I TRAVELED WITH RAKU LOREN, A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER WHO HAS VISITED THESE COUNTRIES SEVERAL TIMES. I WAS HIS STUDENT AND OUR AIM WAS TO CAPTURE THE PEOPLE, THEIR CULTURE AND LANDSCAPES IN OUR IMAGES. MOST OF OUR SHOOTING WAS IN THE STREETS WHICH WERE VERY CROWDED AND THIS FACTOR AND VERY DIFFERENT CULTURES MADE MY TASK DIFFICULT.

i HAVE ALWAYS BEEN FASCINATED BY MOUNTAINS AND AS PART OF THE TRIP I WANTED TO SPEND TIME SOMEWHERE IN THE HIMALAYAS. RESEARCH ON THE NET REVEALED THAT THE TREK TO ANNAPURNA BASE CAMP WAS ONE OF THE MOST SCENIC IN THE WORLD. THIS MOUNTAIN WAS THE FIRST 8000 M TO BE CLIMBED AND THIS WAS DONE IN 1951 WHICH WAS TWO YEARS BEFORE HILLARY AND TENSING CLIMBED EVEREST. INCIDENTALLY ANNAPURNA HAS BY FAR THE HIGHEST FATALITY RATE CAUSED MAINLY BY THE HIGH FREQUENCY OF AVALANCHES. SO WE INCLUDED A TWO WEEK TREK TO BASE CAMP AS PART OF OUR TRIP.

WE STARTED BY SPENDING 5 DAYS IN KATHMANDU WITH ME ON A STEEP LEARNING CURVE.

FOLLOWING THIS WE MOVED ONTO THE SLOPES OF THE HIMALAYAS AND STARTED THE TREK. i HAD PREPARED FOR THIS BY WALKING ALMOST 1000 KM IN THE 5 MONTHS BEFORE THE START OF THE TRIP. dESPITE THIS I FOUND THE TREK TO BE MORE THAN CHALLENGING GIVEN THAT THE TREK INVOLVED ASCENDING AND DESCENDING AROUND 55 000 STEPS. COMPOUNDING THE DIFFICULTY WAS THE FACT THAT A LOT OF SNOW FELL NEAR THE TOP WHILE WE WE WERE THERE. MORE ABOUT THE TREK WHEN I ADD MORE IMAGES.

WE ENDED THE TRIP BY SPENDING 11 DAYS IN INDIA. THIS TIME WAS SPREAD BETWEEN OLD DELHI, AGRA AND VARANASI. WE STAYED IN VERY BASIC ACCOMMODATION, USED PUBLIC TRANSPORT WHENEVER WE COULD AND ATE WHERE THE LOCALS DID INCLUDING FROM ROADSIDE STALLS. IN THIS WAY WE EXPERIENCED AN INDIA THAT MOST TOURISTS DO NOT.

THE FOLLOWING IMAGES ARE FROM KATHMANDU AND I WILL POST FOR THE TREK AND INDIA SHORTLY.

MIKE TAGG

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Thanks Edward. I will be posting a selection from my trek soon and also will add comments on it.. mike



Elaine van der Toorn said:

Thanks for sharing the photos, I have a passion for what I call "character" photos and you have captured it very well - as Danie says "lived-in" faces and expressions, they sure tell a story.   Was it easy for you to just take the photos or did you request permission as I am not always sure? Sometime I just "steal" a good picture when they are not looking - I guess not everyone likes to be photographed, but yet some do not mind at all>

Looking at this again Mike ... I love your second, third and 5th and 9th photo's the most!!! You truly captured their lives in their faces.  Wd

Thanks Elaine. Interesting question. I do steal an image when I need to. At other times I would approach a scene of say fruit sellers in the street and just observe and when I was noticed would greet them in Hindi and show respect. I would very soon sense if they were happy to be photographed. Then I would take some shots and show them. Every time they would appreciate this and then I would suggest more and they would be happy and carry on with their business. I would then move around looking for the best angle and light and shoot away. When finished show them again and express my gratitude. At times some would indicate no no when they saw the camera and I would respect this. It took me a while and guidance from Raku to do this naturally. As you say most people do not mind. Some would want to pose and ask for money-sort of touts but I would avoid them as the pics would not look natural. mike

Thanks for the feedback Mike, it helps and I will certainly take note of the surroundings when planning these type of snapshots if I can all it that?

Thank you for sharing this with us! What a wonderful opportunity and congrats with your stunning images. 

Wow Mike .. how brilliant was your trip? I am seriously jealous. Your shots are top drawer .. well done and keep posting some more of these photies

Thank you Bruna and Peter for your generous comments. A lot of the credit must go to Raku my mentor for his guidance. Will post images from the trek to Base Camp in the next few days. mike

Thanks Corne-certainly those lined faces reveal a lot about their lives-especially those of older people who despite hardships manage to maintain their dignity. m

Corne Lourens said:

Looking at this again Mike ... I love your second, third and 5th and 9th photo's the most!!! You truly captured their lives in their faces.  Wd

What an opportunity to 'do your stuff' and you did it so well.  I wonder what the stories are behind those faces......

Thank you Debbie. One sees so many interesting faces and pgy opportunities. I learnt a lot from Raku my pgy mentor. I have posted a few from our trek and will be posting more from the Indian part of the tour. mike

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