Blogging in real time

There are always surprises in travel and Pakistan was no exception. I say 'was' because I am on my way home, and those of you who expected to read more and see pictures have waited in vain as I and my traveling companions have been swept along on a tide of hospitality, and friendship.

My aims during the visit were to record as much as possible of the people and places we encountered through photographs and some video. This task was made more difficult by the sheer amount of visual material one comes across just walking around the block as well as the people we met who were so interesting to talk to and spend time with - late into the night when a diligent blog writer would be summing up his experiences online.

For several nights over the last week or so since between the main wedding ceremonies and the final receptions held for Junaid and Samira, we have travelled widely around Pakistan covering more territory than I had expected and meeting people at each stage of our journey who were keen to show us their country and talk about what it is to be Pakistani.

During the last week, sleep came second to a schedule of traveling by train, plane and automobiles that catapulted us deeply into the Pakistani experience. The life of this travel photographer is one of divided loyalties between an image hungry camera and the personal contact so essential to capturing something beyond the surface of a place whose colors and sounds can dazzle the viewer by their sheer volume and presence.

In the end I concentrated on the images and protecting them through storage and backup against accidental loss. This is the side of photography that few people outside the work flow understand. Cameras also need to be maintained, lenses cleaned, and batteries charged. It all takes time but I was never without the possibility to capture what was happening from a technical standpoint.

So, in the next few days I will go through the material I have collected and write short pieces with pictures that hopefully will give you some insight just how surprising this journey has been for all of us; Rene Fischer, Marc Brummund, Jane Sutt, Kristiina Kupits, Özgür Kuru and myself.

We have a lot of people to thank including Junaid and Samira's friends and family for guiding us through the experience with such care and offering us advice about how to enjoy the experience to the maximum in a culture whose norms are so different from our own.  It was remarkable.