ICY LANDSCAPE PHOTOTOUR ON BAÏKAL LAKE


A PHOTO TOUR ORGANISED WITH STARLING REIZEN

Set foot on crystal clear ice of the world’s largest, deepest and purest freshwater lake. Photograph endless ice-plains covered with scattered ice and cracks and ice-caves.
Travel to Russia’s far south by Transsiberian Express and experience the mysterious atmosphere of this last stronghold of the North Asian Shamans.

Fully Booked

Tour dates

18 february to 28 february 2019

Group Size

8 people (6 min/8 max)

Condition

Easy to moderate, comfortable, cold !

Book Before

31st august 2018

Schedule

17/02 : Departure to Russia from Brussels airport (or other airport depending your preference).
18/02: Arrival in Irkutsk, city tour in the historic centre, walk along Angara river. Visit of Irkutskaya sloboda
19/02: Departure to Olkhon.  Excursion around Olkhon. Arrival in Khuzhir.
20/02: Sunrise and morning on the ice. Exploration of Khuzhir and the Shaman rock. Sunset at the Rock. Hotel in Khuzhir.
21/02: Sunrise on the ice and further exploration of the area. Sunset on the ice. Hotel in Khuzhir.
22/02: Sunrise on the ice and transfer to Lena Reserve and Solontsoyana Bay and the meteorological station Solnechnaya. Visit of traditional fishermen. Accommodation in meteorological station Solnechnaya.
23/02: Sunrise on the ice. After breakfast, checkout and departure from meteorological station Solnechnaya to cardon of Barguzin Reserve Davsha. Accommodation in wooden house Davsha.
24/02: Sunrise on the ice. After breakfast, checkout and departure from Davsha to Ust-Barguzin. Accommodation in the guesthouse situated on the shore.  Sunset on the lake. We will meet locals and are welcome to take portraits.
25/02: Last day on the lake, in the morning we begin with the visit of Svyatoy Nos Peninsula, stops on the way for taking pictures, after that visit of local hot springs. After sunset we return to Ust-Barguzin.
26/02: Departure from Ust-Barguzin on a bus to Ulan-Ude. Several stops during the transfer. Dinner and night in Ulan-Ude.
27/02: Visit of the Ivolginsk Monastery. Hop on the Transiberian from Ulan-Ude to Irkutsk (in 1st class, ride takes about 8 hours). Check in hotel Irkutsk.
28/02: After breakfast, transfer from our hotel to the airport. Departure from Irkutsk to Belgium (or other country).


Unique scenery

The Lake Baïkal is one of the ultimate ice-landscapes to photograph on the planet. The combination of very cold temperatures and very clean water create a very photo-genic terrain with crazy structures that goes on forever. Small islands surrounded by ice and long deep cracks and fantastic sculptures, deep frozen caves along the coastline together with amazing ice-covered steep cliffs, fields of piled shelf ice together with a stunning colourful culture are our subjects during this photo-tour. We will profit from long low sun-angles in this Arctic-like environment, and we will be out from long before sunrise till long after sunset. Our cars will always be close to warm up in between shoots.

We will cross the lake from West to East and visit several hotspots as well on the ice as on the shores, where we can photograph small villages and the sacred centre of the shamans in the Northern Hemisphere: Olkhon Island.


As cold as ice

With it’s length of 636 kilometers and maximum width of about 80 kilometers and maximum depth of 1642 meters, Lake Baïkal is the largest and deepest freshwater lake of the world! It represents 20% of the world’s fresh water and more than 4/5 of fresh water capacity of the former USSR. Since the water is so clear, you can see the bottom until 40 meters deep! Over 5 months a year the lake is covered with an ice sheet sometimes as thick as 2 meters.

This is our goal; we will photograph the amazing crystal clear ice, divided by deep cracks. It is a very weird experience to walk on this glassy surface and for sure you will get a giddy feeling. Temperatures can descend as low as -20°C, windchill factor not included! Are you ready for this unforgettable adventure?


Accomodation and Transport

To experience this exciting tour in Russia, we decided to choose for a wide range of several accomodations, from fancy hotels in Irkutsk till local guesthouses with the famous banja’s (something like a sauna). In these guesthouses we will eat local fish together with the house-owners. We will also join them to go and catch fish.

We travel with two traditional Russian-made UAZ-452 busses. These are perfectly fit to travel on the ice of Lake Baïkal, and will never be far out of reach to warm up. At the end of our trip, we will hop on bord of the world-famous Trans-Siberian Express Train, and travel along the lake all the way back to Irkutsk. We promise you will be wandering through the windows every single kilometer.


Photography

Everybody is welcome on this photo-tour, wether if you are a beginner or a pro.

I will always be around to help you with any questions, and will be pushing you to try out new techniques and to try different viewpoints. Come and see for yourself why Lake Baïkal is inspiring so many photographers.

We will hardly see any wildlife, except for a rare Baïkal seal, so this is a pure landscape-photography tour. Get your wide-angle lenses ready for a frosty experience! We will work with the best light available, and that means early mornings, and late evenings. In February we will get soft light all day, so we can work without a break during midday.
We will inform you exactly what gear you need after booking, but basically wide-angle lenses, polarisers and a strong tripod will do. And thick gloves!


Climate and condition

We will spend long days outside at cold temperatures varying from -10°C till -25°C in the mornings. So you will need warm down jackets, polar boots and thick gloves! After booking we will provide you with a detailed gear-list to pack and explain you how to prepare for this polar-like expedition. But no worries, our warm cars will always be near to get those toes and fingers moving again.
We will do small walks on slippery ice, but with crampons on your shoes you will be safe. Everyone can join this tour, you don’t need a sporter condition!


Experienced guides

I had been dreaming visiting Lake Baïkal since many many years, and after his first visit in 2017, I explored all the best photographic spots he was been reading about. So I know where and when to go. I am crazy about ice and this Arctic scenery, and without doubt I will inspire you to look at this winter miracle in many different ways.
I will show you how I would take pictures, and will explain you every step to get those amazing Baïkal ice pictures. I am  a technical gear-head and help you through all the possible camera-settings, and even tell you how to use your tripod, what kind of filter to use, everything even up to how to wear your photo-backpack…
Even if you are a skilled photographer, I will keep an eye out for you and help you whenever I think I can give you advice.


SPOT LOCATION


INCLUDED

Professionnal photo-guide and Russian guide, all local transport, all meals and all nights, non-alcoholic drinks, guarantee fund, invitation to Russia.

NOT INCLUDED

International flights to Irkutsk, alcoholic beverages, cancellation insurance, travel insurance, purchases of personal nature, gratuities, Russian Visa.

 

TESTIMONIALS


They joined me on my last phototour and it was lots of fun ! Thank you to them for their trust.
  • I recommend a trip with Yves definitely, he’s not only an excellent photographer but also an excellent tour guide. He’s very social, speaks a lot of languages and is pragmatic and hands-on. He takes care during of the whole trip.
    Carl Verstraelen, Belgium
  • I did 16 - yes sixteen - photo trips with this guy from 2012, when it all started, upto now. Why? Well, all I can say is that I have a lot of very good pics. Why? Well, all I can say is that the opportunities were there and that my skills have increased considerably. Why? Well, just see for yourself and book, all you need and expect as a photographer is there, you won’t regret.
    Julien Herremans, Belgium
  • Yves has a lot of knowledge of Svalbard! He is very helpfull, has a big knowledge of photographic topics and gear, loves a good joke and is a kind person.
    Alex Boel, Belgium
  • I met Yves in Norway, his humor and optimism was infectuous. He is giving the best of himself and brings out the best of you as photographer and leaves his costumers space to do their thing!
    Regi Popelier, Belgium
  • Yves has the patience, the knowledge about photography, wildlife and landscape.
    Wim De Baets, Belgium
  • We join Yves each and very year since the first time we met him! He’s social skills; his knowledge of the environments where he guides people; he’s possibilities of adaptation on certain situations; the fact that he will never put his team in danger. Everything goes smooth and easy with Yves, hassel free!
    Bert Van Der Krieken & Kristien Van Acker, Belgium
  • We have always been delighted to travel with Yves. He is always doing his best to satisfy the travelers and takes all his responsibility towards people. Everything has always been perfect!
    Pascale Carrette & Bas Talpe, Belgium

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