Rosamund & John Macfarlane, November 4th, 2020

On Wednesday 4th November Keswick Photographic Society members were treated to two fascinating talks by John and Rosamund Macfarlane titled: “Living with the Nomads and Eagle Hunters of Mongolia, and Lake District Reflections Above and Below the Water Surface” . Both are well known to the Society as Rosamund is a past Chairperson while John remains a member. John and Rosamund have travelled extensively, taking photographs as they go, and they have both achieved many photographic distinctions and awards.

John and Rosamund have visited Mongolia twice and their second visit, in the late winter of 2018, was the topic for the first half of this talk.  John began with a brief history of Mongolia which has been independent for less than 30 years. He described how they travelled in smelly, battered four-wheel drive vehicles, visiting both the central and far west areas of the country and how they stayed with several nomadic families in their traditional homes known as Gers. He went on to talk in detail about the nomadic way of life. This is now under threat, partly because of social pressures, but also because of climate change that is leading to harsher winters and drier summers which make it harder for the livestock, on which they depend, to survive.


Rosamund then provided a detailed insight in to the life of the Kazakh eagle hunters. Horses are essential to their way of life and children are taught to ride as soon as they are able to walk. She explained that there is a long tradition of hunting on horseback with eagles for foxes and wolves which provide food during the winter.


After a short break Rosamund presented a selection of her images of reflections taken in various locations in the Lake District.


John then talked about a number of images that he had taken from the unique perspective of below the water’s surface. John described how he had achieved these original images which involved, in many cases, swimming in the icy waters of the Lake District’s streams and tarns. Definitely only to be undertaken by those with a robust constitution.


This was an absorbing evening of two contrasting halves, both illustrated with superb, high quality images taken by Rosamund and John.  Both sections of the talk were full of interest and the more intrepid travellers amongst the society’s members will, no doubt, have been inspired to visit Mongolia while some of our more adventurous photographers may try John’s below the surface techniques for themselves.

Julie Walker