Today I’ve gone back into my archive of film negatives and plucked out an image from 2001. The events of 11th September, 2001, (what Americans would dub “9-11”) changed the world in the most dramatic and shocking way possible. It was one of those moments where people recall years later where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. In my case I was physically a world away, in Xinjiang Provence in far west China. I was in the fabled city of Kashgar and at that time not receiving much by way of news.
I was part of a small group tour travelling across the breadth of China with the intention of continuing on into Pakistan. In the days post 911, the border between China and Pakistan was closed due to security concerns and my travel plans thrown into chaos. What to do? Answer make the best of the unplanned circumstances. Although we hadn’t originally planned to visit the Lake Karakul area, due to the need to reorganize our itinerary, a small group of us decided to make the trip from Kashgar to the lake and stay a night or two.
Today’s image was taken during that trip on 35mm colour negative film. The exposure details are long forgotten but the image was taken on a Pentax SF7 with a 28-80mm zoom. In digital processing, the image was cropped top and bottom to arrive at the “panoramic” format, noise reduction used to clean up some of the film grain evident in the sky and water. Additional contrast was added to the middle third of the image and some colour balancing was done. The result perhaps should be regarded as an impression of the location rather than a strictly documentary rendering, to be honest, I can’t recall now just how blue the sky was, etc. I’m always a bit skeptical of people who say “it’s how I remember it”, truth is that memory isn’t that reliable!
A little more about Lake Karakul:
Karakol Lake (KD~ there are a couple of different spellings) meaning “black lake” is located approximately 200km from Kashgar, Xinjiang province, China, in Kizilsu Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture on the Karakoram Highway, before reaching Tashkurgan and the Khunjerab Pass on the China – Pakistan border. At an altitude of 3600m (approx),it is the highest lake of the Pamir plateau, near the junction of the Pamir, Tian Shan and Kunlun mountain ranges. Surrounded by mountains which remain snow-covered throughout the year, the three highest peaks visible from the lake are Muztagh Ata (7546m), Kongur Tagh (7649m) and Kongur Tiube (7530m).
I am currently “out of town” and with questionable internet capability so blog activity may be a little, how shall I put this? …intermittent! I will be checking in as circumstances allow and responding to comments and questions when possible. Thanks for your understanding. ~KD.