Mahadev captures the monasteries and mountains of Nepal as the winner of our 2015 Travel Photography Scholarship
In the early morning we were ready for our third day of the assignment. Richard led us once again towards the Baudhanath Temple to see if we were lucky enough to run into the presence of another Budhist offering, but this time inside one of the monasteries rather than a temporary tent like the day before. So, we arrived (without rain fortunately) and immediately ran into the first monastery where the Buddhist monks were performing their morning prayers and offerings. We stayed there for about an hour trying to register their holy activities. The pronunciation of their verses mixed with the beautiful sounds of their instruments gave a very deep sense of spirituality, many pilgrims entering the room paying obeisances and giving donation to the monks contributed some action and movement to the peaceful and concentrated atmosphere that was inside the beautifully decorated temple. Being able to see Richard work and capture his images is really one of the greatest experiences so far, you learn to see the way he shoots, how he moves between the people, how he interacts with locals through smiles and what to speak of when receiving direct advice from him.
Ready for sunrise, we woke at 5:30 am, but we had to trek uphill for 25 minutes to reach the top and have a clear point of view. It was worth it as we saw the most beautiful colours over the Himalayas, specifically the Annapurna circuit. Richard gave me more or less a master class of landscape photography, and I had a very smooth morning shooting from the hill with his advice. After breakfast in the old inn, we went through the length of the village capturing the people and places of Balthali. Walking through one of the main streets, we found a blue house with some kids playing in front of it, the practical classes with Richard continued with portraiture lessons. People were simple and extremely happy, so we comfortably captured them for a while. Today was the halfway mark of the assignment and personally I was starting to feel very tired, the accumulation of activities started to take an effect on my energy levels, especially after going up the hill and the morning walk.
Our plane was fortunately on time. As we were leaving Salleri behind I also felt that I was leaving behind one of the most beautiful experiences of my life being so close to the assignment end. We arrived back in Kathmandu and immediately headed towards the guest house. The only thing left to do on my behalf was to advance with my final selection of images and some processing for Richard to overview my whole process and guide me towards the final selection of photographs so I could continue processing the following days. This opportunity, as World Nomads explain, certainly is a money can't buy experience and it was my good fortune that such a precious opportunity was extended to me. I feel that I can put into practice all of Richard’s advice and remember the teachings I have learned. Certainly, all the experience he can so easily share from many years of traveling and a genuine love for photography gives you so much courage and inspiration to become more serious and focused about everything related to it.