Photography Tour in September

2-12 September 2017
15-25 September 2017

A flight to South America is probably half the world away for the keen photographers that will sign up to this tour, but for many of them it will feel as though they are visiting another planet entirely. In the capable hands of local guides and professional photography instructors, this 15-day adventure takes you through two of the world’s most incredible landscapes. First is the Atacama Desert, a desolate volcanic wilderness spreading for miles across the northern reaches of Chile. Second is El Salar de Uyuni - the world famous Salt Flats - a place where the horizon stretches out into endless white, and where all sense of perspective is null and void.

6200 USD

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This once-in-a-lifetime journey will therefore straddle northern Chile, southern Bolivia and everything in between. To begin with the group will meet in Calama town, before travelling together to San Pedro de Atacama - the world’s driest city in the world’s driest non-polar desert. To give you an idea of exactly how dry that is, it’s estimated that Atacama sees just four inches of rain. Every thousand years. Needless to say we will be loaded up with plenty of water for all of our excursions!

Day 1 - 5

We recommend that you arrive in Calama on the day before the tour starts. It’s likely that you’ll need some time to adjust to both the altitude and the time zone differences. The flight through from Santiago departs regularly, so that’s the route that we recommend. For the first four nights we will be based in Calama, a former colonial city that once belonged to Bolivia. The streets are picturesque and dotted with whitewashed houses and quaint churches. The plan is to spend all four nights in Calama at a comfortable local hotel. That will be our base for days packed with incredible photography masterclasses. We will be shooting at:

Day 5-12

For the next leg of our this South American photo tour, we will need to swap our vehicles for something more rugged. At the Bolivian border we will hop into jeeps and continue through the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve, one of the most incredible national parks you will see. Multi-coloured, flamingo-laden lagoons, red, arid deserts, looming volcanoes and wind-sculpted lava - this place has it all. There are also active geysers, so there will be times when it literally feels like you are wandering across another planet. Highlights will include the geothermal area of Sol de Mañana, which stands at 4800m above sea level, Laguna Verde and the grand Licancabur volcano, a desert compared with the abstract work of Salvador Dali, and the Laguna Colorada.

When we do finally reach Uyuni, the idea that the best is yet to come will seem pretty ridiculous. But trust us, you’ve never seen anything like this before. We will venture deep into the salt flats and watch as the sun rises over the endless white wilderness. Adding to the otherworldly feeling in the heart of the Salar, there are some island hills in the middle of this dry ocean, rising out from the salt and topped with cactuses taller than the average man. It’s the perfect spot for a breathtaking sunset or sunrise shoot.

If we’re lucky, there may have been rain recently. If so then the surface of the salt flats will become a shimmering mirror, perfectly reflecting the sky above. We will spend plenty of time with our cameras playing with the dissolving horizon and discovering creative ways to shoot an empty expanse as vast as this one.

The group will cross the salar from the south to the north, where we will eventually reach Sajama national park.There we will have the opportunity to photograph Andean landscapes full of snowcapped volcanoes, imposing mountains, natural hotsprings, and vast plains home to many of the local alpaca. Sajama marks the end of our time in Bolivia.

Day 12 - 14

On day twelve the group will once again cross the border between Bolivia and Chile, this time heading west to the Chilean national park of Lauca. We will spend 2 days shooting in the park and, once again, it won’t just be the altitude that leaves your heart pounding! Rich and diverse wildlife have catapulted Lauca onto the list of protected Unesco Reserves, and the majestic volcanoes of of Pomerape and Parinacota offer incredible backdrops for landscape shooting. Other highlights include the vivid waters of the Chungará Lake, the wetlands of the Cotacotani lagoon, and the 17th century town of Parinacota.

We will head north to the coastal city of Arica on day 14.

Day 15

Hraunfossar – Golden circle
On our final day the group will, no doubt with some reluctance, fly home early in the morning from Arica airport back to Santiago. You will leave Chile with plenty of memories, a fabulous collection of photographs, improved photography skills, and a much better understanding of what makes this part of South America one of the most photogenic places on the planet.

Notes on Bolivia

Accommodation throughout Bolivia can be unreliable, so don’t expect anything too luxurious or comfortable! It’s a relatively poor country, and you have to bare in mind that we will be travelling through some of its most remote areas. This is a photography expedition, so as long as you come prepared for an adventure, you’ll be just fine.

Throughout our time in Bolivia there will be local English and Spanish-speaking guides, drivers, and a chef who cooks and prepares our meals. We will have breakfast and dinner at our guesthouses during the trip, with lunch cooked on the road.

Total price : 3950 USD per person twin share
Maximum Number of Participants: 8
Difficulty: moderate to hard (due to high altitude), although there is no hiking/camping

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After you signup, we’ll send you a recommended camera gear and packing list. Please pay special attention to things that we say are absolutely required.
  • All transfers
  • Lodging
  • All meals in Bolivia
  • Breakfasts in Chile
  • Transportation on jeeps, fuel
  • National parks fees
  • Drivers services
  • Chef (cooking in Bolivia)
  • Services of local english- and spanish- speaking guide
Not included:
  • Lunches and dinners in Chile
  • Airfare
  • Visas (if applicable)
  • Single supplement

Cancellation and Refund Policy

If you cancel and the Workshop is otherwise filled, we will refund you the full amount you have paid towards the tuition, minus a $300 service charge. If you cancel and the Workshop does not fill, then you will be refunded according to the following schedule, based on the full fee of the Workshop:

Greater than 60 days from the start date of the Workshop: full refund minus $300 fee.
45 days or more: 75% refund
30 days or more: 50% refund
Less than 30 days: no refund

Refunds will be paid by the same method that the original payment was made.
Refunds will be initiated within 72 hours of the time that the request is approved.


The tour is always dependent on weather, as the Arctic weather can indeed be highly unpredictable.When it comes to the Northern Lights, while they are most likely to be seen between September and April, there is no guarantee that they will appear at a given time. There is however always plenty to see and do if conditions do not favour any part of our original plan.

What to bring:

  • DSLR camera with tripod and remote shutter release
  • A wide angle lens. For example, Nikkor 14-24 or Canon 17-40. Best lens for use in wide-angle scenes or architecture photography
  • A middle-zoom lens such as a 24-70 mm
  • A telephoto zoom lens, such as a 70-200 mm. You may bring even 300-400 mm lens to shoot wildlife (ex. flamingos, condors…)
  • Waterproof and windproof jacket
  • Waterproof pants
  • Warm jacket and thermal pants
  • Wellingtons or fishing boots (for Uyuni wet salts)
  • Casual clothes for dinners and lunches in civilization