Welcome to our Sri Lanka Photography Holiday    සාදරයෙන් පිලිගන්නවා

Over ten magical days, our Sri Lanka photography holiday will transport you through lush jungles, rolling tea plantations and over dramatic, palm-fringed beaches. We’ll travel by mountain trains and open top safari jeeps, snoozing in our hand-picked selection of boutique hotels and dining where the locals only know about.

Sri Lanka has seduced travellers for centuries. Marco Polo described it as the ‘finest island in the world’, while successive waves of Indians, Arab and European traders and adventurers flocked to its palm-fringed shores, attracted by reports of rare spices, precious stones and magnificent elephants.

Marco Polo’s bold claim still rings true. Sri Lanka packs an extraordinary variety of attractions within its modest physical dimensions, and few islands of comparable size can boast a natural environment of such beauty and diversity.

This is the ultimate tropical photography tour.

Sri Lanka has been climbing the lists of tourism hot spots since the borders opened in 2009. From the UNESCO designated archeological ruins of kingdoms spanning 2000 years, the lush beauty of  terraced mountain tea plantations and rice paddies fringed by coconut palms, safaris to see leopards and elephants roaming in dense jungles, beaches and waves that attract surfers from all over the world – there is truly something for everyone.

The food is rich and delicious, the hotels personal and the locals always welcoming. Our tour takes in the best of the best; the cultural centre of Kandy and it’s amazing atmospheric caves at Dambulla; a trip on one of the best train journeys on the planet; Yala for an abundance of leopards, elephants and birdlife, plus colonial Galle, famous tea plantations and wiry stilt fishermen.

Sri Lanka is spectacular, it’s affordable and it’s still often uncrowded. Now is the best time to discover it.

All our material is hand-crafted from years of professional photography for top brands, magazines and galleries – and as far away as possible from the monthly magazine ‘tip’. We don’t ever tell you the ‘5 best ways of …’ doing something;  instead we find your way – our small groups allows us to teach each of you independently, at your own pace.

Whether you are an absolute beginner or seasoned shooter, we use a mix of visual examples, 1-to-1 teaching and mentoring, and regular, detailed reviews, to push your work to levels you never thought you could reach.

From 2017, each trip we offer has completely different material – across all skill levels – so if you’re coming with us again, it’s all new. If you’re just starting out, we’ll get you fully to speed, manually using your camera quickly with confidence, and then some. We spend only a fraction of the holiday on the technical (actually its pretty simple when you know how), the rest learning the art of taking great photographs. It’s the most interesting bit, after all.

On your Creative Escape to Sri Lanka, you’ll

  • Shoot cats, elephants, crocs, wild boar and over 130 species of birds from the back of your private 4×4 safari jeep
  • Photograph pickers of the world’s most expensive tea, Ceylon Virgin White
  • Create timeless images of stilt fishermen, whose traditions span centuries
  • Craft incredible landscapes from one of the planet’s finest train journeys
  • Learn the art of interior photography; 2km of murals in UNESCO-listed Dambulla
  • Try out dusky atmospheric shots of Sri Lanka’s most important buddhist shrine
  • Roam Galle photographing ‘street’ documentary in this gorgeous listed colonial town
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Highlights.

Itinerary.

On arrival to your Sri Lanka photography holiday, we whisk you straight off for some rest and recuperation at our luxury private hideaway, The Walawwa, a hip refurbished colonial house set in stunning 4-acre gardens just outside Colombo. Unwind into your holiday with a dip in the 16-metre pool, or catch some zzz’s in one of the sunkissed hammocks, then later grab your camera for the first session on camera basics, all in non-techy language.

Next day, we try out our new found skills at the nearby fishing port of Negombo, shooting the colourful catamaran fleet of large-sailed oruwa boats returning with their catch of ocean fish, crab and lobster, providing ample temptation to tuck into some of the island’s finest seafood for dinner. Yum.

Considered to be one of the finest train journeys in the world, this morning we board the train with the locals and spend 3 hours climbing through stunning tropical plantations, jungle waterfalls and rolling valleys up to Kandy, the hill capital of Sri Lanka.

We’ll take a hike through the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens to shoot the majestic Javan fig tree, dressed in scores of fruit bats, before a dusk visit to Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist shrine, The Temple of the Tooth.

The next day, at our mountain retreat hotel – set in over 50 acres of organic farmlands, with long, lush views over forested hills and the Mahaweli river snaking through the valley below – we’ll build on our new skills, exploring techniques used by professional photographers to shoot still life, interiors and architecture.

Today, we visit one of Sri Lanka’s most important temples, at Dambulla, with over 2 kilometers of murals in a temple underneath a majestic 160m rock. A sacred pilgrimage site for 22 centuries, this cave monastery, with its five sanctuaries, is the largest, best-preserved monument in Sri Lanka. Outside, 157 statues, incredible sweeping vistas; chance to generate some incredible imagery for your collection.

Next morning ,we board the mountain train, and head south, journeying at a leisurely pace through the heartland of Sri Lanka’s hill country, and chance to shoot incredible landscapes of hill stations, carpeted tea plantations, mountain ranges, plus railway life as we stop off at rural stations to stock up on sweet tea and snacks.

This is a travelling classroom, our team roaming the carriages helping you craft fine art landscapes of these ever shifting vistas, giving individual tuition on tripod use, composition, styling and impact. You’ll even get chance to shoot some people; we’ve plenty of tips to make those images sing too.

After a long day’s photographing, we relax in the canopied jungles of Ella, everyone’s favourite hill country village. We’ll have a review of the finest of the day, and get chance for a walk through tea plantations to temples, waterfalls and viewpoints.

 

It’s only a short hop to Yala from here, so early we’ll board our 4×4 elevated Jeep, and entering the realms of the leopard, crocodile and sloth bear at Yala National Park, touring at speed to capture nature in the wild. Monkeys crashing through the trees in this vast region of dry woodland and open patches of grasslands; with elephants and crocodiles ambling about and cunning leopards sliding like shadows through the undergrowth. This the Jungle Book brought to glorious life – and enormous fun.

Later, we’ll review our best images of the day on our big screen by the pool at Tangalle, then kick back and relax beachside, enjoying a glass of something cold. Next day is a you day, chance to take a breath and enjoy some seclusion on Sri Lanka’s southernmost shores overlooking the Indian Ocean.

Beach-blessed Tangalle is the go-to place for laid-back, forget-about-everything lounging.

This morning, we’ll take a look at the masters of portrait photography, and understand how to craft people images with impact, before venturing inland to the world renowned 140-year-old Handunugoda Tea Estate, where you’ll learn about the plantation history and try out documentary & portrait photography – right in the plantations where they make the world’s most expensive and renowned Ceylon Virgin White Tea. Later, we’ll capture stunning architecture shots in the grounds of historic Galle Fort – a World Heritage site and Sri Lanka’s most perfectly preserved colonial town – where time-warped streets lined with historic Dutch villas sit hidden behind enormous ramparts. Late afternoon, we shoot fishermen at Unawatuna, a picturesque bay with ramshackle charm, then come evening dine out in one of the many candle-lit cafes strewn along the horseshoe-shaped beach.

We’ll slowly make our way north, and discover the delights of Colombo, before editing down all of your best images of the week, and get ready for our final night pop-up exhibition in the grounds of the hotel – first a cocktail reception, then a gourmet dinner to celebrate all our exploits.

Next morning, chance to get some final 1-on-1 feedback from your professional tutors on your progress emerging style and tips on where next to take your photography. Before lunch, we sadly say our farewells, exchange email addresses with new found friends (and creative collaborators) – chance to reflect on 10 days on world-famous trains, adventure-laden safaris, stilt fishermen, World Heritage sites and the fine taste of the world’s most expensive cuppa.

Details.

19 – 28 May, 2017
Places available

4 – 13  August, 2017
Places available

10 days. 9 nights. Starts and ends in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

£2195 sharing / £2675 single

Price includes 
10 days, 9 nights accommodation at the listed hotels
10 full days tuition from our UK-based professional photographer
Entrance to Yala National Park & Private Jeep
Entrances to Dambulla, Temple of Tooth & Peradeniya
Train tickets from Colombo-Kandy-Ella
All transfers to and from the airport
Air-conditioned private transportation around Sri Lanka
Private photoshoot with stilt fishermen
Private tour around Handunugoda Tea Plantation
Multiple 1-on-1 tuition sessions

Price excludes international flights, lunch and dinner.

 

Sri Lankan Airlines offer direct services from the UK into Colombo. There are also some great options using Emirates and Etihad via the Middle East. Prices start from £600.

"Fun, different, personal (small group), great “on the job” learning. The clue is in the title “creative” – great experience if you want to push your creative boundaries."


Kerry Munroe, Sri Lanka 2016