Technical Skills - Creative Inspiration - Exciting Destinations

Bhutan: Private Monastery

Off-the-Beaten path Culture Eastern Bhutan

November 6 –15, 2016

5 participants only

Bhutan is awe inspiring from the moment you start flying over the Himalayas and land into a breathtaking valley. Bhutan is the “Land of the Thunder Dragon” and is as magical as it gets. A country where a handsome young Asian Elvis look-a-like became King, cigarettes are illegal, chillies are a staple, rice is red and protective erotic art is painted on houses, schools and temple walls. A land that treasures Gross National Happiness more than Gross National Product. It is a small nation of about 750,000 people in the Eastern Himalayas, nestled between Tibet, China and India. It has a unique government, which has intentionally kept itself isolated from modernity. Bhutan extraordinary Buddhist sites and undisturbed traditional culture makes it the last remaining great Himalayan kingdom.

During this workshop, you’ll visit some very special places. One of our local guides was commissioned to paint multiple private monasteries on the Eastern side of Bhutan. We are privileged to have access to these monasteries, enabling us to photograph the monks’early morning rituals, typically not accessible to tourists. We are also going to be able to experience the complete life inside a monastery, when we overnight there.

Our journey is solely focused on Eastern Bhutan, where traditions are still intact and barely influenced by modernism. This is a special itinerary seldom offered. With this in mind, we’ll be able to minimize the driving time, spend more time at each place, discover the local culture and create rarely seen images.

The visit to Bhutan is at a prime time of the year, when farmers are harvesting and villages celebrating. This is once again not the traditional “grand show festival in bigger towns” (mostly attended by tourists). You’ll get an insight of local culture and traditions.

This adventure is designed not only to guide you to the most photogenic locations carefully planned for the best light, but also to aid you in mentally visualizing a scene before capturing the decisive moment. Our aim is to raise your awareness and spark your creativity so that you not only go home with images to be proud of, but use your new found skills to improve and expand your photographic technique in general. You will learn how to turn an ordinary image into an extraordinary image by using your own creativity.

We cannot think of a better location to express your creativity than the exotic Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, to photograph local people with genuine smiles and happiness, and to capture images that will exhume a personal style.

See you in Bhutan on November 6.


Double Occupancy: $4,900
Single Supplement: $600

Deposit (non-refundable):
$500 (Double Occupancy)
$600 (Single Occupancy)

Select Deposit


Oliver Klink has been photographing in Bhutan for the past 4 years. He has visited many minority cultures across the country. His image, “Herding Instinct” won the grand prize at the Rayko International Photocontest in 2014, others have received “mentioned” in the Black and White Spidar Awards for the past 5 years. “Bhutan is getting modernized (especially in the West) but their values are still based on GNH (Gross National Hapiness). When you travel away from the main hubs (Paro, Thimpu, Bumthang) traditions are still vivid and you truly feel happiness. We travel with unique privileges from local guides and field experts, staying at private monasteries and having access that you can only dream about!

Nima Dorji, field expert, has been my guide in Bhutan for the past 2 years. He is a painter and will provide access to private monasteries that him and his dad painted. His strength is to connect with the local people and make us feel “welcome with them”. His attentive demeanor and attention to details enable us to travel safely and give us privileged access that will make your images “stand out”.

One local guide, and two local drivers, born in Easter Bhutan, who enrich our stay with the most current information, special activities, and “ways in” to places you again can only dream about!

- Photographing “street” people
- Photographing with special access to private monasteries
- Photographing people in their grand landscape
- Access to the Radi Festival
- Model shoots
- Daily review of images (emphasis on “what else can I do”)
- Brainstorming sessions (theme, story telling, portfolio, hero shots)
- Post processing and workflow (efficiency, accuracy, quality

- 10 days of guided photoshoot
- Accommodation, meals, ground transportation
- Special permits, private photoshoots, all entrance fees
- Instruction booklet emailed before the workshop
Not Included :
- Transportation to and from Guwahati, India (GAU)
- Transport from Guwahati airport to hotel
- Personal expenses, alcoholic beverages
- Travel Insurance
- Extra night(s) in Guwahati
- Tips to local staff

Double Occupancy: $4,900
Single Supplement: $600

Deposit (non-refundable):
$500 (Double Occupancy)
$600 (Single Occupancy)

Full payment due by August 20, 2016 (payable by check)

Registration: $4,900
Deposit: $600

Terms and Conditions

- Moderate walking on trails and uneven rocky paths.
- Weather can be challenging. Be prepared for moody sky.
- We are staying in local hotels, private monastery, guest houses, and tents.
- We eat freshly cooked local Bhutanese cuisine with lots of vegetables, soup, local meat (not spicy).
- We are traveling on ultra-modern highways and the local unpaved roads.
- However, the photographic opportunities are incredible. It is an amazing adventure and photographic experience.

Where: Eastern Bhutan
When: November 6 - 15, 2016
Who: Oliver Klink, Nima Dorji, one local guide, and local drivers
Airport: Guwahati, India (GAU)
Accommodations: Local hotels, private monastery, tents (single or double occupancy)
Weather: 40 – 70F. Moody Sky
Cost: $4,900 (+$600 single supplement)

Workshop details for Private Monastery, Off-the-Beaten path culture (Bhutan)


10 days of guided photoshoot and reviews
November 6 - 15, 2016

Note: Itinerary and activities might change based on weather conditions and activities we find on the spur of the moment. Our local experts and the contacts made over the years are incredible source of information to locate unique activities (weddings, house warmings, special birthdays, etc.). As the group is kept really small, we are able to attend such events, without overwhelming the local communities and be welcomed with open arms.

Day 0: (November 5) On your own arrival in Guwahati, India. We can arrange airport transportation and hotel for you

Day 1 (November 6): 7AM start of workshop
- Guwahati to Dewathang
- Photograph labor in tea plantation
- Overnight in Hotel

Day 2: Dewathang to Barshong
- Early morning photoshoot at a private monastery in Dewathang
- Model Shoots with monks
- Womrong Valley
- Night photoshoot at Barshong private monastery
- Overnight private monastery

Day 3: Barshong
- Private shoots of monks (prayers, getting ready, meals, and more)
- Barshong valley
- Understanding Buddhism, how to incorporate in photographs
- Overnight private monastery

Day 4: Barshong
- Early morning shoot of monks
- Photoshoot at a rural village near the private monastery
- Barshon primary school
- Overnight private monastery

Day 5: Barshong to Tashigang
- Sunrise at Nangri
- Photoshoot with road labor
- Sunset Tashigang
- Overnight hotel

Day 6: Drive to Radi
- Photoshop with local farmers, late harvest
- Phongmey Primary School
- Radi rural village
- Overnight guest house

Day 7: Merack Festival
- Special road permit to access Merack
- Festival with dance, local culture
- Overnight guest house

Day 8: Merack Festival
- All day activities with dance, local celebration
- Model Shoots
- Overnight guest house

Day 9: Drive to Radi
- Special permit for road access
- Model Shoots
- Overnight guest house

Day 10: (November 15) Radi to Guwahati
- Photoshoot with local villagers
- 5PM: Conclusion of the workshop
- Drop off at International Airport

What to Bring

Upon signing up for the workshop, you’ll receive a detailed coursebook describing what to bring, recommended camera gears, booking your flight, extra activities pre or post workshop.

Upon signing up for the workshop, you’ll receive a detailed coursebook describing what to bring, recommended camera gears, booking your flight, extra activities pre or post workshop. Clothing: (temperature ranges from 40 – 70F)
- Comfortable layered clothes (neutral color recommended)
- Sturdy shoes (walking on uneven pavement)
- Hat, sunglasses, and sun screen
- Rain gears/windbreaker
- Knee pads for low angle shooting
Camera Equipment:
- Camera with extra batteries and memory cards
- Lens for portraiture: 100-200mm
- Lens for grand scene: 10 – 50mm
- Lens for “street”: 35 – 100mm
- Recommended to bring fast lenses (F1.8, F2.8, etc.)
- Tripod
Other Equipment (Optional):
- Small notepad (notes, observations, …)
- Flash with diffuser
Photography Review Equipment (Recommended):
- Laptop (with power cord), memory card downloader
- Post processing software (Lightroom, Photoshop, plug-ins)
- External hard drives (backup)


Workshop comprises:
- 10 days of guided photoshoot
- Accommodation, Meals, ground transportation
- Special permits & Model shoots
- Overnight in private monastery
- Small group (maximum 5 people)
- Daily reviews (including tips on post processing, file management, idea to build portfolio)
- One instructor, One local expert

Not Included:
- Visa Application
- Transportation to and from Guwahati (GAU)
- Transport from Guwahati airport to hotel
- Personal expenses, alcoholic beverages
- Travel Insurance
- Extra night(s) in Guwahati
- Tips to local staff

Travel Recommendations:
- Plan on arriving in Guwahati no later than November 5. Your return flight can be booked on November 15 (after 7PM).
- We can assist with booking extra nights in Guwahati (pre workshop) and airport transportation.

Trip Cancellation & Travel Insurance Suggestions:

Here are a few recommendations but please browse around as services and prices vary.

- Travelex Travel Select (800) 228-9792
- Travel Guard or Travel Insurance Services
- Travel Insurance Services (Walnut Creek, CA) (800) 937-1387
- Atlas International Insurance (HCC Medical Insurance Services)
- TEN (Travelers Emergency Network) Emergency Evacuation Coverage
- Medjet Assist 1-800-527-7478

Example Images from Past Workshops

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