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Itinerary for China Photo Tour

Day 1 – Arrival in Shanghai
Arrive in Shanghai and transfer to our hotel. We have a group dinner tonight.

Day 2 Shanghai to Yuanyang
We fly to Kunming by MU5804 (0735/1120), drive 7-8 hours south to little know wonderful rice Terrace in Yuanyang, the New UNESCO world heritage site in June 2013. “South of the Clouds” is the literal meaning of Yunnan, and stretching from the high Tibetan Plateau down to the subtropical climes bordering Southeast Asia, it is an amazingly diverse place. Located at the crossroads of Tibet, China and Southeast Asia, it is home to a mix of ethnic groups – 25 of China’s 55 ethnic minorities and making up 30% of the province’s population – from Naxi and Tibetan to Dai, Yi, and Hani. The capital of Yunnan province, the “Spring City” – Kunming, cradled in the foothills of the Himalayas and decorated with diverse flora and fauna – all wrapped up with a culturally rich history. Kunming’s history goes back thousands of years. The city obtained fame during the Ming Dynasty (1364 – 1644 A.D) because of Kunming’s ready supply of metals, the main source for Ming coins. Upon the completion of the Indochina railroad in 1910, Kunming rapidly opened up and became more accessible to the rest of the world, but still remains a nice contrast to the bustling chaos of other Chinese cities. BF, L, D

Day 3+4 – Yuanyang
During following days, we photograph the gorgeous Rice Terrace at the best morning and afternoon light. We also will photograph the local markets and local ethnic minorities.

Ailao Mountain is located in the southeast of Yunnan province, and it is 150 km to Vietnam border. Hani and Yi people spent hundreds of years to cultivate 10,000 hectares rice terrace along the mountain slope. Some of slope has more than hundreds of layers of terrace. Every late October to next March, the terrace is full of water. The good morning and afternoon light turns the watery terrace into magic blue, red, silver and golden. Also, February is a good month for the mist and clouds sea. The milky mist flows in the wind, provides endless changes for rice terrace pictures. Late February probably the white cherry flower and peach flower will blossoms. In Late 1980s, to were knowing to the beautiful Yuanyang outside world. A French photographer’s sunset rice terrace award-winning picture was regarded as one of seven world nature landscape discoveries of that year. However, as the remote location and the mountain roads, Yuanyang still remains Hani and Yi people’s original lifestyle, and it is one of best kept beautiful places in China. Yuanyang is photographers’ heaven and familiar to serious photographers, but still strange to a lot of Chinese tourists. It is really the art of land, the sculpture of land, and the real artiest is Hani people! As a saying among the intrepid travelers: If you are intrepid traveler and missed Yuanyang, Yuanyang will pity you. If you are photographer and missed Yuanyang, the God will pity you.

Like a lot of other ethnic minorities, Hani people also love silver. Women use silver coin as the costume knots. Every pieces of rice terrace is too small for any machine, Hani and Yi people keep the most primitive agriculture way. Buffalo and mule are their best helpers. Although there are more modern high buildings in the villages today, they still use the thatch roof like their traditional thatch houses.

From the 1500 meter-elevation town 27 km up to the 1900 meter-elevation Duoyishu (and another 12 km beyond), there are more than 10 easy-access shooting spots along the road for us making the gorgeous pictures. Longshuba is 5 km close to the town and full of algae to turn the watery terrace into red. Qingkou, the unique Hani village with thatch-roof houses was surrounded by rice terraces. Bada (includes Quanfuzhuang, Malizhai and Luomadian) is the hugest terrace area with 1,000 hectares. The hundreds of layers of rice terrace along the slope from the 2000 meter-elevation mountaintop down to Mali Ricer valley. Shengcun County is the markets places and a nice sunrise spot for rice terrace. Duoyishu is the most beautiful sunrise spot. As the three sides were surrounded by mountains, the clouds sea will pour into the deep valley at sunrise. Laohuzhui (Tiger Mouth) is a classic sunset photographing spot, the high shooting platform provides an Aerial-view photograph. BF, L, D

Day 5 – Yuanyang to Jianshui
We photograph local market over the whole morning. In late afternoon, we drive 3.5 hours back to Jianshui city.

Day 6 – Jianshui to Yangshuo
This morning, we photograph the Zhu Family Garden, afterwards, we drive 3.5 hours on highway to Kunming Airport and fly to Guilin by MU5340 (1830/2005), we then drive 1.5 hours to Yangshuo. This morning, we photograph the Zhu Family Garden, afterwards, we drive 3.5 hours on highway to Kunming Airport and fly to Guilin by MU5340 (1830/2005), we then drive 1.5 hours to Yangshuo.BF, L, D

Day 7+8 – Yangshuo
In the following days, we drive to Li River, which is considered by many as one of the most beautiful rivers in China. We start today early, before dawn, we take a 5 minutes boat ferry to the spot to photograph a beautiful sunrise pictures. We prepared the models for this private shooting – A straw or Palm bark-made raincoat dressed fisherman, cormorants, gas lamp and bamboo raft.

After sunrise shooting, we take the boat to Xingping, Xingping is an ancient town near Yangshuo. As we sit on the deck of the boat, it will seem as if we are viewing one scroll painting after another. This is territory that has inspired Chinese artists of all sorts for thousands of years. We will have our prepared breakfast at a little restaurant and walk around Xingping Town. Over thousands of years, Xingping remains its Ming (1368-1644 AD) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911 AD) style old architectures and the original town layout. At the dock, you can get a picture for the immortal scenery that can be seen on the back of the RMB 20 notes.

Drive from Xingping to Yangshuo, we stop at Fuli Fishing Town for the photogenic local market and fan workshop. On this road, we can see all kinds of orchards and fields: sugarcane, rice, mandarin orange, grapefruit, orange, mango, etc. And you can photograph en route. After lunch, take a short rest.

In the afternoon around 3.30 pm, we drive out to photograph along Yulong River. We photograph Li River on top of a2 mountain (15-20 minutes walk up) for panoramic pictures over the Karst Mountain. In the afternoon, we photograph the sunset at Putao, one of the best remaining spots for a nice picture of water and the karsts mountain. BF, L, D

Day 9 – Yangshuo to Huangshan
After morning photo session, we fly to Huangshan directly by GT1075 (1340/1530). Or direct flight is not available, we fly to Hangzhou by JD5548 (1125/1315) and drive 4 hours to Huangshan. Huangshan, which means Yellow Mountain, has been a well-known destination for scholars, poets and the occasional recluse, all seeking personal inspiration and enlightenment – when you visit you will easily appreciate why. Situated in the southern portion of the agriculturally rich Anhui Province and bordering Jiangxi and Zhejiang provinces, the picturesque Huangshan has long been effusively described as “awesome,” “a wonderland” and “Heaven on Earth.” The formation of the remarkable peaks and breathtakingly sharp precipices has been attributed to the many thousands of years of geological activity on the imposing granite mountains, creating the astounding natural wonder visible today. BF, L, D

Day 10+11 Top of the mountain
After breakfast, we’ll drive and take cable car up to top of mountain. In the following days, we photograph sunrise and sunset on top of mountain (and of course the whole day).BF, L, D

Day 12 Huangshan to Beijing
After morning photo session and we descend the mountain. After lunch, we visit Hongcun, UNESCO World Heritage Site housing typical South Anhui architecture (one of the most photogenic villages in China). The town is built along the banks of Nan Lake — a fine place for photographs of its traditional architecture. We fly to Beijing by KN5890 (1600/1800). Beijing is the capital of imperial China for eight centuries and capital of China again since 1949. Beijing has a rich history that’s mirrored in its spectacular palaces, temples and parks. And is the political and cultural heart of China. During the Zhou Dynasty, a military and administrative center was established near present-day Beijing to protect China’s northeastern border and oversea trade between Chinese farmers and the nomadic ancestors of the Mongols and Koreans. The original present-day city layout of Beijing is dated back to Yuan dynasty, designed and built by Genhis Khan’s grandson, Kublai Khan in 1270s. Emperor Yongle officially moved the Ming capital back to Beijing in 1421. The emperor would have a huge impact on Beijing, he gave the city its current name, which means Northern Capital, and rebuilt it on a chessboard pattern that survives to this day. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s shackled to the past. Quite the contrary, Beijing is a vibrant international capital that’s moving toward the future at hyper-speed. The city’s population of about 14 million is also diverse. Wizened men with pet songbirds share the streets with laptop-toting executives and foreign investors with migrants from the countryside. BF, L, D

Day 13 Beijing
This morning, we visit the Summer Palace, a summer retreat built by the Qing emperors. This park rebuilt by the Empress Dowager Cixi in 1873. Amongst the additions is the infamous marble boat, permanently located on the bank of Kunming Lake. Other attractions of note include the Hall of Jade Ripples, where Cixi confined the legal heir to the throne during her reign; the Long Corridor, a 700m long corridor lined by individually painted red columns; and the Pavilion of the Fragrance of Buddha, from where there are sweeping views of the Palace, the Lake and beyond. In the afternoon, we walk around Tiananmen Square, the largest public square in the world and the symbolic center for all of China. At the south end of the Square is the late Chairman Mao’s mausoleum, on the east side is the Museum of Chinese Revolution and History, and to the west is the Great Hall of the People. We will then visit and photograph the magnificent Forbidden City (as in Bertolucci’s film ‘The Last Emperor’), directly north of the Square. Forbidden City was the imperial palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties for five hundreds years, twenty-four emperors were living here… If time permits, we take a panoramic city photograph from a pavilion on Jingshan Park. BF, L, D.

Day 14 Great Wall
The Great Wall snakes its way across northern China, from the Yellow Sea and past the Gobi Desert for some 6,000km and is the most famous symbol of china. Though the underlying architecture dates from the Ming Dynasty, the original plan for the Great Wall and some of its construction date back to the Qin Dynasty (221-207 BC). Today, we drive to photograph The Great Wall Jinshanling.BF, L, D.

Day 15 Departure.
Depart for home – Depart for airport by shuttle bus and fly home (B).



January 9 – 23, 2019


15 days / 14 nights

Photographic themes:

Landscape, villages, mountains, culture, people,

Zhu Family Garden,
Great Wall,


USD $6590
per person in double room
USD $700
Single supplement

Price includes

  • Transfer from/to airport upon arrival and departure
  • all acomondations
  • Meals as indicated (B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner)
  • drinking water, soft drinks during meals as noted on itinerary
  • All transfers and sightseeing as per itinerary in AC vehicle
  • Model in Yuanyang
  • One English speaking tour escort / cum guide for the entire tour.
  • All guide charges, entry fees etc
  • All GOVT Tax, toll fees, parking etc
  • Professional Photographic Guides Dean Tatooles and Tim Vollmer

not included:

  • International Airfare/train ticket
  • Extra Flight tickets with air tax: USD 990
  • Shanghai – Kunming
  • Kunming – Guilin
  • Guilin – Huanghshan / or Guilin – Hangzhou
  • Huangshan – Beijing
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Travel insurance, health insurances.
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks, camera or video fees at any sites etc.
  • Tips for your guide and driver (discretionary)
  • Model fees
  • What is not mentioned as included


Photography Instructors


Tim Vollmer

Tim has devoted his life to photography, which has been his long held hobby and great passion. Tim has always felt himself drawn to the power and beauty he finds in nature. Tim has been leading photo tours and workshops in Iceland and in many different countries over the years. He has had the world as his workplace. Photographing everything from the dramatic landscape in Iceland, to the native people in the remote corners of the world and the culture that are unique to each country. His journeys have taken him around the world in pursuit of memorable travel experiences and the creation of compelling images. His work has been featured in international publications. His images and stories are shared on various internet outlets. As a driven artist, professional, entrepreneur and an adventurer, Tim is eager to share his passion, knowledge in photography and travel through the tours he designed on his own, or through his partnership with professional photographers from around the globe. Tim and his family currently lived 11 years in Iceland. Now they are based in Czech Republic.

Phone: (00420) 732203764

See his Website:

Photography workshops

Dean J. Tatooles

Chicago-based photographer, Dean J. Tatooles, is the owner and operator of Southern Cross Galleries Photo Safaris. In his professional career, Dean has specialized in landscape and wildlife photography and indigenous portraiture. His travels have taken him across all seven continents multiple times.

Dean works primarily with Nikon digital SLR equipment to capture his wildlife images and indigenous portraits and a Linhof 617 S III Technorama medium format panoramic camera to produce his majestic landscapes. At a young age, Dean became fascinated with the topography, culture and wildlife of certain locations in the Southern Hemisphere. In that spirit, he created Southern Cross Galleries after the constellation that bears its name and is only visible from below the Equator. His hope is that his work touches that sense of adventure in everyone and that viewers of his photographs will be transported to another time and place, even if it’s for just a moment.

As owner and operator of Southern Cross Galleries Photo Safaris, Dean in conjunction with his global partners, has lead photo tours all across the globe. The world is his workplace and Dean is eager to share his passion for photography with others whenever he can. Southern Cross Galleries Photo Safaris’ photo tours are always small and intimate –with rarely more than six to eight guests on a given trip. Wherever possible, mass tourism and the norm are avoided, opting for the more “off the beaten path” locations. Dean understands that light and timing are everything in creating that perfect photo and makes sure to have his guests in the right place at the right time to maximize opportunities. Accordingly, scheduling is flexible and his tours adapt constantly to conditions on the ground. Dean is happy to have many return guests over the years and hopes that you will choose to travel with us on your next adventure.

Phone: +1 (312) 898-0248

See his Website:

Dean J. Tatooles

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China January 8, 2018