Mongolia - From Steppe to Eagle Hunters 20 July 2021   

Award winning professional freelance landscape and travel photographer Julian Elliott took us on an interesting journey to see the landscapes and people of this vast country.
Having first becoming interested in photography in 2005 Julian decided he ‘wanted out’ of being a bored office worker and in 2010 took the plunge into fulltime freelance photography. Self-taught he has built up a portfolio of images from his travels to many countries many of which have appeared in publications. He now leads photographic workshops to many European countries as well as further afield.
JE MongoliaTonight’s Zoom presentation showed images from his 10-day visit to the rarely visited country of Mongolia with its troubled history.
Starting in the capital city, Julian was able to photograph some elaborate Buddhist Temples and the monks going about their daily lives. Once out of the city things looked very different as most of the population have a very basic lifestyle with a shortage of water, electricity and communications.
With extremely cold winters and with many parts still unexplored, Julian said that after visiting the area everyone will change the way they think about life.
Led by a local guide a small group of photographers travelled over rough terrain into some of the remotest areas. Vast uninhabited deserts and high mountain ranges with just a few small towns. The frozen rivers and lakes made some remarkable images.
A highlight of the visit was the Nauryz or ‘new day’ Eagle Festival where traditional displays of horsemanship and falconry are ably demonstrated. Golden eagles are used to hunt foxes and other animals for their meat and the skins are used to keep out the bitter winter cold.
Julian showed many interesting portraits of Mongolian characters with their traditional embroidered costumes and descibed how they train their eagles. He advised always asking before taking portraits and respect the local traditions.
As there is no light pollution in the remote areas Julian was able to photograph the clear night skies. Many of his stitched panoramas showed off well the incredible vast empty spaces and Julian advises waiting until the natural light is at its best.
Julian was thanked for giving us an insight into a very different country with its interesting culture. PM