EXPOLORING THE Q'EROS NATION OF PERU APRIL. 2-10 2016 REGISTRATION THE FIRST WEEK OF FEBRUARY 2016

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EXPLORING THE Q'EROS NATION OF PERU APRIL 2-10 2016 REGISTRATION THE FIRST WEEK OF FEBRUARY 2016

 

 

We’re launching our new workshop series, This is The Wanderlust, in the Andes Mountains of Peru! We’ll trek to the indigenous Q’eros Nation in collaboration with Hannah Rae Porst of Willka Yachay from April 2 to April 10. The Q’eros people are the wisdom keepers of the Andes. They are subsistence alpaca herders, potato farmers, weavers and musicians who live among the clouds in remote villages at 14,500 feet in the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcanota range, the highest mountain chain in Southeastern Peru. Considered to be the last Inkan community, the Q’eros strive to preserve their indigenous ethnic identity.

We’ll start our journey in Cusco, meeting at a beautiful colonial Bed and Breakfast to acclimate and introduce ourselves to one another before an evening meal. The next morning we’ll visit the markets, the bohemian art district and the spiritual center of the Inkan Empire. After a day of exploring, photographing and accustoming ourselves to the altitude and the sheer exuberance of the place, we’ll hit the streets for an evening photo demonstration. Cusco is luminous. We leave for Q’eros after breakfast. It’s a demanding, astounding and exhilarating journey. We’ll photograph along the way before stopping in a small village at the foot of sacred mountain Ausangate, where we’ll meet and photograph local weavers and participate in a Despacho offering by an Andean paqo. We’ll show you how to work with available light and a few improvised tools for location shooting and travel photography. We will take an early evening visit to local hot springs where you’ll have a chance to relax before an evening lecture and watching cloudscapes.

After leaving Apu Ausangate we ultimately make our way, led on horseback, to the remote hamlets of Q’eros, where we’ll stay with local villagers in cozy stone huts with thatched roofs. We’ll sleep on earth floors covered by llama and alpaca pelts, far removed from modern day amenities. One night we’ll camp out under the deep Peruvian night sky and try our hand at photographing more stars than we’ve ever seen before. Q’eros guides, cooks, wranglers and families will smooth our way, and share their lives and love.

Other photographic opportunities over the course of our time in the villages will include: trout fishing with nets, alpaca herding and shearing, a natural plant dye workshop, weaving demonstrations, earth oven cooking, gathering native medicinal plants, coca leaf readings, optional visits to Andean Paqo healers, and portrait photography with home visit families. We will also photograph hat making artisans and an intimate textile market where Peruvian weavers come together in the fields to display and sell their timeless work. This workshop will be a combination of photographic demonstrations as well as shooting with us side by side. We will teach a hands on holistic approach to travel photography, covering still life, reportage, landscape and portraiture. We will immerse ourselves in the culture of the mountains by connecting to the people as well as sharing creatively and learning with one another.

This workshop will be a creative reboot for those with a strong sense of adventure. This is a land of footpaths, far removed from the world as you know it. Lack of internet, roads and outside communication will only enhance our experience.

Workshop registration will be announced February 1st, 2016. This workshop is limited to 12 participants. Please see below to put your name on a mailing list to receive the announcement via email.

Most dietary preferences can be accommodated by our local cooks.

Hannah Rae Porst

Hannah Rae Porst, founder and director of Willka Yachay, has been living in Cusco and working with the indigenous people of the Q’eros Nation for five years. She founded Willka Yachay (Quechua for sacred knowledge) to develop education that enables young Q’eros to know their history and rights, preserve their culture and language, and develop their communities sustainably. Hannah has been leading mountain expeditions to Q’eros since 2012. She is a graduate of Bates College. @hannitarae

Willka Yachay

Willka Yachay is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping indigenous communities thrive in the modern world. We are empowering the next generation of the indigenous Q’eros Nation of Peru to become leaders who elevate their standard of living, guide their community toward sustainable modernity and revitalize their cultural identity. Together with the Q'eros, Willka Yachay builds and sustains culturally and ecologically based schools high in the Andes. Willka Yachay currently supports nine schools: three pre-k, four primary schools, one high school and one adult school. Willka Yachay collaborates with Q’eros parents and elders, acts as a school system administrator, creates and coordinates curriculum development, hires and supports culturally sensitive teachers, provides all supplies, nutritious food and educational national and international field trips. Willka Yachay also implements solar light, music and cultural preservation, food security, and mother and infant care projects, as well as the first health center and weaving cooperative in the Q’eros Nation.   

www.willkayachay.org, @willkayachay

WORKSHOP PRICE 5000 USD

THIS WORKSHOP WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE THE FIRST WEEK OF FEBRUARY 2016. IT IS CAPPED AT 12 PARTICIPANTS. ALL LODGING, MEALS, DEMONSTRATIONS AND GUIDES ARE INCLUDED, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF AN OPTIONAL SESSION WITH AN ANDEAN PAQO HEALER AND TRAVEL INSURANCE. AIRFARE TO AND FROM LIMA AND CUSCO IS NOT INCLUDED. FULL PAYMENT IS REQUIRED FOR THIS CLASS TO RESERVE YOUR SPOT. THIS WORKSHOP IS NON REFUNDABLE.

THERE IS A THREE DAY MACHU + PICCHU SACRED VALLEY EXTENSION WITH HANNAH RAE PORST APRIL. 10-13 COST + 1400 USD PARTICIPANTS INTERESTED IN THE 3 DAY EXTENSION CAN EMAIL HANNAH DIRECTLY AT hannah@willkayachay.org

 DUE TO THE REMOTE NATURE OF THIS WORKSHOP WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND THEAT EACH PARTICIPANT OBTAIN THIER OWN TRAVELER'S INSURANCE.  FURTHER INFORMATION ON TRAVEL INSURANCE WILL BE IN THE INTRODUCTORY PACKAGE. ALL PARTICIPANTS WILL BE ASKED TO SIGN A LIABILITY WAIVER.

THIS WORKSHOP WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE THE FIRST WEEK OF FEBRUARY 2015

We are pleased to announce our upcoming photographic workshop in Andean Mountains of Peru through our newly launched workshop series This Is The Wanderlust in collaboration with Hannah Rae Porst of the Willka Yachay Organization in the beautiful Q’eros Valley. The expedition will take place2-10 April 2016.

 

ABOUT THE Q'EROS

The Q’eros people are the wisdom keepers of the Andes. They are subsistence alpaca herders, potato farmers, weavers and musicians who live among the clouds in remote villages at 14,500 feet in the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcanota range, the highest mountain chain in southeastern Peru.Considered to be the last Inkan community, the Q’eros strive to preserve their indigenous ethnic identity. Q’eros live a hardworking life at one with nature. They perform offerings to Pacha Mama, Mother Earth, and to the Apus, mountain spirits. Worldview concepts of ayni, the importance of reciprocal sharing, and animu, awareness of an animated essence in all things, shape their interactions with each other and their environment. Those who are invited to travel to their out-of-this world beautiful valley and meet them carry luminous images home.

THE JOURNEY

 We will start our journey in Cusco, meeting at our Colonial Bed and Breakfast to acclimate and introduce ourselves to one another before the evening meal.The next morning we will explore the markets, the bohemian art district and the spiritual center of the Incan Empire. After a day ofexploring, photographing and acclimatizing we will hit the streets for an evening photo demonstration. The next morning after breakfast, we will make our way towards Q’eros, photographing along the way before stopping for the night in a small village at the foot of the sacred mountain Ausangate where will we participate in a Despacho offering and visit and photograph local weavers. We will show you how to work with available light and a few improvised tools for location shooting and travel photography. We will take an early evening visit to local hot springs where you will have a chance to relax before an evening lecture.

After leaving the sacred mountain we will make our way, led on horseback, to the remote hamlets of Q’eros, where workshop participants will pair off to have home stays will local villagers in centuries old cozy homes. You will sleep on the earthen floor on llama and Alpaca Pelts far removed form modern day amenities. We will camp out all together one evening under the vast Peruvian night sky and try our hand at photographing the stars. Other photographic opportunities over the course of the next few days will include: trout fishing with nets,natural plant dye workshop, alpaca herding and shearing, earth oven cooking, optional visit to Andean Paqo healer, portrait photography with home visit families and gathering native medicinal plants. We will photograph hat making and artisans and a visit to an intimate textile market where Peruvian families come together in the open fields for you to peruse and purchase their beautiful work.

This workshop will be a combination of photographic demonstrations as well as shooting with us side by side. We will teach a hands on holistic approach to travel photography, covering still life, reportage, landscape and portraiture. We will immerse ourselves in the culture of the mountains by connecting to the people as well as sharing creatively and learning with one another.

 

This workshop will be a creative reboot for those with a strong sense of adventure.This is a land of footpaths, far removed form the world as you know it. Lack of internet, roads and outside communication will only enhance our experience. 

Workshop registration will be announced February,1st. 2015. This workshop is limited to 12 participants.  Please visit www.thisisthewanderlust.com to subscribe and get your name on a mailing list to receive the announcement via email.

 

*Dietary restrictions can be accommodated by our local cooks. 

rome part 1. for condé nast traveler

Where has the time gone? I am not going to make excuses for my absence; I am just going to pick up where I left off... editing today I came across these images from Rome and suddenly got very hungry looking at this pasta . This might be dinner tonight. 

Last October we spent a few quick days on the ground in the eternal city, it was divine. 

 

 

Espresso at the newly opened J.K.Place. 

Espresso at the newly opened J.K.Place. 

 For my inner Borgia, the Vatican.

 For my inner Borgia, the Vatican.

Favorite neighborhood to get lost in. Monti.

Favorite neighborhood to get lost in. Monti.

The Colloseum.

The Colloseum.

 View of the city from Gianicolo. 

 View of the city from Gianicolo. 

 I funghi. Mercato Testaccio. 

 I funghi. Mercato Testaccio. 

Artichokes and Buccatini Amatriciana from Sora Marguerita in The Jewish quarter.

Artichokes and Buccatini Amatriciana from Sora Marguerita in The Jewish quarter.

summer waned.

Summer seems like so long ago as we come quickly upon the darkest days of the year, but I know it won't be long before we see her again.  I never posted these photos from a week out at the beach on Long Island this past summer. For me, they are a light on this dark nor'easter morning.

x

nepal. kathmandu valley.

Last spring we were sent by Condé Nast Traveler to cover the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal. Like the infamous power lines that clog the sky like massive bird nests, the valley is a place full of chaos. It is a wild and beautiful jumble of smoke, soot and ash, brilliant colors and absurdly beautiful faces. The challenge with this job was that we were on the ground for six days; this is a short amount of time in the scope of a travel job. We usually have more time but we only needed to cover three towns so it was booked as a short trip. Honestly we could have spent a month. There was a photograph around every corner and alleyway. We love shooting travel and are so thankful that Traveler continues to send us on such extraordinary adventures. We have been around the world for them and it feeds all of our other work. The things we see always provide new inspiration. Each time they send us, we get to reconnect to what initially drew us to photography. Shooting travel takes us back to photography as a personal experience. We are alone with our cameras in hand, we often split up (at the crack of dawn) and dash off to cover whatever we may find coming back together periodically to share what we have found. It becomes just us alone looking through the viewfinder... searching and searching and searching. Most days in New York we spend our time in the studio around a monitor collaborating with art directors and stylists. Travel assignments are different from this kind of collaboration in that they are a solitary adventure and that is what makes them unique. Our assistant is usually somewhere between the two of us keeping notes and staying organized which is no small feat when shooting reportage. There are moments when I am at a market foraging produce for a still life and I look up only to see my husband cantilevering off a roof somewhere above us. He is famous for hanging out of car windows or tying himself to the side of a truck. He will go to all lengths to get a shot. (Think MacGyver) There are of course moments on these assignments when we are side by side shooting the same portrait but for the most part we come back together to load cards and see how the story is shaping up. There is a bit of competition between us but it only fuels the process, in the end we don't remember who took what picture.

It is a collaboration of a different sort.

I wanted to share some out takes from Nepal. You can see the full story in the August issue Condé Nast Traveler.

Hope you enjoy, the chaotic frenzy. xx

out west part two.

We are back in New York after our week out West and spring is definitely in the air. The light has shifted and changed and it is a little brighter and crisper. The shadows seem suddenly stronger. I am hopeful that my winter coat will soon be put away for good and the days will lend themselves to dresses and flip-flops.

Our mother daughter trip was really nice. It has been ages since I could get Lula all to myself. She really loved California. Everywhere we went she imagined herself living. She felt a strong connection to the desert.

I wanted to share a few places to stay and eat and thrift while it was fresh in my mind. We started our trip at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. It has its charm but is not with out a very hipster scene. We spotted the depressed brother from Little Miss Sunshine checking out as we arrived. It happened to be a super busy spring break/Easter week and the hotel and pool was filled with families and kids. The Ace was originally a Howard Johnson's  built in the 1960's. It has a funky vibe. The staff is super friendly and the rooms are no nonsense. Make sure to check out the vending machines in the lobby stocked with cool items from Opening Ceremonyand don't miss the photo booth! The restaurant attached to the Ace is called The Kings Highway, a former Denny's, it totally serves its purpose,  dishing up gigantic pancakes, burgers and fries. Local and organic ingredients  are used whenever possible. The atmosphere is great but the service in the restuarnt is a little spotty. If the pool gets to be too much of a scene head to the totally hidden Commune pool at the back of the hotel or rent a scooter and head into town which is only minutes away.

The town of Palm Springs has some decent restaurants but we were pretty holed up in the Ace with the exception of our visit toNatures Health Food Cafe recommended to us by our friends at The Wild Unknown. It is a great health food store and cafe with an awesome juice bar. There is little thrift store next to it called Palm Springs High School Thrift, we didn't find very much but one man's junk is another's treasure, so. you never know! Palm Springs can be  full of hidden treasures and Mid Century Modern finds if that is your jam.

We stopped by a kind of wacky crystal store called Crystal Fantasy where you can get palm readings or tarot card readings.

After the Ace, we stayed at Hope Springs Resort in Desert Hot Spring's. Hope Springs is a little ten-room boutique hotel on the top of a mountain with a view of Palm Springs. Hope Springs has three natural mineral pools to soak in day or night. The hottest one being 105 degrees, perfect for cooler desert nights and star gazing. This place is seriously mellow, we kind of felt like we had it all to ourselves. they don't have a restaurant, but you are close enough to drive into Palm Springs or Joshua Tree for dinner. We ate a little family run Mexican restaurant right in the town of Desert Hot Springs and it was perfect. Hope springs has a communal kitchen and serves a light breakfast. When we were there  they were serving fresh fruit and a frittata. They have a full list of Spa treatments. 

Desert Hot Springs has a plethora of thrift stores as does the town of Joshua Tree which is quite close. From Desert Hot springs you can drive to Joshua Tree and enter the Western most entrance of the park. The distance from Joshua Tree to 29 palms is only about 30 miles but it can take you all day if you stop occasionally and hike in. There is no where to get food or water so bring your own and be prepared! The drive through the park to the Town of 29 Palms is really quite beautiful, it is very different in the morning and evening. Yucca trees line the landscape and you will pass the giant boulders if you take this route. Be sure to make time to stop at Keys view for Sunset. You can see the entire Coachella Valley all the way to The Salton Sea from there. It is really stunning. Bring something warm to wear because it gets quite chilly and windy towards evening.

 A highlight of our trip was our crystal sound bath at the Integratron. A Dome structure in the desert in lander's California, not far from the town of Joshua Tree. The Integratron was built in 1954. You can read more about it here. Call to make an appointment in advance, they can be full months ahead of time!

From the Integratron website..

" The Sound Bath is a 60-minute sonic healing session that you can experience while resting comfortably in the deeply resonant, multi-wave sound chamber. A sequence of quartz crystal singing bowls are played for you, each one keyed to the energy centers or chakras of the body, where sound is nutrition for the nervous system.  Imagine lying on comfy mats in the center of this relaxing and resonant high-energy field, while having your body bathed in exquisite sound for 25 minutes. You have the balance of the hour to relax. The results are waves of peace, heightened awareness, and relaxation of the mind and body. "

I have to say it was pretty cool and like no sound we had ever heard before. The pitch of the sound waves rising and falling completely transports you to another place.

We headed to Pioneer town after our visit at The Integratron, blissed out and mellow. Pioneer Town on first glance was a little hokey but it gives you an idea of what Wild West town would have looked like a hundred years ago.. It's fun for photos at any rate. The real draw in the town is Pappy and Harriets Pioneer Palace. They have decent barbeque and are known for their open mike night and the bands that they pull in from LA. This whole Northern High Desert area is kind of funky and trippy; there is definitely a more hippie vibe than in Palm Springs. The desertvibe is kind of electric out here.

On our way back to Desert Hot Springs we stopped at The Natural Sisters Café in Joshua Tree. We ate a sandwich LOADED with sprouts (very California) and had a Rock Climbers Revenge smoothie. (Weird name for sure but a really delicious combo of bananas, cashews and dates.) This cafe is right at the Western Entrance to Joshua Tree so it is actually a great place to stop and get supplies before heading into the park.

On our last afternoon we hit Gypsy Land Thrift and Angel Thrift in Desert Hot springs, before heading to the elegant Le Parker Meriden for a late lunch and stroll through the 13 acre grounds. At The Parker  you can play baci ball, croquet, swim in the pool or play a giant chess game amidst beautiful roses and bouganvilla, it kind of feels very Alice In Wonderland here.

We didn't get to all the things we wanted to do in and around the area, we really needed a couple more days. We are saving the Salton Sea and Bombay Beach and Salvation Mountain for next time. 

 Here is little list of Things to do in Palm Springs and surrounding area:

Swim/ Stay at The Ace Hotel

Visit Joshua Tree National Park

Visit the Town of 29 Palms

Stay at 29 Palms Inn or just stop by for a drink and a dip in the pool.

(They have a fairly decent restaurant and super cute Adobe cabins with fireplaces)

Stay at Hope Springs Resort. Super relaxing. Chill vibe. Great Spa Services. Overlooks the mountains.

Visit Indian Canyons just five minutes from Palm Springs and take a hike through the oasis where the Agua Callente Indians lived.

Visit the Waterfall at Tahquitz Canyon located about twenty minutes from Palm Springs. Hike in. Take a dip.

Visit The Integratron in Landers California and then make your way over to Pioneer Town to Pappy and Harriet's.

Listen to some great music at Pappy and Harriet's. Try the barbeque.

Thrift in the towns of Desert Hot Springs and Joshua Tree.

You can pick up a guide to thrifts in the area from the Ace Hotel.

Take ride in the Tramway.  The gondola going from palm springs desert up into the mountains!

Visit this very funky Botanical Garden.

I have heard great things about Two Bunch Palms Spa but have not stayed there, maybe next time!

Stay at the very modern and secluded The Hotel Lautner in Desert Hot springs.

Visit Salvation Mountain.

Visit the Salton Sea and Bombay Beach.

Movie to watch before going:

Bombay Beach

Pick juniper and Sage Brush from the roadside to make your own smudgesticks.

Get lost in all the desert wierdness.

xx

Some good reference material for the area:

This article in Travel and Leisure

This article in the Huffington Post 

out west. part one.

Greetings from Sunny California. Lula and I are having a girls week out West. We started our trip at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs and day tripped to the desert and Joshua Tree from there. Today we head to the Integratron for a crystal sound bath (trippy)  then on to 29 Palms and later to Hope Springs. It is a mini break from what seems like a long winter in the North. 

Here are a few photos from along the way. More deatails of places to eat and visit in part two.

Have a lovely day.

xx

 Yucca Valley Joshua Tree National Park

 Yucca Valley Joshua Tree National Park

Lula photographing at Keys View Joshua Tree National Park. View of entire Coachella Valley, Palm Springs, San Andreas Fault all the way to The Salton Sea.

Lula photographing at Keys View Joshua Tree National Park. View of entire Coachella Valley, Palm Springs, San Andreas Fault all the way to The Salton Sea.

 Lula Joshua Tree National Park.

 Lula Joshua Tree National Park.

Desert Veg.

Desert Veg.

a new year

Hello friends...

It has been an interesting holiday season. I have enjoyed all your lovely posts and instagrams as of late. I was able to travel vicariously through you to some utterly gorgeous places. I have been enjoying being chill until the craziness starts again. I will soon be on the West Coast for work and the to India in early February! I have not been on instagram for the past couple weeks, as my iPhone blew out the window and down onto Broome Street in a crazy gust of wind that swirled and gushed through the loft. I know it sounds a bit like the dog ate my homework but it actually did happen. My phone was utterly vaporized. So I start today anew with my new phone totally clear of all old photos and debris. It was ninety percent backed up. What I lost I can live without and starting new and not importing anything to my new phone but my contacts feels right. I have been hunkering down and enjoying the stillness of the city these past winter days. It gave me some time to consolidate all my old straggler inspiration blogs that I started long ago. I have put everything together into one tumblr as a new place for inspiration. You can see it atwww.sometimesidrift.tumblr.com. I am hoping to keep it updated as I am constantly overwhelmed by the amount of breathtaking photographs out there filling the cosmos. It is a site for the visual vagabond.

I leave you with the  sweetest wishes for the New Year. This year will be epic.

Shine brightly.

X

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