now in Florence for the next few days. Rome was everything I had dreamed it would be. Well, almost. Everyone said the coffee would be the best I have ever tasted. So far I have not had a bad cup of coffee. But I don’t find it head and shoulders above the rest of the worlds cappuccino’s and espressos. Now the gelato… that’s another story!  I am sure there is no better ice cream on the planet! Continue reading

A Tribute to Hollywood Glamor

 

Humphery Bogart by George Hurrell

Humphery Bogart by George Hurrell

 

Hedy Lamarr, 1940, byGeorge Hurrell.

Hedy Lamarr, 1940, by George Hurrell.

 

Our family is sort of obsessed with the Hollywood film classics of the 1930’s and 40’s. Even as a kid I had old movie stills of Clark Gable and Humphrey Bogart on my walls. I am sure this is part of why I am so into fedoras. I always thought the glamor shots of those classic Hollywood beauties were amazing. But for some reason I never tried to emulate it until this week. Maybe because of the British drama Indian Summers, for which I have been shooting. The drama takes place in the 1930’s, so I thought it might be fun to make some stills of the actors in the style of George Hurrell. Continue reading