My Pocket Full of Stars


Inspiring Journeys




The Photography Blog

Photographic Field Guides
Practical Philosophies
Careers and Ideas
Good Gear


November 2014

18mm
10 seconds @ f/2.8
ISO 800
X-M1







Every year Ewen runs a handful of unique and marvellous tours and workshops. Find out more about what tours are coming up and how to book.

Photo Tours with Ewen






My Pocket Full of Stars
Capturing those moments that are rare, and making them last forever.



The Photography Blog




I’m looking outside my window at 4am and I see a universe of stars, a mountain dusted with snow and a mobile phone tower blinking a red lamp. The altitude at Muktinath is around 3600m and in early November the overnight temperatures routinely fall below zero. The night air is crystal clear but the window pane is beaded with condensation from my breathing.

I grab my camera and open the window. I have a modest little body for this trip, the smallest and lightest of the Fuji’s with the X-trans sensor. It took a few moments to fumble around in my bag to dig out the 18mm, it’s so tiny and it hides under my emergency chocolate bar. Using the timber of the window frame I prop the camera upwards, switch everything to manual and click a few frames into the night sky.

Cold air is rushing inside the room, but I don’t really care. The stars are filling my senses for now. There’s a mountain beyond the town white with snow and illuminated by the moonlight. In the hours before night fall I walked those very mountains and my thoughts wander.

I had taken my group to photograph chorten on the edge of town. At this altitude every walk is a breathless endeavour, but it’s worth a little effort. In the afternoons clouds gather around the Annapurnas and the sunlight disappears then reappears in bands. The photography is inspiring, shooting across the light while presenting unique subjects for composition.

Happy with the chorten my fellow photographers headed back down, while I headed higher up. I wanted to see what lay one saddle further up the hill. I walked slowly but I kept at it, from one hill rise to the next. Before long I was high above the town, so high that I was surrounded by silence. I wondered how the snow leopards survive up here, and if any were watching me standing alone on a mountain.

Approaching the snow line I saw views of distant peaks that were hidden in the township, snow capped mountains from the Mustang Kingdom. The light was dancing with the clouds and spinning out from behind peaks. Not everything in life makes a wonderful photograph, sometimes the experience is better. It occurred to me then that chasing light is an odd way to live your life, but that’s what I do. It’s a quality not quantity thing. I avoid the full light of day as a rule, rather my pursuit goes after those rare and lovely moments that exist on the edges.

That’s where life happens. On the edges. In the margins. The bits in between. Photography is the same, you want to capture those moments that are rare then make them last forever. Or at least last a lifetime.

As I type these words the stars have faded and the sky turned pale blue. Daylight has arrived and it feels cold all of a sudden. Only a photographer can draw warmth from the twinkle of the Milky Way. My 4am snap shot out the window looks less impressive in the daylight, but it holds value for me. I’ll keep it for myself.

I have a bag to pack now, getting ready to head back to Kathmandu. It’s slow journey back with a jeep to get to Jomsom, apple pancakes at another guesthouse and an early morning flight to Pokhara. Slowly slowly, bistari bistari. I’ll enjoy the warm air and chunky oxygen back in the lower valleys, and I have my pocket full of stars when I want to remind myself of the skies above Muktinath.



  Keep Reading

Join Ewen's newsletter for monthly updates on new photography articles and tour offers...

Thanks, you are now subscribed. Please check your inbox for a welcome email.




Computer says NO.
Please check the email address.
 


Please Share Your Thoughts



JUST THE FACTS



For more about Ewen's adventures in Nepal, visit his tour page. Links at the bottom to lots more photos :)


ewenbell.com
This feature was last updated on Friday 07th November 2014
This article was published and written by

Copyright
All images and words on this web site are copyrighted and may not be used without permission.
When requesting permission to republish this article please quote reference #1214.

URL for this Article


Related Links
  Nepal  Inspiring Journeys  Moments

Inspiring destinations that offer something unique for photographers. I love sharing the beauty in this world, and sharing why I think you might want to see it too.

What Did We Learn From An Aurora Storm

Once in twenty year event rocked the planet this week, creating a moment of opportunity to get out and capture auroras that would normally be out of reach. And for regular aurora chasers a chance to share the joy with a lot more of the planet than usual.



Beautiful Chaos

Nepal is a country filled with rough edges. They are numerous, but they are outnumbered. The solution to any problem in Nepal is to simply slow down. Bistari bistari. Slowing down gives everyone a chance to make room, and then move forward. It's the same for photographers.



Expedition Photography Workshops

I’m changing my mix of photography tours and workshops. From 2024, I’m going to be adding a really big ship into the mix. A very lovely big boat that specialises in expedition cruising, and creating unique opportunities for people who love their photography.



Expedition FAQ

This FAQ is for anyone contemplating joining me on an expedition workshop to explore their photography, and explore some amazing parts of the world with me and Heritage Expeditions.



Snow Leopards in Tibet

"The Velvet Queen" is a movie about much more than photographers and snow leopards. It's a call for all humans to connect with our true nature as creatures of the wild.



Doing Our Best

Be Your Best Tours is the natural evolution of my experience in travel. Since 2004 I've been designing and delivering photographic journeys to discerning travellers. Now it's time to make room for people who are happy to leave the camera at home.





Ewen's Photography Book



"ReIMAGINE" is now available to order online.
It's a very big and very generous book that will help you to reconnect with your creative side.


ReIMAGINE