Copyright - Julian Elliott Photography

Mongolia Altai and Eagles Festival – March 2019

Mongolia Altai & Nauryz Eagle Festival Photography Tour | 13 - 23 March 2019

An eleven day photography tour of the stunning landscapes of the Altai as well as the Nauryz Eagle Festival

I have joined forces with Eternal Landscapes (www.eternal-landscapes.co.uk) to give you a breathtaking tour into Mongolia’s Altai landscapes as well as the eagle hunter's festival in Nauryz.

This photography tour is the perfect opportunity for those who are happy to compromise on some luxuries in order to immerse themselves. We take you away from the ‘highlights’ as this means you’ll be shooting in more personal situations and have the time and space to create your own unique imagery - not with a crowd of other photographers getting basically the same image.

We let you decide how little or how much instruction you require throughout the trip. But, we provide the opportunity to have 1:1 interaction whether that be with portraiture, landscape photography, lighting, composition or post-production.

Eternal Landscapes has planned this itinerary through Mongolia’s westernmost province of Bayan Ulgii to provide you an array of photographic opportunities. The Kazakhs are Mongolia's largest ethnic group with over 100,000 residing in western Mongolia. A percentage of Kazakhs are eagle hunters - typically hunting with female golden eagles (known as berkuts) as they are stronger and more aggressive.

This adventure provides a great opportunity to document first hand the life of a Kazakh eagle hunter as you spend time living alongside a hunter and his family witnessing their daily lives. On this itinerary you will be hosted by some of the region's most experienced and respected hunters and you will learn skills and history from them as well as explore the stark yet beautiful landscapes of Mongolia’s Altai. All of your hosts are Kazakh families that Eternal Landscapes have personally built up relationships with over the past 13 years. No agents or tour operators are used - we work directly with all the families as this leads to a more personal insight for you as our guest.

The itinerary finishes with the Nauryz Festival in Ulgii - the Kazakh celebration of the coming of spring - where you will join our Kazakh translator and her family as they enjoy this community event. You also get to experience the Nauryz Eagle Festival held in the small community of Deluun - at the foothills of the Khokhserkhiin Nuruu. Participants also have the flexibility to have as much non-shooting time as desired.

Itinerary in brief

13th March 2019
 
Final possible arrival day into UB and (for those in UB) a city walking tour (adapted to the time of year). 
  • Accommodation: King deluxe single at Blue Sky Hotel
  • Meals - Lunch and Dinner (alcohol not included)
14th March 2019
 
Domestic flight to Ulgii (provincial capital of Bayan Ulgii Aimag) and then short road transfer to Ulaankhuus
  • Accommodation: Mat on floor of eagle hunters home. Outside long drop toilets. No showers.
  • Meals - Breakfast/ Lunch/ Dinner (alcohol not included)
15th - 17th March 2019
 
Spend three days living alongside and documenting the way of life of the Kazakh eagle hunter Bashakhan and his family. Includes an option for photographing a training event between the eagle hunter and his eagle. Also an option for a horse trek
  • Accommodation: Mat on floor of eagle hunters home. Outside long drop toilets. No showers.
  • Meals -Breakfast/ Lunch/ Dinner (alcohol not included)
18th - 19th March 2019 
 
Spend three days living alongside and documenting the way of life of the Kazakh eagle hunter Sailaukhan and his family. Includes an option for photographing a training event between the eagle hunter and his eagle. Also an option for a horse trek
  • Accommodation: Mat on floor of eagle hunters home. Outside long drop toilets. Shower available at the local town shower house in Ulgii
  • Meals -Breakfast/ Lunch/ Dinner (alcohol not included)
20th - 21st March 2019 
 
Drive to Deluun - a small community at the foothills of the Khokhserkhiin Nuruu National Park with its 3000m plus snow capped mountains. Here the group will experience the Nauryz Eagle Festival where eagle hunters from across the region compete in traditional Kazakh horse games as well as competitions designed to test the connection between hunter and eagle. This festival is very popular with the local community providing some great portraiture photography. 
  • Accommodation: Mat on floor of family home. Outside long drop toilets. Shower available at the local town shower house in Ulgii
  • Meals -Breakfast/ Lunch/ Dinner (alcohol not included)
22nd March 2019
 
Return to Ulgii where the group can explore this small town including the panoramic view from the lookout point and the great local market. The evening will be spent at the home of our Kazakh translator celebrating the traditional festival of Nauryz that is celebrated throughout central Asia. Would include a simple Kazakh live music performance.
  • Accommodation: Single en-suite room (where available) at Eagle Dreams Hotel
  • Meals - Breakfast/ Lunch/ Dinner (alcohol not included)
23rd March 2019
Return to Ulaanbaatar by domestic flight.
  • Accommodation: Single en-suite room (where available) at Eagle Dreams Hotel
  • Meals - Breakfast/ Lunch/ Dinner (alcohol not included)

Additional information

Where do I meet you?

You will be met at the main airport by myself and the Eternal Landscapes team. Let us know if you're arriving earlier than the start of the tour.

Is it cold in Mongolia in March?

Winter in Mongolia can sometimes be susceptible to unforeseen problems which might result in last minute itinerary changes. Things will not happen on a perfect schedule and conditions will be very rugged - you will be required to step outside your circle of comfort. Please base your expectations on this important point.

You will be expected to be flexible and patient and bring with you your willingness to participate and your sense of adventure and humour.

We will provide you with a list of things you will need to bring. In March temperatures can reach well below freezing. You'll need to ensure that you have clothing that will keep you warm from the inevitable cold and wind chill that we will be experiencing during our days out.

What clothing should I bring?

TBC

Footwear?

Good, sturdy walking shoes that are waterproof are perfect for the terrain that we'll be working in. 

What camera kit should I bring?

A wide angle lens (16-35mm) and medium zoom (24-70mm) are the lenses we'll be using the most. A longer zoom (70-300) will be useful to cover most compositional eventualities that we may need to isolate. It's likely the most used lens will be in the 24-70mm range as a super wide angle can create the pancake effect on the mountainous landscape, so make sure this focal length is covered. 

Do I need a computer?

Although not essential, its a great idea to bring a laptop computer with you so you can discuss imagery with myself.  

What computer support do you give?

I try and make a point of helping those that need it in digital photography. If inclement weather or tiredness takes hold it can really help to have a computer session to asses our progress.

How do I pay?

TBC

Images courtesy of Eternal Landscapes

Price
£TBC

Date
13th - 23rd March 2019

Duration
11 days

Location
Altai, Mongolia

Included

Blue Sky Hotel in Ulaan Baatar
Mat on the floor of eagle hunter's home
All meals where stated (excluding alcohol)
Transport during the tour
Tuition from Julian Elliott

Excluded
Flights to Mongolia
Internal flight to the Altai region
Meals not mentioned
Insurance

Max Group Number
TBC

Fitness Level
Low to Medium