Exploring The Desert


Fourteen years, plenty of wildlife trips, lots of safaris, hundreds of birds, varied habitats- semi evergreen to deciduous forests, wetlands to deserts, snowfall to the scorching summer heat with temperatures soaring above 40 C, thousands of photographs........yet, not even one-tenth of the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries of India covered. Only 50% of the avian biodiversity of India seen and of the other forms of biodiversity, only a single digit percentage seen yet. How about an exploratory wildlife trip then? How about visiting a protected area about which not much is known, but promises to be rich in terms of biodiversity, a national park which does not see the kind of tourist frenzy that the more popular ones do?

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Chakrata - A symbol for the Theory of Change


Chakrata, A remote town in Himalayas of India. I revisited this town after eight years and found considerable influence of tourism on the place, both negative as well as positive. The kind of experience i had is one that makes a person thinks that are they really enjoying the natural beauty of a place or gradually destroying it. overall the inclination of the article is towards Responsible Tourism.

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American Adventure: U.S. 50 Coast-to-Coast


U.S. 50 Coast-to-Coast
U.S. 50 Coast-to-Coast

I and my family have lived in Easton, Maryland for the past 34 years and one of the fun things that we get to do is go to the beach each summer. We normally spend most of our time at Assateague Island National Seashore, but we sometimes drive into Ocean City to have lunch or to just stroll along the boardwalk. Something that has intrigued me and my wife, Linda, for many years is a sign over the highway that goes over the bridge from Ocean City’s barrier island across to the mainland. The sign reads “Sacramento Ca 3073.” We both thought that it might be fun to someday drive that highway – U.S. 50 – all the way across the country, and we both agreed that it would be most doable after we were both retired. When Linda retired on July 1 of this year (I retired three years earlier) we had our opportunity.

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Where Madness Follows - The Search for Gold in the Amazon Jungle


In the summer of 1972 Anthony Boccaccio ventured into the deep Amazon Jungle at a time when only Indians, a few brave adventurers, road-builders and gold miners inhabited God’s Green Hell. Just twenty-two years old at the time, he was one of the first to document in text and photographs the construction of the legendary TransAmazonica — a dirt road cut through the heart of the jungle connecting the farthest reaches of western Brazil with the Atlantic coast.

Back then, the Amazon jungle was practically untouched. The rivers were clear and full of fish. The forests were uninhabited except for a few homesteaders, river-dwellers, and Indian tribes, many of which were still undiscovered. The land was primordial, reminiscent of images of the dawn of Eden.

He returned to the Amazon twenty years later, only to find that the Transamazonic Highway, and others like it, changed everything. Much has happened in the Amazon since the first of a million great forest giant buttress trees were felled. Hydroelectric dams have flooded millions of acres of virgin forest. Railroads have been built. Tin, manganese, iron ore, copper, nickel,  lignite, natural gas, aluminum, diamonds, silver and gold were discovered in vast quantities. The Transamazonic road now has less than seven hundred of its original three thousand miles of passable roadbed left. Indian tribes have been “civilized” practically out of existence. In the state of Rondonia, an area the size of Belgium has been incinerated and the world waits in suspense to see if the burning will continue into the next decade and across the whole forest. National Parks have been established. Territories have been turned into states, and regions into new territories. The whole place has been crisscrossed with new roads. Indian Reservations have been established and whole populations of the Natural Man has been lost. Long and short term scientific studies have been launched  while 30,000 new species of animal and plant life have been recorded. More than 500,000 species, unknown and yet undiscovered have gone extinct. Cultures have collided; Indians mix with Whites, impoverished homesteaders have become land barons overnight, cattle ranchers are fighting farmers who are fighting the rubber-tapper.  Everyone fights the government. Only Nature has her way.

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Gir - The Land Where Lions Roar


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I am just back from a weeklong visit to the Gir National Park in the western part of India,  more popularly known as the land of lions. We were a team of 4 - Dev Anand Paul, Vaithiya Nathan, Sanjivani Vaze and me. This trip was one hell of a roller-coaster – right from the planning to the safaris. The planning began in July 2012, between Dev and me, who till then were only Facebook friends, knowing each other through a common friend. The plan was to visit Bera, a place in the north-western part of India, to see leopards, as I am yet to see a leopard after 15 years of wildlife trips. However, after a lot of info gathering and talking to people, we decided to drop it for reasons we were not comfortable with.

What then? At that time the Indian Supreme Court had banned all tiger safaris, citing poor implementation of laws by the government. These related to ensuring tourism did not harm the wild cats. Nobody knew when the safaris would start, if at all. November first week is too early for birding trips as well ... where can we go then?  I was speaking to some friends for suggestions and somebody said Gir. Dev jumped at the suggestion and bingo, we were on the Indian Railways website. Only 4 seats available!!!! Hell with it we thought, lets block our tickets and we can then ask others if anyone wants to join. Later, Vaithi (Dev's friend) and Sanjivani (a co-birder from Mumbai) agreed to join, but both had to travel in the non-AC coaches for one way of the journey.

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Enjoying a Fall Hike in Nikko, Japan


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You can feel that Fall is in the air up in Nikko, Japan. The air is crisp, clean and quite invigorating, unlike the gloomy vibe of the Tokyo Metropolis I left just a few hours ago. Riding at super fast speeds on the Shinkasen, Japan's bullet train, can bring you into a totally different part of Japan in no time, and I'm looking for beautiful fall colors up in the foothills of NIkko's national Park. Although I read earlier that fall does not peak until mid-November timeframe, I'm hopeful that my northbound trek will bring me a glimpse of the amazing colors of the Nikko countryside. I pass by a rack of postcards at a souvenir stand close to the station and see images filled with fall colors. I just want to assess ideal photo spots that I can visit and indeed find a few interesting landmarks and head out with a handy map given by the local tourist information desk.

Finding unique places to visit outside of the typical destination spots and World Heritage sites around Nikko is usually a matter of research or even word of mouth from other travelers or locals. I find that locals love to share different places outside of the packed crowds if you're friendly and strike up a rapport. Fortunately, I get a nice lead from my B&B host on a nice out of the way trail following the main Daiya river which flows through the national park into the main town of Nikko and is lined with cafes and tourist shops. It's already mid-afternoon, so a short two or three hour hike would be perfect with some place where I can capture some sunset photos.

 

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Guilin, China Photo Tour 2013


GUILIN, CHINA

(7 Continents Gallery Photography Tour)

Hello and welcome to one of my new 7 Continents Gallery Photo Tours. My name is Richard Schoettger and I have been travelling the world for over 30 years gaining knowledge and experience with those special places that are remarkable and totally unforgettable. In addition, I have taken up photography for many of the past few years and have now created these tours to accomplish three things. First, to provide photographers locations that holds special appeal and offering opportunities to capture unique and special moments, whether it is a special location or special time of day. Two, there are many photography tours offered today that offers tours to many of the same locations, therefore saturating these environments. With tours from 7 Continents Gallery, I try to find locations still yet truly undiscovered in order to provide the chance to capture images not offered elsewhere. Finally, I strongly believe in travel as a way of life but as with many tours today, prices are getting more and more unaffordable, so with many, they become a “trip of a lifetime”. Therefore, in all honesty, as I am still employed outside the travel industry at this time, I am not in this for a way of supporting my income, therefore I am passing these savings on to you.

I currently live in Singapore and for the last 2.5 years, I have travelled specifically in this part of the world to not only experience these wonderful places and cultures, but work with local operators to find excellent services in supporting travel. All the tours offered in this site I have fully experienced and am now working with those to secure the best opportunity that can be provided for fellow travelers, especially photographers. You can view my images at my photography website: 7continentsgallery.smugmug.com and/or visit my photography tours at www.7continentsgallery.wordpress.com. Take a look and see if these are places that may appeal to you. If so, let me know and we hopefully can share experiences that you will never forget. 

Below is truly a unique and affordable place to somewhere diverse and unforgettable: Guilin, China. Hope to see you there!

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Komodo and Flores Island, Indonesia Photo Tour 2013


FLORES and KOMODO ISLANDS, INDONESIA

(7 Continents Gallery Photography Tour)

Hello and welcome to one of my new 7 Continents Gallery Photo Tours. My name is Richard Schoettger and I have been travelling the world for over 30 years gaining knowledge and experience with those special places that are remarkable and totally unforgettable. In addition, I have taken up photography for many of the past few years and have now created these tours to accomplish three things. First, to provide photographers locations that holds special appeal and offering opportunities to capture unique and special moments, whether it is a special location or special time of day. Two, there are many photography tours offered today that offers tours to many of the same locations, therefore saturating these environments. With tours from 7 Continents Gallery, I try to find locations still yet truly undiscovered in order to provide the chance to capture images not offered elsewhere. Finally, I strongly believe in travel as a way of life but as with many tours today, prices are getting more and more unaffordable, so with many, they become a “trip of a lifetime”. Therefore, in all honesty, as I am still employed outside the travel industry at this time, I am not in this for a way of supporting my income, therefore I am passing these savings on to you.

I currently live in Singapore and for the last 2.5 years, I have travelled specifically in this part of the world to not only experience these wonderful places and cultures, but work with local operators to find excellent services in supporting travel. All the tours offered in this site I have fully experienced and am now working with those to secure the best opportunity that can be provided for fellow travelers, especially photographers.

You can view my images at my photography website: 7continentsgallery.smugmug.com and/or visit my photography tours at www.7continentsgallery.wordpress.com. Take a look and see if these are places that may appeal to you. If so, let me know and we hopefully can share experiences that you will never forget.

Below is truly a unique and affordable place to somewhere quite unknown: Komodo and Flores Islands in Indonesia. Hope to see you there!

 

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Sweet Thames, Run Softly 'Til I End My Song


A walk following the river from the source of the Thames to London

The idea for the project started when watching the first few minutes of Danny Boyle's London 2012 Olympic Opening ceremony which showed a sped-up aerial journey starting at the source of the Thames and ending up in London. I immediately realized I wanted to walk the length of the river and try to produce a photographic artwork based on that experience. I've recently got married and live with my wife in Cheltenham near the source. My childhood was in Oxford, half way along, and I lived in London for seven years as a Student, so the river has a very personal connection for me. Earlier in the year I'd been hospitalized with meningitis and then immediately afterwards witnessed the birth of my son. So I started the journey with more sensitivity to the notion of the river as a metaphor of life than I might have done otherwise.

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