January 4 - 17, 2014
Visit the photo gallery
China is a photographer’s paradise. It is so diverse in terms of exotic and beautiful subject matter, but this photo tour focuses on three remarkable subjects: tigers, pandas, and the Harbin ice festival.
Jim has arranged for us to have special sessions with both tigers and pandas.
The tigers will be photographed from vehicles, similar to how we take pictures of animals in Africa, and the pandas will be photographed in both photographer friendly enclosures and also with the pandas outside their enclosures as they roam freely.
The ice festival is truly incredible. Huge ice sculptures of palaces, mythical creatures, famous people, and religious icons are illuminated at night with colorful neon lights, and nothing you’ve seen or photographed comes close to this spectacle.
We also visit the Great Wall, and of course the Chinese people, especially the children, are always great to photograph. You don’t want to miss these fantastic photo opportunities.
Land cost: $7950
Flights within China: $860
Single supplement: $775
Includes: All lodging, all ground transportation, special fee to photograph the tigers, special fee to photograph the pandas out of their enclosures, other entrance fees, English speaking guide, all meals, and photo instruction.
Excludes: International airfare, visa fee, drinks and alcohol, tips, and items of a personal nature.
Day 1, 2: January 4, 5
Depart US/Canada for the trans-Pacific flight to China. Cross the International Dateline and lose one day. (Australian depart January 6 to arrive the same day.)
Day 3: January 6
Arrive at Pudong International Airport, transfer to our Shanghai downtown center hotel and meet
other participants for dinner at 6 pm in the hotel lobby. Bund View Room at Shanghai Broadway
Mansions Hotel**** (D)
Day 4: January 7
In the early morning we fly to Chengdu. After we have lunch, we drive to photograph pandas in the enclosure at
Bifengxia Panda Breeding Center in Ya’an. Ya’an Bifengxia Hotel (B, L, D)
Day 5, 6: January 8, 9
Bifengxia Panda Breeding Center is located on the southeast edge of Tibetan–Qinghai plateau and is about
90 miles south away from Chengdu. On the top of Bifengxia mountain area (altitude from 3400 to 5300 ft), the
first project of Bifengxia Panda Breeding Center was finished in 2003. Today, it is the largest captive giant
panda institution in the world with an area of 144 acres. Each enclosure covers an area of 1/4 acre and
provides moving space for pandas. Ya'an Bifengxia Panda Breeding Center is richly endowed with natural
condition suitable for pandas. In history, this wild panda habitat was the original habitat for pandas.
In May, 2008, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake devastated China's main panda reserve at Wolong in Sichuan
province. Approximately four-fifths of the reserve was destroyed. During the earthquake, five workers
at the reserve and one panda were killed. After the earthquake, most of the 63 captive pandas in Wolong
Nature Reserve have been carried here. On July 6, the first twin pandas of the world were born in Bifengxia
panda center. By the end of 2008, 9 panda babies have been born here.
For three days, we will photograph pandas in the enclosure and the open compounds.
We will have 3 special arranged panda photo sessions out of Ya’an Bifengxia Panda Breeding Center .
Ya’an Bifengxia Hotel (B, L, D)
Day 7: January 10
After the whole day panda photographing, we drive back to Chengdu and have dinner.
Chengdu Homeland Hotel ***** (B, L, D)
Day 8: January 11
Today fly to Harbin via Jinan. Jim will offer a critique session this evening to evaluate your pictures taken thus far, and he will be happy to answer any questions you may have about photography and/or Photoshop. Harbin Holiday Inn Hotel **** (B, L, D)
Day 9: January 12
Today, we will drive 4 hours to Hendaohezi Siberian Tiger Park and have packed lunch on the bus.
We will photograph the Siberian tigers in the park with charted photo safaris buses at the good afternoon light.
Hailin Lilai Hotel **** (B, L, D)
Day 10-11: January 13, 14
During these two days, we photograph the Siberian tigers in beautiful morning and afternoon light.
Hendaohezi Siberian Tiger Park is located 280 km east of Harbin in northeast China. It is the
largest Siberian tiger breeding center in the world with a beautiful mountain
environment. There are only estimated 400 wild Siberian tigers left in the world in the border area
of Russia, North Korea and China. Siberian Tiger Park was built in 1986 to protect and research this
species of tiger. Since then, there are around 800 Siberian tigers that have been reproduced from
eight wild tigers. Today, there are still around 300 tigers in this park, and they have sent around 300
tigers to different zoos around China. This breeding center was opened to tourists in 1998. In
this trip, we will photograph 9 to 12 Siberian tigers.
The Siberian tiger is about 10 feet long and weighs 650 pounds. They have an average life span of
25 years, and they are sexually mature at three or four years old. The tiger’s mating season is from
December to June, and they will bear two to four tiger cubs with each litter. Hailin Lilai Hotel **** (B, L, D)
Day 12: January 15
This morning, we photograph the Siberian Tigers. We then drive four hours back to Harbin after lunch.
Many buildings exhibit European early twentieth-century styles along the length of Central Street, and this is the most popular
shopping area of the city. There are some buildings that have survived modernization, and they still look and feel quite European.
Ice Lantern Festival is the highlight of the year in Harbin. Held in a park, teams of workers transport
large chunks of ice taken from further north along the Songhua River and carve it into shapes or whole
buildings. Neon tubes are inserted inside the ice, and then the whole thing is lit up in luminescent blues,
pinks, green and yellows. It’s like a frozen Disneyworld and they often build replicas of famous buildings
from around the world: Big Ben; the Eiffel Tower; the Taj Mahal; and, of course, a stretch of the Great Wall.
Before dusk and at twilight, we will take spectacular photographs of the ice sculptures. Harbin Holiday Inn
Hotel **** (B, L, D)
Day 13: January 16
Today, we fly to Beijing . We then visit and photograph the Great Wall. The Great Wall snakes its way across
northern China from the Yellow Sea and past the Gobi Desert for some 3500 miles. It is the most famous
symbol of China. Though the underlying architecture dates from the Ming Dynasty, the original plan for the
Great Wall and some of its construction date back to the Qin Dynasty (221-207 BC).
The Great Wall Mutianyu is well preserved and is a good alternative for visitors who would like to avoid crowds
along the highly popular Badaling section during holiday and peak seasons. Beijing Sino Swiss Airport Hotel **** (B, L, D)
Day 14: January 17
This morning we transfer to the airport for the return flight home, having had a most unique photography tour