Mongolia: Eagle Hunters and Reindeer Herders
Join us as we photograph Mongolia’s vast, breathtaking landscapes, the Ger tents of the nomad, and hear the cry of a soaring golden eagle. Together we will photograph eagle hunters, as they perform the ancient art of eagle falconry, with the snow-capped mountains of Bayan-Ã–lgi in the background. We’ll have two full days at the Olympic-style events of Naadam Festival of Mongolian wrestling, horse racing, and archery. Events that are believed to have existed for centuries.
Our journey together will also take us to the land of dramatic gorges and lakes of Khovsgol on the southern end of the Siberian forest. The area that will serve as the backdrop to the millennium-old tradition of reindeer herding only found in Mongolia and southern Siberia.
Top it off with some of the oldest Buddhist temples and ruins, abundant wildlife and legendary hospitality, and you come up with a recipe for one thrilling workshop in one of the most inviting and beautiful countries in the world.
Join veteran Muench Workshops Pro Kevin Pepper on this amazing photo workshop in Mongolia!
July 9–20, 2019
July 9, 2019: Today you will arrive in Ulaanbaatar (UB) and be transferred to our hotel by our drivers. We'llmeet for dinner, where Kevin will introduce the experience you are about to have in Mongolia.
July 10, 2019: Today will be your first day enjoying the Naadam Festival. You will get to see horse races in the countryside, visit the horse trainers’ tent, get a first-hand introduction behind the scenes of Mongolian horse training and meet the riders, the training staff, and get a history lesson of the coveted horse racing events. You will also get a chance to photograph archery events. Archery is as ancient as the history of Mongolia. In ancient days bows and arrows were primarily used for hunting animals for food, and protecting the tribe from outside threats. Over the centuries, the uses of archery changed, and the tradition of archery was passed down, to become one of the most important elements of the sport competitions at the National Naadam Games.
July 11, 2019: Today we get a special pass to allow us inside the main stadium of Naadam, where you will have some of the best seats in the house, to photograph the Opening Ceremony and the coveted wrestling competition—with tens of thousands of fans cheering on the competitors.
July 12, 2019: Today we fly to Lake Huvsgul.
July 13–14, 2019: We visit a summer camp of Tsaatan Reindeer families, who have come down from the Taiga to the shores of the Lake Huvsgul to showcase their huts and reindeers. We will stay in a valley surrounded by mountains, the fields dotted with sheep, yak, horses, and local families that will invite you into their homes, engage in conversation with us, and allow us to take photos of them as they live as they did for generations. We will also be taking private session portraits of a local Mongolian band and have two private photo shoots with some of the last Reindeer herders in Mongolia.
July 15, 2019: Today is our return flight to Ulaanbaatar (UB). When we arrive back in UB, you will have the opportunity to do some souvenir shopping for local goods like cashmere and leather.
July 16, 2019: Today we take another domestic flight form Ulaanbaatar to Ulgii. We’re up early to travel to Bayan-Ogli, the western most province of Mongolia. We will be picked up at the airport and taken to our accommodations at our exclusive lakeside ger camp. Tonight you will have your first photoshoot with five eagle hunters, who will be staying with us for the next few days.
July 17–18, 2019: For the next two days we will have exclusive photoshoots with five eagle hunters and their horses. Each morning and evening we will position the eagle hunters in various locations in the mountains, and around the lake, so you can photograph the ancient art of eagle falconry on horseback. You will also have the opportunity during each day for portrait sessions with the eagle hunters.
July 19, 2019: Today we will board our return flight to Ulaanbaatar (UB). Once we arrive back in UB, we will settle into our hotel and have one a special catered dinner that we have arranged at the Fine Art Museum of Mongolia.
July 20, 2019: Departure. Airport transfers are provided in the morning.
Physical Requirements and notes on accommodations, food, and transportation
Physical: There is not much hiking on this workshop, though you should be fit enough to walk a mile on level ground with your photo pack, and up to a half mile in soft sand. During our time with the eagle hunters, the walks are usually less than 500 meters from the vehicle. When at Reindeer Herders you can expect to walk up to 500 meters with your backpack on. There are downtimes every day where you can rest, relax, or nap. Evenings are usually not too late, unless we are shooting the night sky.
When at Naadam, expect to walk all day at the main stadium in summer weather.
Accommodations: They are noted throughout the itinerary. 4-star hotel in UB. Group sleeping (women in one tent, men in the other) with outhouse style facilities when at Eagle Hunters . At Reindeer Herders we are at a tourist get camp with dormitory style toilet and showers.
Food: 4- and 5-star restaurants in Ulaanbaatar, with a choice of local and internationally-known foods. At the eagle family, we have our own private chefs, and they will cook food you know and like in the traditional Mongolian ways. Beef, chicken, lamb, pastas, vegetables are all featured. At Reindeer Herders we will have our choice of local and internationally known food at the restaurant at the camp. We can accommodate food allergies and special dietary requirements throughout the workshop in all locations, no problem.
Transportation: We have two commercial in-country flights aboard Fokker twin-propeller aircraft. Most camera bags will fit in the overhead bins, but roller bags will not fit and must be checked. We have paid for extra weight allowances for your camera gear. When driving in and around UB, we are in comfortable mini buses, plenty of room to stretch out. When we off road, and when out at the eagle families, we are in Toyota Land Cruisers, again 3 guests to a vehicle with plenty of room for you and your gear. The roads can range from extremely bumpy dirt tracks to smooth paved highways.
- Double occupancy lodging (single available, just ask)
- All meals and transportation during the workshop
- Gratuities for local guides and drivers
- Photography guiding and instruction from Kevin Pepper
- All transfers, permits and festival tickets
- Fun, inspiration, and a great time
What’s Not Included?
Your deposit of $4,000 will hold your space in this workshop. Further second payment of $3,000 is due by November 1, 2018. The balance of $2,995 will be due not later than March 1, 2019. All of our terms and conditions apply.