;
A priest during an India Photo Tour giving his blessings Only 5 Spots Left


India and Nepal: Varanasi and Kathmandu Photo Workshop

2,950 US$06 Feb 2022

A special, deep 8 days India Varanasi Photo workshop with a 4 days optional extension to Nepal. Maximum 8 participants, With an intensive stay in Varanasi and the Kathmandu Valley.

Varanasi is the city that represents all the spiritual and boiling India. This is where I took in 2012 the picture that got the World National Geographic first in the "places" category and later was disqualified, (see post) .

We will get to know a different Varanasi to the one other tourists see. With time to enjoy our stay in contrast to the hustle and bustle of Shamans, boatmen, pilgrims, cows, tourists, barbers, and fake Sadhus.

On this photo tour we will work on how to tell the story we see in front of our eyes, and how to convey an emotion through our pictures. We all need stories in order to understand the world, and travel photographers more than anybody else. Empathy and emotional connection are imperative in a good picture; we need both to bring to life a main character to who the viewers will attach to.

We will cross to the other side of the river where no one normally goes, to admire the city from another perspective and witness the daily coming and going of pilgrims. We will stroll through the back streets of the ghats, the alleys, and discover temples outside the normal tourist route. We will meet people there, and wait for the certainty of the unexpected to happen.

Please visit my this link that should give you a good understanding of what makes my India so Special My India
Please visit my personal work on Varanasi as well as some posts on my Varanasi at dawn . This is where I took in 2012 the picture that won and later lost the National Geographic Photo World Contest.

Better with sound 

HIGHLIGHTS

•The enjoyement of  photography with intensity accompanied by a professional travel photographer who understands the secrets of  Varanasi and Kathmandu. The hidden locations.

 

•Organised set photo sessions, special locations, discoveries. I am photographing India and Nepal at least three times each year since more than twelve years...

 

•Our daily life in Benares, staying beside the Ganges, in contact with the people of our Gaht: pilgrims, barbers, flower salesmen, boatmen, Holy Men and the occasional tourist.

 

•We will cross to the other side of the Ganges, rarely visited by anyone

 

•Enjoy a  photographic coverage of  the old city, the temples, and witness the vicissitudes of Varanasi and Kathmandu.

 

•The Gath’s, some hidden temples, the religious life on the Ganges.

 

•The early morning and evening ceremonies next to the river.

 

•Strolls along the streets of the city, the photographic corners observing the cultural diversity of the different ethnical groups.

 

•Dusk in Kathmandu, Bodnath  amazed by the sight of dozens of the faithful praying while they walk in concentric circles around the sacred Stupa illuminated by candlelight.

 

•Our stay in a different Bakhtapur, enjoying the life of the people and the city at very special locations.

 

•Our discovery of the Budhist monasteries in a different Kathmandu, enjoying the life of the people and the city at very special locations.

 

Deeper than a photo tour, less academic than a workshop.

 

This Varanasi Photo Tour will be about offering the maximum photographic opportunities and with the approach of a Photographic Workshop in India. We will conduct daily photographic reviews and discussions, but it will be mostly about experiencing personal contact with people. A laptop and processing software (Photoshop, Lightroom, etc..) are highly recommended.

 

What are the photographic opportunities in Varanasi

 

We often start in Varanasi at the very first hour of dawn in the moment called 'the blue light' at around 5 a.m., just before dawn. The priests meet with the worshippers for the Arati rite, the morning prayers. 

Our days will be really busy reaching the Ghats to photograph, amongst remains of wreaths and cremation ashes, Brahmins offering ritual shaving, dressed bathing women. Bearded, hirsute Holy Men, bare feet, watching stunned families bathing dressed in bright Indian saris. Groups of pilgrims down the huge wooden barges.

Then the calm of our hotel, close to the Ganges, attending dinner before the night ceremony. In the calm of "our" Ganges. We will go down the sacred river in our boat and visit an “akhara”, a gymnasium where Kusty fighters train and compete. If we are lucky, we will be able to make a photo coverage of their workouts.

Early in the mornings is about true low-light photography, where the tripod becomes an almost indispensable tool. You want to use every glowing object as much as you can. But for sure, you've got to have both interest and patience as well as a keen eye and you will get great results.

We remain, taking pictures of the river until the sun sets out from the horizon and lights up the landscape. And in this instant, we photograph, immutable, women and men both half-naked and immersed in both the water and the ritual of their bathing.

A rowboat comes close to the bank and drifts along the line of observing devotees and tourists who are contemplating the scene from the terra firma.

The occasional goat or sacred cow, distracted by its appetite, joins the scene of eating the flowers left by the devotees on the small altars as offerings. No one, though, stops the animals from eating them.

 

And what about the Kathmandu extension?

 

Some days later (for those who join the extension) we fly to the World Heritage site of the Valley of Kathmandu where an ethnic, cultural, and architectural variety will be seen which is unique for photography. In Nepal, we will stay overnight not in Kathmandu itself but in Bakhtapur an extraordinary, quiet and calm zone of the city, and will enjoy sunset and sunrise in the best photographic locations possible, taking advantage of the special light. We will witness the prayers of the faithful and appreciate the city and its fascinating streets. A place of monuments without precedents and the unique amalgam of Hinduism, Buddhism and Tantrism that marks the rich religious and cultural inheritance of the city.

From there we will visit the valley, the temples. The place where the Sadhus sleep before their daily activity. We will see the Himalayas and meet in our daily wanderings the Sherpa, Chettris, and Newaris tribes, as well as the Rais, Limbus, Tamangs, and Magars.

Bakhtapur belongs to the UNESCO Universal Heritage, and most of the city is pedestrian. We will reach Bodnath, the center of Tibetan culture in Kathmandu, which has a thriving Buddhist community and the largest stupa in Nepal, the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. We will be at dusk and dawn in the best photographic location and will take advantage of the best light, the moments in which the faithful conduct their prayers while we make close contact with people, and the great intimacy of the ceremonies, the city, and its fascinating streets.

In the mornings we will usually start at dawn in order to be at the place when the first prayers begin. It will nearly be night photography, with candle lights. In the afternoon, again depending on the day, we will explore hidden places of the old city before dinner. Depending on the day and the photographic opportunities, it will be time for a break, some organization of our pictures, and eventually a photographic analysis and discussion of the work done. Later, when the light is appropriate, we will walk in the old city with its narrow alleys. Only then the sun enters and transforms everything.

 

What kind of photographic skills are we going to nurture

 

  • How to approach the subject, the preparation, the photographic vision, analysis of the situation. We will have the chance to shoot spontaneous and also formal portraits with proper preparation.
  • We will be concerned, above all, with the “making off” itself: a mix of practical and theoretical knowledge and practical advice in order to attain a better understanding of what draws the eye and how to enhance the element that attires our attention allowing us to converse on a daily basis about technical problems, doubts or personal matters as they arise.
  • Deciding the story
  • Set a script of what we want to show and decide which are the important images that will support the story.
  • Learn how to train the vision and express it through a personal style.

 

 

This trip was my third with Harry, after two in India, and a true testament to his ability and to the opportunities he exposes us to is that I am planning trips number four and five only 10 days after my return from Ethiopia.

The trip to Ethiopia was a dream come true. It felt as though I had been dropped right into the pages of National Geographic Magazine, which I read as a child, and which instilled a thirst for travel to Africa.

Harry ‘s organization and guidance leave nothing to chance. He uses wonderful people on the ground to drive, guide, and make each experience seamless. The festivals and amazing opportunities, remote and wonderful locations are trademarks of his trips.

Harry is a genuine character, with a wonderful sense of humour, an eye for the magic in photographic situations, and a natural teacher’s ability to explain how to make use of light,
line and composition in our shots.

Thank you Harry for an unforgettable experience.

Ynda Greenberg (Toronto, Ontario)



ITINERARY

 

DAYS 1  -      VARANASI 

Arrivals, briefing, in the afternoon we will have the first joint meeting of all participants. First contact with our neighborhood.

 

DAYS 1  - 8  VARANASI 


We will be in Varanasi, calmly, with time to enjoy our stay in contrast to the hustle and bustle of Shamans, boatmen, pilgrims, cows, tourists, barbers, and fake Sadhus. We will cross to the other side of the river where no one normally goes, to admire the city from another perspective and witness the daily coming and going of pilgrims. We will stroll though the back streets of the ghats, the alleys, and discover temples outside the normal tourist route. We will meet people there, and wait for the certainty of the unexpected to happen.

In the mornings we will usually start at dawn in order to be at the place when the first prayers begin at the Ganges. It will nearly be night photography, with candle lights. Later we will be walking the Gahts. Each of them is different and worshippers from different regions come to pray their particular gods.

Depending on the day and the photographic opportunities it will be time for a break, some organization of our pictures, and eventually a photographic analysis and discussion of the work done. Later, when the light will be appropriate, we will walk in the old city with its narrow alleys. Only then the sun enters and transforms everything.

On the afternoon, again depending on the day, we will explore hidden places of the old city before the Arati ceremony before dinner. We will go down the sacred river in our boat and visit an “akhara”, a gymnasium where Kursty fighters train and compete. If we are lucky we will be able to make a photo coverage of their workouts.

Our days will be really busy reaching the Ghats to photograph, amongst remains of wreaths and cremation ashes, Brahmins offering ritual shaving, dressed bathing women. Bearded, hirsute Holy Men, bare feet, watching stunned families bathing dressed in bright Indian saris. Groups of pilgrims down the huge wooden barges. Then the calm of our hotel, attending dinner before the night ceremony. In the calm of "our" Ganges.  

The departures or flights to the extension are set for day 8. 

 

 



EXTENSIONS

Nepal Extension, 4 Days (13 Feb 2022)


KATHMANDU- BHAKTAPUR

Note: The Extension is set for a minimum of 5 people.  With less people a supplement will apply. 


On arrival, reception at the airport and transfer to hotel in Bhaktapur. 

We will spend the rest of the days walking different areas of the city. A medieval jewel of narrow, labyrinthine alleys, the diamond of the ancient cities of the Kathmandu Valley. The place where we will be staying as our “base camp”. The buildings are made of brick pink and dark carved wood. Bakhtapur belongs to the UNESCO Universal Heritage, and most of the city is pedestrian. The narrow paved streets linking the three main enclaves Durbar, Dattatreya, and Taumadhi are studded with temples, forming the most important architecture of Nepal

We will reach Bodnath, the center of Tibetan culture in Kathmandu, which has a thriving Buddhist community and the largest stupa in Nepal, the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. We will be at dusk and dawn in the best photographic location and will take advantage of the best light, the moments in which the faithful conduct their prayers while we make close contact with people, and the great intimacy of the ceremonies, the city, and its fascinating streets. Will be amazed by the sight of dozens of faithful praying while walking in concentric circles around the sacred Stupa illuminated by candlelight. We will be surrounded by more than 50 Tibetan gompas (monasteries) that have been built around Bodnath.

At dawn, we will be in Pashupatinah the most important sacred destination for Hindu Nepal. A remarkable enclave of temples, statues, pilgrims, and naga sadhus (naked holy men), they were public cremation ritual baths are made along the Bagmati River.

We will later approach the golden roofs of Changu Narayan, in the eastern part of the Kathmandu Valley. The Hindu Temple Pagoda style, dedicated to Vishnu in his incarnation as Narayan was built in the fourth century and is the oldest of the Kathmandu Valley.

We will remain in Bakhtapur around Durbar Square where famous scenes of films like "Little Buddha" have taken place. Agriculture continues to be developed outside of Bhaktapur and we can enjoy the view of stalls, products, and harvest drying on the same floor of the streets as farmers winnow rice and wheat using wicker baskets. The artisans weave fabric and chisel wood in the same sidewalks of the streets, with furnaces in every corner. The neighbors are turning to community wells to collect water and chat with their friends.

 



Prices per person
4-8 Participants 2950 US$


Supplements
Single Room Supplement Main Itinerary 420 US$
Single Room Extension 370 US$


Extensions
Nepal Extension, 4 Days 1950 US$


WHAT'S INCLUDED

 

Booking 500 $ Only

Exceptional Cancellation Policy  

 

 

Prices are per person, based on double occupancy.  A limited quantity of single-occupancy rooms are available for an additional charge.

 

The maximum number of participants are listed under "Maximum Group" in the Price section of each individual workshop.

However, we reserve the right to add by up to two , the maximum number of participants per workshop at any time.

 

INCLUDED

 

- Workshop with Harry Fisch.

- Good 3 Stars  Tourist Hotels close to the Ganges, breakfast included.

- Varanasi Airport Pick- up arrival and departure from and to the airport

- Kathmandu Airport Pick- up arrival and departure from and to the airport if you have booked the extension.

- Gratuities:  baggage porterage, driver and assistant,  housekeeping and meals served as part of the tour. The fees do not include the customary gratuity for your guide on the main itinerary and the optional extension. 

-  Local Transport as specified.

- Visit and activities as specified in the itinerary.

 

NOT INCLUDED

 

- Flights to or from the Workshop destination

- Gratuity for the guide on the main itinerary and the optional extension. 

- Meals, excepted breakfast.

- Personal extras, drinks, laundry, phone, etc..

- Camera insurance

- Insurance

- Visa.

- Airline taxes

-Any item or service not expressly defined as included.