Sri Lanka Workshop

A Sampling of What Participants Have To Say

Sri Lanka is a magical place with a colorful culture that provides many photo opportunities. Les and his wife Leslie are great hosts and provide an easy learning pace with as much help as you might want but no pressure. Les has a huge photography knowledge base but his knowledge extends well beyond photography. The pace is busy but not too busy, with opportunities to back away if you need extra down time. The setting is amazing but not just for the photographer also for a traveling spouse. Norm Arnold, New Mexico, 2015

The Sri Lanka trip was the most bang for the buck of any photo tour I have taken. The tour guide, Lester Picker, was knowledgeable, and full of information. Unlike many guides, he was there to make sure that the photo opportunities were available to the participants. On many tours, I think the tour guide is their only for a free ride to take his own shots! If you want to learn Lester is a great teacher. I would love to travel with him again. Will Randall, Florida, 2015

The Nikonians workshop in Sri Lanka with Les Picker was my second Nikonians workshop with Les.  The experiences in Sri Lanka were outstanding.  Les worked with each student as much or as little as the student desired. He had planned to trip to optimize photo opportunities with a mixture of temples, nature, animals, landscape and people.  The tour company that handled the transportation, lodging and guides was excellent.  The lodging accommodations and dining were first class.  I look forward to my next tour with Les. James Harris, New Mexico, 2015

Lester Picker provided us with an amazing experience in the wilds of Sri Lanka and in the splendors of Dubai. My purchase of a DSLR camera occurred a couple of months before the trip making me an absolute beginner. Each person on the trip offered me their expertise and by the time it was over I assimilated a wealth of knowledge. Les spent one whole morning in Galle instructing me, one on one, in composition. Exploring Negombo, climbing to the top of Sigiriya Fortress through the Lion’s Feet, hiking the to “World’s End”, basking in the sunshine with the tea pickers, fishermen, shop keepers, as well as, elephants, birds and leopards, along with Galle and its lighthouse and amazing beach hotel, was a delight. Dubai, with its glitter and architecture, created great photography. There was continual adjustment of activities and schedule to fulfill the goals of each individual. The hotels and group eating experiences were priceless. The trip inspired great photographs but left us with acquired knowledge and amazing memories. Christine Durrett, 2016

In March, 2016, I went with Les Picker to Sri Lanka for a photo tour and had a great time. This is what I would call a cultural tour as we had lots of interaction with villagers and the people. We visited farm markets, a working warehouse where trucks were being unloaded and prices negotiated, lots and lots of time to wander through villages to see Sri Lanka people and daily life one on one and I especially loved that part of the tour.

The good thing about Les is that if you wanted to do something that was not on the agenda, he tried his best to accommodate it and as an example one attendee was really into trains so we visited two train stations and the guide that Les hired bought each of us a ticket to ride on the rickety old Sri Lankan railway with three passenger cars which were tagged on the freight train right after the gasoline cars!! It was the most fun and equally important we got great photos in a non-tourist environment. The visit to the jungle school with the kids in class and reciting the lessons was precious. One person saw a sunrise shot one day and asked that we go back. Les and the guide made arrangements to take us to the exact spot and all that went got a wonderful backlit shot of some trees with beautiful soft morning light. While Les is an expert on Sri Lanka, the local guide added so much.

Some other things I photographed: numerous weddings (yep, I got right in there and was welcomed), lots of folks in market stalls, workers doing metal work, woodworkers, people tending fields, kids in numerous schools, kids and people hanging out of trains and busses, we were invited into some homes and that was really cool. The people were so wonderful that they gladly let you photograph them. All you needed to do was ask and then show them the photos. When that happened then others wanted shots.

I personally loved when the guide took us on the animal safaris and I swear he knew every bird in Sri Lanka and enabled us to get some wonderful shots. Les made sure I was in the safari vehicle with him as Les knew I was interested in birds. That is the attention to detail we had.

And speaking of details the arrangements for lodging were very first class all the way. I was shocked at the high quality and Les left no detail behind.

This tour is not a pure landscape trip. Les does take you to some temples and other spots you could construe to be tourist locations, but that was to give you an overall feel for the country and its people.

This was a trip I will treasure for life. While I normally do landscape tours, getting the culture, the animals (even the monkey that felt I needed cooling off in the hot sun – he peed on me!!) was an experience that I will talk about forever.

I, myself, lead photography tours and teach some advanced photography courses and travel extensively throughout the world on photo exclusive tours. With that said I received many positive comments from photographers on the images that we crafted.

Would I do it again? Yes, but my bucket list is overflowing at the moment. Joe Farrell, Pennsylvania, 2016

I had visited Sri Lanka over 40 years ago, so my experience on this trip was like a new adventure for me to this fascinating island nation. In addition, this was my first trip on an organized photo tour led by a professional photographer. Everything about the trip went remarkably smoothly, evidence of all the unseen efforts that went into planning and organizing our daily activities, the high quality of our accommodations and food, and the friendly, knowledgeable and helpful guide who accompanied us. All of this contributed to the ease with which we were able to concentrate on the myriad photographic opportunities that we encountered. The shorter trip to Dubai presented us with a very different photographic environment but equally fascinating and rewarding. Finding myself in the company of Les and a small group of highly accomplished and supportive photographers contributed greatly to the quality of my experience. I have already signed up for two additional forthcoming trips with Les, and am looking forward to building on the knowledge and insights gained on this trip. Chris Cluett, Washington, 2016

Lester Picker provided us with an amazing experience in the wilds of Sri Lanka and in the splendors of Dubai. My purchase of a DSLR camera occurred a couple of months before the trip making me an absolute beginner. Each person on the trip offered me their expertise and by the time it was over I assimilated a wealth of knowledge. Les spent one whole morning in Galle instructing me, one on one, in composition. Exploring Negombo, climbing to the top of Sigiriya Fortress through the Lion’s Feet, hiking the to “World’s End”, basking in the sunshine with the tea pickers, fishermen, shop keepers, as well as, elephants, birds and leopards, along with the Galle and its lighthouse and amazing beach hotel, was a delight. Dubai, with its glitter and architecture, created great photography. There was continual adjustment of activities and schedule to fulfill the goals of each individual. The hotels and group eating experiences were priceless. The trip inspired great photographs but left us with acquired knowledge and amazing memories. Christine Durrett, New Mexico