Soaring into Kazakhstan

Photo © Bob Krist

We were supposed to go to Uzbekistan as part of our Silk Road adventure, but there’s a State Department travel warning (or was) so we flew into Kazakhstan instead.

Yes, Kazakhstan: the country made infamous by Sacha Baron Cohen, aka, Borat.

So everybody kind of modified their expectations and our first view of Almaty, the main city, didn’t do anything to lift them. But then we started touring around, and Kazakhstan turned out to be a sleeper hit on the last leg of this long jet journey.

We visited a falconer (where I shot the above sea eagle, D90, 70-300mm VR, Vivid jpeg, ISO 400, Aperture Priority wide open) and got great looks at a variety of raptors, attended an Orthodox  service in the Cathedral of the Assumption in the main park, heard a variety of unique folk instruments playing haunting melodies at the music museum.

We hit a big open market where all the vendors were friendly and open to being photographed, and ate some great food. Authentic and as yet unspoiled by mass tourism, K’stan is on my bucket list to come back and explore in depth. For a look at some of the situations that convinced me that Sacha Baron Cohen was all wet, hit the jump.

Photo © Bob Krist

Photo © Bob Krist

Photo © Bob Krist

Photo © Bob Krist

Photo © Bob Krist

Photo © Bob Krist

Photo © Bob Krist

All Photos: D90’s with 16-85VR and 70-300VR lenses.

As far as I can see, Borat got it all wrong. It’s cool to be in Kazakhstan!

Next stop: Armenia!  I’ll keep you posted

This entry was posted in Destinations, Ironies, Photo Gear, Photo Techniques, Travel.


  1. Skunk April 30, 2010 at 11:45 am #

    I’d love to go to Baikonur, which is kind of like the Soviet’s Kennedy Space Center. I wonder if it is open to tourists yet?

    • Bob April 30, 2010 at 11:56 am #

      Skunk: There are all kinds of tours to the Space Center….it’s a big tourist attraction….Bob

      • Skunk May 5, 2010 at 3:40 am #

        Thanks for the update! My intel must be stale.

  2. Aileen Ah-Tye April 30, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

    Great pix, Bob. Beautiful, classic lighting, especially the people shots. The falcon is mighty impressive – there’s a story there. I’m jealous – to get all those pix in one take. You must have been pretty gratified looking at the photos in the viewer.

  3. Ilya Genkin April 30, 2010 at 6:52 pm #

    Many thanks for the photos and the story, Bob! I know very well the church and the market from your photos.

  4. Elliot April 30, 2010 at 9:29 pm #

    Male officer wearing hat: awesome picture.

  5. Kevin May 1, 2010 at 6:54 am #

    Great pics Bob if I were you I would get back before it is over run by tourists

  6. arun May 1, 2010 at 7:11 am #

    I dig the capture of the older women – just imagine all the stories they can share about their lives !

  7. bernardo galmarini May 2, 2010 at 10:19 am #

    Hi Bob!

    I loved the last three portraits specially! The woman playing the strange viola, looks like a Vermeer ´s painting!
    best regards!


    • Bob May 2, 2010 at 11:06 am #

      Bernardo! Great to hear from you. Hope all is well. I’m looking forward to getting home….I’m more tired now than I was at the end of our Buenos Aires assignment!
      Please give my best to Mercedes. ciao, Bob

      • bernardo May 4, 2010 at 8:08 pm #

        Hi Bob! I m fine, thanks! There are many ways to be tired… And travelling with your camera making great pictures is one of the best ways! 😉
        Best regards,


        • Bob May 4, 2010 at 11:50 pm #

          Bernardo: You have a very good point! I’m flying home this morning. all the best, Bob

  8. Matt Welsh May 3, 2010 at 10:24 am #

    I love the image of the ladies on the bench – The one on the right looks like she’s going to start a fight with you after she swallows her drink. Classic!

    Do you speak any Russian? I was wondering how your communication went there? Any problems?

    • Bob May 3, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

      Matt: No Russian on my part. Communication wasn’t too much of a problem as a lot of English is spoken. The rest is the universal language of gestures and pantomime! Bob

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