Bears and Volcanoes
Kamchatka is an attractive and unrealizable dream of many travellers, a far and magic area of the vast country. The earth is hot with the breath of dormant volcanoes and hot springs spouting from under the feet. We're inviting you to visit this amazing region at the end of summer, when nature is spreading a lavish carpet of gold and crimson, and the rapid rivers are filled with stocks of salmon going to spawn.
The program is designed in such a way as to see the two, perhaps, most impressive pictures of Kamchatka: the area of the volcano Tolbachik with its lava fields and the world-famous Kuril lake, where dozens of bears beginning to gain weight by the winter, idly and as if reluctantly are trying to get salmon, in front of tourists and photographers frozen in amazement. You will never forget this trip, and pictures with "Martian" landscapes will forever leave in memory the twelve days of the most unreal, fantastic adventure that could happen to you.
The format of the trip is an expedition. This means that most of the time we're going to travel by off-road vehicles and stay in a field camp. This will allow us to save time and to get acquainted with the wildlife of Kamchatka closer, to feel its severity and beauty. At the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the route there will be stops in the hotel, not far from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.
Throughout the whole journey, we are going to move on all-terrain vehicles on the basis of KAMAZ.
In the cabins of our all-terrain vehicles there will be sockets for recharging batteries of cameras and other electronic devices of the expedition members.
We are going to take up all radial routs from the base camps without our backpacks, with a minimum set of equipment to give more time and effort to photography.
So? Shall we start?
September 1, 2020: Arrival in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (PKC). Check in. Couple of hours to have a rest. After lunch we will visit the Volcano Museum to get acquainted with the sights we are going to visit and have a brief tour, and at dinner we'll talk about the itinerary in detail, making sure everyone is fully prepared for the journey. (/L/D)
September 2, 2020: The expedition begins with a full day driving tour (about 500 km), with the first stop at the Tolbachik volcano complex. On our way we'll stop for lunch. Then our guides will set up a camp at a place surrounded by lava fields, and you will be able to rest after the long journey. (B/L/D)
September 3, 2020: This morning we'll get up really early to take a trip to a gorgeous nearby volcanic crater, starting out at sunrise. The crater hike will take us one hour, with an elevation gain of 250 m. In the evening, we will travel to the nearest lava fields for a photo shoot.
September 4, 2020: This morning we will shoot sunrise in fields of black volcanic sand and rocks. After breakfast, we will visit the Dead Forest, the result of the enormous Tolbachik eruption in 1976. In the evening we will conquer another cinder cone for our sunset shoot. The cinder cone is approximately 600 m with an elevation gain of 200 m.
September 5, 2020: It's time to return to civilization, with a night in a typical Siberian village of Kozyrevsk. We will take a hot shower and have some time to rest. (B/L/D)
September 6, 2020: A whole day drive to our hotel, on our way we will stop for lunch. Check in. After dinner we'll get together for a short time to discuss our further itinerary. (B/L/D)
September 7, 2020: Out next destination is Kurilskoye Lake. A whole day drive in 6WD land-rovers along the shore of the Okhotskoe Sea. You'll be able to see a colony of sea lions and seals. A night in a camp on the shore.(B/L/D)
September 8–10, 2020: Kurilskoye Lake is really famous as the home of brown bears in their natural habitat. We'll completely plunge into photographing and observing these gorgeous animals hunting countless salmon that gathers here during the summer months. You'll be able to see as many as a hundred bears over a few days. The Kamchatkan brown bear is very large and can be compared in size only to the famous Kodiak bear of Alaska. We'll photograph these amazing animals in their natural environment, getting the most incredible experience ever possible in wild life. The bears are totally busy with fishing, so they will allow us to get really close and shoot our best pics. We can garantee safety as there will be an experienced armed forester in our team. We've planned both motor boat and walking excursions with experienced local guides in order to have more chances of photographing and observing different animal behaviors. We will take a walk to a bridge near our camp where many bears hunt for salmon, and also we will visit other spawning rivers aside from the camp by boat and see thousands of spawning salmon in shallow water, as well as numerous birds. Walking along the banks, you will be able to photograph bears fishing only meters away. (B/L/D)
September 11, 2020: It's time to say good-bye to Kurilskoye Lake. After about a four-hour drive we'll come to a small village of Paratunka surrounded by hot thermal springs. We'll stay overnight in a camp there. You'll have an opportunity to take a shower or bathe in a small swimming pool with hot spring water. Time to relax! (B/L/D)
September 12, 2020: We will start very early (about 4 AM) because we need to catch low tide for our ferry. We will reach our hotel by 5-6 PM. Farewell dinner in a restaurant. (B/L/D)
September 13, 2020: It's here that our expedition will be over. Flights home from Petropavlovsk anytime after 9:30 AM today.(B//)
WEATHER: Kamchatka's climate is as diverse as its flora and fauna. There are four definite seasons on this peninsula (with warm summers and cool winters) but there are many different climatic zones depending on the latitude as well as on the closeness to the sea and even geo-thermal activity. So sometimes it's hard to predict temperature and rainfall.
During the daytime temperatures rise up to 10–25° C (50–75° F), but overnight at our highest camps the temperature may drop slightly below freezing, to -5° C (23° F). You can expect it to be quite humid in some areas, and there can be lots of mosquitos at places (at Tolbachik volcano area, for example). Rain showers and even light snow is possible, especially in the mountains.
THE TRAVEL COST INCLUDES:
- Pick up and drop off at Elizovo airport (PKC). We'll pick you all up at the same time, but drop off time will depend on the departure times.
- Professional photography guidance by two award-winning landscape photographers with vast experience in Kamchatka.
- Accommodation in a double room while in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.
- Meals according to the schedule.
- Travelling in a comfortable 6WD land-rover.
- Parking fees and boat service at Kronotsky natural park.
THE TRAVEL COST DOESN'T INCLUDE:
- International airfare to/from Elizovo airport (Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky).
- Airport pickup and dropoff beyond the agreed time.
- Visa fee (if applicable).
- Personal expenses, such as: drinks, tickets, phone calls, etc.
- Travel insurance.
- Single room supplement ($400 USD).
- Alcohol drinks.
Price $4900 USD
Group limit 10 guests maximum (2 Spots Available)
Your deposit of $2000 USD will hold your place in this workshop. Further payment of $2000 USD is due by January 1, 2020. Final payment of $900 USD is due by 3 May, 2020.
Cancellation and Refund Policy
We strongly recommend to get a trip cancellation insurance after booking your trip. If you cancel and the trip is completely filled, we will refund full amount you have paid minus $200USD service charge. If you cancel and the trip isn't filled completely you will be refunded according to the following scheme, based on the full fee of the workshop:
>180 days before the start date of the workshop: full refund minus $200 service charge
>90 days: 75% refund
>60 days: 50% refund
<60 days: no refund
Attention!!! Due to the current adverse situation, when most countries stop air communication with the outside world, we have changed the payment rules for this tour.
All deposits and payments for this tour will be refunded in full if there is no official information about the opening of the borders and the removal of other restrictions for tourism in the host country – Russia, in this case, – in 30 days before the start of the tour. After these restrictions are removed the old rules will apply.
We are aware of the fact that travel planning has become incredibly difficult. However, we believe that the situation will change until mid-summer 2020.
What to bring
DSLR camera with tripod and remote shutter release. A wide angle lens. For example, Nikkor 14-24 or Canon 16-35. A middle-zoom lens such as 24-70mm
. Telephoto zoom lens 100-400, 150-600, 60-600 are necessary.
Waterproof and windproof jacket (consider the average temperatures 5-10C),
Professional photographer, guide. In addition to photography and travel, Vladimir conducts professional workshops on post-processing in Photoshop and Lightroom editors, panoramic photography, night landscape photography.
Spending a lot of time travelling, he still manages to take part in some contests.
Here are a few of his latest achievements and awards:
- First place, the National Geographic 2017 Contest in "night landscape" section
- First place, the National Geographic 2017 Contest "Planet Summer"
- First place, 35PhotoAwards International Contest in "day landscape" section
- Bronze Medal, PSA Arctic Awards 2016
- Silver Award, Epson International Pano Awards, 2017
- Golden medal, TRIERENBERG SUPER CIRCUIT 2019
Maxby Chan is a Founder and Administrator of PhotoSafari (Malaysia). Apart from teaching and writing photography articles, Maxby regularly gives talks, reviews photography equipment, and conducts street shooting walkabouts. He has been regularly contributing travel articles specifically for photographers and travellers to Vietnam Air in-flight magazine, DigitalSLR, and Aperture magazines.
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