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Photography Master Retreat

February 2–5, 2023

There is a reason why the Thar Desert is a paradise for photography enthusiasts. The sun rises awakening the golden hour then as it turns bright the shadows come out to play, and slowly as the day walks away the sun breaks into a sombre dance of colours. The night comes wearing the stars that twinkle like sequins and spin a magical ambience. Amidst this setting, there are the people who are portraits of resilience and warm hospitality. The culinary traditions draw from the desert botanicals that keep constantly evolving. Within this trajectory of change, a play of recipes and stories create new experiences. This one of a kind photography master retreat gives participants the opportunity to experience the Thar Desert while capturing different genres of photography like landscape, portraits, food and living traditions. The itinerary is carefully curated by MharoKhet, an experiential farm in Jodhpur and Kaner Retreat, India’s first desert botanical resort, to give unique access and opportunities to participants.

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Ravi Dhingra: Ravi has more than twenty years of experience traversing the commercial and artistic photography. He is as comfortable with interiors as he is with landscapes – his photographs stand out as great artworks highlighting his eye for detail, “Some chase light but I prefer to chase shadows. Shadows create volume, add another dimension, and this interplay of light and shadows can make an ordinary object look extraordinary in the photographs. It is all about using the available light for lighting the subject to create shadows.” In a desert the sun and the shadow are the protagonists that create magical moments to be captured and in Ravi, the participants of workshop have a great mentor who will help them create their own photo stories.

Mentor

MharoKhet: A forty acre experiential farm near Jodhpur is at the forefront of bringing new produce to the Thar Desert. In an environment, where agriculture is tested every season, MharoKhet has been able to grow more than 100 varieties of organic crops. It is a women led initiative where the servers are all traditional women from nearby villages. The initiative is led by Rajnush and his wife Vedika who have studied abroad and planted their wisdom on sustainability and bringing a touch of verdant to the Thar at MharoKhet. The farm and the seven course culinary offerings are great canvases for culinary shoots, portraits and capturing nature.

Kaner Retreat: Kaner Retreat is India’s first desert botanical resort. Kaner is surrounded by pristine desert wilderness and showcases an intimate introduction into the quiet brilliance of the Thar Desert. Kaner offers great access to desert landscapes in different settings. Photography enthusiasts can capture the great desert sunrise and sunsets and also go on a nature walk with Sapna, the founder. Sapna comes from a background of international journalism and filmmaking and leads botanical walks in the nearby “Oran’ or sacred grove.

Hosts

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Itinerary

Participants will be guided throughout by the Photography mentor.

Day 1: Arrival

Check in at Kaner Retreat, induction to residency by the mentor.

• Botanical walk with Sapna, founder of Kaner Retreat.

• Jeep Safari in the desert wilderness that gives ample opportunities to photograph the pristine desert landscape.

• Dinner on private dunes. Relish the food made the old way with smokey, desert flavours.

Photography – landscape; focus on the desert

Day 2: Kaner & Jodhpur

• Sunrise capturing 360 degree views of the desert. An exclusive spot that we have chosen for the participants.

• Head to Jodhpur, explore the rocky terrain of Rao Jodha Park, capture the meandering streets and mesmerising havelis, relish a delightful meal in a 350 year old home.

• Signature Thali dinner experience under the desert sky at Kaner Retreat.

Photography – desert landscape, street & architecture; the blue city

Day 3: MharoKhet

• Immersive tour of the fields and portraits of people at the farm.

• 7 course lunch provides participants to photograph and relish reimagined Indian, regional dishes.

• Relaxed afternoon at the farm, enjoy the simplicity of rural life – spend time flying kites, playing marbles, observing cloud formations, interacting with the women at the fields!

• Followed by another dining experience, this time focusing on the world cuisine. The setting, plating and experiments with cuisine using the diverse produce from the farm, provides a large canvas for photography opportunities.

Photography – nature, portrait & food; experiential farm and immersive food

Day 4: Departure

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The Photography Master Retreat is priced at INR 50,000 (including 18% GST). The payment is to be made in full at the time of the booking.

The cost includes:

• Accommodation on twin sharing basis. Single occupancy requests are possible at an increased cost (INR 65,000 including 18% GST)

• All meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner for the duration of the retreat

• Transfers upon arrival and departure

• Ground transport during the retreat

• All entry fees and camera fees at monuments during the retreat

• Photography sessions, expert photography advice and assistance, image reviews and critiques

The cost does not include:

• Travel to/for Jodhpur from your location

• Alcoholic or any other packaged beverages

• Food orders over and above the meals

• Travel insurance of individual guests

• Anything else that is not part of the includes list above

Pricing

Our refund & cancellation policy is as follows:

• Full refund (barring processing fees) for cancellations made before 30-Dec-2022

• 50% refund for cancellations done till 15-Jan-2023

• No refund on cancellations made after 15-Jan-2023

 

In the case of an extenuating circumstance (natural disaster, resurgence of the pandemic etc.) the organisers might need to cancel the Photography Master Retreat. In such a scenario, the guests will be given a full refund.

Terms & Conditions

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We have answered most of the frequently asked questions below, please read through it to know finer details about the Photography Master Retreat. Have some more questions that are not answered here? Call or Write to us for all the information you need. Please contact hello@mharokhet.com or write to us via the inquiry form under contact us.

 

How does the Photography Master Retreat Work?

The Photography Master Retreat is a Fixed Departure retreat that is conducted in Small groups and is led by a Photography Mentor.

 

• Fixed DepartureThe dates of the retreat are February 2 to 5, 2023. Guests are to book tickets to arrive in Jodhpur on Thursday morning and plan for departure on Sunday afternoon. Please contact us, if you have any questions on how to arrive at Jodhpur from your location and how to travel out of Jodhpur to your location.

• Small Groups – The group size for the retreat is limited to a maximum of twelve participants, to ensure that everyone in the retreat gets the maximum photography opportunities and personalized attention from the Photography Mentor. The Mentor will spend enough time with each of the participants and work with you depending on your photography experience. There could be a wide spectrum of photographers in the retreat, from those who are amateur photographers to those who are well versed with photography and would like to explore a new destination.

• Interactive Sessions – The interactive sessions are planned to help you understand the destination well and take better photographs. Our Photography Mentor will be constantly with you during the outings and help you in every possible way to get great images on the field. At the end of every day, the photography mentor would review your photographs and give you constructive feedback.

• Led by Photography Mentor – Photography Mentor is a professional (or practicing) photographer who has good knowledge about the photography opportunities at our destinations. The retreat has been curated to ensure that you get excellent photography opportunities without wasting time. Know more about the mentor, their expertise and see their profile.

FAQs

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What is the typical level of expertise of the participants on Photography Master Retreat?

From serious hobbyists to amateurs, a wide spectrum of photographers can join us for the retreat. Participants benefit from our homework of scouting the right locations, right timings and the lighting.

Our groups are small in size, enabling us to interact closely with everyone and ensure that each participant gets what (s)he is looking for – learning opportunities, good understanding of the destination and, most importantly, a memorable experience.

Can I bring my partner on the Photography Master Retreat?

YES! You can get your partner along, even if he or she is not a photography enthusiast. Having fun is as much on agenda as honing your photography skills.

Equally, the retreat is as much an experiential holiday as a photography masterclass. We will travel to places off the beaten track, and you would have the opportunity to get up close with the rural community of Western Rajasthan, view some amazing sunrises and sunsets, visit unexplored areas of the walled city of Jodhpur and be exposed to gourmet foods.

 

I am not a photography enthusiast, but would love to join the group anyway. Am I allowed to come to the Photography Master Retreat? YES! Please see the response above.

 

What kind of camera do I need to bring on the Photography Master Retreat?

The camera does not matter, whatever equipment you are comfortable with.

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What should be the fitness levels and age requirements? What is the pace of the Photography Master Retreat?

The retreat is not very rushed and does not have activities that require high physical fitness, however it does involve spending time in the fields/open landscapes and walking. People of any age are welcome – from eighteen to eighty!

 

The pace of the retreat is moderate. Being a short retreat (three nights long), activities are planned every morning, afternoon and evening. However, keeping in mind that it is a Photography Master Retreat, enough time is spent in each location instead of rushing from place to place.

 

Although the retreat is well planned from end to end, the schedules are fluid and our Photography Mentor will take decisions to move the pace or take it easier at times, depending on how the group is reacting, weather and other local conditions at that moment.

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What are the benefits of joining the Photography Master Retreat?

There are several benefits in joining our Photography Master Retreat: The retreat will not only help in honing your photography skills, but also serve as an experiential holiday unlike any other that you might have undertaken, accentuating the quiet of the Thar desert.

• You will explore a visual approach and techniques including layering, good use of the environment around you, along with introducing compositional elements that will add depth and detail to your images.

• Highly experienced and friendly photography mentor is always there with you to help solve your problems on the field and get exposed to new styles and techniques about photography.

• Small group size; allows the mentor to give you enough one-on-one time, with plenty of personal interaction all through the retreat.

• Carefully designed itinerary specifically tailored to be as much fun and excitement as it happens to be a skill building photography masterclass.

• Privileged opportunities, owing to our key relationships on the ground. This ensures that you get access, cooperation, permission and the time you need to craft considered photographs.

• Option to interact and meet, a good mix of men and women of all age groups, enthusiastic about travelling and photography. The Photography Master Retreat becomes a platform to meet and travel with like-minded people who remain friends and stay connected even after the retreat.

• The retreat is immersive, not only will you visit amazing locations off the beaten tracks, you will get to shoot photographs you have dreamed of.