Myanmar (Burma) 2017

A Leica Destination Photography Workshop

Above Photograph: © 2013 Copyright Seth Butler. All Rights Reserved.

Explore the Majesty of Burma with the Leica Akademie USA

Momenta and Leica Akademie USA invite you to join us on this Destination Series workshop with legendary photographer Craig Semetko through the magical heart of Burma. The Destination workshops are customized by our programming staff to create an experience like none other in the marketplace.

For eleven glorious days, travel with us to photograph one of our favorite countries on Earth during the best month to visit Burma. This workshop will focus on finding the unexpected moments and the off-the-tourist path locations in the country where our very first workshop was held.

Burma is a country of beauty and contradictions as the modern and ancient blend seamlessly. Monks still wear the same ancient style of robes as the Buddha but walk down the streets talking on cell phones. Business people in Italian suits lay offerings at pagodas built in the 9th Century. Nested among the soaring skyscrapers of Yangon are tiny market stalls and rickshaw drivers. Rice farmers and fishermen use age-old harvesting practices while, at the nearby nunnery, young women learn cutting edge computer science.

The imagery will astound you and the people will amaze you with their kindness. We know you will fall in love with the vibrant, warm, gorgeous country as we have.

This premium experience is designed for photographers who prefer the chance to explore a location longer, without tour buses or large groups. Build your skills as a visual storyteller in a location unlike any other, knowing we have thought of every detail.

Let Burma’s beauty mesmerize you and let us take care of the details. This trip is one of our favorite journeys and we cannot wait to experience the beautiful moments of this Asian paradise with you.

  • Visit the “Big Four” locations in Burma with our experienced guides
  • Discover our favorite hidden neighborhoods and secluded monasteries
  • Let Momenta and Leica handle the logistics and travel while you focus on photography

Workshop Highlights

The Destination Philosophy

The Destination Philosophy

Small groups. Fewer locations. More one-on-one.
The Leica Destinations are designed for passionate photographers and enthusiasts who want to travel like a pro. We have chosen fewer locations to visit to allow you three full days to explore and experience the wonder of each place, allowing you to truly have an opportunity to dive into your photographic creativity. You won’t be pushed on and off a bus by a tour guide and hustled from place to place. Instead, we cultivate each day’s itinerary to allow for explorations the locations we have scouted for you to find your perfect moment.

Our guides in Burma are the best in the country.
We work with the same knowledgeable people every trip and the results are amazing for our photographers. During the course of six trips, our guides have become trusted friends. The guides will lead us from the typical tourist’s path and into hidden treasures of each location where other workshop companies do not go. Not only do they love traveling with us but we enlist guides who are experts on religion and history to help with your work. They know where good pictures are to be found in hidden corners and they love sharing their country with us.

The Leica Akademie USA is famous for exceptional travel experiences.
The production of a Leica camera is an exploration in excellence and the Leica Destination trips reflect that feeling in each location we explore. You are taking a journey with us to our favorite places on earth and we know you will fall in love with them like we have.

If you would like to discuss Destination: Burma in more depth with our production team, our staff can be reached at or +1 202 203 8758 (US) to speak to someone directly. We are happy to answer any of your questions about our collaboration with this exciting Leica Series.

What to Expect

  • No stress: We handle all the details from incredible locations to delicious meals
  • No tour buses: In-country travel using cars, SUVs, and minivans to encourage small group discussions
  • No roommates: Single room accommodations for all guests.
  • Delicious meals: Customized breakfast & dinners featuring local and Euro-American options
  • Hidden Gems: Custom built itineraries to Momenta’s favorite hidden gems
  • Outstanding Guides: Hand-picked guides who are experts on history, religion, and culture
  • Photo Skills: Guided instruction on workflow and archiving techniques
  • Personal Touch: Portfolio reviews, hands-on instruction, style-development mentorship
  • Celebrations: An incredible celebration party with a private slideshow of our favorite images from the trip on the final night

Above Photograph: © 2013 Copyright Seth Butler. All Rights Reserved.


Meet Your Instructors

  • craig-semetko-portraitCraig Semetko

    Craig Semetko is an American photographer focusing on authentic human experience. Semetko was one of 10 photographers chosen worldwide by Leica Camera to be a part of its “10×10” exhibition celebrating 100 years of Leica photography. He spent three months in the fall of 2013 traveling throughout India for the project and the resulting work was displayed at the grand opening of the new Leica headquarters in Wetzlar, Germany, in 2014. His second book, INDIA UNPOSED, was also born of this project, and was published by StreetView Press in the spring of 2014.

    Born and raised near Detroit, Michigan, Semetko became a professional comedy writer and performer after college and years later discovered photography as another means of storytelling. His comedic background has given him a highly developed sense of the absurd and ironic, resulting in a strong theme of humor throughout his work.

    In his foreword for Semetko’s first book “UNPOSED,” Magnum Photos photographer Elliott Erwitt writes, “Good photographs are tough enough to shoot. Really funny ones are even harder. Good and funny photographs observed in nature not arranged or manipulated but simply observed in real time with amazing consistency, constitute a minor miracle now presented in Mr. Semetko’s book…In my book, he is the essential photographer. That is, the one who sees what others could not have seen.”

    A graduate of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, Semetko currently resides in Los Angeles. He teaches workshops regularly for the Leica Akademie worldwide and his photographs can be found in private collections in Europe, Asia and the United States.

    You can see a full body of work and his book collection for sale at

  • seth-butler-portrait

    Seth Butler

    Seth has almost two decades of professional experience producing and instructing photography workshops. He has guided more than 30 workshops for Momenta Workshops, as well as National Geographic and Magnum photographers to locations including the United States, Vietnam, Tibet, India, Indonesia, and Myanmar (Burma). Seth has trained more than 300 students in his career and many of his former students have gone on to successful professional photographic careers.

    In 2001 after the attacks of September 11th and the start of the Middle Eastern conflicts, Seth began his critically acclaimed project, “Tattered: Investigation of an American Icon” to study of the many uses and implications of the American Flag. This series was published internationally and prompted Harvard Anthropologist Grant McCracken to say, after seeing the exhibit, “…indignation is not the presiding emotion with which I looked at Butler’s exhibit. Eventually, I was filled with something more like astonishment.” Tattered, both in gallery form and online, has continued to be exhibited and published around the world since 2003.

    Seth’s documentary photojournalism has also been published in numerous periodicals including Der Spiegel, The Journal of Contemporary Culture, Snowboard Magazine, BlueEyes Magazine, Vision Magazine, Trespass Magazine, and Transworld Snowboarding Magazine. He was chosen as the Vermont photographer for the internationally acclaimed 50 States Project, curated by Stuart Pilkington from the UK.

    Seth currently lives in Vermont where he has been working on a long term documentary multimedia project on sustainable living by studying farmers, architects, and educators making a positive impact on the environment. When not leading workshops for Momenta or the Leica Akademie, he is ever devoted to perfecting his mountain biking and snowboarding skills.

    You can view Seth’s portfolio at

Our Travel Itinerary



The glorious Shwedagon Pagoda awaits you. Photographing in Yangon is an exploration in visual excitement that is, frankly, a riotously inspirational feat. Your guides and instructors will lead you to our favorite out-of-the-way bustling flower and vegetable markets and then travel to quiet hamlets just outside of the city to photograph sunset alms walks with devote, silent monks. Two days here never seems like enough time to photograph such graceful people and stunning light.

Inle Lake


The serenity of this beautiful hamlet will enchant your creativity. , When you arrive for your three day journey, your water taxi will skim over the crystal blue lake to our stunning eco-cottages, which sits on stilts in the middle of the lake. Excursions to ancient monasteries surrounded by floating gardens and teeming village markets will combine with the serenity of this remote region of the country. Some of the best photography we have ever had taken at workshops came from here.



It’s busy, it’s loud, and its energy is so much fun to photographic. For three days, explore the “cultural capital” of Burma featuring city streets bursting with great images. Our small travel vans will whisk you through the roundabouts of traffic and chaos to peaceful pagodas or fascinating jade markets. Travel to the top of Mandalay Hill for the sweeping sunrise of the landscape and then discover the teak monastery’s majesty. Mandalay has so much to offer adventurous photographers in search of energy and excitement!



Incredible landscape and rich Buddhist traditions astound visitors. We Bagan is truly an outstanding place to visit as a photographer. Nowhere in Asia do you feel the energy and passion of the Buddhist traditions living in concert with the growth of modern culture. The Golden Shwezigon Paya is truly one of the most amazing feats of architecture in the country. Our three day journey to this beautiful city will end our time of photographic exploration together perfectly as you create images that will amaze and inspire.

Are You Looking for the Fine Print?

Click Through the Tabs Below to Learn More


Workshop Fees Include: single accommodations, in-country air and car travel, daily breakfast & dinner meals (excluding alcohol),  one-on-one private editing sessions with our instructors including Craig Semetko, optional personalized portfolio reviews, all handouts and workshop materials, daily slideshows and lectures, software and equipment supportive training, final night celebration and slideshow. Workshop Fees Do Not Include: international airfare, early arrival or late departure accommodations, visa fees (if applicable), travel and medivac insurance (required), medical or vaccination costs, meals not indicated on the itinerary such as lunches, items such as personal excursions, phone calls, laundry, alcoholic beverages, etc.
Each workshop requires a minimum deposit to reserve your place in the workshop. After you have registered for a workshop, final payments are due within 120 days of the start of the workshop. Once registered, you will receive a confirmation email from our registration partners. As we near the start of the workshop, you will receive informational documents from our staff including a reading and research list, your final workshop itinerary, and travel guides. We work very hard to insure you are prepared in every way for this learning adventure. Our staff stands ready to answer any of your questions and to help facilitate the smoothest travel experience possible.
We require all attending photographers to bring their own cameras, laptop and support gear like external hard drives. Our staff and instructors can offer gear recommendations and help you understand the nuances of your equipment. We ask all photographers bring at least a digital SLR or rangefinder camera with 1-2 lenses. We encourage you to bring a lightweight tripod. Should you choose to participate in a multimedia project, you must come with a working knowledge of the required software programs and your equipment. Please see our Resources section for a list of suggested gear and traveling tips.
This course is designed for people who are good natured, flexible, have a working knowledge of photography and are interested in a unique documentary photography workshop experience. We will work with each photographer to improve their photography on any level, and we will find the right theme for your vision. We will provide support every step of the way, but you need to have a positive attitude and work well with a group! This experience is more of a photo practicum than it is a tourism trip. The educational journey will be amazing and eye opening but it is not easy. You will work long hours. Your instructors will give you daily challenges and push you to new heights with your photography. We will encourage you to stretch and think creatively. You may encounter people or organizations that are challenging to photograph. You may have to photograph in dark rooms or outside at high noon. You may have stressful days of difficult logistics. While we will be there to help you, support you and give you insight on the best way to handle the situation as a professional, you will need to take as much responsibility for your progress as we do.