Riding a Bullet to Spiti Valley

Action and adventure photography is something that I have always loved doing. The thing about this kind of photography is that you must become a part of the adventure and cannot simply tag along. Being a participant gives close access to the events and the action, but also an intimate relationship with the other participants.

I’ve been commissioned to shoot a motorcycle tour in the Himalaya for a travel company that organizes rides on the legendary vintage-looking Royal Enfield bikes. The basic idea was to capture the romance of motorcycle riding in the Himalayas, the mist, the elements, the beauty, and the challenges it provides as a place to ride motorcycles. Guided by Moksha, the first woman professional bike rider in India, we left from Manali with a group of enthusiastic bikers ready for adventure, heading towards Rohtang pass on the way to Lahaul and Spiti valley. The barren landscape and sparse vegetation in this dry and cold desert is surrounded by high mountains on all sides and is a magnificent backdrop for shooting a motorcycle ride.

About shooting on the road

Before going on an adventure it is advised to make a good plan for the equipment you carry and the strategy for shooting. A mental picture of the kind of images you want to shoot will help you decide which equipment you want to take with you, and how you are going to shoot. Determining the hazards, both to yourself and your gear is essential.

Like in almost any other assignment, adventure photography is about telling the story of the adventure. The start of the day, the difficulties, the road, the high points and the emotions. The deeper you go into the adventure, the closer and more intimate you will become with the other participants, which will result in better and more compelling images.

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  • Olga Kirnos

    These photos are so stunning, it just makes you want to get up, leave everything and go to this destination, really amazing.

  • Thanks Olga 🙂 this is surely one of the most amazing places I have ever been to! not so difficult to take great shots in a place like this 😉

  • Bobbeeeed

    captured really well !!! as i am very aware that photography is very difficult on roads at the edge of the world, one has to STEAL pictures with moments traveling at 500 c.c capacity ; -) bravo

  • Coming from a biker. Thank you Bobbee 🙂

  • Bobin James

    Absolutely stunning, Sephi! I rode my Royal Enfield to Ladakh and back a couple of months ago, and your photo-set brings back loads of memories. Would love to see more from the set.

  • Bobin James

    And am not sure I agree with you there when you says it’s “not so difficult to take great shots in a place like this”. 🙂

  • Thank you Bobin. I have just uploaded more images are onto the archive. cheers

  • 🙂

  • Harsh Vardhan

    Did you stop for lunch at Batal dhaba on the 26th afternoon? I think we saw your group there.. Amazing snaps man.

  • YES we did! :-))) small world ha? 🙂

  • Maheen

    These are amazing pictures! How good a rider do you need to be to do this?! Any link to the company who organizes this? Would love to give it a try?

  • Thanks Maheen. The guy who organized this trip is called Steve Boland and his company is called IMC – India Motorcycle Club. They are building a website at the moment and will use these images naturally. You can contact him at >steveboland at hotmail dot com< I'm sure he'll be happy to answer any question you might have. cheers

  • Wow! These are spectacular images!! Really great work!

  • David duChemin

    Gorgeous, Sephi. Missed you in Delhi but managed to take a look at your new book on street food – congrats, it too is gorgeous. We drove Enfields to Nubra Valley last year – these images brought back the memories, well done!

    David duChemin
    pixelatedimage.com

  • Thank you David. I appreciate it! would be great to catch up some day. maybe next time you are in India … 🙂 take care.

  • Esther

    Sephi I think you’re reaching new heights with these pictures…they’re really beautiful..:)

  • Swarnabh Ghosh

    This is absolutely incredible!

  • Looks like an absolute blast. The 6th and 7th images (and not only) would convince anybody to do this! Well done.

  • Sulagna Basu

    Great captures!

  • Esther, this is literally new heights as some of these where shot at 4,500m! 🙂

  • Thanks Jeffrey. it was indeed great fun. I think I should do this kind of assignments more often. next maybe rock climbing in Himalaya gorges . . 🙂

  • Roger Madsen

    Reading the comments it sounds like a very interesting post.. but for some reason it is password protected at least for me…

  • Roger, the post is temporarily password protected as we are waiting for the client’s website launch. sorry, and thanks for understanding.

  • Xtellev

    Absolutely gorgeous photos, Great text too, it makes one want to be there, know more and get the book (there should be one :)!
    I’m also wondering how little you could pack as a minimum equipment (photo and else..).
    What a great breath of fresh air!

  • Hi Sephi,
    I have been an ardent follower of your blogs. I love your photography, especially the wedding ones. Its a complete change from the mundane ones you see all around. Something which the local wedding photographer should learn. I carry a canon 500D and has already burned my pocket on some lenses and the one I love most is the nifty fifty. I love to photograph with ambient light and still an amateur. Your pictures are really great, something different and like I said I like the wedding pics, not that I dont like the others. Keep it going and waiting to see more from you.

  • noah

    וואו, נראה חוויה מדהימה, ו…קפואה. קודם כול -אני מקנא, אני רוצה גם .הלוואי והייתי במצב להגיד לך שבפעם הבאה תזמין גם אותי… אם אני כותב על זה משהו אצלנו, האם אתה יכול לתת רשות להציג את התמונות באתר של העיתון, ואולי אף בעיתון
    ?

  • Sumit

    Awesome!

  • Mitchell Kanashkevich

    Great shots man! I wish someone was there to shoot me traveling this route. 🙂 Where are you now? I just came to Manali from Spiti.

    • Hi Mitchell, I’m back in Goa now. Was in Manali on the 17-20th. too bad we missed each other . .

  • Mech Hiranmay

    Some amazing shots here! Can feel the breeze of those mountains just by looking at the pictures

  • Whoa! These are great shots. It looks fun riding with these guys. I love your photography. It’s really cool. My favorite are images 6,7 and 9. I love it!

  • Mridul Biswas

    simply awesome

  • Bunty

    simply superb

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