Travelling Lens Master Class | Ladakh, 2012


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New Updates | June 10th 2012

Bookings are now closed, contact us to be put on the waiting list
The Lonely Planet Competition will close today at Midnight(Indian Standard Time)

The winner of the Homai Vyarwalla Scholarship is Snehal Kanodia from India

We regret to inform you that Andrea Bruce is unable to make it to Baltistan for the workshop.


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India’s Unexplored High Himalaya Photography Expedition: A journey from a women’s perspective

Far above the searing lowlands of the Gangetic Plain of India, an impossibly high mountain range thrusts skyward. Locked away for centuries, protected from the outside by both peak and Parliament, the land of Ladakh cradles what some call the most intact Tibetan Buddhist culture left on earth.
Meaning “land of high passes”, Ladakh exists as a remote outpost on the edge of India, a mix of Tibetan Buddhism and Shia Islam, and was only opened for tourism from the outside world in 1974. Incredibly photogenic, with a smiling people and stunning mountain scenery, the capitol Leh and its surrounding valleys is cleared of deep snows for only a few months each summer. Buddhist monasteries dot the landscape, prayer flags float on the wind, stark heights and depths fill with golden light- a perfect place to both learn and hone the craft of photography, mentored by three of the world’s finest women photojournalists- Ami Vitale, Maggie Steber and Andrea Bruce.

Travelling Lens presents a once in a lifetime opportunity, combining exploration with education, over 15 days in late June, 2012.

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Tucked away in these high valleys is an even more isolated land, one so rugged and that it spans the political and mountain borders of two nations — the land of Baltistan, on the fringes of Ladakh. While Pakistan’s Balti terrain has been open to trekkers for decades, India sealed its portion of this land to all foreigners during those same years.
Indian Baltistan represents one of the last “firsts” in Himalayan exploration- in 2011, finally, this beautiful place was partially opened. Over the entire summer season, no more than a few hundred foreigners visited Indian Baltistan, most for a few hours or overnight. Places impossible to visit, experience and photograph just two years ago can now be traveled for the few months of high altitude summer that allows access. Yet we travel gently, taking care to mediate and limit our impact on unique culture and the environment. While Baltistan is part of Ladakh, it retains a separate culture, language and identity- one of Nurbakshia Islam instead of Buddhism.
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Journey through Ladakh while learning hands-on from award-winning photographers
Explore the ancient town of Leh, meander through the narrow streets and get lost in lively bazaars
Immerse yourself in Buddhist culture at several monasteries. Wake up early to the sound of rhythmic chanting.
Journey to the frontier of civilization; explore the untouched land of Baltistan
Experience full-service camping under the milky way
Be mesmerized by the changing colours of Pangong Lake
Witness the mesmerizing mask dance festival at Shachukul Monastery
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USD 3,650
per person. Including taxes and transaction costs

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24th June
8th July


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The workshop will be centered around a mentorship program. It has been structured to allow students to build relationships with their instructors and learn from them at close quarters.
This workshop is meant to help students achieve depth and direction in their work, learn the intricacies of modern photojournalism and the nuances of living and working as a professional photographer.
Throughout the workshop, we will also have open discussions that address the special issues faced by women as photographers.
This is a journey to one of the most epic locations on earth, with three of the foremost photojournalists of our time and they also happen to be powerful and extremely passionate women.
This is a workshop centered around documentary photography. It is based on a mentorship system where you can spend quality time with the instructors and they can not only review your current work but also your past portfolio. We expect that the instructors will provide direction, both creative and career oriented. The itinerary includes 5 days in Baltistan where we will immerse ourselves in local culture and can concentrate on shooting in series and constructing photo-essays, we have also added other destinations in Ladakh to provide a variety in shooting scenarios and time lines. We spend one and a half days at the mask dance festival which is a riot of color and celebration, and a treat for any photographer.

The Master Class is definitely a one-of-a-kind experience, not 1 but 3 master class photographers, untouched Baltistan and jaw-dropping Ladakhi landscape.
The trip will have the first 2 days where the instructors and team will present their own work and a talk a little about their journey as image-makers. The participants will all show 20 images from their personal portfolios and will introduce themselves to the group.

On Day 3 the group splits into three parts, each working with one of the 3 instructors. Every 4 days the group will switch instructors.

Over the course of the workshops all the participants would have had time with all three instructors.

We will have a change of groups on:

June 26 | Day 06: our first day in Baltistan.

June 30 | Day 10: the day we return from Baltistan to Hundur village

July 03 | Day 13: the day we arrive in Leh after Pangong Lake.

This works out nicely so that each set of 4 days encompasses a different mood, landscape and situation.

Participants will have a chance to get their current work reviewed during the course of the 4 days. This allows them to get critique from all 3 instructors.

The last 2 days are dedicated to editing sessions and group critiques. Students can choose which instructor they would like to work with on the edit, on a first-come first-served basis.’

We have a final slideshow, some comments from the instructors, tour leaders and students on all the work and a final gala dinner to wrap it up.

We will also incorporate the idea of daily shooting goals, giving participants overlying assignments/ideas that they can build into what they shoot each day.



Please note new dates, we’ve changed our itinerary to include a mask dance festival

Dates: 24th June to 8th July

June 24| Day 01: Arrive in Leh | O/N Hotel in Leh
June 25 |Day 02: Early morning walk to explore the narrow streets and bazaars of Leh | O/N Hotel in Leh
June 26 | Day 03: Early morning visit to Thiksey monastery to witness the morning prayers, Visit Hemis Monastary and Return to Leh | O/N Hotel in Leh
June 27 | Day 04: Drive to Nubra Valley by SUV, explore Hundur on foot| o/n Swiss style deluxe tents in Hundur
June 28 | Day 05: Drive to Tultuk, Baltistan | o/n Lodge
June 29 | Day 06: Baltistan | o/n Lodge/Camping
June 30 | Day 07: Baltistan | o/n Lodge/Camping
July 1 | Day 08: Baltistan | o/n Lodge/Camping
July 2 | Day 09: Drive to Hundur | o/n Swiss style deluxe tents in Hundur
July 3 | Day 10: Drive to Leh | o/n hotel
July 04 | Day 11: Drive Pangong Lake | o/n Swiss style tents on the banks of Pangong Lake
July 05 | Day 12: Drive to Shachukul Monastery for Mask Dance Festival | o/n at best possible accommodation or camping
July 06 | Day 13: Shachukul Festival | Drive back to Leh after the festival
July 07 | Day 14: Relaxed Day in Leh, Final Slideshow and Gala Dinner | o/n Hotel in Leh
July 08 | Day 15: Fly out from Leh
The Experience

[jbox color=”gray” icon=”” title=”Comprehensive Packing Lists”] Travelling to the high Himalaya is no everyday task, an incredible adventure such as this requires meticulous preparation and planning. Our comprehensive packing lists are distilled from years of experiences 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 cellphones and coverage, to a complete rundown on the photography gear that will come in handy, we try to cover all the bases. We even suggest a detailed list of basic medication, including what you can take to minimize the affects of altitude.
[/jbox] [jbox color=”gray” icon=”” title=”Complete Pre-Trip Support”] 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 you need, what kind of photo gear to carry, or even how you can extend your trip and see more of India, all you have to do is ask.
[/jbox] [jbox color=”gray” icon=”” title=”Travel in the comfort of SUVs”] With Travelling Lens you 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. We try to stop for every photo opportunity, whether its a furry marmot on the side of the road, a rainbow behind a peak or a textured rock that catches your eye. Driving through the awe inspiring landscape of Ladakh is an incredible 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!
[/jbox] [jbox color=”gray” icon=”” title=”Full Service, responsible Camping”] Experience the outdoors like never before with Travelling Lens. When we say full-service, we mean it. On the trail mules and porters carry your heavy bags, leaving you free to make great images. When you hit camp, your tents are set up, sleeping bags laid out and a hot cup of tea or cold lemonade waits in the dinning tent. Packed lunches take on a whole new meaning as your served hot meals by our jovial staff in the choicest locations. Our expert high altitude cook will rustle up magical meals in the middle of nowhere.
We make sure that you are taken care of, while constantly minimizing our impact on the environment. We waste as less as possible, carry our trash back and bury our decomposable waste.
[/jbox] [jbox color=”gray” icon=”” title=”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 assurred that you’re covered from every angle.
[/jbox] [jbox color=”gray” icon=”” title=”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.
All precautions are taken to make sure that nothing goes wrong, but if somthing does, we know how to deal with it.
[/jbox] [jbox color=”gray” icon=”” title=”Grade A insurance from Global Rescue”] Travelling Lens provides emergency-evac insurance from Global Rescue. They are committed to keeping their members safe and provide the finest medical and security services from the world’s top experts in emergency evacuations around the globe. Global Rescue has a proven track record of success under the most difficult conditions and provides the peace of mind that we all need to the make the most of our travels.



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Due to a change in airline regulations in India, all airfares have been changing unpredictably. Travelling Lens regrets to inform you that we are no longer able to include Delhi to Leh roundtrip flights in our MasterClass package. Our trip costs have been slashed by $200, to reflect this change.
We sincerely regret the inconvenience caused. Please read the new ‘Getting to Leh’ section below to book air tickets or make alternative plans to get into Leh. We strongly recommend you buy flight tickets and make a booking deposit immediately, to secure a place on the tour.
If you have already completed your booking deposit, please do not be alarmed, your air tickets have already been secured.

Workshop Fee: USD 3,650 per participant
[Does NOT include flights to/from New Delhi]
We are no longer accepting booking deposits for this trip, to register to are required to make the entire payment at once.
You can make the payment by bank transfer / credit card / paypal

The cost includes:

  • Accommodation on twin-sharing basis at 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)
  • 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:

  • Bottled water, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, snacks and personal items.
  • Laundry.
  • Visits to places outside of the itinerary.
  • Any thing not mentioned in “Cost Includes” above


  • Tour subject to a minimum of 15 participants
  • Bookings confirmed upon payment of USD 500 Advance
  • 3.08% service tax is included on all bookings.
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    Travelling Lens is proud to announce several scholarships for this epic adventure to Baltistan with Ami Vitale, Andrea Bruce & Maggie Steber. Please watch the space below for more information.

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    Compose, Shoot & Win !

    Lonely Planet and Travelling Lens bring you a once in a lifetime opportunity to win a seat on the Masterclass Photography Workshop in Baltistan. The workshop is led by Ami Vitale and Maggie Steber who between them have won prestigious awards like the Pulitizer Prize, World Press Photo & International Picture of the Year.
    Send us your best images! The entries will be judged by the award-winning photographers. The deserving winner will win an epic journey to a remote corner of the Himalayas – Baltistan, one of the last unexplored places in the world for the Masterclass Photography Workshop.
    Last Date for Submissions is June 10th
    The Lonely Planet Competition is open only to Indian Nationals.
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    How to Apply::

    1. You need to send a photo-essay comprising of 10-20 images to
    2. The subject should read – Lonely Planet Magazine Competition Submission [Your First & Last name] 3. Also, the submission details in the email should have:
    Photo-Essay Title
    Photo-Essay Synopsis (100-500 words)
    Photographer’s Name
    Photographers Website/Online Presence
    Camera/Equipment used
    4. You need to include a Resume/CV letting us know about your educational background and involvement with photography
    5. Kindly collate and ZIP your essay photographs and resume to one file before submitting. Rename the ZIP file to your First_Last name. Attach the Zip file to the email
    6. Each image should be no larger than 1200 pixels on the long edge and not more than 100ppi with a maximum file size of 2MB each only
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    The Homai Vyarawalla Scholarship for Women Photographers

    Application Deadline: May 20th 2011
    UPDATE: The Scholarship is now open to women photographers from anywhere in the world.
    Homai Vyarawalla embodied the essence of photojournalism and serves as a role model for all women photographers.
    In honor of her inspirational work and tremendous service to the art of photography, Travelling Lens is proud to announce the “Homai Vyarawalla Scholarship for Women Photographers”
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    About Homai Vyarawalla::

    Homai Vyarawalla’s inspirational career started in the 1930s and continued when she moved to Mumbai in 1942 with her family. She had already generated national appreciation for her work before moving to Delhi, where, over thirty years she photographed many political and national leaders involved in World War II, the freedom struggle and governance of the newly independent India. While working as a press photographer, she was responsible for many of the iconic images that are associated with momentous events in the history of the country, and the lives of her subjects, which included Gandhi, Mountbatten, The Dalai Lama, and Indira Gandhi. Her favorite subject was Jawaharlal Nehru – India’s first Prime Minister, of whom she took many memorable images.
    In 2010, the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi (NGMA) in collaboration with the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts presented a retrospective of her work. The Illustrated Weekly of India, a Mumbai based magazine regularly featured her black and white images over the decades that spanned World War II and 1970. While generations of Indians were accustomed to viewing her images, most did not know her name, as she often published under the pseudonym “Dalda 13″.
    The great value of Homai’s work lies in her vast collection of photographs that archive the nation in transition, documenting both the euphoria of Independence as well as disappointment with its undelivered promises. She was the only professional woman photojournalist in India during her time and her survival in a male-dominated field is all the more significant because the profession continues to exclude most women in the country even today.
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    The Scholarship::

    The Homai Vyarawalla Scholarship for Indian Women Photographers is open to women photographers from anywhere in the world. The scholarship will be awarded purely based on merit, evaluated against online submissions from qualifying applicants. The scholarship includes a trip for ONE (1) on the Masterclass Ladakh organized by Travelling Lens between June 21st and July 6th, accommodation on a twin sharing basis and meals and transport as per the itinerary. The scholarship does not include meals not covered in the itinerary, expenses of a personal nature, bottled water, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages and expenses caused by delays due to weather and emergencies.


    Travelling Lens will award one scholarship to an applicant based on a critical evaluation of their work by our panel of photographers. The Scholarship Awardee will be announced on 1st June 2012
  • Send a photo-essay comprising of 10-20 images to
  • The subject should read-The Homai Vyarawalla Scholarship Submission [Your First & Last name]
  • Please include the following Submission Details in your email:
  •      1.Photo-Essay Title:
         2.Photo-Essay Synopsis (100-500 words)
         3.Photographer’s Name:
         4.Photographers Website/Online Presence:
         5.Camera/Equipment used:
  • Please include a Resume/CV letting us know about your educational background and involvement with photography.
  • Please collate and ZIP your essay photographs AND resume to one file before submitting. Rename the ZIP file to your First_Last name. Attach the Zip file to the email.
  • Each image should be no larger than 1200 pixels on the long edge and not more than 100ppi with a maximum file size of 2MB each only.
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    More Scholarships to be announced soon. Please watch this space.

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    Bookings are now closed
    If you would like to be put on the waiting list please fill up the form below
    In the event of a participant not being able to make it for the workshop, we will accept people on our waiting list, on a first come – first serve basis.
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    For any further clarification or assistance, please feel free to contact us at:
    Phone:+91 9790770679 | +91-44-42300478



    Travelling Lens understands that unforeseen circumstances might cause you to withdraw from the tour.
    Our refund policy is as follows:
    More than 45 days in advance: Refund of Booking Deposit less US$100 for transaction costs
    Less than 45 days in advance: No refund of booking deposit
    45days to 30 days: Refund of 75% of package cost
    Less than 30days: No Refund.


    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, transportation, flights etc.
    [jaccordion size=”smalll” theme=”overcast”]Are you interested in this trip ? Sign up below to receive a special discount coupon !::

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