Sunday, June 21, 2009

Nepal Trek 2009 - May 8, Namche Bazar

On the morning after our intense day of climbing Namche hill we were greeted by such a beautiful scene. We really didn't have a good idea of what we were to expect from our challenges in getting up the hill the previous night, simply because the concentration was on Steve and not the surroundings. Plus, it was dark when we walked the rest of the way into camp.

Steve was feeling so much better by morning, that this sight of blue skies and mountain scenery was doubly welcomed.

Namche Bazar is built onto the side of the mountain and we camped above the village; thus, our scenery was absolutely stunning. For the first time during our trek, it really seemed as if we were in the Himalayas.

Later during the trek the mornings were cold enough that everyone took tea inside their tents. But this morning, although on the cool side, the scenery drew everyone out to take it all in.

After breakfast we walked a bit farther up the hill to a conservation area that yielded our first look at Mount Everest (the peak coming up in the back on the left). In front of Everest is Nuptse and to the right is Lhotse. These three peaks became our constant companions for the rest of the trek until we went below Namche Bazar on our way back to Lukla.

Jon Miller (left) getting some video footage of Chris Marquardt for his podcast (The Rest of Everest).

We all spent quite a bit of time taking photos and videos at this site.

I'm not sure what mountain this is on the right, but it was beautiful. All of the high peaks are beautiful and it was a privilege to see them.

We spent two nights at Namche Bazar for acclimatization. The elevation is just under 12,000 feet here.

The extra time gave us a good opportunity for a photography workshop with Chris. He covered the zone system, which means that you set your camera to capture the optimal amount of information for the lighting. I had never used my digital SLR on manual mode before, but, after learning the zone system I switched entirely to manual mode for the rest of the trek.

This photo is an example of optimizing using the zone system. I didn't want to blow out the highlights of the chicken in the sunlight nor lose the information in the shade, so I set my camera to be just slightly below the optimal setting for exposing the lightest area in the frame.

Next door to our campsite was a hotel/museum/stupa. There was also an internet cafe there, so I spent a bit of time exploring.

This particular stupa was photogenic with the fresh coat of white wash and the mountain as a back drop.

Prayer wheels lined the path on either side of the entry way.

After lunch we did an acclimatization hike above Namche Bazar to visit a small stupa. I liked how the clouds framed the stupa and the rock it was on.

I also liked the khata on the ground that was next to the stupa. This view gives you the layout of Namche Bazar, which is the largest village in the Solukhumbu region. It follows the contour of the mountain and that drop off is the beginning of the 3000 ft drop down to the river - definitely a challenge going up, but a knee buster going down.

This is one of my favorite photos. I set the shutter speed to be a bit on the slow side so that I could capture the motion of the prayer flags in the wind.

My last photo of the day was a night exposure of Namche Bazar from a rock next to my tent. Steve took a stunning photo of the mountain across the valley. I'll have to link to that after he posts it on Flickr.

To see the rest of my photos from this day, click on this link for my Namche Bazar album.

1 comment:

The Quacks of Life said...

a fascinatiing journey but you wouldn't get me up there for all the tea in china.