Photography Tours

Special Festival Event

Tour Overview

places05Dates: June 18-23, 2014
Price: $2600/person before 2/17/14            Book Now
Maximum Group Size: 8

Amazon Andes Sky has teamed up once again with renowned travel photographer David Simchock to help you experience Ecuador in a whole new light:

The perfect balance between adventure and inspiration.

IMG_1006Experience the Ecuadorian Andes, culture, landscapes, history and diversity through your lens and beyond as you find yourself in the midst of one of the most exciting, vibrant traditions of the Andes! The festival, Inti Raymi, also known as the “party of the sun and harvest” is one of the most important ancestral celebrations of the indigenous communities in the Andes.  The festival takes place every year during the summer solstice (June 21st), and is filled with music, dance, food and community celebration.  It is an authentic event that will certainly present countless photo opportunities for our clients, as well as be a journey that will never be forgotten.

Practice your haggling skills while you prepare for the perfect shot in the largest traditional market in South America; Dance with the locals in celebration of the Pachamama (Mother Earth); Melt into the relaxation of an evening around a crackling fire with the windswept plains of the highlands just outside your window; Experience a friendly, remote agricultural community and document your perspective of daily life here. While you are experiencing these magical landscapes in an active way, take time to capture your perfect shot in the perfect light with the perfect composition.

Pampa Michi, Peru

How do you accomplish this mighty feat you may ask? Answer: photography instructor, David Simchock. Under his instruction, critique and guidance you will learn coveted tips of successful travel photographers, benefit from personalized instruction within a small group experience and receive feedback and direction along the way. Benefit from David’s Vacation & Travel Photography workshops throughout the journey with tips on photographing the people, landscapes, architecture, wildlife and culture of the Ecuadorian Andes. Yes, this is vacation but it is also so much more! Come experience Ecuador through this unique approach to educational travel on the equator!

Space for this unique festival event is limited!

Questions? See the FAQ or Contact Us We’d love to talk to you!


6 Days/5 Nights
June 18-23, 2014

Allow Ecuador’s Avenue of Volcanoes to take you in as you experience a bustling traditional market one day and the peaceful windswept highland plains the next. Witness an ancient, Andean celebration of the Summer Solstice as communities gather in a green valley surrounded by glacial peaks. Each night, retreat into the luxurious comfort of our home for the week, Sacha Ji Ecological Lodge.  The theme of your week will be Festival Photography  with opportunities for other genres including landscapes, portraits, nature, wildlife, etc…when we’re this close to the sun, the sky is quite literally the limit! As we explore the northernAndes, you will encounter a rich culture that incorporates elements from many traditions ranging from pre-Incan times all the way up to Spanish colonialism and this modern era. Learn how to capture this rich history in a single shot. Showcase your work and receive invaluable critique from your fellow travelers. Along the way, your instructor, David will be right by your side providing instruction, feedback, tips and expertise.

David brings with him a decade of expertise and passion for travel photography, offering personal instruction and opportunities for critique of your work throughout the week.  Under his direction you will have the opportunity to learn about the ethics and etiquette of photographing people in the unique environment of an indigenous village, capture breathtaking landscapes as we travel down the Avenue of the Volcanoes, document Ecuador’s rich culture and history, and enliven your senses in South America’s largest traditional market.

Capture your own perfect moment.

Detailed Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive in Quito

Transport from Quito’s Mariscal Sucre (UIO) airport to your hotel.

Meet and great dinner with fellow travelers, photography instructor and hosts.

Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Artisan Communities + Night Shoot

Today, we’ll travel in the area to several small communities where we can watch first hand as artisans create some of the handicrafts for the next week’s markets while you work to capture the moment.

In the evening, Dave will lead us in a night shoot in the main plaza as the sunlight fades and the city brightens

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Morning Light + Otavalo Market + Night Shoot

We will start the morning at the lodge capturing the morning light as the sun rises above the mountaintops. After a delicious breakfast, we head into town to capture the colors, textures, and life of the Otavalo market, the largest indigenous market in all of South America. The evening greets us with another opportunity to capture the fading light before we relax back into our peaceful haven for the night.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Animal Market + Critique Session + Evening Festivities

If you’re an early riser, the animal market begins at 6am and is worth a visit…a bustling crowd of wandering llamas, cattle, guinea pigs, chickens, puppies and more; this is the time and place for most local families to pick up their meat for the week or populate their farm. As the animal market winds down, the rest of the town comes alive as vendors from all over the country bring their handcrafted goods to South America’s largest indigenous market. On Saturdays, the market spills out of the main square and takes over the side streets in a maze of color, crafts and opportunities to practice your haggling skills. Capture the vibrant colors and local culture!

In the afternoon, we’ll retire to the lodge to take advantage of a few hours with Dave as you review your work and receive valuable feedback from Dave and the group.

This evening, the Inti Raymi festival kicks off in a colorful whirl of traditional dances, fire jugglers, enticing aromas from food tents, and maybe even a spontaneous parade through the city streets.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Cuicocha Lake + Cotacachi Festivities + Campfire

In the morning, we’ll visit a nearby volcanic crater lake and capture the ever-changing colors of the aquamarine water as clouds drift overhead. Hike a bit along the crater’s edge to capture the perfect angle or enjoy a boat ride followed by a steamy mug of traditional canelazo.

This afternoon, the main event of the Inti Raymi celebrations take place as locals march into the town square from surrounding communities dressed in costumes of all types, wearing lama chaps, and popping whips. These groups then march around the square, stomping out a traditional dance in a symbolic “taking of the square” from colonial influence and from each other for hours on end. Catch the movement while you witness tradition in a powerful way.

Wind down after a spectacular day as we spend a final night at Sacha Ji, relax by the crackling fire in our outdoor fire ring and look out over the lake and mountains that have been the backdrop to our week’s adventures.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 Day 6: Final Critique + Departure

After a final critique session with Dave this morning, transfer back to the airport for your return home or continue exploring Ecuador with an extension to the Amazon Jungle, Galapagos Islands and more

Meals Included: Breakfast

Ecuador Photography Tour Otavalo Market

Photography Tour Ecuador Animal Market


Photography Tour in Ecuador: Inti Raymi

Photography Tour in Ecuador: Inti Raymi

Ecuador Photography Tour: Inti Raymi

Photography Tour in Ecuador: Inti Raymi


Ecuador Photography Tour: Inti Raymi

Ecuador Meditation Retreat (1)

Ecuador Photography Tour: Inti Raymi Festival

Ecuador Photography Tour: Inti Raymi Festival

Ecuador Photography Tour: Inti Raymi Festival

Your Instructor

David Simchock photography guideA native of Ewing, New Jersey, award-winning photographer David Simchock has had a life-long interest in the arts, although his early career aspirations brought him into the corporate world, practicing as a mechanical engineer in New York City and later in corporate management in Great Britain.

Life as an ex-pat inspired David to further experience our planet’s many cultures, and in late 1999, he departed from his technical and managerial career and embarked on a world journey that would bring in the new millennium – an adventure that eventually lead him to five continents over a three-year period – while creating an impressive photo essay that would be admired by even the most seasoned travel photographer.

Upon his return to the States, David pursued a new path in life, and in early 2003, he founded his freelance photography business, Vagabond Vistas Photography.

David quickly established a respectable resume, including front-page credits with The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Sunday Star-Ledger Travel Sections. His photography projects have spanned six continents and have ranged from the cover of the local Trenton Downtowner to commercial assignments as far away as Morocco and Costa Rica.

The story of Vagabond Vistas has been featured in several publications and David has also personally appeared on various local television talk-show programs, bringing his insatiable wanderlust and eclectic imagery to the forefront of the area’s visual art scene.  In early 2010, New Jersey Life Magazine featured an eight-page spread on David’s life, travels and photography (Vision Quest).  Most recently, the Rutgers Magazine ran a colorful pieceon David (“The Intrepid Traveler”), who graduated from Rutgers in 1986.

Now in its ninth year, Vagabond Vistas has grown into much more than a travel photography service. Although “photography” remains the primary focus of David’s efforts, his endeavors have evolved into teaching the craft in addition to working as a freelance photographer.  What started as ad hoc travel photography workshops in North Trenton, NJ has expanded considerably into a comprehensive line-up of events which David now conducts at his studio in the River Arts District of Asheville, North Carolina.  David’s “holistic” approach to teaching ensures that his clients develop their technical camera skills, as well as their creative compositional techniques.

To supplement his classroom-based workshops, David also schedules hands-on Photo Tours throughout the year where he guides small groups through the streets of Asheville, to the back roads of rural Western North Carolina and beyond.

And, if that isn’t enough to keep David busy, he has also established himself as a reputable mentor for clients who seek private, one-on-one or small group instruction.  This part of his business has grown considerably over the past couple of years, and David is now seen as the “go to” guy for professional photography and digital workflow advice. He works with clients of all ages and skill levels.

To learn more about David:
Read this biography and more at Vagabond Vistas
Follow his blog for Travel Photography tips and tricks.
At the foundation of each workshop with David lies his belief in “holistic photography instruction” Find out why!

Instruction Details


Throughout the journey, instructor David Simchock will provide hands-on instruction on both a group and individual basis covering the ins and outs of festival shooting, as well as fundamental topics such as exposure, composition and the use of accessories. Critique sessions are also built into the itinerary, allowing David to review the work of each client as the tour progresses. Naturally, David will be available for all photography-related questions, ranging from camera operation to workflow. Like all Vagabond Vistas photo tours, this is truly an educational experience where our goal is for each client to come away from the event as a better photographer (not just a photographer with a few nice photos). And, also like all Vagabond Vistas photography workshops and photo tours, we employ our “holistic” approach to teaching and learning photography.


*  Capturing the spirit of place with travel photography
*  Shooting Festivals & Cultural Events
*  Working with action/motion (freeze or blur)
*  General camera and lens operation
*  Use of accessories such as tripods, filters, etc.
*  Photographing people (including the ethics of doing this when traveling)
*  Cityscape photography, including architecture
*  Photographing markets & market goods (food, textiles, etc.)
*  Telling a story with your photos




Suitable for intermediate and advanced level photographers with a general or commanding knowledge of their manual controls and auto-focus settings (though David will cover the essentials of manual exposure and other manual and automatic controls).  Point-and-shoot cameras are not recommended for this photo tour as they can be very limited in capturing “action”.


Wide angle and telephoto lenses are recommended. A tripod is highly recommended for low-light twilight / night photography (along with a cable release or remote, though there are methods to work around not having these). A polarizing filter may also come in handy to remove glare and to increase color saturation in some cases. A graduated neutral density (ND) filter may be useful (but not necessarily essential) for landscape work that includes the sky (should the opportunity present itself to do some landscape work). It is highly recommended that each participant wear comfortable walking shoes and bring appropriate gear for unexpected inclement weather.

We will provide a detailed list of suggested travel and photography gear requirements in advance of the tour.


Please Note:
You are booking a photography tour w/ David Simchock July 18-23, 2014.
2014 Price Per Person= $2600
Your reservation is not confirmed until we have received your deposit of $850 (payable via PayPal upon completion of this form)
Balances are due 60 days prior to your departure date

Registration form.

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Our prices are based on double occupancy unless otherwise requested. Would you or someone in your party prefer a private room at additional cost?

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