Kamchatka Photo Tour in the Land of the Giants

Kamchatka Photo Tour


  • 12 – 26 August 2018


The vast wilderness of Russia’s Kamchatka peninsula is perhaps one of the great unknowns for even experienced outdoor enthusiasts. Understandably, too; as well as being pretty remote (it’s a 4,000 mile, 10 hour flight from Moscow) little more than a decade ago it was a military zone almost completely closed to outsiders. Considering it’s about as big as Austria, Germany and Switzerland rolled into one, this photography tour will make you wonder how the Russians managed to keep Kamchatka a secret for so long.

  • Open to all skill levels.
  • Award-Winning Instructors
  • Difficulty level from easy to moderate.







Total price: 4900 USD

Luckily for you, the curtain of the cold war has lifted to reveal one of planet the world’s most vast and spectacular natural destinations. On this photography tour you and your camera will be exposed to incredible wildlife, from roaming bears to reindeer, wolves and rare birds. The water isn’t bad too: rivers are packed with fish and the open ocean is home to marine mammals aplenty.

But for all the wildlife, Kamchatka’s biggest draw is without doubt the landscape. Sure, plenty of countries have volcanoes, but on this peninsula you’ll find about 300, along with thermal springs, geysers, thousands of lakes, and more scenic rivers than you can count.

Our aim is to take you deep into Kamchatka’s great wilderness, on a journey into uncharted territory alongside expert photography guides. Where better to improve your photography skills than in a land with every subject you could dream of?

So here’s the plan. Over the course of two unforgettable weeks, we will visit as many of Kamchatka’s photogenic sights as possible with our specially modified 6WD off-road vehicle. Expect shoots of imposing volcanoes, optional hiking trails through lava fields, and the opportunity to get up close to the local brown bears. We will also enjoy a day onboard a luxury boat, photographing the shores of Kamchatka and the magnificent ocean wildlife, with whales, seals, and a number of rare sea birds.

All of this will be in the company of a team of skilled professionals, including a driver, a local guide, a chef and a ranger. Not to mention an English-speaking photography expert, who will hold daily workshops and discussions to ensure you make the most of your time here.

Day 1

Your two week adventure will begin with an arrival in Petropavlovsk and check-in at the Blue Lagoon hotel. Once the group has has got together, we’ll talk about the plan and take some time to discuss our hopes and ambitions for the days ahead.

Depending on the level of experience within the group, we’ll show you the finer points of shooting and give a crash course to beginners. For the more experienced members of the expedition, we’ll have talks prepared on photo processing and the commercial side of things, from working with magazines and publishers to printing and sponsorship issues.

Day 2

The second day is when the adventure begins for real. Our first stop is Leningradskaya station on the southern side of the Ostry and Plosky Tolbachik volcanoes. For the next two days we will camp in the area and explore the Tolbachiks. It’s a long way up, but the views along the journey are remarkable, and the moon-like earth may still be hot with lava fresh from the 2013 eruptions.

Our camp will include an enormous kitchen tent, complete with tables and chairs, accommodation and a clean water supply

Day 3

On day three we will train our lenses on the dark lava field under the imperious Tolbachiks. The area is a hotbed of volcanic activity, and we will visit smoking fumaroles and open lava flows.

Day 4

Today we will make time for an optional trek to the top of one of the nearby volcanoes. The trek itself is fairly easy, but we completely understand if a 3000-foot climb is something you’d rather avoid! If you don’t fancy it, no problem. Besides, there’s plenty to see and shoot in the vicinity of the camp for those who don’t want to break a sweat.

Day 5

In the morning on our fifth day, the group will descend the plateau and head towards what is known as the “Dead Forest”. Its new name comes after volcanic eruptions in the mid 1970s burned an entire forest to ground. The charred remains of the trees, and the slow progress as nature begins to find its way once again, offers us a powerful reminder of just how devastating volcanic eruptions can be. Now, the forest is part of the Klyuchevskoy Volcano Nature Park and is listed by UNESCO. With a touch of fog the area is perfect for mystical sunrise and sunset photography sessions, so hopefully the weather will be kind and together we’ll capture what remains of life in this eerie natural graveyard.

Day 6

The weather in this part of the world is unpredictable, meaning that Kamchatka can be frustrating and magical in equal measure. Day six will therefore be held back as a reserve day incase we need to change our plans to accommodate for the conditions. If all goes well we will drive on to Klyuchevskaya for an additional day.

Day 7

Day seven marks the halfway point of our photography adventure through Kamchatka. We will drive on to Klyuchevskaya, set up camp and set off on a circular walk to the Domashnyaya mountain. There we will have a sunset or sunrise shooting workshop. There’s also another optional walk, this time down to a serene river canyon nearby.

Day 8

On day eight our group of photography enthusiasts will relocate to an area near to the Podkova seismic station. The area offers unparalleled views of the mighty, perfectly formed Klyuchevskaya volcano,and we will aim to do both a sunrise and sunset shoot at this location.

Day 9

Again, we w ill leave day nine spare to compensate for any plans that are put on hold because of adverse weather conditions. If all goes to plan up until this point, we can take a drive towards Klyuchevskaya and shoot the sunset from above.

Day 10

On day ten we will enjoy the comfort of cabins, where we will take the opportunity to rest, recharge our batteries and go through a photo processing masterclass. There are natural hot pools nearby, so the group will have a well earned dip after a hard week of non-stop photography.

Day 11

On our eleventh day we will take a luxury boat tour in Avacha Bay. Under the looming silhouette of the Vilyuchik volcano, we will start early in the morning and sail up the coast in search of the local marine life. The group will need cameras at the ready for a variety of whales, seals and seabirds. The luxury cruise also comes complete with our very own private diver, who will fetch fresh fish and crabs that the chef will prepare on board. After a day of sightseeing, wonderful food and incredible views, will get back to our hotel in the evening.

Day 12

On day twelve we will leave the luxury of a cruise through the bay and set up camp once again - This time near the Mutnovsky-Gorely volcano. The plan is to photograph panoramas during the evening as we watch the sun go down.

Day 13

Day thirteen will begin with a 2-hour drive to the highly active Mutnovsky volcano. The group will trek around the volcano’s crater before returning to camp. As it’s very much still active, Mutnovsky and the surrounding area is home to plenty of photogenic wonders, from bubbling acid pools to fumaroles and caves.

Day 14

Today we’ll enjoy one of the highlights of the trip: a morning session exploring the magical ice caves under the Mutnovsky volcano. After, we’ll return to warm up in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.

Day 15

On the last day of the tour we will get ready for departure from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. But before we go there willa chance to sample and photograph some of the local culture, as we visit the city's thriving fish market.

Our Guide

Anton Agarkov

Anton Agarkov is a travelling photographer and journalist wuth more than ten years of shooting experience. Anton shoots mostly landscape and travel stories and organises photography workshops and expeditions in Russia and Central Asia in which he spends more than 200 days a year. His outmost interest lies in the territories of natural parks and reserves as well as hard to reach territories. Anton have a vast experience in shooting in harsh weather conditions such as snow and sandstorms, extreme cold and heat. Anton is Tamron ambassador in Russia and pro-rider for Marmot Russia. Works on regular basis with Nikon, Lowepro, Carl Zeiss and multiple other brands. Organises lectures and workshops on traveling and photography.

Conditions in the field


The majority of our travel will be in a comfortable 6-wheel-drive converted truck. On the inside, it’s not much different to a typical tourist coach. Importantly, there are electricity sockets to keep everyone’s cameras charged, and a water supply to keep everyone refreshed. But please bear in mind that there are a limited amount of plugs on board, so we recommend that you bring as many spare batteries as possible. The last thing we want is for you to miss out on the shots of a lifetime.

Most of the nights will be spent in our very own mobile camp, but there are four nights in hotels, if everything goes to plan. These are nights 1 and 2, one night in the middle point of our trip and the final evening. We’ve chosen comfortable hotels with great reputations, and there are even hot spring nearby for those who fancy a relaxing dip.

In terms of food, everything is included in the price of the trip. The group’s personal chef will be with us throughout our adventure, and our mobile camp is complete with a kitchen for creating hot and delicious local food. If you are vegetarian or have any other dietary requirements, don’t worry! We can prepare a special menu for you.

Kamchatka can be a dangerous place if you go wandering off alone. There are plenty of bears around and the group will need to be vigilant. We don’t anticipate any problems as the bears tend to keep to themselves, but just incase we will be escorted by a park ranger. He will prioritise our safety at all times, leaving the group to focus on photography. We’ll give you a full safety briefing before the trip starts, and recommend that you stick together in small groups.

Throughout the trip we don’t anticipate that you’ll need to carry around heavy backpacks whenever we venture out. All you need on a day-to-day basis will be your photography equipment and some alternative clothes if the weather changes. Besides, base-camp will always be closeby, so you can keep the bulk of your stuff there.

Now, let’s talk about the weather. This part of the world is renowned for being unpredictable, so it’s best to have clothing that can help in all eventualities. A couple of days in the itinerary have been left empty under the expectation that the weather might hold us back, but rest assured that we will have plenty of alternatives planned if our priorities become unavailable.

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Total Price : 4900 USD per person twin share and tent share
Single room supplement: 500$
Maximum Number of Participants: 16
Difficulty: easy to moderate, depending on your choice of the optional hiking trails
Deposit: 1000 USD

Sign me up!
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.

Included in the price:

This is a full-board tour. What does this mean? Simply, you will not need to stump up for additional fees – everything except air tickets and souvenirs is included:
  • 2-person accommodation in hotels and camp tents during the adventure
  • Transportation, all transfers using 6WD truck with comfortable seats
  • Fuel
  • Meals – Fullboard, all meals including fresh fish, meat and vegetables
  • Local guide and hunter services (rifles, emergency fires)
  • Driver of 6WD truck wages
  • Luxury boat hire for the Kamchatka bays’ one day photo tour, on top of a professional captain and diver’s services
  • Tent and camping equipment hire
  • Chef’s services (full board)
  • National park fees

What to bring

Gear:
  • DSLR camera with tripod and remote shutter release
  • A wide angle lens. For example, Nikkor 14-24 or Canon 17-40.
  • A middle-zoom lens such as a 24-70 mm
  • A telephoto zoom lens, such as a 70-200 mm
  • A super-telephoto lens like 200-400 Nikkor for wildlife photography (optional)
Wear:
  • Waterproof and windproof jacket (consider the average temperature +5 – +10 C at nights and +10 +20 C during the daytime)
  • Waterproof pants
  • Warm jacket and thermal pants
  • Wellingtons or fishing boots
  • Casual clothes for hotel/city
  • Your own sleeping bag (you may ask us about it if you haven’t got one)

Cancellation and Refund Policy

We strongly recommend you to get a Trip Cancellation & Travel Insurance after booking your trip. 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 90 days from the start date of the Workshop: full refund minus $300 service fee.
75 days or more: 75% refund
60 days or more: 50% refund
Less than 60 days: no refund


Refunds will be paid by the same method that the original payment was made.