ICY LANDSCAPES: A PHOTO TOUR TO LAKE BAÏKAL


IN COOPERATION WITH STARLING REIZEN

Imagine walking on the crystal clear ice of the world’s largest, deepest and purest freshwater lake. Welcome to Lake Baïkal, with its endless ice-plains,  scattered ice, deep cracks and enchanting caves filled with icicles. Travel to Russia’s far south with the Trans Siberian Express and experience the mysterious culture of the North Asian Shamans. Are you ready?

 

Tour dates

13 – 25 february 2021

 

Group Size

8 people

 

Condition

Easy to moderate, comfortable, cold!

 

Book Before

1st September 2020

Schedule

13/02: Departure to Irkutsk from Brussels or Amsterdam
14/02: Arrival in Irkutsk. City tour in the historic centre, walk along Angara river, visit Irkutskaya Sloboda.
15/02: Transfer to Litsvyanka. We visit het museum for wooden architecture, discover the view from Cherskiy Rock and stroll through the local market.
16/02: We enter the ice at Peshanaya Bay, visiting Scriper Rock and Kadilniy. In the evening, a traditional Russian sauna awaits.
17/02: Gulf of Tutai, where we explore the ice at Babushka Bay and discover the view from the mountains.
18/02 – 20/02: Olkhon – Khuzir. A 3-day stay in the village of the shamans allows us to explore the ice and the village.
 21/02 – 22/02: Ust-Barguzin and Svyatoy Nos.
Sunrise on the ice. After breakfast, check-out and departure to Ust-Barguzin. Accommodation in a guesthouse by the shore. Sunset on the lake, where we meet the locals. Visit to Svyatoy Nos Peninsula and the hot springs the next day.
23/02: Transfer to Ulan-Ude, with several photo stops.
24/02 – 25/02: Trans Siberian Express and return flight. After a visit to the Buddhist Ivolginsk Monastery, we hop on the Trans Siberian Express to Irkutsk for a 1st class ride. Check in hotel Irkutsk. After breakfast, transfer from our hotel to the airport for departure.


Unique scenery

Lake Baïkal is one of the ultimate frozen landscapes on this planet. The combination of very cold temperatures and crystal clear water create a very photogenic setting, boasting ice-sculptures, deep cracks and clear ice as far as the eye can see. We discover frozen caves along the coastline, ice-covered cliffs, fields of shelf ice and a surprisingly colourful culture. The sun shines low in this Arctic-like environment, where we go out to photograph before sunrise, returning long after the sun has set. Our cars are closeby to warm us up in between shoots.
Crossing the lake from west to east, we visit several hotspots on the ice and the shores. Prepare to photograph the most stunning frozen lake on earth and the mysterious villages that surround it, including the sacred centre of the shamans: Olkhon Island. Are you ready?


A fascinating world of ice

Lake Baïkal is the largest and deepest freshwater lake in the world: 636 kilometres long, 80 kilometres wide and 1642 meters deep. It represents 20% of the global freshwater supply. Because the water is so clear, you can see through the ice up to 40 meters deep! During 5 months a year, the lake is covered with ice as thick as 2 meters.
We set out to photograph the ice and all the amazing cracks, sculptures and caves we discover as we go along. While walking this glassy surface is a mesmerizing experience, temperatures descend to about -20°C, windchill factor not included. Are you impressed yet?


Accommodation and Transport

We selected a wide range of accommodations, from fancy hotels in Irkutsk till local guesthouses with the famous ‘banjas’ ( a Russian sauna). In these guesthouses, we enjoy local fish and local hospitality. We also join them to go and catch the fish we eat.

Travelling with two traditional Russian-made UAZ-452 busses, we are more than well equipped to explore the ice of Lake Baïkal, and can warm up at any time. At the end of our trip, we hop on board of the world-famous Trans Siberian Express and travel along the lake, back to Irkutsk. We promise stunning window views every step of the way.


Photography

Everybody is welcome on this tour, whether you’re a beginner or a pro.
I will always be around to help with any questions and to inspire you to try out new techniques and find new perspectives. Do you wonder why Lake Baïkal draws so many photographers to its shores? Come and discover for yourself!
We hardly encounter any wildlife, save for a rare Baïkal seal, so this is a pure landscape photography tour. Get your wide-angle lenses ready for some frosty action! We work in the best light conditions, so we’re out early mornings and late evenings. In February the soft light reigns all day, giving us full days for shooting.
You will be informed thoroughly about the needed equipment after booking, but wide-angle lenses, polarizers and a strong tripod will basically do. Don’t forget those gloves!


Climate and clothing

We will spend long days outside in temperatures varying from -10°C to -25°C, so warm down jackets, polar boots and thick gloves are indispensable. We’ll provide you with a detailed list of clothes and equipment to pack, so you are sure to start this icy expedition well prepared. And remember, our cars will always be near to get those toes and fingers moving again!
As we walk on the slippery ice, crampons on your shoes will keep you safe. Anyone with a normal physical condition can join this trip, so no reason to miss out!


Experienced guides

I dreamt of visiting Lake Baïkal for many, many years. After my first visit in 2017, I went back and explored all the best photographic spots I had been reading about. As a result, I know very well where to go and when the best time is. Ice and any Arctic-like landscape truly fascinate me. I make it my goal to inspire you to view this magical winter world from many different angles.
I’m also a bit of a gear freak, so be ready to explore your camera settings, the possibilities of your tripod, what kind of filters to use, even how best to wear your backpack.
Even if you are an experienced photographer, I’ll keep an eye out for you and help you whenever I think I can give you some advice.


SPOT LOCATION


 

INCLUDED

Enthusiastic professional photo guide, local Russian guide, all local transport, meals and overnight stays, all non-alcoholic drinks, a ride on the Trans Siberian Express, guarantee fund, entrance fees to national parks.

 

NOT INCLUDED

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

 

TESTIMONIALS


These people joined me on one of my tours. My gratitude goes out to them for their trust!
  • I certainly recommend a trip with Yves. He’s not only an excellent photographer but also an excellent tour guide. He’s very social, speaks a lot of languages and is very pragmatic and hands-on. He takes care of his people during the entire trip.
    Carl Verstraelen, Belgium
  • I undertook no less than 16 (!) photo trips with this guy, starting in 2012. Why? All I can say is that I have a lot of beautiful images. Yves provides all the right photo opportunities and my skills have increased considerably. Everything I expect from a trip as a photographer is there. Just see for yourself and book a trip, you won’t regret it!
    Julien Herremans, Belgium
  • Yves knows a lot about Svalbard! He is very helpful, has expertise of photography and equipment, loves a good joke and is a very kind person.
    Alex Boel, Belgium
  • I met Yves in Norway. His humor and optimism was infectious! He gives the best of himself and brings out the best in you as a photographer. Travelers get lots of space to do their thing!
    Regi Popelier, Belgium
  • Yves has lots of patience with his group and plenty of knowledge about wildlife and landscape photography.
    Wim De Baets, Belgium
  • We join Yves every year since we first met him! Hiss social skills, his knowledge of the environment he explores, his possibility to adapt to changing situations and the fact that he will never put his team in danger: trips with Yves are smooth and hassle-free!
    Bert Van Der Krieken & Kristien Van Acker, Belgium
  • We always delight in traveling with Yves. He does his best to satisfy the travelers every single time and is very responsible for the group. The trips are always perfect!
    Pascale Carrette & Bas Talpe, Belgium

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