Tag: Travel Photography

A short history of…. well me and my photography journey!

A few weeks ago I was asked by Fujifilm UK to record a short little piece about my journey as a photographer.

Recorded in my lounge the sound is a bit rough and ready but I hope that you can enjoy the stories and the images that I have taken along the way! ūüôā

The images span a fair few years from the beginning of my photography adventures right up until my last trip to Mustang in Nepal at the beginning of the year before the dreaded lockdown.

During this time I am now very busy with mentoring lots of photographers (over 15 in the last few months!) which has been a wonderful experience with many reaching their photographic goals and developing styles.

Many have been aiming for photographic qualifications and all so far have been successful which is a wonderful achievement and encouraging for me as people are really making the most of this time to do something positive and good for their wellbeing.

If you would like some photographic inspiration at the moment please do make the most of my special photography mentoring deals available whilst we are on lockdown.

I am also planning some amazing photography workshops overseas for when we are aloud to travel! These will most likely start from 2021 and will be in some wonderful locations such as Tanzania, Madagascar and Nicaragua. With some more European based options such as Lake Annecy and Rome. If you are interested in joining me please do show an interest and as soon as I have more information you will be the first to hear!

These will be small groups and to some incredible locations where I know we are able to capture some wonderful images whilst being immersed in the local communities and cultures that I have been lucky enough to experience on my travels over the years.

Whatever you are up to at the moment! Keep well and stay in touch!

Saraya x

On top of the world in Mustang!

For the last 3 weeks I have been lucky enough to have escaped the British stormy season and been basking in Nepali sunshine in the city of Pokhara.

This time of year is generally quite quiet for me as a childrens portrait photographer, so it is my time for travel! And trust me I make the most of it!

Nepal is easily one of my favourite places to travel to in the world, I have been a few times and every time I am overwhelmed with the warmth and generosity of spirit! I f you ever get a chance trust me you will never forget!

It takes effort to get to some of the locations the I like to take images, Nepal generally is 2 flights and long lay overs and a ridiculously over complicated visa system.

That said it is completely worth the tired and weary few days to arrive at a very beautiful and welcoming country.

I have been lucky enough to visit a few times (4 so far) mostly for NGO’s and worthwhile charities, I even had a very long stay of 3 months in 2016 so now every time I arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport I feel like I am at home.

For this particular trip I was training with Photojourney a photography training adventure business as one of their primary leaders for the cultural option, where we visited some of the wonderful local villages and cultural sites around Pokhara.

I was lucky enough to have an amazing group of photographers and together we visited some of the wonderful local villages and cultural sites in and around Pokhara.

We got to experience atmospheric temples, villages, beautiful lakes visit schools all from our base, the luxurious Temple Tree Hotel in Pokhara.

We will be heading back out there again this year for another similar trip if you would like to join us in October.

The trip to Nepal is a long one, so it made sense for me to expand my trip to explore another area that I had never been before, a few of the other ladies on Photojourney also had the same idea and we booked a guide and a couple of porters to carry our gear and headed off up to our first stop Jomsom, Mustang

We had expected a 7-8 hour journey however the reality was gruelling 14 hour bumpy and frankly quite terrifying journey.

I mean look at the timings! Our journey time almost doubled firstly our car overheated 4 times due to it never making out of second gear (this was swiftly repaired with and iPhone charger cable!) The exhaust fell off whilst crossing a bridge and most of this occurred in the dark on a road with a sheer drop to one side! (maybe it was better we did it in the dark?)

We arrived in the dark at around 11:30 and hadn’t even thought of the possibility that there would be nowhere open for us to stay?? Eventually however after some loud door banging we were welcomed by a very friendly family run hostel next to Jomsom airport.

Some hot noodle soup and a cold Everest beer and we all had almost forgotten about the journey.

The flight would have only taken 30 minutes! I think that this might be a good option for next time! And trust me I will be returning! When we awoke after a cold night the views were just breathtaking!

Jomsom, also known as Dzong-Sampa or New Fort, is the centre of Gharpajhong Gaunpalika and former independent village development committee at an altitude of about 2,700 metres in Mustang District, Nepal. It extends over both the banks of the Kali Gandaki River.

From Jomson our trek took us upto 3750 meters to one of the highest Vishnu temples in the world Muktinath. When we arrived at our tea house the temperature had dropped considerably and the snow was falling heavily, making the view even more magical.

The colourful prayer flags and blessing bells where coated in a dusting of white which was wonderful to capture. The temple itself is considered one of the holiest and a symbolic pilgrimage for both Hindus and Budhists, and stands majestically looking over the Muktinath Valley.

Famous for the 108 water spring taps that bless its visitors the temple is thought to be the only one where all 5 elements are represented, Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Sky.

From here we trekked down through small villages and teahouses towards the beautiful town of Kagbeni, where we spent an enjoyable evening learning Nepali filk songs and dances with our hosts. (thankfully there is no evidence of this as after a few Nepali Beers I am sure we weren’t particularly good!).

From Kagbeni we headed then to Marpha which was our last stop! With our very tired feet we rested before the 8 hour long drive back down into to Pokhara!

After such big adventure it was a real culture shock to come back to the UK especially now we are unable to leave the country I feel very luck to have been on such an adventure at the beginning of the year with such fantastic people!

I will hopefully be returning to Nepal at the end of the year if we are able!

If you would like to come along to any of my new Travel Photography Workshops do please let me know if you are interested! :)And I will let you know as soon as I am able to give you more details!

At the moment we have Tanzania, Nepal (Mustang), and Cambodia in the planning with dates to be confirmed! Ready to Launch in 2021!

Saraya x

A cheeky little podcast!

A few weeks ago I met the wonderful team Talking Shot Photography Podcast.¬†Hosted by Esther Ling, Ross Grieve, Jim Cossey, ‚Äčand Matt Jacobs I was made to feel very welcome!

I always love meeting other creative minds and talking photography so it was a really enjoyable morning! If you have twenty minutes and would like to hear some stories from my travels please give it a listen!

Nepal, a story of positivity, and growth against all the odds!

April the 25th 2016, was a destructive day in the history of Nepal, the beautiful country nestled between India and China.

At nearly mid day on a Saturday morning a devastating earthquake of 7.8 magnitude literally shook the beautiful country to the core for a shuddering 50 seconds.

With a death toll of nearly 9,000 and 24,000 injured, millions displaced, it is one of the biggest natural disasters to hit the country in 90 years.

Witnesses recall the day, with amazing clarity, with vivid recounts of the noise, chaos, smells, the sights and the terror that still haunts them a year on. Speaking to all survivors it is clear that they are deeply affected by the surreal events of that day and the following weeks.

Nepali travel photographer
Travel portraiture, Nepal
Hetauda, Nepal.
Nepal travel portraits

Primal instincts kicked in and self preservation seems to have been the priority, most fled to a safe place away from buildings, and checked that their immediate family were safe, and out of danger.

Mobile phone networks were down, but people were managing to text each other to confirm loved ones were ok.

With aftershocks coming thick and fast, (there were 43 recorded aftershocks in the 24 hours after the initial Earthquake), most were too terrified to return inside for at least a couple of weeks. Many rural Nepali’s lived out in the fields in fear of their houses collapsing.

Another major aftershock occurred on the 12th of May, that just added to the fear.

Here¬†is where my story begins….

At the time I was living it up in Dubai, after a four month expedition in Tanzania. I was reveling in hot showers and good food that I yearned for months! I had a great adventure and was pleased to see my loved ones and especially my daughter, and wasn’t expecting to go out again so soon! x

When I was asked to be a photographer for raleigh Nepal, I was so thrilled I think I bullied my boyfriend with enthusiasm to let me go! I was just so in need to go!

So my story begins…

Nepal is a country well known for its people, images of Nepali’s are full of warmth, smiles and character.

Their nature is welcoming, proud and with the Gurkha strength of mind and bravery.

Strong character is built from endurance and perseverance.

Looking back, most Nepali’s that I spoke to were philosophical and felt fortunate that the death toll¬†had not been worse,

The timing of the earthquake being instrumental in this positivity, had it been on a weekday children would have been at lessons, had it happened at night, most would have been in bed! As it occurred, is was on a Saturday and around mid day, when most Nepali’s were out in their fields tending crops, or the children playing.

This to me seems to be typical of the Nepali mentality, to find the positive in situation that the rest of us would find impossible to comprehend.

The country itself is one of the poorest not only in Asia, but in the world. With limited industry and almost impossible infrastructure, the way of living away from the main cities is basic.

For those in more rural areas of the country, live day to day from the land and their livestock, but I have never met people so happy and content in life! what they dont have are the luxuries that we might have. and when we talk about luxuries, we are talking, water, and protein.!

I cannot remember a time in Nepal when I didn’t feel welcome! I have eaten the best, slept the best, seen the best, and felt the best! ¬†the nepalis know how to do guest! xx

These people have nothing!! but they will give you everything!

They tell me that the government aren’t helping at all!

portrait photographer Nepal

 

Please help this beautiful country!!

Saraya xxx

 

I love it ! Saraya xxx

 

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