Hidden Afghanistan story published on Maptia

The online magazine Maptia has published my story 'Hidden Afghanistan'

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Maptia is an independent, nonprofit platform for inspiring individuals who document and capture the world with raw beauty and honesty. The organisation’s aim is to support their work and to bring them together to create a lasting record of life on Earth, one that connects us to each other and helps us to face our biggest challenges.

Into the mist; Corcora valley

The world's tallest palm trees exist in only one valley in the world; the Corcora valley in Colombia. In order to get close to the palms there’s a short and beautiful hike up the valley. When I first hopped out of the jeep and started to walk, the sky was blue and I could see the huge trees from a distance. They’re not so impressive from far away, they actually look small and spindly. As I walked up the valley the clouds rolled in and the trees disappeared into the mist. I was worried I wouldn’t get a shot at all but as I got among the palms the low cloud made them even more impressive. The giant Wax palms are so tall the tops of the trees were disappearing completely into the mist. Except for the gentle swaying and creaking of the impossibly tall trees, there’s a stillness and a quietness in the Cocora valley. It’s a truly atmospheric place. 

A Toucan in the Corcora valley

Wax Palms grow to a height of 45 m (148 ft) — or rarely, even as high as 60 m (200 ft)

Pikey Peak (pronounced Peekay)

The best 3-day trek in Nepal? Probably.

Trekking in Nepal is usually associated with big peaks, icy terrain and high altitude. The big names of Everest and Annapurna draw huge numbers every year, but there are other opportunities to get away from the busy tea houses and cold nights to explore Nepal’s lower topography, which widely gets missed.

Breathtaking views from the top of Pikey Peak

Nepal’s mid-hills offer some of the most culturally rich and richly intact trekking regions in the Himalayas. Hillsides sculpted with terraces for growing rice, wheat and barley. Overgrown trails winding through forests, past chortens and beneath waterfalls. Traditional little villages perched on mountainsides and jaw-dropping views of the Himalayan range that stretch from one end of the country to the other. This is the real Nepal, and people are missing it.

Full trek report here. 

The Mid-hills bathed in a morning glow

The Independent Magazine

An article about ultra running in The Independent Magazine last weekend features a shoot I did with Lizzy Hawker in Nepal while she completed her record breaking non-stop run from Everest Base Camp to Kathmandu.

Jagged Globe

Two images go into the new Jagged Globe brochure for 2016. The first image from 2009 is of some retired Gurkas in the village of Barpak in the Manaslu region of Nepal. The second is a picture from 2011 of me perched near the top of the Dung Dung La; a pass on the Hidden Valleys trek in Ladakh in India.

Cover Action

Action Action Cover July/August 2015

Channel The Masters article - download PDF

Action Asia (a magazine based in Hong Kong) have run an outdoor photography special for the July/August issue. The cover features a shot of me taking photos beside Gosainkund lake in the Langtang region of Nepal last year. The Langtang valley was completely devastated by landslides triggered by the earthquake in April. 

Cheap Shots article - download PDF

Ridgeview

A recent little shoot for Marks & Spencer has taken me to a British winery called Ridgeview in East Sussex.

A short story about a long run

I arranged to meet Lizzy Hawker – the 5-time winner of the Ultra Trail Du Mont Blanc – in the Everest region to take some pictures of her record-breaking run from Everest Base Camp to Kathmandu. She ran the route non-stop in 63 hours and 8 minutes which is a truly astonishing achievement. We chose to meet on the ridge above Dingboche which has spectacular views of Ama Dablam and the Khumbu valley. We met early in the morning hoping for the best light but cloud was folding in quickly and by the time Lizzy arrived I barely had time to shoot a dozen or so pictures before the mountains disappeared altogether. At the time I was disappointed not to have been able to take more pictures but while the clouds filled the valley I was able to get this shot of Lizzy silhouetted against Ama Dablam. The picture is the now the cover of her recently published book Runner.  

"Runner tells Lizzy’s story and in so doing, uncovers the journey of the physical, mental and emotional challenges that runners go through at the edge of human endurance. From the school girl running the streets of London to breaking records on the world’s mountains and toughest races, Lizzy Hawker is an inspiration to anyone who would like to see how far they can go, running or not."

You can buy Lizzy's book Runner on Amazon

Lizzy Hawker with Ama Dablam in the distance

Woman from Dolpa

I photographed this woman during a trip to the remote region of Dolpa in Nepal in October 2012. On the last day of trekking we passed this striking looking woman on the trail near Tripurakot in Lower Dolpa. Different images of her have been used in various publications since. This is a spread in the new brochure for Jagged Globe. I often get asked "what is that on her head?" It's actually a bamboo rice pan for winnowing. The fur is from a Yak, but why she has it on the rice pan I'm not sure. Could it be to keep her hands warm while she is winnowing? Or to keep her warm while she carries the rice pan on her head? Or perhaps it's simply for decoration. I wish I'd asked her but I was too busy capturing the moment.

Jagged Globe brochure, 2015

Himalayas Magazine, winter 2014

From the archives: Gokyo Ri

My first trek was to Nepal in 2007. I went to the Everest region and climbed Gokyo Ri – which my computer keeps auto-correcting to Tokyo Ri – but it's a world away from Tokyo. It was also my first experience in high altitude and the airlessness was immensely exhausting for a first timer. On that trip I climbed it in thick fog and all alone. I reached the top and could have been anywhere. I was freezing cold but I waited at least an hour hoping for the clouds to sweep away. I was rewarded. Just as I was about to make my way down, the clouds fell into the valley below and I was surrounded by then biggest mountains in the world. Entirely speechless, I was hooked.

My reward; sunset on Everest. Taken before I owned a digital camera with a Nikon FE2 and fixed 50mm lens. 

Minutes after the cloud cleared, the moon rose between Cholatse and Taboche. Everest is the far peak on the left.

This image is from my second visit in 2008. A fellow photographer and writer (James Vlahos) was writing a story on the newly created 'Great Himalaya Trail' for National Geographic Adventure and invited me along. I didn't need asking twice. 

This was the view from the summit of Gokyo Ri at 5350m. Everest (8890m) is the black triangular peak to the far left. Then moving to the right is Nuptse, Lhotse (the fourth highest in the world) and Makalu (the fifth). Further to the right and in the centre of the image are the peaks of Cholotse and Taboche. In the far distance is Kantega and Thermserku.