Brief about Photography in Kathmandu Valley:
The tour in Kathmandu Valley provides unique opportunity to experience one of the oldest and vibrant cultures of the world, fascinating living religions like Hinduism and, Tibetan and Nepali version of Buddhism. You get to see magnificent view of the mountain and the Himalayan range, exciting wildlife in the jungle safari, thousands temples dedicated to thousands of Gods including living Goddess. The varieties of ethnic peoples are as diverse as its natural vegetation. To top all these you get to experience memorable festivals of all kinds. Himalayas, people, festivals, religions, and temples are prominent subjects for photography.
UNESCO has designated 7 World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu valley; they are scattered within a short distance. These sacred temples and palaces are the subject of tourist attraction as well as photographers delight. People have been living in these heritage sites for centuries. As much as the temples and palaces it is a great place to discover people in their daily life. Even in this fast changing world the lives of people in these historical places remained unchanged. Only the pictures captured in the camera could express the meaning. Many people say the valley is a “Living Museum,” specially the cities of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. And indeed it is true. The other prominent place outskirts of the cities are Kritipur, Changunarayan, Bungamati, Khokana and Panauti. These places provide windows to traditional Newari villages and ample opportunities to visit craftsmen in their traditional metal casting and wood carving.
Brief about Photos in early days:
Though numerous photos were taken before 70’s but Desmond Doing, a British Journalist at that time based in Calcutta, and his friends must be some of the early foreigners with professional background in painting and photo who captured many facets of temples and culture in his drawing and photos. Following in his footsteps an architect by profession a gentleman name Powell also captured many cultural events specially what Kathmandu residents called Jatra (Procession) which has been a tradition more than 1000 years old. The chariot jatras are most popular of all. It happens in all the three cities.
If time is available the trip can be made interesting by adding a visit to photographic exhibition if it is happening at the time. Photo exhibitions are regularly held at Bhrikuti Mandap Exhibition Hall, Siddhartha Art Gallery, Nepal Art Council, Gallery 1827, and at Indigo Gallery.
Digital Photography has significantly changed the life of photographers worldwide and film processing has also become inexpensive and can be done in a short time. Please note fees have to be paid for taking photographs in certain restricted areas and locations such as museums and monastery. Shooting in high altitudes requires filters to counter the harsh and blue light. It is always best to avoid taking photograph by giving money. Many people consider taking their photographs would take away part of their life; so you got to be discreet.
Best time for Photography:
The best seasons are spring and autumn. The period from the end of September until the end of November usually the air is clear and sky is clean blue. In the Terai for jungle safari the climate in that time of the seasons are not too hot, and evening is cool. December, January and early February are the coldest months, during which the temperature can drop around 0 degree. However the weather and temperature seems to be changing in the last couple of years. The temperature in Kathmandu valley is very nice. Early morning and evening is quite cold.
Point of View:
As much as the cameras, lenses, and exposure, the ‘light’ on a particular day is equally important. Together with that the expertise of the photographers and his / her instinct and imagination in capturing the subject matter count much in producing the right image - this is what professional would say. Though we tend to capture beautiful scenery yet the unusual image would stands out at the end. The professional would say zoom on the essential of the object like scene and culture that explain more about it. Though good weather and season is perfect for visit yet the other time of the year like monsoon also produce a memorable picture. However most of us would agree not to trade photo for observing the actual reality. Otherwise like William Wordsworth had said in his poem ‘Lucy Grey’ that “What is this life if there is no time to stand stare.” The photography tour ought to be an enjoyable experience rather than race to capture the best shot unless you are going to a competition. So to allow this element in the program the schedule would be organized so as to capture early morning light or the evening sunset. Beside the effect of lights this particular time in the day is equally appropriate to capture people in their daily life as afternoon would not provide as much opportunity.
Surrounding Area of Kathmandu
Yes, the city of Kathmandu is the rail of a crowd with the cloud of smog, but don’t let the cover confuse you. The city is historical, with ancient feats; a cluster of Nepal’s overall culture, and a place to have a peaceful experience, if you know where to go.
Godavari, Phulchowki and Nagarjun are the best places within the proximity of Kathmandu, where you can enjoy quiet time and bird watching in Nepal. You can observe various species of birds in Kathmandu Valley.
Besra, Rufous-bellied niltava, Chestnut-headed Tesia, rufous-gorgeted flycatcher, whiskered yuhina, Yellow-browed tit, Nepal Cutia, Greater yellow nape, racket-tailed drongos, ultramarine flycatcher, black-winged cuckoo shrike, and grey-headed woodpecker are some birds in Kathmandu’s vicinity.
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