The Worlds Highest Photography and Videography Workshop

A unique trek is about to get underway in Kathmandu, Nepal. It is a combination of adventure travel and photography/videography workshop that will see ten lucky people spending the next three weeks exploring the Himalaya, while receiving expert instruction in how to shoot better photographs and video.

Everest Base Camp Trek 2009 is the brainchild of professional photographer Chris Marquardt, who hosts the Tips from the Top Floor photography podcast, and professional videographer Jon Miller, who hosts The Rest of Everest, a video podcast that is the most comprehensive look at climbing in the Himalaya you’ll find anywhere. Each day, Chris and Jon will provide lessons, tips, and inside information to those joining them on the trek, all the while hiking up to Everest Base Camp, located at 17,500 feet.

Right now, Chris, Jon, and the rest of their team are gathering in Kathmandu, and the trek/workshop will get underway in the next few days. They’ll spend a little time siteseeing in Kathmandu, before flying off to Lukla and begin the actual trek up the Khumbu Valley. Most days will be spent on well marked trails which lead to Himalayan villages, and like most visitors to the region, they’ll spend the night in traditional tea houses.

But the aspect that sets this trek apart from all the others, is the workshop. Several hours each day will be set aside for photography and videography instruction. The students will then have the chance to immeditely put what they’ve learned into action in one of the most scenic settings in the world.

The team will be posting regular updates to their website over the next few weeks, sharing their experiences along the way. Hopefully they’ll be sharing some of those amazing photos as well.

Dharamsala: Worth the Trip with or without the Dalai Lama

With spring’s arrival in three weeks, I am reminded me of how Dharamsala, India buzzed with the public venue of the Dalai Lama’s spring teachings. These audiences were like going to a spiritual talk show.

I know. I was at one of the talks four years ago. Our trip to Dharamsala just happened to be at the same time the Dalai Lama was doing his public speaking engagements at the monastery where he lives. We didn’t plan our trip because of the talks, but it did feel like a bonus to find out we could get passes to be in the audience. I have to say the experience was definitely a high point. That man is beamy. Even though I couldn’t understand a word he said, it didn’t matter. Being in the same place with him and with folks from all over the world was enough to keep me interested.

Unfortunately, according to his website, the Dalai Lama is not doing public talks anymore. Does that mean that my name tag from the event is now rare? Whee! It is possible to get a private audience in some instances. Check the website for details. Regardless, if you want to see pristine part of India where hiking is superb, food in a variety of restaurants appeals to a western palate, and shops with Tibetan artifacts abound, Dharamsala is the place.

Besides going to the audience we did a morning to late afternoon hike. This involved hiring a guide to carry our son who was just over one year old at the time. The guide seemed to appreciate our Kelty backpack carrier. My daughter who was a 4th grader and her friend, a 3rd grader were also part of our entourage. I would not hike without a guide. We’re hearty but we don’t like getting lost. Since you may be wondering why hire a guide to carry a child– two reasons: #1: The altitude makes hiking more strenuous. #2:The terrain is the kind where watching one’s footing is important. Taking a tumble in the Himalayas with a child on your back could be a real vacation bummer. Hire the guy who knows what he’s doing.

Oh, while I was looking for info, I found out that the Dalai Lama’s spring talks will be webcast from March 3-14 on his website. Listen and pretend you are there. (Thanks to Tim Vanderhaegen’s Flickr post for the photo.)