Mongolia Photo Tour & Eagle Training
THE MONGOLIA PHOTO TOUR and EAGLE TRAINING
This will be a full fledged Mongolia Photo Tour and Eagle training experience where we get to know the rural, little known Mongolia.
A photo tour to Mongolia designed around the Naadam festival , as well as the Eagle Training experience, visiting a famed champion of the Mongolia Eagle Festival, in order to offer in just 11 days a complete view of the people of this great country.
A Mongolia Photo Tour and Eagle training experience designed around the Naadam festival (in July) , as well as the Eagle Training experience, visiting a famed champion of the Mongolia Eagle Festival
On this Mongolia Photo Tour We will start out from Ulaan Baatar, the capital, where half the country’s population lives, head to the countryside for “our” local festival, and later finishing in the extreme north of the country, where we will visit the champion of the Mongolia Eagle Festival. On the way we will also have great photographic opportunities in the rural areas.
Mongolia is a little explored destination in terms of photographic trips. With 2,4 million inhabitants living in a territory of just over 1.5 square kilometers, and the vast majority of people living in the Capital alone, it’s approximately the population of Rhode Island living in a country 400 times bigger. Trips by road, even by trail, are often surprising. It’s easy to go two hours without finding a building or even a person.
We will be in Ulaan Baatar for a day, and then a few more afternoons necessary for our flight transfers, but aside from that we will spend most of our time in the immensity of the Mongol wilds, and remote villages.
It is important to remember that we are doing a route that is not as frequently done as others, and there are few tourist facilities in the area.
We will be staying in Ger Camps in comfortable tents . Homey and comfortable, gers are heated by wood-burning stoves; most lack en suite facilities, which are usually located in a central building.
We will travel by 4×4, Japanese four wheeler cars instead of the typically offered Russian vans, which are very uncomfortable on long trips. – In Ulaan Baatar we will sleep in first class hotels.
This Mongolia Photo Tour and Eagle training experience, like all of Nomad’s tours, concentrates on contact with people, however in Mongolia it is impossible not to be constantly conscious of the arid and impressive landscapes as well.
Our photographic workshop in Mongolia is based around the Naadam festival, which commemorates the country’s Independence.
The few photo tours that take place in this country stay in Ulaan Baatar to witness the festival instead of going to the countryside. This option is of course more comfortable but much more touristy and ‘mass market’, as the festival in the city takes place inside an enormous stadium where it is next to impossible to get close to the people who are the protagonists of the event: fighters, archers, dancers, etc.
For this reason, our photographic expedition takes place in the remote villages, which are much more traditional and where access to the people actually celebrating is far less complicated. We have also organized attendance at some of the events and festivals within the larger one, and different photo sessions with interesting characters.
• Private photo sessions with native people proudly wearing their medals.
• Beautiful women dressed in typical garb
• Shamans (local medicine)
• Private photo session with military musicians
• Photo sessions with camel herds and an optional camel ride.
• Sessions with a horse tamer and his animals
• Eagle hunters
• Landscape photography
For the grand finale, we’ll head back to Uglii, a remote village at the extreme north of the country, for an interview and photo session with an Eagle Hunter – a multi time champion throughout the years at the Eagle Festival.
IT’S NOT ABOUT THE SETTING, BUT HOW WE PHOTOGRAPH IT
Merely visiting a place doesn’t guarantee you’ll see or experience it authentically. You can go to France, Mongolia, India, anywhere, but it’s years of travel experience and photographic experience that make the difference when you’re trying to connect with locals, find where they go, and get away from the structures built for tourists and visitors. That’s where Nomad Photo Expedition comes in; the experience we provide you will be real and in touch with the land and its people.
WHAT SHOULD YOU FIND OUT BEFORE YOUR PHOTO EXPEDITION TO MONGOLIA?
While there are many factors that go into making a good tour, the attitude, knowledge, and capability of the lead photographer is paramount. While that photographer might have his or her own pictures to be taking, the attention and priority should always be on the client/photographer first and foremost.
The quality of this lead photographer is what a potential client should be looking at first. If the person you’re going with does not seem to have mastery over either photography, travel, or how to interface with people and places in the area you are going to, you could have a difficult time learning from them. This lead is not only there to tutor, but also help orient you to some very new surroundings.
Keep in mind that styles vary and there is no one right way to be a lead photographer. However, there are some general things that should be red flags for you: The lead photographer abandons his group with the local guide to focus on his own photography, the one with such an inflexible schedule that it doesn’t allow you or the group to adapt to changes, etc.
If you want to know more about the leader of a tour, there’s a few questions you can ask in order to understand what they are actually offering you:
- • What’s the itinerary like?
- • Is it typical, such as viewing the festival only in Ulaan Bataar? Or is it more imaginative, authentic?
- • Is it clear this photographer has good connections so as to offer better possibilities?
- • What are you going to see? People, landscapes, local life, etc?
- • How are you going to see it?: Private photo sessions or general access? What type of access does this lead seem to have to the events and people you’re interested in?
- • How and where will you be sleeping?: Are there bathrooms available, or showers?
- • How will you get around?: in this case, older model Russian vans that will be quite uncomfortable, or modern 4x4s?
We will make photographic documentaries about the life of these people, closely tied to their horses. Great herds and the possibility to be a witness to an actual horse taming in the midst of a steppe landscape, a stay in a yurt (a traditional tent), white camels, festivals, archers loosing into the sky, and dancers in traditional masks all await you, and all posed against one of the most impressive landscapes anywhere in the world.