Two students getting closeups of a young calf
Best friends practicing their modeling shots
I previously wrote about my new Photo Club I’ve started at Danko and I wanted to talk a little bit more about how it’s been going. We’ve held 7 classes so far and just did our first field trip. Attempting to teach a technical topic in a foreign language is incredibly challenging to say the least but my students are patient and some know enough English to help me translate. The biggest challenge at my last attempt at a photo club was attendance and it’s still a bit of a challenge but I’m averaging 9 students or so out of 12 at each class, having cameras and computers to play with definitely keeps their attention. I’ve been teaching basic concepts like the ‘Rule of 1/3s’ and ‘Leading Lines’ but mostly we walk around Balykchy taking photos while I give them pointers along the way.
Two students having a camera war on the tracks
One of my students on the tacks between abandoned factories
These girls love to pose for photos…
Are first field trip (of 4 total) was last Saturday to Bishkek. The capital city is only 2 hours away yet the students rarely get to visit. Most go once a year or so and two of my students had never been. They really enjoyed walking around the city and I was able to show them many things they had no idea existed in their country. It was also really hot so of course they ate ice cream, lots of it. Below are some photos from the field trip. Scroll down for photos from my students.
Super excited faces at the ‘Water Museum’
A group shot at the water museum
Testing the macro function on ants
Alina may be my favorite, she always tries to get good angles and probably takes 3x the photos of anyone else
This Bishkek greenhouse is something I spotted from the road a few months ago, none of the people I know had ever heard of it. It’s 70 years old and was built by German WWII prisoners!
Our group shot in front of the greenhouse at the Bishkek Botanical Garden
The last group shot of the day in the mountain valley before you enter Issyk Kul
Here is a gallery of photos by various students. I’ll leave their names off for now but I’ll share a gallery of their credited work this fall when we prepare for an exhibition.
We recently took a trip back to Ala Archa, our first time since going last year during PST. The previous trip was easy to arrange as our host family owned a marshrutka and a group of us just hired them to take us up for the day. This trip we had to find a taxi on our own which is a pain even when we speak the language. After too many phone calls and conversations at the bus station, we negotiated a ride, picked up our friends and drove to Ala Archa. Of course upon arrival the driver showed us an ‘official’ price list that said the price was nearly double what we agreed to and he seemed to forget our previous conversation. Too bad guy, we’re not falling for that… we gave him the agreed upon fare and headed into the park.
Crossing a small stream
The wet trail disappearing into the clouds
Me on the way up
The worst part of the hike came as we neared the top
Approaching Ratsek Hut, it’s only a few hundred yards away but we it can’t be seen through the fog
The hike up to the hut was a little less pleasant that our previous trip. Between the persistent mist that soaked everything and our heavy packs, things were a little less than ideal. There was also a bit of snow to deal with than our last trip which was at the end of August. After a few hours of hiking we neared the hut, the clouds parted and we got a glimpse of the towering peaks that make Ala Archa so special. We set up the tents and settled into one of the kitchen huts (which you have access to if paying for a tent site or spot in the Ratsek Hut) to make dinner.
Walking a short bit up the valley before turning up the hill
Andrew & Kara as we begin the climb from base camp
The massive Ak-Sai Glacier
Continue reading “Ala Archa National Park – (nearly) Climbing Peak Uchitel”
As Taylor and I keep on our mission to explore every part of Kyrgyzstan, we took advantage of some holidays to go visit friends and explore Talas, the home of the biggest hero in Kyrgyzstan, Manas.. We set out with several other volunteers through the high Too-Ashuu pass and 3km long tunnel we went through last year on our way to Toktogul. After a quick stop we turned right past the huge sculpture of Manas and through the gate to Talas.
A large statue of Manas guarding the entrance to Talas
The huge gate guarding the entrance to Talas
The high pass into Talas
Talas city turned out to be really nice (my Kyrgyz friends thought it was odd we were going there but they think it’s strange we like to travel around the country at all) with a lot of new buildings in the center of the city. It’s a small city but very concentrated so the center is fairly bustling as far as Kyrgyz towns go. They have a real Chinese restaurant and a fantastic (and cheap) coffee shop, major perks you don’t really find outside of Bishkek or Osh. Continue reading “Visiting Talas – Birthplace of Manas”