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Interview: Landscapes and Cultures of Pakistan

Meet Danial Shah. A photographer in the much misunderstood country of Pakistan. Usually in the news for all the wrong reasons and with the recent major flood disasters we decided it was time to find out more about this mysterious country. We had a chat with Danial on his views of the real Pakistan.

What moment in your life made you love travel so much?

I’ve been traveling since childhood, but a short trip to the upper northern areas of Pakistan back in 2005 made me realize that this world was created for you not to sit stagnant but to explore. The nature there made me realize that what I have been missing all my life and I decided to began my exploration right away.

What has been the most memorable moment on your travels so far?

I always prefer to travel alone but I keep a contact with friends and family via internet and telecommunication. I had a visit to the Kalash Valleys of Pakistan up in the Hindukush Mountains back in May 2009 where I got completely cut off from the world for few days. I spent time with myself, the valley, the mountains, had lots of teas in the moonlight gazing stars while listening to the sound of water splashes in the stream nearby. Watching the last rays of dusk hitting the snow capped peaks of the Himalaya Mountains made me fell in love with nature. I still miss that time. I so want that time back :)

Pakistan is a very misunderstood country. What’s the real Pakistan like?

Every place is both safe and unsafe. The thing you don’t know will never hurt you. That’s what I believe. Pakistan is a beautiful country; you can experience a complete change in weather from extreme hot in the southern part to the extreme freezing cold up in the northern Himalayan part within no time. It’s full of nature.

I have many friends from abroad visiting and exploring Pakistan every year, which happens to be safe for them. Majority of the people here are hospitable and love the tourists from abroad but you have to take extra care of their culture that we have to do in every country.

One suggestion I would like to give: never ever trust media. Media majorly shows the bad side of everything, but the good side has always a weight.

What is your favourite travel photography?

I love to capture nature, specially landscapes, sunsets and the sunrises. My favorite place is the northern parts of Pakistan known as Gilgit-Baltistan. You’ll get to see millions of breath taking landscapes that involves nature such as Mountains, snow, sunsets, greenery, rocks, waterfalls etc.

What advice would you give to people thinking of travelling in Pakistan?

Just travel. Don’t think. It’s a beautiful country. Just take certain precautions (like you do for every country you are traveling to). Visit places such the upper northern parts, Drive to the Karakoram Highway, experience the Kalash Culture in the mountains of Hindukush, enjoy the breath taking views of the highest peaks in the world such as K2, Nanga Parbat and Rakaposhi.

Do you have any advice for people wanting to take better travel photography?

There is one simple advice that I always give to my students: “Observe”. You don’t just have to click. Choose the best timing and frame for you. Talk to the people, wander into the markets and try the local food. Once you’ll get yourself mixed into the place, you’ll have a better idea of taking photos.

And lastly, can you describe how travelling makes each of you feel personally?

For me, Traveling is learning along with pleasure. It makes me feel relaxed and to the extreme of my creativity. I personally feel that there is no better education than traveling. It makes me learn about places, people and culture more thoroughly and practically than anything else.

Check out Danial Shah’s website at www.iexplorepakistan.com

If you’d like to be interviewed about your inspiring travel stories please contact us

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