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Thread: Advice on Nepal Trekking Photography

  1. #1
    Member snapperBB's Avatar
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    Default Advice on Nepal Trekking Photography

    Hi all, I am making my 3rd trip to Nepal in Dec and my last visit was in 1993. This time, apart from being much older, I have two teenagers to come along on the trek. We will be trekking for 8 Days in the Annapurna region and I intend to bring only 2 lenses (24-105 and 50mm) to pair with 5D M2. I'm still torn between whether to bring my 17-40 instead of 24-105. I will love to capture landscape, portraits and "action" shots.

    Also, I have 2 batteries and I wonder is it possible to charge them along the route. Are there anything else I should take note in terms of photography.

    We have guides and porters but I'm still keeping my load light for comfort. . Anybody who has been there recently, your advice is much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.
    OLYMPUS EM1.2 I (7-14, 12-40, 12-100,40-150,300)

  2. #2

    Default Re: Advice on Nepal Trekking Photography

    Hi,

    I just got back yesterday from Nepal. Did the Jomsom trek up to Muktinah and then down to Gorepani/poon hill and Nayapul. I didnt bring the 17-40 and regretted it. It will be most useful at Poon Hill to capture all the mountains. Unless you want to stitch your pics. Most of the tea houses have electrical points to charge in your room. Using european pin. Bring a ND if you want to take pics of waterfalls to get the silky water effect. Weather is now good. But cold at high altitude. I would suggest bring the 24-105 and 17-40. If you want to take sunrise at Poon Hill you will need a tripod too.

    Enjoy your trip
    Last edited by Fantasy747; 11th October 2011 at 12:24 AM.

  3. #3
    Member snapperBB's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Nepal Trekking Photography

    Thanks Fantasy 747! Your advice is most useful and practical.

    The Jomsom Trek is beautiful, I did that many years back and I bet it's still as spectacular. We are just doing the Gorephani/Poon Hill loop this time.
    OLYMPUS EM1.2 I (7-14, 12-40, 12-100,40-150,300)

  4. #4

    Default Re: Advice on Nepal Trekking Photography

    You are most welcome. Bring a raincoat/poncho just in case cause your route takes you very close to the mountains and I noticed that by afternoon usually it gets a bit cloudy. In fact when we were going up Gorepani we had hail and then heavy rain. Torrential downpour like in Singapore. Hopefully by the time you go the season will be drier.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Advice on Nepal Trekking Photography

    Dec should be drier i suppose. Ya, most of the accomodations you can charge your stuff but my experience is, as you go to more inaccessible places, they will charge for the electricity used. I suppose you will be taking a tripod right? would be useful for groupshots and starry nights. you can consider getting a CPL too to cut the glare when shooting snowy peaks on bright days.

    I did the Annapurna Circuit trek 2 years ago, flipping through the logbook, we seem like the only Singaporean trekkers doing the trek haha

  6. #6

    Default Re: Advice on Nepal Trekking Photography

    hi snapper which dates will you be there? I'm heading to nepal in dec also but thinking of doing everest base camp trek. for battery wise will they die when it very cold? thinking of doing timelapse and long exposure so if the battery dies very fast i will have problem.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Advice on Nepal Trekking Photography

    Battery in general drains much faster in cold condition, so maybe you can google for your camera's model on this issue? Anyway, I would suppose timelapse would surely drain much of your battery, so you could probably invest/borrow/rent some batteries for your camera before heading up. You can charge them along the way but remember to constantly charge them when you are lower in altitude as things get more and more expensive as you go higher!

    Just curious, which route are you taking for your EBC trek? flying into Lukla?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Advice on Nepal Trekking Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by snapperBB View Post
    Hi all, I am making my 3rd trip to Nepal in Dec and my last visit was in 1993. This time, apart from being much older, I have two teenagers to come along on the trek. We will be trekking for 8 Days in the Annapurna region and I intend to bring only 2 lenses (24-105 and 50mm) to pair with 5D M2. I'm still torn between whether to bring my 17-40 instead of 24-105. I will love to capture landscape, portraits and "action" shots.

    Also, I have 2 batteries and I wonder is it possible to charge them along the route. Are there anything else I should take note in terms of photography.

    We have guides and porters but I'm still keeping my load light for comfort. . Anybody who has been there recently, your advice is much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.
    my main concern will be getting physically ready.
    you probably should know getting in great physical condition is crucial since you were there before.

    one way probably you can try is keeping your batteries warm by inserting them into your inner linings when not using them.
    if possible, bring along a light and sturdy tripod with a good head.
    I wonder how will the sunset and sunrise there be like? Can't seems to find much of it on the internet.
    Coolthought - 冷静思考 - クールだ http://xaa.xanga.com/0aba0666d143253.../t35917343.gif

  9. #9

    Default Re: Advice on Nepal Trekking Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by royden View Post
    Battery in general drains much faster in cold condition, so maybe you can google for your camera's model on this issue? Anyway, I would suppose timelapse would surely drain much of your battery, so you could probably invest/borrow/rent some batteries for your camera before heading up. You can charge them along the way but remember to constantly charge them when you are lower in altitude as things get more and more expensive as you go higher!

    Just curious, which route are you taking for your EBC trek? flying into Lukla?
    ok thanks for the advice. planning to fly into lukla so i have more time to explore Kathmandu.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Advice on Nepal Trekking Photography

    Hey snapperBB and hellfire88!

    Looks like we'll all be there around the same time. Will be spending 2 weeks in Dec Nepal hopefully getting to Annapurna Base Camp, trip is from about 5-20th Dec. Any idea how cold it will be then? And also how warm would it be at the start of the trek from Nayapul?

    Lens wise, the one thing i'll most certainly bring would be a wide angle cos the scenery there is simply second to none! This is my second trip there, but the first since i've taken up a serious interest in photography. Personally i've got a D7000 and will be bringing along a nikon 10-24 which would probably on my camera for most of the trek and 17-55 for the times that i'm not trekking (e.g. exploring Kathmandu and Pokhara, maybe evenings and mornings in the lodges etc. will also bring along a light 35 prime, cos well, its light and could come in handy

    I've got 2 batteries as well, and from what i've read, there are electrical sockets available up to chomrong, so if you're just doing the poon hill trek you should be fine.

    Sticking around to hear what advice the rest of you guys have to offer!

  11. #11
    Member snapperBB's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Nepal Trekking Photography

    I'll be there from Dec 6-16 and will be doing a slow and easy Gorephani - Poon Hill Round trek. We'll be also hanging around in Pokhara for 2 days to soak in the sights after the trek. I have made up my mind more or less to bring my 5DM2 coupled with 17-40 and 24-105 w CPL filter. The latter will be my main lens. As for tripod, I may just bring along the Gorilla Pod instead. Now, is the bag that concerns..... whether the lowepro mini trekker or the inverse 200AW belt pack? I'll need to carry another daypack with other barang-barang.

    Weather wise, it will be cold and dry in Dec. The low reaches in the day will be around 12-15 C and below 5 in the night with wind chill factor. But for us from the tropics, it will seem a lot colder. Based on my experience, in Dec (winter), the daylight will be shorter too and it's best to reach the lodge before dusk.

    My group consists of young teens and sedentary adults. Fitness is a big concern and we are trying our best to train every weekend.

    Happy Trekking!
    OLYMPUS EM1.2 I (7-14, 12-40, 12-100,40-150,300)

  12. #12

    Default Re: Advice on Nepal Trekking Photography

    Hi, my wife and I went to Nepal in late Jan, 2009 for a 15 days tour. We did a few days short trekking trip from Jomson to Muktinath. I am not sure about Annapurna Circuit but the beautiful landscapes and mountains photos made me dream of going there again... Wish I can be back to Nepal someday.

    Look like you are a season trekker and I believe you are more knowledgeable than me. Hopefully my post can be any help or useful to your children and others who are thinking of doing trekking in Nepal.

    It was our first trip to Nepal and we had no previous experience or any idea about trekking in high mountains range. From my understanding, Jomson trek is the most basic and less physical demanding as compare to other treks in Nepal. But to us, it was very tough and we “struggled” all the way till we managed to reach our destination. Despite we had “physical training” before our trip, we had to fight continuously against the cold winter, strong wind, the tough terrains and not forgetting the high mountain altitude that made our lungs dying for oxygen.

    Our experienced guide had to stay close to my wife to ensure of her safety and to keep encouraging her to move on, not to give up etc. And most importantly, to make sure we were able to keep up the pace, to arrive at resting point on time (dangerous to trek after sun set due to poor vision), checking our conditions (Acute mountain sickness or AMS) while we slowly trekked up to 3700m.

    To those experience trekkers out there: please do not laugh... I know it is nothing as compare to Base Camps, Summits etc. But it was really very tough for city people, especially people like me who do not exercise much, not the adventurous type. Adapting to the high altitude is another challenge… Trying to catch my breath all the time…

    The whole trekking trip reminded me of road march (with Full Battle Order) during National Service Army days, enduring the physical pain. Hahaha… But in Nepal, you are rewarded with the great mountain scenic that pushes you to move forward after each small step. The surrounding was so quiet and you could only hear your own breathing sound. There was this inner peacefulness, freeing yourself from all the city life stress. The feeling was like you are in a different planet and the virgin land is waiting for you to explore.

    Ok, sorry for the long post… Apart from the proper trekking gears and clothing, I will just list down things that I can think of...

    Porters
    We were too slow in walking and unable to keep up pace with our porter. So he just went ahead of us and we only found him smiling at us at "resting points" after hours of walking. I carried my own camera gears in a backpack. I kept my camera blower and lens cleaning pen inside my jacket's pockets as I used them very often due to the constant strong wind and dust.
    If you are planning to have your porters to carry any of your camera gears, do check with your guide first. You do not want them to disappear just when you need your tripod or change lens. And also it is important not to overload your porters. Hire more porters if needed.

    We only carried things that were needed for the trekking trip as instructed by our guide and left our belongings with the hotel.

    Tripod and lenses
    I did not use my tripod during trekking. My wife and guide were always walking ahead of me while I taking pictures behind. I just wanted to shoot and catch up with them. I did not want them to stop their movement because of me as setting up tripod takes time. Plus the wind was so strong during that time.
    Almost all my shots were taken using wide angle lens except a few shots on telephoto zoom lens. Bring both if you can as you do not want to miss taking close up of mountain peaks.
    I mean since you brought the lens why leave it at home…
    Always look back the trail while you are chasing the front view... The scenery is just as beautiful!

    Electricity Supply
    Power cut every night during my trip in Nepal. Always make sure your batteries are fully charged whenever you can.
    Head Torch is a better than hand-held torch. Always carry it with you (toilet, outdoor everywhere...).

    Memory Cards
    Bring more memory cards and take more pictures... Example 2 pieces of 8GB are better than 1 piece of 16GB. In case of any damaged memory card, the data loss is lesser.

    Camera
    I usually bring and use 2 cameras with me during travel. I do not want to end up in a situation of missing all the action in the event of camera failure. I am too lazy to swap lens all the time. The load of my camera gears inside my bad is heavy (killing my back), but I think it is worth the pain after looking at the pictures that bring back all the memories.

    So far my DSLRs survived during all my trips. I believe most brand DSLR cameras are built to withstand certain rough temperature. It is a good practice to keep your camera inside your bag/jacket to avoid them exposed to strong cold wind when not in used. For my case, I did not really bother to do so (forgotten most of the time) even to the stage of letting it covered with snow…

    My external flash and camera did stop functioning a few times which I suspected due to cold temperature. I took out my spare batteries, swapped them and started working again. And the suspected faulty batteries worked fine again after “keeping warm” inside bag for a while.

    Drinking Water
    In order to protect the environment, we did not buy plastic bottled mineral water during trekking. Instead, we paid for refilled water supply at guesthouses / teahouses along the way. Our guide made sure the refilled water was boiling hot and safe to drink... Yes, please drink more water.

    Energy bars
    Do have them inside your bag so you can eat them anytime you want. Remember to check the expiry date. Best is to buy in Singapore.

    Sleeping bag
    A must during cold winter season even if you are staying in guesthouse. Not those thin type but cater for winter. We brought ours at Kathmandu. Those should be counterfeit but served us well.

    Health
    If you are experiencing any symptoms of altitude sickness (AMS) or feeling uncomfortable, inform your guide immediately. AMS can be fatal. My wife started to have headache during the night in Muktinath and our guide decided to descend next day. We managed to catch a jeep ride back to the town. Upon back to Jomsom, my wife was feeling ok but I had diarrhea and vomited, slept till next day to fly back Pokhara to continue our tour... The higher you go and the tougher to be evacuated during emergency. Do check with your travel insurance agent on coverage.

    Although we suffered a lot throughout the whole trekking trip, but the memories, the beautiful Himalaya mountain range stays with us forever. No words can describe the feeling of been there, looking at the peaks. It’s just so spectacular! No regrets. I can understand why mountaineers risking their life climbing the peaks. Well, I can only look up at the peaks, only imagine the feeling of looking down from the peaks.

    I am not allowed to post link... Probably due to my recent profile change. You can view my entire Nepal trip photos at hellojoetan.com

    To all, have a safe and enjoyable trip!

    Cheers!
    Joe Tan

  13. #13

    Default Re: Advice on Nepal Trekking Photography

    The Gorephani trek will not be windy like up in Jomsom-Muktinah. In fact when I was there I was thinking to myself that Chicago should give up the name of windy city cause it is nothing compared to the Jomsom-kagbeni area. Not to mention super dusty as well.

    I don't think you will get ACM below 4000m. It is more like a light headache due to lack of oxygen to the brain. Most of the time the symptoms get worse at night when you sleep because when you are asleep you are not conscious of your breathing and it tends to be a bit more shallow.

    For those going I would recommend climbing HDB stairs. Up and down many times to condition the leg muscles. The higher the better

  14. #14

    Default Re: Advice on Nepal Trekking Photography

    great to see so many responses over here. so far i only booked my ticket flying 2-18 dec. btw which trek operator you guys used?

    training wise i ran 3 full marathons over the past 4 years so hopefully i be ok. will try to train more before the trip. i'm using a pentax K-r with kit lens and i got a portrait lens plus i'm planning to bring my film camera also.

    i think it will be very cool to look at each other photos when we are back since we will be there around the same time but all heading to different places and using different cameras!

    there is a very good gear checklist posted by ziploc over here for reference http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/trave...ml#post7314504

  15. #15
    Member snapperBB's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Nepal Trekking Photography

    We have engaged Divine International Explore and Treks (S) Pte Ltd. The boss is a very friendly localised Nepalese gentleman. So far, we are very pleased with his services.

    Thanks to all for the links to other discussions. Very useful information indeed.

    To those who are heading to Nepal, have a Blessed Trek ahead!
    OLYMPUS EM1.2 I (7-14, 12-40, 12-100,40-150,300)

  16. #16

    Default Re: Advice on Nepal Trekking Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by snapperBB View Post
    I'm still torn between whether to bring my 17-40 instead of 24-105.
    At a recent trekkiing trip I brought my 24-105 and a 16-35 but I found myself using the 24-105 all the time. Firstly because the 24-105 is wide enough for most shots except maybe 5% of the shots I want to take, and secondly I am just too lazy to change the lens and also the worry about sensor dust. But I would bring an ultra-wide again just in case, but I foresee the 24-105 would be on at least 90% of the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by hellfire88 View Post
    plus i'm planning to bring my film camera also.
    This might be a good idea. I was using an FM2 when I was last in Nepal and I did not have to worry about battery or sensor dust. But now would be different for me too juggling all the lenses and batteries.

    Altitude sickness - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Do be careful of altitude sickness as it can spoil your trip. I have had symptoms of AMS even as low as 2700m, the wiki article mentioned 2400m. I had AMS while trekking from Nepal to Kinabalu. Recently I found that there is this herb "Hong Jing Tian" hong jing tian,Complementary and Alternative Healing University which can be taken to prevent AMS. It proved to be useful in my recent trip to China. Other western medicine like Diamox Base Camp MD - Guide to High Altitude Medicine can help too.

    Try to spend some time (1-2 days) resting (at around 3000-3500m) if you can to get acclimatize.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Advice on Nepal Trekking Photography

    I did the ABC trek in Dec 2010. There are charging stations beyond chomrong.

    I have used charging facilities as far up as Deurali.

    There are four guesthouses in that region, I used stayed at the one on the highest since it gives the most reasonable rate for charging (100rs or slightly less than $2 per battery, which is relatively cheap considering the location) and also provides the best views.

    An important point is to reach the place around afternoon where the sun is the strongest as the charging is done by solar power.

    I reached ABC after Deurali within half a day, so did not stop to try out if there are other charging stations above Deurali.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Advice on Nepal Trekking Photography

    Just for info, there is heavy rain and fog in Pokhara and Lukla for the past 4-5 days, forcing domestic airline to cancel all flights during those days. Zero visibility of Annapurna range from Pokhara. 46,000 people were stranded in Lukla at one time. Mountain flights to Himalayas were either cancelled or delayed for hours. Flights have resumed today. However, it is still foggy. Nothing much you can do in these weather conditions. I waited 3 morning in Pokhara but it has been a total waste of time as the fog just won't go away.

    There are high volume of tourists at the moment. Really (人山人海)crowded in Kathmandu, especially Themal. So there is a lot of competition for sunrise/sunset spots.

    One tourist trap that I encountered is that young children will ask you to photograph them and then ask you for "photo money". And do wear a pair of good trekking boots. I see quite a few (拜脚拜手)people in arm straps or limping.

    I use my 21mm most during the trip so I would think a WA is important. The other focal length I used is 85mm for people photography. 50mm is rarely used. So for your lenses, I will suggest 17-40 and 50 with a 1.4x TC.
    Last edited by ManWearPants; 8th November 2011 at 05:51 AM.

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