Friday, August 30, 2013

Nikon D610

According to , Nikon is all set to introduce a successor to the full frame D600 - the D610. It is expected that this camera will be launched in September 2013.

It has not been even a year since the launch of the D600, but sadly this camera has been plagued by oil/sensor dust issues from the start. Many photographers have returned their new cameras under warranty due to this.

Nikon sales of the D600 has also taken a beating and perhaps this has prompted the company to introduce a new model after hopefully taking care of the sensor dust/oil problem.

For those using the D600, it is rather cruel to see an upgrade so soon and also see the value of second hand D600s plummet!

But for those still sitting on the fence, there is a choice between a new D610 which would be at full price perhaps $2200 or so and used/refurbished D600s which could plummet to as low as $1300-1400!

Which would you choose?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Macchapuchare - The Brave and Beautiful One

Paula Sengupta is an installation artist and print maker who did a very interesting installation work on the unclimbed mountain of Nepal - Macchapuchare, the Fish Tail.

 In Paula's own words, "Macchapuchare - The Brave & Beautiful One is a book constructed in the form of a bioscope of sorts, replete with an audio track.It tells the tale of a fish that journeyed from the high Himalayas to the rivers of the deep South in search of adventure. Eventually, in an effort to brave the stifling Nagarjunasagar dam, she meets with death. Her indomitable spirit though survives, frozen in time, as the magnificent mountain Macchapuchare, coveted by all yet conquered by none. A multi-layered fairy-tale, Macchapuchare - The Brave & Beautiful One confronts certain personal crossroads in the images closeted within the bioscope, even while questioning, on its outer face, current burning issues of ecological disaster, poverty, and unemployment wrought by the indiscriminate political ambitions and visionary zeal of icons of our time. " The text of the audio track follows... 


Once upon a time, nestled deep in a verdant valley in the high Himalayas, was a glistening, golden lake. Its dark waters shimmered as the sunbeams danced upon its silken surface, allowing barely a glimpse of the enchanted world that lay beneath. As the yellow sun rose up on high, the fish that peopled this magic world skimmed to the surface, pursing their lips to kiss the sunbeams that dappled the air. Like dancing dervishes they pranced and pirouetted, splashing the icy waters hither and thither in their wake.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Nemai Ghosh: Satyajit Ray and Beyond

For more than three decades photographer Nemai Ghosh tracked the legendary director Satyajit Ray  with dogged determination and skill.  Leaving no stone unturned, he photographed moments from Ray's films including intimate portraits of Ray himself captured in his unobtrusive style. Now, in what is an exhibition of a lifetime, Delhi Art Gallery (DAG) has digitized Ghosh's work of more than one lac negatives, and present around one hundred and seventy archival prints at the Harrington Street Arts Centre  Kolkata.

DAG had also brought out a superbly printed book on Ghosh's photographs which was also available at the gallery.

“Ghosh’s photographs of Ray, at home and on the sets suggest a rare intimacy, with the poignancy of these images of the master at work, directing and in many cases enacting roles,” said Pramod Kumar KG, curator of the exhibition.

Photo Copyright Nemai Ghosh
At the exhibition preview last evening Ray's cameraman, the gifted Soumendu Roy who launched the book, commented that " what  I could not achieve with my big camera, Nemai has done with his little camera!"

Photo Copyright Nemai Ghosh
Other than the photographs of the Ray films, the exhibition also shows some of Ghosh's work on the theatre as well as an exquisite portrait of the late Smita Patel.

The show is on until 31st August 2013 and should not be missed!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Dzongri Goecha La Trek in Sikkim

Magnolia blossoms on the trail near Bakhim - Pandim and Jobonu  in the background
 “Our moon was almost full.. the nearer snows were but faint and indistinct, while between their pale shadowy masses the whole peak of Kangchenjunga was fully illuminated as by a heavenly searchlight. The rock and ice were transfigured into a silver shrine, a visionary emblem of purity and aspiration. The worship of Kangchenjunga at that moment seemed very reasonable service." Round Kangchenjunga by Douglas Freshfield 1899.
Sikkim offers some of the finest trekking country in the Himalaya. The concept of “tea house trekking", with lodges for travellers en route, which is very popular in Nepal has not yet developed in Sikkim.  Even so, it is possible to arrange porters, tents and food with the support of local trekking companies/guides for this trek.    

Seasons: The peak trekking seasons are April-May and October-November. It is possible to trek outside these seasons, but the winter months of December and January can be very cold above 3000 metres and trails are often snow bound. The monsoon months, June to September, are wet and leech infested but this is a good time to see the flowers in bloom especially on the high altitude meadows.

This is undoutably the most popular trek in Sikkim and famed for its superb mountain views, a floral spectacle in summer, birds and views of pristine forest. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Monsoon in Sikkim

The rainy season in Sikkim begins in June and lasts till the end of September. It is a time when tourists and trekkers do not go to Sikkim. However for the intrepid who is willing to brave the rain and the leeches it is an extremely rewarding time to visit! The light is the monsoon is quite spectacular and the evening sunsets and clarity of the atmosphere after the rains is beautiful. High up on the Himalayan meadows flowers bloom in abundance while yaks and sheep graze on the luxuriant grasslands! Here are some photos from Sikkim in the monsoon and for more photos please do visit

Outskirts of Gayzing, West Sikkim

Forest near Bakhim on the Dzongri trail

Martam paddy fields


Trail between Yuksam and Bakhim

Thursday, August 1, 2013

North or South: The Two Faces of Everest by Anirban Mahapatra

Anirban Mahapatra is a multimedia travel journalist based in Kolkata. He authors travel guidebooks, shoots photo features and produces travel videos for publications and companies worldwide. For more information on his work and travels, visit

If Everest were wine, then 2012-13 was a vintage year in my life. Travelling through Tibet on a cultural expedition in May 2012, I had the opportunity to visit the north base camp of Everest in Rongbuk and see the legendary North Face of the mountain from the Tibetan side. Then, in April 2013, a trek to Kala Patthar in Nepal with South Col Expeditions culminated in lofty views of the world’s highest mountain from the south. My Everest pilgrimage, in every sense of the phrase, was complete.

Back at sea level, people now often ask me how the two journeys compared with each other, and if one trek was indeed more worthwhile than the other. To be honest, it is a bit of an apple-orange situation, and having travelled both the routes, I’m still a little unsure when it comes to choosing between the two. Here’s why.

When it comes to views of Everest, the journey on the north side wins hands down. Nothing matches the overwhelming visual delight of looking at a sheer wall of rock and ice shoot almost four kilometres into the thin air ahead of you. Grand, majestic, sublime – I could go on with the adjectives here, but words would fail to approximate the awesomeness of the moment when you find yourself towered over by a mountain that looms with the collective enormity of a thousand Goliaths. On a clear day, those with a keen interest in mountain lore can see the Northeast Ridge (the route most commonly used by climbers from the north side) cutting a sharp profile against the sky, with the famed First and Second Steps clearly etched into the ice. You could sit there staring at the mountain all day (or as long as the fickle weather would allow you) and never have enough of the sight. More than a year later, the apparition of the North Face still haunts me in my dreams, albeit in a nice way!

On the Nepalese side, the view is much less outstanding, owing to the fact that Everest is obscured by other mountains (including one of its own lower walls when you look up from certain angles) that stand between the mountain and yourself. Lacking the definitive profile of a classic mountain, Everest can only bee seen as a summit peeking above its neighbours – Nuptse to your right, Changtse to the left. The fact that the west wall of Nuptse is better defined and closer to where you stand often conjures an optical illusion of Everest being shorter than its wingman. No prizes for guessing, the grandeur of the mountain is somewhat undermined.

Sunset view of Everest from Kala Patthar
However, despite its visual handicap, the trek on the south side does hold an ace up its sleeve to trump its northern counterpart. Thanks to Chinese enterprise, Rongbuk is now serviced by a fair-weather road that allows 4x4 vehicles to drive all the way to the north base camp. From the village of Tingri, serviced by the Friendship Highway connecting Lhasa with Kathmandu, it takes just about four hours these days to visit the mountain. In other words, what used to be a weeklong adventure on foot has now been reduced to a mere day trip from the fringes of civilisation. Needless to say, the development has made the journey somewhat prosaic – a walk in the park being an apt way to describe it.

The southern route, on the other hand, still calls for an arduous 10-day walk, requiring trekkers to pay the price for the premium experience that awaits them at the end of the road. Personally, I thought the gruelling hike to Kala Patthar only made the final sight more rewarding, like the sweet fruit of one’s hard labour. As a mountain junkie, surveying the sweeping landscape from the summit of Kala Patthar and looking upon fabled sights such as the Khumbu Icefall, the saddle-curve of Lho La and the singular summit of Pumori standing tall behind me were worthy bonuses, and the compelling sense of a completing great crossing was more palpable than I had imagined it to be.

But now that I’ve spoken my mind, I’d urge you not to jump to conclusions from the comfort of your living room. Put on your hiking shoes and go see it for yourself. Everest awaits you! 

For more photographs of the Everest Treks do visit


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...