This workshop offers the rare opportunity to explore and photograph the ultimate bucket list: A string of famous and exotic locations – historical, spiritual and natural – all in one trip. We begin our journey in the picturesque capital of Nepal, Kathmandu, visiting some of the seven architectural treasures designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, among them the famous 5th century Hindu Pashupatinath Temple, the Buddhist Stupa of Boudhanath and the colourful Ason Market.
From there, we fly on to Tibet, entering the spiritual world of Tibetan buddhism as we explore and photograph the famous Potala Palace in Lhasa, the historical monasteries bustling with the daily rituals of monks, and ancient printing temples. As we continue our journey to Gyantse and Shegar, we shall have the opportunity to photograph stunning sceneries of heavenly lakes, soaring mountains and ancient forts. From Shegar, we take the arduous drive to Mt. Everest Base Camp and the jaw-dropping view of the very top of the world. Finally, we make our way to Shigatse, the second-largest town in Tibet.
Explore Kathmandu and its UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Visit the famous Potala Palace in Lhasa
Learn about the local culture, rites and rituals
See and photograph the Himalaya mountain range
Visit Mt. Everest Base Camp
Learn how to take stunning portraits in various lighting conditions
Christian Nørgaard is the founder and CEO of Better Moments. For years he has photographed and traveled extensively in Asia and has received wide acclaim for his unique photographic talent. In recent years, he has also collaborated with Steve McCurry and other of National Geographic’s leading photographers for exhibitions and events. His workshop in Nepal & Tibet is a unique opportunity for any photographer to combine adventure, travel and reportage photography and to work with one of the best in the field.
EXPAND WITH PASSION
Learn how to approach the unique challenges of travel and landscape photography, how to capture candid moments and portraits and how to capture spaciousness, dynamic energy and the simplicity of natural landscape photography.
Teaching and training in the best techniques and personal hints and advises
Composition and focus on lines, golden section, perspective, foreground, middle ground and background.
Work in different lighting and with short/long exposure times and aperture.
How to handle equipment with care on location.
Private hands-on lessons that can help to take your photography skills to the next level.
Christian Nørgaard review and constructive criticism of the images taken during the day
Digital workflow How to create a narrative for a book, magazines and exhibitions
DAY 1: ARRIVAL AT KATHMANDU
Arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) just 6 km from Kathmandu in Nepal and transfer to hotel.
Tonight we meet for a group dinner followed by a talk about the itinerary for the following days.
DAY 2: KATHMANDU VALLEY – WORLD HERITAGE ARCHITECTURE
Today, we visit some of the architectural treasures included in the seven monument groups in UNESCO’s designation of Kathmandu Valley as a Cultural Heritage Site: The famous 5th century Pashupatinath Temple, an extensive Hindu temple complex raised over the centuries along the banks of the sacred Bagmati River; The Buddhist stupa of Boudhanath with its massive mandala, making it one of the largest spherical stupas in Nepal; and the photogenic Patan Durbar Square, a marvel of Newar architecture with an ancient royal palace and many temples and idols in the area.
In the evening there will be a joint dinner and lecture on Travel photography by Christian.
DAY 3: KATHMANDU VALLEY – A TEMPLE TOUR
Today, we continue to explore the treasures of the Kathmandu Valley, visiting the Bhaktapur Durbar Square 13 km east of Kathmandu and the ancient Hindu temple of Changu Narayan, located on a high hilltop next to the Manahara River. This shrine is dedicated to lord Visnuand and considered to be the oldest temple in the history of Nepal.
In the evening, Christian Nørgaard will review and give constructive criticism of the images taken during the day.
DAY 4: KATHMANDU – GET LOST AT THE BUSTLING BAZAAR
This morning, we walk through the charming and bustling Asan Bazaar that attracts shoppers from all over because of the tremendous variety of merchandise sold here, ranging from foodstuffs, spices and textiles to electronics and bullion. From there, we visit the Kathmandu Durbar Square with its royal palace and the Swayambhunaths – ancient religious architecture atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley and one of the most sacred among Buddhist pilgrimage sites.
In the evening, Christian Nørgaard will hold a master class in portrait photography. For many, it is a great challenge to get really close to people you do not know.
DAY 5: KATHMANDU TO LHASA
Morning flight to Lhasa. The rest of the day is free to rest and acclimatise. At an altitude of 3,490 metres (11,450 ft), Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world.
DAY 6: MURALS AND SCULPTURES
In the morning, we visit the most famous landmark and political center of Tibet, the Potala Palace. The approach to the Potala requires climbing many steep steps, so we take it slowly. Once inside, we explore the many rooms with their beautiful murals and sculptures.
After lunch, we take a short drive to the Sera Monastery on the outskirts of Lhasa. Here, we will have a chance to mingle freely with the monks and print our own sutra texts on traditional long paper. In the debating courtyard we will witness the monks honing their debating skills in an elaborate clapping ceremony. After dinner, workshop on today’s photography.
In the evening, Christian Nørgaard will review and give constructive criticism of the images taken during the day.
DAY 7: TRANQUIL MONASTERIES & CHANTING LAMAS
We join the pilgrims flocking to Jokhang Monastery this morning to visit the spiritual center of Tibet. Said to be built over the heart of an evil goddess, the Jokhang is the hub of concentric circles of monasteries emanating out of Lhasa.
After lunch, we walk over to Drepung Monastery with its enormous hall holding thousands of silk-bound scriptures, and we experience thousands of lamas chanting en masse.
In the evening, we meet for an entertaining lecture and mini-workshop on photographing for travel magazines.
DAY 8: GYANTSE-THE BLUE WATERS OF YAMDROK TSO
This morning we leave Lhasa to drive to Gyantse, stopping for lunch at the holy lake of Yamdrok Tso (4408 m) with its turquoise water and snowcovered peaks (over 7,000 m) in the distance. Gyantse is a laid-back, attractive town with a splendid view of the Kumbum Stupa, consisting of 8 levels and containing 75 chapels with wonderful murals revered by art scholars around the world.
DAY 9: SHEGAR-CAPTURE THE SUNRISE
The old fort, Shegar Dzong, towers above Gyantse and offers amazing views of the surrounding valley. We photograph the fortress at sunrise. Later, we will drive from Gyantse to Shegar, visiting Xialu Monastery, built in 1000 AD, on the way.
Christian Nørgaard has written historical articles and a book about Mount Everest and has met Edmund Hillary several times. During the dinner, Christian will tell the story about May 29, 1953, where Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, become the first explorers to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
DAY 10: MT. EVEREST BASE CAMP
Although there is only 100 km from Shegar to Mt. Everest Base Camp (5,200 m), it takes about four hours to get there, as the winding roads demand caution. But the views are stupendous on a clear day, featuring a huge sweep of the Himalaya range including peaks over 8000: Makalu, Lhotse, Everest, Gyachung and Cho Oyu. When we finally get to Base Camp, the first sight of the mighty Everest is breathtaking.
Afterwards, we will drive to Shigatse (3900m) and spend the night there. Tonight, Christian will focus on your best shots so far.
DAY 11: SHIGATSE – LAMAS, BUDDHAS AND A TOMB
In the morning we will board the train to Lhasa and enjoy the unique and charming scenery along the railway. During the trip, Christian will hold a lecture on Travel and Portrait photography.
In the evening, we will have our farewell dinner at the hotel.
DAY 12: LHASA TO KATHMANDU
Morning flight to Kathmandu and return flights home in the evening.
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Jagoda Høst is a Norwegian photographer. A couple of years ago she traveled to India all by herself. But she found it difficult, as a woman, to travel on her own, so when the opportunity to travel with Better Moments and National Geographic Nordic appeared, she took it. “It was a great and safe way to travel and I learned a lot from the workshops and the other participants.”
Since then, Jagoda traveled to India, Burma, Indochina and Nepal and Tibet together with Better Moments.
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QUICK GUIDE GETTING THERE
Better Moments can make your bookings for flights to and from Nepal as well as additional overnight stays.
All visitors are required to have a passport valid for at least six months beyond the intended stay. It is the responsibility of each traveller to obtain all valid travel documents and visas before arrival at this destination. On our first day in Kathmandu, Nepal, our local guide will apply for visas to enter Tibet on behalf of the whole group.
Pack for all seasons. Layers are a good idea. Kathmandu Valley is in the warm temperate zone where the climate is fairly temperate with cooler nights. In Tibet, the weather is highly unpredictable, and three to four seasons could appear within a span of 24 hours. Hail and snow over the high mountain passes is not uncommon and it will be cold at Mount Everest North Base Camp in Tibet at 5,150 metres.
Religion is extremely important to the majority of Nepalese and Tibetans, and travellers should endeavour to respect their customs and beliefs. Always walk around Tibetan Buddhist religious sites or monasteries in a clockwise direction, and when in a monastery do not wear a hat, smoke or touch frescoes. In addition, refrain from climbing onto statues, mani stones or other sacred objects.
In Kathmandu the major languages are Nepali and Nepal Bhasa, while English is understood by many. In Tibet, the main language spoken is the Tibetan language. Other languages like Mandarin and English are also used in the tourism industry.
Check with your doctor which vaccinations or medications are recommended for this destination. Remember to plan well ahead with vaccinations. Allow up to six weeks to receive the full course, as some vaccinations require more than one dose, and some should not be given together. Because of the elevation, the sun is going to be very strong. Bring and use sunscreen. Also bring warm close for bad weather.
Nepalese rupee (Nepal) and Chinese Yuan (Tibet)
The capital city of Nepal, Kathmandu, lies in the Kathmandu Valley at an elevation of approximately 1,400 metres (4,600 feet) above sea level. It is the largest metropolis in Nepal, with a population of 1.5 million. It has a multiethnic population within a Hindu and Buddhist majority.
The Tibet Autonomous Region, called Tibet for short, is an autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China, formally established in 1965 and located on the Tibetan Plateau. The area is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpa, Qiang, and Lhoba peoples and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han Chinese and Hui people.
Tibet is the highest region on Earth, with an average elevation of 4,900 metres. The highest elevation in Tibet is Mount Everest, on the border with Nepal, rising 8,848 m above sea level. The Mt. Everest North Base Camp in Tibet lies at an elevation of 5,150 metres.
Working together with Better Moments For the past 15 years Sisse Brimberg has spent part of the year travelling to remote and exotic locations shooting for National Geographic Traveler and teaching photography. She has also worked closely with Better Moments on our exclusive photo workshop program to Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal, one of the most desirable regions to visit today for photographers and film makers. The culture is rich, colourful and deeply spiritual. The landscapes are unique and beautiful, and the people are open and genuinely welcome you with a smile.
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