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. 

The Cover!

Strolling through the streets of Cartagena while on holiday was not the day I thought I would shoot an image which would go on to become a National Geographic cover. I glimpsed this woman on a street corner selling fresh fruit and knew straight away I wanted to photograph her. We spent some time chatting while she cut me some mango. I then asked if she would mind me taking her portrait. I only had the chance to take eight pictures before the genuine smiles faded away. The first shot is the one that was chosen. It was selected for the cover of National Geographic for the whole of Latin America.

National Geographic cover, December 2014, Latin America

UTMR images in 'Like The Wind' magazine

A shoot for Lizzy Hawker's new trail race 'The Ultra Tour Monte Rosa' have been published in 'Like The Wind' magazine.

The Ultra Tour Monte Rosa

At 4,634m Monte Rosa (pink mountain) is the second highest mountain in the Alps (after Mont Blanc).

Endurance athlete Lizzy Hawker who is a 5-time winner of The North Face Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc is about to launch a new 150km ultra marathon around Monte Rosa. At the beginning of September I spent two days on the route near Zermatt to capture the atmosphere of this new race. 

Camped beside the Gorner Glacier at the foot of Monte Rosa

Lizzy Hawker training on high Alpine trails

A beautiful 150km mountain ultra marathon encircling Monte Rosa. From the village of Grächen high on an alp above the Matter Vispa, a tributary of the Rhone, to Zermatt at the foot of the Matterhorn, into Italy, and returning on high wild trails, a host of 4000m summits will be your companions. http://www.ultratourmonterosa.com