Operation Orion is a group of students from National University of Singapore (NUS) that travels around Asia to learn more about the world outside of our very comfortable lives in Singapore and hopefully leave behind inspiring memories for both the locals and ourselves.

Nepal is unlike any other country that I have been to. Including India! Nepal gives off a very homely and personal feel where locals call each other brothers and sisters even though they aren’t related. The students have a strong crave for education and knowledge and it’s a pity that there may never be an opportunity for them to learn more about the world. But I really do hope that we have inspired them to find their ways to pursue further education in every possible way!

For this trip, I set out photography goals for myself! Basically, less landscape and more humans in my photos! Which I think I did it?

Camera gear that I brought along with me: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM, Canon 135mm f/2L USM, Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM, GoPro Hero Session and a Manfrotto Tripod. The equipments are linked to Amazon. Do click on the links to purchase them if you buying them! :)

The photos are not in chronological order. It’s based more on how I want to show my story in Nepal! Do hover over the photos for captions!

 

Bhakunde

We stayed in Bhakunde for approximately 10 days where we helped out with construction of a classroom and taught students from two different schools! Accommodation was unlike anything that I had ever experienced. No heater to warm up the room during Winter and the guest house had to boil water so that we had hot water for shower. The condition of the toilet at the end of the 10+ days was horrible…

 A brief look at Kathmandu before we head to Bhakunde!

A brief look at Kathmandu before we head to Bhakunde!

 Morning view of the Himalayas from the rooftop of our guest house

Morning view of the Himalayas from the rooftop of our guest house

 The rooftop gave us splendid views for sunrises, Himalayas and stars!

The rooftop gave us splendid views for sunrises, Himalayas and stars!

 Studio Ghibli feels

Studio Ghibli feels


Shree Krishna Lower Secondary School

We spent 5 days at this school to construct walls of a new classroom block and taught the students science and mathematics! We rode behind a pickup truck to get to the school every single day. We sat down at first but eventually stood up for the entire ride ;) Totally felt like temple run but we only have one life each…

 View from the back of the pickup truck

View from the back of the pickup truck

  View from the back of the pickup truck

View from the back of the pickup truck

 This is probably the only photo where all of us sat down for the ride

This is probably the only photo where all of us sat down for the ride

 Amazing view for the whole ride up!

Amazing view for the whole ride up!

  Amazing view for the whole ride up!

Amazing view for the whole ride up!

  Amazing view for the whole ride up!

Amazing view for the whole ride up!

 Himalayas is visible from various parts of Nepal?

Himalayas is visible from various parts of Nepal?

 It's been a long time since I touched snow

It's been a long time since I touched snow

 View of sunset from the school

View of sunset from the school

 There's a very nice glow to the snow capped Himalayas during sunrises and sunsets

There's a very nice glow to the snow capped Himalayas during sunrises and sunsets

 Progress of the classroom on our first day!

Progress of the classroom on our first day!

  Progress of the classroom on our first day!

Progress of the classroom on our first day!

 Doing up the window frame

Doing up the window frame

 We sorted the bricks into full and other sizes!

We sorted the bricks into full and other sizes!

 Here is Dominic filling up the column with concrete

Here is Dominic filling up the column with concrete

 Take a random group photo when we were bored?

Take a random group photo when we were bored?

 The wheelbarrow was surprsingly comfortable to sit in!

The wheelbarrow was surprsingly comfortable to sit in!

 End result from 5 days of construction!!

End result from 5 days of construction!!

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 Nepali crash course

Nepali crash course

 Taught the kids on how to make a volcano

Taught the kids on how to make a volcano

 The start of my portraits!

The start of my portraits!

 Couldn't switch to a prime lens in time :(

Couldn't switch to a prime lens in time :(

 I did not teach him to pose like that...

I did not teach him to pose like that...

 Learning about magnetism

Learning about magnetism

 Electricty!

Electricty!

 :)

:)

 We decided on hiking down the hill on our last day instead of taking the truck down and we were treated to a view

We decided on hiking down the hill on our last day instead of taking the truck down and we were treated to a view

 Just the project director acting cool

Just the project director acting cool


Sagun School

This was the second school that we went to! The whole team was more impactful at this school as the students understand English and we shared more knowledge and inspirations to them! We even held a mini carnival for them on our last day in the village.

 The school was just 10 minutes walk from our guest house

The school was just 10 minutes walk from our guest house

 Teaching the students about volcano

Teaching the students about volcano

 The students used alphabet pastas to make their very own nametag

The students used alphabet pastas to make their very own nametag

 The teacher was very interested in what we were teaching the students

The teacher was very interested in what we were teaching the students

 Carnival!

Carnival!

 Waiting for students to come and trade in their candies for prizes

Waiting for students to come and trade in their candies for prizes

 

I was very inspired by a video on Vimeo to take portraits of the local Nepalese. So… Every time when I approach a subject, I will tell them that I’m taking a photo but I was actually recording videos of them looking into the camera! A lot of the photos here are photos that I took while the camera was still recording.

 
 Screenshot of a video! Not sure why I didn't capture a RAW file separately...

Screenshot of a video! Not sure why I didn't capture a RAW file separately...

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Astrophotography

I was determined that I wanted to try different types of astrophotography this time round. I basically told myself that I’m gonna go home with star trails, timelapse of Milky Way and having a person inside the Milky Way photo! And I done it! I need a f/2.8 lens though… ISO6400 on a Canon 5D was just pushing it too far.

 Moon is the number one enemy for astrophotography!!!

Moon is the number one enemy for astrophotography!!!

 Should have shot the photo with ISO3200 instead of ISO6400...

Should have shot the photo with ISO3200 instead of ISO6400...

 I guess it isn't the best idea to include Milky Way into star trails

I guess it isn't the best idea to include Milky Way into star trails


Hike up to a village!

We hiked up to a nearby village on our second last day in Bhakunde. They brought us to a brick factory to learn how to make a brick and to have an early Christmas feast with the villagers.

 Gathered in a circle and started singing!

Gathered in a circle and started singing!

 ... and even dance!

... and even dance!

 Our hosts! Wilson and Caroline

Our hosts! Wilson and Caroline

 The brick factory is huge...

The brick factory is huge...


Sunkoshi River

Our hosts brought us out to a river to have our day off from the construction and students! Entire day of chilling around and having picnic by the river. And thanks to Dawn for being my model for the day and for the entire R&R!


Bhaktapur, Nagarkot and Kathmandu

Bhaktapur is an ancient city in Nepal, Nagarkot has killer views but we were just unlucky to be there when it’s cloudy and Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal. I will definitely be back to get my promised view at Nagarkot!!

 Somewhere in Bhaktapur

Somewhere in Bhaktapur

 The tour guide brought us through alleys

The tour guide brought us through alleys

I grew a lot as a photographer during this trip. I started to include humans into landscapes and taking more portrait photos! I used to dislike taking photos of humans because I always had the impression that a lot of portrait photos are staged and staged shots are just not the kind of photography that I’m interested in. I started taking impromptu shots of my friend Dawn, then I moved on to the students and the photos turned out to be great!

A huge thanks to the friends that encouraged me to move away from landscape photography and try out something new :)

 Nagarkot! It's a must go location for tourists!

Nagarkot! It's a must go location for tourists!


 The taxi was so small that I look huge talking to the taxi driver.

The taxi was so small that I look huge talking to the taxi driver.

  The taxi was so small that I look huge talking to the taxi driver.

The taxi was so small that I look huge talking to the taxi driver.

Swayambhu or monkey temple as it’s more commonly known. Our taxi driver dropped us at the tiring part of the mountain and oh boy was it super tiring to climb up to the temple. Lucky for us, Boudhanath reopened recently and we were able to visit it.

 Swayambhu

Swayambhu

 View from the temple

View from the temple

 Boudhanath

Boudhanath