14 Days in Ladakh
The Indian Himalayas Tour
Photo tour led by Laurent Dambies and Patrick Firouzian
Imagine the exhilaration of being in the midst of thin air, high altitude, in a place rich in history and religion with that distinct feel of spirituality in the surroundings. The Silk Road once passed through here; much much of that era can still be seen in the markets as well as in the faces of its people. Since few travelers come as far as Ladakh, this marvelous off-the-beaten-path place has kept its authenticity throughout the centuries.
Images are crisp like the thin air of the region, both day and night. We will go from street to landscape to night photography, exploring both day and night with time-lapse photography as well. Laurent and Patrick will ensure that you progress every day, as measured by the quality of your composition and richness of your stories.
Developing your photo skills is an absolute must on Laurent's and Patrick's tours. For every tour they select relevant topic areas to workshop through and also design specific practice exercises for people while on tour. Most of the tour is aimed at developing composition and storytelling skills. Each day our itinerary is focused on how to best approach and photograph subjects such as architecture, landscapes, portraits, street photography, trains, camels and horses, while all the time working on approach, storytelling, composition, editing, correction. All tours include at least two photo critiquing sessions as well as workshops. This not only gives each person invaluable insight into their work but also enhances the group bonding experience. So you are guaranteed to go home a better photographer than before – plus you will have had an amazing travel experience!
Ladakh (the ‘Land of High Passes’) is a mountainous area in the Northern Indian state of Jammu, at the footsteps of Himalayas. The people of Ladakh, mostly Tibetans, Monpas and Dards, have a rich culture dating back to the pre-Buddhist era. This is one of the least populated regions in India. As we explore the villages and the markets, we will connect with the locals, create bonds and share experiences. Twenty three monasteries, twelve forts, nine stupas, three giant statues, one nunnery… a photographers' dream for stunning landscapes and portrait photography.
Day 0 • Arrival in Delhi
We stay in an intimate, upscale bed and breakfast owned by a local writer and his wife, in South Delhi, in a calm area near a park, not far from downtown and the airport. We will have dinner in a nearby street restaurant serving the best local food, and return to rest.
Day 1 • Travel to Leh
Early flight to Leh. We spend this first day to acclimate to altitude, weather, and culture. We find our bearings around town by walking around to get a sense of the place. For the ones not tired by the trip, we go to the Shanti stuppa for a sunset time-lapse. For the ones really not tired, we do a night time-lapse. It’s a long trip, there is altitude, new food, so we will take it easy and watch a documentary film about Ladakh.
Day 2 • Leh
Continued acclimatization to altitude. Street photography and Leh Palace.
Day 3 • To the Nubra Valley by way of the Khardungla Pass
Diskit monastery, the sand dunes of Hunder and plenty of Bactrian camels.
Day 4 • Nubra Valley
Stakna and Matho monasteries are both along the Indus river. These are small monasteries but significant in their cultural and religious heritage. Stakna is built on a hill shapped as a tiger’s nose, and is best viewed from south on the banks of the Indus river. Matho (Tibetan for “much happiness”) is the only monastery of Sakyapa Budhist sect in this region, and we will learn to appreciate the differences between these variations. After that we head off to hot sulfur springs at Panamic.
Day 5 • Drive back to Leh, Shanti stupa
Day 6 • Leh
Mystic mask dance festival performed by Lamas of the Hemis monastery. Slow motion videos.
Day 7-8 • Taglanla Pass
On the first day we visit the Tsokar and Tosmoriri high-altitude salt lakes. We spend the second day with the nomads, portrait and landscape photography. Both evenings we shoot the Milky Way and practice star trails photography.
Day 9 • Drive back to Leh
Day 10 • Leh
Free morning with an editing workshop in the afternoon. Evening photowalk in the street markets of Leh.
Day 11 • Lamayuru
The Lamayuru, Alchi and Likir monasteries. Lamayuru hosts the oldest and largest existing gompa in Ladakh, it said to be the foremost Bon monastery. In their religious festivals monks perform mask dances, the masks representing guardian divinities from the Drikungpa pantheon. During the festival the lamas also perform prayer and rituals to get rid of disaster and peace in the world.
Day 12 • Chemdey monastery, Thicksey monastery and Shey palace
Here, amongst other things, we are going to practice time-lapse photography.
Day 13 • Spituk and Mattho monasteries.
In the afternoon we review photos and videos from the trip.
Day 14 • Flight back to Delhi
Reserve your place on this tour
Once we receive your request we will call and email you to confirm details.
Bookings are made directly with the photographer. For more details please contact Laurent Dambies by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or Patrick Firouzian by email to email@example.com.
- Fees are exclusive of your own travel to and from Delhi.
- Fees do not cover international travel and medical insurance.
- 50% to be paid on confirmed booking.
- Balance of 50% paid at least 45 days before the tour start date.
- By credit card or bank wire transfer.
- 100% refund if made 30+ days before the tour start date.
- 50% refund if made 15+ days before the tour start date.
- 25% refund if made 7+ days before the tour start date.
Just to be clear, filling in and sending this form does not commit you to anything or any payment until the booking is confirmed, which will be done with the photographer directly after you both have spoken and agreed everything.
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With an MBA and PhD from his native France, Laurent Dambies worked over ten years doing research and development around the world, before deciding to focus on what he loves doing the most: photography and travel. Now based in Cambodia and living in Siem Reap for over three years, Laurent is extremely knowledgeable of the best shooting locations in the temples of Angkor and the surrounding countryside. Beyond Angkor, Laurent explores and captures beautiful temples in Thailand and Myanmar, the sights of India and the majestic Himalayas.
Patrick studied Arts in Paris and earned his MBA in California. After a career in world class technology companies, now Patrick is mostly known for his work in the humanitarian field. He loves immersing himself in diverse cultures, where he uses photography and drone videography to help bring visibility to social cases and innovations which aim at improving living conditions. Patrick’s over-arching goal is to make people successful at what they love to achieve, and he will invest all his energy and talent to make it happen.