Basic Photography Workshop Ladakh 2015

Led by Yannick Cormier

with Varun Gupta & Rahul Dhankani

August 22nd to 30th

Experience scintillating adventure and photographic learning as you are guided through the most incredible landscapes that the Himalayas have to offer. Our signature journeys in Ladakh are designed to help you de-stress and put city-living behind you, while you acclimatize to the high altitudes. You are guaranteed a window seat, and can feast your eyes and your camera on the spectacular vistas.

Our workshops are meant for people with an interest in photography and a Digital SLR or equivalent. Our tailor-made lectures and demos will open up your mind to the limitless ocean of photographic possibilities. One thing is for sure, on any journey with Travelling Lens you are bound to come back with some incredible images.

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This year we have completely redesigned our itinerary, and venture into previously unexplored areas of the region.This 9-day journey will give you a view into traditional Ladakhi Village life and an appreciation for the grandeur of the Himalayas. On this signature photo adventure we will explore the 10th century Alchi monastery with its incredible frescoes that show the confluence of Buddhist and Mughal styles. We will venture deep into the Dah Hanu valley and live amongst the Aryan Tribe of the region. We will camp on the banks of mysterious Tso Moriri and Tso Kar Lakes. We will grow as photographers, make friends and enjoy the majestic Himalayas. Join us on this journey of a lifetime.


Day 1 | Aug 22: Arrive Leh. Check into Hotel in Leh – Introductory Technique Workshop. Evening Group Dinner

Day 2 | Aug 23: Drive to Alchi an idyllic little village built around the ancient Alchi Monastery, spend the day shooting the Technique Assignment. Evening gather for Composition workshop

Day 3 | Aug 24: A leisurely drive to Dah Hanu, 6 to 7 hours. Stay at a local homestay, spend the day exploring the village and working on assignments.

Day 4 | Aug 25: Rest day in Dah Hanu. Late afternoon portraiture demo and complete portraiture assignment

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Day 5 | Aug 26: Drive back to Leh via Likir monastery. Evening group review session

Day 6 | Aug 27: Drive to Tso Moriri Lake. Night Photography & Light Painting Demo

Day 7 | Aug 28: Drive to Tso-Kar Lake and onwards to Leh, arrive by evening

Day 8 | Aug 29: Day for Individual Reviews and image selection for final slideshow. A gala group dinner in the evening with projection of everyones images.

Day 9 | Aug 30: Fly out of Leh


Module 1: Fundamentals of Technique

  • Understanding Exposure: Shutter Speed , Aperture, ISO and the interplay between them
  • The effects of Focus, learning to use depth of field
  • The effects of focal length and various types of lenses
  • Analogue vs Digital Photography
  • White Balance
  • The benefits of Shooting in RAW
  • Getting familiar with your camera, figuring out all the controls and settings
  • The ethics of photographing people and insights into Ladakhi culture

Module 2: Composition

  • Basic rules of composition
  • Choosing between Black&White and Color
  • Composition for various types of subjects such as landscapes, portraits etc
  • Vertical and Horizontal Framing
  • Using exposure to add to your the composition
  • Using motion blurs and flares
  • Telling a story with a single image
  • Mulitiple image photo-essays

Module 3: Light

  • Understanding and Using ambient light
  • An introduction to using flash, On-camera flash vs hand held flash

Module 4: Digital Image Management & Photoshop

  • Learning to manage your photos, creating archives, rating, tagging, sorting your images into collections using Adobe Lighroom
  • Basics of photoshop, getting the most from your images, intro to curves, levels, saturation, dust removal, and more
  • Printing your images, sharing your images on the web and protecting them



Challenging Assignments & The Review System

Customized assignments at the end of each module will help you test your own understanding of the course material. The assignments are designed to take you step by step through the various concepts that have been taught in a module, and require you to make images that satisfy technical as well as aesthetic requirements. For the Final Portfolio Assignment, participants will be asked to select a topic from amongst a pool of provided topics and work one-one-one with a member of the faculty to develop a final portfolio of images that will be displayed for the final critique & slide-show as well as on the Travelling Lens website.

The Travelling Lens Review System provides you both group and individual critique for your images. Classroom Critiques will hep you receive feedback from faculty members as well as the participants in the workshops, opening up images to group discussion and debate will help everyone learn from successes and mistakes. You will also get a chance to sit down individually with a member of the faculty for an in-depth review of your images shot during the workshop as well as previous portfolios.


What you can hope to gain from this workshop

To develop a strong foundation in photographic technique and composition. Exploring your strengths and weaknesses with a camera and what appeals to you photographically, be it landscapes, portraiture, reportage or documentary style photography.

Starting from the absolute basics, we will help you grow as a photographer with hands on guidance, reviews and constant feedback. At the end of the workshop you would have produced a set of images that reflects a strong technical and aesthetic sensibility and be on a platform from where you can emerge as a photographer in the direction of your choice.

You will have a chance to interact with professional photographers as well as amateurs like yourself, which will expand your perspective on image-making and help you establish a network to share your images and experiences, gain valuable feedback and continue learning.

The Crew

Yannick Comier | Trikaya Photos

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Yannick Cormier was born in 1975 in France. In the early 2000s he worked in the studio Astre in Paris parallel to his photographic studies in CIFAP. After years of working as an assistant for Patrick Swirc, William Klein and others, he began a career as a documentary photographer. From 2003 to 2005 he teamed up with the agency Wostokpress and was sent to India as a correspondent. During those years, he fell in love with all that is India and has since been settled in the coastal city of Chennai.

In 2007 he founded the agency Trikaya Photos in India, to showcase emerging photographers working on sensitive issues. Since 2009, he has been working on the conflict in the region of Kashmir, the problem of drugs addiction in Kolkata and the marginalized transsexual community across India. His photography is an aesthetic testament of traditions that are endangered in modern India. These images have been published in various international magazines (OjodePez, Courrier international, etc) and exhibited in India and abroad.

Varun Gupta

Varun was born to a family of travelers in Calcutta. The holidays of his youth were spent rock-climbing, trekking and pursuing adventure amidst the towering beauty of the Himalayas. As a natural extension of his travels, he took to the camera at the age of eight, to document what he saw. A few hundred rolls of film later, his journey continued through a bachelor degree in Mass Media Communication from College of Wooster in Ohio, a job as an animator in New York, and a diploma in Photography from Light & Life Academy in Ooty; taking to digital photography along the way.

Varun is a professional freelance photographer based in Chennai. He undertakes various commercial assignments for clients around India and abroad. He is a regular contributor to Lonely Planet Magazine in India and other travel magazines. His teaching experience includes several workshops at Max Mueller Bhavan. He also teaches Photojournalism at the reputed Asian College of Journalism. His fine-art photography has been keenly appreciated and collected.

Rahul Dhankani


Born in 1987, in Calcutta, India; Rahul has been working with various photographic formats and mediums in an attempt to balance and blend aesthetics through multiple generations of image making, combining workflows in an attempt to find visuals that play with the concept of time through the use of photography’s ever changing tools.

Published internationally, his image making is focused on understanding the contrast between traditional and modern lifestyle, exploring the fringes of civilization and comparing it with mainstream modern living, using photography to understand his own existence, and the evolution of humanity into society as it exists today, its roots and the possibilities of its existence in the future.

Rahul has been involved with several organisations that promote photography education, sharing and collaboration. He is a co-founder at Atelier Expeditions, the founder of The Lighthouse, Calcutta and the managing director at Travelling Lens.

Photo by Insiya Syed

The TL Experience


Comprehensive safety measures and Fully packed first aid kits: Safety is our top most priority. We love to push the limits of adventure, but make sure that we are prepared for any eventualities that may arise. We use short range walky-talkies in each vehicle so we can communicate with the team even as you drive through remote mountain passes. Gamow bags and oxygen cylinders travel with us at all times, members of our crew are trained to administer fist aid, deal with high altitude sickness and react in case of emergency situations. We have systems in place for evacuations and rescues. Every precaution is taken to make sure that nothing goes wrong, but if something does, we know how to deal with it.


Experienced crew and guides: The Travelling Lens crew is made up professional photographers, long time travellers, experienced mountaineers and trained medics. We know the land, speak the local language, understand the local culture and customs and are prepared for almost any situation. We also know how to have a good time. We share this with you so that your experience is holistic and meaningful. We love what we do and are good at it, so when you travel with us rest assured that you’re covered from every angle.


Full Service, responsible Tourism: Experience the outdoors like never before with Travelling Lens. We ensure a high level of comfort and make sure that you are taken care of, while constantly minimizing our impact on the environment. We use responsible local operators, waste as little as possible, carry our trash out and bury our decomposable waste.



Travel in comfort: Travel in the comfort of a spacious vehicle operated by experienced mountain drivers. We limit the number of passengers in each vehicle to only three, so that everyone has a window seat and there’s plenty of space for all your gear. We believe in never rushing to reach a destination, the journey is as important. Driving through the incredible landscape of Ladakh is an inspiring experience, we make sure that you really enjoy it. With every bend in the road, a new vista emerges that will take your breath away, and we stop for every photo-op.


Complete Pre-Trip Support: Travelling to the high Himalaya is no everyday task, an incredible adventure such as this requires meticulous preparation and planning. We send out comprehensive packing lists that are distilled from years of experience in the mountains and will prepare you for most things that come your way. From the type of clothing to carry, sunblock and toiletries you need, info on medication and emergency supplies, to a complete rundown on the photography gear that will come in handy, we try to cover all the bases.
Understandably, an epic adventure such as this will raise plenty of questions in your mind. Our dedicated team is available to answer all your queries and put your mind at ease, info on weather conditions, permits and visas needed and how you can extend your trip and see more of the region.


Indian Nationals : INR 70,000 per Person

Foreign Nationals : USD 1400 per person


The cost includes:

  • Basic Photography Workshop
  • Accommodation on twin-sharing basis at A class/three-star level properties that have been selected by us for their location and comfort.
  • All transport in SUVs (Scorpio/Innova/Tavera/Sumo) on a 3 passengers to a vehicle basis (everyone has a window seat)
  • Meals | In Leh – Breakfast + ONE meal (either lunch or dinner based on workshop schedule) | All meals covered when outside Leh.
  • Camera and entrance fees to monasteries and places of interest.
  • Professional Guides at places of interest.


Cost does not Include:

  • Flights to and from Leh or any other destination.
  • Bottled water, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, snacks and personal items.
  • Laundry.
  • Visits to places outside of the itinerary.



  • Tour subject to a minimum of 15 participants
  • Bookings confirmed upon payment of INR 10,000 Advance
  • 3.09% service tax is included in the fee.


Travelling Lens understands that unforeseen circumstances might cause you to withdraw from the tour.

Our refund policy is as follows:

  • Cancellations made more than 45days before the start of the tour: You are refunded 75% of the package cost

  • Cancellations made 30 days to 15 days before the start of the tour: You are refunded 50% of the package cost

  • Cancellations made Less than 15 days before the start of the tour : No Refunds.

  • Taxes, paypal fees and transaction costs are non refundable.

    Travelling Lens reserves the right to cancel a tour due to unforeseen circumstances. In the event of such a cancellation a 100% refund will be given to all participants. Travelling Lens will not take responsibly for any third party expenses made by participants such as cancellation fees for accommodation or flights etc.

    To register You are required to pay a booking deposit of INR 10,000

    We accept both online and offline payments


    You can complete your online payment below using all major credit/debit cards or internet banking facilities. When you click on the register button, you will be taken to a page hosted by our payment partner Doattend, where you will be asked for information to complete the transaction.


    We accept offline payments through wire transfers, cash and cheque

    Contact us at: / +91 9790770679


Q: Can I bring a companion ?

A: Yes, we can make arrangement for companions who will not be attending the photography workshop, but would like to travel with you. So if you would like to bring your wife / girlfriend / mother-in-law / brother / sister / friend / dog, you are most welcome. Cost for companion travel is the same as for participants.

Q: We are going to some very high altitudes, can their be problems with breathing and headaches ?

A: Yes. The trick to negotiating high altitudes, is best put by the age-old adage, “climb high, sleep low.” The best part about this package is that by virtue of the Leh to Manali drive, you are doing exactly that. But to further ensure we do not encounter problems we have set the itinerary to give use at least 2 full days in the Leh area before we get adventurous. On these days, you will get a chance to walk a little, take in the sights but most of all come to terms with the rarefied atmosphere. This is not to say that someone can experience some symptoms like headaches; however there is no need to be alarmed.

Q: What is the weather like there ?

A: We are all aware that weather in the hills is very unpredictable, so of course no one can say for sure. However, on average, Ladakh has a variety in its daily conditions. During the day, one is likely to experience scorching heat when exposed to sunlight and much cooler temperatures in the shade. In the evenings and at night it can get as low as 2-3degrees or even lower in some places. Particularly Pangong Lake features some high wind that lowers the temperatures further. Being prepared is always better so please do bring adequate winter clothing. You will receive a detailed packing list after you have signed up for the tour and paid your advance.

Q: What about Loos ?

A: This is the one discomfort that you might have to live with. Although all accommodations in our package will provide functioning toilets, there is no guarantee of what we find on the road when nature does make that untimely call. To battle this in a dignified manner we recommend a recently learned travellers secret – the use of ‘baby wet wipes’ is both pleasant and hygienic.

Q: What about my precious Cell Phone coverage ?

A: Even though we would much rather you leave those blasted contraptions behind at home, we realise that some of you might need to be in touch with the real world from time to time. Despite the lovely cellular company ads showing people in the middle of Ladakh with crystal clear coverage the truth is quite different. Most networks just drop out a few hours outside Manali and don’t pick up till Leh. Even in Leh you are likely to encounter trouble. The trick here is to ensure that you have either a Airtel or BSNL connection, which is properly activated for roaming. BSNL will give you coverage even outside of the Leh area.


For information, images and photographic recommendations on some the places we’re visiting, check out: