I was looking through the archives for some shots for our new blog (coming soon!) and saw some photos I wanted to post here. I was thinking of going back through the whole trip and posting shots from each place. Who would be interested in that? Leave a comment if you want that!
For now here are those awesome photos:
A traveler on the streets of Jaisalmer.
And another local from the streets.
From the Qutab Minar in Delhi.
The Lotus Temple in Delhi.
Hanging jootis in Calcutta
Buddha sculpture from the temple at Krabhi, Thailand.
An awesome rhino from Kaziranga.
Our boatman from Varanasi.
Hope you enjoyed that little hodge-podge, but I'll keep things a bit more organized as I keep posting!
Also, I have gotten a couple emails regarding the Hindu Wedding article, and how it's not finished. Oops! I'll definitely try to get that finished up soon for you all!
indian one horned rhino,
Well, that’s half true. The camel had a name. It was Tooty. And Rob’s was Honky. They were our faithful steed as we tramped across the desert yesterday.
People come here to Jaisalmer primarily for the camel safaris. Out in the desert of Rajasthan, it’s a small town, overlooked by a fort, and crafted almost entirely out of golden sandstone. And while the town itself is very fascinating, the camels are what get the attention.
And rightfully so.
Our trip was definitely an experience of a lifetime, and something we certainly won’t forget for a long time. We’re even vividly re-experiencing right now, as we sit on some very very very sore bottoms.
But let’s get to the pictures right away. We opted, thanks to some very wise advice from a fellow traveler, to keep our camel trip short. We started off at 8AM in a jeep, and drove out into the desert. The scenery here looks a little something like this.
We stopped by a small village that was strangely enough set in front of a background of huge wind power generators.
At a very old temple we found a troupe of some incredibly cute puppies
And saw a great scene of two young boys carrying water down the road
But we were just waiting for the camels. We mounted up (a rather scary experience, since these camels are absolutely enormous, and then aren’t exactly graceful, so you just lunge up into the air), and set out across the desert. At first it was mainly scrub land, lots of sand and small shrubs. Here’s Rob, sporting his bright orange turban (which I tied myself, thank you very much) and mounted up on Honky.
The first leg of the journey was fairly straightforward. We marched along, single file, steering our camels along narrow paths in between the shrubs. It was still before noon, so the sun wasn’t at full strength yet. But the going wasn’t comfortable and after about a couple of hours we were more than ready to stop for a rest. We found a big tree with shade, and let the camels rest while we lounged on blankets, and our guides made us chai and some lunch (hey, I never said we were roughing it). The camels enjoyed their break, getting to have some food and get their big packs off.
We took the time to get some camel portraits
Rob was trying to act the camel whisperer, but Honky moved quickly and he got a little jumpy, haha!
And during the second leg of the trip things got interesting. We had made our way to the Royal Sand Dunes, in the Thar Desert. Now, generally the camel tours take people to the Sam Sand Dunes, which are starting to get over crowded. We opted to pay more, and take the jeep way out to start, so that we could get some relatively empty dunes. And it was really worth it. The whole trip we only saw a few other groups, and only in passing. We were able to stop, get some shorts, and see the landscape with literally no one else around for miles. It was amazing.
Here’s me, looking all dramatic.
A really awesome shadow shot that Rob got.
Self portrait while on camels!
Just relaxing after we made our final stop at the dunes.
Our guides brewing us some chai.
Now, as fate would have it, the one other person on our tour with us was a young photographer from Paris named Philippe. How amazing is that? You have to spend all day with someone, with nothing to do but ride camels and talk, and they just happen to be in the exact same boat as us: young, traveling photographer, trying to make a living and enjoying seeing the world. It was fantastic to just spend all day chatting. Honestly, put two photographers in a room together and they could talk for the rest of days. What was also really great about having Philippe along with us is that finally we would be able to get a shot of us that wasn’t taken by holding a wide angle lens up in front of ourselves! And honestly there is no better place for a portrait of us than here.
One big surprise in the desert, that I guess I should have expected but didn’t, were these enormous beetles. Ugh. At first I thought maybe we would be missing out, not spending the night out there, but I don’t think either Rob or I would have gotten a moment of sleep knowing there were tons of these things crawling around!
So, as the sun started to set I wanted to fulfill a dream of mine. I wanted to get the quintessential shot of camels on the dunes silhouetted against the sunset. Our guides were generous enough to let us borrow their camels, so I grabbed us a couple of models and off we set up the dunes to find the right spot.
And find it we did.
We were all just going crazy, sprinting along the dunes, knowing that we had only a few minutes before the sun would be completely gone. Again, we were so happy to be sharing that time with another photographer, rather than a regular Joe who would have thought us completely bonkers for posing camels up on the dunes for a half an hour.
But whether or not we’re bonkers, we’re very very happy with our shots, and can’t wait to get some printed to put in our house.
And one last group portrait: Me, Rob, Philippe (yes, his shirt says iPood, why? Who knows ☺ ), and our lovely models.
Afterwards we had a nice little dinner, and some blessedly cold drinks, and we were picked up by a jeep to take us home. Philippe braved it out and spent the night in the desert. He is traveling all across Asia for a project of his, to document how different cultures wake up and spend their first moments in the morning. And so a sunset wasn’t good enough for him, as he needed to see the sunrise as well. But he said the experience wasn’t too bad, he wasn’t completely eaten by bugs, and he showed us the shots he took this morning, and they are great. But I can’t say I’m jealous: we were very happy to get back to our room and sleep in a soft bed last night!
So I hope you enjoyed those shots! And I’m sure Philippe will be posting some of his, so make sure to check out his site as well, at www.regardasie.com. It’s in French, but pictures are pictures, and I’m sure you’ll find some great ones to peek at!
Our apologies for the delayed post here. We have been up in Assam and the internet connection at our hotel literally took 5 minutes just to open up a blank Google screen. So you can imagine that we didn’t have much patience for it. Add to that the fact that we were attending a wedding, and our free time was pretty scant!
But we arrived in Varanasi today, and already we know that this is going to be an amazing place to photograph. So get ready for some great stuff coming up soon!
I’m not posting the wedding pictures just yet, since we are taking an evening boat ride soon, and I know it’s going to take a long time to write all about this wedding. (although it turns out we were tricked, and there actually weren't any elephants at the wedding, boo!)
So for now we’ll share with you a few pictures of the safari we took near Jorhat. But even before that one last shot from Calcutta, that really demonstrates that “movie set” quality we talked about. Can you believe the lighting here?
Incredible. Now after the wedding was done we had a free day in Jorhat, so we woke up bright and early (4:30 AM) and hopped into a car that took us to Kaziranga National Park. As always in India, things didn’t go completely smoothly. The car that came to pick us up was half an hour late, and when we finally got out to Kaziranga (1.5 hour drive away) the driver didn’t know where the guest house was. After he asked a ton of people and they just pointed down the road, we got there to find out that the tour had already left. So he drives us out to where the elephants start from, and heads down this crazy dirt road. A ways down the park ranger guys stop us, and it seems as though we’ve been driving down the path that the jeep safaris take. Yikes. I guess we were in a bit of trouble. But in India things just seem to work their way out, and even though we had already missed the elephant ride, the rangers were able to get us out on another elephant, and we even got to ride all by ourselves, rather than in a group. So imagine yourself at dawn riding out on a solitary elephant into this large grass area, totally surrounded by deer and morning mist. It was completely and utterly worth waking up that early for. Let’s get into some pictures shall we?
Our elephants riding up out of the mist (we rode the one on the far left)
The rising sun was absolutely red. It was impossible to really catch with the camera though. But this shows you the landscape. You certainly couldn’t be faulted for thinking you somehow stumbled into Africa.
As we slowly marched along on our elephant the number of deer we saw was incredible. And they weren’t really scared of us either. This little guy was really quite curious.
As were these two
That setting again. Africa, right?
Check out the antlers on this one. They are new, and still covered with the fuzzy velvet
If you look closely you will see the elephants that we were supposed to be riding on.
And the big star of Kaziranga, the Indian one horned rhino.
The population of around 1800 rhinos makes up over two thirds of the worlds population, so we definitely had a good chance of spotting a bunch
And we certainly did. The guide would even make the elephant grunt so as to rouse the rhinos from their naps, to make them more photogenic for the crazy Western tourists and their cameras ☺
There were a bunch of baby rhinos as well, just starting to grow their horns
Sitting on the elephant, just seeing these massive creatures was incredible. The armour on them was beyond anything we could imagine. They certainly looked like some fearsome creatures, and yet were so calm at the same time.
The guide steered the elephant deep into the grass, and we were able to spot a few more rhinos hiding in there
A good view of that horn
And on the way back we came across a big herd of deer
The male watching over everything
And at the end of the ride we got off our elephant, and enjoyed just checking out the big animal, and taking some shots. The beautiful eye
A shot from above. The seat was actually quite comfortable, although after an hour I was pretty ready to get off
And one last shot of the big gal!
So that was our great time at Kaziranga. We went to the zoo in Singapore, and saw elephants and rhinos, but to be out there in the grass, with nothing separating you from the rhinos was certainly an incredible experience. And to add to our excitement, we hope to visit another national park to see some tigers! We can’t wait!
So stay tuned, and we’ll get those wedding pictures up soon! We can’t wait to share them with you, it was such a fascinating and enjoyable time!
And to everyone who has emailed us, we definitely apologize for the delay, since we've been away from the internet for so long (I just logged on to over 50 new emails, which means a lot of work for me tonight!) We'll be responding to them as soon as possible, now that we have an internet connection. Thanks so much for all the patience, and we'll be talking to you soon!
indian one horned rhino,