better travel photography•COM
Newsletter 68 - sent on the 7 November 2023
Mmmm - exciting tours on the horizon!
I have recently returned from running our Impressions of Jordan trip, where we took in the best of this historic Middle East destination - luckily before the recent terrible events that are threatening to plunge the entire region into chaos. As ever, I was struck by the warmth and friendliness of the Jordanian people. It is hard to travel to Jordan without making new friends amongst the locals, and I wish them well in these difficult times that are not of their own making. You can see a gallery of pictures from the trip on the following link.
Our Impressions of Laos trip in February 2024 sold out completely off plan - with all of the places provisionally booked before we had even finalised the itinerary. This is a technique that we will no doubt visit again, as putting together these trips takes a large amount of time and research, and this is the perfect way to make sure that we are putting our efforts into the right itinerary.
Unlike some operators I tend not to run the same trips every year. I love to mix things up a lot, launching new trips and varying existing itineraries. This is partly to keep things fresh for me: if I am jaded about a destination, then the trip will be less interesting for everyone. A big part of travel photography is to explore and engage, and to tease out the best that your destination has to offer. Also, we tend to have a lot of repeat business (reputedly down to the Stockholm Syndrome), which means if I were to just run the same half a dozen trips a year, loyal travellers would soon run out of possible destinations.
I have travelled widely for work, and one of the fun parts of a trip is when we all get together and thrash out possible future destinations from everybody's wish lists. It is that process that has seen us launch our next trip to Northeast India. Talking about this trip, I fly out to Kolkata at the weekend, and will be uploading images to this gallery as I go.
We are currently working on a series of exciting destinations through to the beginning of 2025, and you can see some of the early information on these below.
I have also just finished running an extended photography workshop to some of my most favourite locations in remote Dartmoor. We can organise a number of different workshops in the South West England, including the incredible Starling Mumerations of the Avalon Marshes near Glastonbury. Again, more details below.
Future tours for 2024 & 2025
Putting together our next four trips, I have realised that there is something of a pattern forming – a whole lot of M's! Some of the destinations might change, but I wanted to let you know the sort of destinations tat we are working on to whet your appetite, and also to help you to schedule your next year of travel.
The first M on the schedule is, of course Mongolia. We have just two places left on this exciting trip that will take in the ancient and legendary Naadam Festival as well as some of the incredible scenery of the Gobi Desert. There is more on this fantastic trip below.
September 2024 will see us return to the utterly unique island of Madagascar, to photograph the entrancing mix of wildlife, landscapes and culture that can only be found there. This is likely to include the incredible Avenue of Baobabs as well as the Tsingy de Bemahara National Park with its breath-taking limestone peaks. You will no doubt have heard of the unique wildlife of Madagascar, which includes the endemic species of lemur, but there is also a thriving and vibrant culture.
At the end of 2024, we are planning an adventurous expedition to the remote and little visited former region of Mustang in Nepal. Upper Mustang was formerly the Kingdom of Lo, and is an area of Tibetan Buddhism. Although I have visited Nepal a number of times, this is a new region for me, and is only made possible by the close working relationship that I have built up over the years with Intrepid Travel, and the fantastic people who work for their local offices around the World.
Our final M looks like seeing a return to India in January 2025 for a trip which is set to coincide with the vast Kumbh Mela festival. This incredible religious gathering is the largest concentration of humans on the planet, dwarfing the annual Hajj to Mecca. It attracts millions of pilgrims, Hindu Sadhus or holy men and will be a completely mind-altering experience. I have photographed the Mela a number of times, and this trip is likely to include the holy cities of Rishikesh, Haridwar and Varanasi, as well as a Tiger Safari.
As you can see we have great plans for the next 18 months, and are very likely to be using the same provisional booking system to secure places for them. If you ever needed a reason to stay on our mailing list, then I hope that this is it.
Impressions of Mongolia
There are just two places left on our second tour for 2024, to Mongolia at the end of June. This itinerary is timed to take in the ancient Nadaam festival, which is a celebration of the so-called manly skills of riding, archery and wrestling that Genghis Khan thought were essential for his Mongol Warriors who swept the Mongolian Plain in the 13th Century.
Starting in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar we tour some of the training camps that spring up for the festival, where participants get ready for the big event. This is a much better time to take pictures, as you will be able to get closer to the athletes in a more relaxed setting.
In the run up to the actual festival we head out on an adventurous mission exploring the Gobi Desert and some of the stunning cliffs, canyons and sand dunes in this remote part of the World. We will also visit ancient Buddhist monasteries and a ruined city, whilst staying in traditional Ger tented camps.
We return to Ulaanbaatar for the Nadaam Festival – which is now held in a modern stadium, although the horse-racing events are out on the never-ending plains outside of the city.
This exciting exploratory tour is a fantastic way to explore some of the magnificent sights of one of the most sparsely populated countries on the planet, whilst being able to experience one of the World's most atmospheric and ancient festivals.
Impressions of Mongolia departs from Ulaanbaatar on 29 June 2024 for 15 days. Under our new variable pricing policy, the cost is from £2950 per person if the full 12 people travel to £3150 per person for the minimum of 8 people. You can see more information on this link. You can see the full itinerary on this link and make your booking on this link.
Moors and Mumerations
As if there weren't enough Ms on the newsletter, we are moving into Starling Mumeration season on the Avalon Marshes down the road from me near Glastonbury. These last congregations of migratory starlings are one of the natural wonders of the world, and are a great subject for a bespoke photography workshp. to see the mass lift-off in the morning as well as the mumerations as they return at sunset. In between, we can comb the various marshes photographing the scenery and some of the many bird and mammal species that are found here.
Our final M on this newsletter stands for Moors. Dartmoor to be specific. Since moving doen to the West Country, I have spent a great deal of time exploring Dartmoor and have a huge number of photographic locations that I can offer, including ancient woodlands, hidden waterfalls and some of the most atmospheric of the many rocky tors that are spread over this remote and historic moorland.
You can see more about some of the bespoke courses I can offer in the South West on this link.
Better Travel Photography
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