HIGHLIGHTS

Situated in the Lower Himalayan Range and set amongst dense forests of oak and pine trees, Sattal is one of the few unspoiled and unpolluted freshwater biomes in India. These lakes are a paradise for migratory birds. It is home to a few camps being operated mostly by local people catering to bird photographers.

Subjects are aplenty here, and the landscape is varied. Unlike tiger destinations where you may have to anticipate and wait for your subject to cooperate, Sattal gives you the opportunity to apply your learning then and there. With the whole day to yourself (we do shoot from multiple hides in a day), you get plenty of time to interact with and learn from Sudhir. He will offer practical guidance on how to approach your subjects, experiment with backgrounds, optimize your equipment, play with the light conditions and so on.

Why do this photography learning tour with SSP?

– On field guidance from Sudhir during the hide photography to help you get the best images.
– On field review of images and feedback.
– Mentoring on post processing of images on same day to help you arrive at composition through cropping and in turn understand the art of composition.
– We choose the best season to maximise the photography opportunities.
– Whatsapp group of the participants will be formed 1 month prior to the workshop dates so that your learning starts much in advance and you are well prepared for the tour.

Who should attend this tour?

– This is an advanced bird photography workshop for anyone who has cameras which supports focusing features of different AF area modes and want to learn how to use it.
– You can be a rank beginner or have some experience wielding the camera, either way, SSP’s photography learning tour is bound to enhance your skill and knowledge.
– This is the ideal tour if you are looking to move to next level in bird photography, as we have planned this tour to make the best use of the opportunities available. April is a great season for birding at Sattal where we get the birds in breeding plumage.

What can you expect from this tour?

– Practical on-field learning from Sudhir.
– Understand the various challenges of bird photography and learn how to arrive at the correct camera setting for a particular situation.
– Understanding the advanced focusing features of different AF area modes, AF cases (in Canon) and learning when to use what.
– Pre-visualising your images in the field and how to arrive at the camera setting for that.
– Discussions back in the camp as well to ensure all doubts are cleared for your next field session.
– At the end of this tour, gain enough practice and confidence to put your camera to optimal use – with respect to basic and certain advanced camera settings.
– Move away from taking images to making images.

Prerequisite for the workshop

Participants are expected to know the basic fundamentals of exposure triangle parameters, metering, focusing and various camera settings. You can watch the “How to be a better photography in 45 mins” video of Sudhir on YouTube to have a good understanding on the basics and then attend this tour.

Your camera needs to have the different AF area modes like:
Nikon – auto-area AF, single-point AF, dynamic-area AF, Grp focusing and 3D-tracking
Canon – Single point AF, AF point expansion, Zone AF, Large Zone AF, Automatic selection
Sony – AF options of wide, zone, centre, flexible spot, expand flexible point.

Beyond Learning

While we are extremely serious about our photography, we never play down the importance of some good old-fashioned fun. And great food. Dinnertime is our designated “huddle time” where we share safari stories that continue well past bedtime. Last night of the workshop is official party night where we match steps with the local tribal folk over a celebratory dinner. So, what do we celebrate? Good times, great food, awesome friends. And of course, photography!!

SPOTLIGHTS

AIRPORT/RAILHEAD

New Delhi Airport which is 6.5 hr drive . Alternatively kathgodam railway station. which is an hours drive from the resort.

IDEAL FLIGHT / TRAIN TIMINGS

Preferable arrive at Delhi the previous day of the workshop, stay overnight there and start to Sattal early in the morning the next day. Alternatively arrive at Kathgodam early in the morning. For your return, late evening train/flight would be better.

LAST MILE

We will coordinate with you for pickup/drop from/to Delhi or Kathgodam. Generally we car pool participants coming in at similar flight timings and the taxi cost is shared between them.

RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT

You can get just one camera body, a full frame or a crop sensor which supports advanced AF options. For lens a long tele of 500/600/800 is preferred. The Sigma or Tamron 150-600. Nikon 200-500 or the Sony 200-600 will also be a good choice. Since this is an advanced photography workshop, we recommend to get camera bodies which supports the advanced focusing features of different AF area modes.

DURATION / STAY

3 nights and 4 days at Birders Den.

CHECK-IN/CHECK-OUT

Check-in: 12 noon (day 1 of workshop) and Check-out: 12 pm (last day of workshop).

SAFARI / FIELD OUTING

We will have multiple field outings where we shoot from the hide and also on foot. Please refer to itinerary for further details.

WEATHER/TEMPERATURE

The weather will be warm through out the day.

KEY SPECIES

The primary subjects will be Kalij Pheasant, Brown Fronted Woodpecker, Red Billed Leiothrix,Himalayan Bulbul, White crested laughingthrush, Black Francolin, Streak-throated Woodpecker, Greater Yellownape, White throated laughing-thrush, Himalayan Bulbul, Blue Winged Minla, Blue Whistlingthrush, Chestnut Bellied Nuthatch, Brown Fronted Woodpecker

THINGS TO CARRY

The recommended Camera gear, Binoculars, Hat, Sunglasses, Essential medicines

Here’s a complete overview of what happens in the SSP Photography learning tours.

1.Photography learning through indoor classroom sessions:

Sudhir will have interactive classroom photography sessions back at the hotel in the conference room to help the participants have a practical approach to the learning. These sessions help you pick up the basics and advanced concepts of photography and you can start applying them in the field.

 

2.Photography learning and assignments in the field:

Once you have understood the concepts in the indoor classroom sessions, it’s time to implement them practically in the field. During the full day field outing, Sudhir will guide you with the camera settings and composition based on the challenges in the field. He will also give you few assignments to help you understand the concept of pre-visualization.

 

3.Fun Times:

While we are extremely serious about our photography, we never play down the importance of some good old-fashioned fun and some great food. Lunch break at the centre point is a great time to share, interact and know each other. So, what do we celebrate? Good times, great food, awesome friends. And of course, photography!!

The teaching and learning will not stop after the workshop. In fact this is just the starting point. You will be part of the SSP community of the SSP website where your learning and interactions with fellow photographers continues.

Prerequisite for the workshop

Participants are expected to know the basic fundamentals of exposure triangle parameters, metering, focusing and various camera settings. You can watch the “How to be a better photography in 45 mins” video of Sudhir on YouTube to have a good understanding on the basics and then attend this tour.

Your camera needs to have the different AF area modes like:
Nikon – auto-area AF, single-point AF, dynamic-area AF, Grp focusing and 3D-tracking
Canon – Single point AF, AF point expansion, Zone AF, Large Zone AF, Automatic selection
Sony – AF options of wide, zone, centre, flexible spot, expand flexible point.

Before the Workshop
We will ask you for:
– some basic information about your equipment
– your photos/portfolio
– your expectations from the workshop
– Whatsapp group of the participants will be formed 1 month prior to the workshop dates so that your learning starts much in advance and you are well prepared for the tour.

Communicating your expectations beforehand will ensure that Sudhir addresses them during individual interactions with you.

During the Workshop
– Sudhir will demonstrate the best way to approach and shoot the subjects and give deeper insights on their behavioural aspects.
– He will introduce the advanced custom function settings of your camera. A firm understanding of these settings will be your first step toward shooting like a pro.
– In the hide, he will continually guide you based on the field conditions and subjects.
– Knowledge sharing and image review will continue through the evenings as Sudhir interacts with you with focused inputs to reinforce the day’s learning.
– We will work on post processing of images each day to help you visualise the art of composition and arrive at the final image.
– You will have assignments to complete, giving you ample scope to assimilate and apply all that you have learnt.

After the Workshop
Your pursuit of photography knowledge doesn’t end with the workshop. The SSP Community is your gateway to continued learning and interaction, apart from being the ideal platform to showcase your best images. In addition to image review and critique by Sudhir and his team, you also gain the perfect peer group interaction to grow as a photographer. Theme-based assignments, healthy discussions, candid feedback, equipment reviews and resale are the other great perks of being part of this community.

*The below topics will be covered and the participants will learn how to apply these concepts in wildlife photography.

Fundamental and Advanced Concepts of Photography:
– Manual and advanced autofocus (focusing points, autofocus lock, single or continuous focus, Focusing Sensors, AF cases, Advanced AF settings of camera)
– Manual exposure (ISO, shutter speed, Aperture)- We will use theory of reciprocity to arrive at the combination.
– Metering modes (evaluative, matrix, spot metering) – Practically understand when to use what metering.
– Motion (freezing, blurring and panning) – Creative area of photography
– Understanding exposure – the 18% concept
– Composition (framing) – Create story telling images.
– Elements of design (seeing v/s looking)
– Pre-visualization
– Completing the story

Post-Processing:
During the course of the workshop, you will be taken through the advanced concepts of image processing and the following topics will be covered:

– Working with RAW files
– Levels, curves, contrast, saturation adjustments (All through layers and masking)
– Image sharpening, cloning, dodge and burn
– Noise reduction.
– Saving for web/ printing

During the Field Outing:
During the field outing, your mentor Sudhir Shivaram will help you make memorable images. Inputs provided on the field will enable you make the most of the opportunity.

The teaching and learning will not stop after the workshop. In fact this is just the starting point. You will be part of the SSP community of the SSP website where your learning and interactions with fellow photographers continues.

Day 1

  • Arrive and check-in.
  • Depending on your time of arrival and energy levels, you may either choose to relax or head to hide and get started with your image making.
  • Later in the evening, meet and greet.
  • Interact with your mentor, as he primes you with the advanced concepts of photography, with a greater emphasis on advanced auto focusing options in the camera. This will set you up for the ensuing days in the hide and on foot photography, where you will delve deeper into the core principles, tips, and tricks of photography.
  • Dinner and lights out
  • Day 2-3

  • The first part of the day we will be spending time in the bird hide photographing the various birds.
  • Sudhir will be at hand to constantly guide you with any queries you may have with respect to your bird photography.
  • Post the morning birding session, we will have an indoor session to take your photography learning forward
  • Post lunch we will again have a bird photography session either in the hide or outdoors. This will be decided during the workshop based on the opportunities we get.
  • In the evening we again meet to review the images and have interactive sessions.
  • Dinner and overnight stay at the resort.
  • Day 4

  • We do an early morning birding in the field or at the hide.
  • Return for breakfast and depart to our destinations.
  • Depending on your individual departure times, you may choose to spend some more time in the hide.
  • Accommodation: Birders Den Eco-Resort

    Birders Den is an eco-resort, nestled in the lap of nature close to the Naldamayanti tal. A short 10 minutes drive from Sattal, it is your perfect base for a bird watching/photography in the Western Himalayas. With sumptuous home cooked food and cozy rooms with a pretty view of the region, the Birders Den is the perfect relaxing spot for birders and also serves as a hot spot for some stunning birds of the region.

    Birders Den Eco Resort provides you pleasant Hospitality and friendly loving environment, It’s placed in middle of forest Sattal, Nainital District and away from city noise and Highway traffic, It’s gives you cozy and calm environment, It’s just 18 km from Nainital City and 2 km from Sattal lake which is famous tourism destination, the resort provides to everyone homely atmosphere and also serve you Hygienic local kumauni meals, All around surrounded by Nature and verities of Birds , A good Natural environment and Birds Chirping makes you more comfortable and joyful, It’s All People of Birders Den Eco Resort Who treats you like family and also makes your Experience truly exceptional.

    Birders Den Eco resort have restaurant where all guest have their meals together and also share their Day to Day life experience, We serve Simple and Spice less meal which makes you healthy and fit, we have high speed internet access in reception and restaurant where from you can easily run your business through electronic gadgets.

    Workshop Cost:
    INR 38,550/- per person, double occupancy
    INR 48,550/- per person, single occupancy

    Inclusions:
    – 3 nights / 4 days Accommodation in at Birders Den with all meals.
    – Multiple photography sessions in the hide located within the resort, Ashram and the other famous Prabhu Hide.
    – Photography guidance and sessions by Sudhir.

    Exclusions:
    – Laundry and any other personal expenses not mentioned under inclusions.

    *All costs are ex-Sattal. Transportation will be arranged at an added (actual) cost.
    **Any other expenses outside of the above will have to be borne by the participants.

    Terms and Cancellation Policy:
    75% fee to be refunded if cancellation is done 45 days prior to the event.
    No refund if cancellation is done between 0-45 days of the event.

    Please note: The date of written (email) communication of intent to cancel is the date considered for calculation of the cancellation fees.

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