KYRGYZSTAN | Karakol Peak, Travel Blog n.4

Before the last week of my trip by myself will start, we drove from our previous location, Toktogul Lake, to the capital of Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek, where I stayed for one night to recharge the battery and relax.

The drive to Bishkek was long, about 6 hours, the highlights of the journey was definitely the 4,000m high pass that looked like Iceland and an astonishing valley where we stopped for lunch, full of yellow flowers, horses and cows. In Kyrgyzstan after winter, you can find Yurt tents beside the road and often the family will sell homemade food and a place to eat. If you visit, make sure to stop by as the food is delicious.

Finally, we arrived in Bishkek, we said goodbye to Albert, which was delightful to work with! From now the rest of the trip will be by myself.

After a good night sleep and an excellent breakfast, I was ready to go to Karakol, on the east of the country, lately getting more popular, particularly during winter for the ski resorts and slops. Perfect if you want to escape the traditional, expensive and crowded Alps resorts.

On our way, we stopped to Konorchek Canyon, a beautiful red earth canyon close by the road, easy to access during summer, as we have to walk for about 40 minutes up the river, which was dry. I made a couple of Timelapse and ran away as a thunderstorm was approaching.

We also passed by the second largest saline lake, Issyk Kul, which it reminds me of Lake Titikaka, like in Bolivia, you can see the high and snowy mountain range all around the lake. STUNNING!

Issyk Kul

Issyk Kul

The next day my adventure begins, 4 days hiking tour without any mobile connection, I had to prep my Loka F-stop Gear Backpack as light as possible, my guide suggested no more than 15kg, I think at the end mine was around 17/18kg. When you shoot, timelapse gear is always a bit of an issue, eheh!

This was my gear list and of course clothes:

Sony A7RIII

Sony A7III

Canon 16-35 f/4L

Canon 70-200 f/4L

Samyang 24 f/2.8

Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Fibre

Rhino ROV Pro Traveler Slider

Hoya ND PRO - 64/100/200/1000 and Polarise

4 - 128GB , 4 - 64GB SandDisk Extreme Pro

3 - Anker Power Bank, - 20,000mAh, 21,000mAh, 15,000mAh

Rode VideoMicro

Cables.

The first day was a 5 hours horse-ride through Karakol Valley, and the goal was to reach Karakol Peak base, where I will sleep in a tent for one night. With me I had a tour guide and a porter, they would provide food, shelter and sleeping bag, the only thing I brought was an inflatable camping mattress and a pillow, to make sure I was able to sleep a bit comfier.

The ride was incredible, we passed through a river, a pine forest and a rocky valley, my horse, luckily was very calm and relaxed, as I am no expert on horse riding I was a bit concerned of the safety of such long ride. But it turned out to be a real pleasure.

IMG_2778.JPG

Once we got to the destination, I started exploring for a bit, while the guides were preparing the base camp. The light was perfect, you could see the huge Karakol peak and its glacier at the bottom of the valley with some stormy clouds on the mountains. I got the Rhino ROV Pro out and found some flowers and rocks as a foreground to add to the composition.

After I finished the Timelapse, clouds started to came in, and suddenly it started raining, JUST IN TIME!

I went back to the tent and wait until the rain will stop; meanwhile, we got a thunderstorm, some hail and strong wind. I was a bit concerned that I wouldn’t be able to shoot the sunset that day.

After 2 hours, as the rain came, it went away… The beauty of being in the middle of the mountains is that the weather can change drastically in a very short time.

And at the end some light started coming through the clouds, lighting up the peaks and as the rain was still pouring in that direction, you could see very clearly the sunray! IT WAS MAGNIFICENT!

Happy with the result I went back to the tent hoping to get maybe clear sky during the night to catch some moonlight, but unfortunately it rained all night long. Luckily when I woke up at 4am in the morning, everything was calm, got some clouds in the distance, but that would still be good for some colour reflections.

Just beside the campsite, there was a small pond where you could see the reflection of Karakol Peak, the perfect spot for sunrise! I set up my tripod and the Sony A7RIII inside and close to the water. The interval for this shot was faster than usual 4-sec interval, as the clouds were moving fast, I wanted to get smooth motion, I put the camera in AV mode, f/4, Auto ISO 100-500 and let it do its magic!

Alone, with only animals surround me, at 5am with -2 C, I enjoyed the sun rising, happy to be alive.

To see more of the BTS of the trip check out the Kyrgyzstan Highlights Stories and follow me on Instagram @mattiabicchi

Check out my Timelapse gear: https://kit.com/MattiaBicchi