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DESTINATION FOCUS: WHERE IS WESTERN MONGOLIA, AND WHAT'S IT LIKE? A Comprehensive Resource Article by Michael Fil
Covering all the things you really need to know when planning a trip including: how to get there, what kind of transport is available once you’re there, the time zones, what’s up with the climate, the weather, the seasons, the best times of year to go, money, tipping, electricity, phone and internet. You also get an overview of the people, the languages, the religions, the population, the cuisine, proper etiquette, the geopolitical divisions, and some interesting facts about the industries, jobs and of course some of the many things to do and important places to see. In addition to several videos showing off different aspects of the culture of eagle hunting and traditional Mongolian music, we’ve shared a fast paced, beautiful to look at and exciting short film by Brandon Li, courtesy of National Geographic via YouTube and have summed up the types of wildlife that a photographer will have the opportunity to shoot.
ASHER SVIDENSKY IN MONGOLIA: FATHERS, SONS AND THE LEGACY OF EAGLE HUNTING by Jonathan Clark
Asher Svidensky and his Successors Project began in the wilds of Western Mongolia’s Altai Mountains when he photographed young boys coming-of-age as they learned the thousand year old tradition of hunting with eagles. Upon returning home to Israel, the touchingly beautiful photos he had shot of a young girl and her dad training with an eagle soon became a viral sensation. Within a year, they led to an internationally acclaimed, award winning, full length feature film directed by Otto Bell, narrated by Daisy Ridley and distributed by Sony Pictures Classics. The Eagle Huntress, starring Aisholpan and her father along with many of the nomadic eagle hunters of the Altai Mountain region is a stunning film, and one that Asher is proud to have been a part of. Generously illustrated with Asher’s world famous, heart warming photos, Fathers, Sons and the Legacy of Eagle Hunting is the story of Asher's own coming of age as a photographer, and his musings about travel, photography and how the act of taking photos not only influences our views of the world but also shapes our interactions in it as we travel.
FEATURED PRO: KEVIN PEPPER by Nina Bataller
Internationally acclaimed, with a long list of accolades and much social proof that attests to his breathtaking wildlife, landscape and cultural photographic work, Kevin Pepper has led small group photo trips to Mongolia for many years. A world class, full-time professional photographer and tour leader with a spectacular and varied portfolio, Kev shares with us his strategies for planning out your shots before you leave home, discusses his photographic inspirations and answers the questions you will want to know about when you begin planning your trip to Mongolia. His Mongolian photo tours begin in Ulaanbaatar and depending on the trip, he will accompany you to photograph the breathtaking hills of the Gobi Desert along with the camel herders who live there, the reindeer herders of the far north near the Russian border or the eagle hunters of the Altai Mountains in the far west, near the intersection of the Chinese and Russian borders, barely forty miles from Kazakhstan. You can easily see from his stunningly beautiful photos in this article that through his many local Mongolian connections, Kev provides the very best models for photo shoots. He arranges photo practice sessions with eagle hunters and their birds and even puts on full scale, but private (just for his students) Eagle Festival competitions that create the perfect conditions and environment for you to shoot the best possible photographs of eagle hunters practicing an ancient skill that is still in use today. Awarded by the Mongolian government for Kevin’s efforts in promoting tourism, if there’s anyone who knows how to navigate a photo trip to the wilds of Mongolia, Kev’s the guy. He’s usually booked at least two years in advance, so read about him here and get on his waiting list now!
SHOOTING FOR GOOD: PEOPLE IN NEED
Recommended to us by Asher Svidensky, People in Need is an international aid organization based in the Czech Republic that has been working in Mongolia to help the herders and other poor, displaced people survive the brutally cold winters of Mongolia’s capital city of Ulaanbaatar and elsewhere in the country. They launched their support efforts in 2009 after an extremely harsh winter killed hundreds of thousands of livestock, leaving many people with little to survive on. Ulaanbaatar is the coldest capital city in the world, with average temperatures of -12 degrees F, often dropping to -40 degrees F in winter. Their help providing feed and multi-vitamins for undernourished animals, insulation for their meager homes and even cash to help with the basic necessities is a truly life saving service. You will learn about the difficulties most Mongolians face when you read this.
EAGLE HUNTER PORTRAIT: HOW THIS PHOTO WAS TAKEN by Kevin Pepper
A no nonsense look at the technical aspects of an eagle hunter photo shoot. Kevin shares his planning strategy, his camera equipment, settings and lighting info, along with plenty of detailed before and after images complete with explanations of what exactly he did to achieve his marvelous final results. This article alone is worth the price of admission...
AMATEUR’S JOURNAL: TERRY MICHELE FULLER in her own words
Terry’s beautiful images of eagle hunters and the landscape of the Altai Mountains in Western Mongolia give a glimpse into the essence of the Kazakh traditions, the people and the vastness of the Mongolian steppe. An amateur photographer originally from the US, but now a long time Canadian citizen, Terry has traveled all over the world with a camera in hand and has a great sense of composition and style that proves that you don’t have to be a pro by any means to come home with spectacular images from a visit to one of the most beautiful places on earth.
THE FINE ART OF PRESENTATION - Part 2: SHOOTING WITH PRESENTATION IN MIND by Nina Bataller
As a regular feature of Photo Authority Magazine, this installment of the Fine Art of Presentation discusses the different approaches to shooting that you can take to help you create that final image you have in mind. Nina Bataller has spent over forty years curating, editing and presenting images for herself and her many hundreds of clients as the owner of East Hampton Picture Framing in the heart of New York’s famous Hamptons. Presentation is her super power. Here she introduces you to some of todays photography greats along with their ideas about composition, planning and mastery of the craft. The article begins with a brief review of simple tactics to use while planning and preparing for a photo trip as discussed in the previous issue of Photo Authority Magazine. This installment goes more deeply into the thought process involved in making great images and examines what some of the truly great photographers of our day have to say about it. We’ve included two short but important videos from two contemporary photographic masters, Jay Maisel and Joe McNally, because there’s no point in trying to say it better than they do. Be in the moment and pay attention to composition and the quality of light - that’s just a hint of what you will hear. We’ve watched these videos over and over, and think you will too.
HOW TO CARRY LESS TRYING TO BE PREPARED FOR EVERYTHING, MAKES YOU PREPARED FOR NOTHING by Ken Rockwell
With an average of 1.5 million hits to his website each month during the past 12 months from the time of publication, you could say that Ken Rockwell has enough of a following to indicate that he knows a thing or two about photography. We’ve been regularly following his blog for a full twenty years and appreciate his wisdom and technical expertise more than probably anyone else. His discussion of what to carry with you when you travel is both wise and thoughtfully explained. If you ever wonder what to bring with you on a photo trip, what kind of camera or what kinds of lenses to travel with, Ken will explain it in no uncertain terms and his brilliantly colored photos prove his point without a doubt.
EQUIPMENT REVIEW: Featured Lens Review by Ken Rockwell
In a one page summary of Ken’s full length review, we offer you some insight into Nina’s favorite way-too-heavy, but awesome lens. If you plan to photograph eagles in flight at a distance, this thing is heavy and hard to swing around, but if you can handle carrying it, you will love the images it will give you in return for the hassle. It took her weeks of walking around with it every day and practicing with it at home so that carrying it was tolerable, if not exactly easy, in the bitter cold of Western Mongolia in the Altai Mountains during the Eagle Festival and the following weeks as she visited many of the local eagle hunters during their everyday life activities. The lens is incredibly fast focusing, tack sharp and a remarkably inexpensive alternative to the crazy expensive long fixed telephotos out there, it’s still Nina’s favorite lens at home, and you’ll often see her wandering the local beaches of the Hamptons with it tucked under her arm while she’s looking for birds. Check out the review, click through to read the specs on Ken’s blog and see if you don’t agree.
TOURS AND RESOURCES: Recommended Photo Tours and Travel Resources
GO! WITH A PRO and EXCEPTIONAL EXPERIENCES are two regular feature articles in each issue of Photo Authority Magazine. Combined, they provide you with a broad spectrum of photo and travel resources to help you plan your ideal trip to, from and around the massive country of Mongolia. GO! WITH A PRO is our carefully researched, thoughtfully chosen, vetted and curated list of the best-of-the-best photo tour leaders. They themselves take spectacular photos, have years of experience guiding small groups of photographers in Mongolia, speak English, and clearly know how to provide you with the kind of guidance and knowledge that only serious professional photographers can provide. Their brand of photo-specific pre-arranged tours are the best you’ll find if your goal is to come home with world class images. EXCEPTIONAL EXPERIENCES offers you our recommended list of the internationally recognized world leaders in the bespoke travel industry. All of them are the top award winners in their market. Each company on our list has a long proven record of providing to those travelers of means who can afford and demand the very best, personalized, custom itineraries that can handle every detail of your trip from the moment you leave your front door at home until you return. Private jet? A suite in one of the finest hotels in the world? Luxury train through Russia with all the paperwork done for you? No problem. Just ask any one of them and let them dazzle you with the opportunities they can offer you while you wait until the world opens up for travel again!
FEATURED TRAVEL AGENT: AGII MAKHSUM OF KOBESH TRAVEL AGENCY
We think it’s important to be able to recommend not only world famous companies but people we have vetted and who we believe will take great care of you when you travel with them. For those of you looking for the kind of adventure where you will be willing to trade luxury for authentic, cultural, transformational experiences, Agii Makhsum is the real deal. A local Kazakh Muslim living in the small far western city of Bayan Ulgii, Agii and his closely knit Kazakh community of guides, drivers, chefs, family and friends will put together just about any kind of adventure you want. From providing everything you need for climbing the highest mountain in Mongolia to visiting with eagle hunters in their homes or a local Tuvan shaman, Agii can arrange it for one person or an entire film crew. He’s a local guy who has worked hard for many years to create a small family travel company that we are proud to recommend. Oh, and he just built the nicest hotel in town...
ADDICTIONS: CASHMERE
Addictions to us are those things you don’t really think much about or maybe don’t even know about before you visit a place for the first time, but are the things unique to a place that once you’ve left you can’t stop thinking about for years afterwards. Mongolian cashmere is ours. This short story and the fun video with it will only be able to hint at what Mongolian cashmere is really like. We promise you, make time in your schedule to shop for it, leave room in your suitcase for it. Lots of it. You’ll thank us later. Really.
BEFORE YOU GO: THINGS TO DO AND PACK
A comprehensive checklist that shines a spotlight on the many small things you will want to prepare before you head out, including a great list you can keep in your camera bag (or on your phone) for any trip, with recommended gear you want to make sure you bring with you for any kind of trip into the chilly wilds of Mongolia
FOR THE ARMCHAIR TRAVELER IN YOU:
As much as we love to travel, we also do our best to prepare for any photo trip while we’re still at home. Here is a selection of our favorite Movies to get you excited, Books and PDFs to help you prepare mentally, a wonderfully written and very funny Travel Blog to put a Mongolian trip into perspective along with a handy App to help you get ready for any trip to Mongolia, regardless of what kind of traveler you are.
OUR FEATURED INSTAGRAMMER: ERDENEBULGAN PHOTOGRAPHER
With so many photos posted to Instagram every day, sometimes it’s hard to find the diamonds in the rough amongst all the mediocre photographers out there. As a regular Photo Authority Magazine feature, we share our favorite Instagrammers, the ones who seriously blow us away, who make us sit back and re-evaluate every photo we’ve ever seen. This guy is young, but boy does he get it. He’s like an old soul of photography. Add him to your feed for a source of inspiration, whether you shoot landscapes in Mongolia or New Mexico. He’s worth it.
PHOTO STORY: ESEN’S MIGRATION by Nina Bataller
A close up and heartfelt look at Esen, a celebrated eagle hunter, a handsome young Kazakh pastoral nomad and a dedicated family man. Nina Bataller’s years of photo storytelling experience give you a look into the real lives of the Kazakh eagle hunters after the tourists leave and the competitions are over for the year. As winter closes in, Nina traveled with Esen and his cousin Jardek as they packed up and moved house during their annual autumn migration, traveling 150km from the top of the Tovn Bogd Mountains down into the warmer valley far below near the tiny town of Sagsai, carefully bringing with them hundreds of sheep, goats, horses, yak and the family camel, dogs and eagle. Caught in a blizzard, traveling for miles and miles through rocky terrain with no roads, this beautiful photo story will bring you along for the journey, all the way down through the mountains to the cozy family compound he shares with his beautiful wife, adorable children and loving parents.

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About Photo Authority

Photo Authority Magazine is an in-depth resource for world-class travelers who love adventure.

It's created for people who understand and appreciate how photos not only help us to better remember our travels and important life experiences, but also how photos make it easier to share the stories of our lives with our closest inner circle of family and friends.

Each issue focuses on a specific place to visit that has exceptional opportunities for taking great photographs while providing thoughtful and well researched destination-specific resources. Best hotel in the area? Check. Best wine list? Top meals? Check and check! Our experts have you covered.

Photo Authority Magazine offers expert level insight into all the things you want to know about a place even if you are just thinking of going there someday.

You'll find its contents are timely and timeless. The Photo Authority Magazine app is designed to be kept on your tablet or smartphone for when the time is right, be it now or several years in the future, when you're planning a trip or just looking for ideas.

Content includes insights on the culture being visited, the equipment pertinent to environmental and other conditions as well as curated lists of the top photography teachers who lead small groups. You'll find commentary about optimal photography locations, tips and strategies.

And, you'll also find lists of the world's best travel companies that are well established in the region.

And then there are the photos.

In each issue you'll discover tons of stunning photos to give you inspiration and show you what you can come home with, even if all you have is a smartphone.

You'll get insight on who the top notch Instagrammers are... those whose photos of the area will stop you in your tracks. Plus, you'll also find at least one location-pertinent, detailed article to help you with your photos by our Tech Editor, world-famous reviewer Ken Rockwell.

Photo Authority Magazine is available in the Apple App Store & Google Play Store and is also distributed through a network of photography workshop and tour leaders around the world.

Category: Arts & Photography, Education, Lifestyle, Travel & Destinations, Entertainment
Publisher: Photo Authority
Published: Quarterly
Language: English
Compatibility: iOS / Android / Web Reader

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