January, 5


Mysterious China Photo Tour and the Yunnan Province

Harry Fisch



China and photography




The China Photo Tour is one of my personal favorites, and I think one of the most exciting in the Nomad Photo Expeditions repertoire. It takes you to a ‘road less traveled’ through the deep country, and the route has been purposefully and carefully planned to bring us close to the culture in an organic and authentic way. China is a vast and varied country, but this China Photo Tour has been specially designed to give an accurate overview of the southern tribes, and their roots in the green, mountain land, in just two weeks.


We will witness the celebration of the Miao, Dong, Shui, Buyi, Ge, and Yi ethnic tribes. The wonder begins in Beijing where we will photograph the Great Wall as well as the Forbidden City. Then, we will head off to the province of Guizhou, home of the many tribes of southern China!

In Danzhai we will witness the famous Jinji dance, an ancient Miao tradition performed during the New Year. Girls in extraordinary, embroidered garb move deftly in formation to perform this ‘Dance of the Golden Pheasant’.

The Miao tribes come first, though they are divided into different peoples, so we will hop along the countryside from village to village meeting them all. Each tribe has a different way of celebrating, with whirling dancing, wild masks, and colorful, hand embroidered garb. We’ll photograph our way south, taking in the festivals that are themed everything from golden pheasant, to great lions, and mighty dragons in a cultural kaleidoscope of dance, music, and life.




Three Cormorant at the Li River in China


As the sun creeps over the horizon beyond the Longji rice terraces, or the mountains beyond Ping An, we will be there to capture how the light spreads across the fertile valleys, the slowing wending green serpent that is the Li river, and all of the breathtaking vistas that almost no foreigner ever gets to see.

We will have plenty photo sessions with Miao people posed and unposed shoots, and time spent documenting the breathtaking landscape, and then we will come to the grand finale: the Cormorant fishermen of Guilin. As the fishermen take their giant sea birds and their oil lamps out, silently cutting through the early morning water in traditional boats, we will raft out with them to photograph the centuries old practice of using cormorants to fish along the wide, green river.


As with all of Nomad Expedition’s photo tours, this China Photo Tour is based around contact with real people. We will be taking a route almost unknown to most visitors of the country, and see things that few people will ever get to see. And the people will be letting us in to see a little known part of Chinese life and time, giving us ample time and space to get to know them and tell their stories in pictures.




Fisherman in China with his cormorant




Highlights include:


• The Great Wall and the Forbidden City


• Posed and planned, as well as spontaneous photo sessions with many of southern China’s minorities, including the Miao, Dong, Shui, and Buyi peoples.


• Sharing and documenting these peoples’ Chinese traditions, with the locals dressed in their finest, wielding lanterns and cloth dragons, lions.


• Photography sessions in the Longji rice terraces at dawn.


• Early photographic sessions with the cormorant fishermen of Guilin along the Li River.


• Boat expedition along the Yulong river.


• Exclusive, private access to the homes of many artisans, tribesmen, and fishermen for one on one photography sessions.



The southern tribes of China are inexorably tied to their land. We will not just be photographing the landscape or a person here or there, but a culture passed down through generations, several of which we might see living together right before our eyes.




Three Chinese Ladies from the Miao tribe



The purpose here is not to simply take a photo, but to get close to the people, meet them, and tell their stories through the images we capture, posed against the inspiring silver and green land that has sustained them for so long.


To give you a sense of this place and people, steeped in great beauty and a little bit of mystery, please visit the China Photo Tour itinerary.


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.