Travelling and photography are two of my biggest passions right now. Being able to combine the two for me brings me happiness that is hard to convey with words. I bought a $200 one way ticket to India after becoming fixated with the disputed region of Kashmir. I came to India with no set plan on how I would get there, what I would do or what types of pictures I would be taking.
After a week that passed in a blur of trains, buses, rickshaws and taxis, I found myself on the doorstep of Kashmir, Manali in Himachal Pradesh. Along with 5 people I had known for less than 3 days while staying in Manali, a plan was hatched.
The plan was to ride motorbikes 500 kilometres on what is often touted as one of, if not the most dangerous highway in the world. The road snakes it’s way North East over and through the Himalayan Mountain Range. At a rough estimate I would say maybe 50% of the road is actually paved, the rest is whatever the unpredictable weather turns dirt into. Mud, ice, rocks, you name it.
The constant threat of landslides and the fact that India and Pakistan are still at war over this very region makes the task ever the more daunting.
Our destination? The city of Leh, a beautiful, isolated desert city perched amongst the Himalaya at an altitude of 3500m deep in the Kashmiri region of Ladakh.
My kit for the entire journey consisted of a shawl bought from a local market, a pair of gloves my dad uses to ride his bicycle around Melbourne, a pair of converse skate shoes, pants I wear to my office job, a helmet that didn’t fit properly and a windbreaker I got from the Salvation Army for $6AUD.
The road tested myself and my riding partners in ways that we never could have imagined.
We crossed mountain passes on par with Everest’s base camp and at various points along our journey, we found ourselves riding through hail, a sandstorm, and a Blizzard
Other complications such as altitude sickness and mechanical failures simply come with the territory.
I am a 20 year old photographer from Melbourne. I’ve been doing photography for four years, mainly focusing on street and music photography.
On this trip I used Kodak Portra 400 and Fujifilm Velvia 50 all in my Nikon 35Ti, I have been exclusively using compact cameras for 12 months now, and don’t see that changing any time soon. Next stop Vietnam.
Contributor: All images used with permission for AFPS.blog by Darcy Mahady