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.
Critiques | Translate
leo61 (0) 2008-04-27 10:54
We had the first warm springweekend and you post Ice and snow...
It`s a fantastic landscapeshot,taken from a good POV.I like the curves of the lake and the turquoise tones of the ice.Great light and a nice view at these mountans.
amfdj (1986) 2008-04-27 11:32
The way you captured this frozen lake is really fantastic, David.
Beautiful light conditions and very well composed.
devimeuxbe (58557) 2008-04-27 12:17
this is a beautifull landscape. Your picture is very nice and we don't see a lot of pictures from this country. So it's also an interestin report.
smarcell (19965) 2008-04-27 12:42
A nice landscape, and a place where nature dictates the rules.
Very good POV
kensimage (8565) 2008-04-27 17:51
You DO get to some out-of-the-way places, David! This is a beautiful one, especially as you have brought it to us, with the lake spilling into the foreground all the way to the edges of your frame. Nice light, nice clouds--what more could you want? Regards, Ken.
TGULUMSER (13252) 2008-04-28 1:17
I think it must be an enjoyable and nice adventure for you to climb up here and take very nice photos,
eversmile (11636) 2008-04-28 2:15
Excellent POV, enhancing the beauty of the shapes, in the glory of a frozen light. A graceful composition. Cheers, Marine
BTW, yesterday I saw the movie "Ulzhan", from Volker Schlöndorff, filmed in Kazakhstan, a rare occasion to have a look on this country -and an enjoyable moment of cinema- so, your picture extend the pleasure... I don't know if you'll have the occasion to see the movie there but I recommand it anyway...
kschanna (6) 2008-04-28 4:34
Almatay, Kazakhstan, critiques believe it will be the land of the next conflict, I want to believe otherwise. Nature seems oblivious of that though, busy painting with its magnificence, the blue against white,
plimrn (21344) 2008-04-28 17:22
It is a big change from your frightening prervious post. It's hard to conceive that 2.5% all the plastic made is floating in the sea. I had heard of this floating garbage dump but your post really brought home its size.
This post is full of pristine beauty, yet a critiquer comments that it is predicted to be the next war zone.
In the light of these events, the loss of a piece of art is truly trivial yet my inability to have significant impact on promoting peace doesn't feel trivial at all. We really thought we'd had an impact in the 60's, but we were too naive.
So the best I can do now is to try to avoid adding to the problem,
PixelTerror (0) 2008-04-29 0:24
It does look genuinely empty and cold, and the curvy shapes of this lake offer good foreground to the mountains, excellent exposure as well.
Have a nice day JY
edal (6804) 2008-05-04 13:28
It's a photo, deserving a place in Asian geography. It's rare and of excellent quality. Congratulations!
sacavem (18620) 2008-05-06 3:40
Beautiful photo, taste very of the lakes and forests of the Canada and of course this.
Excellent POV, Very beautiful place.
With My compliments,
pboehringer (770) 2008-05-09 7:55
I can't see any sign of rubbish in your shot and that is good. A nice landscape with rubbish is a real killer and this image wouldn't deserve that at all. At least not as your previous shot done in India.
Amazing how much you get around, David. I wonder if you do this related to a job or just a convicted globetrotter.
IgorDeleze (585) 2008-05-09 8:50
Beautiful view and landscape. The frozen is realy nice.
rjb874 (597) 2008-05-14 22:35
Алматы is not a place that strikes me as having much in the way of snow covered mountains! So this is a welcome and unusual perspective. Well done.
ChrisJ (112403) 2008-05-21 0:29
A superb alpine scene, with wonderful colour & sharpness. I like the sweeping, circular curve, of the frozen lake. Tfs!
batalay (38593) 2008-05-21 18:01
End of April and still frozen. It appears like a God forsaken land, but home to the inhabitants. I imagine that most of the snow will have disappeared by now, three weeks after you shot and posted the photo. There appears to be sled track marks on the lower left corner of the ice covered lake.
riclopes (35577) 2008-05-23 5:04
Olá David, your last part of the note made me remember what I've seen in Egypt - rubish everywhere, polluting the incredible beauty of the desert...What a great photo your previous post is, but I would rather prefer to be here ;-) Even considering the cold it must have been there at 9:30 in the morning. Good thing that you didn't got there too late for the light. This time isn't the unique photo of the place in TE, but it seems to be the only capture from this POV. A very beautiful one. Excellent work as usual.
jmcl (14535) 2008-05-26 15:50
Well it feel pristine from here .. beautiful and powerful nature .. love the tone of that frozen water ... and the motion of the sky .. stark, meditative and powerful image. take care, John
jhm (151544) 2008-05-30 0:30
I like your style with this wonderful landscape picture.
The froze lake and the light snow on mountains, give a nice composition.
Pleasant picture for look it.
Very well done.
asajernigan (21427) 2008-07-26 4:36
This is a beautiful yet forbidding landscape. Your composition is fine with the inclusion of the frozen lake in the foreground balancing the snow covered mountains rising in the rear. The lighting and colors are great with nice sharpness and DOF.
AiresSantos (56155) 2008-07-27 23:25
Beautiful view of the mountains and the frozen lake.
Excellent sharpness and colours. I also like the POV and your note
TFS and greetings
feather (51130) 2008-07-30 6:00
Beautiful shot David and it certainly looks as if you made it while the light was still good. It was a good idea to include some of the shoreline in the foreground as it gives excellent depth to the scene. It does look pristine and I can only echo your comments about people taking home their rubbish. I clicked back on your link and was horrified. I get cross at our local beach when high tide brings in all kinds of rubbish often caught up in seaweed, but have never seen anything like that.
Henryk_Bilor (20799) 2008-07-31 1:08
Amazing view at the mountains and the melting ice. Lovely light and colours.
Unfortunatelly fans of beer we can find almost everywhere...
clnaef (6289) 2008-08-08 9:59
Magnifique paysage bien cadré.
man33m (61) 2008-12-27 0:54
Wild and beautiful scenery. Nice photo
Didi (60588) 2009-01-18 4:04
Very marvellous place and very good dominant POV on theese mountains.
I think that you should make a panoramic view with a large post.
Best wishes for 2009.
delkoo (68) 2009-01-18 9:42
I missed this one, Light management, contrast, color , definition and POV are simply superb, And you succeeded in making a beautiful image of this remote place.
Wandering_Dan (3449) 2009-01-19 10:20
Hi, David -
You had much better weather than we did when we were these mountains, and we never did get near this lake. It's a great shot which conveys a good sense of the altitude.
Non-photographers just do not understand, do they?
Greg1949 (9011) 2009-01-20 6:30
Davis, looks like a moon scape and the trash does not appear visible to me anyway. Color and detail are great as usual. fine capture.
jemaflor (96131) 2009-01-21 10:51
Very lovely landscape well taken with a perfect curve in the fg, nice light and colours, very well framed.
Katherine- (262) 2009-01-22 6:58
Mmmm... my favourite lake!
I've been grown up in this place!...
I love it so much!
gracious (20025) 2009-01-22 8:45
Great shot of the beautiful lake in the best time of the day!
the pov is excellent and the colour contrast simply gorgious between the lake and the wonderful sky!
thanks for the informative notes as well
my warmest regards
danyy (0) 2009-01-22 22:45
comme je vois, tu es un grand voyageur et tu nous porposes une galerie qui couvre pas mal de pays très différents. J'ai des préférences pôur les scènes de nature et c'est pourquoi j'aime cette photo pour l'aspect insolite de la scène. Des couleurs vraiment magnifiques, fortes et naturelles, une profondeur bien rendue et la netteté parfaite.
De quoi se croire au bon milieu de cet endroit.
hatti52 (12786) 2009-01-23 10:49
wonderful landscape shot with beautiful colurs and excellent sharpness
yso (4146) 2009-01-24 5:29
Nice composition with the curve of the lake, impressive mother Nature !
bakes888 (18499) 2009-01-25 22:40
Hi David. Cold! But beautiful. Nice capture, good detail and colours. The wonderful sky adds interest to the scene also. Thanks for sharing.
Have a good week, Paul.
mtrajkovski (411) 2009-04-17 15:20
PainDivine69 (175) 2009-10-20 2:30
lovely photo with great sharpness and details!
random_man (66) 2011-01-10 16:16
Great photo - looks an amazing place to visit!
mkamionka (35936) 2012-01-07 21:48
I see you are no longer active on TE.
I just came across your gallery looking for some photos of Kazakhstan.
Beautiful capture here, amazing light and colors indeed. I know what you mean: even if I would like to get to a POV sooner, being with other people on vacations makes it sometimes impossible.
The view is fantastic, I have seen the lake photographed from some other POVs and it seems like a wonderful very photogenic place.
Thanks for sharing it.
- Copyright: David Astley (banyanman) (7789)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2008-04-27
- Categories: Nature
- Camera: Nikon D200, Nikkor AF-S 12-24mm f/4G ED, Circular PL
- Exposure: f/8, 1/250 seconds
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Date Submitted: 2008-04-27 10:49
- Favorites: 1 [view]