Travels Towards the Edge 12 October 2021   

Intrepid travellers, Sue O’Connell (ARPS, EFIAP/p, DPAGB, BPE 5*) and Peter Brisley (ARPS, DPAGB, BPE1*) enjoy visiting unusual, far flung destinations. Using Zoom for the presentation, Sue said that such visits can be challenging but also very rewarding as you can get to see life in places that very few get to view. Usually travelling with just a driver and guide they often stay in very basic accommodation with the local people.
SC mongoliaSue began the evening by showing her photos taken on visits to the hot, barren country of Mongolia situated between Russia and China. The high rise flats and public buildings of Ulaanbaatar the capital city were found to be very different the rest of the country. The elaborate Buddhist monasteries were well worth a visit with their red clad monks going about their daily routine. Many Mongolian residents wear colourful traditional clothes and the many festivals provide many photographic opportunities.
On leaving the city travelling becomes difficult with many rough tracks through the mountains to negotiate. The people are mostly nomadic and tend their herds of yak and goats, erecting their portable, circular dwellings which they call ‘gers’ to house their families. Sue recalled the basic facilities that they stayed in and in one place the men had to sleep surrounded by the newly slaughtered goat meat! One advantage of living with the locals is that you can get to know them really well and observe their very different way of life. Winter is extremely cold and summer baking hot but the wonderful open landscapes make the visit memorable.
For centuries horses have been used as transport although now motor bikes are popular.
The highlight of any visit to the far west of the country is the Eagle Festival held every October. Visitors come from far and wide to show off their horsemanship and fly their magnificent golden eagles. Eagles are taken from the nest and then skilfully trained to hunt or fly to a lure then after seven years they are returned to the wild to breed naturally.
The award winning image by Sue shows her host as he gallops holding the eagle aloft.
After a short break Peter showed images taken on a visit to the Pantanal region of Brazil. This time they stayed on a floating hotel and travelled around the flooded river systems in small boats. Although new to wildlife photography both Sue and Peter enjoyed the wide variety of birds, reptiles and mammals encountered. The usually elusive Jaguar was seen on most of their trips and appeared to be quite relaxed, making them excellent subjects.
Lastly Peter presented images taken in the remote area of Rajasthan, India where again they stayed with local tribal families. Wonderful portraits of the old men with their colourful costumes, women wearing wonderful embroidered clothes and elaborate jewellery. Many interesting street scenes with crowds of people with their sacred cattle.
Thanks to Sue and Peter for sharing some of their experiences in unusual travel locations and for showing their amazing images. PM
Image © Sue O'Connell   Website     Peter Brisley - Website