China Photo Tour
January 13 to 27, 2015
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Day 1 - 2. Tue - Wed, Jan 13, 14. Depart North America for China and lose one day crossing the International Dateline.
Day 3. Thur, Jan 15. Upon arrival in Shanghai you will be met and transferred to our hotel. Just two blocks from the hotel is a spectacular view of the world-class Shanghai skyline, and if you still have energy after the long flight, it's well worth sunset and twilight photography to capture this dramatic scene. Overnight Shanghai Broadway Mansion Hotel. 4 1/2 stars
Day 4. Fri, Jan 16. We take an early morning flight to Guiyang and then drive 5 1/2 hours to Zhaoxing in the Guizhou province which has the largest Dong Ethnic Minorities Village in the world. Guizhou is one of China's best kept secrets and a place of great cultural photography. It was opened to tourists in the late 1980s, and it has the most hills and the least sunshine (making outdoor portrait photography ideal) in China. Overnight Hotel in Zhaoxing. 3 stars
Day 5. Sat, Jan 17. This morning we photograph two different Dong Ethnic Minorities Villages. The faces, the unique and colorful attire, and the environment all make classic travel shots. The people are very friendly and happy to pose for your camera. After lunch we photograph a dance performance at a Basha Village -- the last gun village in China -- and this is a good chance to practice both fast and slow shutter speeds. Overnight hotel in Rongjiang. 3 star.
Day 6, Sun, Jan 18. Today we begin by driving along the Duliu River to experience the Sui people's life and living environment. This route was selected as one of National Geographic Traveler's "Tours of a Lifetime". We have a chance to enjoy the backcountry of China as well as the culture and history of these vanishing ethnic minority cultures. In the afternoon we take pictures of a Long Skirt Miao performance in Langde or Jidao enroute. Overnight Kaili Heaven-sent Dragon Hotel. 4 stars
Day 7, Mon, Jan 19. After breakfast we drive 40 minutes to a Matang Gejia Village, a quiet place inhabited by the Gejia minority where we will learn about their little-known culture. The Gejia probably descended from the Manchu. You will see the typical costumes, houses, embroidery, and batik making. We photograph a dance performance and a local audience. Afterwards, we visit a Qingman village for another performance by the Medium Skirt Miao. Overnight hotel in Guiyang. 4 star
Day 8, Tue, Jan 20. We drive for 1 1/2 hours this morning to reach a village of the Old Han ethnic group. Women are still dressed in traditional Ming dynasty costumes, and houses remain faithful to the Ming architectural styles. The ancient stone houses, the local legends, and the warm-hearted people will leave you with an unforgettable experience. We photograph a local Ground Opera performance, famed for the performer's symbolic masks. This is one of the oldest surviving operas in the world (it dates from 1382). The women's hairstyle is unique to this culture. During a time of war, the soldiers were away and they wanted to make their women as ugly as possible to keep their loyalty, and they did this by cutting their hair line very high.
In the afternoon, we drive back to Guiyang Airport and fly to Kunming. Overnight in Kunming. 4 or 5 stars
Day 9, Wed, Jan 21. This is a travel day. The only way to reach the spectacular rice terraces of Yuanyang is to drive 7 to 8 hours, but the long road trip is worth it. At this time of year, the terraces are filled with water. This makes incredible reflections and graphic designs, and the images you take in this region will be among the best landscape photographs you've ever taken. We also encounter other ethnic minorties, specifically the Hani and Yi people where you will see a lot of silver used in their costuming and jewelry.
Days 10 - 12, Thur - Sat, Jan. 22-24. For these three days, we photograph the rice terraces in beautiful early morning and late afternoon lighting from many different vantage points. In addition, there are local markets we will visit with many ethnic minorities. Overnight Yuanyang Terrace Hotel or Yuanyang Water Guesthouse. 3 stars
Day 13, Sun, Jan 25. After the last morning photography session of the rice terraces, we drive 3 1/2 hours back to Jianshui. This afternoon we visit the Zhu Family Garden for classic Chinese compositions of traditional architecture. Overnight in the Jianshui Linan Hotel. 4 star
Day 14, Mon, Jan 26. We drive back to Kunming on a well-maintained highway and reach the airport to catch our flight back to Shanghai. We will have our farewell dinner tonight, and if your flight home isn't too early, you could squeeze in some more night photography of this incredible city. Overnight Shanghai Pudong Airport Ramada Hotel. 4 stars.
Day 15, Tue, Jan 27. Use the free shuttle to the airport for the return flight home, knowing that your flash cards are filled with incredible fine art imagery.
Tour cost: $5990. Includes all lodging based on double occupancy, all ground transportation, all admissions and activities as noted in the itinerary, all meals, drinking water, soft drinks during meals, local English speaking guide, transfer from airport to hotel upon arrival, two airport group transfers, and photo instruction.
Not included: Domestic airfare, items of a personal nature, alcoholic beverages, laundry, mini bar expenses, tips and gratuities to guides.
Additional cost: $750 domestic airfare within China per itinerary
Single supplement: $725