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Finding America

on April 23, 2010 with 0 and 0 in category Photography tagged as Read more

The loss of a good travel companion

on June 2, 2009 with 0 and 0 in category Photography tagged as , , , , , ,

People often ask if I am nervous traveling to places like Afghanistan and Pakistan and other far places on the earth.  My regular response is that I have the same chance of being injured in the shower in my house or on the DC beltway as traveling.  Well it looks like the same type ofMy damaged 1D Mark II "it’s gonna happen wherever you are" happened to one of my more traveled Canon camera bodies.  As poor luck would have it, my workhorse 1D Mark II flash shoe had become loose and was not firing the speedlight.  So while I was back in the US, I sent it off to Canon for a tune up and repair of the flash shoe.  Now fully encased in bubble wrap, and a pristine box, it just came back from the CPS Canon repair center in NJ with a large crack on the magnesium frame.  The crack is on top of the camera where the camera shoe had been replaced.  I’m guessing during the repair that the technician put a little too much tension when he was replacing the flash shoe.  CPS was very professional and immediately sent me a FedEx return label, but I am tight for time to return from Montana to Ethiopia.  Luckily I have a 5D Mark II as my extra body so I’m not out of a camera while in Montana.

To my surprise, I found myself far more upset about the sentimental value of the camera.  It has traveled to the harshest sides of the world, is heavily worn, and has become the solid companion I trust.  Due to the large frame crack, I am guessing that Canon will have to replace the entire magnesium frame, leaving little of the nostalgic paint-free rub marks, and duress marks that proved it was not the camera of a fashion photographer or one that sat on a shelf. Like a good set of jeans, I am very upset to have to get a new one.  I also find it ironic that its final days were at the Canon repair center and carefully transported in a large box surrounded by bubble wrap and not on some mountain in Nepal being crushed by a run away yak.  Well, with a sad heart I placed it in the same box it arrived in to go back to Canon.  I will ask Canon if I can have the frame back for sentimental reasons.  Will hope they honor the request because the camera has become more than a tool, but a solid travel companion.

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Trek to Everest Base Camp

on March 1, 2009 with 0 and 0 in category Travel tagged as , , , , , ,

This is the trek route we took to the Mt Everest base camp.  Our trek went via the recently opened Nangpa Valley. Cross Renjo and Cho la. Climb both Gokyo Ri and Kala Pattar and camp overnight at Everest Base Camp. 

The trek travels to the remotest parts of the Khumbu Himal and visits all the main valleys of the region. We can explore fascinating Sherpa villages and visit the Buddhist monasteries at Tengboche and Pangboche, whilst the names of so many famous mountains including Thamserku, Ama Dablam, Lhotse and Pumori will become part of our vocabulary. Not only does this trek include ascents of both Gokyo Ri and Kalapattar, we even camp overnight at Everest Base camp, allowing us to soak up the atmosphere of this hallowed place.
In common with most Everest treks we fly up to the mountain airstrip at Lukla and head north along the well-worn trail, which follows the mighty Dudh Kosi river to Namche Bazaar. This sizeable Sherpa village is situated at the heart of the Khumbu and all the principal valleys of the region converge here. Most parties continue to follow well-trodden paths, but we leave the crowds behind and head up the remote Nangpa valley to Marulung. Only recently opened to trekkers, this valley was off-limits for many years owing to its proximity to the sensitive Tibetan border. Its unspoilt authentic Sherpa villages offer a unique insight into how the area would have been when Hillary first walked these paths fifty years ago.

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