LuminOdyssey 2018 Snow Leopards

February 2018

L1_030587Come with photographer David Burren on a Himalayan adventure in search of the elusive Grey Ghost in the wild!

The Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia) is classified as Endangered, and is legendary for its elusiveness. But with an estimated 200 animals in the region we’ll be exploring, with our dedicated local guides we will have great chances of both seeing these elusive creatures and getting close enough to photograph them without putting them at further risk.

Our 14-day trip starts in New Delhi, and from there we fly to Leh (which was the capital of Ladakh) in northern India where we will spend several days acclimatising to the altitude (3500 m). Then we head up a little higher into the hills to a homestay where we spend a week hunting for the Snow Leopard. At the end of the trip we spend another night in Leh and another in New Delhi before we head home.

Of course our snow leopard chances can always change depending on the weather, but we will also be photographing many other subjects. Along with the cats, we hope to see Blue and Ural sheep, ibex, pikas, marmots, foxes, wolves, and birds including partridges, eagles, and the magnificent lammergeier (bearded vulture).  Then there are the stunning landscapes, along with the Tibetan culture and monasteries.

Photography workshop/tuition

We will be taking a up to 8 photographers on this adventure. You will get plenty of opportunities for access to photographic subjects. David will be shooting alongside you in the field, and his aim is to help us all come back with stunning images. As well as individual and group tuition in the field (within the constraints of being stealthy around the cats) there will also be opportunities to discuss and learn back at our accommodation.

As well as helping you with the “capture” side of the photography, as an Adobe Certified Expert David can also help you with the “process” side. David will be using Adobe Lightroom on his own laptop daily to review and backup his photographs, and is able to assist you with yours if you’re using appropriate gear for that. In the lead-up to the expedition we’ll help you with advice on equipment suitable for use at altitude, and this can include laptops equipped with SSDs, as well as appropriate cameras and clothing. Some photographers choose to only backup photos in the field (uploading to a laptop after they reach lower altitudes) although with the right equipment it can be useful to be able to examine the day’s photographs in more detail.

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Health and fitness

The fitness requirements of this expedition are not extraordinary. It will take place at high altitude (although lower than many treks in Nepal for example) and the better your general fitness levels the more comfortable you will be walking up hills to reach our vantage points. We will also be using porters and local vehicles where possible because we will tire faster than at home. Altitude sickness is always a risk when travelling in the Himalayas (fitness is not a guarantee against it) but we will be spending enough time acclimatising to the altitude in Leh that the risks should be minimal. If you would consider visiting Nepal you should consider joining us on this expedition.

It will be the tail end of winter, so warm clothing will be needed (although like with our polar expeditions, layered clothing helps as when moving around much of the time you might not feel cold). But we won’t be sleeping outdoors in tents: we will be indoors with a modicum of creature comforts.

Registration

The expedition will start in mid-February 2018, and includes all internal travel starting and ending in Delhi. David is spending some time in Ladakh in early 2017, and starting in January you can follow along with his preparations and travel on the blog.

Further detailed information on the conditions and equipment will be available to interested people when David returns from Ladakh in February 2017, and bookings will be open at that point.

In the meantime, to register your interest in this expedition or to ask further questions, use this contact form:

Snow Leopards expedition

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