Tag: matt brandon

Matt Brandon Talks Tibet

Our good friend, The Digital Trekker, Talks Tibet and the 2013 workshop...

I’m happy to have my good friend and cohort, Matt Brandon, on the blog today talking about our last Tibet workshop together.  We at Plateau Photo Tours are excited to have Matt back again this year from what will be an amazing trip.  We spent a little time discussing our experience in Tibet and decided to write a bit of it down.  It’s a special trip, and if you are interested in this years tour/workshop we have just a couple spots left.

Check out more of Matt’s images from Tibet.



This is the second time you’ve been to Tibet teaching. Are you excited to go back?

Of course, I’m very excited about returning to TIbet. Tibet is one of those magical places that feels like you’re stepping into – and photographing – a fairytale. From the towering Himalayan peaks dotted with Tibetan monasteries to deep river gorges it’s a place like no other on the planet and one I can’t wait to get back to.  I’m excited to visit Garze prefecture and all it has to offer.


What was your experience the first time like?

I’ve traveled many places around the world so there are very few things that I haven’t seen. But I experienced so many “firsts” on this trip. It was my first time to sleep at 17,000+ feet. It was my first time to see Mount Everest close-up. Having such an experienced guide as Jamin and your years of photographing Tibet was a real bonus for me. Of course I can handle a camera pretty good ; ) but there is no substitute for local cultural experience. And on this trip it was plentiful.


What are you looking forward to the most

There’s nothing like photographing mountain cultures. I love photographing in the Indian Himalaya but there’s something uniquely different about the Tibetan plateau. I am thrilled to the point of almost being like a giddy schoolgirl as I think about my return to such an amazing locations as Tibet and China.  I’m excited to get to meet up with more pilgrims and nomads.  That culture is just fantastic.  And the people of course! It’s such a great experience all around, though.


Show us one of your favorite images and tell us a quick story about it.

We were visiting the Jokhang in Lhasa and found a little monastery that is right in the middle of this pilgram route — it was packed full of pilgrims at the time. It was so crowded that I could hardly raise my camera to photograph. So I chose to find a quiet corner sit down and just watch as the Pilgrims filed through or sit and pray. This one particular old lady had a weathered look that so many of the Tibetans had. But she also had an almost angry look about her. I watched her for sometime sit and spin her prayer wheel. She would turn, look at me and smile and then go back to that fixed frown on her face. I wanted to catch her intensity and the movement of her prayer wheel. So I cranked up my ISO to 2500. Used my 16 – 35mm at 16mm and got right near her and shot at 1/5th of a sec hand held. Crazy, but it worked.



What stuck out to you the most looking back on your experiences in Tibet?

Lot’s of things stick out, but for me it was the remoteness of the place. I felt there was a “otherworldly” dimension to Tibet and its culture.  I have no doubt that this adds to the mystery and mystique of the region.  It’s wholly unique. And of course, this is exactly what a photographer like me is looking for.  My experience was fantastic.


2012 Workshop Destination & Interview

Images of Bhaktapur, Nepal & a quick Q&A of our 2012 Tibet/Nepal Tour

A few days ago Matt Brandon, Jamin York and myself got together on Skype to discuss our 2012 Lhasa, Everest, Nepal Overland Workshop.  We covered almost every aspect of the workshop.  I mentioned quickly that one of the best parts of the trip for me was our day in Bhaktapur, Nepal.  Bhaktapur is a small community outside of Kathmandu city still located in the Kathmandu Valley.  The amazing think about Bhaktapur is that the local community has made an amazing effort to preserve their culture and way off life.  It truly is a city trapped in time.  Ancient city walls, buildings, shops, and architecture all filled with people doing life much the same way that have for thousands of years.

In this year’s tour we will be spending a few days in Bhaktapur. I couldn’t be more excited about our time there.

If you are interested to know more about the entire tour, I strongly suggest you take a listen to our short interview below.  We cover quite a bit of ground in this interview.

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Postcard from the middle of nowhere

Day two on the road from Lhasa to Kathmandu

We are 6 days into Matt and I’s photo workshop – halfway to Mount Everest.  Arguable the middle of nowhere (yet I’ve found internet).  Tomorrow we get our first glimpse of Everest and the day after that we get to visit the mountain itself before we drop off the plateau onto the subcontinent.

I have to say we have a great a talented group of participants and the trip couldn’t be going any better outside of a less “gamey” tasking yak burger.  I’m hoping to get my first blog post up from the world’s high mountain in the next two days, so stay posted!

Chengdu… or Don’t

A quick afternoon shoot in China's Sichuan Province

Corny jokes aside, it’s good to get our 2011 Tibet, Everest, Nepal Overland tour started.

It’s been a busy last few days for me getting tons of stuff ready for the trip that kicks off this evening. The good kind of busy. I’ve been able to enjoy a true spring in Chengdu over the last few days versus the lingering winter weather that persists at my home on the plateau. However, I was able to squeeze just a few hours of shooting in with Matt and my new friend Kesh in the other day.

We visited the Wen Shu temple in central Chengdu for a few hours just to wet our appetite.

The WenShu temple is dedicated to the Buddhist representation of Wisdom, Wenshu Pusa (Manjusri Bodhisatva), and contains more than 450 Buddha statues and other precious relics. In addition to the halls and gardens, the temple also has a charming tea house that offers an insightful window of Chengdu life as it is frequented by locals who engage in games of chess, reading, knitting and just chatting with family and friends.

Conversations on Culture: Part 3 of 3

Brian Hirschy, Matt Brandon, & Craig Ferguson explore photographers relationship with culture

Today we wrap up our three part interview series on engaging cultures as photographers.  Craig, Matt, and myself cover topics such as having patiences as aphotographer, engaging a culture short term, accurate story telling, and the dangers of assumption making.

This is the last section of our interview series on engaging culture with Matt Brandon, Craig Ferguson and myself.  You can find the other two segments here and here.

Take a listen and tell us what you think.

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*If you have trouble playing the audio click here.

You can check out Both Matt and Craig’s websites by visiting the following links.

Matt Brandon – The Digital Trekker
Craig Ferguson – Craig Ferguson Images