St Petersburg, Russia
Aug 9 - 17, 2013
Join Photo Quest Adventures and renowned photojournalist Ami Vitale for an enlightening photography workshop in Sri Lanka. Vitale will lead a small and intimate workshop to “The Pearl of the Indian Ocean” with its abundant wildlife and ancient culture. With daily critiques and on-site feedback from Ami, the workshop will help you transform your still images into compelling stories that will make a difference. One of the highlights of the trip will be exclusive photographic access to the Kandy Festival. At this impressive festival, Buddhist traditions are performed in costumes with extravagant decorations and elegant detailing. In addition to front-row views for the festival processions, we will have private access to the dancers and performers as they prepare for the festivities.We will also enjoy access in the Pinnewala elephant orphanage. A conservation project for orphaned and injured elephants, it is the only shelter of its kind in the entire world. We will also visit Yala National Park, undoubtedly the best place to spot leopards in Asia, if not the world. We will meet locals, visit the centuries old Dutch Galle Fort and photograph iconic stilt fisherman. This workshop is open to photographers of any skill level.
August 9th: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Arrive at Colombo Bandaranaike Airport (CMB), Sri Lanka in the morning. We will depart for Kandy early afternoon from the airport. (3 hours). Dinner and overnight stay in Kandy. (D)
August 10th:-Pinnawala-Kandy/Esala Festival
After lunch, we will drive to Pinnawala. In Pinnawala we will visit the famous Elephant Orphanage. A conservation project for orphaned and injured elephants, it is the only shelter of its kind in the entire world. We will be up close to all of the elephants and photograph the little jumbos being fed and bathed in a nearby river. Afternoon private session for our group. This evening we will photograph processions and festivities. The Esala Perahera is a fusion of two distinct but interconnected processions or “Peraheras” – The Esala and Dalada. The Esala Perahera dates back to the 3rd century BC and was a ritual enacted to request the gods for rainfall. The Dalada Perahera is believed to have begun when the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha was brought to Sri Lanka from India during the 4th Century AD. Overnight stay in Kandy. (B,L,D)
August 11th: Kandy/Esala Festival
Leave early morning to photograph the Temple of the Tooth, a Buddhist shrine that was constructed in the seventeenth century. Located in the royal palace complex, the Temple of the Tooth houses the relic of the tooth of Buddha; an artifact that arrived in Sri Lanka in the sixteenth century. Afterwards we will photograph the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. In the evening, we will photograph the Kandy/Esala Festival. Taking place each year in late summer, the festival of the tooth, is an elegant Buddhist festival that spans the ten days leading up to the full moon. We will have the opportunity to observe the rituals and procession up close and to photograph Kandyan dancers, drummers, flag and canopy bearers, fireball acrobats, and lavishly costumed elephants. Overnight in Kandy (B,L,D)
August 12th: Kandy-Nuwara Eliya-Yala
Early morning private session with dancers, performers etc in Kandy. After breakfast, check out the hotel. Drive to Nuwara Eliya-Yala (5 hours) Nuwara Eliya, once called Little England, is nestled at the foot of Pidurutalagala, Sri Lanka’s tallest mountain. The islands most elevated town and home to some of the best tea plantations in the world. Overnight Yala(B,L,D)
August 13th: Yala National Park-Two game drives
Yala National Park is undoubtedly the best places to spot leopards in Asia if not the world. With an unrivalled leopard density, clients are almost guaranteed to depart with some good quality sightings. Other wildlife highlights within Yala National Park include Elephants (providing some excellent photographic opportunities), sloth bears, huge marsh crocodiles, langur monkeys, water buffalo, monitor lizards, jackals, a selection of snakes and a variety of approximately 125 colourful bird species Overnight stay Yala .(B,L,D)
August 14th: Yala-Galle (2-3 hours)
Early morning game drive followed by breakfast. Depart for Galle. En route we will stop to photograph a fishing village in the Ahangama area. Witness a different method of catching fish “Stilt fishing”, unique to fisherman in this area. This is the only place in the world that you can experience and photograph stilt fishing. Photograph fishermen for sunset. Overnight in Galle. (B,L,D)
August 15th: Galle-Hikkaduwa
Photograph fishermen stilt fishing for sunrise. After breakfast visit the Galle Fort and spend hours exploring and photographing the famous Dutch fort, stop by oldest markets of Sri Lanka Transfer back to the hotel. Overnight Galle.(B,L,D)
August 16th: Galle-Kaduwela-Colombo
Private session to photograph an area near Colombo called “Kaduwela” where we will experience the techniques and lifestyle of ancient Sri Lankan martial art performers. Proceed to Colombo. Overnight stay in Colombo. Final Group dinner. (B,L, D)
August 17th: Colombo airport-Fly back to the USA
Accommodations are based on double occupancy. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability. PQA will try to match you with a roommate if you do not opt for a single supplement. However, if a roommate is not available, you will be charged the additional single supplement fee.
Cost Per Person
$4900 Based on double occupancy from Sri Lanka
Single Supplement $1400
Accommodations are based on double occupancy. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability. PQA will try to match you with a roommate if you do not opt for a single supplement. However, if a roommate is not available, you be charged the additional single supplement fee.
Limited to 12 participants.
Ami Vitale, best known for her cultural documentation, has been praised as a humane and empathetic storyteller. She has received recognition for her work from World Press Photo, the NPPA, International Photos of the Year, and Photo District News, and the South Asian Journalists Association presented her with the Daniel Pearl Award for outstanding print reporting on South Asia. Her stories have been awarded grants including the first-ever Inge Morath Award by Magnum Photos, The Canon Female Photojournalist award for her work in Kashmir, and the Alexia Foundation for World Peace. Vitale’s photographs have been published in major international magazines such as National Geographic, Adventure, GEO, Newsweek, Time, Smithsonian and Le Figaro among others. They have also been presented in international exhibitions including Visa Pour L’Image,Perpignan,France, Reporters Sans Frontiers, Paris, the FotoArt Festival in Poland, the Open Society Institute and The United Nations in New York.
Quest Leader's website: http://www.amivitale.com
Sri Lanka (population 21,481,334) is a diverse island country in the northern Indian Ocean off the south coast of Asia. Until 1972 Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon. Situated between West Asia and South East Asia, Sri Lanka served as an important stop on the historic Silk Road and was also a key link in naval sea routes. Major Sri Lankan exports include tea, coffee, gemstones, coconuts, rubber and cinnamon.
Often referred to as ‘The Pearl of the Indian Ocean,’ the island is rich with biodiversity. Seemingly endless beaches are foiled by tropical rain forests, sacred sites and ancient ruins. Sri Lanka is also home to the first written teachings of the Buddha, and has thus been at the center of Buddhist religion and culture since ancient times.
Rich with natural resources and ripe for tourists, as of 2011, Sri Lanka was one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
Sri Lanka has two official languages: Sinhala and Tamil. English is also widely spoken and is referred to as a link language in the Sri Lankan Constitution.
Food & Drink
Sri Lankan food is one of the most complex cuisines in South Asia. Renowned for its spices, lunches and dinners often consist of spicy curries paired with rice. Side dishes include chutneys, pickles and coconut sambol, a dish combining ground coconut mixed, chili peppers, dried Maldive fish and lime juice. Hoppers (or appa) are mainly served for breakfast or dinner. Hoppers are fermented batter of rice flour, coconut milk and palm toddy cooked in a wok-like pan and can be sweet, sour, or savory depending on preparation.
Thambili (king coconut water) and Faluda (a mixed cold drink with syrup, ice cream, jelly and basil seeds) are popular beverages. Local beer and spirits are also widely available, though alcohol is not sold on Poya -- the day of the full moon.
Sri Lanka is a tropical country with very distinct wet and dry seasons. Seasons are impacted greatly by two monsoons. From May to August, the Yala Monsoon brings rain to the island’s southwestern region. From October to January, the Maha Monsoons brings rain the the North and Eastern areas. Despite changes in the rainy seasons, the surrounding seas maintain an average temperature of 80°F year round.
Light, cotton clothing is appropriate for any time of year, though you will need some heavier garments for higher altitude destinations and waterproof coverings or an umbrella.
Women should be advised to wear modest attire when visiting religious sites.
Health & Medical
The following vaccinations are recommended: Typhoid (monovalent), Polio, Tetanus, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Rabies.
Visitors to Sri Lanka are at risk of malaria and should discuss malaria preventions options with a doctor before departure. Most antimalarial drugs begin one week prior to travel, continue during the trip and finish four weeks after return. Additionally, visitors should use extra precautions by wearing long pants and sleeves whenever possible to prevent mosquito bites.
Tap water is not safe to drink. Too often, hotels and restaurants do not take proper precautions whens boiling and filtering water, so the best solutions is to drink bottled water. Make sure that the bottle carries an SLS certification and that the seal is broken only in your presence. Beware of ice unless you are satisfied it has not been made from tap water, and remember the tap water you may be tempted to use to rinse out your mouth after brushing your teeth is unsafe. Keep a bottle of water in your bathroom for this purpose.
Sri Lankan currency is the Rupee (Rs).
Banks are open Monday to Friday and it is easy to withdraw money across the island at ATMs using international credit cards or debit cards. Be cautious when using a credit card at an establishment that is adding a surcharge, as this practice is illegal.
A 10% service charge is added to food and accommodation bills and often goes straight to the owner of the establishment rather than the worker.
It is acceptable to tip 10% of the total amount due for services, drivers and guides. Also, it is appropriate to tip 20 Rs to the person who minds your shoes at a temple and 50 Rs for a hotel porter.
Passport & Visa Requirement
U.S. citizens visiting Sri Lanka after January 1, 2012 must have either an Electronic Travel Authorization or a visa to enter Sri Lanka.
U.S. citizens will require an approval notice from Sri Lanka’s new Electronic Travel Authorization System, passport, onward/return ticket, and proof of sufficient funds. The Electronic Travel Authorization System is for tourists, short term business travelers and transit passengers and is available online. The online application, fees and other relevant information are available here.
Country Dialing Code
Computer / Digital Acessories