This isn't going to be your regular travel blog about the Chadar Trek. There are plenty of them out there already, written by more experienced travelers, and catered to an audience who wants to know more about the general feel of the trek. This blog is going to tell you how to go about photographing it, or more specifically, how I went about photographing the trek. I made some mistakes along the way, learnt a lot from them and came back with an arsenal of photographs that I can proudly say document the trek in a way that has never been done before.
But first things first : you need to sort out your gear
Often when we plan a shoot, we tend to take more gear with us than is needed. We justify that by citing that one-of incident that may occur that'll make us want to use that extra lens, or that slider or those lights.
You don't have the luxury of that on the Chadar trek. It gets really hard to walk on ice, and every gram of extra weight makes it's presence felt. I took a call and zeroed down on the following list.
Camera Gear Taken:
1. Canon 6D Mark II (full-frame)
2. Canon EF 24-105mm f4L II lens (landscape lens)
3. Canon EF 50mm f1.8 STM lens (street + portrait lens)
4. GoPro Hero 5 Black (for video)
5. OnePlus 3T
6. A set of ND Filters ( ND 4/8/16/32)
7. Circular Polarizing Filter
9. 4 extra batteries + 2 powerbanks (most important)
I zeroed down to this list after a lot of consideration. A full frame camera combined with a wide angle lens is a huge asset for landscape photography, and were the first things I put in my bag. I added my 50mm because it weighed practically nothing and because I knew I wanted to make portraits of the locals. CPL and ND filters were a no brainer too. The hardest decision was whether or not to take my tripod. I spoke to a lot of people, and almost everyone advised me against it. But in my gut, I knew I'd make good use of it, and decided to add the extra weight.
New Delhi to Leh
I ALWAYS keep my phone camera handy with me, for those situations when I can't reach for my camera. This was one such. The flight from New Delhi to Ladakh takes you through some beautiful mountain views. I took this photograph one my OnePlus 3T through the surprisingly super clean plane windows.