Blessed with epic mountain vista, turquoise alpine lakes and profound Buddhist culture, for years Tibet has held its irresistible allure to world-wide photographers. Apart from the fervent Tibetan pilgrims on the street in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, the most common scene is the both amateur and professional photographers, snapping photos with their robust DSLR and chic lens.
|Mt. Everest, the world’s summit, Tibet|
Regardless of their varied specialties, such as portrait, landscape or architecture, street photography etc. all of them share one ultimate subject for photography in Tibet, i.e. Mt. Everest (8844.43m) , the summit of our planet. The following guide to Mt. Everest Photography Everest will help you get fully prepared for your Tibet tour.
Preparation for the Photographic Tour in Tibet
Camera and Lens
To have better image quality and travel light in mountainous region, it’s advisable to carry a full-frame DSLR or any film camera. Your camera shall be equipped with spot metering, aperture priority and manual mode as well.
|A sample of camera gears|
As to which lens are suitable for Tibet tour, particularly Mt. Everest photography, in reality a versatile telephoto zoom lens works better than a wide angle lens for it allows you to capture more details of the lofty mountains afar. However, it does not mean wide angle lens are useless. When it comes to the grander image like the architecture of Tibetan monastery and holy lakes and fluttering prayer flags around steep valley, etc. a wide lens has its edge.
In addition, a polarizing filter is also preferred for landscape photography. It can darken the sky, reduce unnecessary reflection and sun glare while increasing the contrast of your image.
Here are a number of recommended cameras and lens, you may choose one based on your need and budget.
|A landscape photographer is adjusting his gears|
Recommended full-frame DSLR:
Nikon D610; Nikon D750; Nikon D800; Nikon D810; Canon 6D; Canon 5D MarkⅢ
24-70mm, 16-35mm, 14-24mm, 70-200mm, 70-300mm; usually bringing a telephoto zoom lens with a wide lens will meet the demand in most cases.
Insider Tips: Do prepare more back-up batteries for your camera because the low temperature on the plateau drains battery faster than in normal temperature. Multiple SD and CF cards are also needed to seal the wonderful memory and stunning scenery of Tibet in your camera.
Clothes needed for Mt. Everest Tour
Mt. Everest region is marked by dramatic temperature change, biting wind and powerful solar radiation. A general packing list shall contain thermal tops, wind-stopper pullover, breathable underwear (5), light and heavyweight mittens, down jacket, wool pants, trekking boots, long and thick wool socks, etc.
|General packing list|
Sunscreen, sun glasses, sun cream, sun hat, lip balms, sleeping bag, flash light, camera bag and toiletries and first-aid kit and necessary medicine for altitude sickness, cold, etc.
How to Travel to Everest
To be able to travel to Everest, firstly international tourists need to book the Tibet tour with a travel agency and fly to China to get your Tibet Permit before officially heading to Tibet. Then you can either board the Tibet train or take domestic flight to Lhasa (3658m), the capital of Tibet. After your arrival in Lhasa, for the first couple of days, you need to stay in Lhasa for the acclimatization to the high altitude there. Meanwhile, never miss the chance to visit the most iconic building of Tibet, namely Potala Palace and holy Jokhang Temple and Barkhor bazaar, etc.
|Classic Lhasa to Everest Base Camp Map|
Then you can follow the classic and also the most popular travel route from Lhasa to Everest Base Camp via historic Gyantse County and Shigatse city. After you enter Mt. Everest National Nature Reserve, Tingri, what await you would be the mind-blowing mountain scenery along Himalayan Range, esp. the magnificent Mt. Everest (8844.43m) at Everest Base Camp (5200m).
Best Season to Photograph Everest
April, May, Sept. and Oct are the best seasons to photograph Mt. Everest at EBC. During these periods, there is no need to worry about the heavy clouds and fog that interfere with photography. While from mid-June to August, Everest Region will have its rainy seasons due to the influence of monsoon. From Nov to Feb, the heavy snow might block the highway in Everest region, making it unsafe for travel.
Best Place to Photograph Mt. Everest
The top 3 places to photograph Mt. Everest are Gawu La Pass (5198m), Rongbuk Monastery (5154m) and Everest Base Camp (5200m).
Insider Tips: Do carry your sleeping bags and prepare enough clothes and some altitude sickness medicine and food before heading to Everest region. The sanitation in remote areas like EBC is bad with very basic accommodation and food.
a. Gawu La Pass (5198m)
Gawu La pass is the first you will stop by after you enter Mt. Everest National Nature Reserve. It’s also the only viewing platform where you will be able to enjoy the panoramic view of top 5 highest mountains standing side by side along Himalayan Range.
Appreciate the top 5 highest mountain range along majestic Himalayas at Gawu Las Pass
From left to right are Makalu (8463m), Lhotse (8516m), and Mt. Everest (8844.43m), Cho Oyo (8201m), Shishapangma (8027m). A good suggestion is to use a wide angle lens and place the fluttering prayer flags as the foreground as you take photos of imposing mountain range afar.
b. Rongbuk Monastery (5154m)
Known as the world’s highest monastery, Rongbuk Monastery is last religious site before reaching Everest Base Camp (5200m). It’s only 8km away from Rongbuk Monastery to Everest Base Camp. It’s the most ideal place to photograph the summit of Mt. Everest from the middle distance. It’s advisable to climb up to the hill beside Rongbuk Monastery to get better angle. And then use the monastery as the foreground to photograph Mt. Everest. You will get an engaging picture with nice depth of field.
Insider tips: The best time to photograph Mt. Everest from Rongbuk Monastery would be at sunset and sunrise. You will enjoy the spectacular “Golden Summit” of Mt. Everest. In the day time, if you are lucky enough, the well-renown “Flag Clouds” hanging over the peak of Mt. Everest. Besides, as long as you dare to brave the cold and venture out of the guesthouse in Rongbuk Monastery, you can enjoy the incredible moon light casting in the valley.
However, the accommodation in Rongbuk Monastery is very basic. The room is cold at night but you have electric blanket to keep warm while the toilet is dreadful to many western tourists. Nevertheless, it is such a fantastic location and is worth the discomfort of staying there for stunning photos.
c. Everest Base Camp (5200m)
To the majority of international tourists, Everest Base Camp is the closest place to observe Mt. Everest. As you stand at EBC, the entire summit and massive body of holy Mt. Everest will be exposed completely to your sight. You may use your telephoto lens (such as 70-200mm or 300mm) to have close-up shot of the summit of Mt. Everest. Meanwhile, colorful prayer flags, multiple tents and Everest monuments could also be used as the foreground.
Everest Base Camp is one of the most popular destinations for global photographers.
|Take a glimpse of imposing Mt. Everest from holy Rongbuk Monastery|
Insider Tips: Everyday, there are numerous global photographers who scramble to the EBC to capture the grandeur of Mt. Everest. It’s could be a bit crowded as everyone is trying to get the best position to shoot. The perfect timing to photograph Mt. Everest at EBC would also be the daybreak and sunset. Do wear a mitten and enough clothes, for the wind at EBC is bitterly cold. For astrophotographers, it’s highly recommended for you to stay overnight at EBC in yak tents run by local Tibetans. The jaw-dropping starry night at EBC would push your photography to a whole new level.
Imaginably, your photographic tour to Mt. Everest will absolutely be your lifetime experience with loads of incredible photos.