10-24 Aug 2020 Guided by Anton Agarkov (Daniel is not guiding this tour)
I invite you to a grand photo tour to Kamchatka. We’ll spend two weeks in the land of volcanoes and geysers and visit the most beautiful places of the wonderful Kamchatka. It’s wild and unique land at Far East of Russia. You can barely find a landscape photo tour on the net – but this land is packed with remarkable places!
We will move from one location to the other by 6WD hard truck remastered as comfortable bus (you may take a look at backstage from previous journeys down the page). You will be served by a team of professionals: me as english-speaking photo-leader with good knowledge of shooting locations, a professional driver, a chef, local guide. We are trying to make the tour as much comfortable as we can knowing Russian wild conditions. This tour is guided by Anton Agarkov. He’s professional landscape photographer based in Moscow. Anton fluently speaks English.
Main highlights of the tour are:
- Visit famous valley of giants – land of volcanoes
- 6WD off-road with experienced drivers
- Functional volcanoes: Klyuchevskaya, Tolbachik
- Cook toasts on a hot Tolbachik lava
- Meet wildlife with local guides: foxes, bears…
- Take optional hiking trails through former lava fields and high volcanoes
Day 1 – 10 August
Arrival to Petropavlovsk. If you fly from Asia, you can fly via Vladivostok. If you fly from Europe/USA you can fly via Moscow, and take direct flight Moscow – Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy. We meet you at the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy airport and transfer to our hotel.
Checking in to the Flamingo hotel (like Blue lagoon hotel in Iceland with a natural hot springs pool). Rest and relaxation in hot springs. We’ll have a discussion about the photography in general and the upcoming adventure in particular during our first dinner together. We meet our local English speaking guides and discuss the route with them.
Today we’re starting our adventure. Early morning we are packing our stuff in hotel and moving into our sturdy 6WD vehicle – Kamaz truck. Inside it’s remastered in a comfortable way for long journey: 25 seats, luggage compartment, food storage, water supply and sockets to charge your devices every day. Distances in Russia are are long: the first day we drive 500 km to our next base. It’s a small village refuge very close to Valley of Giants. Here you can have some rest after a day road and see how people live in typical Russian village.
We drive Kamaz truck to our first stop is the Leningradskaya station on the southern side of the Ostry and Plosky Tolbachik volcanoes, or shortly, the Tolbachiks. Its a long way up to volcanoes, but you’ll be enchanted by the “martian” land. Here you will realize why we use the 6WD truck. Our experienced driver will make a way through the tough terrain. It’s a true expedition into the wild! We will camp here for next couple of days to explore the area. There are numerous volcanic conuses and lava fields, and even lava caves! The lava may be still warm after 2013 big eruption. Our camp will include a huge kitchen-tent with tables and chairs, tents, water supply, generator etc. Shooting the lava field under Tolbachiks, fumaroles, and open lava flows.
Before sunrise we ascend one of volcanic conuses near the camp to photograph amazing view towards magnificent Tolbachik volcano. The view is 360* sometimes with mist and fog like a veil in warm valleys. We descent for breakfast and rest down the camp (20 min). In the daytime we have excursion to the lava field looking for warm lava and volcanic wonders: caves, fumaroles etc. In the evening we head to the dead forest for sunset location. During the Tolbachik big eruption the vast green forest was covered with ashes buried under meters of dust and volcanic sediments. Now it looks quite spooky, especially for night photography!
We choose another volcanic cone for awesome Martian views. We wait for first rays of sun at the vantage point overlooking the whole Valley of Giants. Descend back, rest until the evening photography session at location. The weather at Kamchatka is quite unpredictable, offering more rainy days than sunny. So we need to be patient enough to catch amazing conditions.
Another try for sunrise photo shoot. After the breakfast we pack to our Kamaz and drive to the same village we started a few days ago. Having rest, and enhoying banya! That’s a russian steam sauna. There’s no way we can have shower at the camp, so today is the cleaning and washing day. It’s possible to make laundry and dry your clothes today.
Relocation to Kluchevskaya, making a camp near “The Hoof” and a radial hike to the Domashnjaya mountain. Sunset and sunrise shooting sessions. There’s one of my favourite locations – small pond with reflections and 180* amazing views towards valley of giants. In the night it’s possible to make astrophotography session. Last season we were lucky to see lava flow from Kluchevskaya! it doesn’t mean you’ll see it too, but let’s cross fingers to see something spectacular!
If we are lucky enough to see amazing light at sunrise/sunset at the “Hoof” station, we relocate to the next stop – the North viewpoint, Podkova (“Horseshoe”) seismic station, for sunset and sunrise shootings. The area has great views to Klyuchevskaya volcano.
A day at the “Horseshoe” camping ground. We are very close to magnificent Klyuchevskaya volcano – among the pure Kamchatka wilderness!
Relocation to the cabins in the village, rest: banya, washing and nice dinner.
Today we move back to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy to spend a night at hotel there. The drive back didn’t change – its 500 km. That’s why we need a full day to plan our move to the next beautiful Kamchatka area, Mutnovskiy and Goreliy volcanoes.
Today we are relocating from Petropavlovsk to the campground near the Mutnovsky-Gorely volcano, setting a camp and have an evening shooting. The area is situated south from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy.
2-hour drive to the Mutnovsky volcano, trekking tour to the volcanic crater, return to the camp. Mutnovsky is functional volcano, thus it has a lot of fantastic geological wonders like acid pools, fumarolas, craters, caves…
Morning shooting of the amazing ice caves under the Mutnovskiy volcano. Note that we visit ice caves only if it’s safe. Last year they were crashing pretty much.
Return to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, overnight at hot springs’ hotel.
Day 15 – 24 August
Shopping at the city’s fish market and departure.
Price: 4900 USD
Included in the price:
Mention that it is a full-board tour. You do not need to pay 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
- Meals – Fullboard, all meals including fresh fish and meat, vegetables
- Driver of 6WD truck wages
- Tent and camping equipment hire
- Chef’s services (full board)
- National park fees
- Local guides’ services
- Professional photography English speaking guide, with great knowledge of locations
Not included in the price:
- Airfare to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky
- Medical insurance
- Visas (but we will prepare all needed documents for your visa – invitations, supporting letters etc)
- Alcoholic beverages
- Single supplement (single tent, single hotel rooms) – 500 usd
Optionally you can enquire about the tour to Kurilskoye lake (wild bears photography) and heli-hiking tour to Geysir valley.
What to bring
– 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 200-500 Nikkor for wildlife photography (optional)
– 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
– Casual clothes for hotel/city
– Your own sleeping bag (you may ask us about it if you haven’t got one)
Full list will be sent to participants
You do not need to wear backpacks, just your photography equipment. The tour is suitable for all ages. The camp is always near the 6WD truck. You do not need to bring camping gear, just your sleeping bag and your own wear.
Please take in consideration that to secure the spot I request a deposit of 2000 usd. The policy is simple: if the tour is cancelled due to some disasters like volcanic eruption, I will return the whole deposit. Otherwise it is non-refundable. In any case where tour is cancelled by any unforeseen circumstances, the deposit is refunded. The other part of the sum should be transferred three months before the start of the tour (by end of May). If you cancel the tour after 31 May, 50% of the sum is refunded. If you refuse of the spot in the tour after 31 June, the whole sum is non-refundable. You can secure your spot by deposit via bank transfer. Please inquire about any questions concerning your investment.
Moderate. Wild conditions: sleep in tents, walk with your equipment to locations up to 1 hour.