(the former Kingdom of Lo)
20 May - 5 June 2019
Travel through the awe-inspiring mountains of the central Himalaya. We will follow the Kali Gandaki River, home to the deepest gorge on the planet, making our way to the capital of the formerly restricted, demilitarized Mustang Kingdom of Lo.
Once in the capital, Lo Manthang, we will view and photograph the annual three-day Buddhist festival of Tiji within the old walled city. Tiji is a spring-renewal rite ushering in the life-giving monsoons. As importantly, in a ritual called 'chasing the demons', it celebrates the triumph of the forces of light over those of darkness.
The Chinese have recently finished a road from Mustang's Sino border onward south thru the realm into Nepal. This rough thru-way (and, now, the electricity and spotty mobile cellular service the road has allowed) will forever alter not just the landscape but Upper Mustang's 5,000 inhabitants and their culture. What, for the last 1000 years has been a week's trekking at high altitude can now be done in a one or two day (sometimes dizzying) drive. Join us as we see this Tibetan cultural area in its last years of sparse tourism.
With up to 3 other photographers we move through this incredible landscape for the journey of a lifetime. Our course will take us up the new SUV-negotiable road, following the Kali Gandaki river gorge between the towering massifs of Dhaulagiri to the west and the Annapurnas to the east.
A bonus of our trip is that arrangements and lodgings are organized by members of the once-royal family, 26th and 27th generation descendants of the Kingdom's founder Ame Pal!
Skill & Physical Level: moderate hiking skill but a good level of fitness required; no technical difficulties, but an ability to walk around in altitudes between about 2743 meters / 9000 feet up to 4135 meters / 13,566 feet.
Our tours and workshops are in-the-field experiences open to photographers who desire to hone skills in capturing content and developing a style – all in the beautiful and mysterious environs of Cuba, Venice, Santa Fe, Mustang, Scotland and East & Southern Africa – preferably using Leica M or Fuji X digital cameras. Both of these systems are well suited to the classic image-making activity in which we engage: street photography & portraiture, landscapes and the ability to lend 'presence' to static objects like buildings and monuments.
Mindfullness / Be Here Now
Just as Buddhism attempts to get one to live in the present, mindful of the now, we boost your visual story-telling by helping you focus on the image in front of you at any given moment. The knack is to create the best, most engaging and captivating photograph you can with this one chance – right now! Digital imaging and zoom lenses often obscure this idea, submerging it deep below the level of conscious thinking. With our ability to freely churn through hundreds of images we forget that it is this one picture right now, there before us, that is the most important image we will ever make – at least until we approach the next shot!
In photography the path you choose is not just the journey, it is also the goal: there is no end, there is simply the journey.
Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best. – Theodore Isaac Rubin
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