Photographer's Note

I took this photograph earlier today on a lovely spring morning up in the Zailiysky Alatau mountains. This is the Big Almaty Lake, which is about two hours drive south of Almaty. The distance is not great, but the road up to the lake at a height of 2,510 m (8,200 ft) is narrow, winding, rough and rocky. The road through the foothills is okay for the first half an hour, but after that you need a four wheel drive.

I wanted to leave at dawn to catch the best light, but as some business colleagues had kindly offered to take me in a 4WD, I couldn’t ask them to get up too early on a Sunday morning – their only day off – so we compromised and left Almaty at 7.15am.

By the time we got to the lake at 9.15 am, the light was still pretty good (this shot was taken at 9.30 am), but within an hour the best light had gone, so it was good we didn’t leave any later.

Almaty had some unseasonal snow last week, so that left a fresh covering on the mountains too, although I guess in a few weeks most of this snow will be gone.

The Big Almaty Lake is located in the upper Bolshaya Almatinka river valley, not far from the Kyrgyzstan border, and most of the peaks around the lake are 4,000 – 4,300 metres (13-14,000 feet) high.

After an hour taking photographs, I sat for a while on one of the bluffs overlooking the lake, taking in the peace and quiet of this beautiful scenery. I thought what a contrast this was to my last post from India.

I can’t say that the lake was completely pristine – I came across quite a few piles of rubbish and beer bottles as I hiked around the lake – but nothing that a few volunteers couldn’t clean-up in a weekend. It’s a pity that people won’t take their rubbish with them and leave these places as they find them for others to enjoy.

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Additional Photos by David Astley (banyanman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1231 W: 108 N: 2568] (7797)
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