"I went into photography because it seemed like the perfect vehicle for commenting on the madness of today's existence." - Robert Mapplethorpe

For Photo Tour Safari with stay at hotels and for those that involve camping

Q: Who will be the instructors for the course?

A: Shailan Parker AND / OR Joginder Singh. More information on the instructors can be found on the About page of this website.

Q: What kind of camera do I need for this Photo-trek?

A: A digital SLR of any make is required for allowing you to implement effectively, the learning's from this workshop. Some participants have also carried 35mm film SLR cameras. If you have both, we advise carrying them for different applications.

Q: What kind of lenses do I need for the camera?

A: The workshop is primarily structured for Landscape Photography. For this a wide angle lens is required. These are typically bundled as part of your Digital SLR kit. The most common for the DX sensor is the18-55mm standard zoom lens. This can suffice for most applications. Having a wider lens like 10-20mm or 12-24mm allows majestic landscapes. Having a telephoto lens like 55-200mm or 75-300mm shall allow you to pull distant things closer and is very useful. A lot of participants have, however, explored our workshops with just the regular kit lens. If you enjoy getting up close with things and exploring beyond the limits of human vision, a dedicated Macro lens shall be highly useful in this workshop. Alternatively, you could invest in simple supplementary close-up lenses that screw on in front of your lens and allow you to get close to things. These are easily available. When shopping for them, please specify the filter diameter of your lens. (Usually written on the inside of your lens cap or the front dial.)

Q: Do I need a tripod for this trip?

A: Yes, a good sturdy tripod shall be required for shooting early morning and late evening or night photography. We do not advise investing in a cheap plastic thing.

Q: How much memory / how many memory cards shall I need?

A: Once we leave the town and head into the hills, you will not be able to use laptops to empty memory cards. Depending upon the format you shoot images in, RAW or JPEG, you need to estimate your shooting requirements. Assuming you shoot say 500 pictures during the tour, and are on a 10MP camera, we suggest having at least 16GB or more of memory.

Q: Will I be able to charge my camera batteries?

A: No you will not be able to once we start camping. We advise carrying a couple of spare camera batteries. Even fully charged camera batteries are affected by the cold. Keeping batteries warm, in pockets of jackets, trousers shall allow them to retain their charge longer. Considering most of the itinerary is by car, it is possible to charge batteries in the car while on the move. The participant needs to carry a car cigarette lighter socket inverter. This is easily available in most car accessory shops. An extension cord is also useful as it allows all four participants in a vehicle to charge batteries simultaneously.

Q: Do I need a Laptop for this trip?

A: Yes. We shall leave these in the hotel from where we start on the road trip and get back to. On getting back, you transfer images to your laptop and select pictures for the picture review that happens prior to conclusion of the program. Alternatively, you could share one with your tour-mates, but the organizers cannot ensure that.

Q: What kind of filters do I need for the photography we shall be doing?

A: Your lens should definitely have a good UV (ultra-violet filter). In addition to this, having a circular polarizer shall help. We recommend buying this for the largest diameter of lens that you have and complementing its use by buying step-down rings for smaller lenses.

Q: What kind of camera bag will I need?

A: One that has adequate padding to protect your equipment inside in case it knocks against a rock or the hill side. Considering that you have to carry your equipment and walk up to some places, having a backpack camera bag is useful. However this is not mandatory. A lot of participants in our previous tours have fit their shoulder camera bags into regular backpacks and managed very well. A small backpack also allows you to carry your water bottle, snacks and packed lunch, if required. Please ensure that the camera bag has a rain cover, or you have a big plastic bag with which you can cover the bag in case of erratic weather.

Q: Do I need a separate flash in addition to the on-camera flash?

A: If you have one, carry it along with spare sets of batteries. If not, you can experiment with the on-camera flash. However, be warned that using the on-camera flash does drain batteries and you should have spare camera batteries. The workshop stresses on using daylight as far as possible, so even if you don't have a flash you can shoot.

Q: Do I need a remote camera trigger or a cable release?

A: Preferably yes, but not mandatory. There are other ways of releasing a camera shutter to avoid camera shake and we address these during the workshop.

Q: What kind of luggage should I carry?

A: Soft bags like airline bags or backpacks are advisable. When taking a flight, your bag should meet airline cabin luggage requirements and adhere to the weight allowance prescribed. Cabin bags should be of the following dimensions 50cm x 40cm x 20cm (l x b x h). Hard suit cases are definitely avoidable. Your bag should ideally be lockable and strong. Flimsy luggage easily gets damaged on a road trip. Unless your luggage is water proof, we suggest lining it with a polythene bag or packing your stuff in individual polythene bags and stacking it in the order in which you unpack. We do take precautions to cover luggage during transport but it is better to be careful while packing. Tripods should be packed into your check in luggage and well padded with clothes all around. If it is possible to remove the tripod head, it should be done and packed in your cabin luggage. You can also check in the tripod in a well padded separate tripod bag. Intimate the airline staff to mark the luggage fragile. Where possible tie the separate tripod bag with your main bag to that they are checked in as one unit. Camera equipment is never checked in but carried on board.

Q: Do I have to carry my luggage?

A: No, your luggage gets transported to the next location in your car. For your own security we suggest having a bag that can be locked. This ensures that nothing falls out during transport on jeep / mule. The organizers shall not be held responsible for things missing if you have an unlocked or flimsy bag.

Q: Is first aid available or should I carry my own?

A: Please carry your own along with any medicines that you regularly use. Medical facilities are not readily available in remote locations and reaching you to the hospital in case of injury or ill health can take some time. Having a clean bill of health and first aid, is therefore recommended. The organizers carry a first aid kit with them and shall also help out.

Q: Is filtered water available to drink?

A: We try to carry packaged drinking water bottles. Normally these suffice for the duration of the tour. We try and supplement these where possible. In remote locations if we run out of bottled water, available water is boiled, cooled and served.

Q: What kind of food is served on the tour?

A: Mostly Indian food is served. It is freshly cooked and is largely vegetarian. Eggs are served too. And some kind of cereal normally accompanies breakfast. You can also carry your own cereals. As far as possible the meals served are hot. If the distance that we travel in a day is too much, the organizers shall provide packed lunch.

Q: Are toilets available?

A: Hotel rooms have attached toilets. Homestays have mostly dry toilets, very rarely do they have western toilets. While camping, where the location allows we try and install dry toilet tents. You are expected to carry your own toiletries. Sometimes you might have to use the outdoors.

Q: Do I need specialized clothing?

A: Not really. Comfortable clothes that allow free movement are advised. A warm jacket is a must, preferably with a hood. If the jacket is water-proof it is better. Alternatively we advise carrying a large, but light rain coat / rain sheet / poncho with which you can cover yourself and your camera bag. We advise carrying extra pairs of socks and at least a couple of pairs of woolen socks. Warm head gear like woolen caps, monkey caps and mufflers are advisable too. A warm pair of gloves comes in very handy.

Q: What kind of shoes do I need?

A: Regular sneakers / sport shoes...either but with a rough sole that has a grip on uneven terrain. If you have water proof shoes, those shall be excellent....GORE TEX and similar material shoes shall be an excellent choice, but are not mandatory.

Q: Do I need camping gear?

A: No, you do not. We take care of the twin occupancy tents, sleeping mattresses and sleeping bags. If you are extremely hygiene conscious, we advise carrying a sleeping bag insert to line the inside of your sleeping bag. You are free to carry your own sleeping bag. No pillows are provided, the norm being a rolled up jacket. You might want to carry a pillow cover and stuff it with clothes. You are expected to carry your own torch or headlamp and spare batteries and a water bottle.

Q: What else would you advise carrying?

A: Sunscreen lotion, a moisturizer, mosquito repellant lotion, a good pair of UV resistant, anti-glare sun glasses, a note book, a couple of ball pens, a small assortment of polythene bags for carrying various things or packing wet stuff, feel free to carry munchies that you enjoy. Last but not the least, carry some throat drops. The organizers can't be held responsible if you go hoarse singing around the camp fire :-)

Over the last few years that we have been conducting this workshop we've addressed a lot of individual queries and concerns. These are collated on the right.

If you feel there is still something specific you'd like to know, do drop us an email and we'll get back to you.