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Kamchatka 1-13.09.2020

Bears and Volcanoes

Kamchatka is an attractive and unrealizable dream of many travellers, a far and magical corner 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 the 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.

Well? Shall we go? 


September 1, 2020: Arrivals in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (PKC) today. Check in. Couple of hours rest. After our lunch we will visit the Volcano Museum to get an orientation to the sites that we will visit and at dinner tonight we'll have a tour brief, and talk about the itinerary in detail, making sure everyone is fully prepared for the workshop. (/L/D)

September 2, 2020: The expedition begins with a full day's drive (about 500 km) tour first camp site at the Tolbachik volcano complex. Along the way we we stop for lunch. Our guides will setup camp at the place surrounded by lava fields and you can rest after the long journey. (B/L/D)

September 3, 2020: This morning we rise bright and early to take in the majesty of a nearby volcanic crater at sunrise. Crater hike is 1 hour with an elevation gain of 250m. In the evening, we will travel to nearby lava fields fields for a photo shoot.

September 4, 2020:This morning we will shoot sunrise in fields of black volcanic sand and rock. After breakfast, we will visit the Dead Forest, the result of an enormous Tolbachik eruption of 1976. In the evening, we will scale 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 overnight in typical Siberian village Kozyrevsk. We will have hot shower and time to rest. (B/L/D)

September 6, 2020: Whole day drive to our hotel. Along the way we will stop for a lunch. Check in. After the dinner we will have short brief to discuss our further itinerary. (B/L/D)

September 7, 2020: Out next destination is Kurilskoye Lake. Whole day drive by our 6 WD track along the shore of Okhotskoe Sea. You can see the colony of sea lions and seals. Overnight in our camp on the shore.(B/L/D) 

September 8–10, 2020: Kurilskoye Lake is without a doubt one of the best places on earth to spot and photograph brown bears in their natural habitat. Our stay here is devoted to photographing and observing these mighty mammals as they hunt the salmon that gather here in the millions during the summer months. On a recent trip, around 100 individual brown bears were seen over three days. The Kamchatkan brown bear is one of the largest subspecies of brown bears, rivalling the famous Kodiak bears of Alaska in size. Photographing these incredible animals in their natural environment is one of the world's great wildlife experiences. The bears are totally preoccupied with fishing, allowing for tantalizingly up-close viewing and amazing photo ops. Safety is assured as we are accompanied by an experienced armed ranger. We'll use a mix of motor boat and walking excursions with experienced local wardens in order to maximize our chances of photographing bears up-close and observing different behaviors. We will walk to a bridge near our camp where many bears congregate to feed on salmon, and will visit other spawning rivers further from camp by boat. Along these streams you'll be able to see the spawning salmon in shallow water and many signs of the large number of birds in the area. There's a good chance of photographing bears fishing only meters away as you walk along the banks of the streams.

September 11, 2020: We should say goodbye to Kurilskoye Lake. After about 4 hours drive will come to small village Paratunka surrounded by hot thermal springs. We will overnight here in the camp. You will have a shower and small swimming pool with hot spring water. It is 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 is over. Flights home from Petropavlovsk anytime after 9:30 AM today.(B//)

WEATHER: Kamchatka's climate is as diverse as its flora and fauna. The peninsula experiences the four seasons of the northern hemisphere with warm summers and cool winters but there are as many as 20 distinct climatic zones which vary not only according to latitude but also proximity to the sea and even geo-thermal activity. All this makes temperature and rainfall very hard to predict.

You can expect daytime temperatures to be in the region of 10–25° C (50–75° F), but overnight at our highest camps the temperature may drop slightly below freezing, to -5° C (23° F). It can be humid in some areas of Kamchatka, and there can be lots of mosquitos (at Tolbachik volcano area for example). During your stay you can expect rain showers and even light snow (in the mountains).

Workshop Price Includes

  • Pick up and drop off at Elizovo airport (PKC) Pickup at specified time, drop off may vary according to group flight times.
  • Professional photography guidance by 2 award-winning landscape photographers with vast experience in Kamchatka
  • Double Accommodation while in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. 
  • Meal according to the program.
  • Travels in a, comfortable 6WD track
  • Park fees, boat service at Kronotsky reserve 


 Workshop Price Does Not Include

  • International airfare to/from Elizovo airport (Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky)
  • Airport pickup and dropoff outside of agreed-upon times
  • Visa fee (if applicable)
  • Personal expenses such as drinks, tickets, phone calls, etc;
  • Travel Insurance;
  • Single room supplement ($400 USD) 
  • Alcoholic drinks

Price 6200 USD 

Group limit 10 guests maximum

Payment terms
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 $2200 USD is due by 3 May, 2020. In case of impossibility of your participation in this tour, we will refund all payments minus the fee for the transfer of money if there is a replacement for your spot.

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), 
Waterproof pants

Tour Leader

Vladimir Kushnarev.

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 


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