Project Description

Calcutta to Bhutan: a Photographic Journey

with Sean Kernan & Jock Montgomery

This unique journey takes us into two deeply contrasting cultures and lets us bring them together through our photography. It takes us well beyond the usual sights and into the life of two different worlds, the iconic city of Calcutta and the Kingdom of Bhutan, where we will explore our own creativity and ways to make photographs from our experiences. Either of these places would make a fascinating destination, but bringing them together makes for a truly powerful experience.

  • We’ve designed this journey specifically with photography in mind—to take advantage of the awesome landscapes, the warm morning and afternoon light, and to create opportunities to photograph and engage with local Bhutanese.
  • Fine tune your esthetic eye and improve your photography skills with instruction and friendly critiques from Sean and Jock.
  • All levels of photographers are welcome, as well as non-photographing spouses.
  • Three full days of street photography in Kolkata, with colorful markets and temples, colonial architecture and old neighborhoods
  • Visit the artisan’s colony at Kumartali just prior to the Hindu festival of Durga Puja
  • Photograph all the major Buddhist fortified monasteries and temples in western and central Bhutan
  • Camp beside a remote monastery where we have special access to shoot portraits of monks and local villagers
  • Take-in the extraordinary forests, people and places as we cross five major passes above 2,800m (9,000’)
  • Partake in three major Buddhist festivals with chanting, and colorful religious and cultural dances
  • Homestay in a remote village with unique opportunities to photograph farmers and their village life
  • Hike to and photograph the famous Tiger’s Nest, Taktsang Monastery, perched on a sheer 800m cliff
  • Camp overnight at the Chele La/Pass 3,811m with spectacular Himalayan views of Bhutan’s two most famous peaks

Photographic Exploration

As photographers Jock and Sean think the best seeing happens when we wander, and our job is to make that happen and support participants in it. To help with it, we will also offer some provocative assignment ideas and exercises that are designed to get us past our habits of seeing. The focus will be on working with and “seeing the light,” defining your composition, and creating compelling content. As you work towards nurturing your shooting style, you’ll learn how to take in and personalize those breathtaking moments that range from sweeping natural scenery to colorful human activities.