Photographing One of the World’s Last Remaining Homogeneous Tribes

Photographing One of the World’s Last Remaining Homogeneous Tribes

By Susan Blick

I was recently in the very North-Western tip of India, about 7 hours north of Srinagar on the Kashmir Line of Control in Ladakh, India. Ladakh sits right in the middle of the World’s highest mountain range, the Himalayas. It’s completely inaccessible overland for eight months of the year, totally cut off from the world bar infrequent flights.

This isolation has allowed the preservation of people known as Dropkas in Ladakhi which means nomad or Turk, not from the modern day Turkey, but a Kingdom of Turkic or Dardic people who once ruled the Karakoram in the time of the Greeks.

The Dropkas (Aryans as we know them in English) are ethnically, socially, linguistically and culturally completely different from all of the other inhabitants surrounding them. They are the decedents of the men from Alexander the Great’s army who could travel no more and were tired, sick or injured. These decedents live mainly in three small villages in the only fertile valley in all of Ladakh. They originally migrated from the Gilgit area of Pakistan, wandering Westward looking for better hunting grounds and pastures and eventually stumbled upon and settled in this valley squashed between the Indian and Pakistani Line of Control.

I had read a lot about the Aryans before traveling to the region and I was keen to
document one of the World’s last remaining homogeneous tribes.

Just getting there is a story in itself, but photographing them wasn’t as straightforward as one might expect either. First of all, the people are hard to find. Their village lies on a steep cliff face and at an altitude of around 3,500m, it makes it very hard to sniff them out. Secondly, they seem to slip in and out of their houses without being seen, camouflaged-well in their traditional dress and blending with the forest surrounds and giant granite boulders that nestle their village. The lane ways are devoid of people and in the night they tell me Himalayan wolves and shanko (high-altitude feral dogs) as big as lions roam the mountains in search of wildlife and domestic animals.

Add to this, the fact that in the past, Dropkas believed that cameras could steal your soul, so most people still aren’t all that keen on being photographed! Nevertheless, I needed these photos as I had come so far.

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The Best Weather For Landscape Photography

The Best Weather For Landscape Photography

By Richard Young

There is a common misconception among non-photographers that the best photography weather is a bright, sunny day. The reality is quite the opposite; a sunny day for landscape photography is often the worst weather you can have!

Good photography comes from a mix of weather - interesting weather, along with its light, will add more drama to a landscape. A bright, sunny day means boring, empty blue sky and a flat image with deep shadows.

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“Lurking Syndrome” in Photography

“Lurking Syndrome” in Photography

By Ana Lyubich

"We are not here to fit in, be well balanced, or provide example for others. We are here to be eccentric, different, perhaps strange, perhaps merely to add our small piece, our little clunky, chunky selves to the great mosaic of being" – Jim Hollis

Have you ever sat next to someone on a train or bus who was going through their social media news feed without commenting or liking anything? That person was very likely a “lurker”. Wikipedia defines a “lurker” in the Internet world as someone who “observes, but doesn’t participate”.

You may even be one yourself. Don't worry, I’m guilty of it too which helps me speak on this topic from my own personal experience. It's not uncommon, in fact, only 1% of followers of any social media platform or community are actively engaged members, 9% occasionally participate, while the rest… lurk.

 

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Bio-luminescent wave

Bio-luminescent wave

F2.8, 5s, ISO1600

ARKLES BAY

I was in bed when I noticed a post on our local FB page that a bit of bio-luminescence had been spotted in our area so I jumped out of bed, woke our 8 year old, and off we went hunting for it - this was at midnight!!

We found a little and after an hour or so the little guy was tired so we decided to call it a night. Once home and climbing back into bed, I noticed another post from earlier with someone saying they saw bio-luminescence at another beach so, me being me, I jumped out of bed again and this time headed out on my own - it was 1:30 in the morning by now!

When I got there I noticed a little directly in front of me on the beach but as Murphy would have it, as I set up my camera up, it started fading and then disappeared completely. I decided to call it a night (again) and started walking to the car. As I was virtually at the car, I saw a blue
flicker up against the cliffs out of the corner of my eye so I decided to head across for one more look! It was
so bright I could see it going off but only on certain waves!!

I had to get pretty wet wading in knee deep water, in the pitch dark, trying to get to the spot at high tide but I was going to try capture this no matter what!! It was very sporadic and trying to capture it proved very difficult - for me anyway! However, this was a big
highlight in my short photographic career and I suspect a once in a lifetime opportunity.

In all the time I was there the bio-luminescence only went off a handful of times. The colour was generated by mother nature - I did not have to disturb the water in any way myself to "activate" the amazing colour!!


By Grant Birley

How Long Is Long Enough

How Long Is Long Enough

How Long Is Long Enough?

By Ken Wright

All too often on social media, I see the wrong exposure used in the wrong location, the rush to use a ten stop to create an effect at the expense of the beauty and dynamics of the location.

For me, a really long exposure is best used for landscapes that do not have a dynamic element, ie. calm seas, lakes, jetty and a slow moving sky with plenty of definition. Here we want to smooth out the sea, lake, remove the wind chopped ripples and get that lovely silky effect and movement in the sky.

My colleague and fellow tutor at New Zealand Photography Workshops, Richard Young is very adept at “Long Exposures” anything 2-8 minutes and he is in his element where as I tend to operate at the other end of the scale, still classed as long exposures because you can't handhold the camera.

That's not to say that I don’t do longer exposures like Richard, it's about having enough knowledge to deal with what nature throws at you - Presented with a sea with little or no water movement and I will be into a ten stop in a flash.

However, most of my favourite locations that I visit for seascape photography in the Bay of Plenty have dynamic water movement over rock ledges and small offshore islands etc. These environments suit the shorter more explosive exposure.

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