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There was never a time when I didn’t know my career was going to be involved with travel. As early as four I was a enamored by the photos to faraway places in National Geographic and by eighteen I had traveled to Yucatan, Chiapas and Oaxaca in Mexico fully committed to find off the beaten path places to meet the villagers and have a totally authentic experience.
My wanderlust could not be contained as I soon after traveled to Nepal. There I had a seminal experience that ultimately led to the creation of TG Travel Group LLC and A Different Perspective. If I had traveled with a group of 20 or more people I would have never had those one-on-one experiences that made my journeys so special. And all the travel companies went to the same places making off the beaten track opportunities impossible as well. If I traveled alone there frequently were safety and logistic issues navigating a third world culture. There had to be a better way.
Almost two decades after working in management positions for other travel companies, my dream to help people travel safely and easily, well off the beaten path and have immersive authentic travel experiences became a reality when I created Travels With Teri – which has grown into TG Travel Group LLC.
When we talk about one of my Different Perspective tours, you will understand my commitment to this dream which burns brighter and stronger today than ever before – and from this passion I offer you what I consider to be this superb collection of A Different Perspective Photo Tours.
About our Guides:
- First and most importantly all our guides are from where we are going. They have extraordinary passion for their homeland and love nothing more than to share it with others.
- They are frequently professional photographers or may be professional photo guides who have guided demanding internationally famous photographers who insist on being in the optimum locations at the best possible time of day to obtain the best images.
- All of our guides intimately know the areas their tours are covering and know how to navigate no matter what issues may develop. They know how to make your trip unforgettable, photographically productive and something that will become part of you forever.
- Almost all of our guides have led tours for well known western photographers
Nepal and Tibet
Mani Lama is widely recognized as the leading indigenous professional photographer in Nepal. In many ways Mani has pioneered the concept of Fine Art photography in his home country.
Born in Boudhanath Nepal in 1948, in addition to his fine art and journalistic photography Mani is very well known for his photo documentation of social conditions in Nepal that have led to putting a focus on important problems and leading to social action. Perhaps best known are his series of photographs of child prostitutes created for UNICEF in the 1990’s.
There are very few if any people who know Nepal from a photographic point of view like Mani does. When he is leading a photo tour, his style is one of showing several close friends his country in a very personal and intimate way. You will hear some of his childhood stories of Nepal in the 50’s and 60’s and meet some of his school chums on the street in Kathmandu.
Having lived in California for several years Mani understands American culture quite well. He lives in the Boudhanath neighborhood of Kathmandu with his family.
Win Kyaw Zan
Win Kyaw Zan is one of the elite professional photographers In Myanmar. Win has developed and honed his skills as a result of being the “fixer” and then guide for some of the world’s most accomplished and demanding travel and fine art photographers, such as Art Wolf, Nevada Weir, Jack Montgomery and Scott Stulberg. While Win knows quite a bit about a number of camera brands, he is a confirmed Canon shooter.
His knowledge of Myanmar from a photographic point of view is truly unsurpassed. No one knows better than Win where to find the best shots and at what time of day. He has an uncanny ability to spot exactly the right local and get them to pose and work with visiting photographers. Through his years of experience, Win has developed relationships that get his groups special access to monasteries, temples and other places. Win also knows how to skillfully guide photographers who travel with him to get their best shots ever while having a great time. His sense of humor and seemingly endless energy are also legendary.
In addition to his native Burmese tongue, Win speaks Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese and English fluently. He lives in Yangon with his wife and family.
Son Nguyen’s photography has been widely exhibited internationally and he has won numerous national awards in his native Vietnam. Reviews of his work talk about his ability to tell stories and transmit emotion through his work.
Guiding visiting travel photographers and photojournalists as well as video and movie crews in Vietnam since 1996, Son has extraordinary knowledge on how to capture the best possible images in his homeland. He knows where to go down to which locations are the best in which months and the best angle to shoot at depending on time of day. Son also always seems to know what parade or festival is happening even in small villages.
Fluent in English and of course in Vietnamese, in addition to his deep knowledge of Vietnam Son is also well known for his love and passion for his country which he is able to transmit to clients. This makes trips with Son fulfilling cultural experiences as well as very satisfying photographic tours.
Vietnam and Southeast Asia
Roger is a retired software entrepreneur originally from Florida. He is passionate about exploring different cultures and capturing images of each. In 2013, after traveling and photographing the world for over 25 years he relocated to Thailand, which he uses as his base as he continues to discover the unique cultures, peoples and landscapes of Asia.
Roger leads photo tours on a selective basis in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. His unique capabilities; in-depth knowledge of these places, photographic skills, likability and combination of understanding of the East and the West make Roger a guide in great demand. While a Canon shooter, Roger provides excellent shooting guidance in an easy going informal way for all clients.
Georgia, Armenia, Turkey
Mehmet Ozbalci was born in Kayseri Turkey, learned English in High school and later studied business in college. During his school years Mehmet took a part time job with a tour company to practice his languages and fell in love with meeting people from many parts of the world and helping them discover his homeland. Then while still a teenager Mehmet became friendly with a neighbor who was deep into photography and he caught the photo bug. Through this combination of events Mehmet found his passion and his life’s work.
A pioneer, Mehmet was the creator of the first organized photo tour for foreign photographers in Turkey in 1991. Since then he has helped many photographers from all over the world discover the amazing depth of Turkey as a photographic and cultural destination. As a result of his in depth and long experience Mehmet has visited just about every area of Turkey during every time of the year and under just about every lighting condition. There is no one who can better put photographers in the right place and at the right time to take their best shots than Mehmet. He also has an uncanny knack of finding the most iconic local people, just the right local village or a secret spot.
Luz Elena Castro
Born and educated in Colombia, Luz began her career as a professional photographer in the late 1970’s. She has worked as both a staff and freelance photojournalist, an instructor of photography at a Colombian university and as the personal photographer of Cesar Gaviria during his campaign and his presidency of Colombia – an extremely prestigious appointment. Throughout Luz’s career her images have been shown at important galleries in Colombia, the U.S. and in Europe. In 1996 Luz relocated to California where she has undertaken numerous photography projects, particularly regarding social issues and the Latino community, which have been published and exhibited.
It is hard to imagine a better guide for photographers who wish to discover the myriad of photographic and cultural opportunities of Colombia as it exists today. Luz’s passion for her homeland, its beauty, color, history, hot Latin pulse and pre Columbian mysticism burns bright and hot. She takes absolute delight in exposing guests to all of them. Being thoroughly bi-cultural Luz has an uncanny ability to deliver all things Colombian to a North American group in very meaningful ways. From a photographic point of view Luz is best known for her ability to capture exceptional emotion through her lens letting ordinary moments speak in extraordinary ways.
Manoj has had a deep love for India’s rural, remote and mountainous regions since his boyhood. As a member of school and college trekking clubs, he spent much of his free time hiking the mountains and photographing them. Manoj carried the same passion to the travel industry, which has been his career for over 25 years. To date he has led over 100 different groups to all regions of India, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet and Sri Lanka for photography, cultural and trekking tours.
“Fixer” is a title given photo guides in Asia who travel with top-level international photographers who depend on their fixer’s to take care of all matters large and small ensuring that they come home with the quality of images they require. Manoj is quite possibly the best fixer in India. His exhaustive knowledge of every destination his tours visit, his ability to work with local people and his flexibility to make changes on the spot to improve the chances of getting the best possible images all explain why Manoj is so much demand and why we are so happy that he will be guiding for us. Manoj also lived in California and is able to translate eastern philosophies and cultures in western terms.
Digvijay, known as DV, is a dedicated and energetic tour manager with over 10 years of extensive experience in setting up & leading cultural and street photography tours.
DV takes special pride in taking his people to capture real life images in remote locations and breaking language & cultural barriers between the western photographers and local people.
Well-versed with advanced photography equipment and tools, he is a delight to have on an India tour.
A native of perhaps the most romantic city, Udaipur in Rajasthan, he also has a masters degree in Tourism Management from Management Institute of Rajasthan.
Samir’s father’s career was with the Indian Armed Forces and as a result he was exposed to extensive travel as a child, explaining his lifelong passion to explore remote and undeveloped areas within India. So it is no surprise that after completing college Samir joined the Tourism industry and has been in this field for almost 15 years, becoming a highly respected senior guide.
Traveling across India extensively Samir has led many photo tours of various nationalities. Given his personal interests, Samir has become an expert on Northeast India, most specifically Nagaland. He is one of the very few guides who has extensive first hand in-depth knowledge of the tribal cultures, the current developments and how to create worry-free smooth operating tours to these remote areas. His personal favorite is the tribal area of the Mon people in Nagaland.
Aziz Ahmed Mohammed
Aziz was born and educated in Ethiopia and currently lives in Addis Ababa. From an early age Aziz has had a keen interest in nature, Ethiopian landscapes, wildlife and especially native birds.
His career has been focused on creating naturalist photography, documentary films and as a result exploring Ethiopia in-depth – he has personally travelled to more than 80% of Ethiopia at last count. Aziz’s photography and film work has been featured at a variety of shows, fairs and other venues in Ethiopia, Europe and the U.S. He has also been a leader in efforts to preserve and protect Ethiopia’s wildlife and its indigenous peoples.
Aziz’s language skills include fluency in English and Amharic (the language of the indigenous peoples our Ethiopian Immersion photo tour visits). Aziz ‘s passion and love for his country, its native areas in the south and its wildlife all contribute to his qualifications and make him a superb guide. Because of his extensive experience in these areas he will be sure to get you to the right places at the right time to photograph people, wildlife, landscapes and villages.
** Please be advised Amharic is largely used in Addis Ababa, Northern part of Ethiopia and in some part of southern regions. However, the tribal people found in Omo Valley area have their own tribal language. Therefore, Mr. Aziz will use the local guide at each village for translation.
Ananda was born and raised in Sri Lanka and is very proud of his country and heritage. He has been sharing his love for Sri Lanka since 1983 as a national guide and lecturer. Working as a fixer for the film ‘Gem Hunt’ conducted in Sri Lanka by National History New Zealand Ltd. was an opportunity to show the world his in depth knowledge of those off the path places.
Per one photographer who has traveled with Ananda:
“Ananda is an excellent guide. At the historical sites he has many personal contacts and knows the best angles and directions for photography. He was very helpful in directing us to the best photo spots and also he > was very good in spotting wild animals. I have traveled to over 100 countries and my husband and I have given travel photo shows for many years. In all my travels Ananda has rated as one of my best all time guides.”
Ali Alami grew up in Fes, Morocco and studied English Literature in University. Since 1998, Ali has been leading English-speaking photo tour groups from all over the world. His attention to detail and in depth knowledge of Morocco, especially the off the beaten path places, has made him loved by all.
Ali has had the privilege of working with some of the top western travel photographers around today. Recently one paid Ali a very high complement of being “perhaps the best guide he has ever had”. When asked what his favorite part about guiding photo tours was, Ali replied, “I love introducing photo tour participants to my people, culture and history.”
Due to his excellent English and sharing his genuine love for Morocco that radiates through to participants on his tours, Ali was awarded a national tour guide badge. Ali resides in Fes with his wife and two children.
Bayar Balgantseren was born in 1962 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Prior to working as a travel photographer since 2006, he was in the hospitality undustry. Bayar is a travel photographer who has honed his skills under the guidance of two of Mongolia’s best. Frequently he travels in some of the most remote places in Mongolia and abroad – North America and Asia. His work aims to break grounds in the art of photographing shooting nature, landscapes, birds, wildlife, and lifestyles, especially Mongolian. Bayar loves to share his photography knowledge and his country’s interior with fellow travel photographers.
Bayar’s work has received national acclaim and he has won many premier awards in Mongolia:
First place in the Nature Photography category, Mongolian Press Photo 2012; Third place, Mongolian Birds by Mongolian Centre for Wildlife Protection 2012; Best Participant, EZnis contest My Beautiful Country 2012; Nominated as one of the 40 best photos of 2012, Mongolian Flickr group; Best Photo, French CIS company’s photo contest 2011. Recently he exhibited his works in Russia and Italy. Bayar resides in Ulaanbaatar with his wife and four children.
View his work at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bayars_photo_mongolia/
Kashmir with Ladakh and Odisha (formerly Orissa) with newly independent Chhattisgarh
Yatish Bahuguna was born in the village of Pauri, which has one of the most stunning views of Mt Nanda Devi, Yatish graduated from Garhwal University in Indian History and Tourism. A professional guide since 1983, Yatish has led numerous tours and treks throughout the Himalayas and the Indian Subcontinent including Tibet. He worked at Tiger Tops Mountain Travel in various capacities before becoming General Manager of Mountain Travel, India.
Yatish planned and led the first foreign group in Arunachal Pradesh when the area opened to tourism in 1993. Currently he leads many photo tours for western photographers and their groups. A travel and trekking guide for over 30 years, Yatish is one of the most traveled guides for Kashmir and Ladakh and many other parts of India such as the Inner Orissa Tribal Areas.
Apart from leading trips he has been engaged in various other activities such as:
- Research work in Garhwal and Kumoun Himalayas for a trekking guide book “Trekking in Indian Himalaya”, a Lonely Planet Publication. (Second edition).
- Assisted and worked as a guide for Mr. Mark Shand for his Book called “River Dog”.
- Assisted Mr. Hugh Thomson on his book Called “Nanda Devi – Last Sanctuary”
- Documentary films – “Queen of Elephants” by Discovery Channel.
- “Source of Ganges” by Icon Films for BBC, presenter Mr. William Dyalrimple and directed by Mr. Hugh Thomson.
- India Diary by National Geographic presenter Mr. Mark Shand.
- “Himalaya with Michael Palin” for BBC.
Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia Tour
On the Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia tour we have the opportunity to do something that will multiply the productivity and enjoyment of your tour. You will have a very experienced cultural guide with you every step of the tour and in each major area we will have a different professional photographer that specializes in their geographic area.
Albania, The Tirana Region
Leon is one of Albania’s leading contemporary photographers. During the Communist era he was the head of the Albanian News Agency’s photography department and he is currently a photography professor at the University of Tirana as well as a photographer for the Reuter’s Press Agency. While he is well versed in all schools of photography, his first love is landscape work.
Ardian Fezollari comes from the Korça and Pogradec region of Albania is one of the region’s most respected photographers. Originally attending and graduating from the Academy of Police in Tirana, he always dreamt of becoming a photographer and has been seriously engaged with photography since 1994. In 1996 he had his first public exhibit and in 2000 won the prize for best national photographer, awarded by the Albanian National Tourism Board. Since then has exhibited his work in major photo competitions both nationally and internationally and his work has been featured in several fine art catalogues and calendars. Living and working in Pogradec on the shores of Ohrid Lake, he is known for his romantic landscapes, warm colors and refined taste.
Luan has been a professional photographer for over five decades working as both a photojournalist and a fine art photographer. Being based in Saranda on the Ionian Seacoast, he has expertise as an architectural photographer but he also knows every nook and cranny of the region and will take great pleasure in making sure you find all the best locations for your shots.
In addition to being a leading nature photographer in Kosovo, Arben is also well known as an outdoorsman in his native Kosovo. He has won several international outdoor photography competitions and is the author of two landscape photography books about Kosovo. Arben is uniquely qualified to lead our tour to the best photo locations during our time in Kosovo.
Aleksander was born and educated in Skopje and has worked many years as a professional photographer. He is also an educator and lecturer in photography at Skopje University. Over 2000 of his photographs have been published in various books, catalogues, posters and postcards.
He shoots fine art, commercial as well as travel. His work has been exhibited in Skopje since 1976 as independent showings. Joint exhibitions Have included his work is Skopje, Belgrade, Zagreb, Sofia and Vancouver .
During his days as an undergraduate at the University of Mississippi Adam Smith fell head over heels in love with the history, the grit, the culture, the people, the food and especially the music and the musicians of the Mississippi Delta. Over time that undiminished passion has driven Adam to become one of the leading photographers chronicling the resurgence of the Blues culture in the Delta.
Included among the many Blues legends Adam has photographed are Junior Kimbrough, RL Burnside, and T Model Ford.
Because of Adam’s unique knowledge of the region, his intimate relationships with the local bluesmen and familiarity with the region’s famous juke joints, he has been called upon to help produce and guide two of famous photographer Annie Leibowitz’s photographic projects in the Delta.
Adam was hired by country music legend Marty Stuart to provide photographic images for his recent Grammy winning album “Ghost Train”. Adam who has been named Photographer of the Year by the 11th Hour in Macon Georgia has had his work featured in many galleries throughout Georgia and Mississippi.
Because of Adam’s skills as a professional photographer, his unduplicated knowledge of the Delta and it’s culture as well as his close relationships with musicians and venue owners, he is able to provide A Different Perspective clients with a rare, exciting and authentic experience in the Mississippi Delta one of the last true regional cultures in the U.S.