My wife and I are in our 70’s and my wife needs a stick to help her with her walking. We are both very keen photographers belonging to two camera clubs. When we decided to return to Varanasi in India we thought it a good idea to hire a professional photographer to ensure that we knew where and what time of day to visit the various places of interest.After a bit of research we chose Saurabh Chatterjee from SIA Photo tours. He is based at Hyderabad but agreed to fly into Varanasi to join us.
As soon as we met we realised that it was exactly the right decision! Saurabh is a passionate photographer with a wealth of knowledge to impart. He has won numerous awards and has been published in several journals.
Our first meeting started at 1pm with a walk along the Ghats. Within 15 minutes Saurabh had changed my way of choosing my camera settings and introduced us to the ‘SIA’ (shutter, ISO and aperture) method. Remarkable! Then he had me looking at shadows and graffiti! My wife and I have been taking images for 60 years but all that changed! We ended the day will lots of great images.We were very happy to start the next day at 4am to see the sun rise and receive more instruction. This enthusiasm continued every day that he was with us, and involved a visit to some traditional wrestling, a guided tour of Varanasi back streets and trips to two villages where he helped us with portraits. Saurabh can cover a wide genre of styles. At the end of our time together he carried out a critique of our images making lots of suggestions for improvements which he recorded and emailed to me.
At all times he was careful to look after my wife treating her like his own mother in a very caring manner. He even persuaded her to achieve things that she was hesitant to do.
However, I think the best accolade I can afford him is to say that we started as a photographer with two clients and ended as three close friends. We are very much hoping that we will be able to meet up with him again perhaps even in England!
I cannot recommend Saurabh Chatterjee enough!
"Excellent Photography Tour"
I took a Photography Tour with Saurabh from SIA on Saturday. We spent a couple of hours at the Gudimalkapu Flower Market and the vegetable market across the road. Saurabh was an excellent guide helping me with my camera settings and teaching me how to identify the best opportunities for memorable photos. I am really happy with the photos that I got and I will be back for another tour when next in Hyderabad.
I enjoyed a lot with you to go around. You have e very smart way to teaching. You personality and your knowledge brings to a high professional stage for all the aspects. Before I was thinking a lot of technical things, e.g what are the best settings to get controlled deep-sharpness etc... this was me holding to see the picture itself and I could a learn a lot of how to bring dynamic in picture by you. Still I have to learn this but I'm doing the photographs now a little bit more enjoyable.(not so heavy) - Thousand thanks.
The SIA photo tour to Ladakh was indeed a most fruitful and productive tour.. Saurabh is a passionate teacher and an extremely competent organiser. saurabh's knowledge about the region is unparalleled and he knows just the right spots for great photo opportunities. His way of teaching/guiding is subtle yet extremely effective. Above all his planning, execution and his personal touch ticks all the right boxes. A trip with Saurabh is indeed a memorable experience and I would definitely like to go on more trips with Saurabh.
Thank you Saurabh and with u a very Happy World Photography Day.
The great Himalayas - I was planning on traveling these mountains ranges for more than a decade. Finally I could make it. Thanks to Saurabh and SIA Photography. I am not a photographer but after looking at the itinerary I knew this is what I was looking for to start with.
For the past 10 days we have travelled on some of the most treacherous roads in the world. Went to remote villages in the region. 'Simple Living and High Thinking' is what we find among the locals here. The hospitality and the honesty with which they deal with the people is truly impressive. Despite living in high altitude and far away from the basic necessities they are extremely happy - I wonder how?Traveling in high altitude areas comes with its own set of problems but then personally it was worth dealing with those.
I have always admired the people who travelled these mountain ranges but now after this trip my respect for them has increased tremendously!As I sit here at Delhi airport to travel back home I realize what I am missing - clean air, beautiful landscapes, and happy faces. I am gonna live on the memories till I revisit these amazing mountains next year.
Lasting memories with once in a lifetime experiences…!!
Last 10 days where one of the best days of my life… it was one heck of a trip to the remote places of himachal pradesh…. capturing the scenic beauty of The Himalayas,its people,their lifestyle and indulging in their hospitality…
It was very exciting.. I’m glad to get this one under my belt I can’t thank you enough Saurabh for this wonderful chance and for your tremendous support… I’m extremely grateful to be a part of this trip…
Thank you PSuvadipta BeherahJaunet GurudasuSiva AngadigadigaPaul PrashanthaBarhadath DevarajarajarajarajtPřakhař Veřmaeřmama for being the people you are…Thanks for all the love, support, care and affection you guys have showered me with… couldn’t have asked for more..I feel blessed and I will always be grateful for that…
I am in love with this world . . . I have climbed its mountains, roamed its forests, sailed its waters, crossed its deserts, felt the sting of its frosts, the oppression of its heats, the drench of its rains, the fury of its winds, and always have beauty and joy waited upon my goings and comings.– John Burroughs Swaroopa
Few lines about SIA Photography and Saurabh Chatterjee…Was searching for a group to travel with , a group of serious photographers….Came across SIA Photography in google search…
I was very apprehensive, as this was my first time traveling with strangers…So i called Saurabh Chatterjee asking him if i can join him in his tour….and like this my journey started… 1st trip was Srinagar, Leh and Ladakh and 2nd was Lahaul & Spiti…
Got two amazing group of people to travel with. Saurabh an amazing mentor and guide….He took us to the perfect place at perfect time for a perfect shot….Got to learn few do and don’ts about photography…Thanks to Saurabh Chatterjee, looking forward for more similar trips to new places, and exploring India and freezing it...
Thanks to Saurabh for organising such an wonderful trip. Those 10 days were the most wonderful and memorable days of my life which i will always cherish.Meeting all those village people and playing with the kids ..capturing their emotions and the breathtaking landscapes.. Climbing the mountains in such adverse climatic conditions made me realised my true potential.. Thanks to my team Siva Angadi Jaunet Gurudas Swaroopa Uppala Suvadipta Behera paul Barhadath Devaraj sir . With you guys i had the best time, those late night talks and early morning walks would never been such fun filled..Would love to meet you guys again and revive all the moments we have shared.
I hope this email finds you well.The experience was unforgettable, my heart is still longing to be back in India, to shoot more of the local scene, under your masterful guidance of course. The places your brought us were indeed unique and with the kite festival on, perfect timing.A tight squeeze in the tuktuk for us, but the concept of travelling open is always my preference, to be closer to the action. Will definitely want to visit again.
The roller coaster trip that was…Took the world’s most treacherous roads to Spiti Valley along with a wonderful group of ppl..I could travel only till Kaza @12000 ft and had to return due to low level of oxygen…Yes, my memory cards are not full but my heart is full of thrilling ,amazing experiences . I cant thank you enough Saurabh for the wonderful person you are…and my buddies Swaroopa, Suvadipta, Jaunet, Siva, Paul,Přakhař Barhadath love you people like crazy
Saurabh was known to me for long, I had been waiting to go on his phototours for quite some time, as he had covered more places in Himalayas and that too one’s not touched by most phototour organisers. I was sure it was going to be a different experience. Like i had thought it was a great learning experience with the enthusiastic batch so diverse that I felt 10 days of togetherness was just a fleeting moment, and Saurabh’s tireless explanation of things to do at every moment in the tour was truly an enriching experience. Hope to see more of Incredible India with you and rest of my friends whom I made in this tour.
Someone once said: “Nature’s heart beats strong amid the hills,” can’t remember who now, but the person couldn’t have been more right… A visit to the hills reinvigorates every cell in your body. It’s not just about how beautiful the hills are. In fact, it’s so beautiful that it almost seems pointless to attempt to put them in words. But the hills made me realize how a simple act like breathing can be so hard at times. Every breath that i took in that thin air filled me with this great sense of gratitude. It made me feel small, it made the big problems of our complicated lives seem trivial. ‘Simple living, high thinking’, these words were inscribed on a wall in Kaza… and that is the way to live and love!
I have only one person to thank for all these experiences: Saurabh. I’m sure many of you who visit this site and realize that that this is photo tour, may think twice before joining this trip. Don’t worry. You won’t regret it. You will see the hills the way they are meant to be seen and experienced. The best part: you will come back with some incredible pictures which will surprise even those who have been to Spiti before. Happened to me when my friends saw pictures of the milky way. Thank you for that, Saurabh.
I thank my fortune for giving me this opportunity to know a wonderful person like you through your session at BARC, Mumbai. I was on the waiting list and made it at the last moment.It was indeed a pleasure to meet you and the one day session will remain among the most memorable in my life.-Joydipto
The workshop was amazing and your methodology of explaining best practices through photographs was superb. In the workshops I have attended in the past, the entire focus is only on DSLR. But this was the only one where the softer aspects were given more importance. I hope to be able to put atleast a few tips to use.
It was a great session and i loved your photographs and more importantly your passion on photography. Thanks a lot for educating us. Ramesh Kumar
I really enjoyed the the photo walks I did with you, especially trying out the prime lens even though I found it difficult to get used to. It made me want to try using it more. Actually two of my photos with you made a travel magazines photos of choice this month.
http://www.wanderlust.co.uk/mywanderlust/ Anyway, I'll definitely be keeping an eye on your blog, it's great, and has given me loads of ideas for further trips, and I also really enjoyed the Ganpati festival, I want to go and see more festivals after that.Yes, I hope we have the opportunty to meet again, If I'm going to Hyderabad, I'll give you a shout.
Owning a camera does not guarantee great pictures! One has to know how to use it, and there are plenty of ways people can do that. One of the most sure-shot options is to learn from an experienced person. Though i have not spent much time with Saurabh, being in this group has certainly inspired me to think differently. All the credit for the same goes to Saurabh for sharing his passion and igniting the creative side of his students. The respect and awe that he invites and the humility with which he accepts it is certainly admirable. This group, the sessions, the field trips, the various updates and posts on photography altogether is the perfect package for anyone interested in learning this art. Would recommend Saurabh as the perfect guide for the same. All the very best!!!
The Photography tour to Leh- Ladakh region by SIA photography is a fantastic experience. Saurabh is not only a great landscape photographer but also has great knowledge about the region and knows the best places and times to photograph the region, it’s vistas and it’s people. The tour was very well planned and executed. We stayed and photographed in Leh, Turtuk, Hunder, Pangong Tso, Hanle and Tso Moriri in these 8 days. The journey was scenic and the destinations terrific. Saurabh also tried to do astrophotography on every night of the tour hand-holding the participants with his instructions and practical lessons. All of us learnt newer things in photography and his knowledge helped us all become better photographers. One of the great strengths of Saurabh is in sharing his photography knowledge with everyone and his earnest efforts to ensure everyone gets really good shots. We were lucky to get clear skies on a few nights and get our Milky way and star trails shots. The weather was quite cold at nights and Saurabh along with his wife Smita were very caring towards all the participants ready to provide medicinal supplements as needed. Their local knowledge makes one suspect that at least half the blood in their bodies is Ladakhi.
This tour was my first to Leh and Ladakh and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about photography and the region and getting some great shots. I will highly recommended my friends to see Ladakh with SIA tours. Thank you, Saurabh!
A land like no other with superabundance of attractions, fabulous landscapes, amazing people and culture, Ladakh is truly a heaven on Earth. It creates a great memory for remembrance if once making a visit in this great place, Its even great when you capture those memories in photos.
I have always wanted to visit Ladakh, the opportunity came through SIA to visit and capture them in cameras. Now there is a difference between how brain processes these images and how digital cameras do. With expert guidance from Saurabh it’s easy to frame the images that you would come back to see often. He not only takes you to best places for photography, he also ensures that you have taken the best shot possible, he never holds himself to share his expertise.
What you see and experience in Ladakh is out of world, this is where you see the true colour of sky, the reflecting sun on the lake and how the water blush in different shades of blue, green and turquoise. This is where you experience the stars as a painted roof above earth. This is where you see every wrinkle has a story to tell and every shy eye has a mystic excitement. This is where you find villages at the end of world where earth and sky meet together. This is a place I want to visit again and Thanks to SIA Photography for making this happen.
Beyond the Viewfinder
Before you go on a trip, you first compare and search the whole internet about the best deals. You see the itinerary and also the cost. But for this trip I was sure I will have to spend almost a lakh and didn’t go through the net. But i was wrong, the cost of SIA Leh tour as per the itinerary was reasonable. First reason was that the trip covered Hanle and Turtuk which most of the tour planners don’t include in their trip. Secondly you get expert advise personally from Saurabh Chatterjee.
I learnt so much in this trip. It felt like I pushed the limits of the camera to take great landscapes. I learnt Milky way photography. Star Trails and what not. Best thing is this was a photo tour. You always have a camera to capture the best moments and you can’t miss anything and it stays forever. 5 years ago when I visited Leh, it was a different experience. I didn’t know anything about the place. But if you reach at the right place with right people, at right time you can undoubtedly see the wonders of nature and that’s a core principle of SIA I believe, to make sure everyone gets a chance to see what’s beyond the viewfinder. I really enjoyed it and started recommending this trip to my friends because there is so much to learn through travel rather than getting the bookish knowledge. I wish team SIA all the best.
Dream Came True
Visiting Leh-Ladakh was my dream since my college days. I.e. last 35-40 years. (Actually, I wonder how come, I didn’t visit for so many years, may be time hadn't come, ha ha ha…). Renowned landscape photographer Mr Saurabh Chatterjee fulfilled my dream.I joined ‘Leh-Ladakh’ photo tour of 'Sia Photography’ during 17-25th July. Mr Saurabh Chatterjee is the Founder and Chief Educator at SIA Photography. For last 12 years, he has been taking photo tours to Leh-Ladakh region minimum 2-3 times a year. Because of that, he is almost half Ladakhi in personality. He took us to interior villages like Turtuk, Hunder, Hanle, Tso Moriri apart from Leh & Pangaong. We spent nights in the villages exploring Night Photography whereas during the day, we used to visit villages to capture core village life of Ladakh. The staying arrangements were very good. While travelling from one place to another in tempo traveller, we use to take so many halts to capture captivating landscapes of Ladakh, a real patience testing for our driver. The most captivating journey was from Hunder to Hanle, more than half day we travelled along Pangong Lake. During the seven day tour, we could capture wild ass, marmot, Ladakhi ladies in their traditional festive dresses, celebration in Korzok Gompa on the occasion of visit of their guru i.e. the head Lama, panoramic view of Milky Way at the f/g of Pangong lake…etc. apart from mind blowing landscapes, Lubra Valley, and many monasteries that Ladakh is famous for.
The most fascinating nature of Mr Saurabh Chatterjee is, firstly, his minute observations which made us possible to capture Ladakhi ladies in traditional dresses waiting for a bus on the road and secondly and more importantly, his ability & willingness to share photography knowledge. Being with him for last 7 days, I felt like going through an advance course of photography. The only disadvantage of being with him is that he being a trekker keeps you on your toes from morning 7 am to night 11pm.I thoroughly enjoyed the tour & will strongly recommend all photographers to join him on his photo tours.Thank you Sia, thank you Saurabh & Smita, his very friendly wife.