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Old 1st March 2012, 13:46   #1
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Default Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue

It all started in when I and a good friend of mine decided to visit an international destination for nature photography. Now for any nature photographer, Africa is the first place that comes to mind. But both of us have been to Africa and personally seeing the deluge of Mara/Serengeti pictures across different forums I was reluctant to visit Africa.
Then my friend came up with the idea of traveling to a pristine wilderness in Far East Russia..the Kamchatka Peninsula. I was awestruck seeing the images from Kamchatka and immediately decided to go ahead with his plan.
All the logistics were figured out and we decided to join a motley group of photographers and trekkers from across the world to embark on the trip from Bangalore.
I will try to give a day to day account of the whole trip and as always it will be more pictures than words.
Some teaser pics:
Face off with a brown bear!
Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue-_a0r7481less1mb.jpg

Aerial image of one of the many volcanoes we saw
Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue-_a0r6067less1mb.jpg
PS: All images with Canon DSLR’s with Canon lenses. A few with a Canon PointnShoot (Powershot S90..it shoots RAW).
It takes some time to resize the images as per the forum specifications, so please bear with me.
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Old 1st March 2012, 13:56   #2
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Default Re: Bears,Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue

Quote:
Originally Posted by robimahanta View Post
Then my friend came up with the idea of traveling to a pristine wilderness in Far East Russia..the Kamchatka Peninsula.

Some teaser pics:
Face off with a brown bear!
Let me be the first to respond to this wonderful thread - has all the makings of a block buster!

Very nice picture of the bear! how close was it? looks pretty close

Bring it on - i guess the only one of its kind thread on t-bhp. Also - give details of the place and conditions, logistics, etc.

Last edited by sach.sri : 1st March 2012 at 14:04.
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Old 1st March 2012, 13:56   #3
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Default Re: Bears,Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue

Great one Robi! This would be the first encounter with this part of the world for most of us in the forum.

What an amazing picture of the brown bear! I used to be a Nikon guy, somehow tilting towards the Canon camp lately.

Bring it on! I am hooked
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Old 1st March 2012, 14:00   #4
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Default Re: Bears,Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue

Thats one good shot. Makings of a star rated thread. Bring it on. The aerial image of the volcano is awesome. Some many rich colors. This made me one step closer to getting a Canon. Which lens did you use?
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Old 1st March 2012, 14:12   #5
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Default Re: Bears,Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue

High expectations from this thread. Beautiful, less traveled parts. Did it need a lot of "bravery" on your part to complete that trip ?

The bear image is sharp. The volcano looks beautiful, but may have gone a little soft ( hope you don't mind the comment : but I might have reduced the lights / increased the darks with PP ).
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Old 1st March 2012, 14:13   #6
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Default Re: Bears,Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue

Quote:
Originally Posted by sach.sri View Post
how close was it? looks pretty close

Bring it on - i guess the only one of its kind thread on t-bhp. Also - give details of the place and conditions, logistics, etc.
Thanks. Often at times we were pretty close to the bears but we had an armed guard with us at all times. Just for reference I will post an image.

I will provide details on location/logistics as I get on with the photologue.

Proximity..hardly 50 feet I would say. Thats me shooting.
Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue-proximityless300.jpg

What i got. The bear seemed disinterested for the photoshoot
Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue-_a0r7499less1mb.jpg

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinayrathore View Post

What an amazing picture of the brown bear! I used to be a Nikon guy, somehow tilting towards the Canon camp lately.

Bring it on! I am hooked
Thanks.Not a Canon/Nikon war again. To tell you the truth I have even thought of jumping ship to Nikon. But once you have invested in lenses its better to be patient, Canon will definitely come up with the goods.
OT: Looking forward to the 5DMkIII announcement tomorrow.

Last edited by robimahanta : 1st March 2012 at 14:23.
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Old 1st March 2012, 14:21   #7
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Default Re: Bears,Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue

Quote:
Originally Posted by arup.misra View Post
Thats one good shot. Makings of a star rated thread. Bring it on. The aerial image of the volcano is awesome. Some many rich colors. This made me one step closer to getting a Canon. Which lens did you use?
Thanks. A whole bunch of lenses from 10mm to 400mm

Quote:
Originally Posted by airguitar View Post
High expectations from this thread. Beautiful, less traveled parts. Did it need a lot of "bravery" on your part to complete that trip ?

The bear image is sharp. The volcano looks beautiful, but may have gone a little soft ( hope you don't mind the comment : but I might have reduced the lights / increased the darks with PP ).
Dont know what you mean by bravery.
No, I dont mind the comments. Photography is just a hobby for me and I am always learning.
Regarding, sharpness I actually thought the images were getting over sharpened due to some flaw in my size reduction work flow. Moreover, the volcano image is through the glass of a low flying helicopter.
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Old 1st March 2012, 14:36   #8
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Default Re: Bears,Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue

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Dont know what you mean by bravery. .
Err, I didn't know if it was a safe place to travel. So i asked.

Quote:
Originally Posted by robimahanta View Post
, the volcano image is through the glass of a low flying helicopter.
Ah that might explain it. I didn't see you mentioned "aerial" - sorry.
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Old 1st March 2012, 14:53   #9
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Default Re: Bears,Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue

That image of bear coming out of water and you in front of it taking picture is giving me a rush. Wow so close to the real thing, and its looking quiet imposing. Was this only a photographers trip? or folks went with families? More details please, if you think this could be a good place for someone to go for a vacation?
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Old 1st March 2012, 14:58   #10
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Default Re: Bears,Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue

Wow! Makings of a thriller thread ahead. Great shots and the proximity to the bear is downright scary in the pic you have posted! Waiting for the rest of the story/pics to unfold.
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Old 1st March 2012, 17:23   #11
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Default Re: Bears,Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue

Sorry guys, had to do some editing/formatting to the posts. Besides the travelogue is going off topic, so I will answer all your queries in due time. Lets get the ball rolling..

DAY 1

We flew out of the beautiful Bangalore international airport to catch an Aeroflot flight to Moscow from the new T3 international terminal, Delhi. After a 7 hour flight in one of the worst airlines I have traveled, we landed in Moscow at around 9 am

At the Sheremetyevo airport, we had the first setback as all currency exchange counters were closed. There were some ATM’s but none with English instructions. Luckily, a friendly Russian bloke helped us with the translations and soon we were on our way to the hotel.

Taxis in Moscow are pretty expensive and we decided to take the subway to the Red square from a station right next to our hotel. After some customary images in and around Red Square , it was time for a hearty Russian dinner with broscht and caviar.

Images from DAY 1

The Moscow Subway
Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue-img_0498.jpg

The quintessential Moscow image of St.Basil's Cathedral,Red Square
Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue-img_0520ad.jpg

The Gum shopping centre in Red Square
Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue-gum_hdr2.jpg

The Moscow university
Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue-univ_hdr1.jpg

Another wide angle shot

Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue-univ_hdr2.jpg

A park in central Moscow

Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue-_mg_8106ad.jpg

Along the Moskva river next to Baltschug Kempinski Hotel, Moscow

Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue-_mg_8107ad.jpg

A tastefully decorated supermarket in downtown Moscow

Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue-_mg_8125.jpg

Red Square at Night (Kremlin&St Basil's cathedral)
Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue-_mg_8112ad.jpg

Last edited by robimahanta : 1st March 2012 at 17:29.
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Old 2nd March 2012, 10:39   #12
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Default Re: Bears,Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue

DAY 2

Today the plan was to fly to Petropavlosk-Kamchatsky (PKC) from Moscow, again in an Aeroflot flight, which is supposedly one of worlds longest direct domestic flight.
So after a grueling 8 hours,we landed in PKC around noon. The airport in PKC is perhaps the smallest one I have ever seen. After deplaning, all the passengers were ushered in through a gate and then, we had to wait outside a small room from where we were supposed to collect our check in bags. In short, we didnt even enter the small terminal building after deplaning.

There was a small introduction of sorts among all the photographers/trekkers from across the world, who had come for the trip. Soon we were on our way to our lodge.

PKC, a small coastal city in the eastern most part of Russia,is the gateway to the Kamchatka Peninsula. It is a beautiful city surrounded by hills and volcanoes.

Soon after checking into our lodge we started our last minute preparations for the next few days in the wilderness. There are some amazing outdoor gear shops in PKC and we stocked up on some essential gear like gumboots, sleeping bags, thermals etc.

It was a tiring day with air travel being a major part of the day, so didn't shoot many pictures.

Couple of images from DAY 2

A beautiful sight on our way from the airport
Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue-untitled_hdr3.jpg
The PKC coastline

Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue-_a0r6018.jpg
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Old 3rd March 2012, 17:09   #13
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Default Re: Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue

DAY 3

Today we took a 1 hr MI-8 helicopter (probably old Russian army issue) to Kamchatka's famed Kurilskoye Lake. Our accommodation for the next few days was in a cosy wooden log hut offering a breathtaking view of Kurilskoye Lake and the surrounding snow capped mountains . After lunch, we headed out on foot along the lake’s pumice rock beach for our first excursion to see the famed Brown bears of Kamchatka. We had an armed Russian forest warden with us, who had years of experience across wildlife parks in far east Russia.


Images from DAY 3

The helicopter had arrived to take us to Kurilskoye Lake
Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue-_a0r5988.jpg

Literally packed into the copter
Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue-_dsc7065.jpg

Aerial views from the flight
Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue-_a0r6037.jpg

Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue-_a0r6054.jpg

Reaching the lake..first sight of the bears in the distance
Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue-_a0r6086.jpg

Unloading the gear
Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue-_a0r6094.jpg

The helicopter left for PKC again after the drop off
Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue-_a0r6102.jpg

Our lodge for the next few days
Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue-7d8609.jpg

One hell of a location..panoramic view
Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue-untitled_panorama1.jpg

First shots of the bears while on foot
Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue-_a0r6263.jpg
Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue-_a0r6280rs.jpg

A close up of "Mama bear" in the drizzle
Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue-_mg_8417less800.jpg
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Old 3rd March 2012, 17:28   #14
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Default Re: Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue

Note From Team-BHP Support-Team: Thread moved from Assembly Line to Travelogues section. Thank you for your valuable contribution!
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Old 3rd March 2012, 17:58   #15
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Default Re: Bears, Volcanoes & what not, Far East Russia: Photologue

Excellent composition! Please share details of your camera gear.

Russia is one country, that although western, has never really caught the attention of Indian travelers. For a country that spans 11 time zones, and has a rich and long history, I could not understand that trend.

Something to add to my (long-pending) to-do list. This promises to be an interesting travelog.
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