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It’s nearly a year since I first flew into the wonderland of Alaska. Just the fall and big snow to come until the season is complete and the circle closes. It’s been an intense encounter with a truly amazing part of the world. I’m always so busy when I’m on the ground that it seems that it’s only whilst I’m in the air I can find time to take a snap. And it is snaps I take. I’m less and less interested in Cameras these days because I can’t find one that’s invisible. The closest I get to it is my Blackberry. There’s little consideration of settings, lenses etc, only aquisition. Recently, when I was looking at my father’s often two dimensional photographs, I worked out that he took pictures to capture places as trophies and return to friends and family with evidence of his independence. He made slide shows, I make a blog. We are trophotographers.
On the night before we set off on the expedition to find the Mek Tribe in the Mountains of West Papua, everything seemed set. The months of planning across the other side of the globe at Cicada in London had come to an end. All I had left to do was get all my personal bits and pieces together, think of home and try to get some sleep.
For me the expedition finally became a reality when we’d loaded up our small planes and were in the air crossing the interior of West Papua. Looking down on the silver rivers snaking through the limitless expanse of rainforest, all thoughts were on what lay ahead in the mountains.
We’d been worried that our landing at Welarek could be put in danger by bad visibility and rain, but our final approach was perfect.
Once down on the ground Mark Anstice was greeted by the legendary Papuan mountain guide, Bob Pelege, and Olly Steeds met his first local tribesman. This man was and elder from the Yali tribe, some of whom would become our porters when we travelled into the mountains towards the Mek’s territory.
As we unloaded our supplies and I considered the enormity of what lay ahead, one of the crew snapped this carefree picture of me.