Back in August, I wrote about a number of photography tours available that can bring out the budding Ansell Adams or Henri Cartier-Bresson in you. With the new year here, a new raft of tours has been announced and while you ponder which destination sounds the most appealing, imagine yourself standing on top of that mountain, or next to that rare animal or surrounded by sunflowers with your camera poised and ready to shoot.
John Baker has been leading photographic expeditions around the world for almost 20 years. His company, Travel Images (tel. 800/325-8320; www.travelimages.com) offers a selection of U.S. based and international tours in 2007 including destinations like the Galapagos, Scotland, the European Alps, New Zealand, Venice, Yellowstone and Vermont. Travel Image's 14-day Ireland tour runs from May 27 to June 9, 2007 and is priced at $3,692 per person (land only), with the group size limited to seven photo travelers (there are currently five places still available). The Emerald Isle offers unique culture, friendly people and magnificent landscapes to capture on film or digitally. Uncover unspoiled remote Ireland from north to south including the Dingle Peninsula, the Ring of Kerry, Rock of Cashel, the Donegal Peninsula, the Mountains of Mourne, Antrim coast, the Giants Causeway, Connemara, Galway Harbor, Cliffs of Moher, historic castles and more. The tour price includes 13 nights' accommodations in hand-picked, well-located properties, admission to the Rock of Cashel (all other admissions such as Dunluce Castle, Bushmills distillery and Muckross House are optional and not included), breakfasts, snacks and refreshments daily and transportation in comfortable and spacious 12 to 17-seater passenger private vans.
Joe Englander's Landscape and Travel Photography Workshops and Tours (tel. 512/922-8686; www.englander-workshops.com) visit exotic and sometimes remote destinations like Bhutan, Norway, Tibet and Myanmar (Burma). His 2007 Ladakh expedition runs from August 26 to September 8 and takes you deep into the Himalayas to a part of Tibet not often visited by tourists. Attend traditional masked-dance festivals with competitions and demonstrations of skill, plus the annual Leh Festival that gathers together nomads, dancers, tradesmen and tribesmen from all over the Himalayan high plateau. Explore several of the hidden valleys and less well known gompas (Buddhist monasteries) where ancient traditions are maintained and life has changed little over the centuries. With a group size of four to six participants, this expedition costs $3,000. land only. That price includes domestic airfare from Delhi, all land transportation, 14-nights' accommodations, all meals, a local guide, a translator, expert photographic instruction, tuition and plus access to some of the most beautiful photographic opportunities imaginable.
If you are serious about the art of photography and would love to see a different side of France, join renowned National Geographic photojournalist Carole Devillers on one of her 2007 France trips with Adventure Travel Expeditions (tel. 505/232-2231; www.adventurephotoexpeditions.com). Her 2007 schedule includes:
- Paris and Versailles: focusing on the historical, the unusual and the off-the-beaten-path Paris; scheduled for May 10 to 18, 2007 at a cost of $2,375.
- Annecy (French Alps) and the Grandes Medievales D'Andilly; scheduled for May 22 to 30, 2007 for $2,375.
- Annecy and the Noctibules Festival, plus Lyon and medieval Perouges; scheduled for July 19 to 27, 2007 for $2,375.
- Annecy and the Fete du Lac (Lake Festival), plus Lyon and medieval Perouges; scheduled for August 2 to 12, 2007 for$2,750.
- Annecy and the Retour des Alpages (Return from Alpine Pasture) plus Chamonix (Mont Blanc, Aiguille du Midi, Sea of Ice) and Lyon; scheduled for October 12 to 22, 2007 (price not yet listed).
All prices quoted are for land-only tours (international airfare from the U.S. to France is additional) but costs are based on single occupancy. More detailed information about these tours will be available on the Adventure Photo Expeditions website in early January 2007.
I always feel comfortable recommending tour options from Responsible Travel (tel. +44/1273-600-030; www.responsibletravel.com) -- perhaps it is because the website always tells you how your travel experience will benefit local communities and exactly where the money is going. Responsible Travel provides a number of photography tours, but the one that caught my eye was their 21-day "Cape Town to Victoria Falls overland tour" that travels from South Africa through Namibia to Botswana. Priced at $1,586, this is an extremely economical travel option and even more so considering it is a photography specialist tour. Capture the essence of African wildlife, culture and landscape while improving your skills in photography with the aid of their qualified photographic tour-leader, who provides workshops and tutorials throughout the tour. Their specifically designed Mercedes truck has a maximum of 16 reclining seats, panoramic windows, roof-hatches and lockers for secure equipment storage. Top quality camping equipment is provided, as is a laptop computer for downloading digital images onto CDs. Visit all the well-known attractions, as well as some lesser known ones. Canoe on the Orange River en route to Namibia, take a desert walk through Sossusvlei, go game driving in Etosha National Park and climb Namibia's highest Peak, Mt Brandberg. The tour uses local guides and brings money back to communities you visit plus a portion of the tour cost is provided to Freeplay Foundation, a charity that supplies wind-up radios (needing no electrical or battery power) to children in Africa who have been orphaned by AIDS or genocide.
How could you possibly say no to a 10-day photographic tour of romantic Tuscany? Close Up Expeditions (tel. 541/466-5969; www.cuephoto.com) has chosen the perfect month of September (September 21 to 30 to be exact) as its timing for their 2007 "At Home in Tuscany" tour. Led by Donald Lyon, who has led photographic adventures since 1979 to over 40 countries, the tour is based mainly in Castellini in Chianti, staying in a traditional 15th Tuscan farmhouse hotel surrounded by the vineyards at harvest time. Priced at $2,789 per person land-only, this ten day tour includes ground transportation, nine nights' accommodations (four nights at Albergo il Colombaio, two in Florence at Hotel Balestri and three in Asciano at Albergo Il Bergasgliere), admissions and guide services. A meal budget of approximately $400 is estimated to cover all meals and table wine. Single supplement is $472 and prices are based on a minimum of six participants. Airfare to Florence is not included. Photographic opportunity highlights include the historic monuments and architecture of Florence, the charming village of Castellini, the bountiful landscapes of the Chianti region and medieval masterpieces like the 13th century Monteriggioni, San Gimignano and Radda.
Focus Adventures (tel. 970/879-2244; www.focusadventures.com) and Strabo Tours are running a "Magical Morocco: Photographic and Cultural Tour" from October 20 to November 3, 2007. Highlights of the trip include visits to Djemaa el Fna Square and the ancient city and souk of Marrakech, the striking Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou, sunrise over the Sahara by camelback, the fortified harbor of Essaouira, ancient Fes and the heart of Morocco, the medina of Fes el-Bali. Photographer Karen Gordon Schulman's tour combines the history and natural beauty of Morocco with first-person encounters by visiting native villages, ancient medinas and craftsmen's workshops. Land cost is $3,195 based upon a minimum of nine participants (maximum of 12).There will be a small group surcharge of $200 with if there are only six to eight participants. Single room supplement is $495. The price includes 13 nights' hotel accommodations, all group ground transportation in Morocco, a driver, a bilingual guide, accommodation, most meals, photo instruction, service charges, hotel taxes and park entrance fees plus pre-departure information including packing recommendations, readings on the history, culture, and ecology of Morocco. International airfare and air taxes are additional.
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