NEPAL PHOTO TOUR
SOLD OUT - feel free to apply to be on the waiting list for next year's tour
18-day guided hike + photo tour along the Annapurna Circuit
taught by Melissa Findley and Carmen Huter, two professional travel photographers
“There is something about the Himalayas not possessed by the Alps, something unseen and unknown, a charm that pervades every hour spent among them, a mystery intriguing and disturbing. Confronted by them, a man loses his grasp of ordinary things, perceiving himself as immortal, an entity capable of outdistancing all changes, all decay, all life, all death.” - Franks Smythe; mountaineer, photographer, author and botanist
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Nov 5 - 22
- Price: USD 3890
- Participants: 13
- Good level of fitness required
- 10% of profits go to Seven Women, a not for profit empowering marginalised Nepali women through education and employment
Come with us, let us show you a part of the world where the vibrant colour of traditions seeps into the very core of your being. A place of significant heritage and culture that oozes the charms of the old world invaded by the new.
Nepal is a dream where life is more intense and vivid.
Be captivated by the power lurking in the Himalaya that permeates every inch of Nepal’s vast land and touches everything in its path. Venture with us deep into the Himalaya, through the verdant midlands and into mountain villages where the smiles transcended language barriers and you are reminded of the strength and resilience of the human spirit.
We want to share with you and show you much more than the typical tourist trail and open your eyes to a world that is raw and teeming with beauty. The soaring valley views along the alpine terrain, the endless meadows and the rich smell deep in the rhododendron forests will etch their way your heart.
Melissa and Carmen hope to share with you and experience which will leave you humbled by the beauty of Mother Nature and her divine, unpredictable magnificence. To find peace in the simple moments, like appreciating the way the alpine glow creates a warmth in your heart at dawn each morning, how the afternoon sun casts long shadows across the sweeping valleys and the joyful echo of “Namaste” from every soul you encounter along the journey. Slow to still as you appreciate the way the clouds build each day and eventually engulf the sacred mountains of an evening and as the temperature begins to drop and you rise in the early hours of the morning, admire the way the sky sparkles with more stars than your wildest dreams could muster. To hold the lingering light of the final moments of the day in your right hand and the moonrise in the palm of your left. Have your mind expanded by the smallest and most elaborate details, the stories that will be shared from the heart and the new experiences and memories you will create over your three week time with us in Nepal.
Melissa and Carmen hope that you leave with a full heart, from the overwhelming kindness of the Nepali people, a restored grounded connection to nature and the ability to be present and content in each moment.
We have created a photo workshop that goes much deeper than how to take a great photograph. This is about creating, connecting; and ultimately, about feeling alive.
It is an environment where we want you to feel safe, artistically supported and held with confidence as individuals and as a “team” with your other travellers. To share with you our passion for Nepal and its people and the beauty in the simplicity and for the ability to give back to a community so deserving.
Embark on the adventure that will no doubt frighten, and overwhelm. And yet exhilarate and consume your every waking hour. For there is indeed no place in the world like Nepal.
The Annapurna Circuit
“Hiking Nepal's Annapurna Circuit is one of the most stunningly beautiful, life-changing experiences you can have on your travels, and we're pretty sure that, like us, you'll be absolutely captivated by the area from the very first day.
Winding through some of the world's tallest mountains and diverse climatic zones (from tropical to freezing alpine peaks), intensive days spent on your feet, and enjoying the beautiful hospitality of the Nepalese people and their quaint mountain villages: the 16 days you'll spend on the trail are some of the most inspiring and challenging you'll ever encounter.” - The Common Wanderer
We highly recommend you read our friends' blog post on their experience on the Annapurna Circuit. Thank you Mim and Mark, you’re awesome!
We also strongly recommend you watch Carmen’s highlighted Instagram stories on her journey in Nepal last November. Although her hike was considerably more difficult, it will give you a genuine insight into what high altitude trekking in Nepal is like.
WHO IS MELISSA FINDLEY?
Celebrated for her dramatic landscapes and ultra-emotional portraits, Queensland-based photographer Melissa Findley has travelled the globe in search of the perfect photo. She works with brands such as The Intrepid Foundation, Canon Australia and a number of different tourism boards across the globe. From Nat Geo online to local Australian exhibitions, her creations are admired far and wide.
Melissa and Carmen met on assignment in the Northern Territory only one year ago, albeit their friendship feels as though they’ve been in each other’s lives for decades.
Melissa has visited Nepal three times since the passing of her mother in 2015, first a journey as a part of a dying wish and promise, which has become an obsession. She has spent time trekking through the Annapurna Ranges (5 day Poon Hill trek), an expedition trip to Tamang Heritage Trail & Langtang Region (14-day trek) and parts of Sagarmatha National Park (6-day trek).
In the wake of the devastating earthquakes of 2015, Intrepid travel, together with not-for-profit organisation The Intrepid Foundation, launched the Namaste Nepal Campaign. Melissa is very proud that of the $A700,000.00 traveller donations and through the purchase of her sold-out #NepalByMelissaFindley Zine, a full-profit total of $A11,887.74 was donated to this campaign.
In 2016, Melissa returned to Nepal as a charity trip through Langtang Region to document the landslide re-development and how parts the above donation were used to rebuild. She assisted in an initiative with Intrepid Travel & WWF Nepal which implemented various clean drinking water stations (available for reusable bottle refills) for trekkers throughout the Langtang Region. In 2017 Melissa returned again to embark on a new trail through a section of Sagarmatha National Park and document projects including Seven women (empowering women in Nepal) and has visited Plan International Australia (a charity for children).
WHO IS CARMEN HUTER?
Leaping from corporate to creative, Carmen Huter decided to step into the unknown and follow the urge to pursue photography. A loyal following on social media, several National Geographic online features, many trusted brand partnerships and countless countries later, the once unknown has morphed itself into a beautiful, messy reality the travel photographer is eager to share with you. Carmen's mission is to create more than she consumes. Her work primarily focuses on environmentalism and travel photography. She is 25 years young, born and raised in Austria and calls New Zealand home.
Carmen first visited Nepal on a personal trip only a few months ago, in November 2018. She set off as the only female in a group of strangers to complete the three pass trek through the Khumbu Valley. Nepal feels like home to Carmen, her connection to its mountains and people is profound, almost indescribable. It’s a journey one must experience to understand, and this is your chance.
WHAT IS INCLUDED
- All accommodation in Kathmandu and throughout hike (twin rooms)
- City tour of Kathmandu including major historical sites and temples
- Photography tuition
- Night Photography (weather dependent)
- Situational Portraiture
- Guidance on image & exposure analysis in-the-field, as-we-shoot
- FYI Melissa shoots on Canon, Carmen shoots on Sony
- All main meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) while on the Annapurna Circuit
- Return flights to the beginning of the Annapurna Circuit
- Local guides and porters with the biggest hearts imaginable who grew up in the area (the same group led by Nir, Carmen's guide in November 2018)
- Annapurna National Park Permits
- Great chat and plenty of unqualified life advice
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED
- Your flights to and from Kathmandu, Nepal
- Meals in Kathmandu
- Travel Insurance
- Warm gear, sleeping bag (see below for more details on this)
- Photography equipment
- Tips (factor in roughly $100-$150USD to thank your porters and guides for their work and kindness)
- Nepal Visa + Airport Taxes (around $50USD)
- Bottled water & other cold drinks (masala or lemon ginger tea is included)
- Hot showers, charging your electronics, and internet (other than in Kathmandu, of course)
ITINERARY* Itinerary is subject to change due to the weather or other unforeseen events.
Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu, transfer to hotel, meet everyone
Day 2: today, we will be shown around Kathmandu City, its major temples and sights
Day 3: drive from Kathmandu to Besisahar
Day 4: drive from Besisahar to Dharapani (2100m / 6889ft)
Day 5: Trek from Dharapani to Chame (2710m / 8891ft)
Day 6: Trek from Chame to Manang (3540m / 11614ft)
Day 7: Rest day at Manang, climb up to a viewpoint for further acclimatisation
Day 8: Trek from Manage to Thorongla Phedi (4450m / 14599ft)
Day 9: Trek from Thorongla Phedi via Thorong La Pass (5416m / 17769) to Muktinath (3800m / 12467ft)
Day 10: Trek from Muktinath to Marpha (2800m / 9186ft)
Day 11: Trek from Marpha to Tatopani (3210m /10531.5ft)
Day 12: Trek from Tatopani to Ghorepani Poonhill (3210m)
Day 13: Trek from Ghorepani to Deurali (2600m)
Day 14: Trek from Deurali to Annapurna Base Camp (4130m) on to Jinu (2795m)
Day 15: Trek Jinu to Pokhara (1400m)
Day 16: Rest Day at Pokhara (group dinner at OR2K is a must)
Day 17: Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu by bus
Day 18: Transfer to the airport for your flight home
ESSENTIAL PACKING LISTNO COTTON as it will not keep you warm and can be dangerous if wet - opt for merino wool or thermals instead.
- 1x Waterproof hiking boots (Danner Boots are Carmen's favourite)
- 1x Lightweight footwear (you’ll use these inside the huts or as replacement shoes if something happens to your hiking boots, Merrell has great options)
- 1x Down jacket with hood (Patagonia has beautiful, lightweight ones)
- 1x Gore-Tex or windbreaker jacket
- Thermal shirts & pants (3x thermal shirts, 2x pants)
- 1-2x Fleece layer
- 2x Hiking pants/leggings (Fjallraven, Lululemon, Kathmandu, etc.)
- 1x Waterproof pants (either as an extra layer when it starts raining or not at all if you are others are water/weatherproof)
- 1x Thermal gloves
- 1x Down gloves (Remember Carmen’s ridiculous looking orange ones? Yup)
- 1x Woollen hat (Will & Bear make a great one)
- 5x Socks & 7-10x Underwear (Icebreaker is awesome for merino underwear)
- 1x Buff (merino)
- 1x Walking shorts
- 1x Day pack (this is what you will carry every day so pack accordingly, Carmen uses her Peak Design camera bag which is also waterproof)
- 1x Sturdy duffel (supplied by our lovely guides on arrival, if you do want to get your own though beforehand, Carmen uses a Patagonia one) - this will be filled with your sleeping bag, clothing, toiletries, anything you don’t need while hiking and must be under 10kgs (this is a law*)
- 1x Down sleeping bag for up to -20C (you can also buy this one in Kathmandu - although Carmen's experience is that they tend to sell them in standard male sizing only, meaning if you are short there will be spare room in the sleeping bag, which can lead to cold nights)
- 1x Merino or silk sleeping bag liner
- 1 Insulated water bottle
- 1x filter system water bottle (Grayl)
- 1x Headlamp, if not solar powered remember to bring batteries
- 1x Polarised sunglasses
- 1x Down booties (SO comfy for the huts)
- Camera equipment (preferably a DSLR) including a small, lightweight tripod if you would like to tackle astrophotography - we recommend one by Sirui - use NEPALPHOTO at checkout for 15% off
- High SPF sunscreen
- SPF lip balm
- Packing cubes or stuff bags (ideally waterproof)
- Toilet paper/ Tissues
- Personal hygiene products (We recommend as few liquids as possible as they can freeze overnight and are often not biodegradable. Go for solid soap, shampoo and conditioner - i.e. from Ethique and ladies, a mooncup will be perfect)
- Medical kit: tablets for altitude sickness, headache, diarrhoea, flu, cough, nausea as well as antibiotics, antihistamines, anti-inflammatory gel or tiger balm to soothe sore muscles, rehydration salts, and plasters (of course, our guide Nir will carry a first aid kit at all times, but in this instance we recommend going to your GP first for a general checkup and prescriptions on the above, so you are prepared no matter what comes your way)
- Duck tape (for broken backpacks, shoes, sleeping bags, …)
- E-reader (you’ll have lots of time off, definitely download Into Thin Air)
- Playing cards
- Copies of passports and other essential docs such as your travel insurance number and flights
- USD cash (used for tips, showers, drinks, wifi - we will get back to you with a specific recommended amount)
- Spare SD cards, camera batteries & a lens cleaning kit
- Passport must be valid for 6 months after return date
- Universal plug
- Light, fast drying towel (a small one will suffice)
- Energy/protein bars (no gels, as they can freeze)
- Clothing for Kathmandu exploring (you will be able to leave your suitcase, spare clothing, etc. at our hotel in Kathmandu before we depart for the hike)
- Water bottle with an inbuilt purifier - go with Grayl or LifeStraw - highly recommended. Otherwise pack purificiation tablets.
OPTIONAL PACKING LIST
- Supplements (i.e. B12, Vitamin C)
- Zip ties (handy as baggage ties if your bag breaks)
- Solar charger
- Trekking poles (can also be bought or hired there)
- Pocket knife (be sure to check that in)
- Hydration system (although can easily leak and freeze)
- 1x Sleeveless down jacket / vest
- Belt for passport and valuables
- Ziploc bags to protect gear
- Weatherproof sd card holder (i.e. by Polar Pro)
- Earplugs and sleeping mask
What level of photography is required? We welcome all levels of expertise. We do however need you to want to learn more, push yourself creatively and own a camera.
How much camera gear can I bring? As much or as little as you are comfortable wearing on your back every day for 16 days. In terms of lenses, a wide angle (16-35mm) and telephoto (70-200) will offer great variety. Otherwise, a 24-70mm will cover you well. All lenses should have a UV filter on them to protect them from the elements. Pack a small, lightweight tripod if you feel like tackling astrophotography.
How fit do I need to be? Hiking experience is essential. If this is your first long distance walk, that’s totally okay as long as you don’t have any joint injuries holding you back. Chances are the fitter you are, the more comfortable you will be. If you’ve watched Carmen’s Instagram Stories and think you couldn’t do it, remember the Annapurna Circuit is far easier on lungs and joints than the Three Passes walk. We’ll take it slowly, and remember, we will always move along as a team.
What if I’m vegan/vegetarian? Excellent, so are we! Nepali cuisine is well suited to a vegan diet, so do not fear. We do recommend taking lots of extra snacks and protein bars with you to keep you going on long days.
What will our accommodation be like? In Kathmandu, expect a simple, but a perfectly comfortable three-star hotel. During the hike, simple guest housing will be offered to us.
Should I bring a drone? Absolutely not. The lack of oxygen in high altitude combined with the illegality of flying in Nepal national parks will quickly get rid of your drone.
How will the weather be? Expect all four seasons. Some days, you will hike in shorts. Other days, we may experience -15C windchill. At this altitude, everything is possible.
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