Photo Tour to Russia
October 1 - 9, 2019
If you love photographing spectacular architecture (the kind that leaves you breathless) as well as being immersed in history, culture and art, there is nothing like Moscow and St. Petersburg. Glistening golden spires, onion-shaped domes, cathedral interiors that overwhelm the senses, and palatial extravagance all produce photographs that can only be described as stunning. Jim has made special arrangements to gain entrance to many of the most famous places while avoiding the crowds, and the 5-star hotel in Moscow affords us an elevated and magnificent view of the iconic St. Basil's Cathedral. Jim also is planning on a model shoot with a Russian beauty in an elegant gown surrounded by opulence. This is a very special photography tour that you won't want to miss.
Tour Policies (please read)
Visit the photo gallery
Day 1, Oct. 1, Tuesday.
Arrive this day in Moscow and be met by a local representative and transferred to our 5-star hotel. We meet in the lobby of the hotel for the first time as a group at 4:30 pm to discuss the upcoming tour and then to go out for night photography. If your arrival time is early in the morning, you won't be able to check into your room until 2 or 3 pm (this is the standard check-in time for most hotels). Therefore, consider arriving one day early and staying at an airport hotel or, if you wish to stay in the same hotel as the group beginning the following day, Jim or his wife, Dia, can arrange that for you. This will give you the chance to rest and recuperate from the long flight, and it will also mean you won't be waiting for many hours for your room to be ready. Our night photography this evening will take place in beautiful Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral, and more. Overnight Baltschug Kempinski Hotel, 5-star.
Day 2., Oct. 2, Wednesday.
After breakfast this morning we have our Grand Kremlin visit that includes three spectacular cathedrals (Dormition, Archangel, and Annunciation. For the cathedrals where no tripods are allowed, Jim will explain how to do handheld HDR images so every exquisite detail shows up with perfect exposure. After lunch, we will photograph the changing of the guards in the Kremlin, and then we will visit the Armory Chamber, a true treasure-chest of royal carriages, armor from the 12th to the 19th centuries, gold and silver masterpieces, coronation dresses, and more. Jim will discuss how to photograph these items in this kind of environment. Overnight Balchug Kempinski Hotel, 5-star.
Day 3, Oct. 3, Thursday.
We visit St. Basil's Cathedral this morning and capture it from different exterior angles as well as focus on the incredibly ornate interior. Following this, we have a model shoot that Jim has arranged. He will explain how to pose a model, how to use natural window light, and what lenses to use for various looks. Following lunch, we visit the Christ the Saviour Cathedral, the New Maiden Cemetery with its beautiful statuary, and then we photograph some of the most beautiful metro stations that are surprisingly ornate and elegant. Overnight Balchug Kempinski Hotel, 5-star.
Day 4, Oct. 4, Friday.
Get up early with Jim for dawn and sunrise photography of St. Basil's Church. Following breakfast, we visit the Tretyakov Gallery which houses the best collection of Russian art in the world. At the same location, we enjoy a live concert in the St. Nicolas Church, and then after lunch, we visit the Izmailovo Kremlin, a newly constructed fairytale-like cultural wonderland. Completed in 2007, it is loosely modeled after traditional Russian architecture, and it is full of colorful and fanciful depictions of Old Russia. It is very photogenic and a lot of fun. Overnight Balchug Kempinski Hotel, 5-star.
Day 5. Oct. 5, Saturday.
This morning after breakfast we transfer to the train station and board the speed train with a first class ticket to St. Petersburg departing at 9:40 am and arriving at 1:30 pm. After checking into our hotel, in the late afternoon we visit one of the most breathtaking cathedrals in the world, The Church of the Spilled Blood. Once you enter, it will take a few minutes to recover from the unbelievable sight and start shooting. Every wall, every column, ever door, and the entire ceiling is covered in magnificent paintings and tile work. Jim will help you compose, expose, and choose the right lenses to make sure you capture this fantastic place. Overnight Taleon Imperial Hotel, 5-star.
Day 6, Oct. 6, Sunday.
This morning we first visit the fourth largest cathedral in the world, St. Isaac's. The interior is dominated by an amazing wall defined by a row of blue-green columns set against a backdrop of brilliant art. The 19th-century ceiling was conceived with perfect symmetry, a great dome, and unparalleled artistic expressions of the Divine. We then board a private deluxe boat for a canal cruise through the city, and this is followed by a visit to the Peter and Paul Fortress. After lunch, we visit a Faberge museum where we can marvel at the intricacy of this unique art form. Finally, we visit the beautiful cathedral of St. Nicolas with its baby blue facade. After dinner, night photography of the incredible Winter Palace is on the agenda. Overnight Taleon Imperial Hotel, 5-star.
Day 7, Oct. 7, Monday.
After breakfast, we drive to Catherine's Palace at Pushkin to photograph one of the most incredible palaces in the world. The huge facade is baby blue, and the cavernous rooms inside are as ornate as you can possibly imagine. We have a VIP entrance to avoid waiting in long lines, and this affords us better photographic advantage. This is a great time to use practice HDR to deal with the contrast between the huge windows and the sumptuous decor. Following lunch, we visit Pavlovsk Palace and Park. Once the hunting grounds of Czars, this 1500-acre estate is a classic English landscape garden filled with picturesque pieces of classical architecture designed to surprise and please the viewer. We return to the hotel, and then at 6 pm we depart for our evening program which is an after-hours visit to the Hermitage Museum for outstanding architectural photography. Overnight Taleon Imperial Hotel, 5-star.
Day 8, Oct. 8, Tuesday.
This morning you have at leisure to do some shopping, photography on your own, or downloading photos taken during the tour. Right after lunch, Jim will hold a critique session to discuss your pictures and how they might be embellished with Photoshop. In the middle afternoon, we take a hydrofoil to incredible Peterhof. Located outside of St. Petersburg, it is a series of palaces and gardens laid out on the orders of Peter the Great in 1703. Peter's daughter, Elizabeth, greatly expanded the park and the famous system of fountains, including the truly spectacular Grand Cascade. After dinner, we have a private opening of the Grand Palace for unparalleled photography without hordes of tourists. This will be an unforgettable part of this photo tour. Overnight Taleon Imperial Hotel, 5-star.
Day 9. Oct. 9, Wednesday.
After breakfast, we depart from the hotel to the airport for our return flight home, knowing we've seen and photographed some of the most outstanding architectural wonders in the world.
Tour cost: $7350
Single supplement: $925
Included: All lodging from Oct. 1 to the morning of Oct. 9 based on sharing a double room, all meals except for one lunch, all ground transportation including canal cruise and hydrofoil, all entrance fees, VIP and after-hours entrances, tickets to the concert, services of an English-speaking guide, model fee, all photo instruction, porterage, and water on the bus or van.
Not included: International airfare, one lunch, alcoholic beverages, travel and medical evacuation insurance, items of a personal nature.