Ama Dablam

Ama Dablam

Views of Ama Dablam from the EBC trail. The first week of trekking in the Himalaya the monsoon clouds obscured the mountains until we reached the higher villages. In the early morning the mountains would be clear until the late morning when the clouds would roll in. Waking up to these views each morning was truly incredible.

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Aghori Sadhu and the City of Temples

Aghori Sadhu and the City of Temples

Portrait of an Aghori Sadhu on the banks of the Ganges, Varanasi. The Aghori Sadhus are a small sect of sadhu, they engage in post mortem rituals. They live near cremation grounds and smear ashes of the cremated on their bodies and use human bones from corpses for crafting kapalas or jewlery. Aghoris believe that every person's soul is Shiva but is covered by aṣṭamahāpāśa "eight great nooses or bonds", including sensual pleasure, anger, greed, obsession, fear and hatred. The practices of the Aghoris are centered around the removal of these bonds. Sādhanā in cremation grounds destroys fear; sexual practices with certain riders and controls help release one from sexual desire; being naked destroys shame. On release from all the eight bonds the soul becomes sadāśiva and obtains moksha

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Holika Dahan in Old Delhi

Holika Dahan in Old Delhi

The eve before Holi in India is a celebration, Hindus celebrate the coming of spring and the end of winter. In the streets throughout Northern India Holika Dahan is celebrated by burning Holika, an asura. For many traditions in Hinduism, Holi represents the killing of Holika by Vishnu in order to save Prahlad, a devotee of God Vishnu. I set out walking the streets of Old Delhi from where I was staying in the neighborhood of Paraganj. Through out the evening I would watch people gather wood, cardboard, plastic anything that would burn to make huge pyres in the streets. These fires were everywhere, the mass of people, scooters and tuk tuks in the streets made it impossible to not feel overwhelmed. I took this photo somewhere lost in Old Delhi around midnight. This image is of women walking around the pyre about to offer holy water and garlands of flowers to the flames.

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Lord Brahma and the Holy Lake of Pushkar

Lord Brahma and the Holy Lake of Pushkar

I spent over a week in Pushkar India, As soon as I arrived I immediately felt a sense of calm. Pushkar felt like a small Oasis in the middle of the desert. Coming from Jaipur and the hustle and bustle of a huge crowded city. The country feel and laid back nature of the Holy City felt very welcoming. I rented a motorcycle for the time I was there and would cruise around the countryside exploring and photographing people I would come across. On the outskirts of Pushkar is a abandoned looking building that is the elementary school. I was riding around and came across a group of children walking home from school helping one another out pumping water from a well. I pulled over and pulled my camera out and as soon as I did this child turned around and looked directly at me. I snapped a few photos then another 5-6 kids came running up to the well jumping on the handle of the pump, taking turns drinking water with their hands. Of all the places I traveled in India, Pushkar was my favorite.

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First rays of light over Mt Everest from Gokyo Ri

First rays of light over Mt Everest from Gokyo Ri

After a couple weeks of trekking in the Everest Region of Nepal I finally reached the small village of Gokyo. Gokyo sits at 15,584ft and is one of the highest settlements in the world. Some of the most stunning mountains in the world surround it. One of the best views of Everest, Cho Oyu, Lhotse and Cholatse can be reached at the summit Gokyo Ri at 17,575ft. I had been sick for about a week after trekking to Everest Basecamp and over the high pass of Cho La. I spent a few days in Gokyo recovering, sitting on the porch of my teahouse drinking ginger tea and eating pastries from the bakery. It was on my last day there I hiked up to the summit of Gokyo Ri in the middle of the night and took this photo of the first rays of sunlight rising over Mt Everest. It’s tough to capture just how beautiful this scene is. In every direction you are looking at the most massive and impressive mountains in the world. It’s truly breathtaking.

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Morning in the Tibetan Refugee Colony

Morning in the Tibetan Refugee Colony

I have always been fascinated by Tibetan Culture. Traveling through Nepal and visiting the tiny Buddhist villages in the Himalayas and getting to know the people really resonated with me. When I flew in to Delhi on my second trip, I knew I wanted to visit the Tibetan Refugee Colony. It’s a small neighborhood in North Delhi that started when the refugees fled Tibet in 1960 when the Dalai Lama left in exile to Dharamshala in the Himalayas of India. It was the early morning and the Monks had just finished their morning prayer. Outside of the Monastery were prayer wheels, the Monks would walk around the Monastery three times and spin them. I was hiding on the backside of the Monastery sitting on a flight of filthy steps avoiding stray dogs that would bark at me and occasionally try to nip my legs. I didn’t want to seem rude so after they would walk by I’d hop off the stairs and photograph them. This is a photo of a Buddhist monk holding prayer beads finishing his morning prayer.

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Preparing for Holi in the Khari Baoli spice market

Preparing for Holi in the Khari Baoli spice market

Celebrating Holi in India had always been a dream of mine. The Khari Baoli spice market is the largest spice market in Asia and is truly sensory overload. Walking through the crowded fragrant market the day before Holi in Old Delhi you could feel the excitement. I took this photo of a man weighing out bags of colored corn starch through the madness of the spice bazaar. The bright colors and the warn out pink clothes the man was wearing drew my eye to this scene.

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Holiest city in India

 Holiest city in India

Reading in my air conditioned room in the heart of Varanasi I could hear a loud procession coming down the narrow street. Music blaring from speakers, people yelling, drummers banging their drums and kids playing with fireworks. I had been in Varanasi for a few days and was no longer shocked by anything. The first day I arrived I watched countless families carry elegantly wrapped dead bodies strewn with garlands of flowers down the streets taking them to the ghats along the banks of the Ganges to be burned. I looked out from the balcony and ran down the stairs into crowded streets with my camera. I was walking along the parade of warn out silver chariots. Through the frenzy I noticed this young girl in the parade staring at me. The parade had stopped for 10 -15 seconds and I took a couple quick photographs of her. I love this image and is a reminder of how much I miss Varanasi. It can be completely over whelming in every sense of the word but it is a place that needs to be experienced to be understood.

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Sunset on Capitol Peak from K2

This past weekend I made A trip out to Aspen to the Maroon Bells Wilderness to try to get a photo of Capitol Peak from the summit of K2. This was my third attempt at trying to capture this photo due to terrible weather both times before I was unable to make it to the summit. The night before I camped next to Capitol Lake with winds 45+ for nearly 24hrs. I waited til the next afternoon to try to make it up to K2. As soon as i reached the saddle the wind completely stopped which was unexpected and made for a perfect sunset.

Capitol Lake from Daily Pass

Capitol Lake from Daily Pass

The boulder field all the way up to K2

The boulder field all the way up to K2

From K2 looking back at Mt Daily and Aspen to the right.

From K2 looking back at Mt Daily and Aspen to the right.

Pierre lakes basin

Pierre lakes basin

Panoramic of Pierre lakes to Capitol Lake

Panoramic of Pierre lakes to Capitol Lake

Sunset on Capitol Peak form K2.

Sunset on Capitol Peak form K2.

South Colony Lakes in the Sangre De Cristos

Last week we took a trip down to the Sangre De Cristos outside Westcliffe to do a few days of hiking and camping. I was here last summer and ever since I've had an idea for a photo of a close up of Crestone Needle. It took an early AM hike-climb to get there but well worth it to witness the sunrise on such a majestic area. We camped at the base of three 14ers Humboldt, Crestone and Crestone Needle. Arguably some of the tougher 14ers in Colorado.

 

Our Camp at the lower South Colony Lake

Our Camp at the lower South Colony Lake

A windy afternoon hike up to the Upper Colony Lake

A windy afternoon hike up to the Upper Colony Lake

Crossing a snowfield along Broken hand Pass at 2 o clock in the morning

Crossing a snowfield along Broken hand Pass at 2 o clock in the morning

Sitting atop the rock spire we had climbed up to watch the sunrise

Sitting atop the rock spire we had climbed up to watch the sunrise

Blanca Peak to the south of us

Blanca Peak to the south of us

Tricky climb down

Tricky climb down

Herd of mountain goats trying to steal our food

Herd of mountain goats trying to steal our food

The Image I was hoping for, Cottonwood Lake and the San Luis Valley to the left and Upper Colony Lake to the right.

The Image I was hoping for, Cottonwood Lake and the San Luis Valley to the left and Upper Colony Lake to the right.

To Crestone and the Dunes

On a whim we made a trip down to the Dunes with a few stops in between. I've been thinking of a photograph I've wanted to capture since the last time I was there but the weather didn't cooperate.. there's always next time. First stop was outside Buena Vista, A storm was blowing over the Collegiates as we were driving down 285.

Our second stop was in the mystical town of Crestone at the base of Crestone peak in the San Luis Valley. I wanted to visit land my dad owns in this spiritual hippie haven where the residents are earth conscious environmentalists, definitely my kind of place to hide away. We stopped for some food and within twenty minutes It went from sunny blue skies to hailing three inches and enshrouded in fog.

After leaving Crestone we headed for the Great Sand Dunes. The weather wasn't what I was expecting or the weather channel for that matter. The entire time the wind wouldn't stop blowing sand around which makes terrible conditions for camera equipment which I decided to keep in the case and not risk ruining. That evening there was a sweet display of light at sunset, one you don't see very often.

Instead of dragging Iris around for an early morning hike we slept in and explored Medano Creek and the spectacular ecosystem along the base of the Dunes.

Iris sinking into the sand

Iris sinking into the sand

After leaving the dunes we stopped by Mt Princeton Hot Springs for some soaking and happened to run into Judd Apatow strolling around the springs wearing a tiny purple party top hat. I love that guy!

Til the next adventure!

Spring Fever

 

True Happiness

 

It's getting closer to that time of year, the trees are starting to bloom here in Denver. Looking forward to warmer weather, longer nights and of course bumming around the state in search of mountains to climb and forests to get lost in. Stay tuned for trip updates and stories of my travels, along with whatever crosses my mind and inspires me.