Right Out of the Gate.

Tired muscles, unclear head and slightly weary body, we leave the poshness of our comfy hotel for an early AM flight far out west to the “major” city of Ulgii. A quick westward flight just over an hour, we land on a small airstrip to unload bodies and luggage before it continued onward. We are met by our smiling guide ‘Sunshine’. Brief welcoming pleasantries as our Land Cruiser is loaded up. We hop in, back out of the parking lot only to take an immediate right turn. 


What a right turn it was. The road was a straight single track that lead itself into the vast open prairie. Our heads were barely cleared from the early morning flight and here we sit trailing off on smooth straights, bumpy heavily rutted tire-laid ‘roads’ – it was something out of a Mad Max movie. Surrounded by stark mountains, we’re bumping and grinding out new trails as we make our way to the Eagle Festival nearby.

As this region belongs to Kazakh’s (Kazakhstan is not far to the west), the traditional trance-like minimalist Kazakhstanian music blares unselfishly throughout our Land Cruiser’s speakers. The rthymic beat, Sitar-like twang beating our heads with every bump in the road, one couldn’t help but have an out-of-body experience in its repetitive downbeat. Many road fork diversions later, we reach an opening where a sharp right turn was taken up towards and through a little valley. Maybe it was the discussion b/n driver and guide and pointing fingers, but it felt lost. After about 40 mins, not stopping for pause, we continue up on a slight upward pitch close to a small hill to our right. As we round it, we can see a small gathering way up near the top of the next hill range. We have arrived. 

Сайн уу Mongolia!

Or, welcome to Mongolia!

For those familiar with making the journey across the Pacific pond know that the 10+hr flight from the west coast of USA is either nothing or an absolute painful ride. Having jumped on a great deal on United Airline from LAX-SFO-PEK, then a 6hr layover in PEK (not counting the 1hr delay in LAX due to SFO runway construction) before taking a quick 2hr. hopper to ULN, finally reaching Ulaanbaatar some 19+hrs later to bed down in a hotel in the capital city.

Less than 6 hrs sleep, we make our way back to a semi-familiar ULN airport to journey westward to the land of Kazakh’s of Ulgii. Let the sojourn begin!

It’s about the Environment.

Someone said to me the other day that had to do with my likes or dislikes for portraits (of people) – me shooting this genre. I was a bit puzzled as I love this genre! Especially when my subjects are in their own natural environment. Not only do I get to make images of them doing what they do, but I am also humbled to learn of their life’s story.

During a recent junket in China last May, we visited several villages that afforded us access into some of the local’s homes. One of the most endearing things about this style of making portraits is that when you are invited into their homes or shops, you have to possess a certain level of honor, respect and gratitude for their time and patience as you attempt to ‘see’ places where you’d like to photograph them while at the same time slowing everything down to understand the essence and presence of just being there in the moment (with them).

As a seeker of natural light for this genre, sometimes you only have minutes to make images before it completely disappears – such as the case with this master calligrapher.

As you can see, I progressively drill down deeper with each successive frame to tell a story or set a storyline in motion.

Here, I see this light beam coming from a hole in the roof and a table that was the recipient of the light. Sitting hime down and begin what he does best all happened with a few seconds … shoot shoot shoot and it was over in less than 2 minutes as the sun shifted enough to not hit the table anymore.

Unlike most specialists in photography, being a generalist affords me to shoot all day long, finding light where it benefits a worthy image – no matter if it’s landscape, environmental portraiture or street photography. My travel workshops encourage, teach and practice these photography genres while on the road in attempts and hope that you will embrace your newfound skills and continue to travel with camera in hand.

Come check out the next departure into this rewarding photographic sojourns at … Intrepid Photography Sojourns. Share it with a friend!

And Summer Begins …

Unprecedented weather along the middle coastline of California just about an hour north of San Francisco brought us to spend a couple of days outside. Car camping, camp food and good company, getting a few camera wielding people to enjoy the outdoors doesn’t take too much “arm-twisting”.

After a shoreline shoot, we get ourselves into position and wait for sunset to appear … it was definitely worth the 1/2 mi. hike to the spot I had envisioned from photos online.

With day ending and the sun breaking the horizon for the day, the fun begins as the golden light develops.

Love this composition of the two bodies of water on each side of the land mass.

Nighttime shoot session until 1am (photo coming soon from camera).

Sleep.

Then, catch early morning light amongst these leaning giants.

Then, head home for the time being … we’ll be back again.

Nature & Music Collided

Peace.

Sitting amongst the crashing waves and settled sand underfoot under the early evening hours waning light, sitting in surrounded circle while being treated to a private and personal piano concert (that’s mic’d up to our wireless headsets, is something I’d not thought I’d find myself ever doing. Actually, I was lost in the surreal sounds of a masterfully played piano while ably wandering aimlessly on the sand in the semi-dark closing of the day.

Wow.

What a concept to be uplifted through a musical journey where the distractions of external sounds are blocked out. All that can be heard are the delicate notes being played by a lone pianist, hearing even the slightest flawed notes in transition from one rift to the next. It doesn’t matter. That’s the beauty of it. Non-perfection. One solid continuous hour, unbroken by anything except your own passing thoughts … I didn’t want it to end.

Transformative.

Here are a few silent snaps …

Because it’s all Important.

After having recently completed a nearly 3 week photo junket in southwest China, I came away (as always) learning much to refine future visits with western tastes in mind from a photographic sense. Yes, there are differences – very different. The idea of what’s photographically appealing is likely a cultural issue rather than an esthetic one. If you ever want to know these details, which I can’t get into in this post, hit me up and I’ll gladly pour over them while sipping tea or coffee.

In case you’re thinking … well, that’s just not fair! I wanna’ know right now! How ’bout I show you what I captured from this one location, which for some, may give rise to more questions than answers.

The location, in particular, is a wondrous place somewhere between Shanghai and Hong Kong along the coast of the South China Sea called Xiapu. In the last 10 years of so, it’s been a featured location in Asian National Geographic and ever since has been a mecca for Chinese with cameras. It is little known elsewhere in the world as a photographically appealing destination for some reason I cannot explain.

Xiapu is a 3rd-tier type of city with one industry. Seaweed. It accounts for the lion’s share of this rich green crop for China and beyond. It’s full of detail, abstracts, impressionistic and idyllic photographic opportunities, but it comes with a price … Ready? Here it is …

You may be asking yourself … what’s wrong with this images? Why wouldn’t I want to capture these for myself? The short answer is, there’s much more to any photograph than the image itself. What is this you may ask? How about considering attending one of my upcoming photo workshops to magical places that are designed to inspire your mind, heart and spirit to see more of this wondrous world in which we live in.

Whether it’s you or someone you may know who wants to see a different part of the world through fresh eyes, wide open, leave me a message, email and hit this website to see what’s next this year!

www.intrepidphotosojourns.com

I’ll see you on the other side of the world on our next adventure together!

Bloom or Gloom?

With all the hype around the unusually wet winter here in Southern California this past season along with (typical) dryer years during the same time, the inter webs have been blooming over wildflowers blanketing the eastern hills with sprays of orange, yellows, purples and green. Viewing with envy, the many posts & pics from the past month, I finally had the chance to venture some 2 hours from where I now live to the eastern slopes of the much talked about Walker Canyon.

From the time you exit the freeway, you get a sense of the zaniness from all of the commotion going on in the movement of cars and people … and this was at 3:30pm on a Tuesday afternoon! I can see why the weekends are an absolute nightmare for an area that’s usually not frequented by the masses and not setup for this type of adoration for wildflowers. Anyhow … upon parking, the mild leisurely stroll up the canyon on nicely carved roads makes for easy navigation throughout the canyon itself.

Is it a love for the flower, outdoors or just a seen and be seen to instagram or facebook that brings out the best and worse in events like this? Bad (human) behavior is shows itself along the roads as pink and yellow plastic tape with closure signs in attempts to ward off folks traipsing through sensitive or overrun areas on the hills themselves. Even with these friendly reminders for good behavior, witnessing several on the other side of the tape proves that … well … people suck! It’s me me me me, I’m an (self-imposed) important ‘grammer that has to go beyond the rules to get whatever pic that they think is different or sic, just to get ‘likes’ on social media. Ugh. From young to older, singles and groups and peeps wearing fancy dresses for photo ops, it’s great that the appreciation from nature is alive and well in the day of video games and the like, but c’mon people – respect the place will ya?

I digress. As we walked further in to the canyon, we began to ask ourselves … where are the huge blooms and pop of color (other than the green hills) that we’ve all seen on social media? Was it too late in the season and they’re withering away? Was it the wrong time of day? Golden Poppies do open and close to grab sunlight and go dormant during the nighttime, so perhaps that was the reason for such little orange coverage on the hills. I’m no horticulturist so I have no idea. Nonetheless, it was well worth the ride out here – if not to walk around outside to get some fresh air!

Happy Windsday!

Power of the flower lives on.