蒙古金鷹節慶典歸來(Back from the Mongolian Golden Eagle Festival 2018)
I plan every year for my photography tours after my retirement, and there is always one time travelling to the northern China, normally I join the group of “Hong Kong Art of Photography Association” for their expertise and inspiration in arranging the photography tour in China, I have nearly participated all of their Winter tour in Northern China, such as the wildlife shooting of Tigers、 Red dot crane、 winter landscapes、 the ancient Great Wall and Mongolian prairie etc., there are a lots of shooting topics around those tours, like wildlife、 horse galloping、 spectacular Sunrise and Sunset landscape etc., this time the group leader Jacky Lim from the association organizes a tour to Mongolia for shooting the annual Golden Eagle Festival
held in the western province Bayan Olgii, it is a new kind of tour to me other than the used China ones, I need to apply an entry visa (normally we don’t need applying visa to many places for sometimes) and plan a flight via Hong Kong to Mongolia, then the domestic flight with luggage weight limits etc., quiet a different from the old ones, but expediting the strange country normally attracting most of the traveling photpgraphers, anyway, I enjoyed a fun and thrilled journey stayed in the nomadic yurt and got along with those lovely inhabitants.
旅程簡述： 因為是首次的蒙古(外蒙古)行所有手續不同於以往的中國大陸，從申請簽證購買機票等等都是新的體驗，去蒙古只能搭蒙古航空班機，在烏蘭巴托(Ulaanbaatar)機場也沒看到其他航空公司的飛機，心理的感覺新奇期待也有一絲不確定，尤其第二天須從烏蘭巴托搭國內班機到金鷹節慶典的地點巴顏烏拉蓋(Bayan Olgii)，此地已是蒙古最西邊的省份與哈薩克為鄰，但是現在回顧整個行程是順利沒什麼麻煩，蒙古雖然不是很現代化的國家，但行程沿路上可體會的到對觀光業的重視，因為觀光產業是利多本輕的投資，即使在偏遠的中亞地區也在蓬勃發展是值得我們參考，值得一提的是國內班機的行李重量限制而須付額外的費用，雖然不是很多可以但看出相關單位利用慶典吸引各地觀光客來賺錢的用心，我因為攝影器材的超重共付了約2千台幣。
Tour itinerary： For me, it is the first time to visit Mongolia, so there was a little wonder about the procedure for the travel, there are some surprising happened from the visa applying to the flight booking etc,. the only flight is Mongolia Airlines, when we arrived the capital city Ulaanbaatar, found out there are no other airlines in the airport, and the second day we should fly to Bayan Olgii , the destination of the tour by the domestic flight, which located along the border with the Kazakh, although there are some wonder in mind along the way, but it is a fine journey, Mongolia is not a much developed country but the authority shows quite an ambition in the tourism business even in that deserted province, the luggage weight policy is some kind of amazing that total weight limited to 15Kg, for a photography group nearly all of us should pay for extra weights, this is a good policy for them to earn extra income from the Festival, I pay about 70USD.
when we arrived Ulaanbaatar , group leader Jacky announced that the domestic flight cancelled, so we could only leave for Bayan Olgii on the third day very early in the morning, luckily we caught up the second day of the festival, the festival started with the hunting contest by the hunter’s eagle-hawk, another 2 programs in the afternoon were the hunter’s horse riding show and the prey fighting contests, for most of us the show were interesting and enjoyed shooting a lots of photos but not very much realized the whole festival or their history.
After the festival we went to stay with the nomadic tribe people for the rest of the itinerary, for us who come from the modern cities are curious on nearly everything such as living、foods、sanitation etc., in the nearly pure black ambient at night the sky turns out as a huge LED screen by countless stars, making you indulged in the profound universe physically and mentally, the genuine character of the inhabitants are quite straight forward without motive to receive the foreigners.
The Mongolian Ger is the typical residence for the Mongolian people, which has been over 3000 years old histry, the round wood structure wrapped with sheep felt keeping warm in the Winter and also against the strong wind, the Mongolian Ger are easily been disassembled when the inhabitant want to move to another location, so it is also a very Eco friendly accommodation.
We stayed in the prairies for 4 days and 3 night, among them the group leader Jacky arranged the shooting of the show of hunters and their eagle-hawk in the daytime, and at night we enjoyed the shooting of star track and the Milky Way, besides, there were also a lots of Sunrise and Sunset landscape shooting, with the full program we even forgot the inconvenient in the everyday living, everybody have had a hard time to say goodbye to those tribe friends in the last day morning.
相機(Camera)：Canon 1Dx MK II, 5D MK III
- 200-400mm/f4+1.4x extender
- Canon 1.4x extender
- Canon 2x extender
腳架(Tripod)：Gitzo GK2580 traveler tripod
- Gitzo G2272M,3D low profile Head
- 4th Generation M-3.6 Mongoose Action Head for Larger Lenses
- Gura Gear Bataflae 26L Backpack (Black)
攝影內容： 這次攝影旅遊拍攝的主題是蒙古金鷹節的慶典表演和草原的人文影像，另外草原上無垠的山川風光也有很多景點，我帶的鏡頭包括要拍攝人文的Canon 100-400mm/f4+1.4xExtender生態專用變焦鏡和拍風景的35mm/f1.4廣角鏡，另外帶一隻14mm/f2.8超廣角適合星軌的拍攝，拍攝老鷹獵取獵物使用canon 1d mk2的高速快門來捕捉老鷹遨翔，體會到金鵰飛翔的速度即使能每秒拍14張的相機也不容易拍攝到銳利的影像，快門設定由1/1600s到1/2000s視環境光線的明暗調整，光圈取f/5.6-f/8之間，ISO值配合光線及快門的須要取400-800之間，另外人文方面是拍攝一些牧民的生活和人像，拍攝時要注意陽光的出沒和方向，我大多採逆光或側逆光同時觀察陰影的形成來增加影像的立體感，如臉部、支體等動作，為能使背景模糊凸顯影像的主體，光圈大多取f/4-f/5.6鏡頭用70-200mm焦段。
這次值得一提的是無光害的蒙古草原是拍攝星軌及銀河的絕佳場所，利用北斗七星來鎖定正北方，以鏡頭對準北極星可攝取星光運行的同心圓星軌，相機的設定由於是夜景一般光圈放到最大如f/2.8，ISO依現場光線可取3200-6400之間，快門則是比較有爭議的選擇，網路上有一“400”手則的說法可用於一般狀況即：400/鏡頭焦段 (如16mm 鏡頭, 400/16=25秒)以此類推，最後白平衡視光線(如有無月光等)取3100-3900k之間。
Shooting contents：I set the shooting topics this time with first the festival, the second is the wildlife and people, and finally the landscape of the broad prairies, I use Canon 100-400mm/f4+1.4xExtender for shooting wildlife and portrait of the tribe people, a 35mm wide angle is for the landscape, finally a 14mm super wide angle lens for the star track, for catching the shoot of the hunters’ eagle-hawk, I use the fastest shutter speed of canon 1d mk2 camera, but the blink speed of the eagle-hawk were so fast, even 14 frames per second won’t be easy to get a sharp image, the exposure are around f/5.6-f/8, I set the shutter speed at least 1/1600s, in this case even 1/2000s should be needed when the ambient light is allowed, then set ISO accordingly between 400-800, I use 70-200mm/f4 for some portrait of the tribe people specially the children, setting is as f/4-f/5.6 ISO 200, I normally take the light at the back and side of the subjects, to get the shadow forming more 3D in the images, with f/4 or f/5.6 the subjects can be pop out from the background.
The highlight of shooting are the shooting of the star track and the galaxy at night, taking the advantage of the nearly pure black ambient we can very easy to find the direction of the Big Dipper, aiming the camera to the Dipper can get a concentric circles star track image, I set the exposure wide open as f/2.8, the ISO set from 3200-6400 according to how bright the stars’ lighting, as to the shutter speed, it depends upon how you want the star track image turn out to be, there is a ‘400’ rule saying from the sites, that is 400 divided by the lens focal length (for example, if using 16mm lens then the shutter speed equals to 400/16=25 seconds), finally the white balance set between 3100-3900K.
The highlights：First is the flight and over-weight charges of the domestic flight, the cost of flight from Ulaanbaatar to Bayan Olgii is even more expensive than the one from Hong Kong to Ulaanbaatar, and the weight limits of luggage is just 15Kg, for a photography group it is for sure an extra costs, this reflects that the Mongolian authority’s intention for increasing their income from the tourism, which has been also noticed in many countries for increasing the foreign exchanges.
Second is in the broad Mongolian prairies at night, the dancing star lighting hanging on the immense sky offers an incredible night photography on the star track and the Milky Way with the foreground of Mongolian Ger.
Something inspired：Although we have had a great time staying in the non-frontier prairies, but the life there is just not the same as we stay in the city, so the group leader Jacky suggests that we should purchase some supplies before going there, such as drinking water、 instant foods、 sanitation stuffs etc.