Invest in Experience™
(the former Kingdom of Lo)
May 8-24, 2020
(Click on green text, above, to go to details)
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 road from Mustang's Sino border onward south thru the realm to Jomsom is now finished and fully navigable. 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 at least a week's trek at high altitude can now be done in a one or two day (sometimes dizzying) drive -- if one does not stop to smell the roses. Join us as we take our time and gain elevation to enter this Tibetan cultural area in its last years of sparse tourism.
With up to six photographers plus our guides, sherpa porters and drivers, we move through this incredible landscape for the journey of a lifetime. Our route 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. We will be using the sturdy and appropriate Indian-manufactured Mahindra 4-wheel drive 'jeeps' (instead of the former 7 days of trekking at altitude. But! There is still arduous trail walking from road-heads to sites inaccessible to vehicles.)
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: MODERATELY ACTIVE to STRENUOUS hiking skills with a good level of fitness required; no technical difficulties, but an ability to walk around in altitudes between about 2743 meters (9000 feet) and 4572 meters (15,000 feet).
Click here for a more detailed explanation.
Price: US$4700 per person/ double occupancy. CLICK on the green text Header, above, for complete details.
For every participant on our trips we donate $50 to the Lo Gyalpo Jigme Foundation for Cultural Conservation. The Foundation sends children from Upper Mustang to boarding school in Jomsom (see photo to the right). We stop at the school and meet the kids if they are having recess when we pass by.
Our tours and workshops are in-the-field experiences open to photographers who desire to hone skills in capturing content, crafting a story-line, and developing a style – all in the beautiful and engaging environs of Cuba, Mongolia, Venice, Barcelona, Scotland, Santa Fe, Upper Mustang, Papua New Guinea and East & Southern Africa – preferably using Leica M, SL, Q or Fuji X digital cameras with prime lenses. (Yes, other cameras and cell photography invited!) These systems are well suited to the classic image-making activity in which we engage: travel and street photography/ portraiture, documentary work, an occasional landscape and the ability to lend 'presence' to static objects like buildings and monuments. (Tho it must be noted that 99% of viewers do not care what camera was used; they, like all of us, simply want to see great images!)
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 we choose may include a goal, but the goal is not the end, it is simply a signpost toward which we move. Reality suggests there is no end, there is simply the journey. Taking this journey we improve our mental and physical discipline – our eye and heart, our hand and proper stances, to discover personal rhythms and our own sources of photographic power.
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
© Coup de Foudre, LLC & Wilbur Norman 2015-2020
... we soon realized that this society, medieval and feudal though it was, showed great wisdom and intelligence. We often found that our pride and conceit in Western achievements were inappropriate.
- Heinrich Harrer on his time in Tibet.