Shooting a Documentary Film in Zanskar and Conducting a Photography Workshop at 12000 ft
I am as excited as I can get, I am keying this out as I almost simultaneously pack my trekking gear to fly out to Leh early tomorrow.
Over the next two weeks, I would be trekking, cycling, rafting and camping in the Himalayas with a diverse group of adventurers from eight countries as they set out on an 12 day expedition to reach a 1000 year old village to setup a solar power plant that would provide electricity to the villagers.
The Global Himalayan Expedition is a for-profit enterprize that takes up projects that are a brilliant blend of community development initiatives and adventure tourism. The expedition focuses on reaching out to marginalized communities living in the remotest parts of India, such as Ladakh, in addition to experiencing the Himalayan Tri-adventure (cycling, rafting, and hiking) activities.
Lack of electricity and education is most certainly the biggest challenge in Himalayan communities. In August 2013, the Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) took up the task of setting up an Education Base in Leh, a facility equipped with tablets, internet and a digital library in order to provide locals kids an opportunity to learn and interact with the world outside. This E-base is a 100% solar powered facility.
Last year, team GHE took up an even more arduous task. A team of 24 individuals from 10 countries trekked for three days in the Himalayas from the nearest sign of civilisation with all the equipment they could to set up a Solar micro-grid to provide electricity to Sumda Chenmo, a village that had never seen electricity. The Expedition team wired up all the houses in the village, dug up electric poles, fixed more than a hundred LED bulbs, a DC LED TV and installed 3 sets of solar panels and got the grid up and running in just two days.
This year, the Global Himalayan Expedition aims to repeat the same feat as yesteryear and aims setup a solar micro-grid in Umlung in the Markha valley, a thousand year old village. I am excited to be a part of this expedition and would be documenting the act in photos and film.
I would also a conducting a photography workshop at 12000 ft which I am really looking forward to.
The Most Unusual Camera Bag I Have Ever Carried
I am carrying the most unusual combination of gear that I have ever worked with on location. The idea is to keep the bag as light as I can to facilitate ease in movement while making sure I have enough to do justice to the breathtaking views that I expect to come across.
I am carrying a Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art Lens for the first time to an outdoor shoot. The tests we did tells us it is a brilliant piece of glass, better than its Canon counterpart in many ways, it would go a long way in giving us some amazing shots both in photography and footage. I am carrying a Sigma 18-300 as well, its a pretty light lens and would give us all the range we would need without bulking up the camera bag too much.
I intend to capture a ton of portraits and I wish to use artificial lighting on location. I am carrying an Elinchrom FxRi 400 with an innovatronix battery pack. The battery pack is certainly the heaviest piece of gear I am carrying along and I hope it is worth all the effort.
I am also carrying a Sigma DP1 Quattro Camera, this should be my go to camera for landscape photography. Its built in interval timer will also come in handy for timelapse photography. One feature that I absolutely love in the Sigma DP1 Quattro is its super high sync speed. It can sync up with the external flashes at 1/2000th of a second at f5.6 and 1/1600 wide open. This camera along with the Elinchrom FxRi 400 and Innovatronix should make portraits really pop out.
I look forward to sharing the results with you; wish me luck 🙂
P.S: Here are two other blog posts that I wrote after I came back on my experience of filming in the Himalayas and how these lenses turned out in real shooting conditions.