PHOTOGRAPHY TRAVEL TO MOUNT ARARAT
We’re so excited. We’re going to photograph Eastern Anatolia again; moreover, with our addicted brand Fujifilm’s brand new X-T4 camera.
There are significant developments in this camera. The most important one is IBIS, In-Body Image Stabilization. And the other one is the improvement in the battery. Now it has a longer-lasting power.
The camera that we hold was designed in the far East of Asia, on the foothills of Mount Fuji, which is called the “infinity mountain” based on the Japanese legend. Now we are on the highest mountain in the other end of Asia; on the foothills of Mount Ararat. According to the legend, it is the famous mountain where Noah’s Ark was stranded. We are moving from legend to legend with the camera we have.
This is a steppe at two thousand meters high, where nature and history are intertwined. This beautiful geography formed by extinct volcanoes has interesting rock forms, streams, lakes and unique vegetation. As you travel, you encounter the glory of many civilizations.
The ancient city of Ani in Kars is the first stop of our journey. This historical richness on the Armenian border is our gift to UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. It takes time to wander and photograph thoroughly. The huge columns in the cathedral are creating a great graphic composition with a wide-angle. Frescoes on the dark wall of the millennial churches are still vividly clear. Lifting the camera and releasing the shutter is enough for shooting sharp images. Thanks to the active IBIS feature there is no need for a tripod or a flashlight. Besides, it is not possible even if you want to use them because it is forbidden at this ruin area.
Conditions are tough at the highlands. In Çıldır, there is ice fishing on the lake and livestock on the snow-covered land. In Çaldıran, weeds are extracted from the icy creeks for the buffaloes. Sheep are herded in the snow. A surprise of the region is that there are camels specially bred for wrestling. Camels that are identified with warm and desert climate are surprisingly confronted here in the snow.
There are also opportunities for wildlife photographers. Even though the bears hibernate, the foxes appear at any moment. It is easier to see and photograph them in winter, in a white background. Your camera and a 400 mm telephoto lens should be ready at any time. They are mostly far from you and move fast. You don’t have time to set up a tripod, you need to release the shutter as soon as you hand the camera. Foxes search for a mouse under the snow and jump and dive deeply when they find it. If you act a little cautiously, it is possible to catch them in the air or even record a video. The X-T4 focuses very quickly, bursts and records video at 240 fps at FULL HD setting. Between you and me, this feature will envy your friends who don’t own an X-T4.
If you see rising smoke from the tandoor quarries at a village, you shall try your luck after a greeting. You can witness interesting light beams inside while the bread is baking. In rural areas if you dive into places with big cameras and with equipment such as tripods, bags, and light, you will be alienated in the environment and this will reflect on your photos. You should keep it simple and leave the place without disturbing people. I promise you, the results will be better.
Hosap Castle on the way to Hakkari is one of the regional symbols. This legendary building from the Middle Ages looks like an extension of a rock that dominates the whole surrounding and it is one of the attraction points for photographers. At its foothills, it runs the stream that gives its name to the castle. If you like reflections, you can try photographing the castle from here. There is one more thing to try when it gets darker; handheld long exposure shots. With a 16-55 mm lens on your camera what do you think will be the maximum shutter speed that you can exposure? 1 second? I have tried. I shot and reviewed the image; it’s hard to believe but it’s pretty sharp. I continued to shoot 10-15 more images. Not all the images are sharp but most of them are usable for professional work. This is a great pleasure as a photographer. This is an accomplishment that must be rewarded with a Van breakfast the next morning!
Van Lake appears as a treasure of history and nature, reminiscent of an inland sea amid high mountains. Nemrut Krater, which has different temperatures and colors, is one of the largest volcanic vents in the world. If you are interested in birds, across there is the Erçek Lake basin. At the right time and right place you can capture dozens of different kinds of birds such as vultures, flamingos, ducks and herons. Don’t forget to be camouflaged and silent. The camera should also be quiet just like the X-T4.
If you are curious about mountain photos, there is Suphan mountain at 4.000 meters. Colorful endemics wait for you in spring. There are countless photographic variations. We choose Çarpanak Island. It is a perfect environment for photography. Thousands of seagulls with their endless symphonies, a panorama of snowy mountains, turquoise shores, a beach with small stones and a magnificent historical church. Shoot Faruk shoot. It is almost dusk and I still haven’t replaced the battery. It is very nice to photograph the environment with seagulls. I wish they did not mess up this much. They are so talented that they never miss us.
During winter months, interesting games are played in the region. The equestrian sports specific to the region such as Cirit or Buzkaşi are heritage to us from the ancestors. This is a Central Asian tradition. To do this sport, you need to be a good rider with a lot of courage. Photographing them also requires mastery and a good camera that will freeze the action. With the improved AF system of the Fujifilm X-T4, no need to be afraid of action and low light conditions.