Behind the Lens in Kamchatka

No more cheesy holiday happy snaps! Photographers will have the opportunity to capture the might, the mystery, the explosive drama and the volatile power of the volcanoes of Kamchatka on 56th Parallel's incredible new 15-day Photography Expedition.

Russia’s Kamchatka is a land where you're not just a camera-slinging tourist, but a real adventurer, trekking for days in a far flung land in search of the one photo to rule them all. Embark on a mission to explore one of the most extreme environments on earth and let nature's spectacle take centre stage and keep your shutter button working overtime.A vast peninsula off the far east of Siberia and part of the Pacific Rim of Fire, Kamchatka is one of the most volcanically active places on earth, second only to perhaps Iceland and Hawaii. 

The Photo Expedition Tour heads north out of Kamchatka's capital and into the heart of volcano country.

The first leg of the journey will take you through traditional Siberian villages and offer sunrise opportunities for shooting panoramic vistas over one of Kamchatka's most beautiful volcanic mountain chains, the colours of their snow-capped peaks changing as the day progresses.

Next you'll hike higher into the hills of this windswept wilderness for a photo session with six unusual but undeniably alluring Russian models, the giant volcanoes of Krestovsky (4,057m), Ushkovsky (3,903 m), Kluchevsky (4,750m), Kamen (4,579 m), Plosky Tolbachik (3,082 m) and Ostry Tolbachik (3,672m).

Not everything worth photographing in Kamchatka is huge and imposing. Back at our campsite, small animals, birds and plant life make fascinating and endearing macro subjects. With a bit of luck, you might meet the most famous inhabitants of the Kamchatka Peninsula.The Kamchatka brown bears sometimes pay a brief visit to our campsites in the morning. These curious, intelligent and social animals are a delight to witness. Photograph them from a respectful distance, and they'll show the same respect to you.

The next few days are dedicated to the feisty Tolbachik volcano, still blasting out steam and producing lava flows today. Stay behind the lens as you take pictures of the spitting lava flowing through volcanic fissures and hot molten or semi-fluid rock. Moving on to more eerie subject matter, the Dead Forest of Tolbachik is our backdrop for still, haunting, atmospheric images of a lifeless landscape, burnt and desolate since Tolbachik's devastating Great Eruption.

We then continue back toward Petropavlovsk-Kamchatksy and the nearby volcanoes the city considers 'friendly giants'. Mutnovsky and Gorely provide awesome opportunities for summit hikes. Standing at the top, at the edge of the deep cavity, you feel as if you're witnessing the creation of the very earth itself.  As an extra special treat, this tour takes you to the rarely seen Mutnovsky Ice Cave – the place where mind-blowing images of multi-coloured ice tunnels were captured on camera for the first time in 2012.

Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting out as a photographer, Kamchatka has the compelling scenery, the awe-inspiring volcanic action and the extraordinary wildlife encounters to make that once-in-a-lifetime, National Geographic eat-your-heart out winning photo a reality. And on top of all that, it's an eye-opening journey into to one of the wildest, most remote and unspoiled places on earth – an adventure never to be forgotten.

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