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Birds of the North East – Photo Tour with Debapratim Saha & Gaurav Mittal

Monday, Feb 20, 2017
- Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017

Time: 12:30pm - 12:30pm

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Located on the foothills of the Himalayas, between the Teesta and Mahananda rivers, Mahananda is situated in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, India. It comes under Darjeeling Wildlife division. The gateway to the sanctuary is only 13 km from Siliguri and 28 km from Bagdogra airport. The sanctuary sprawls over 159 km2 of reserve forest and was started as a game sanctuary in 1955. In 1959, it got the status of a sanctuary mainly to protect the Indian bison and royal Bengal tiger, which were facing the threat of extinction.

The forest type in Mahananda WLS varies from riverain forests like Khayer-Sisoo to dense mixed-wet forest in the higher elevation in 'Latpanchar' area of Kurseong hills. The variation in altitude and forest types helps the existence of a large number of species of mammals, birds and reptiles. The important mammalian species include royal Bengal tiger, Indian elephants, Indian bison, Chital (spotted deer), Barking deer, Sambar, Rhesus monkey, many species of lesser cat like Fishing cat and Jungle cat, Himalayan black bear, Leopard including Clouded leopard, and many other smaller animals like Rare mountain goat (serow), Porcupines, Snakes, etc. The sanctuary also holds hundreds of feathered species. The exciting list includes some very endangered species like the Himalayan pied hornbill. Among the others Swallow, Swifts Thrush, babblers, Warbler, Roller, Minivet, and sunbird can be found in abundance.


Situated in the Kalimpong subdivision under Darjeeling District, West Bengal, India and was established in 1986, Neora Valley is spreads over an area of 88 km² and is one of the richest biological zones in the entire Northeast. It is the land of the elegant Red panda in the pristine undisturbed natural habitat with rugged inaccessible hilly terrain and rich diverse flora and fauna making this park an important wilderness zone. The park reaches up to an elevation of 10600 ft. at Rachela Danda, the highest point of Neora Valley National Park, which borders Sikkim and Bhutan. The Neora River is the major water source for Kalimpong town.

Lava and the Neora Valley National Park are birders' paradise; some of India's most sought-after birds are found here. They are home to several rarities like Rufous-throated partridge, Satyr tragopan, Crimson-breasted woodpecker, Darjeeling woodpecker, bay woodpecker and many more.

The fauna consists of endangered species such as the Clouded leopard, Red panda, and Musk deer. Other species are Indian leopard, five species of civet, Black bear, Sloth bear, Golden cat, Wild boar, Leopard cat, Goral, Serow, Barking deer, Sambar, Himalayan flying squirrel and Thar.


Located on the Singalila Ridge at an altitude of more than 7000 feet above sea level, SNL in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal. It is well known for the trekking route to Sandakphu that runs through it. The park was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1986, and was made an Indian national park in 1992. The region had long been used as the trekking route from Manebhanjang to Sandakphu (the highest peak of West Bengal) and Phalut. The park is located in the Darjeeling subdivision, Darjeeling district, West Bengal, India. It is bordered on the north by the state of Sikkim and on the west by the country of Nepal.

The park is part of the Eastern Himalayas. The Singalila Ridge, which runs roughly North to South and separates Himalayan West Bengal from the other Eastern Himalayan ranges to the west of it. The two highest peaks of West Bengal, Sandakphu (3630 m) and Phalut (3600 m), are located on the ridge and inside the park. River Rammam and River Sirikhola flow through the park.

Rich in its variety of birds and mammals, the park is a birder's delight with over 120 species recorded including many rare and exotic species like the Scarlet minivet, Kalij pheasant, Blood pheasant, Satyr tragopan, Brown and fulvous parrotbills, Rufous-vented tit, and Old World babblers like the Fire-tailed myzornis and the Golden-breasted fulvetta. The park is also on the flyway of many migratory birds.

The park has a number of small mammals including the Red panda, Leopard cat, Barking deer, Yellow-throated marten, Wild boar, Pangolin and Pika. Larger mammals include the Himalayan black bear, Leopard, Clouded leopard, Serow and Takin. Tigers occasionally wander into the area, but do not have a large enough prey base to make residence in these forests feasible.


Due to the fact that most of our shooting locations are remote and at high elevation, we only have a choice of booking at modest inns and guesthouses. We have taken care that accommodations meet our satisfaction level and provide basic amenities, comfort and, hygienic meals. All rooms are on twin sharing basis. Hotel names are listed under the itinerary section.


Our objective is to help you achieve your goals in photography, to assist you in making images that help you stand out. In order to achieve this, we will help you understand the core concepts of bird/wildlife photography along with the understanding of your camera and various settings that are required to achieve photographic excellence. We will discuss the following concepts as needed:

  • Getting off the auto mode and taking control of your camera

  • Aperture priority, Shutter priority, Manual. When to use each of the modes

  • F/stop, Shutter speed, ISO.

  • Manual and autofocus - focusing points, single shot or AI Servo, back button focus.

  • Metering modes – Evaluative, spot, center weighted

  • White Balance – working with camera presets and custom selection

  • Appropriate lens settings and setup for shooting birds in flight

  • Ethics and etiquettes in wildlife photography


  • Raw vs JPEG - advantages of shooting in RAW

  • Image workflow – the importance of setting up a workflow to edit your images

  • Lightroom and RAW conversion

  • Cropping, White balance adjustment, color correction

  • Round tripping between Lightroom and Photoshop

  • Editing in Photoshop – working with adjustment layers and layer masks

  • Noise reduction, sharpening in Photoshop

  • Image re-sizing and saving for the web


  • Day 1 – Participants will arrive at Bagdogra airport by 12:30 pm at the latest. After lunch we head straight to Latpanchor for birding and photography on the forested way. Distance to Latpanchor is 60KM. Check into Latpanchor Home stay in the evening, followed by dinner.

  • Day 2 – Morning session birding and photography in Latpanchor. After lunch we head to Lava. Check into Yankee Inn, after some rest we meet up for image critiquing and discussion. Distance to Lava is 100KM. Dinner.

  • Day 3 – Early breakfast followed by morning session in Lava. Return for lunch followed by afternoon session in Lava. Dinner.

  • Day 4 – Early breakfast followed by full day session in Neora Valley National Park. Lunch will be provided in the park

  • Day 5 – Breakfast followed by morning session in Lava. We drive to Tumling and get to Singalila National Park; lunch will be provided on way. We will check in to Sikhar lodge and participants are free to rest and be on their own. Distance to Tumling is 140KM. Dinner.

  • Day 6 – Early breakfast followed by full day session in Singalila National Park. Lunch will be provided in the park. Dinner.

  • Day 7 – Early breakfast followed by a full day in Tumling, after lunch we will be heading towards Gairibas for another session of birding and photography. Dinner.

  • Day 8 – Early breakfast followed by birding and photography at Tumling. After lunch we drive back to Silliguri for an over night stay at Shree Deep palace. Dinner.

  • Day 9 – Early breakfast followed by Birding and photography in Mahananda National Park. Afternoon departure to the Airport.


Click Here to download the wildlife checklist for this tour.


The cost of the photo tour is Rs. 68,000 per participant on twin sharing basis. A 50% deposit is required upon registration to hold space and the final balance is due two weeks prior to the start of the trip.

Please note, if paying by check or bank deposit, the payment must be received in order for your space to be confirmed. Bank details will be emailed upon registration.


If paying by check, please mail to:

Gaurav Mittal Photography
7 – Jantar Mantar Road
New Delhi, 110001


The cost of the photo tour is USD 1100.00. The payment can be submitted directly via the website.


  • Twin sharing standard AC room.

  • All meals i.e. breakfast, lunch and dinner, hot beverages i.e. coffee and tea for tour duration.

  • All transportation from Airport pickup till drop off.

  • Guide and permit fees. Park entry fees. All applicable taxes.


  • Cost of travel to and from home.

  • All personal expenses, extra meals and beverages, bottled water etc. Laundry, phone calls and insurance.

  • Anything that is not mentioned in the inclusions above


  • 90% 7 days prior to the workshop.

  • No refund if canceled 0-6 days prior to the workshop


Please note, in this tour, you will experience steep terrains as well as patchy and broken roads as we drive and make our way looking for birds. This trip may not be suited for people with heart conditions or fear of height.


Q: Who should join?

Ans: Beginners who would like to learn the basics of bird photography and photographers of any level who are interested in making images of forest/mountain birds.

Q: Is transportation provided to all the photographic destinations?

Ans: Transportation is being provided from Airport pickup to drop off.

Q: What lens and accessories do you recommend for photographing on this tour?

Ans: On this tour, you can make great images with just about any focal length lens, a selection of lenses including long telephotos such as the 500mm, 600mm, and 800mm AF lenses are ideal for photographing forest birds such as the Black- faced Laughing thrush, Accentors, Chestnut-crowned Warbler and many more. A 500mm lens is ideal for larger birds like the Great Hornbill and the Common Buzzard. Lens such as the 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II, 300 f/2.8 IS II and the 100-400mm are great for creating some nice vistas and birdscapes. A walk about lens such as the 25-104mm is good for landscapes as is the wide angle17-40mm. 1.4X and the 2X extenders are ideal where extra range is needed on the longer focal lengths.

Q: What type of clothing/dress code do you recommend for this workshop?

Ans: Please bring warm clothing, hats, gloves, etc. During the spring, conditions in the parks can be chilly. Mornings are generally cold but after sunrise and as the day progresses, it can get warm. It is important that the dress code is conservative, bright colors such as red should be avoided as they can be distracting to the birds and other wildlife.


For further details about the photo tour, contact Debapratim Saha at or Gaurav Mittal at

To confirm receipt of cheque or bank transfer, contact Anup Joshi at

Debapratim Saha : +919832073669

Anup Joshi : +919818671226

Event Location

Darjeeling, West Bengal 734101

Event Fees:

Event Registration $ 1100.00

Registration is closed for this event.

For more information or questions, please email: