Sunday, February 26, 2012

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Nikon 40mm f/2.8G AF-S DX Micro

I feel that this lens is a good addition for DX shooters who need a normal lens (60 mm is not quite normal but not short tele either) but with close focusing abilities.. the lens is very sharp, goes down to one inch and is priced around USD 275.. those of you considering the 50 1.8 could take a look at this especially if you have macro aspirations!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Treks in Himalayas: The Everest Base Camp Trek Nov 2012

South Col Expeditions ( will be running the Everest trek to Kala Pattar in November 2012. The dates for the trek are 18th November to 2nd December 2012 (Kathmandu to Kathmandu). Please write to for more information on the trek and costs.  Seats will be restricted to eight trekkers so register soon! For  photographs of past treks in the Everest region please do visit Everest April 2011 and Everest Facebook 2011

The Everest Trek to the view point of Kala Pattar is the "dream trip" for most trekkers. The fifteen day trip from Kathmandu has been carefully designed to provide proper acclimatisation so as to ensure the least discomfort for the trekker. On many days we walk only  5  hours and rest in the afternoon to ensure that we do not gain altitude too quickly. The day wise itinerary from Namche Bazar is given below. From Lukla to Namche Bazar is 2 days and one acclimatisation rest day so we begin walking from Day 4.
Day 04 Namche Bazar to Khumjung (3790m) (2-3 hours) 
We climb up to the Shyanboche airstrip and then descend to Khumjung. The twin Sherpa villages of Khumjung and Khunde, are home to some of the most famous Everest climbers.
We walk to Khunde from Khumjung and visit the hospital, which was established and funded by Sir Edmund Hillary's Himalayan Trust. Khumjung monastery is interesting as being the store place of one of the alleged Yeti scalps that are to be found in the region.
Day 05 Khumjung to Thyanboche - night stop at Devoche (3860m) (5 to 6 hours)
 As we follow the path, we will get our first really good views of the great peaks of the Khumbu: Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Ama Dablam. Passing by several villages and numerous tea shops, we will cross the Dudh Kosi River and make a steep climb to Thyangboche monastery. Thyangboche is the spiritual center for the Khumbu, a training center for new monks. The Rimpoche (incarnate Lama) of Thyangboche resides here and the area is considered holy, nothing may be haunted or killed. With the treasures of Ama Dablam and Mount Everest in the background, the spirituality and scenic value of the site never fails to impress. We will attend the morning evening service at Thyanboche monastery.
Day 6 Devoche to Dingboche (4350m)  (5 to 6  hours)
The trail  leaves Devoche and then crosses the river over a suspension bridge which offers a great view of Ama Dablam above the crashing waters of the Dudh Kosi. It then passes a large mani wall in the middle of the trail and finally levels out to reach Pangboche.  The trail follows the Imja Khola and passes the yak grazing areas of Shomare and then the small  tea house of Orsho. The trail then crosses a bridge over the river. The right path leads to Dingboche about 45 minutes from the bridge.

Day 7 Rest Day at Dingboche
The rest day at Dingboche can be used for a day walk upto Chukung with fabulous views of the Lhotse/Nuptse wall and Ama Dablam as well. Alternatively a half day walk can be made to the Nangkartshang peak  or the Ama Dablam lakes across the moraine.
Day 08 Dingboche to Dugla (4600m)  (2 to 3 hours)
We climb the ridge behind the village and then come onto a level plain with enormous views of Taboche in the background. The trail continues along the plain and then crosses a bridge and climbs gently to Dugla. Dugla is just above 15,000 feet so a  night halt here should definitely help acclimatisation though many trekkers carry onto Lobuche the same day. 
Day 09 Dugla to Lobuche ( 4940m) (3 to 4 hours)
The hill to climb after Dugla can be hard especially if you are having problems with altitude. At the crest are the "Everest memorials"  for sherpas and climbers who did not make it down from Everest. From the memorials the gradient eases off and in about an hour you can spot the lodges of Lobuche. 
Day 10 Lobuche to Gorak Shep (5170m) (3 to 4 hours)
The trail follows the moraine of the Khumbu glacier and there is a lot of hard walking over boulders and scree slopes. Pumori comes into view as one approaches Gorak Shep.
Day 11 Gorak Shep to Kala Pattar (5554m)  and back to Lobuche 
The climb to the view point of Kala Pattar would take around two hours depending on the level of acclimatisation. From this high point a ,magnificent 360 degree view unfolds with all the major peaks of the region visible. We come down in an hour to Gorak Shep and after a quick lunch head down the valley to Lobuche which is usually reached by evening. This is a long day but a better alternative to spending two nights at Gorak Shep.  
Day 12 Lobuche to Pangboche (5 to 6 hours)
The descent down the valley is now swift as we are losing altitude and the air is getting thicker. We stop for lunch at Pheriche and then reach Pangboche by late afternoon.
Day 13 Pangboche to Namche Bazar ( 5 to 6 hours) 
We walk down to Thyangboche and then with a quick stop for tea descend steeply to Phunki Tenka. Lunch is at Phunki Tenka and we then climb for Namche Bazar which we reach by evening
Day 14 Namche Bazar to Lukla  ( 7 to 8 hours) 
We leave Namche after breakfast  by 7.30 am and descend steeply to the Benkar Bridge. From the bridge we climb up to the Park Headquarters and then the trail levels and enters Monjo. From Monjo we enter Phakding for lunch. From Phakding it is around three hours to Lukla
Day 15 Lukla to Kathmandu - by morning flight  - if the flight is on time we should be back in Kathmandu for breakfast!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Kashmir Craft Tour 2012

A friend Abeer Gupta is running a Craft tour in Kashmir from April 1-7,2012. Those of you who are interested please contact Abeer at

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Kaziranga Photos

I  was in Kaziranga National Park in Assam, India in the last week of December 2011. Thanks to Tarun Gogoi of Wild Grass Resort I had some excellent wildlife sightings at the park. Some of the photographs are in this post below while the full collection is on my web site  Kaziranga Photos

Indian One Horned Rhino on the Kaziranga grasslands 

Elephant Safari Kaziranga

Hog deer Kaziranga

Adjutant Stork 

Elephant and calf cross the road in front of our jeep


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