The Sacred India Photography Expedition™ 2017

Northern India, October 2017

Photography Expeditions in India - The Sacred India Photography Expedition™ - Varanasi Photo Expedition - Hindu pilgrims on the banks of the Ganges, Varanasi, India. Photo: © Dariusz Klemens
Photography Expeditions in India - The Sacred India Photography Expedition™ - Varanasi Photography Workshop - India Photo Expedition - View of the Ganges at Varanasi, India. Photo: © Dariusz Klemens

Timed to coincide with two mayor Hindu festivities that draw scores of pilgrims to the banks of the Ganges, India’s most venerated river, the Sacred India Photography Expedition™ is an intense photographic journey to some of the key historical and religious sites on the subcontinent on the occasion of Diwali, India’s most prominent Hindu festival.


EXPEDITION’S OUTLINE

Embracing the towns of Varanasi, Haridwar and Rishikesh, three of the most important Hindu pilgrimage centres in India, as well as Amritsar – home of the Golden Temple, the centre of the Sikh religion – this Expedition focuses on the theme of the ‘sacred‘ and offers the opportunity to photograph two major Hindu festivals, including Diwali, the ancient Indian Festival of Lights that sees millions of diyas (oil lamps) glowing in every house and temple on the darkest night of autumn, in a symbolic celebration of the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil.

Timed to provide outstanding photographic opportunities throughout, the Expedition is crafted to enable participants to photograph these religious events against the sumptuous background of the historical towns of Haridwar, and Varanasi, two of the seven holiest places to Hindus, where throngs of devotees gather on these auspicious occasions to make religious offerings and bathe in the redeeming waters of the River Ganges.

pilgrim-varanasi-morning-sun

An intense, fourteen-day long workshop, the Sacred India Photography Expedition™ is specifically designed for photographers with a strong interest in portraying people and religious ritual, who want to experience India at its most spiritual and intense, and explore the subject of ‘devotion’ through their lens.

The Expedition is complemented by an additional 5-day-long street and architecture photography workshop in Delhi and Agra. This takes place before the Expedition and has as its focus the capital’s most important Mughal monuments – including Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India, and the Taj Mahal, in Agra, the mausoleum that, perhaps more than any other building, as come to symbolise India in the Western imagination.

CONTEXT & OPPORTUNITIES

THE GANGES – THE RIVER THAT HOLDS INDIA’S HEART CAPTIVE

ganges_at-rishikesh-photography-workshops-india

Originating in an ice cave in the western Himalayas, the mighty River Ganges flows eastwards through the northern plains of India for some 2500 km, before draining into the Bay of Bengal, where its waters combine with those of the Brahmaputra River to form the largest delta in the world.

Instrumental to the agricultural economy of India as a perennial source of irrigation, the Ganges occupies an equally central place in the Indian system of beliefs and, by extension, in Indian culture. As Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, observed:

The Ganges, above all is the river of India, which has held India’s heart captive and drawn uncounted millions to her banks since the dawn of history. The story of the Ganges, from her source to the sea, from old times to new, is the story of India’s civilization and culture …

varanasi-mosque-ganges-photo-workshop

Mentioned in the Rig-Veda, the earliest of the Hindu scriptures, the Ganges is sacred to Hindus, who revere it as the goddess Ganga. Bathing in its waters is believed to purify all sins and aid in the attainment of ‘moksha‘, freedom from the unending cycle of death and re-birth that every devout Hindu seeks.

Though the Ganges is considered sacred along every part of its course, as ‘tirthas’ – sacred river crossings that facilitate the transition between the mundane and the divine – the ancient towns of Varanasi and Haridwar, are held to be two of the most auspicious places in which to bathe in the river and offer prayers.

If, for most Hindus, life is incomplete without bathing in the Ganges at least once in their lifetime, doing so at the most propitious spots during important festivals combines the spiritual benefits of the particular celebration with the promise of eternal bliss offered by the sacred locations themselves.

varanasi-evening-puja-photography-workshop

During particular festivals, therefore, these pilgrimage centres become the site of mass ritualistic bathing as devotees flock to the river to make religious offerings and immerse themselves in its holy waters at the most favourable time.

Considered sacred in their own right, Varanasi and Haridwar attract vast numbers of pilgrims; together with Rishikesh, the towns form three of the most significant places in the religious geography of Hinduism, and are, therefore, ideal sites where to witness and visually explore the theme of the sacred in India.

It is for this reason that these locations feature prominently in the Expedition’s itinerary. After photographing Diwali in Haridwar, we photograph a second, major Hindu festival that is of particular significance to women, in Varanasi; dedicated to Lord Surya, the Hindu Sun god, the festival lasts for four days and sees thousands of Hindu women dressed in their finest gather on the river banks to give prayers and offerings to the rising sun.

To ensure access to the best, as well as the most, photographic opportunities that each festival presents, the timing of our stay in Haridwar and Varanasi is set to coincide with the greatest influx of pilgrims to these locations.

In contrast to the second part of the Expedition, which is devoted to exploring Hindu religious ritual along the Ganges, the first part of the workshop focuses on the devotional activities that take place in and around The Golden Temple, in Amritsar, the seat of the Sikh religion.

THE JOURNEY

AMRITSAR’S GOLDEN TEMPLE – The spiritual capital of Sikhism

sikh-pilgrim-golden-temple-at-night-402

Our photographic journey begins in the town of Amritsar, in the northern state of Punjab, the spiritual and cultural centre of the Sikh religion.

Founded as a reformist movement from within the Hindu fold by Guru Nanak in the 16th century, Sikhism is the fourth largest faith group in India.

In Amritsar, the focus of our photographic exploration is the celebrated Golden Temple, or Harimandir, a huge architectural structure that lies at the heart of the Sikh world. Rising out a holy water tank, the marble temple, whose walls are inlaid with floral patterns, supports a massive golden dome gilded with 100 kg of pure gold.

sikh-pilgrim-amritsar-golden-temple

For followers of Sikhism, the temple is as sacred as Mecca is for Muslims – every devout Sikh makes at least one pilgrimage to the Golden Temple in their lifetime to pray to the Guru Granth Sahib, Sikhism’s holiest text, that is enshrined within the temple, and to bathe in the waters of the ‘Amritsar’, the lake of ‘immortal nectar’ that surrounds it, from which the city takes its name.

From a photographer’s perspective, the Golden Temple, which welcomes people of all faiths, presents excellent opportunities. As the temple never closes, life within its precinct goes on undisturbed day and night, with pilgrims continuously coming and going, praying, bathing, and meditating within a spectacular architectural setting, in all light conditions.

sikh-pilgrim-bathing-at-the-holy-lake-amritsar

Accordingly, during the workshop, we explore the Golden Temple throughout its 24-hour cycle of activities, with extensive day and night-time shoots, enabling participants to observe the singular atmosphere and multifaceted character of this unique religious shrine.

DIWALI IN HARIDWAR

Beyond Amritsar, our photographic exploration of religious ritual in northern India continues 400 km south-east, to the holy town of Haridwar, in the state of Uttarakhand.

One of India’s foremost pilgrimage centres, Haridwar lies at the base of the Sivalik Hills, at the point where, after cutting through its last gorge, the Ganges leaves the foothills of the Himalayas and enters the plains of northern India to begin its long journey east, to the Bay of Bengal.

Entering the waters of the Ganges at Haridwar, where the current is so strong that bathers have to grasp to anchored chains so as not be carried away, is considered particularly auspicious.

Sanctified in Hindu scriptures as the place where Lord Vishnu, the god of preservation and protection, left his footprints on the riverbank, Haridwar is a Sapta Puri, one of the seven most sacred places to Hindus, where moksha, the final release from reincarnation, can be obtained.

It is here that we photograph Diwali, the Festival of Lights that celebrates the triumph of light over darkness and, symbolically, of knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil.

Also known as Deepavali, the Sanskrit word meaning ‘rows of lighted lamps’ from which the festival takes its name, Diwali extends over a period of five days, during which, houses, shops and streets are decorated with coloured lights and rows of small oil lamps called diyas.

The most popular religious festival in India as well as in South Asia, Diwali is celebrated with great fervour in Haridwar, where the festivities are accompanied by extravagant fire-works displays that reflect in the waters of the Ganges as it flows past the riverside temples and sacred ghats for which the town is recognized.

The focal point of the festivities is Har ki Pauri ghat, the most revered spot in town, where thousands of pilgrims from across the subcontinent converge to attend the evening prayer ceremony of Ganga Aarti.

In addition to the Diwali festivities, during our time in Haridwar, we explore different sacred and secular aspects of the life of this venerable town – from the activities that constantly unfold along its riverbanks, where many come to immerse the ashes of their departed, to the bustle of the lively bazaars that cater to the town’s unceasing influx of pilgrims.

THE sādhus AND YOGIS OF RISHIKESH

From Haridwar, our photographic journey continues to the nearby pilgrimage town of Rishikesh. Situated in the foothills of the Himalaya, at 400 m of altitude, Rishikesh, one of the most sacred places in India, enjoys a dramatic setting.

It is here that, after flowing for some 250 km through the Himalayas – the ‘Abode of the Gods’, where the Ganges is born – the river emerges from the mountains and begins to course through the lower reaches of the Sivaliks, the outermost hills of the Himalaya.

Linked by two suspension bridges that span the clear, ice blue waters of the Ganges as it rushes towards the plains, affording magnificent views of the river, the town extends on both sides of the Ganges, surrounded by forested hills, in an environment of quiet retreat considered ideal for yoga and meditation.

The starting point of the Chota Char Dham, one of the most important Hindu pilgrimage circuits in India, Rishikesh has long been on the path of wandering ascetics; in search of higher knowledge, since ancient times, sages, saints, and holy men have come here to meditate and bathe in the Ganges’ bitingly cold waters.

Home to many temples and ashrams, Rishikesh presents particularly good opportunities for photographing sādhus (Hindu religious ascetics), and yogis (practitioners of yoga). An important component of the workshop, such opportunities focus on the more solitary and meditative aspects of Hindu religious practice, providing an interesting contrast to the mass outpour of devotion that characterises the festivals that we observe in Haridwar and Varanasi.

VARANASI – The City of Light

varanasi-at-sunrise

Stretched along a crescent on the west banks of the Ganges, in the Indian state of Utter Pradesh, the ancient city of Varanasi, also known as Benares, is considered by Hindus to be the most sacred place on Earth.

One of the oldest, continuously inhabited cities in the world, Varanasi has retained its religious life largely unaltered since the sixth century BC. In the words of Mark Twain: “Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.”

Known to the devout as Kashi – ‘the Luminous One’, or ‘The City of Light’ – Varanasi, which also features prominently in the Buddhist universe, draws scores of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain pilgrims to its temples and waterfront, where long flights of stone steps – the famous ‘ghats’ – lead into the holy waters of the Ganges.

varanasi-shiva-pilgrims

For photographers, Varanasi offers truly spectacular opportunities. The many pilgrims and residents who come to the water’s edge for their daily ablutions, together with the imposing architecture of the pavilions, palaces, temples, and terraces that tower above the ghats make for vivid scenes of sacred, quintessential India.

Yet it is a misconception that on any given day, the ghats are packed with pilgrims. Though every day, thousands of worshippers come here to pray, bathe, and meditate, ordinarily, their numbers are spread over the 87 ghats which, over a length of 7 km, line Varanasi’s extensive riverfront.

In fact, it is only during particular festivals that substantial numbers of devotees assemble into large crowds to worship – usually, on specific ghats, whose presiding deity or mythology is associated with the festival that is being celebrated.

It is, therefore, only on these specific occasions that the opportunity to photograph crowds of worshippers gathered on the banks of the Ganges against Varanasi’s magnificent backdrop, presents itself.

The timing of our stay in Varanasi coincides with precisely such an occasion – a major Hindu festivity which, over the course of four days, brings increasingly larger crowds of pilgrims to the riverside, to pray and make offerings to Lord Surya, the Hindu Sun God.

Observed mainly by women, who fast and pray for the well-being of their sons, the festival is unique both in character and the photographic opportunities it presents.

As the only time in which offerings are made to the setting as well as to the rising sun, the festival sees crowds of women in dazzling new saris congregate on the riverbank at dusk and dawn, giving rise to a spectacle that offers photographers the ideal conditions in which to explore the subject of mass religious gathering and ritual within what many consider the most iconic sacred setting on the subcontinent.

A fitting conclusion to our photographic journey, the festival forms only one aspect of our exploration of Varanasi, which extends to the labyrinthine alleys of the city’s old quarters, where, among ancient shrines and crumbling buildings, daily life unfolds in a constant stream of sacred and mundane activities that presents superb opportunities for street photography.

As is always the case on our photographic journeys, the accommodation that we use is ideally positioned for access to shooting locations; our hotel in Varanasi overlooks Dashaswamedh Ghat, the most popular and busiest of the bathing ghats, where pilgrims come and go incessantly, as they have done for centuries.

DELHI & AGRA WORKSHOP

A 5-day, street and architecture photography workshop in Delhi and Agra prefaces the Sacred India Photography Expedition™. The workshop – which begins in Delhi and concludes in Amritsar, where the Expedition starts – explores the life surrounding the capital’s most important Muslim shrines, as well as the Taj Mahal, in Agra, India’s best-known monument.

Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, in the mid-17th century, the Taj Mahal rises effortlessly on an architectural platform overlooking the Yamuna River, a tributary of the Ganges, where its perfect proportions are reflected.

Despite the familiarity that its forms have acquired through being ever-present in representations of India, the reality of the Taj never fails to overwhelm those who see it. Famously described by the poet Rabindranath Tagore as: “A tear on the face of eternity”, and broadly considered the finest example of Mughal Architecture, the Taj Mahal is, quite simply, one of the world’s most magnificent buildings.

Ethereal and captivating, the Taj appears to change colour as the sun crosses the sky, alternatively highlighting its marble surfaces and throwing them into shadow. Symbolising the presence of the divine, this constant interplay of light and shade on its forms is an important decorative device that subtly yet radically transfigures the appearance of the mausoleum throughout the day.

During the workshop, therefore, we remain in Agra for two full days, to capture this extraordinary building, in all its changeable, remarkable beauty, from different viewpoints both within and without its confines, at different times of the day.

Mughal architecture also features prominently in the Delhi portion of the workshop, which focuses on the activities surrounding the capital’s main Muslim monuments and shrines, most of which are located in Old Delhi, the city’s most hectic quarter, where opportunities for street photography abound.

The site of eight successive cities, Delhi was for over seven centuries of its long history a Muslim city ruled by sultans. Shah Jahanabad, now known as Old Delhi, was once the city of the Mughals and is home to two of Delhi’s most important monuments, the Red Fort and the magnificent Jama Masjid, India’s largest and most imposing mosque.

Counterpointing the symmetry and wide open spaces of the great Mughal constructions with the maze of teeming bazaars that connects them, the Delhi portion of the workshop explores distinct aspects of the city’s most intense and characteristic quarters, offering extremely diverse photographic opportunities.

BEST SUITED FOR

Open to photographers of all levels, the Sacred India Photography Expedition™ is an intense, 14-day-long photography workshop travelling to North India’s main pilgrimage centres; allowing for generous amounts of time at each location, the journey stretches across three states – from the Punjab, through Uttarakhand, to Utter Pradesh – and involves extensive travelling.

Encompassing four of the holiest places in India and two major Hindu festivities that bring thousands of devotees together on the banks of the Ganges, the workshop offers a truly spectacular range of photographic opportunities for exploring the subject of religious ritual, and devotion.

Photographing mass religious gatherings presents its own challenges and opportunities – making the most of the innumerable possibilities that such events provide requires a relish for getting into the thick of the action as well as an understanding of the essentially private nature of such public manifestations of devotion and, accordingly, a willingness to work unobtrusively, with due regard for the sacrality of these occasions.

The development of different techniques with which successfully to approach this type of situation, and of the skills necessary to render it in photographic terms, is therefore, a key aspect of this Expedition.

As such, the workshop is ideal for photographers with a specific interest in portraying devotional activities and mass religious gatherings, who want to explore the dense spiritual atmosphere of India’s most sacred towns and, more broadly, the challenges involved in picturing spirituality – that most intangible of subjects.

Throughout the Expedition, as well as the 5-day Delhi and Agra workshop that precedes it, opportunities for street photography and environmental portraiture abound.

As is always the case on our Unique Photographic Journeys™, curiosity, flexibility, a strong sense of adventure, and a good level of fitness are essential to participate.

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Practicalities

The Sacred India Photography Expedition™ 2017

Dates: Second half of October 2017 (For exact dates, please enquire)

Expedition Leader: Dariusz Klemens

Group Size: Limited to 6 participants

Fees: £5150 – Include: Photography tuition. 13 nights’ accommodation, with breakfast daily. All ground transportation; bottled water during all transfers. All entrance fees, visits, and excursions.

Fees are per person, based on two people sharing twin-room accommodation. For single use of a double room, a single supplement of £720 applies.

 

DELHI & AGRA WORKSHOP

DATES: First half of October 2017 (For exact dates, please enquire)

Fees: £1800 – Include: Photography tuition. 5 nights’ accommodation, with breakfast daily. All ground transportation; bottled water during all transfers. All entrance fees, visits, and excursions.

Single supplement: £270

 

Fees in other currencies:

SACRED INDIA PHOTOGRAPHY EXPEDITION™ 2017

On double occupancy: USD 6,589 / EUR 5.815 / CAD 8,689

Single supplement: USD 921 / EUR 813 / CAD 1,215

 

DELHI & AGRA WORKSHOP

On double occupancy: USD 2,303 / EUR 2.032 / CAD 3,037

Single supplement: USD 345 / EUR 305 / CAD 456

 

(Fees in other currencies are based on current exchange rates and are approximate. Billing is in GBP)

The Sacred India Photography Expedition™ 2017

START & END POINT
To make the most of our time on the ground, this Expedition begins in Amritsar, and ends in Varanasi, India. Both cities are well-connected by flight, rail, and road. If you require assistance with making your travel arrangements to/from the start and end points of the Expedition, please let us know.

The 5-Day Delhi & Agra Workshop that precedes the Expedition begins in Delhi, and ends in Amritsar.

ACCOMMODATION
As the purpose of our journey is to take pictures and immerse ourselves in the atmosphere of the places that we photograph, our choice of accommodation is based on ease of access to shooting locations, comfort, and character. Wherever possible, we make it a point of staying in places that reflect the historical character and preserve the natural resources of the areas in which they are located, and that permit participants independent access to places of interest (in their own time, if they wish to, outside of the scheduled shoots where we photograph as a group). During this Expedition, at all locations on the Ganges, the properties that we use overlook the river. At every location, rooms are clean, comfortable and well appointed, with en-suite facilities.

FOOD
Since one of the joys of travelling is discovering the local cuisine, we chose where to eat just as carefully as everything else. The culinary traditions of the places that we photograph on this Expedition are quite varied and each of the cities on our itinerary has its own specialities – during the Expedition, all the properties that we use have restaurants that serve top-quality, traditional Indian food (as well as continental dishes) and, depending on where we are, we also eat at well-known local restaurants, which we have used for years. Indian sweets (‘Mithai’) are an integral part of Indian culture and cuisine – it is said that almost half of all Indian dishes are either sweets or desserts; no celebration in India is considered complete without them, and Diwali is no exception. So, at various locations, between shoots, we also find time to taste the specialities of some well-known patisseries.

TRANSPORTATION
On this Expedition, transfers between cities are by rail (1st class), and by road, in private, air-conditioned, vehicles. As is always the case on our workshops, modes of transport have been selected on the basis of long-standing experience as best suited to serve the purpose of the journey – all transfers are carefully timed to reduce travelling time, leaving as much time as possible available for shooting.

In some locations, for short rides within town, we sometime also use rickshaws as these can navigate the traffic more easily than cars.


Please note that the Expedition’s itinerary as described on this page is an example and not a guaranteed schedule of activities or events.

The Sacred India Photography Expedition™ 2017

This Expedition is crafted to inspire you to expand your photographic skills and refine your understanding of photography whilst assembling a portfolio of expressive images illustrating your journey.

To accomplish this, the workshop balances intense shooting opportunities, with ‘pauses’ for editing and individual/collective review, and covers both technical and aesthetic aspects of photography through location shoots, individual assignments, one-to-one reviews, targeted feedback and group discussions.

As the goal of the Expedition is to produce a photographic story, emphasis is put on assembling strong coverage of one or more, particular subjects – the itinerary and all its components have been created, planned and timed to deliver this specific goal, enabling participants to produce a complete photographic essay/story documenting their own, unique journey, or particular aspects of it.

TAILORED TUITION
The workshop is structured to provide you with the most favourable conditions in which to experience first-hand, the decision-making processes that support the creation of meaningful images and underpin the development of photographic narrative, along with guidance that is tailored to your photography interests.

We like to focus on the individual needs of our participants well in advance of each workshop; so, by the time the Expedition begins, we have already given some careful thought to how best to help you achieve your photography objectives – whatever these may be.

During the workshop, enabling you to become immersed in your surroundings and anticipate the moment, whilst remaining in full command of the technical skills needed to capture it, is central to our endeavour. For this reason, every aspect of the journey is aimed at facilitating your interaction with your environment, and making you comfortable enough on the ground, to be able to bring all of your photographic skills to bear in rendering your subject.

The group is small enough to permit each participating photographer as much one-to-one tuition with Dariusz as they need to develop at their own pace, yet large enough to generate discussions and opportunities usefully to confront individual approaches.

FEEDBACK & SCHEDULE
Time to edit and review images is an essential feature our daily schedule and feedback session are timed to allow you to make the most of each shoot.

During the Expedition, our day normally begins with a dawn shoot. Depending on location and circumstances, this generally lasts until mid-morning, and is followed by an interval of what we like to call ‘RDR’ – time to rest, download and recharge. According to participants’ needs, later in the day, there is usually time for individual review and feedback sessions, before heading out for an afternoon and sunset shoot. Supper is often followed by group-wide feedback, image presentations and discussions but, during this Expedition, there are also a number of night shoots.

You can therefore expect to be shooting, editing, receiving feedback on your images and have the opportunity to implement the insights that you have gained, on a daily basis, even on the days involving long-distance travel.

This alternation of extensive shoots and targeted feedback is an extremely effective way of understanding the practice and principles that govern the making of distinctive images, and of gathering a body of photographs that is coherent in style and content. As such, it is particularly useful for photographers who are interested in expanding both their technical and interpretative skills and developing a portfolio of images showcasing their work.

Besides generating ideas and inspiration, the feedback sessions (particularly the group discussions) provide the opportunity to move beyond the specifics of particular images, to consider the techniques that can reliably be employed to produce strong images, construct stylistically consistent narratives, and make the best of any photographic opportunity/situation.

As the journey progresses, and participants develop their individual projects and ideas, the scope of the feedback and group discussions widens, generating debate on extremely diverse aspects of photography and producing an intensely creative environment in which to advance your photographic goals.

ACCESS & OPPORTUNITIES
The workshop is built to provide you with unrestricted access to the innumerable photographic opportunities that the journey presents. Accordingly, the itinerary is structured to allow you the possibility of exploring them outside of the planned location shoots, where we photograph as a group.

We believe that the more opportunities you have to become familiar with your environment, the greater the fluidity with which you will be able to photograph it, and we see no need to restrict your experience of the places to which we travel, to the locations that we photograph as a group.

Further, we think that travelling within a group should not mean having to be constantly ‘tied’ to the group, and that between the times in which they enjoy the company of others, participants should have the opportunity to rest, explore, or just soak in their surroundings independently, in their own time, if they so wish.

Our policy of using strategically-placed accommodation supports this approach by ensuring that, even when you are not with the group, you have easy, independent access to shooting locations – The RDR portion of the day is, in fact, often used by participants to explore particular subjects, or locations, individually or with other participating photographers.

The Expedition provides access to a truly vast array of opportunities for photographing religious ritual, and people in their environment. Since, as is the case for all our photographic journeys, it is based entirely on real-life situations, interaction techniques are a fundamental aspect of this workshop.

Dariusz has been documenting religious ritual in India for over two decades, and has photographed every location on this itinerary as well as the festivals covered in this workshop numerous times. He’s therefore familiar not just with the many ‘nooks and crannies’ of the places that we photograph and the different opportunities that they each offer at different times, but also with local customs. This experience enables him to provide workshops’ participants with specialised guidance on approaching and rendering the specific subjects that we encounter during the journey.

Throughout the workshop, Dariusz’s objective is to share his knowledge and expertise in the most effective way possible to help you define and accomplish your individual, photographic goals.

The Sacred India Photography Expedition™ 2017

Type of camera
We recommend that you bring a single-lens reflex (SLR) type of camera; this can be for film or digital, in 35mm or medium format. The camera can be of any make, but it must have a manual option for aperture and shutter-speed adjustment. Compact’ and instant cameras, or any other camera without adjustable f-stops, focus and shutter speed is not appropriate for the type of photography that we practice on our Photography Expeditions. Whatever camera(s) you choose to bring, we strongly recommend that you bring a back-up body, as fixing any problems during the journey would be impossible.

Lenses
Whilst a choice of different focal length lenses will allow you greater flexibility, you do not need more than one lens to take full advantage of the workshop. If you bring only one lens, it would be preferable for it to be a zoom lens with a range of 28-210mm. The optimum selection for this workshop is 2 or more zoom lenses covering the 20 to 200mm range, plus a fast prime lens – e.g. 50mm f1.8 or 35mm f1.4, preferably both.

Digital SLRs
To ensure that you have sufficient memory to shoot high-resolution images throughout each day on the Expedition, you should bring a minimum of two 32GB memory cards per camera. Additionally, you will need a 500GB, and up to 1TB of external storage to store your images.(Cloud storage is not a realistic option during the workshop).To edit and process your images for review, your laptop needs to be reasonably fast; we recommend at least 500GB of free hard-drive space. Please ensure that you bring all the necessary ancillary equipment including connecting cables, memory card reader and software back-up disks.

Film
If you shoot film please note that professional transparency film is not widely available in India, so you must bring a sufficient number of rolls with you when you join the Expedition.

Flash
If your equipment includes a flash unit, you may find it useful to bring it. A flash unit is not an essential piece of equipment, but can certainly prove useful in some circumstances.

Filters
The only filter we recommend that you bring is a standard UV Filter. A Sky 1A or Sky 1B is also a useful alternative. Although the workshop covers the use (and misuse) of filters, these are not essential.

Tripod
Although a tripod can be useful for photographing landscapes and working in low light conditions, this is by no means an essential piece of equipment for 35mm camera users on this workshop. However, a tripod is a must if you are planning to bring a medium format camera. Bear in mind that a monopod can be a useful, more portable alternative to a tripod for both 35mm and medium format.

Cleaning Equipment
During the Expeditions, we put our camera equipment through its paces; a good camera and lens-cleaning kit is essential for daily maintenance.

If you have any questions, please contact us

The Sacred India Photography Expedition™ 2017 - Booking Form Request

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step " (Laozi)

If you would like to join this Expedition, please fill in the Booking Form Request, below. (The booking form includes our Terms & Conditions). We do not share your information with anyone else.

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Postcards from The Sacred India Photography Expedition™

Jama Masjid Mosque
A Tear-Drop on the Cheek of Time
Gateway to the Gods
Photography Workshops