Tag Archives: Sony RX100

Protected: Upper reaches of the Sar Di valley, Arunachal Pradesh

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Autumn colours

Trekking through the untouched forest

Trekking through the untouched forests of Arunachal Pradesh

Our trek along the Sar Di River took us through dense untouched forests. We started the trek in the tangled vines of subtropical jungle at around 1200m and climbed into high altitude pine forest at an altitude of 3800m. It was November and the leaves were changing into their autumn colours. I was surprised to see huge pine trees right up to the treeline at around 4000m.

Sar Di River on a crisp autumn morning

Sar Di River on a crisp autumn morning

We were the first people to follow the river from it’s confluence with the mighty Lohit river near the village of Dong to it’s source deep in the Himalayas on the boarder with Burma. We were the first people to reach the shores of the emerald waters of Lake Sar Di.

Autumn colours in Arunachal Pradesh, India

The Sar Di has it’s source in remote high altitude glacial lakes near the Burmese boarder

There was no track along the river so we had to make our own way through the jungle. Luckily an army patrol had gone through part of the route and we were able to pick out the machette marks on trees. You had to constantly watch your step as you really didn’t want to fall and get injured in this remote location.

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Sar Di valley, Arunachal Pradesh

Patthar Camp, Sar Di valley, Arunachal Pradesh

Patthar Camp, Sar Di valley, Arunachal Pradesh

I took this photograph while leading a Secret Compass expedition to be the first people to trek the length of the Sar Di river in the remote Himalayas of Arunachal Pradesh. It took us two days of hard slogging through dense jungle and steep mountains to get to Patthar or Rock Camp. You can see our camp on the lefthand bank; notice three figures on the river bank just below camp. The leaves were just starting to change into their autumn colours.

In the fading light I took this shot, perched on a boulder in the middle of the river. The sunset failed to provide much colour so I opted for three bracked shots and merged them to produce this high dynamic range photograph.

This is where I took this photograph.

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Protected: Climbing the mountains of fire

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Sunset over the mountains of fire, Kamchatka

Tolbachik volcano Kamchatka

We climbed a small dormant volcanic cone to watch the final sunset of our expedition

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” John Muir

On our final evening amoung the volcanos, we climbed a small dormant volcanic cone a short walk from camp to take in the grandeur of the scenery we had been trekking through. We were treated to this amazing scene as the sun set over the jagged peaks of the remote Sredinny range. The skies lit up in reds and yellows over Tolbachik in a perfect allegory of the angry past which created this volcano aeons ago. Her active cone from last year’s eruption was silent now and while the lava remained hot all activity had ceased.

Being treated to an etherial scene like this is what it’s all about. One experience like this makes all those rough kilometres of trekking, burdened with spine crushing packs, all the while being harried by thousands of bloodsucking mosquitos, seem like nothing.

We soaked in the scene and stood on the top of the volcanic mound, rugged up in our down jackets, till the chill of the cold wind got to us. We scrambled down and walked back to camp over the black ash of the lava plain in silence. That night we slept well knowing we would be back in civilisation the next day and were going to treat ourselves to a hot bath and meal that wasn’t rehydrated in a plastic bag, for the first time in over two weeks. And lets not forget, our first ice cold beer.



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Expedition Photography – Sony Rx100

Sony RX100

My camera gear for the 16-day Kamchatka expedition

On my recent expedition to Kamchatka we were going to be carrying very heavy rucksacks. When we had finally loaded all out food, fuel and gear the packs weighed over 30kgs. Luckily most of the weight was made up by food and fuel so the packs would get lighter as we consumed our supplies.

With this in mind I very reluctantly left my Nikon D700 and 24-70mm behind and opted to take my small but capable Sony RX100 on the expedition. I bough four extra batteries and lots of memory. I took about 3000 photos on the trip as well as a few short videos and had nearly two batteries left after the trip. This setup weighed about 450g. (Yes, I know the tripod is pink; it was in the bargain bin and going cheap. And it weighed next to nothing.)

Trekking in Kamchatka

My pack weighed in excess of 30kgs

The camera performed very well, even in the cold but I have say it provided a very different shooting experience when campared to my trusty D700. I missed the precision and control I am used to when using my D700. Using an LCD rather than a view finder is also a very different experience. While the RX100 is a great camera it is no where as good as the D700 in low light conditions.

That said, I am very pleased with the photographs from the trip. I will post a full report and gallery when I am done editing the photos.



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Kamen volcano, Kamchatka Russia

Trekking in Kamchatka

Crossing the Shmita Glacier below the north face of Kamen volcano.

Making our way down from the Volcanologists Pass at 3300m to the valley below. We had to descent 2000m knee jarring vertical meters that day. Luckily our packs were a lot lighter than when we had started the trek.

Trekking in Kamchatka

Making our way down from Volcanologists Pass (3300m) between Kamen and Klyuchevskaya volcanos

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One of the grandest vistas in Kamchatka

Kamchatka camp

Imagine waking up to this: From the left Bezymianny (2882m), Kamen (4579m) and Klyuchevskoy (4750m)

We woke to this stunning view after a few days of seriously hard trekking. This was the day after we had descended from the Volcanologists Pass (3300m) which can be seen between Kamen and Klyuchevskoy. This involved over 2000m knee-jarring vertical meters of descent.

Two days ago we had ascended the same route, climbing the same 2000m of ascent in an 11 hour push. We were shattered by the time we reached the pass late in the evening. Just as we thought the  worst was over Klyuchevskoy sent out a welcoming committee to meet us in the form of rock fall. Massive boulders came smashing down the gullies we had to cross. We stood on the edge of the gully, donned our helmets, said a couple of Hail Marys and made a mad dash for the other side. Spotters kept an eye out for any falling rocks.

Once we reached camp we watched in horror as huge fridge sized boulders continued to cartwheel down the volcano at regular intervals. This was the mountain we were supposed to be climbing the next day.



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