Eagle Hunters, Reindeer Herders, and Nadaam Festival
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. 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 a full day at the Olympic-style events of Naadam Festival of Mongolian wrestling, horse racing, and archery. The dramatic gorges and lakes of Khovsgol will serve as backdrop to the millennium old tradition of reindeer herding.
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 a 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 1–14, 2018
Itinerary and General Information
July 1, 2018: Arrive on your flight, and you will be picked up at the airport and transferred to our hotel in downtown Ulaanbaatar by our drivers.
July 2, 2018: Tour of the city, including Gandan Monastery. We will gather in the morning at 9:00am to enjoy a leisurely tour of Ulaanbaatar city. Today is a day to acclimate to the time change and give you a city tour of Ulaanbaatar.
This easy tour takes you through some of the principal sights of this unique city. You visit the Gandan Monastery, which houses a 26 meter high gilded statue of the Buddha. Here you will be able to photograph the monks as they go about their daily activities and photograph inside and around the temple.
While out taking photos, we will work on such things as using natural light for portraits, and taking street style photography of the locals and monks going about their daily lives.
You will also get the opportunity to have an exclusive private photo session with one of the young monks away from the crowds while at the Gandan Monastery.
Today we will also photograph a model in a 13th Century Queen's Dress, and take portrait photos of her in the Mongolian landscapes. During that session we will also have with us a male model that will be wearing a Ghengis Khan era archer uniform with bow and arrow posing in the Mongolian Countryside.
After our excursion into Mongolian culture and history, we will gather back over dinner and discuss the week's activities.
July 3–5, 2018: Ulaanbaatar - Bayan 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 with a local family, who will be our hosts the the next two nights. Here, you will immerse yourself in the Kazakh traditions, and live and sleep in our own Ger tents with a nomadic family. Sleeping arrangements are men in one Ger tent, women in another. For the night of July 5, we are at the Eagle's Nest Hotel.
During our time here we will live 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 have for generations.
We will also have four private photo shoots with traditional eagle hunters in mountain settings as they put their eagles and horses through their traditional hunting practice. We will have the opportunity for intimate portraits of a single eagle hunter, as well as the opportunity to witness five eagle hunters in traditional dress with their eagles and riding on their horses.
You will witness eagles flying from mountains and landing on eagle hunters arms as they ride on horseback. You will photograph eagles hunting prey and be able to photograph these hunters running and riding horses with the eagles on their arms. This truly is a once in a lifetime experience.
July 6, 2018: Bayan Ulgii – Ulaanbaatar, Naadam activities. Take the return flight from Ulgii to Ulaanbaatar , upon arrival enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch there will be time for shopping for cashmere and local souvenirs afterwards.
July 7, 2018: Ulaanbaatar to Moren via an internal country flight, further drive to the Lake Huvsgul. Today we travel north to Lake Huvsgal once we arrive in Moren. A day of travelling through the northern part of Mongolia to the most photogenic lake in Mongolia. Transfer to tourist Ger camp.
July 8–9, 2018: We visit a summer camp of the Tsaatan Reindeer family or two, who have come down from the Taiga to the shores of the Lake Huvsgul to earn some money from tourists showcasing their huts & reindeers. During our time here we will live 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.
During our stay here we will also be taking private session portraits of a local Mongolian Band that is there to perform for tourists
We will also have two private photo shoots with traditional some of the last Reindeer herders in Mongolia.
Tourist Ger camp by the Lake Huvsgul.
July 10, 2018: Lake Huvsgul – Ulaanbaatar. Naadam activities. Flight back to Ulaanbaatar. Upon our arrival back in Ulaanbaatar, and have lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch we will visit the Naadam Festival fields to photograph some of the sporting events, such as horse races, archery, and ankle bone shooting competitions.
At night we have arranged for the group to go visit a local musical performance, including throat singing and Mongolian contortionists.
July 11, 2018: Naadam in Ulaanbaatar. Today we will enjoy a full day at the Naadam Festival activities such as wrestling, more archery competitions, and horse races. For the wrestling events we have secured elusive Press Passes that will allow you to get down near the wrestling action on the floor level for better photographic opportunities than those up in the stands.
There will be thousands of locals dressed traditionally, as well as lots of music and dances around the Naadam fields. You may also want to photograph the Naadam fireworks at the Central Square at night at around 10:00pm. This is the largest and most intense fireworks display I have ever seen. The fireworks are just steps away from our hotel. You will be positioned to photograph the fireworks above the main square and the parliament buildings.
July 12-13, 2018: Hustai National Park - Elsen Tasarkhai Sand Dunes - Ulaanbaatar
After an early breakfast, we drive to the Hustai National Park. Just 100 km away from the capital, it is the nest of the Mongolian Przewalski horses which can be seen roaming wildly in this beautiful national park.
From there we will head to our ger camp near the beautiful Elsen Tasarkhai Sand Dunes. After dinner you will be taken to the Sand Dunes for your chance to photograph the sun as it descends over the dunes.
Elsen Tasarkhai, one of the most picturesque places in Mongolia, is part of the 80 km long Mongol Els Sand Dunes. This place is a wonderful
combination of pretty sand dunes, majestic granite mountains, grassy green land, a clear fresh spring, and a tiny lake. Indeed, here you can enjoy the combination of Gobi and Khangai Natural Zones.
We will visit the Elsen Tasarkhai Sand Dunes and Erdene Khamba Temple in picturesque Khugnu Khan Mountain, and return to Ulaanbaatar and transfer to the hotel.
July 14, 2018: Flight home as your schedule dictates. You will be transferred back to the hotel by our staff.
- Double occupancy lodging (single available, just ask)
- All meals during the workshop
- All transportation during the workshop
- All 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 USD will guarantee your spot, and the final payment of $4,995 USD will be due not later than April 1, 2018. All of our standard terms and conditions apply. Please do not make air travel arrangements until checking with us first. Need special payment arrangements for your deposit? No problem, just ask us.