Mindful Photography: Experiencing Siberia in Summer
Join photographers Kristina Kulakova and Dan Rubin for a unique opportunity in mindful storytelling, experiencing the remote Altai region of Russia through an off-road photographic tour of its culture, food, traditions, and stunning nature by NFR Travel Russia.
With southern Siberia as the backdrop, we will spend 5 days exploring this amazing landscape near the intersection of Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and China, guiding you through the journey of crafting your own story in pictures, followed by a 2 – day workshop where we will help you write your story, then review, edit, and curate your images, culminating in the creation of a book — a physical artifact of the story you’ve discovered along the way.
Keep in mind most visitors need a visa to enter Russia. Getting one is not difficult. All you need to do is go to your local Russian embassy and apply for one. Follow our step-by step instructions here.
Dan RubinPhotographer, designer and traveller
Dan is a designer, photographer, and creative director based in London. Co-founder of The Photographic Journal, IPA Jury and WPO Academy member, and host of the Apple Event series Meet The iPhone Photographer, Dan speaks at conferences and teaches workshops worldwide at events including The Photography Show, South by Southwest, and WPPI, and consults on topics including product design, brand communication, art direction, and more for clients around the world.
One of Instagram’s earliest beta-testers, Dan travels the globe on photographic commissions for select clientele including Adobe, Alfa Romeo, American Express, Barbour, Courvoisier, Ducati, Land Rover, Leica, Louis XIII, The Macallan, Nissan, O2, RedBull, Starwood Hotels, Travel + Leisure, Williams Martini, and more.
Dan’s first photographic book, Koya Bound (Winner, AIGA Cover Design Award, 2017), was published in 2016 by Pre/Post in Japan.
Kristina KulakovaPhotographer, producer and traveller
Kristina is a photographer and marketing & communications consultant based in Vienna, with a particular focus on the art world. Practicing yoga and meditation for over 5 years, the concept of mindfulness is key to her professional and personal interests.
Born in Moscow, Kristina got her first camera when she was just 12 years old, studied film production and management and worked as a TV reporter and producer all by the age of 22. After moving to Vienna, she ran marketing and communication projects at the viennacontemporary art fair and her photographic work has been exhibited at the Belvedere Museum Vienna, Auction Dorotheum, and One Work Gallery.
Her career and interests take her around the world to destinations including Siberia, Brazil, India, Sri Lanka, Morocco, and more, working with clients and publications including BWM, Opel, Manner, Ignant, Monopol Magazine, Die Presse, Heim Magazine, NY Times, Financial Times, Forbes, and Wallpaper.
Arriving in Gorno-Altaisk (UTC+7) by plane, we will head to Lake Teletskoye, UNESCO world heritage site. We will embark on a boat tour across the Artybash Bay and stay at a secluded cozy hotel surrounded by wild nature. After lunch we will take a walk to Estuba waterfall, while in the evening we will contemplate the nature’s performance: the sun setting behind the mountain peaks and reflecting on the surface of Lake Teletskoye.
We will start the day by taking pictures of Lake Teletskoye landscapes by the dawn light. After breakfast we will cover 78 km, crossing the lake from north to south.
We will spot dozens of waterfalls located in Chulyshman valley, reach the top of Katu-Yaryk pass with a spectacular view on the deepest canyon of Altai, visit the Pazyryk burials where the most ancient pile carpet was discovered, touch sacred Altai trees and capture the sunset facing the North-Chuya ridge.
Meeting the sunrise in the Kurayskaya steppe, we are getting ready to spend the day with the nomads who graze their horses, dzos, and rams in the highland pastures of Altai.
We will depict their daily life against the backdrop of unforgettable Altai landscapes: snowy summits, waterfalls, steppes and cedar taiga. We will learn more about their lifestyle remaining unchanged for ages and will make some close-ups of these courageous people.
Martian landscapes of Kyzyl-Chin will greet us at dawn. We will wander along the canyons and witness the traces of the ancient Tethys ocean. We will arrive in Kosh-Agach settlement at the border with Mongolia to take a series of street photos revealing the life of this remote village in the heart of Altay.
We will as well pay a visit to a craftsman who creates national nomadic instruments, having a unique chance to portray his work and find out interesting facts about long-standing local traditions. At sunset we will enjoy throat-singing concert and an opportunity to capture antient kaichi story-tellers surrounded by snowy peaks of this mountainous country.
Commemorating the sunrise on the top of Kurai ridge, we will set off for an adventure along the Chuya Highway ranked among top 10 most beautiful highways worldwide according to National Geographic.
Today we will discover a geyser lake, witness the petroglyphs of the Kalbak-Tash sanctuary, an ancient star chart and a stone warrior, while at sunset we will photograph the waters of milk-white Chua and turquoise Katun joining together.
Waking up at dawn, we will take pictures of a sunrise in Inegen valley while the horses are being brought to water in the Katun river. The beautiful landscapes of Chuya highway await us: Katun Terraces, Scythian deer stones, the Ininsky suspension bridge being the inspiration for San Francisco Golden Gate bridge. Crossing Chicke-Taman and Seminsky mountain passes, we will watch the sunset at an eco-hotel on the shores of the Katun river.
We will meet the sunrise with a stunning view on a monastic chapel located on Patmos island in the middle of the Katun river. We will spend the day at an eco-hotel, enjoying the walks along the river and contemplating the mountain peaks, and later on – creating a photo-book of our journey comprising the most picturesque places of Altai.
At sunset we will head to the waterfalls by Chechkysh Tract and have a farewell dinner at the eco-hotel restaurant. We will depart to Gorno-Altaysk airport the following morning.
Accomodation & Transport
Launching on a mindful photographic tour across Siberia together with us, you can be sure of utmost safety and highest comfort during your upcoming journey. We are proud to work only with well-trusted and secure transport agencies and experienced guides. Accommodation is provided in the best chalets and eco-hotels conveniently located along the route. The transportation during your trip is offered aboard a Mercedes Sprinter as well as motor boats and off-roaders during challenging ascents.