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Kamchatka Bears
Breathtaking

Kamchatka and Mongolia Photo Tour 2019

Up close with the magnificent predators of Kamchatka and Mongolia.

Tour Overview

We will take you to the Kamchatka Peninsula of far Eastern Siberia to get amongst wild brown bears, lakes and volcanoes and then fly to remote western Mongolia to meet with Kazakh Eagle Hunters who will share their traditional way of life against a stunning backdrop of rugged mountain landscapes.

In the far east of Russia, the Kamchatka Peninsula stands on the Pacific’s ‘Rim of Fire’; volcanoes and all. Virtually untouched by human development, it represents one of the most flourishing wilderness tracts in the world, spanning an astounding 4,72,300km2. We will be transported by chartered helicopters such is the ruggedness of the terrain.

Stunningly rich in natural resources and punctuated with glaciers, geysers, lakes, hot springs and all things volcanic, Kamchatka is truly an ultimate goal for the photographer who craves to tread off the beaten path and explore the extraordinary and the wild.

Mesmerising close-up shots of large, brown bears are guaranteed as are dramatic landscapes and even marine life in Avacha Bay.

Just when you’ve seen and photographed all you can ‘bear’ we whisk you away to a completely different natural wilderness and the chance to get up close and personal with golden predators of bestial beauty.

The Altai Mountains of Western Mongolia are the homeland of the Kazakh eagle hunters. Kazakhs are an ethnic minority group numbering just over 100,000. Traditionally nomadic, the Kazakh proudly maintain a tradition of hunting with eagles (‘berkutchi’), usually female golden eagles, preferred for their strength and aggression.

When

30 August 2019 – 13 September 2019

Where

Kamchatka & Mongolia

Price

$16,850 per person

YOUR MENTOR FOR THIS TRIP

Glenn Mckimmin

Landscape Photographer

“For me, there is nothing quite like being completely and utterly alone, out in the wilderness, the dusty red outback, perhaps sitting by a fast- flowing creek or on a deserted beach as the waves roll in. Just me and my camera. Waiting for that perfect moment, when I hit the shutter button and hope I’ve got a shot which will connect people with the heart and soul of my location and evoke an emotional response.”

The Fotoworkshops photography tours and workshops are led by industry leading photographers. The Fotoworkshops mentors are among the best in their fields, and strive to give each and every participant the most enjoyable, educational and memorable tour experience possible.

Join Glenn Mckimmin for this once in a lifetime experience

We will stay in traditional ‘gers’ (yurts), Kazakh eagle-hunting families will be hosting us and sharing their culture and demonstrating their falconry, archery and horseback skills. The time of year of our visit heralds the approach of autumn and as the weather chills, Kazakh’s turn from tending to livestock and look to hunting rabbits and foxes for their fur.

Don’t miss a shot

Be in the right place

at the right time

Hunting with majestic golden eagles, often on horseback and in spectacular windswept settings your hosts will provide wonderful photographic opportunities with the bonus of face-to-face acquaintance.

What to bring

  • A DSLR Camera with lens/lenses
  • Spare batteries, there will be a long days with plenty of shooting.
  • A sturdy tripod.
  • Remote shutter release.
  • Filters if you have them (Polarizer/Graduated/Neutral Density).
  • Good walking shoes.
  • Wet weather gear & a compact umbrella (rain will not hold us back).
  • Your creative brains.

What to wear

The weather could change very quickly, we recommend some warm clothing but as always in these places layers are best.

  • Comfortable warm clothing
  • Layering your clothing is best. Temperature can quickly change
  • Good supportive boots. Warm and waterproof would be best

What you will photograph

  • Wild Bears
  • Volcanoes
  • Glaciers, geysers, lakes, hot springs
  • Kazakh eagle hunters
  • Travel with Nomadic Kazakh tribes
  • Watch falconry, archery and horseback skills
Meals

Breakfast, lunch & dinner will be
provided each day.

Place secure deposit

$8,425.00Add to cart

Once you place your deposit through our secure booking platform your place will be reserved instantly. The team will then be in contact with you to provide you will all the information you will require and confirm your trip details. If you would prefer to make your booking with the team directly, please email bookings@fotoworkshops.com.au

Tour Overview

Day 1 – Petropavlosk-Kamchatsky, Siberia, Russia

We arrive at Petropavlosk-Kamchatsky, capital of the Siberian peninsular of Kamchatsky, the famed land of bears and volcanoes.

A short drive will take us to the nearby hot springs village of Paratunka, and our hotel. Time for orientation and preparation for the adventure that lies ahead. Bathe in your hotel’s geothermal pools if you like prior to our welcome dinner.

Day 2 – Paratunka – Lake Kurilskoye

Our chartered helicopter takes us south to the remote, yet beautiful Lake Kurilskoye, home of 2 million spawning red salmon and the approximately 200 wild brown bears that turn up on the lake’s edge to hunt them.

On the way, our M18 helicopter will land for a while at Ksudach Volcano, weather permitting. Ksudach contains two lakes in its caldera. We will make an excursion to the crater lake of Schtubelya or visit hot springs that create a “hot beach” on the lake’s shore. We then continue our flight to Kamchatka’s famed Kurilskoye Lake and our accommodation in a small cozy wooden lodge on Grassy Point. A “wrap around” deck affords a gorgeous view of Kurilskoye Lake and surrounding mountains. It is often possible to watch bears fishing along the lakeshore without even leaving the the lodge. After orientation, we can wander along the lake’s pumice rock beach.

Our lodge is well-placed to access the bear habitats with ease and safety. The next two days will focus on getting close to bears by foot, by boat and always with armed escorts ensuring our wellbeing. They are a reminder that we really are in a wild frontier and intimately close nature in its raw and savage beauty. The backdrop of the lake, islands and distant volcanoes adds to the spectacle.

Day 3 – Lake Kurilskoye – Bear sighting

View Kamchatka brown bears, Stellar sea eagles, salmon spawning places. Take motor boat excursion and walking excursions with local wardens to a nearby bear view platform (800 meters from the lodge) that is located at the mouth of the many rivers that run into Kurilskoye Lake.

Here you’ll have a good chance of taking great close-up shots of bears fishing for migrating salmon. The salmon pause briefly in the lake and then make their way from the lake into the streams where they spawn.

We can then take longer walking excursions to a large meadow where bears feed on wild berries and visit other spawning streams further from the lodge.

Day 4 – Lake Kurilskoye – Bear sighting

Another day of exploration, wild-life and landscape photography, supported by local guides and your Fotoworkshops mentors.

Day 5 – Lake Kurilskoye – Paratunka

More opportunities for bear and landscape photography and then another helicopter flight to the Khodutka River for an optional bath in Kamchatka’s largest natural hot spring. After a bit of bliss we take the helicopter on to the plateau of the Mutnovsky Volcano and arrive at the caldera. This saves a lot of walking laden with gear and allows maximum time for photography. Rather than camping overnight in tents, our helicopter will whisk us away to a warm and very comfortable lodge.

An afternoon helicopter MI-8 flight will stop for us to bathe in the thermal hot water of the Khodutka River. This is the largest hot springs complex in Kamchatka. The water bubbles out on a section of tundra located just under the Khodutka Volcano
and forms a small stream. Farther from the source the water slowly cools and you can choose the location where the temperature is right for you to take a swim. 

Our helicopter then returns us to Petropavlosk-Kamchatsky and the comfort of our hotel in Paratunks

Day 6 – Paratunka – Avacha Bay – Paratunka

For a change of scenery and photographic opportunities, we explore Avacha Bay for six hours by boat. This allows for photographs with the imposing Koryaksky and Avacha Volcanoes towering behind the city and harbour. Avacha erupted as recently as 1991 when people living in Petropavlovsk could watch the red stream of lava
coming down the slope towards the city, while hot ash was shooting into the skies above the summit crater.

Avacha Bay is geographically as perfect a bay as a city could hope for. It is large and deep, with a narrow opening which keeps out foul weather and ice. The harbor is well protected from the dreaded tsunami waves that are created by
earthquakes around the Pacific Rim. The boat heads toward the mouth of the bay where we will see the Three Brothers, tall finger-like sea stacks, whose rock faces rise vertically out of the water.

The cliffs around the bay house many colonies of seabirds and puffins are commonly seen. There are good opportunities to sight and photograph killer whales (Orcas), sea otters, pelagic birds and other wildlife. A hot lunch is served on board.

Day 7 – Paratunka – Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

We have a morning check-out and transfer to the airport for our journey westward to the wild and vast expanses of Mongolia.

Late in the evening, we arrive in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia and check-in for an overnight stay in comfort.

Day 8 – Ulaanbaatar – Olgii, far western Mongolia

A short morning flight delivers us to Bayan-Ulgii, the most western province of Mongolia.

After transferring to our hotel, we have time for orientation, exploration and preparation for our Eagle Hunter expedition.

(This region was the setting in the award-winning documentary ‘The Eagle Huntress’ featuring Aisholpan, the 13 year-old Kazakh Huntress. It would be excellent to view this film before the tour, to whet your appetite.)

Day 9 – Olgii – Tsamba Garav National Park

We depart after breakfast in a convoy of four-wheel drives, followed by our support team who will look after all of our camping and logistical needs. Each of us will have a window seat and the opportunity to stop when and where you like.

For the next four nights and five days we will be visiting up to ten different Eagle Hunter families in varied locations.
Our expedition is planned to have the flexibility to best respond to weather conditions and the movements and activities of the Kazakh families.

Day 10 – Blue Goat National Park

We continue to enjoy and record the Kazakh traditional activities of herding, husbandry, hunting and home-making. These customs and activities are fast disappearing in the march of modernity and we are privileged to share in living history.

All of this is in a dramatically rugged and evocative setting with the ever-present Altai mountain range as a back-drop.

Day 11 – Near Lake Tolbo

More exploration with good chances of photographing stunning sunrises and sunsets, Bactrian camels, yaks, rosy, chaffed-cheeked children at work and play and small encampments of white Kazakh gers standing mushroom-like in the steppe grasslands.

Day 12 – Tsengel Glacier Peak

Portraits of our obliging Kazakh hosts, landscapes, macro studies, night photography, action/sports and cultural documentaries are some of the photographic opportunities that are generously available throughout this expedition.

Day 13 – Olgii

Today we bid farewell to the majestic eagles, their keepers and the Kazakh families who have shared their hospitality and traditions with us. We drive back to Olgii and our hotel.

Day 14 – Olgii – Ulaanbaatar – onward flight

A short flight to Ulaanbaatar. Overnight in a five-star hotel for some well-earned rest.

Day 15 – Ulaanbaatar – onward flight

Today brings our tour to an end as we then connect with onward flights home, our minds, hearts and memory cards full of images and impressions of the natural and cultural wonders we have witnessed.

Included in Kamchatka and Mongolia Photo Tour 2019 cost:

All accommodation on a twin-share basis. Hotels, lodge, gers. (Each ger has two beds, felt walls, traditional carpets, fire stove with flue, table chairs, washstand.)
Best possible transport, including M18 helicopters (Kamchatka) and Landcruisers (Mongolia). Each client will have a window seat in the Landcruisers.
Domestic flights and flights from Petropavlosk-Kamchatsky to Ulaanbaatar.
All meals.
English-speaking guides.
Tips for guides, camp and hotel staff, drivers, rangers etc
All park entry fees
Services of two expert Fotoworkshops mentors

Note: Due to the extreme and remote nature of our destinations, weather and other factors may require changes to the itinerary and disruption of some services such as helicopter transport.

Not included in Kamchatka and Mongolia Photo Tour 2019 cost.

International flights to Petropavlosk-Kamchatsky.
International flights from Ulaanbaatar.
Visas.
Items of a personal nature e.g. alcoholic drinks, phone calls, laundry, souvenirs etc
Personal travel insurance which is compulsory.

*Tour itinerary is subject to change at the discretion of Fotoworkshops. Please read our Terms & Conditions for more information.

Why choose our Landscape Photography Tours?

Imagine combining a dream holiday with your passion to explore and gain new expertise in one of the greatest art forms ever created – photography. With Fotoworkshops, you will be able to learn photography from our growing list of eminent photographic mentors whose work has been appreciated and awarded all over the world. Having been bestowed with numerous awards, these professionals are the best in their fields having proven their merit for several years.

Gift Card

Give some one you know a personalised gift towards any of our Photo Tours, Landscape Photography Workshops or Personalised Photography Tours. Vouchers are available in any amount from $100.

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Fitness Level

All of our Photo Tours require a moderate level of fitness. There are no major walks but where possible we would like our guests to be able to walk for about an hour if needed. Check with your tour guide before leaving and we can give you a better idea of any special fitness requirements you may need to complete the Tour.

Private Guided Tours

If groups are not for you and you would prefer to travel by yourself or with a group of friends and family then we can accommodate your needs by customising a photography tour to suit your individual needs, schedule, budget and interests.

We also offer private one or two day photo tours and workshops in many of our locations. Please or email us for rates and information.

Travel Insurance

Keep in mind travel insurance is a compulsory part of booking any of our Landscape Photography Workshops

How To Book

Once you place your deposit through our secure booking platform your place will be reserved instantly. The team will then be in contact with you to provide you will all the information you will require and confirm your trip details. If you would prefer to make your booking with the team directly, please email bookings@fotoworkshops.com.au

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