Yellow Mountains Autumn Workshop
19-25 Oct 2023 / USD $2800 per person | 1-7 Mar 2025 / USD $3300 per person
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, we may be lucky to find a sea of cloud swirling below the peaks and around the trees and receding far across the range. Whatever we 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.
The itinerary I designed will gave us 5 days to explore this spectacular mountain range. We will climb to high vantage points to await the first light and visit different peaks throughout the day; therefore you need to be prepared to go up and down stone paths a minimum of 20,000 steps everyday. We will also be changing hotels to maximise the time for each area.
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.
1: Meeting Point: 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. (There are high speed trains between Yellow Mountain to major cities and also Shanghai Hongqiao Airport)
(There are high speed trains between Yellow Mountain to major cities and also Shanghai Hongqiao Airport)
2: Included: Vehicle Transportation / Photography Location Entry Tickets | Accommodation – Single Occupancy in 4/5 Star Hotel – Shared Occupancy is $900 less of a two-person total.
3: 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
4: Group size: 5 Participants
5: Photographic 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.
6: Fitness Level: You need to be able to walk for over 100 floors and over 20,000 steps on paved stone steps in Yellow Mountain. Porters is available for extra costs.
Complete Booking Form | Deposit GBP £700 or USD $700 to reserve your place 5 months prior to the trip | Visa Application allowed from 90 days before the trip | The balance is due no later than 60 days prior to the Workshop | Packing list
Can you advise on the pros and cons of the October versus the 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 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 so we’ll have less chance of golden light; good chances of excellent mist conditions for minimalist images and possible snow leads to further opportunities. 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!
Yellow Mountains Photography guidelines & Packing List:
Packing for the mountain – One 30L bag includes clothing/and personal items will be delivered to and transferred between our hotels in the mountains; you will be carrying your own camera bag and tripod at all times. Porters cost $80 dollars that will cover from sunrise to sunset photography, please let me know if you require this service.
Xi Di Village at foot hill of the Yellow Mountains