Camel silhouettes, Thar Desert near Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. Although we set up this scene for our photo tour, it was still a challenge to find a clear spot without background distractions, and enough distance to use my 300mm lens on my Nikon d500 (dx sensor making non dx lens focal length 400mm). I love the gesture of the camel leg kicking up the sand and the individual postures of each person & camel. I chose to bracket this scene, allowing for a little bit of detail to show in the camel’s decorative blankets. India’s skies are extremely polluted in comparison to what I’m accustomed to, in this circumstance it worked well to shoot straight into the sun for the orange glow (no filter needed).
One of the world’s largest camel fairs in the world is held in the town of Pushkar, India. Each November at the time of the full moon, historically over 11,000 camels, horses, and cattle are traded over this two week festival. The men were sifting the sand out of the grain to feed their their camels to be traded. We camped on site and witnessed this epic spectacle from dawn to dusk
I’ll never know exactly what this Camel trader at Pushkar festival was thinking, but I have a good idea. I took this photo the day after the USA presidential election results were announced (we were lucky -or not depending on your perspective – to get news via a borrowed cell phone hotspot in the middle of the remote Rajasthan desert). It was a surreal place to hear news that will effect the world, yet for these camel herders the big news was the sudden halt on the most common currency notes – 500 and 1,000 rupees in effort to stop counterfeiting of the current banknotes allegedly used for funding terroism and black money in the market. Though most agree the intent of this ban is good, it has had serious repercussions – especially for many of India’s 260 million farmers have no bank accounts. Although I typically don’t pay money for photos, this time I sympathized with the traders dilemma and am sure the tips he made from foreigners that day outweighed cash earned by camel trading. And the lessons I learned from those in India to be flexible and adaptable in the face of great adversity is priceless.
From camping to this – the view at dawn from my room at Hotel Suryagarh, Jaisalmer, India. A five star hotel with ornate sandstone exterior and palatial rooms, courtyard, and spa, it was created from scratch to replicate traditional fortresses in the Thar Desert, Rajasthan. Our agent did an exceptional job of setting our group up with some of the best hotels at a reasonable rate (we shared rooms to make this feasible, Diana Mayfield you were a great roommate!) Stay tuned later for inside shots and courtyard, here’s the link to the hotel if you’re curious http://www.suryagarh.com)
The power of this woman’s gaze emanates strength, spirit, confidence, pride and beauty, and speaks volumes about the rich heritage of her 450 year old tribe in Rajastan, India. whose primary law was to conserve animals and trees to completely abolish the practice of hurting environment. Since Trump’s presidential win, I’ve struggled with what to write and share in my dismay for so many values I hold crucial for a successful society. How to answer the innocent questions everyone asks when first greeting me – where are you from? What does that mean to me, how do I share that are values run so much deeper than the political news? I know how fortunate I am to have both the means and ability to travel the world unrestricted, and cherish the cultural encounters that broaden my perspectives. As typical in travel, I wasn’t the one needing to share a message, instead during the past week I have encountered the endearing and powerful spirit in a diversity of woman who continue backbreaking work with pride and grace and strength. Thanks for your warm welcome India, we need more of this spirit in the world.
Jodhpur’s famous blue painted buildings hold so many stories. Love the layers of paint and dimensions of the entrance to these women’s homes, a glimpse into their everyday lives that would look nearly identical (minus the bicycle wheel) as their ancestors in this place during the past 500 years.