Browsing Tag


Before Dawn in Kathmandu

Even though I’m not primarily a ‘travel’ photographer – I at least know that if you really want to get the shots that the tourists won’t get, you have to wake up before dawn and get out there before even some of the locals start their day.

That’s a little difficult here since it seems like the Buddhists are out and about walking around the stupa at 4am – well, they’re at least out before 5am because on the first morning I got to the stupa at 6am – just as the sun was rising, and then the next day I got there an hour earlier at 5am because I wanted a little more time before daylight hit – and it was packed.

Now these are the shots most people won’t get because hey – it’s about 35 degrees in the mornings right now, and it means you had to wake up at 4:30am. Of course, every morning when I walk downstairs the ‘guard’ scares the hell out of me since he’s usually lying down somewhere in the darkness and just wakes up all of a sudden. I play it cool – but um yeah, it’s a really weird way to start every day. And then I walk through the pitch black alleys, trying not to trip – and trying to not be freaked out by the deep, rumble of people in the darkness around me, also walking to the stupa and reciting their prayers… it’s honestly kind of like walking next to zombies in the darkness – so I walk fast.

The first day I just kind of checked things out – since I was a good bit trigger shy. But after my 5 hour hike around the outskirts I got over that – and the next morning I was all about getting my shots. Of course – I’m not dumb and I generally avoided the targets that were obviously going to chase me down and try to make me pay them if I took their photo. Communicating with your subjects is key – or you know – shooting and then quickly walking away.


On a different note – it’s funny how along with the usual ‘I want to get good shots because I’m a photographer’ – I also kind of feel obligated to just totally rock while I’m here – for the Interns. One of the things I’ve said before is that everything I shoot, I shoot for practice. Whether it’s weddings, or family portraits, or events – it’s all practice for some unknown opportunity. Because one of the things I worry about the most is simply wasting a photographic opportunity because I wasn’t ready – because my skills weren’t where they should have been.

I say this without boasting – but it takes some nerve and even skill to regularly get close to strangers, take their picture – and to walk away without getting yelled at – or to simply start a conversation that way. You’ll notice that my travel photography isn’t primarily lanscape photography – so all I have left are people. I know I’ve only been shooting for about a year and a half – but I’ve been practicing nearly every day since I picked up my dSLR back in August of 2009.

See you tomorrow.

Kathmandu. Nepal. Travel. Photos. Photography. Bodhnath. Stupa.

Walking Around The Outskirts

It took me two hours of walking until I finally warmed up to photographing. I don’t know what it was – but I just wasn’t really feeling my shots. I wasn’t in the mood to pull out the camera and really work things. So I walked. And I kept walking. Uphill even.

First I went uphill and to the East, away from the Bodhnath Stupa – I didn’t know how far I would go, just that I would walk until I didn’t feel like walking uphill anymore. An hour later, I turned around. Of course I didn’t see another photographer and I definitely didn’t see anyone other than the people that live here. As I continued walking I’d wave hello to the shopkeepers, or the metal workers, or… the people lying down in the fields of dead grass and garbage. That was on the way up.

On the way back, I pulled out my camera and started looking for shots. While some photographers will tell you that they love their long, 300mm lenses when they travel because they can ‘catch’ people – I’ll tell you that I love my 35mm prime. Sure it’s a 50mm on my camera body – but that’s perfect.  Because you don’t get shots like these from 40 feet back, and you can’t get them without having a technique to how you photograph. There’s no hiding when all you’ve got is a prime lens and you have to get within five feet of your subject – or closer.

With a 300mm lens – you’re rarely getting anyone looking right into your camera. And for me – if they’re not looking right down my lens then what’s the point? I want the connection between me and the subject – even if it’s just for 1/125 of a second and three frames.

See you tomorrow.

Kathmandu. Nepal. Photos. Bodhnath. Stupa. Bohda. Travel. Photography.