Video: Ulaanbaatar Time Lapse

I’ve been trying my hand at time lapse photography since I arrived in Mongolia. I took a big hiatus during the winter since I wasn’t very interested in standing still for 40 minutes in -30 degree C temperatures (nor was my camera, for that matter). But, since it’s been warming up, I have been trying to get back into it.

I have a hit list of sites around Ulaanbaatar that I want to capture including, but not limited to, the Chinggis face on the mountain south of town, more people walking around during the day in Sukhbaatar Square and near the State Department Store, the Lenin Statue, the Sukhbaatar Statue, traffic at night from various vantage points, the big Mongolian flag near the stadium, Gandan Monastery at various times of day, and the Circus at sunset.

If you have any suggestions, please feel free to share!

Here is a collection of the shots I’ve amassed so far:

Snowscape

Video: Time Lapse of Ulaanbaatar, Winter is Here

Thursday night marked the beginning of winter here in Ulaanbaatar. It began snowing around 10:00 and that is when the temperature really dropped. That’s not to say it won’t get colder, I’m pretty positive it will, but there was the change from 30-ish degrees F to 15-ish degrees F felt dramatic.

I finally cracked and pulled out my extra big winter coat and am even wearing my long underwear today. I was hoping to resist wearing the coat, so that when I really did need it, the added warmth would feel like a relief. But then I realized that cold is cold and there is no use fighting. I don’t think I’m the only one. I’m noticing people are a bit more bundled up now, walking a little faster, and there seem to be fewer people out on the street.

Snow and cold aren’t the only indicators that winter has arrived. I popped by the State Department Store (a central landmark in UB) on Friday afternoon to buy a warm hat and scarf and was surprised to see a massive Christmas tree had been erected in front of the building. Inside I heard an unending playlist of American Christmas tunes and saw piles of ornaments for sale. It reminded me of the Christmas craze I saw in Nanjing, China back in 2006. Neither Mongolia nor China have large enough Christian populations for such obvious Christmas spirit to really make sense. I noticed that I felt the same way when I walked into the State Department Store on Friday, that I felt in Nanjing at this time of year: homesick. I’ve only been here for three weeks, and I’m not eager to get back to the United States. But there’s something about the empty acknowledgement of such a nostalgic holiday that really makes me wish I could be home for Christmas. Rather than ignoring the Christmas season, or flat out pretending it doesn’t exist, I am bombarded with reminders. What’s more, it’s a purely commercial portrayal of Christmas, which is the worst! One of my favorite songstresses, Erin McKeown, recently released a new anti-holiday album called “F*ck That”. I think she would appreciate my holiday experience this year.

But, the change in seasons does have its advantages. The light dusting of snow changed the look of the city for a few days. For the first time since I’ve arrived, I began to feel at home here. Maybe it’s because of my Minnesotan/Iowan roots, but I find snow to be incredibly comforting. It covers the dusty, brown roads and gives everything a momentary cleansing look.

This weekend also marked the end of my introduction to Ulaanbaatar. After spending three weeks with a fantastic host family, I’ve moved in with a handful of young adults (two Australians and one Mongolia) in the city center. But, I managed to get a few opportunities to take some time lapse photography from the balcony before I left.

Video: Ulaanbaatar at Dusk

This week has proved to be quite a bit busier than expected (more in the next post). I haven’t had time to put much thought into a real post, but for now I wanted to share this video. It’s the view from the apartment where I’m staying. Ulaanbaatar is a wide and narrow city, and this was taken just west of the city center.