feb 16-FEB 25, 2019

$4,495 (per person, based on double occupancy)

The photography workshop in Russia will take us ice driving on the frozen-solid Lake Baikal. We'll spend time visiting many of the villages surrounding the lake, and also have great opportunities to become immersed in and capture the local cultures. The major photographic themes covered in this tour will be nature landscapes, light, cultures and animals. Other highlights include barbecue lunch picnics on the ice, a dip in hot mineral springs surrounded by breathtaking mountain ranges, observing indigenous ice-fishing techniques with horse-drawn sleds and more. We can't wait for this adventure!

In the mountain, stillness surges up to explore its own height.
In the lake, movement stands still to contemplate its own depth.
— Rabindranath Tagore


DAY 1 - irkutsk

After your pick-up from the airport or train station, we will have lunch and then a guided excursion around the historical center of Irkutsk city. We will see several Orthodox churches, the central city square decorated with fantastic sculptures made of transparent ice from Lake Baikal and the central food market, an original Siberian bazar. Also, we will visit a local history museum to learn many interesting things about aboriginal civilizations of Lake Baikal, Trans-Sib railway building and Siberia settling history.

Dinner and overnight in Irkutsk.

DAY 2 - irkutsk - buguldeika - mrs

Today we'll drive through the snow-covered fields and Taiga wood-covered mountstoward Lake Baikal. On our way to the village Buguldeika, hidden at the picturesque valley of the western shore of the Lake Baikal, we will have a stopover at Quarry, where the locals cut out cubes of snow-white marble stone. In Buguldeika, we'll get onto the ice of frozen Lake Baikal and start our exciting ice driving journey. We'll see several ice grottos and rocks covered with amazing ice structures. We'll also see the famous ancient rock drawings on the beautiful rocky cliff of Sagan Zaba Bay. 

Lunch will be served on the frozen lake, as a barbecue picnic. Later this afternoon, we'll see ancient stone walls atop Shibite Mount. The walls remain here from the late iron age and belong to the civilization of enigmatic Kurikan people, nomads who settled around Baikal in the past. We'll enjoy the panoramic view of frozen Lake Baikal and we'll see the valley of Anga River opening from this summit. From here we head inland to see the sacred Mount Erd, a tight group of unusually shaped rocks in the middle of a steppe plateau. This is the area of the annual Nomadic games, also known as "valley of the Stone Spirits."

In the evening, we will arrive to the settlement Sukhurte located right opposite to the southern extremity of Olkhon Island. We will get accommodated at the hotel with a nice, opened view of snow covered mounts and Olkhon’s Gate straight.

Dinner and overnight in the area Sukhurte.

DAY 3 - MRS - HUzjir olkhon island

After breakfast, we will continue our ice driving trip. First we will drive across the Olkhon’s Gate straight. We'll stop at one of the most spectacular local places: Horse Head Cape. Horse Head Cape is dramatic in size with its overhanging rocky walls and ice grottos. From here we will enter Small Sea, part of Lake Baikal framed by mountains of the western shore and Olkhon Island. This area is famous for its small islands. We will have a special stopover at the picturesque island Ogoy, which has a Buddhist monument. We will walk to the top of the island to get close to the monument and colorful prayer flags decorating this area. Here our guide will tell us about Buddhism and suggest we do a traditional circle walk around the monument. 

Later, we will discover fascinating ice caves and other islands of the Small Sea between Olkhon Island and the mainland. We'll see the local port with many frozen ships and the rocky Cape Burhan, which is a sacred spot for all local Shamans. Cape Burhan has a cave in it, and with the help of the guide we have the option of climbing from one side of the Cape to the other. Finally we arrive to the main settlement of the island, Huzhir, and get accommodated at the hotel. This evening we will experience a Russian steam sauna, known as a "Banya." 

Dinner and overnight in a wooden lodge hotel in Huzhir.

DAY 4 - Huzjir Olkhon Island - Cape Hoboy - Goryatchinsk

Along our ice drive route today well see huge icicles, hanging like sharp teeth from the sailings of the rocky grottos of Harazy Island, and several deep ice caves located at the bottom of the huge cliffs of Three Brother Cape. We will head to the most northern cape of Olkhon, locally called “Hoboy” (meaning "fang tooth") which is one of the most spectacular places in the Olkhon area. At this spot we'll see a high rocky cliff surrounded by endless ice fields with ice cracks. Lunch will be prepared over a campfire, directly on the ice. 

This afternoon we will take a Jeep drive across Lake Baikal towards the eastern coastline. On the way, we will stop at the deepest spot (1682 meters) of Lake Baikal located not far from Olkhon Island. From here we can observe all northern parts of the Olkhon Island, including its heist summit, holy Mount Izjimey. On the way across the white arctic desert we'll see snow covered areas of the peninsula Holy Nose, southern parts of the rocky Barguzin Mountain range and the Island Olknon. 

Dinner in the region of Turka and overnight in the village of Goryatchinsk.

DAY 5 - GORYatchinsk - ust barguzin - holy nose peninsula - chivirkuiskii gulf - monakhovo - kurbulik

We drive up the coast of Lake Baikal to the settlement of Ust-Barguzin, located near the mouth of the Barguzin River. Then we drive onto the frozen river and head towards frozen Lake Baikal. We may see local people ice fishing; their small fishing houses on the ice form a village here. Then we'll continue ice driving to the famous Chivirkuiskii Gulf which is across from the Holy Nose Peninsula. We'll explore the open-air hot mineral springs of Snake Bay, where we can swim in the hot water of the small pool in the middle of the frozen bay and have a view of the snow-covered mountains that surround us. Later, we'll explore a few of the nearby islands, spectacular ice grottos and fishing villages. In the fishing villages Kurbulik and Monakhovo, the locals ice-fish in old style with horse sleds and long fishing nets. Tonight we head back to the Goryatchnisk settlement and can complete the day with the experience of a Russian steam sauna.

Dinner and overnight in the village of Goryatchinsk. 

Day 6 - goryatchinsk - ulan ude

Today we'll have a guided walking excursion through the village of Goryatchinsk. We will see wonderful samples of genuine Siberian log architecture. We'll explore open-air hot springs and mineral creeks before heading to Ulan Ude, the capital of the Buryatia region. On the way, we'll stop for lunch to try "Posy" - one of the local dishes. We continue through the mountain range and see wintry Taiga woods. The next stop will be to visit the open-air ethno-geographic museum in the Beresovka village. We'll also have the opportunity to stop at a local zoo and capture beers, wolves, lynx, deer and many other animals. We'll finish the day with a city excursion.

Dinner and overnight in the central city square.

DAY 7 - tarbagatay - ulan ude

This day will be dedicated to the trip to Tarbagatay, an old Russian settlement. We'll explore the village and its surroundings, and will be able to get immersed in the culture's local folk dance and sing group. We'll had back to Ulan-Ude in the afternoon and have time to explore the city on our own in the evening. Dinner will be served in a restaurant of traditional Buryat cuisine.

Dinner and overnight  in the central city square.

DAY 8 - ULAN UDE - bolshoe goloustnoe

Today we will leave Ulan-Ude and head towards Ivolginsky Monastery, the main Buddhist temple of the area. In an elaborately decorated temple hall, we could have the opportunity see local monks reading mantras and performing other sacred ceremonies. We'll travel along the Selenga River Valley and arrive at the village of Posolskoye. This place is known as one of the best fishing spots of Lake Baikal, so we'll have good chances to meet the local fisherman and capture their unique ice fishing techniques. We will cross Lake Baikal back towards the western coast. This evening we'll arrive in Goloustnoe, which is known as one of the oldest Russian settlements along the historical Silk & Tea trading route. 

Dinner and overnight in the Gouloustnoe area.

DAY 9 - devil's bridge - bolshie koty - litsvyanka 

We will continue our ice driving adventure to the headwaters of the Angara River, and can see the caves of the Kadilniy Cape and the rocky cliff Screeper. We'll take a special stop at the high cliff named Devil's Bridge, and can walk along an interesting trail which goes across the cliff wall. The next stop will be in the village of Bolshie Koty, which was settled during the Gold Rush time period. After that, we'll continue to Listvyanka for a lunch of local cuisine and taste the famous "Omul" fish. In the afternoon we will be able to capture seals and nearly all local fish species at the Baikal Nature Museum. Later we'll drive back to Irkutsk after stopping at the open-air log architecture display at Talzy.

Dinner and overnight in the area of Irkutsk.

DAY 10 - DEparture to moscow

Private transfer to the main airport.

PRICE: $4,495

  • Per person in double occupancy room

  • $900 additional for single room accommodation

price includes

  • Airport transfer upon arrival and departure
  • Private ground transportation to all locations
  • 9 nights in hotels
  • All meals from lunch on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 10
  • English-speaking Siberian guides
  • Winter clothing rental (insulated shoes, etc)
  • Entrance fees to national parks and museums
  • Expert photography guidance from Marisa Marulli and Tim Vollmer

price does not include

  • International airfare to and from Russia
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Tips
  • Travel insurance
  • What is not mentioned as included


Russia images copyright of either Daniel Kordan, Tim Vollmer or Chris Marquardt, unless otherwise noted.


tour overview:

  • Dates: Feb 16-Feb 25, 2019
  • Price: $4,495 (per person, based on double occupancy)
  • Region: Siberia, Russia
  • Education: field instruction, class instruction and one-on-one critiques
  • Points of interest: Siberia, Lake Baikal, Irkutsk, Buguldeika, Huzjir, Olkhon Island, Cape Hoboy, Goryatchinsk, Ust, Barguzin, Holy Nose Peninsula, Chivirkuiskii Gulf, Monakhovo fishing village, Kurbulik fishing village, Ulan-Ude, Bolshoe Goloustnoe

Photography instructor: Tim Vollmer

Photography instructor: Marisa Marulli

Photography instructor: Marisa Marulli

Tim has everything. He has the knowledge, the eye, the patience. He is an amazing photographer, one of the best I know. A great person and professional photographer. Highly recommended him - he is just amazing.
— Sharon Hahn
I am very happy to recommend Tim and his work. His landscape photography is simply beautiful. Tim’s appreciation of light, composition and his ability to capture the moment is exquisite; with the results on his site speak for themselves.
— Rocky Kirschner