renan_ozturk Ode to @ben_knight - I'm sorry you may have been victim to my greatest sandbag of all time... Sorry about my 15 duffel bags and the gear anxiety associated. Sorry your first Nepal experience started in violent sickness, sweltering jungle hikes, the worst leech territory I've ever experienced and this shaman ritual with the shocking bloody sacrifice of a pig and 4 chickens before your eyes. Sorry to bring you on an expedition led by another Ben so you were constantly disappointed that the Ben everyone was asking for was not usually you, and you ended up tuning out anybody saying the name 'Ben' by the end of the trip. Most of all sorry for telling you it was going to be NBD to shoot your first high-angle shoot while free hanging in space getting swarmed by oversized black Himalayan bees, engulfed in smoke, and encumbered by a claustrophobic astronaut uniform. That said, there's no one else in the world I would have been lucky enough to have as Director and DP of the film. Cheers to the journey continuing. #thelasthoneyhunter @natgeo #feltsoulmedia #sandbag #ultraprime 6h

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renan_ozturk After dinner I took a solo late night stroll through the village...the potential for imagery is an around the clock affair on these types of assignments which push and pull you between exhaustion and invigoration. First I passed a cell phone shop then a strange night club looking restaurant amidst the cracked mud-walled homes. This young kid's eyes locked with mine like a bouncer at a NYC night club guarding the inner VIP lair. For a shamanistic village with almost zero tourism you don't have to walk far to have the new and old clash... @NatGeo #TheLastHoneyHunter assignment ~

For a deeper story written by @m_synnott about how this image relates to our story visit the @natgeo feed. ~

@sonyalpha A7sii 10,000 iso, 24-70 gmaster zoom.
#brightlights #tinyvillage #camp4pix #nepaliloveyou
1d

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renan_ozturk "A young man comes back to earth after harvesting fodder from local trees for his livestock. In villages like Sotang, villagers know they can create more firewood and feed for their animals by constantly harvesting small amounts. Science also supports this, showing that this method yields far higher rates of biomass over time than from cutting whole trees." ~

Caption by expedition leader @jetbutterflies (Ben Ayers). Stories like the @NatGeo #TheLastHoneyHunter come together after lots of research and lifetimes of experience. Ben has lived in Nepal for the last 18 years doing non-profit work for Porters Progress and now @dzifoundation. His relationship with the Kulunge people spans a decade of remote aid in sanitation, agriculture and education. He is even the godfather of a boy whose life he helped save after a difficult childbirth. For insider Nepal knowledge and more on our adventure give him a follow. #ancientknowledge #lasthoneyhunter #nepalphotoproject #onassignment #nepaliloveyou
2d

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renan_ozturk To be a honey hunter in the Kulung Rai animistic culture you have to be selected by spirits in a dream... Caption by @m_synnott - ~ “I saw two beautiful women, and I liked them,” says Mauli Dhan, sitting cross-legged beside his smoky hearth, where a pot of water buffalo stew bubbles over a bed of glowing red corn cobs. “Suddenly I found myself trapped in a spider web on the side of a cliff. I was struggling to get free when I saw a large white monkey above me. It dropped its tail down, and the women helped me to grab it. Then the monkey lifted me up, and I escaped.” ~
It’s been 42 years since Maule had this fateful dream, but he remembers it like it was yesterday. He had it the night after he assisted his father for the first time with a honey harvest. When he recounted it the next morning, his father told him that the monkey was Rangkemi, the guardian spirit of bees. Rangkemi had chosen Maule, who was 15 at the time, to be a honey hunter. ~
In the decades since, Maule has risked his life every spring and fall to harvest honey from the same cliffs his father did a generation ago. As Maule takes a deep drag on a cigarette rolled in a dried corn husk, his bloodshot, cloudy eyes tell the story of man who is worn out. “I’m tired, and I don’t want to do it any more,” he says. “People who climb cliffs are idiots. The only reason I do it is because I’m poor. Now my kids go to school, so they won’t have to do it - and I won’t let them.” ~
@natgeo #thelasthoneyhunter assignment with @jetbutterflies @ben_knight @taylorfreesolo @m_synnott @camp4collective #feltsoulmedia @sonyalpha @gtechnology #gmaster85 #nepaliloveyou
3d
  •   theriver_runsdeep @erinhampton728 peep the caption ya honey bear 3d
  •   perthperson Fantastic story - thanks renan_ozturk 3d
  •   unfetter_ @shriistee read this. 2d
  •   xojane10 A friend from India says this honey is sold for 1000$ and is believed to cure any disease. Bring back a truck load so Jared and I can retire we are taking the detour from old age and are gonna need some thing to keep us entertained in our long long youth. Hey!! It's happening ;))) 2d

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renan_ozturk "When We Where Knights" - One of the most personal and meaningful videos @camp4collective has created. Cool to see @ansonfogel realize the power in this story and go through the difficult process to bring it to life. Link to full 12 minute film in profile. @mattblanket @slanders_ 4d

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renan_ozturk Dripping honey just after the harvest. Here is more info on its hallucinogenic nature from our writer and old @thenorthface adventure buddy @m_synnott - ~Sweet Poison~ "When I first started selling wild honey, the price was extremely high," says Jenge, the local Kulung trader who has always managed the Sadhi honey hunters. "Then someone in Korea ate too much and died. That killed the market." -

The psychotropic effects of the honey result from graynotoxins in the flowers of the local rhododendron trees, which bloom on north facing hillsides each April. -
The "correct" dose varies according to the strength of the honey. This year's harvest: 1/4 teaspoon. According to Jenge, once administered you have a few minutes before you are overcome with an urgent need to defecate, urinate and vomit. "Normally we have to see a doctor to get bad things taken out of our bodies," says Jenge, "but the honey does this for us. That's why we take it." -

After the purge, "you alternate between light and dark. You can see and then you can't see." A sound, which Jenge describes as "jam jam jam" pulses, like the drone of a bee hive, in your head. Then you lose all motor function. "The paralysis lasts for a day or so," says Jenge. -

This morning, Jenge gave us each a small plastic Coke bottle full of the milky orange honey. The question is - who will be the first in our group to give it a try? -

@NatGeo @reddigitalcinema @switronix @gtechnology @sandisk @radiantimages @camp4collective #feltsoulmedia #thelasthoneyhunter
5d

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renan_ozturk It was true, we didn't see a single westerner the whole time. Words of wisdom by expedition leader @jetbutterflies -- The Kulung Rai village of Sadhi is only a few miles as the crow flies away from the popular Everest Base Camp trekking route, but could be in another universe. The deep Hongu river valley has kept Sadhi and the neighboring communities in relative isolation for centuries - nurturing a unique culture and language that is found nowhere else on Earth. Only a few foreigners visit this region each year, if any at all. ~

Sadhi is the setting for our @natgeo #thelasthoneyhunter expedition, where we are following a group of local men as they climb impossible cliffs to harvest a hallucinogenic honey. The road less traveled is nearly always the most interesting. ~

@taylorfreesolo @ben_knight @m_synnott @climber.abiral
6d

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renan_ozturk The size of the hives was surreal! Part of the @natgeo #thelasthoneyhunter assignment documenting the dwindling honey hunter culture of the Kulung Rai, Nepal. ~

@carlzeisslenses #batis18 @sonyalpha @gtechnology @switronix @sandisk @camp4collective @radiantimages #feltsoulmedia #camp4pix
7d

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renan_ozturk Growing up in the steep jungle mountains, certain skills are just innate. Like making nearly anything out of bamboo. In this situation, the Nepal earthquake had wiped out the trail to get to our second honey cliff and so our team of Kulung Rai Nepalis kicked into action. In less than a day they constructed three bamboo bridges over the raging river. The artistry and teamwork involved was a mesmerizing sight. Part of the adventure during our @natgeo #thelasthoneyhunter expedition. ~

@ben_knight @m_synnott @taylorfreesolo @jetbutterflies @sonyalpha @carlzeisslenses @gtechnology @switronix @reddigitalcinema @radiantimages
1w

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renan_ozturk The team just got back to the village after a few days hunting honey in the remote jungle... // Caption by writer @m_synnott: Renan and I are dangling in space 200 feet above the jungle. Thousands of bees fill the air around us. The sound, a rhythmic, pulsing drone, is all encompassing - and like nothing I've ever experienced or felt. Before we rappelled down the cliff, Maule Dhan had warned us: no matter what happens - stay calm. Bees can sense fear, he said, and it makes them angry. ~

But when the bees start to cover my suit, thrusting their stingers through the mesh hood that protects my face, a primal fear begins to well in the pit of my stomach. I fight to maintain my composure - and to assist Renan in documenting this otherworldly scene. ~

Maule, on the other hand, is unfazed. For him it is just another day at the office. To harvest a hive like this one, he uses a long bamboo pole that he levers under his arm pit as if jousting with the bees. He pokes cotter pin-like pegs through the six-foot-wide, half-moon shaped hives, then attaches the pegs to a bamboo rope managed by an assistant above. The final step is to sever the hive from the wall. ~

As it pendulums through the air, the hive bounces off Renan and I, splattering us in honey. Maule cries out 'Yuwa ke!' "(it has fallen!)" This call, echoed by the other honey hunters, rings out across the jungle, while the hive is carefully lowered to the ground. ~

Before moving on to the next hive, Maule pulls back his veil - his only protection against the bees - and flashes Renan and I a toothy, knowing smile. He doesn't say anything, and nor do we. ~

Shot #OnAssignment during the @NatGeo #TheLastHoneyHunter expedition with @taylorfreesolo @jetbutterflies @ben_knight @camp4collective @sonyalpha @gtechnology @switronix @radiantimages @reddigitalcinema @carlzeisslenses @thenorthface @revo
1w

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renan_ozturk Behind the scenes #OnAssignment for the @NatGeo #TheLastHoneyHunter story. Words by expedition leader @jetbutterflies: "Renan stepped over the cliff edge and disappeared into a cloud of smoke and bees. Somewhere thirty feet below was a man on a bamboo ladder, madly chipping away at massive wild bee hives. Two hundred feet below him, the ground. I had been dreaming of this moment for ten years - to be able to witness my friend Maule Dhan Kulung from up close, and to take part in documenting his story. But in that exact moment, my dream had become something of a nightmare.
I rappelled over the edge and soon found myself alongside Renan, both of us dangling in a smoky universe of stone and honeybees. We spun in slow circles, swimming with our legs and pushing off one another in an attempt to keep ourselves orientated towards the cliff and Maule - now only feet away. In my tunnel vision and fear, I had forgotten to grab a belay seat and my legs quickly went numb.

We hung and captured images of Maule as he scraped and swung across the cliff face, covered in angry bees. When we finally rappelled to the ground, I was nearly crawling -my legs still numb from my harness; but also from humility, gratitude, joy." @ben_knight @m_synnott @jetbutterflies @taylorfreesolo @camp4collective #feltsoulmedia
2w

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renan_ozturk We are finally settling into the Kulung Rai village here in eastern Nepal after the whirlwind of travel, sicknesses and raw culture shock of this animistic village. In our first few days here we have experienced overwhelming kindness, the presence of forest spirits, animal sacrifice and other shaman ritual mayhem. It's been a little overwhelming at times but also extremely peaceful wandering around the fields of this subsistence way of life. In this moment sitting in the golden wheat terraces as the villagers hum sweet melodies and harvest crop below the 7000m Himalayan peak Chamlang. #onassignment for @natgeo for #thelasthoneyhunter story. ~

@ben_knight @m_synnott @taylorfreesolo @sonyalpha @gtechnology @switronix @radiantimages @sandisk @reddigitalcinema @thenorthface #camp4pix #feltsoulmedia
2w

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renan_ozturk Day 4 of our @natgeo #thelasthoneyhunter expedition. Natdijina Kulung looks into the camera in the remote village of Sadhi in Eastern Nepal. Her gold earrings (malbare) and her nose ring (bulaki) display the fact that she is married. They also display that she is from the Kulung tribe - a group only found in the Hongu river valley, and their culture and language are at risk of disappearing with encroaching modernization. - wisdom from expedition leader @jetbutterflies. ~

@ben_knight @m_synnott @sonyalpha @gtechnology @switronix @radiantimages @sandisk @thenorthface #onassignment #ancientfutures #camp4pix #feltsoulmedia
3w

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renan_ozturk 5am, Kathmandu. All of the challenges that come with moving equipment, people, and ideas across the world slip away as we start out on the first of three days of hard travel to reach the village of Sadhi in way remote Eastern Nepal. We are rushing to arrive in time to join a man who is one of the last of the Kulung tribe to harvest a hallucinogenic honey from jungle cliffs, protected only by the forest spirits that come to him in his dreams. ~

Pictured here, a woman finds a moment to pray as the first rays of sunlight strike the ancient city of Patan. Next to her, the remains of a #photoktm installation commemorating those lost in the great earthquake just one short year ago. [caption by expedition leader @jetbutterflys] #OnAssignment #TheLastHoneyHunter #nepaliloveyou @m_synnott @ben_knight @camp4collective
3w

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renan_ozturk Catching a few zzzz in the middle of it the travel push to Kathmandu. It is serious when we say one of the biggest creative parts of our job is moving all of this equipment around the world. Learning (and relearning) the media rates, weight limits, lithium battery laws and reaches of the sleepless mind is an ever changing beast! Looking forward to getting through this and meeting up with @ben_knight @jetbutterflies and @m_synnott. We will be shooting with the honey hunters of Nepal, an iconic @natgeo cover story shot by Eric Valli and Diane Summers 28 years ago. Now, we are documenting what seems to be the last of the trade. #thelasthoneyhunter 3w
  •   abirdisabird I am lucky enough to own a book of the photos shot by Eric Valli; it is one of my treasured possessions. The magic captured in those photos, the story leave me feeling very quiet. I have really enjoyed following your recording of this place and these people, to know where they are now. Thank you! 2w
  •   chevy_guy_nm Be safe... 1w
  •   klichbek Renan are you Turkish? Just for curiosity... 1w

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renan_ozturk Some pre-departure gear shots are messier than others. Pulling an all nighter to get out the door to Nepal today for a new @natgeo expedition adventure. Lots of cutting edge toys to play with and at the same time not distract us from the heart of the story of the #lasthoneyhunter with @ben_knight @jetbutterflies @m_synnott ~

@reddigitalcinema @gtechnology @switronix @sonyalpha @radiantimages @freeflysystems @quadrocopter @sandisk @djiglobal
4w

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renan_ozturk If you missed the @natgeochannel Explorer TV show on our #MyanmarClimb expedition that just aired it's also free online! See link in profile... ~

We were depleted. I pointed a dirty and scratched lens (first generation @sonyalpha A7s with a Sony/Zeiss 24-70) into the sun as @coryrichards raced the sunlight back to our high camp. The unthinkable happened as most of our climbing gear was dropped off the mountain and we chopped a rope in half on rappel, the unraveling when you push to the brink and leave nothing left for the way down. In a lot of ways it was a 'walk of shame' crawling back home with our tails between our legs in every way...but in the end an unforgettable adventure with @hilareeoneill @taylorfreesolo @authormarkjenkins @emilyaharrington ~

Big thanks to @drewness17 and his team who really gave a clearer understanding of the stakes of this endeavor. What started out as a scientific mission to determine the highest peak in SE Asia became a deeper story of humans pushed to the edge...each with deeply personal motivations and fears. @thenorthface @natgeo @camp4collective @sadiequarrier #walkofshame #pointofnoreturn #natgeoexplorer
4w

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renan_ozturk The TV version of the @natgeo @thenorthface Burma expedition premieres @natgeochannel very soon...tune in at 8/7c! I don't have TV but figured I'd plug it again. ~

Pictured here: This was our morning activity when in remote Burma jungle villages. Search for the sunrise facing latticed bamboo huts that might produce epic light rays...then awkwardly try to invite ourselves in and become invisible to document the magic of the morning routines. #myanmarclimb @coryrichards @taylorfreesolo @emilyaharrington @hilareeoneill @authormarkjenkins @sonyalpha @camp4collective #fomas #godrays
4w

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renan_ozturk Psyched to see "Point of No Return" the hour long TV cut of our #MyanmarClimb expedition which premieres tonight @natgeochannel at 8/7c as part of the Explorer show. @drewness17 and his team really gave a clearer understanding of the stakes of this emotional endeavor. What started out as a scientific mission to determine the highest peak in SE Asia became a deeper story of humans pushed to the edge...each with deeply personal motivations and fears. ~

Here @coryrichards deals with a rope cluster**ck on the descent. @hilareeoneill @authormarkjenkins @emilyaharrington @taylorfreesolo @thenorthface @reddigitalcinema @sonyalpha
4w

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renan_ozturk A proud Yak returning home from Everest base camp after dropping off a massive load. As I've said before, if all else fails being a pro Yak herder in the Himalaya would be peaceful career to persue. #nepaliLoveyou #tashidelek #camp4pix 1mon

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