Lumen Dei: Kashmir Photo Tour Now Over.
Sitting in unbelievable heat in Delhi between the bookends of the Lumen Dei Photo Tour and Workshop and my trip to Kathmandu, for which I leave tomorrow.
The Lumen Dei Tour was a brilliant success. Matt Brandon and I had the pleasure of leading 6 participants on a Moghul tour – from Delhi to Agra and then to Kashmir. Kashmir was as beautiful as I’d always imagined it – if not also heavily militarized. I’ve never seen so much aiport security, and I’ve been through a fair amount of conflict zones – this one beat them all.
The highlight of the trip was a three day trek into the Lidderwat valley – surrounded on all sides by the fabled Himalaya. Our gear on ponies, we trekked 3 hours into Lidderwat, greating Kashmiris and Gujjars along the way – a bit of a mindbender for me to be hiking through scenery so reminiscent of British Columbia yet meeting folks along the way so reminiscent of Afghan horsemen and nomads. We camped besides the white-blue Lidder River, ate brilliant food cooked by our own Kashmiri chef, and spent two days visiting Gujjars in their homes – eating roti, drinking salt tea, photographing them, and marvelling at their kindness and hospitality.
Our trek to Lidderwat was bookended by a week on a beautiful houseboat on Lake Dall. We spent days photographing in Old Srinagar, visiting and photographing local masjids, and shrines, floating vegetable markets, and the Venice-like Rainee Wari (spelling on this one is suspect, but it’s my best guess). At the ends of each day we’d sit around the table in the cedar-panelled dining room of our houseboat and eat a great meal, laugh, talk about the day, and then adjourn to do image reviews or teaching times.
I’m already missing Matt, my co-conspirator and the co-founder of Lumen Dei, as well as the team we spent two incredible weeks with. Over the two weeks we saw the photography of the entire team improve by leaps and bounds and I guarantee you’ll be seeing their work in the future.
Matt and I have every intention of repeating Lumen Dei and are already hatching plans to return to Kashmir, as well as a potential trip to Tunisia to photograph nomads, camels, and desert culture in the Sahara.
Huge thanks to those few people brave enough to be part of the first Lumen Dei tour – Eric, Adam, Fred, Nicole, Chrissy, and Rachel.
I head to Kathmandu tomorrow for a week and will post again, and update my website with images when I return to Vancouver on the 17th of June.