After few hours driving North from the previous location, we arrived at the beautiful village of Arslanbob, famous for the biggest wild Walnut forest in the world that surrounds the village and also for the majestic snowy peaks of 4,000m high behind it.
The village is quite small, full of life with friendly people, in some way it resembles the town of Aguas Calientes in Peru near Machu Picchu, less the tons of tourists! In the main square, many locals are getting together to buy groceries at the market or have something to eat at the restaurants, creating a chaotic, yet beautiful atmosphere.
We stayed two nights here at the Friendship Guest House’ (they had a standard toilet and a shower) where we met some other travellers, two of them, a young couple that was travelling through the country with only public transports, very impressive!
As soon as we got our stuff ready, we went out scouting, as we only found few photos of the area on the internet, one picture, in particular, got our attention, a forest with the peaks reflecting on a beautiful lake. We did a little research on Google maps and BAM!!! we found two lakes just outside of the village.
The day we arrived the weather was pretty bad, grey sky and rainy, luckily it was quite easy to find the lake we were looking for, we walked just for a few minutes through a beautiful and green walnut forest and found the perfect spot. Unfortunately, due to the weather, we couldn’t see anything, no peaks, no mountains, just the lake and the woods behind, but still happy with the scouting. We headed back to the hotel for an excellent and tasty dinner!
The day after we woke up at 4 am to see if the weather had changed, but it was raining cats and dogs, so we went back to sleep.
The day got better after breakfast, the sun was out, and the temperature raised! We went back to the lakes, but this time we tried a different road which seems fastest at first, but it was in the worst condition, luckily we had a 4x4, so we made it quite far, but at the end, we got stuck. However, our skilled driver and guide were able to free the jeep and decided to go back on the first road.
Finally, we arrived at the spot we found the day before, the only issue was that day the high clouds were covering all the peaks, definitely better than the day before, but not interesting enough to shoot it. So we decided to come back later in the afternoon, to maybe catch the sunset.
We headed to the local attraction, a waterfall, which was very interesting but too busy with locals tourist, which I didn’t expect!
On the other side of the waterfall, the super green fairy-tale Walnut forest, full of colourful flowers was SO BEAUTIFUL!!
We explored a bit around the area, and almost instantly I found the perfect subject to shoot, an old and big walnut tree, I set up the slider on vertical and used the Pan and Tilt to frame the top of the tree and all the green leaves! While the Timelapse was going up a thunderstorm was approaching, I got a bit scared for a moment as I was standing in the middle of a forest, beside a 1.5m Carbon Fibre slider! Luckily the Timelapse finished just in time!
We then went back to the lake to check if the peaks were out, and man! The stormy clouds were still there, but the mountains were visible and surrounded by majestic clouds! I immediately started shooting, but after 1 hour, a thunderstorm hit us, I waterproofed everything and wait under the rain to see if some sun-rays on the left side of the mountains were coming out, but they didn’t, I got soaked!
Got some beautiful footage tho, from before the rain, so we happily went back to the guest house and set the alarm at 4 am to catch the sunrise, hopefully with the clear sky this time!
At 4.45am we got to the lake, no clouds, still water and a bit of fog on the lake surface. IT WAS PERFECT!
Albert and I got in position, and I started the first Timelapse with the A7rIII and the Canon 16-35 f/4L, then I set up the other camera the A7III with the Canon 70-200 f/4L to have a close up of the mountains. We stayed there till 9 am surrounded by the sounds of the morning and the birds waking up. I shot as well a couple of Timelapse of the Sun-rays going through the Walnut forest behind us.
I think this area would also be fantastic to shoot and visit during autumn when all the leaves will change colour from green to orange/yellow. Hopefully, one day, I will come back!
To see more of the BTS of the trip check out the Kyrgyzstan Highlight Stories and follow me on Instagram @mattiabicchi
Check out my Timelapse gear: https://kit.com/MattiaBicchi