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Travel With Fujifilm X100S : Portrait Of Suraksha

While I was talking to her, she stopped the conversation for a while. She was enjoying the Ultra Light Flight circling the Sarangkot Hill. Even though she have seen it hundred times before this, but it never makes her bored. Getting ready to get to school, this 10 year old girl is among the kids living at Sarangkot Hill with her parents running guest house business. Meet Suraksha, speaks fluent in English, I can’t speak well in english when I was at her age. She walks about 30 minutes to reach her school, and it took about 1 hour going back to the hill.

 

Suraksha, 10

Travel With Fujifilm X100S : Portrait of Dhurba & Raj

I met these gentlemen on our road trip from Kathmandu to Pokhara. It was just near the roadside where people stop for toilet, tea or just to have some fresh air near the Trisuli River. By the time I got out from the car, I knew that I want to photograph them. But I took my time building up some confidence for both of us. He thought I was attracted with the lady who was nearby making local delicacy, the Sel Roti. Made of rice flour, deep fried to make crispy outer but puffy inside.

Sel Roti

After spending few minutes photographing the lady and the food, I made my move to communicate with him. Mr. Dhurba, 36, is a lorry driver coming all the way from Kathmandu like us, heading further beyond Pokhara. I took a look at the lorry and quite surprise to find the interior look like you were sitting in our living room. It was well decorated. Accompanying with him is his assistance, Mr Raj, 51, who came to and join our conversation. After gained enough trust between us, I ask permission if I could take their portrait. Without hesitant they agreed to my request.

Mr. Dhurba, 36

Mr Raj, 51

I was using Fujifilm X100S belong to a friend of mine during this trip. The classic appearance of the body makes other feel this was old camera and nothing serious about it, people feel more comfortable compared to the big black DSLR with its bulky lenses. Nowadays, people thinks that you make big money when you took photo with DSLR. I have been using Fujifim system more than 1 year and never thinking of turning back to other DSLR, this is there camera system that suits me well especially for travel.

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Travel With Fujifilm X100S : Manakamana Hill Side Academy, Gorkha, Nepal

The gondola lift transportation has always steal the eyes of its viewer who pass-by Cheres, Chitwan after about 104km journey from Kathmandu – Pokhara route. The Austria imported cable car system connecting between the Base Station (Cheres, Chitwant) to the Top Station (Manakamana, Gorkha). Here is the fees for the cable car.

Screen Shot from Wiki

Screen Shot from Wiki

At the top station, about 1302 above sea level lies the Mañanakamana Temple, a Hindu temple which pilgrimage bring goat to be sacrificed in a pavilion behind the temple. The name Manakamana originates from two words, “mana” meaning heart and “kamana” meaning wish.

As we walk around the village near the temple, we came across an elementary school slightly below the hill. There we found the Manakamana Hill Side Academy

Manakamana Hill Side Academy

Manakamana Hill Side Academy

Manakamana Hill Side Academy | Mr. Ghupta, 24, Teacher

Manakamana Hill Side Academy

All image are taken with Fujifilm X100S (Silver).

The Musalman (Muslim) of Pokhara, Nepal

In Pokhara, we asked the guide to locate any mosque nearby the Lake Side instead of conducting City Tour in Pokhara. After about 30 minutes going around and asking local folks, we finally met Jame Masjid Aqsa at Pokhara-13, Miyapatan. The local muslim claimed that they have been here for 500 years. Almost 20 years ago, this place was very famous by the name Kundahar, but Kundahar is bigger than Miyapatan. According to the history, “Miya” is respective title of local mountainous Muslim given by other communities and “Patan” means the ground. We can easily guest the historical fact that Miyapatan means the land used by Muslim.

We can’t explore the mosque as there was on going renovation being held, several section of the mosque are closed due to that.

Jame Masjid – E – AQSA, Pokhara-13, Miyapatan

It was at this mosque I met a Muazin & Mr Mohamed Shafie, 81.

Mohamed Shafie, 81, a descendant of a Sheikh.

The Muazin however politely denied to be taken photograph when I asked. There’s no activity at the mosque at that moment but he mentioned that there is a Madrasa nearby which he volunteered to guide us to the Madrasa.

Local Canteen outside the Jame Mosque

Abdul Rahim, 62, President of Anjuman Islahul Muslemin (Islamic Organization in Miyapatan)

 

 

Madarrsa Islamia, Pokhara-13, Miyapatan

Madarssa Islamia, Pokhara-13, Miyapatan

The Classroom

After few shots of the school and its environment, I suddenly became weak and I can’t continue shooting or do anything even just looking at the kids. Then, there was tears in my eyes, I put myself as a father of the kids where we don’t have other option to offer for the best education for our kids due to poor economic status. There were many out there where parent couldn’t afford their children to school. But you don’t have an option. As a father, I couldn’t accept this kind of failure.

The school conduct only 2 hours a day for religious teaching and the remaining time if for national education. There is about 200 student and only 3 teachers.

Nepal Photography Trip 25-31 Dec 2014

Alhamdulillah, another trip to Nepal has been done just a month ago. Total of 6 pax including me, even though not as many as on my February trip, but there is no less the fun. This trip which I can consider too late to push in the beginning however has attracted 5 interested participant including one repeating participant from the February trip. For me, I never thought of visiting Nepal twice in a year. We spent 2 night in Bhaktapur, 2 Night Pokhara and 1 Night in Kathmandu.

The itinerary has been improved compared to February trip which we stayed 2 night in Bhaktapur instead of Kathmandu. I’m expecting more photo opportunity in Bhaktapur. Guide greeted us upon our arrival, we then to go Thamel for lunch before proceeding to Bhaktapur. It was already dark when we finally reach Bhaktapur but still we can see some people chanting outside the temple. On day 2 supposed to be our free activity the whole day at Bhaktapur, but after made a discussion with the group, we decided to go find a mosque in Kathmandu as well as the Monkey Temple. We made our way to Pokhara on Day 3 and stayed near the top of Sarangkot. On day 4 once again we ask our guide if we can find any mosque in Pokhara, boating at Phewa Lake in afternoon. Back to Kahtmandu on Day 5 where everybody exhausted of the long journey. The last day we went to Pashupatinath and did some last minute shopping before leaving to airport.

There will be several post to come next. By then, thanks to all participant of your trust, hope to see you again on other trip in future.

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Photo Credit: Mas

 

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From Left: Affaindi, Rosli, Hatta, Mas, Me, Nur Hafidzah | Photo Credit: Affandi

 

 

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Photo Credit: Affandi

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Photo With Mr Dhurba & Mr Raj. | Photo Credit: Nur Hafidzah

 

 

Faces Of Nepal

It’s been almost 3 weeks after returning from our travel photography trip at Kathmandu. Back at home, I’d spent most of my time with my beloved family rather than looking or examining all photos taken during the trip. Just taking my time for a quick editing & upload to my flickr account so they will be ready when I’m about to write something in my blog. I’m using lightroom through my entire workflow until the selected photos uploaded in my flickr account with its provided publish service. Maybe I will share some tips about publishing photos to flickr via lightroom in another post.

In November 2012, when I first travel to Nepal, I have already taken what I call “established” photo. With those “established” photo already in hand, I’m now put more effort to get portraits. A portrait with permission, not just a candid. This is where our communication skill get tested, it really pumped up my adrenaline most of the time simply because of just asking a stranger whether it’s okay to take photo of them. For most of you, maybe this is just an easy task but you got to believe me that it really hard on me. Maybe it really hurts me when I get rejected, feeling of upset and stressful moment when you really found someone with the characteristic features you wanted but refused to be photographed. I’m using Fujifilm X-Pro1 with 35mm lens, it means I will shoot just about 3-4 feet away from them just to get their portrait, I know they will feel awkward but this is where “trust” plays its role. When we get trusted, there is a good possibility that they will accept your request.

Below are portrait series of Nepal (Kathmandu – Nagarkot – Bhaktapur – Pokhara)

© 2014 Mohd Shukur Jahar | Faces Of Nepal | Sarangkot – Pokhara | Fujifilm X-Pro1

Portrait of lady above was taken when we about to leave from Sarangkot after spending 3-4 hours for the sunrise viewing. We were the last group leaving Sarangkot that morning. While waiting for our friends at our meeting point, I see this lady inside her shop. So i made some contact with her, investing few rupee for a bottle of Coke. I can’t deny the lighting that moment, and I said to myself, the worst thing I could get is just a rejection. Suddenly I speak before my mind even made decision yet, can I photograph you? She nodded.

© 2014 Mohd Shukur Jahar | Faces Of Nepal | Bhaktapur | Fujifilm X100

The Smoking man is Mr. Bhubanashur, 60 years old and a Newari Hindu. We met at Bhaktapur while I’m waiting for my phone sim to get activated, I don’t expect the activation of new number will cost such amount of time. This guy, his is selling CDs of Nepal Traditional Music. He looks approachable to me, so I made my move to start a conversation. We talked about 5 minutes and he started to light up his cigarette and you know whats next.

© 2014 Mohd Shukur Jahar | Faces Of Nepal | Bhaktapur | Fujifilm X-Pro1

A guy with nice blue fleece. The are about 3 mens were talking when we passed by, then one of the member asking where we come from, knowing that we all come from Malaysia, he spoke Malay with us and sharing some of his work experiences in Malaysia not long ago. My eyes actually fixed to his friend with blue fleece. I told him how good looking he was with that fleece and made a request for taking his portrait.

© 2014 Mohd Shukur Jahar | Faces Of Nepal | Tibetan Refugee Camp – Pokhara | Fujifilm X-Pro1

61 years old Tibetan Lady at Tashi Palkhiel. She is one of the villager selling tibetan handicraft near the Tibetan Refugee Camp. I bought few pieces of “friendship bracelet” and ask for a quick portrait shoot before leaving. 

© 2014 Mohd Shukur Jahar | Faces Of Nepal | Nagarkot | Fujifilm X-Pro1

This beautiful girl above is Ms. Barsha, a 17 years old Tamang living at Nagarkot. She study in a boarding school somewhere in Kathmandu. That day, is a special day for Tamang which Lhosar Festival was celebrated. Actually, this shooting location is not in our list of destination that day, but as we passed by the village, I asked our driver to stop after seeing so many village gathering like having some kind of celebration. I have never regret of stopping by this village.

© 2014 Mohd Shukur Jahar | Faces Of Nepal | Swayambhunath – Kathmandu

© 2014 Mohd Shukur Jahar | Faces Of Nepal | Swayambhunath – Kathmandu | Fujifim X-Pro1

I took these two ladies photo at Swayambhunath Stupa or also known as The Monkey Temple. There were about 5-6 ladies in the same spot, when I was following my friend Wazari Wazir. I’m grateful he made his move communicating with them, a short warming up session and I took this opportunity to photograph some of them.

As he wrote in his blog:

“I simply could not resist photographing them, the light was so wonderful. I’m sure, I  will be haunted by this moment if I didn’t get the shot, well, at least I should try to ask them. Photographing strangers, isn’t easy, nobody ever said it was” – Wazari Wazir (read more here)

He did mention too about his experience being rejected after asking permission to take someone’s portrait, getting “NO” is not the real big thing but thats what keeping us to explore more and take it as challenge to make a portrait of a stranger. Follow your heart, your instinct are telling you something. You need to trust yourself first to be trusted.

“A photograph is both a pseudo-presence and a token of absence. Like a wood fire in a room, photographs – especially those of people, of distant landscapes and faraway cities, of the vanished past – are incitements to reverie.” – Susan Sontag

Never Judges Lives Of Others

“We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.” 
― Paulo Coelho

Resham Firiri

My heart is fluttering like silk in the wind

I cannot decide whether to fly or sit on the hilltop

-Resham Firiri

Travel Photography | Destination : NEPAL

Alhamdulillah. It was all started from scratch until me and Wazari finally managed to organise  our first travel photography trip. It never comes into my mind to organise this trip but with full support and inspiration from Wazari, it finally come true. I remembered he once said “Make It Happens”, so I take that as a challenge, a healthy challenge. Thanks to Wazari Wazir for his support, I wouldn’t have done this without him. He has been inspired me from every aspect.

We have chosen Nepal because we had visited Nepal in 2012. It was my first time, I still remember how excited I am by just enjoying the view for Kathmandu from airport to Thamel Road. I said to my selves, this couldn’t be real, am I dreaming?

Our trip to Nepal is actually only 6D5N trip but because the flight fare hikes in the process, I decided to extend another 1 more day as the flight fare difference is about as equal to afford a night stay at Kathmandu.

To all 11 participant, I can’t express how thankful I am to have amazing friend like you. Thanks a lot for your trust & support.

If you interested to join our next photography trip to Nepal, please let me know. You can email me at shukurjahar@gmail.com or call/sms 0198838780 for more info. I am planning to organise another trip this coming November.

From left: Memperang Gestapo, Ramdhan Supertramp, Atai Donald, Esmar, Rade, Ace Shong, May Chong, Leanna Chong, Wazari Wazir, Azman Jumat, Herman Ulkaya, Chaplain Nex & me.

Tashi Palkhiel – Tibetan Refugee Camp at Pokhara (Portrait Series)

Tashi Palkhiel, is a Tibetan refugee settlement which established year 1965. Located about 25 minutes driver from Riverside Pokhara, Nepal.  Jangchub Choeling monastery is one of the main landmark near it. The Settlement of about 800 Tibetan at this camp is now running Traditional Tibetan Carpet, which was 1 of the 4 original Tibetan carpet production centre that was established in 1964 in Nepal. Below is the portrait series of women that i met at the Tibetan Carpet weaving industry.



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