Along the road after Kumzum La pass. After the desert-like landscape at Kunzum La, some greenery and flowers eventually appear.

Those of you who know me personally know that I recently turned 30. Those who know me even more personally know that shortly after I turn 30, my mum turns 50. Today is that day, it’s my mum’s birthday and as I am currently somewhere far away from the internet or civilization, I have automated this post to wish the person to whom I owe everything a very happy 50th birthday!

I am very lucky to have a close relationship with my mother or to have a mother at all at this age, some of my good friends don’t, some of you probably don’t. This lifestyle of mine has been rather tough on my mother’s (and father’s) nerves. As I am the only child in my family, my parents both worry quite a lot when I travel.

Even now, as I have turned 30, I send my mother a text message every day, wherever I am in the world (connection permitting). Might sound funny, cheesy or whatever, but heck, it’s the least I can do for the people who have not only given me my life, but have supported me in every way in this crazy journey that is photography, which had no guarantee of ever becoming fruitful in any way.

When people ask me about becoming a travel photographer, how to succeed, what path to take, I suppose I should actually start with talk about my mother. She is the core of my “support system” (then my father and wife) and without this “support system” it’s very easy to lose your mind, to go insane with frustration, to give into the obstacles, the failures of which there is a fair bit when you take this path.

Anyhow, I don’t want to get to sentimental here. This is after all a photography blog, so let’s bring it back to that. Still, since it’s my mother’s birthday, I will dedicate the images to her. She’s fairly sensitive and feels pretty distraught after seeing stuff like the road-workers images and she’s been asking me to show some of the beauty that I’ve talked about over our phone conversations. And so, here are some images of the beautiful, dramatic Indian Himalayas.

This one was taken closer to the dreadful Rohtang pass. As you get closer to Manali, coming from Spiti valley, the surroundings become greener and greener.

Around the top of Kunzum La pass. As you can see there’s still snow, in fact the whole road was still blocked with snow until mid-June.

Descent from Kunzum La reveals more harsh looking, yet dramatically beautiful surroundings.

The landscapes and nature around the Himalayas is pretty diverse. Despite kilometers of desert all around there are oases with water and greenery, that’s where this shepherd and his animals were heading.

Like I said, there are oases and this was one of them. This lake was just along the road before a very clod place called Sarchu.

Just thought I’d include this one, as I didn’t earlier. This was shot around Dhankar, late in the evening, during that time when I rode without the motorcycles headlight, because the moonlight was so strong.

Around the top of Baracha La. At over 5000 meters I think there’s snow all year round. Again, pretty dramatic looking landscape. I wish I could have photographer more here, but we wanted to get to our destination before sun-down and we had quite a few adventures that slowed us down during that day.

At Sarchu (about 4200 meters) we spent the night in a tin shack of a building. The temperature reached about 0 C, but we woke up to this view right behind the tin shack.

On the way to another high mountain pass called Lachung La. The landscape turns into jagged rock formations and more snow capped peaks.

As you descend to a place called Pang, the surroundings start to look similar to the Grand Canyon, or at least similar to what I’ve seen of it in pictures.

More crazy topography around Pang.

You really feel the grandeur of nature when you’re in the Himalayas. The tiny truck amidst the towering mountains serves as a good reminder.

Taken at the highest pass I’ve had the pleasure to ride so far. Taglang La is about 5300 meters above sea level. You can really feel the difference in the air at this altitude. Even the slightest physical activity can make one feel exhausted, out of breath of even dizzy. I walked as if I was drunk after photographing some road-workers, who at this altitude must have been suicidal.

That’s all for today. I have no idea when I’ll have a connection again, but I do expect to see some more amazing places in the coming days.

Once again to my mum “С днем рождения, мамуля!”

9 thoughts on “Birthday greetings from the top of the world!

  1. Jan

    Mitchell, absolutely awesome post. For a 30 year old to be so open about the feelings towards his mother/parents on a public blog means you are either insane or well grounded in knowing who you are and you have grown to appreciate what your parents have done for you. I am also the only child and the support I & my wife got during our world trip of 4 months and now that we moved 1200km from home to live, is amazing. Great to read your words because they really hit close to home. And from the note to your Mum I only assume she is Russian;)

  2. Alexandra

    Spasibo tebe moi rodnoi chelovek.

  3. Senthil

    Very nice blog and amazing photos of Himalayas.

  4. 1st of all, happy birthday. You have posted great pictures of the rooftop of the world. I have been to Deosai Plains at Northern Pakistan and the images above resembles the same image at Deosai Plains.

    May I know the gadget that you use i.e. lens etc TQ

  5. Happy birthday to your mum! I haven’t met her, but I know your father and her raised a pretty decent person, they can be proud of what they’ve done and sacrificed to make it happen!

  6. Looks amazing. I love the night photo with the stars. oh, and happy birthday!

  7. cool! our moms have the same birthday :) belated happy birthday! wish i could travel the world with my mom :)

  8. Wow,,, Stunning… All pictures is AMAZING!!!

  9. Muddasar

    Happy Birthday to you and Mom. Very Nice pictures. reminds me of travel thru Kaghan and Hunza when I was 19 with an AE-1 and OM to play with. Pics never came out as good as yours.

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