More adventures, etc. with lots of hiking

Day 3 began at 4:45 AM when we woke up, pulled on our heaviest clothing, and began our hike up Poon Hill to catch the sunrise. Poon Hill rises to 10,531 feet above sea level. (Granted, we were starting at about 9,430 feet.) Abby remarked that, in Nepal, this is called a “hill,” while in the U.S. east of the Mississippi, people would call it a “mountain.” Maine’s Mount Katahdin is 5,269 feet high. Vermont’s Mount Snow is 3,586 feet. And Georgia’s Stone Mountain? A piddling 1,686 feet. Come on, people. Anyhow … as we neared the top, I turned…

More adventures in film photography, with pictures of mountains

Back in November, we went hiking in the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP), a mountainous area about 100 miles northwest of Kathmandu that borders China. We spent four days hiking through the mountain region, completing about 40 km. We flew into Pokhara and took a van to the entrance of the ACAP, and began our hike. The village at the entrance, Nayapool, is filled with guest houses, tea houses, and restaurants, and there are many more such businesses throughout the park. Because of COVID, however, nearly all of them were empty while we were there. Sadly, the government had launched…

Maha Shivratri

The sadhus recently came to Pashupatinath to prepare for the Maha Shivratri festival. Maha Shivratri celebrates the marriage of Shiva and Parvati, and it is one of the most important festivals in the Hindu calendar. According to Wikipedia, “unlike most Hindu festivals which include expression of cultural revelry, the Maha Shivaratri is a solemn event notable for its introspective focus, fasting, meditation on Shiva, self study, social harmony and an all night vigil at Shiva temples.” In the days leading up to the festival, the sadhus and their entourages pose for photographs in exchange for tips. And, this being a…

Navadurga festival, Bhaktapur

There in a festival in Bhaktapur called Madhav Narayan which celebrates one of the avatars of the Hindu god Vishnu. It is famous for the sight of male devotees rolling from the center of town down to the Hanuman River to show their devotion to Vishnu. The festival was nearing its close, so I went to Bhaktapur the day before to be at the riverside early in the morning. It turned out that the city also is in the middle of its Navadurga festival. Navadurga is a mask dance ritual/street carnival. To celebrate Navadurga, dancers representing nine demonic avatars (durgas)…

Fewer Misadventures in Film Photography

I recently started developing my own color film. Color film development is tricky because you have to maintain the chemicals at a specific temperature, otherwise the film gets ruined. And when I sent my film out to a lab here in town, it did get ruined—albeit in sometimes interesting ways—so I’ll do my own development from now on. Here we have the world’s largest Lord Shiva statue, the Kailashnath Mahadev Statue. It stands at 143 feet high. (The next largest, in Karnataka, India, is only 123 feet high.) The day we went, the park was fairly crowded, with lots of…

More Misadventures in Film Photography

A few weeks ago, we went on safari at Chitwan National Park. Chitwan has a good population of rhinoceroses and tigers, among other animals, and we were hopeful of some sightings. Normally, I’d take a digital camera for a trip like this, but my only long lens at the moment is a Nikon 70-210 mm, so I took the FM2, It didn’t work out as planned. Besides the dust marks on the negative scanner, which can be fixed in easily in post, many of the negatives were marked with streaks and bizarre colors. It’s possible that the problem was with…

Misadventures in Film Photography (one of a series)

I love film photography. An analog, all metal camera just feels different in the hands. The loading of the film is like a little dance. The shutter’s click tells you that you’ve captured an image, with no way to erase it, and the film winder tells you that you’re ready to do it again. The downside, of course, is that you don’t know what you’ve captured; and once you’re done, you are at the mercy of the film processor. That’s when you discover whether your lenses are really sharp at the corners; whether you’ve stored your film properly all this…

Clay

Bhaktapur also is known as a pottery center, which was exciting to us as we’re both into pottery—Abby has been throwing and hand-building for years, and I started right before we left Bangkok. A lot of the production we saw is standardized, however—not quite the stuff of The Great British Throw Down. After leaving the kilns, we came across some guys working the clay in a courtyard. You literally can see the handiwork in the clay.

Back to Bhaktapur

We visited Bhaktapur in 2012, three years before the earthquake that damaged or destroyed much of the old architecture. We had the opportunity to return this past weekend. Fortunately, the historic areas looked much as they did before … … with some obvious work underway, on historic buildings and residences alike. We saw a lot of people doing puja (worship) at various parts of the square. Lots of fabulous detail. Next: Clay.