When we talk of Stellar Locations in our Indian Himalayas, Zanskar Valley definitely steals the show with its mind staggering beauty. With the most sorted itinerary and logistics to carry out Landscape Photography in the high altitude terrains of Zanskar region, thEscape announces it's Landscape and Astro Photography Tour to capture the pristine showcase what Zanskar Himalayas has to offer from 23rd July to 31st July, 2022 (Ex- Leh).
Zanskar Valley is one of the most picturesque valley of Ladakh characterized by high snow capped peaks, some lush meadows sprinkling between the barren mountains with some high altitude lakes and rivers imparting a stupendous soothe to the eye. Considered as a paradise for Landscape Photographers, this region never fails to amuse anyone who comes with a camera and an intent to capture it's enchanting beauty. thEscape understands it's essence and has come up with the most exclusive and sorted well researched itinerary best suited to the needs of any photographer with all the required facilities and comfort needed to carry out the photography activities.
This is our second tour to this region. If you want to see a showcase of what we did in our last tour in 2021, please go through the following link for the set of images -
Landscape Photography Partners for the Tour
Himadri is a distinguished published Landscape Photographer of India from Assam and has been in the education arena of photography for the last 10 years. He is the mentor of Nikon India of North East and to talk of his major accomplishment, he has been the awarded the Night Photography Award by ILPOTY which is considered as the most honored award for any Landscape Photographer. As it is said, the work speaks for itself, you can go through the following for his complete set of works-
Nilakkhya is a published Landscape Photographer of India from Delhi and has been in the photography arena for the last 11 years. He is associated with Nikon India and to talk of some of his accomplishments, he has been published on all major platforms of photography including some of the top photography magazines of India. For his complete set of works-
Highlights of our Tour
Group size of minimum 10 participants and maximum 14 participants mentored by two landscape photographers on first come first serve basis to ensure personal attention.
An extensive 8N/9D well planned out trip to ensure we cover every nook and corner of Zanskar by not rushing through and hence don't leave out any opportunity to photograph it's beauty.
Participants experiencing latest High End Nikon cameras and Lenses as Nikon is our Equipment Partner.
Working on the concept of Travel, Share and Learn on Landscape Photography with Nilakkhya Dutta and Himadri Bhuyan who have an experience of photographing Himalayas and showcasing it's beauty in the most purest form. Both Nilakkhya and Himadri are published photographers across different platforms and magazines around the globe.
We will also publish a book in collaboration with our publishing partner of the works of our participants during the trip be it photographs, a write up or a painting. This anthology will have introduction of the participants and the showcase of their work at an added cost. This book comes out as an Bi-annual edition of thEscape. Participants who pay for being published are given 3 copies of the book.
Through our NGO partner, we will be selling copies of the book on Amazon and the sale proceeds of it will go as a donation to the remote backward areas of Himalayas in the form of books, clothes and essential products.
thEscape will provide Post Processing Online One on One session to the participants who would require a hand holding in this aspect. Though we at thEscape believe that Art is one's own visualization and creation. We will only help in the technical aspects both on field and after coming back in the online sessions (if required). In this regard, we would also like to mention that we will make the participants click their own images with the outlook they like and would not encourage them to imitate or copy the frames taken by more experienced photographers of the group or the Photography Partners( Nilakkhya and Himadri as they would also be capturing their frames during the tour) as we believe the style of photography and Art grows of an individual with their own eye.
We give the trip ex-Leh with transfer of participants in TWO comfortable Tempo Travelers throughout Zanskar. Leh is connected with rest of India with flights and roads. Pick up and Drop of participants to and from Airport will be in cabs.
Accommodation in Leh will be on twin sharing basis in a comfortable hotel.
The two tempo travelers will be accompanied by a pilot vehicle from Suru Valley in the Tour till we reach back Leh.
We do a Full Camping Tour which gives us the leverage to set up camps at the most photogenic locations. An extensive research has identified the locations to be high altitude meadows, by the side of high altitude lakes and high altitude rivers most conducive for both Landscapes and Astro scape with minimal light pollution.
We ensure State of the Art camping and food facilities. Camping will be done on twin sharing basis in A-shaped tents along with Sleeping Bags and Mattresses. We will set up 4 toilet tents. As a support, we will have the dining tent with all cutlery, tables and camping stools, Kitchen tent being operated with top notch professional chef serving breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner with both Veg and Non-Veg options. Single supplement option if taken, then the accommodation will be given in a Two Men Dome shaped tent at an additional cost.
All meals, i.e. Breakfast, Lunch, Tea and Dinner starting from Lunch on Day 1 at Leh to Breakfast on Day 9 at Leh.
Service of an experienced professional Tour Leader.
All required permits to travel on this route.
Generator Facility throughout the trip for charging of batteries.
Mineral Water served to all participants throughout the trip during the transit from one place to another. Though we believe here that the water in the Himalayas are more purer than the bottled ones, but just to be on the safer side, we will have the bottled water in the tempos to be consumed during the travel. At the camp sites, we will have the natural water served.
Facility of Supplement Oxygen and First Aid kits.
Above all, we will ensure Covid Protocols by following any protocol of Union Territory of Ladakh at the time of the tour.
Detailed Itinerary Day Wise
23rd July- Day -1 (Saturday) - Arrival at Leh and transfer of participants in cabs to our hotel in Leh. We expect the participants to book the flights reaching max by 11 AM to Leh so that they can take ample rest throughout the day before starting for the journey the next day. Overnight in Leh. We will have an optional visit to Shanti Stupa during the sunset for the ones who would want to go. (Additional cost of cabs).
24th July - Day -2 (Sunday) - Drive to Suru Valley- 3000 meters (275 kms) with our two Tempo Travellers through Sangam, Lamayuru, Kargil to reach Suru Valley. Overnight in camps.
25th July - Day -3 (Monday) - Suru Village to Rangdum campsite - 3657 meters ( 35 kms). After a halt at Panikhar for viewing the astonishing views of Nun Kun and Parkachik Glacier, we visit the famous Rangdum Monastery and then camp at Rangdum.
26th July - Day -4 (Tuesday) - On this day we drive towards the famous Pensi La Pass- 4400 meters ( 30 kms) and set up our camps by the side of Twin Lakes of Stat Tso and Lang Tso - 4324 meters. This is one of the most important day for us as we get to see the famous Drang Drung glacier, one of the largest in Ladakh giving rise to Stod river and experience it's beauty at different times of the day.
27th July - Day -5 (Wednesday) - Today we drive to Sani village (70 kms) - 3700 meters, and set up our camps and visit Sani Lake which has a beautiful statue of Padma Sambhava on it's banks. Sani Village is considered as the oldest religious site of Zanskar.
28th July - Day -6 (Thursday) - On this day, we drive to Gumbo Rongjan Base(90 kms) - 4300 meters and set up our camp. We camp by the river side and adore the beauty of the famous peak of Gumbo Ranjan during different times of the day.
29th July - Day -7 (Friday) - On this day we drive back and reach Zangla 3930 meters (115 kms) and set up our camps. Visit the famous Zangla Fort.
30th July - Day -8 (Saturday) - We start the return journey on this day by starting early and drive to Leh (270kms) via Singe La and Sir Sir La. Overnight in Leh hotel.
31st July - Day -9 (Sunday) - We say a good bye to our participants on this day and transfer them back in the cabs to Leh Airport after Breakfast.
Rs. 65,000 per person (Ex-Leh)
(Twin sharing in Tents and Twin Sharing in Hotel)
Single Supplement - Cost on Request
Additional Rs. 3000 ( For people who want their works to get published in the Bi-Annual edition of thEscape Book)
All accommodations at Leh on twin sharing basis in a deluxe property unless a choice of single supplement is chosen where a single room is given to the participant on Day 1 and Day 8.
All accommodations during Camping in A-Shape High Altitude Tents on twin sharing basis. Dome shaped Tent for participants choosing Single Supplement.
All transfers from Leh to Zanskar and back in 2 Tempo Travelers.
Airport Transfers to and from Leh Airport.
One support vehicle to carry Kitchen Materials, Staff and Luggage from Day 3 to Day 8.
All Meals from Leh to Leh, i.e. morning tea, breakfast, lunch, evening tea, dinner from Lunch on Day 1 to Breakfast on Day 9.
Sleeping bags, Mattresses.
Dining Tent with Camp Stools and Dining Table.
Kitchen Tent for mess purpose.
Four toilet tents with Western Seating arrangement.
Cook, Helper and support staff.
Mineral Water for the whole tour ( During transit in Tempos)
Power Back up for charging batteries.
Services of an experienced tour leader for whole tour.
First Aid kit .
Experience of Nikon High End Camera Gears for taking pictures.
Photography Assistance for day time Landscapes and Night Astro scape on all days with image critique.
Making participants understand the settings of the camera for capturing the scape.
Online post processing session to participant if needed.
3 copies of published anthology book to each participant who opt for the book.
Travel to Leh and return travel from Leh to your location.
In transit stay and meals during the travel from your location to Leh and Leh to your location.
Breakfast on Day 1 and Lunch and Dinner on Day 9.
Any kind of Meal skip cost as planned for the tour. For eg. for photography or travel need, the lunch or breakfast is served late, then if any participant chooses to consume food from any outlet or restaurant, the cost of that is not included.
Expenses of personal nature including tips, laundry or similar.
Expenses of any kind of food or beverage bought by the participants during transit from one place to another.
Expenses of extra food or beverages both soft and hard ordered though we try to avoid hard drinks at high altitudes and not recommend it to our participants.
Any cost arising out for Medical emergency of any participant.
Any cost arising out if there is an increase in the number of days due to unforeseen civil unrest, weather disruption or anything beyond our control.
1. What are the terms of Payment and Booking Procedure?
Booking Amount - Rs. 25,000 at the Time of Confirmation.
Final Payment - Rs. 40,000 15 days before the Departure Day, i.e. by 8th July, 2022.
2. What is the Cancellation and Refund Policy?
If cancelled 30 days prior to Departure, ie. on or before 23rd June, 2022- 50% Refund of Advance Amount.
If cancelled between 30 days prior to departure date and 15 days prior to Departure, i.e. b/w 23rd June, 2022 and 8th July, 2022 - No Refund of Advance Amount.
If cancelled between 15 days prior to departure and Departure Date, i.e. between 8th July, 2022 and 23rd July, 2022 - No Refund of Full Amount of Trip (considering the final payment is paid by 8th July, 2022 )
For people not paying the final payment by 8th July, 2022 and cancel their participation between 8th July,2022 and 23rd July, 2022- No Refund of Advance Amount.
Any cancellation of Trip from the organizer side due to surge in Covid cases (4th Wave) or a Lockdown imposed or any participant testing positive in RTPCR with due diligence, FULL REFUND WILL BE GIVEN of the Advance Amount or Full Payment made by the participants. Nothing will be held upon on our side. Though participants may wish to keep that amount with us as an deposit for the next trip planned by thEscape.
Please note - Any refund to be made from our side if it may arise will be done after one month of completion of the tour. i.e., by 31st August, 2022.
3. What are the precautions to be kept in mind as it is a high altitude tour and photography during the same becomes difficult especially with stays being in camps?
First of all, a Landscape Photography Tour at a high altitude especially to pursue Landscape Photography are for participants who are mentally and physically strong. We would like to rope in participants who have a prior high altitude experience but we can also consider freshers as this is a tour with travels in a vehicle and doesn't involve trekking. But the pre requisite which would be strictly adhered to is the physical fitness of the participant as it's a High Altitude tour. Moreover with some great hospitality of my travel partners during this tour, I'm sure that participants would be able to make it through and in the process create some great images. As they say it " If there is a WILL, there is a WAY". So the mental strength along with physical fitness would be a primary requirement for undertaking this photography tour.
4. What are the rules and the protocols to be followed during the course of the tour?
While traveling, the group leaders in both Tempo Travelers will decide on the stoppages for Photography. As everyone here gets a window seat, they can click from their windows but when it would be required to stop and get down to capture something, it will be decided by the group leaders.
The time for taking images after getting down from the vehicle will be communicated by the group leaders as per the scene in picture. Everyone has to adhere to the timings given. If it is 10 minutes, then everyone should be back in the vehicle in 10 minutes, if more, then more. But be rest assured that ample time will be given to the participants to capture a particular scene in view.
Everyone will have to adhere to the rising time and sleeping time communicated by the group leaders and the participants have to wake up on their own. If someone misses the time, then that person would miss out on the photography opportunity and the group leaders won't be responsible for the same. Since it’s a photography tour, it’s extremely important to catch the right light for the images, both for sunrise and sunset.
While we are photographing at a particular place, no one will come in each other’s frame. If someone wants to capture the exact scene as being captured by the counterpart, it is advised to everyone to allow the first person to complete the shot and then give the chance to second person.
No quarrels during the tour amongst the participants. If anyone faces any issue with any other person, be it for photography or otherwise, one should raise it first to us and we resolve it.
For the logistics, all the participants are advised to follow the regular protocol of calling the hotel helpdesk for any need or the Travel Partner during camping for the same. If at all, they don’t respond or the problem doesn’t work out, then you can come to us and we will provide the resolution.
Strictly no littering during the tour of plastic bottles, wrappers or any other material. Do carry it back to hotels or a proper disposing place and dispose off properly.
All the participants need to carefully handle their camera equipment, be it the camera, lenses, tripods, memory cards etc. All of you would be responsible for your own belongings. If anyone damages the products given by Nikon India, then that person bears the cost of it.
Every day during the evening gupshup session, we will come to each participant and review their images clicked. It is requested to take the feedback from us in a sporting way and improve upon that.
Participants who want to consume alcohol during the evening gupshup sessions can have it in quantity best suited to their bodies without going overboard. All are requested to carry it from their respective airports as it’s not available readily in Zanskar.
Moreover one needs to keep in mind that the travels and stay would be a little offbeat and tough in nature with photography being the primary motive. So there would be instances where the meal timings along with some other facilities like pitching of tents, food preparation, toilet tent setting up , dining tent etc will take time and will not be as per schedule though the travel partners will put up their best show to be on time. Participants need to understand here the same and any negativity in the group or talks about the same during the tour will not be taken in a positive spirit and will imply necessary action as it would disturb the positive flow of the photography spirit and will imbibe unnecessary hurdles in creation of images.
For People who would want to take their photographs by going a little away from the group would be at their own responsibility and any mis-happening would not be responsibility of thEscape and it's associates.
We would also discourage any visit during the tour which would be of personal nature like a visit which generally tourists make during the tour as this tour is characterized as a Landscape Photography tour.
Any skip of any destination as mentioned in the itinerary due to any factor not in our control like road block, weather etc, In such cases, we shall be responsible for providing suitable alternatives, the best we can. Any extra cost arising for the same will have to be borne by the participants.
5. What is the minimum and maximum number of participants and what does happen if the minimum participants don't enroll for the tour?
The minimum participation we are looking at is of 10 people . In case the minimum number doesn't enroll, we will try to conduct the tour but with some increased cost per participant.
6. If due to an emergency, the participant wishes to leave the trip in between, is the fee refunded and arrangements made for his/her return to Leh and their Destination?
In case due to any unforeseen circumstance, a participant wishes to leave in between the trip, No Refund would be made. Moreover the cost of arranging the transport for going back to Leh and to their respective destination has to be borne by him/her.
7. What Photography Equipment are expected by the participants to carry?
The trip is characterized as a Landscape Photography tour but at the same time invites are also for people who wish to create some art in the mountains in the form of paintings or creative writing which can be published in the anthology. Camera Equipments expected from everyone -
One DSLR camera along with a wide and telephoto lens
Filters for those who want to try out Long Exposures. ND10 and Polariser.
Shutter Release remote again for Long Exposures
L-bracket who want to take vertical long exposures and panos.
Though this is a comprehensive list, but not hard and fast that everyone will have to carry these. For those who want to carry out simple landscape photography of golden and blue hours and want to learn Astro can just bring in DSLR with lenses and a tripod. For long exposures, the filters are very important along with the shutter release remote.
Since it is a trip to some remote lands with no electricity , we also expect that the photographers get their extra battery sets in case they run out of charge though we will have generator facility. An extension board for putting in extra chargers would also be handy if participants carry it. For keeping the batteries not running out of charge due to the cold bitter weather, participants can keep them attached to the bare body inside their clothes. For painters and writers, the expectation is that they bring their creative kits with them in the form of copies, pens, painting sheets or canvas, colors etc.
8. Can a participant bring a Non- Photographer Friend or Companion or a Non-Photographer or a Non-Artist Join?
We here invite two sets of people, one who are keen on Landscape Photography and second who are painters or writers as we publish an anthology for them. Apart from these two, if someone wants to join in the tour is welcome because we do a lot of sight seeing too in this tour but subject to the following conditions-
No reduction in Fee Cost
If they don't create any form of Art, then their name doesn't go in the anthology we create.
Photography and Art tours are slow moving as we will stop at a lot of places and spending time on creating the Art Form and the Non- Art participant is thereby expected to respect the time of the Artists and move as per their pace.
9. What is the fitness level required for this trip? Does it involve Trekking or Long Walks?
Any person visiting the Himalayas, especially an altitude more than 3000 meters is expected to have a minimum level of fitness for carrying out day to day activities during the tour. Though our trip is a driving tour majorly and not involving full day hikes or treks, the participant may still have to walk some distance in order to reach the campsite from the car parking or visiting a monastery. Apart from that minimum level of fitness, it is also expected that any medication to be also taken care by him/her during the course of the trip and carry them in adequate quantities to avoid any kind of mishaps. Rest for a while if facing any issues and move forward at a pace best suited for his/her body. Participants hence are expected to bring in their medical and first aid kits. It's the participant's responsibility to notify the staff of any pre-existing medical conditions and/or disability that may affect his/her ability to travel on this trip.