Located in Russia’s far east and situated between the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Sea of Okhotsk to the west, Kamchatka is home to the highest concentration of active volcanoes on earth. Its landscape of lava fields and craters stands in sharp contrast to the lush forests and lakes located in the peninsula’s lowlands. Among Kamchatka’s dramatic landscape live its ethnic tribes and remarkable wildlife. This workshop will get you closer than you ever imagined to geysers, active volcanoes, herds of reindeer, and wild bears. A trip to Kamchatka is truly a photographic opportunity of a lifetime.
After your arrival and day of rest in the capital of Petropavolosk-Kamchatsky, we begin our adventure with a helicopter flight over the Valley of Geysers. From an aerial perspective, we photograph a landscape of geysers, steaming hot springs, and active volcanoes. Our helicopter then lands in the cauldron-like caldera region, where we photograph at close range mineral lakes, mud pots, and bubbling geysers.
We then travel north into the heart of Kamchatka where we spend the next several days photographing the Even and Korak ethnic tribes. We visit Esso, a small village of wooden houses with lush gardens, and then travel by helicopter to photograph the nomadic Evens, Kamchatka’s reindeer herders. The Evens utilize everything from their deer; skin for clothing and footwear, meat for food, horns and hooves for tools. The Evens live with their extended families and still maintain their tradition of living off the land and sea, and open fire cooking.
During the next two days we photograph among a chain of 11 craters that include the Gorely and Mutnovsky volcanoes. To really experience the Gorely volcano, we ascend its 6000-foot (1829-meter) summit during a seven-hour round-trip hike. From the summit we photograph the lava flows and clouds of fumaroles rising from Gorely’s crater. The next day we ascend the 7,621-foot (2323-meter) Mutnovsky a second 6- to 7- hour round-trip hike. The Mutnovsky volcano area features glaciers, hot springs, and a glacial ice cave.
Our next destination is truly reminiscent of the Soviet era. We journey to Bechevinskaya, an abandoned military city that was home to a former submarine base. This “secret town” is only accessible by sea or air, and we reach it by a private sleeper ship. Our overnight stay in Bechevinskaya presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to photograph unusual exteriors and interiors, scenes that serve as stark reminders of the bygone Cold War era.
From Bechnevinskaya we cruise slowly back to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, our workshop starting point. A final helicopter excursion takes us to Lake Kurilskoye at the southern tip of the peninsula. Here we photograph close up the enormous Kamchatka brown bears.
We end our Kamchatka adventure in Paratunka’s Russo-Balt Hotel, where you can arrange a horseback ride or take a final bath in the hotel’s hot springs or work on your photography.
This workshop features
- Photographing ethnographic tribes & villages
- Photographing the nomadic Evens reindeer herders
- Helicopter flights to the Valley of the Geysers
- Hike up the Gorely & Mutnovsky volcanoes
- Photograph the deserted military town of Bechevinskaya
- Photograph close up Kamchatka’s famous brown bears
Who Should Attend
This workshop is for the serious amateur and professional photographer or videographer. Participants should be self-motivated, technically self-sufficient, capable of navigating in foreign cultures, and physically fit. Participants must be able to walk unaided on uneven terrain. Hiking up the volcanoes is optional. No special climbing gear is required for our hikes.
The workshop fee is $ 14,500.00 and includes shared accommodation, all regional transportation, all helicopter flights, cruise ship, private touring, a private full time English speaking guide and local guides, most meals, photography fees and all gratuities for our guides and drivers. A $2,500.00 deposit must accompany your registration to secure your place in this workshop. After registering, all future correspondence, billings and financial transactions will be handled directly by Arlene. Final payment is due February 1, 2014.
Not included are international flights, airport taxes, visas, personal expenses, and photography fees when photographing individuals, and some meals and beverages. The single supplement charge is $650.00. Trip cancellation and interruption insurance is mandatory.
THIS WORKSHOP IS LIMITED TO 8 PARTICIPANTS.
Detailed Itinerary follows:
Allow two days for travel to Petropavlovsky-Kamchatsky
June 29 & 30 travel days
Day 1 arrive in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky Bel-Kam Hotel
Tues. July 1 transfer to Paratunka’s Bel-Kam Hotel, this afternoon is free time to relax or take a city tour of Petropavlovsk’s sites including Avacha Bay; the monuments to Vitus Bering, Charles Clarke & scenic viewpoint & fish market.
Welcome cocktails & dinner (D)
Day 2 Paratunka Bel-Kam Hotel
Wed. July 2 after breakfast we board a MI-8 helicopter* for our one hour flight to The Valley of the Geysers, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We fly over two active volcanoes Karymsky and Maly Semyachik before landing in the valley for a hour and a half long trek. We walk on elevated boardwalks, stopping to photograph bubbling hot springs and rising steam from the geysers. We return to the helicopter for a 10-minute flight over the enormous Uzon caldera. After landing we disembark to photograph a landscape of mineral lakes and mud pots. After a 30-minute flight we stop in Dzendzur for a late lunch by the banks of the Zhupanova River. Here you can also bath in the hot springs A 40-minute flight returns us to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. We return to our hotel by 6 pm. (B & L)
Day 3 Petropavlovsk – Esso Hotel Paramushir
Thur. July 3 we spend the day driving 600 km or about 7 hours to the Esso ethnic village, stopping for lunch in the village of Milkovo. At approximately 6 pm we arrive at our Paramushir Tour hotel. (B, L & D)
Day 4 Esso Hotel Paramushir
Fri. July 4 today we board our helicopter to visit the nomadic Evens reindeer herders. The Even reindeer breeders still practice traditional methods of hunting and fishing. We photograph the reindeer-breeding farm, and dine with the Evens in their cone shaped, portable tents they call ‘Chums’. After a full day with the Evens we return to our hotel. (B, L & D)
Day 5 Esso Hotel Paramushir (home stay)
Sat. July 5 today we visit the Museum of Ethnography and after lunch we are hosted by the Menedek people. Their settlement is located in a nature reserve surrounded by hot springs. That evening we dine with a family in a yurt. And overnight with a local family (B,L,D)
Day 6 Esso – Petropavlovsk – Snegnaya Dolina (Snow Valley Lodge)
Sun. July 6 today we drive about 6 – 7 hours returning to Petropavlovsk- Kamchatsky with a stop at Milkovo village for lunch. Late day transfer to Snegnaya Dolina, near the Mutnovsky and Viluchinsky volcanoes. (B, L & D)
Day 7Snegnaya Dolina - Paratunka Bel-Kam Hotel
Mon. July 7 an early morning hour and a half drive in all terrain 6 x 6 jeeptakes us to the active Mutnovsky Volcano for our 6 - 7 hour round trip trek. No climbing gear is required just wear your hiking boats. Mutnosky has spectacular views of the surrounding glacie capped peaks and ice caves. Picnic lunch and late day return to our hotel. (B, L & D)
Day 8 Snegnaya Dolina Bechevinka/ Ship
Tue. July 8 today we board our ship for a 5 – 6 hour cruise to the abandoned military city of Bechevinka. On route photograph orca whales, seals, walruses and numerous bird colonies This afternoon we photograph the Soviet style architecture of decaying exteriors and crumpling interiors. (B, L & D)
Day 9 Bechevinka - Petropavlosvky Bel-Kam Hotel
Wed. July 9 we spend the day cruising back to Petropavlosvky-Kamchatsky (B & L)
Day 10 Petropavlosky – Kamchatsky Russo Balt Hotel
Thu. July 10 today we travel by helicopter to Lake Kurilskoye located in the southern part of the peninsula to photograph the famous Kamchatka brown bears. Our helicopter lands in the heart of bear territory for a once-in-a-life-time opportunity to photograph the bears close up. With our armed ranger as our guide we will hike to a watch tower from which we can photograph the bears as they swim, play and fish for salmon. Next we fly to the Khodutka hot springs for lunch and a swim in the Goryachaya River. (B & L)
Day 11 Petropavlosky – Kamchatsky Russo Balt Hotel
Fri. July 11 Our last day is spent around the Russo Balt where you can horseback ride, visit the town of Petropavlosky or work on your photographs. (B & L)
Day 12 Petropavlosky - USA
Sat. July 12 Depart Russia (B)
Should weather conditions not be suitable the above itinerary may be changed at any time. Climbing the volcanoes is optional, and other activities could be provided with advanced notice.
ALL OUR HELICOPTER FLIGHTS ARE WEATHER DEPENDENT AND UNFAVORABLE WEATHER CONDITIONS MAY RESULT IN MODIFICATIONS TO THE ITINERARY.
PATICIPANTS MUST BE IN GOOD PHYSICAL CONDITION AND MUST BE ABLE TO WALK UNAIDED ON UNEVEN TERRIAN. THE TWO SCHEDULED VOLCANO HIKES ARE NOT DIFFICULT AND NO SPECIAL CLIMBING GEAR IS REQUIRED. BOTH HIKES ARE OPTIONAL.
Flying to Kamchatka
Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia offer the most flights to Kamchatka.
US citizens must have a visa to enter Russia. In New York City Arlene obtains her Russia visa through Panorama Russia Travel Services 212 741-0033, 989 Sixth Ave. & 36 st. 21Stfloor. New York, NY 10018
For more information contact Arlene Collins email@example.com
THE ABOVE IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE.