Yellow Mountains Autumn Workshop

19-25  Oct 2024  / USD  $2800 per person | Max 4 Participants

Huangshan, also known as the Yellow Mountains. 

On a clear day, at first and last light, the intricacy of the granite stone shining golden and pines rising among the famous jagged peaks, is a sight you will revel in and it will take your breath away. In fog or misty conditions that same powerful stone and those precarious and poetic trees will reveal a unique scene to you as quickly as it disappears. On other days, due to a temperature inversion, you may be surprised to find a sea of cloud swirling below the peaks and around the trees and receding far across the range. Whatever you encounter, all such views have been depicted in classic Chinese paintings over many centuries and continuing to this day, and inspiring many photographers, perhaps most famously Michael Kenna. And you will be glad you are there to capture it.

I no longer run classic China photography trips to both Xiapu and Guilin, and Wulingyuan National Park, because the former have become more and more like a Hollywood movie set which degrades the whole experience of being there, while the latter has closed all the mountain lodges since 2018, which means more hours will be spent on getting to the mountain top and less time for photography every day. Apart from the Yellow Mountain’s natural beauty, the main reason I’m drawn back is its potential for a wide variety of images in different weather conditions. Moreover, with limited hotels available, which are relatively expensive, there are less tourists in mountain viewpoints during the key early and late hours. This area is so vast that we will find many moments of awe and astonishment throughout the day.

You will be travelling with someone well experienced in Yellow Mountains, who knows the best locations for photography in changeable weather conditions, and has detailed cultural and practical and linguistic skills for this region, making your journey a safe and enriching experience.

 

 

Trip Detail:

Itinerary: Workshop starts at 5pm in Yellow Mountain Town on day one, we will then take a cable car to the top of the mountain the next morning to spend 5 nights there. Workshop ends after a group meal on our last day, and some of us will continue to Shanghai/Beijing and connect to international flights. We can finalise your pre and post trip schedule between 3-6 months prior to the workshop.

Meeting Point: Huangshan

(There are high speed trains between Yellow Mountain to major cities and also Shanghai Hongqiao Airport)

Included: Vehicle Transportation / Photography Location Entry Tickets | Accommodation – Single Occupancy in 4 Star Hotel – Shared Occupancy is $900 less of a two-person total.

Excluded: Chinese Visa Application | Domestic Flight/Train Ticket to Yellow Mountains –  Please consult with us before making your flight arrangements | Travel/Personal/Equipment/Medical Insurance (required) | Alcoholic beverages

Photography Skill Level: Intermediate and above.  Beginners and non-photographers welcome, however, as with the more experienced, I will not be able to provide photography instruction, because I will be fully busy with aspects of the journey. Regardless of your level, please come with good knowledge of and capability with your equipment. I am more than happy to share my own approach at each significant stop, and discuss techniques/concepts via the camera screen at the end of the day as we gathering for a drink/meal.

Fitness Level: You need to be able to walk over 20,000 steps on paved stone steps  in Yellow Mountain. Porters is available at extra costs.

Booking Process

Complete Booking Form |  Deposit GBP £700 or USD $900 to reserve your place after receive Invoice | Visa Application allowed from 90 days before the trip | The balance is due no later than 90 days prior to the Workshop | Packing list | Arrive Huang Shan (Yellow Mountain town) on time

Packing for the mountain top:

On top of the mountain, it is mostly either up or down, porters available at extra cost. The method we use is to store our suitcases in our ground hotel which we will come back for, and pack essentials for the mountain top. 

Free porterage of 30L bag – The free porterage for each participant is a 30L bag of clothing and personal items, which I will coordinate with our mountain top hotel after we reach the exit point of the cable car. I will also cover for them to be transferred when we switch hotels, and back to the cable car entry point when we leaving the mountain top. You will need to carry it between our ground hotel to the entry/exit point of the cable car, no more than 10 minutes walking total per trip. 

Camera bag and tripod – You are responsible for carrying your own camera bag and tripod at all times on this trip. On some occasions, it’s possible to hire porters to carry them for you, usually $30 dollar for a 30 mins journey. 

Porters: Porters cost between $50-100 dollars per day, for which you are responsible. I usually suggest to take one way with porter if the photography location we choose for sunrise is strenuous, and make your way slowly back by yourself as most likely we will be stopping often along that way. Some photography locations are less than 30 mins walk that you can easily manage yourself. Please discuss details with me if you require this service.

Other workshop dates available: More info on  28 Feb – 7 Mar 2025 & 21 – 31 Jan 2026 

FAQs

Can you advise on the pros and cons of the October versus the January/March timings?

From a photographic point of view: the colour palette of Yellow mountains is warmer and more vibrant in October; more likely to get clear conditions in the first/last light; equal chance of “sea of cloud” on a clear morning after a rain, the heavier the rain is the stronger of “sea of cloud” will be. The Xihai valley is still open until the end of November, so it offers us more locations to visit when condition is right. 

The colour palette in March is much cooler, with frost in early morning and possible snow; equal chance of “sea of cloud” but more likely on a foggy or misty day, however the mist or fog will more likely linger throughout the day/night; good chances of excellent mist conditions for minimalist images and possible snow leads to further opportunities. Xihai Valley will be closed from December to the end of March.

In January, Possible heavy snowfall can bring sea cloud on a clear morning/afternoon. This is the only trip that is 10 days length, with possibility of 8 nights in the mountains which allows us to encounter some epic photography conditions. On top of this, I decided to take max 3 participants that have much more fitness strength to cover more distance when we encounter these great photography opportunities. For all above reasons, it’s critical to be prepared for a more flexible daily schedule and change of plan at short notice.  Each participant needs to carry their own camera bag and tripod, sometimes hike for a brisk 90 minutes on icy paths to the most ideal locations. Temperature can be a lot colder in January requires extra layers of clothing, especially a good pair of gloves and shoes/socks.

As we all know, mountains have their own dynamics, so to take advantage of prime conditions means we may need to skip a meal or two, bring your snacks!

Booking Form