Editor’s note: Big vistas. Big peaks. Big adventures. Eminent landscape photographer Colin Prior is drawn to all three. Colin Prior is a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a founding member of the International League of Conservation Photographers and spends much of his life seeking out the edges of the world.
And in May, his next photographic journey takes him to a place that has “haunted his dreams” since his first visit in 1996: the Karakoram mountain range that borders Pakistan, India and China (and home of K2, the world’s second highest peak).
Colin and a colleague are planning a series of expeditions to the range over the next four years; a project culminating in the publication of a new book in 2018. The Karakoram Project is co-sponsored by Lowepro UK, Rab and Lee Filters.
It’s just weeks until his first trip and we asked Colin how his gear preparations are coming along.
Chogolisa, Vigne Glacier. © Colin Prior
This first leg of your project must be incredibly exciting. How do you physically prepare?
I’ve been out walking in the Scottish Highlands on a fairly regular basis and whilst we have few mountains over 4000 feet, the scale is obviously much smaller than the Himalayas. However, notwithstanding this, uphill is still uphill and there is great benefit in building muscle tone which will be crucial in the rarified air of the Karakoram Mountains.
What camera gear will you count on and how will you pack it?
I have worked with the Canon EOS system for over twenty years and will be using a 1DX and 5D Mark III and a range of lenses which will include the latest versions of the 24mm T/S, 90mm T/S, 24-70mm, 70-200mm and 300 f4. I will also carry a Linhof Technorama III with 90mm & 180mm lenses to shoot with Fuji’s Velvia 120. Both systems will be carried in a Pro Trekker 400 AW and the new Rover Pro 45L AW.
K2 and the Godwin Austin. © Colin Prior
What types of imagery do you hope to capture on part one of your journey?
The Karakoram Mountains are in my opinion, the most formidable and majestic mountains in the world and over the four-year period, it is my intention to capture images which honour and hopefully transcend these qualities. There has in reality, been very little authoritative work shot in the Karakoram and this is largely due to their inaccessibility and the political instability in the country. I look forward to the challenges ahead and to seeing the final published book – it will, without doubt, be my magnum opus.
Is there a new piece of gear that you’ll rely on for this expedition?
Without hesitation, I would say my Lowepro Pro Trekker, but there will be an equally important partner – my personal porter who will be responsible for carrying my camera equipment – it will take me all my effort, with the associated effects of altitude, to scramble up the glacier.
What do you like about your Lowepro bag(s)?
Simply, their build quality. Pro DSLR’s and lenses are heavy and they need strong, robust bags to safely transport camera equipment up glaciers and over mountains passes. The new Rover Pro 45L AW will become my ‘day-sack’ which will allow me to carry some camera equipment, water and waterproofs.
Colin Prior is a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a founding member of the International League of Conservation Photographers and spends much of his life seeking out the edges of the world. To see more of his work and learn about upcoming workshops and exhibits, visit his web site. And please stay tuned for updates from us – we’ll check in with Colin as his project continues.