On Location
International Expeditions

In Search of Light in India

with Jennifer Spelman and Michael Amici

October 17 – 28, 2025

  • Package Price $7995.00
  • International Deposit $1500.00

Course Description

Embark on a visual adventure that lights up your spirit and your lens with the stunning scenery and sacred culture of Northern India. From palaces to local villages, through ancient cities to natural preserves, we move slowly and allow time for our ideas, experiences, and perfect light to align. We get to the heart of each of our destinations by meeting local people, enjoying a cup of chai, and wandering instead of rushing. We put aside notions of traditional travel photography and open ourselves to creating more mindful imagery as we immerse into sacred India.

New Delhi welcomes us for our first evening together as we gather to share dinner and photographic ideas for the journey. The next morning begins with a behind-the-scenes look at India’s largest Sikh temple with time to photograph the massive communal kitchen where volunteers prepare meals. Later, we delve into the pulsing and chaotic Chandi Chowk market to watch merchants haggle over old-world goods and spices. After a traditional lunch, we pay a visit to Connaught Place, a middle-class area of the city where ancient traditions mix with modern life. This area includes underground markets, local snack vendors, a beautiful park, old-covered sidewalks left over from the British era, and a combination of businessmen, hip university students, villagers selling their goods, and everything in between all coming together. As evening rolls around, we head to one of Delhi’s best restaurants for a group dinner.

We leave New Delhi on a short flight to picturesque Udaipur. Known as the “Lake City,” it is considered the most romantic city in India. For the next three mornings, we enjoy our breakfast overlooking the shimmering Lake Pichola and get lost in the fantastical City Palace built along its shores. Udaipur’s old city is a charming maze of timeless and winding narrow streets perfect for visual exploration. While in Udaipur, we take a special guided visit through the famous City Palace, one of the best preserved in the entire country. We then switch our focus and meet up with an important member of the royal family of Udaipur. Through him, we learn about the current situation of Rajasthan, the indigenous groups that live in nearby villages, and the efforts aimed at increasing the quality of life for those in need.

The next morning, we have a chance for street photography as the preparations for the incredible Diwali festival begin to transform the neighborhoods. Late afternoon into evening we head into the streets again to witness this massive Festival of Lights that is beyond ideal for photography, The entire city lights up with in-home celebrations, in temples, and on the streets as well. It is certainly an evening to remember!

The following morning a half day’s drive from Udaipur brings us to the laidback town of Bundi, where we find respite from India’s typical intensity. The population in Bundi is an interesting mix of Hindus, Muslims, and Jains all living peacefully together within a town of traditional pastel blue buildings. Few travelers have heard of Bundi, but it’s absolutely worth a visit. Here we enjoy the slower pace of a smaller town and have to time edit and share images as well.

After three nights in Bundi, we take a short 2.5-hour drive to the remote village of Ranthambore. Upon arrival, we check into our hotel nestled in the serene countryside near Ranthambore National Park. We then visit an impressive local collective and interact with the talented men and women who create impeccable textiles. Making the most of this unique opportunity, we have the entire afternoon to spend at Dastkar observing their craftsmanship, sharing ideas, and making photographs that they can also use to promote their crafts to a wider audience.

The next morning, we visit Ranthambore National Park for a 2-hour tiger safari led by a professional guide and naturalist. Considered one of the best locations in India for tiger spotting, we are also on the lookout for endless varieties of colorful birds and other wildlife. After lunch, we visit the Ranthambore Fortress, one of the largest in India. This hill-top fortress is full of ancient temples, lakes, and promenades, and looks out over the National Park. From here, we return to the hotel for an evening rest in our quiet surroundings.

We drive to Agra on the final day of our journey, stopping along the way to make images. We arrive in Agra in the evening, just in time to relax and enjoy the comforts of our hotel. We have a group dinner, look through our photos, and get some rest before our final day with sunrise at the Taj Mahal! We begin at 6:oo am to reach this iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site when it opens at sunrise. During our time inside, you have ample free time and a guided tour of the complex to visit the gardens, mausoleum and various gates, mosques, and courtyards. Following our visit, we have a quick lunch in Agra before making the 3.5-hour drive back to Delhi for your departing flights. Note: Travelers will need to schedule flights from Delhi after 4 pm on Tuesday or plan on staying at an airport hotel and flying out on Wednesday, October 29. Our tour operator can book additional nights at an airport hotel for those who will be flying out the next day.

By journey’s end we have much to celebrate—a broader understanding of this fascinating country, a deeper consciousness in our imagery, and knowing that our photographs helped create meaningful impact with two local organizations. Join us and redirect your approach to seeing in fascinating and sacred India.

View complete itinerary (subject to change).

Additional Information

WHO SHOULD ATTEND:

This program is open to photographers at all levels who are passionate about travel and improving their image-making.

What You Should Know:

Participants should be technically self-sufficient, as this is not a program to learn how to use your gear or editing software. This a photographic tour, not a photography workshop and there isn’t structured classroom time. There will be an image review session in the middle of the trip and time for help with ideas and techniques on location.

Special Notes:

Participants make their own air travel arrangements to New Delhi to arrive in time for the opening reception and dinner on Friday, October 17, at 6:00 pm. To avoid jet lag, it is advised to consider arriving a day in advance to rest before the tour begins. Note: Travelers will need to schedule flights from Delhi after 4 pm on Tuesday, , October 28 or plan on staying at an airport hotel and flying out on Wednesday, October 29. If you choose to arrive one or two days before the tour start date or spend an extra night in Delhi, our tour operator can book additional nights for you.

It is required that you purchase trip cancellation/travel insurance for this trip. Once the trip is confirmed, additional information and travel details will be provided. Enrollment is limited to 12 participants.

Activity Level:

To get the most from this international experience, participants should be in good physical (mobility, stamina) and mental health. In general, arrive prepared for long days and seasonal weather including variable temperatures. You must be able to carry your own photographic and personal gear at all times. You are responsible for being open and honest about your physical fitness, and we reserve the right to remove you from the workshop if we find your fitness to be less than that which you have described.

Please note that this particular tour can involve the following: somewhat long days, a good amount of walking, being in the sun in potentially hot temperatures, long journeys, steep stairs, uneven terrain, and early morning wake-ups. There may be times when walking uphill for short distances will be required as well and places such as the City Palace and Bundi Palace do involve walking up and down at least 150 steps in total.

Policies:

View Payment, Refund, Withdrawal, and Transfer Policies for this International Program.

Package Price INFO:

$7,995 includes double accommodations for 11 nights (ideal for couples and friends traveling together; single supplement available for an additional $795); full breakfast daily, 4 lunches, and 10 group dinners; activities and entrance fees for everything on the itinerary; airport transfers; in-country guide; in-country ground transportation and flights. Airfare to New Delhi, gratuities, as well as required trip insurance and Indian visa are not included.

Categories
Nature & Landscape, Portraiture, Storytelling, Street Photography, Travel Photography
© Nerissa Escanlar
about
Jennifer Spelman

Jennifer Spelman is a documentary photographer. She is co-publisher of CubaSeen, a quarterly magazine showcasing photography and writing about Cuba.

Jennifer received her photographic training as an assistant with Santa Fe Workshops, working with some of today’s most preeminent photographers: Jay Maisel, Norman Mauskopf, and Joe McNally.

A sensitive photographer of people, Jennifer strives to create portraits with energy and insight. She is most at home on the streets of Havana and has worked with Santa Fe Workshops across Cuba since 2011. Jennifer is a patient educator who has co-instructed with National Geographic Expeditions and taught workshops in Morocco, India, Turkey, Romania, Mexico, Japan, in addition to Cuba.

A popular workshop instructor, Jennifer is also part of our Mentorship Program »

Instagram: @jennifer_spelman

about
Michael Amici

Michael Amici is an internationally award-winning photojournalist with an eye for capturing unique and inspiring moments. As a distinctive voice in the world of documentary and event photography, his desire to distill the best from the most ordinary circumstances defines him as not just a photographer, but an artist with a belief in limitless possibilities. Here he finds darkness in light and brilliance in a world often shaded by intolerance and measures the distance we keep from ourselves and allows us entrance into what it takes to persevere.

From Smithsonian Magazine to Facebook, to the wedding planning website The Knot, his clients are as diverse and inspiring as his photos.

Michael is based in San Miguel de Allende in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico; he travels around the globe for photo assignments.

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