Mongolia– Day One

On our first night, we gave our gust a surprise visit to the Mongolian State Academic Theatre. Here we were treated to the experience of several of Mongolia‘s traditional art forms at a colorful show where we saw and heard throat singers, musicians playing indigenous instruments, contortionists, dancing, and more.

On our first official day, we left the central city of Ulaanbaatar and visited a camp called Mongol Nomadic. This camp is about an hour outside the city and is what I like to call the “get your feet wet” camp. 

For many visitors to Mongolia, this is their most cultural experience. For us, it’s just the beginning! 

Mongol Nomadic camp is a great place to start understanding and immersing in traditional Mongolian culture. This is also the first place our guests experience sleeping in a Ger (Yurt).

After being served an incredible meal, the fun begins. Greeting us by Yaks, Camels, and Horse, our Mongolian friends come across the small valley field, waving and summoning us to them. 

Riding a Yak or Camel allows us to venture back across the field to where we are served traditional treats such as Mongolian milk vodka known as Shimiin Arkhi. 

The Mongolian way of distilling has not changed over the centuries, for the nomads have already perfected it.

Next up was traditional music with Tuvan throat singing and indigenous instruments. Throat singing is mesmerizing to listen to and watch.

It’s incredible to hear the singer use their ability to create a deep, almost growl-like voice while simultaneously harmonizing with a high-pitched whistle. The morin khuur, also known as the horsehead fiddle and other instruments, accompany the vocalist.  Hearing this in person and up close will give you goosebumps. 

Photo Tip – Look for beautiful light on faces.

In this image, as we were gathered listening to the music in the Ger, beautiful light started to stream in across this Nomad’s face. I waited and watched as he moved around. Being patient is key as much of the time he was looking in another direction and his face was shadowed.

As soon as he brought his face up and moved into that light, I clicked away! 

ISO 3200  1/160th of a sec f5.6  270mm (Canon 100-500mm lens) 

Mongolians have been known for their horsemanship for thousands of years. These traditions continue and continue to be handed down from generation to generation. A horseman decides to give us a show. 

Running at full gallop, we witness the rider lean over and grab a traditional Mongolian ornamental hat off the ground. Speed, agility, and skill taught from an early age are required! 


Photo Tip – Fast Action Focusing

Set your focus to track your subject. With Canon that is AI Servo mode. For other camera systems, it is called CF (Continuous Focus). As you focus on your subject, the camera will follow. Be sure to have your shutter set to high-speed burst as well. 

With the new mirrorless systems, you can set your focusing mode to eye detection and lock on your subject. This has made high-speed photography much easier! 

Canon R5 – ISO 400 – 1/3200th of a sec- f5.6  100-500mm lens. 

I used the animal eye detection focusing mode and locked it onto the horse. This produced almost all of the images in focus.



Photo Tip – Get Rid of the Clutter

Here is the same image from above but without removing the clutter of the background!  Learn how to edit. 

If you are a member of Photo Enthusiast Network, we teach all these skills! Join for only $24 for your first year here!