Travel photography in 13 days - FOCUS2

13 days filled with expert tuition from a professional photographer, FOCUS2 is a dream trip for amateur and aspiring photographers alike. David Dunning leads you through some of the most vibrant and interesting parts of Rajasthan, sharing his technical knowledge and personal experiences of living in India's "Incredible state".

As well as developing your skills, you'll be working towards creating a portfolio of images - a travel reportage, capturing the life and soul of Rajasthan.

Choose from flexible departure dates that suit your own travel plans, and a minimum group of two people.

For a detailed itinerary, please click below.

  • On day one you will arrive at Indira Gandhi International Airport where we will welcome you, and where you will get to meet David Dunning who will be your guide for your trip. We will make sure you have the opportunity to freshen up before starting the five hour drive to Jaipur. Along the way we will give you more details about the trip, we take care of drinks and snacks and will make a few short stops to stretch your legs and who knows, maybe to take your first pictures!

    On arrival in Jaipur we'll check you in at your hotel where you can have lunch. The afternoon will be spent visiting the Royal Gaitor (cenotaphs) and later also the Nahargarh Fort where you can take some amazing shots of the sunset over the entire city.

    Dinner will be served at the hotel and if you still have some energy left, you can go for a stroll through the busy markets at night.
  • Day two means an early start already - we'll take you to the majestic Amber Fort for sunrise, the morning light offers a perfect canvass for any photograph. After breakfast at the hotel, we'll head back to the fort so you can capture the inside of this amazing building.

    Just before lunch we'll head over to Monkey Valley and your first chance for some action shots of the many simian characters you'll meet along your trip.

    Lunch at the hotel and then you'll be moving straight on to explore the heart of the Pink City – the old walled part of Jaipur. This includes City Palace, the royal observatory (recently added to the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO) and the Palace of Winds, a five-story structure of pink sandstone accentuated by honeycombed windows that overlooks the old city– as well as giving you a taste of life in Rajasthan's busy capital.

    As the sun sets over the hills you'll be at the Jal Mahal – the Water Palace where the shadows and reflections across the water provide excellent potential for some creative evening shots.
  • After breakfast on day three we'll start on the two and a half hour drive to Pushkar, the holy town and pilgrimage site built around a lake. Pushkar is a fairly small town, with a completely different atmosphere, so you can wander through the streets and markets without risking getting lost. David will be guiding you around the sights, including the famous Brahma temple and the ghats (steps down to the lake). Pushkar is also great for street photography with its narrow lanes, colourful stalls and eclectic mix of Indian as well as foreign visitors.

    After lunch you can explore more of the temples in Pushkar, wander at your leisure or head up to the Satviri temple to get some panoramic shots of the lake, town and surrounding landscape. As the sun goes down you'll also be able to capture Pushkar awash with warm golden light – adding yet another perspective.

    You'll be spending the night at a luxury tent camp, which we're sure will redefine your thoughts on camping. Dinner will be served at the resort.
  • The fourth day begins with a three-hour drive to Bundi, one of our favourite destinations in Rajasthan. As usual, we'll be making some stops along the way as the ever changing landscapes and roadside stops can be the source of some great photographs.

    After check-in and lunch at the hotel we head into the sleepy old town to show you Bundi City Palace with its more intimate atmosphere and beautifully detailed wallpaintings. Here you'll see how artists portrayed life in Bundi and at the palace over 300 years ago.

    Climbing further up the hill to the Taragarh Fort, you'll enter in to another world. The fort is a virtual ruin, but receives less visitors and is great for exploring and getting some truly unique shots. From one side of the fort you have sweeping views over Bundi itself and on the other a stunning vista of hills and valleys stretching as far as the eye can see. The fort is illuminated at night and visible from most parts of Bundi (including your hotel pool). David will also be teaching you how  to get the best images after dark and with the aid of a tripod you'll make some stunning images.

    Drinks by the hotel pool followed by dinner make for a relaxing end to the day.
  • Day five starts and we're leaving beautiful Bundi behind, heading on to Udaipur.

    After check-in and lunch at the hotel you can spend the afternoon wandering through the old city center of Udaipur. Distances between the sights are walkable and will give you the chance to photograph city life, as well as the historical wonders like City Palace, the Pratap Memorial and Saheliyon ki Bari (Gardens of the Maidens of Honour).

    You can make your city stroll with your guide/photographer or by yourself, in which case we will be on stand by to give you tips if needed.

You can also visit the Sajjangarh Palace (Monsoon Palace) and take a boat ride on the lake, including a visit to the Jagmandir Island. The combination of the sunset, the Aravali Hills, stunning architecture and waters of Lake Pichola give you all the ingredients for some magnificent shots. 

    For dinner we'll be taking you to one of the many rooftop restaurants in the city before heading back to the hotel.
  • We leave Udaipur  on day six for the important Jain pilgrimage site at Ranakpur. The drive is about an hour and a half, and after briefly checking in at the hotel, we go straight to the Jain temple complex. Built out of white marble, this exceptionally beautiful temple features 1444 individually uniquely carved pillars - a masterpiece of devotional craftsmanship. The way the light falls into the different parts of the temple, varying throughout the day, is sure to help you develop your skills in working with light, detail and finding the right composition in an environment where every angle presents hundreds of possibilities. 

    Late afternoon we will take you to Bera where you'll have the rather unique chance to capture shots of leopards in the wild. Thakur Devi Singh will be your guide and spotter to make sure you can get within close proximity these amazing big cats, with a bit of luck you'll be able to practice wildlife photography and take home some amazing photographs.

    At dinner and over a few drinks with Devi Singh and his wife you'll learn more about his efforts to protect “his” leopard and many anecdotes about his leopard adventures over the many years that he has spent studying them.

  • A slow start on day seven before we start on the drive through the rural areas between Ranakpur and Kumbhalgarh, where the traditional way of life and farming techniques, awe-inspiring pastoral and mountainous landscapes deliver the perfect backdrop for growing your portfolio. 

    The mighty Kumbhalgarh Fort offers yet again some great possibilities for amazing shot, not in the least from the top of the palace inside the fort where the view over the rolling hills are simply stunning! The many temples, ruins and the ancient ramparts will be the perfect subjects for some detail shots or more abstract compositions.

    Dinner will be served back at the hotel and is best appreciated by the poolside, under a canopy of stars.
  • After breakfast on day eight we'll start on the two and a half hour drive to Rohet. After lunch at the hotel there's a choice of activities - a jeep safari to a Bishnoi family home and a Brahmin village where a warm welcome and a special insight in to the live of Rajasthanis living on the edge of the great Thar desert awaits you. 

    Alternatively you can explore the area on horse back, a great way to see the landscape and spot antelope (Black Buck). 

    Whatever you choose, photographic opportunities greet you at every turn!

    The hotel will take care of dinner accompanied by Rajasthani music and dancing by the light of a campfire. Just relax, or challenge yourself to capture the atmosphere and dancers using a range of techniques.

  • Day nine means an early start because you'll be heading to the desert town of Jaisalmer. The journey takes around five hours, but the constantly changing landscapes as you get further in to the desert area of Rajasthan will no doubt inspire your creative thinking. The tour is timed so that as well as the scenery, you'll be able to enjoy the Desert Festival, bringing even more colour and excitement to the area.

    Jaisalmer is known for its buildings and monuments being made from the local Jaisalmer stone – a burnished ochre sandstone that adds even more warmth and ambiance to this desert town, widely referred to as the 'Golden City'.

    Lunch will be served at the hotel, and during the afternoon you can choose to visit some of the finely decorated and carved Havelis before moving on in time for a golden sunset over the royal cenotaphs. 

    Dinner will be served back at the hotel.
  • On day ten the earlybirds can get up well before sunrise to take full advantage of the colours and light at Gadsisar Lake. Opt for a slightly later breakfast before exploring the old city, much of which is inside the fort and still inhabited. Despite a slightly touristy feel, it is still easy to let you imagination run wild and think back to how life may have been in the times when Jaisalmer was an important stop on the trade routes for silks and spices. In the fort you can also choose to visit the Jain temple, the palace and museum.

    After lunch we'll drive you to the Sam sand dunes with their wave forms and promising some more abstract shots as well as desert landscapes. There is also the possibility for a short ride on a camel.

    On the way back to the hotel we'll show you a 2000 year old Ludwara Jain temple, nestled in the desert. For its simplicity and with its fine carvings damaged by Mughal invaders, it still is one of our favorite sights in Rajasthan.
  • Sunrise over the Thar desert is an absolute must on day eleven. Once again you'll be playing with the rapidly changing lighting conditions, silhouettes and expansive landscapes to create more artistic renderings of the Thar desert– shots worthy of a travel reportage.
 Then it's on to Jodhpur.

    After checking in at the hotel we climb up to the enormous Mehrangarh Fort, which rises high above the 'Blue City' on a rocky outcrop. Viewed from any angle Mehrangarh is commanding, foreboding and breathtaking. And that's not even considering its amazing size, extensive history and panoramic views. 

    On the way down there is time to make a late afternoon walk through the busy markets, where photographic opportunities are abound, with stalls selling amongst other things exotic spices, fabrics and local delicacies. 

    You'll be having dinner at a rooftop restaurant in the heart of the city, once again with the kind of splendid views you'll have come to expect from Rajasthan.
  • The Jaswant Thada, (royal cenotaphs) awaits you in the early hours of day twelve, again you can spend an hour or so using the lighting conditions to get more distinctive shots, before breakfast at the hotel. 

There will be more time to explore and photograph life in this compact, busy and thriving city.

    After lunch you'll have the chance to go on a zip wire tour – perfect for capturing Jodhpur from the air, almost floating high above the city. If you're more in the mood for culture you can visit the Umaid Bhawan Museum, relax by the pool, enjoy a spa treatment or return to the fort to catch the sunset.

    Dinner will be served at the hotel.
  • Day thirteen is the last day of your photography tour, but not the end of your learning! Once you're back home, you'll have an opportunity to follow up with David, who's expert advice will give you ideas and techniques for making the most of the portfolio of shots you have created. Whether you want them for your blog, to create albums to share with friends and family or want to take things a step further, you'll have a number of options at your fingertips.

    Depending on the time of your flights out of Jodhpur there might be the opportunity to do some last minute shopping (or shooting) before we take you to the airport for your domestic flight to Delhi or Mumbai and onward connecting flight home.

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