Landscape

Travel Photography from the end of the world.

Kamchatka: Land of Fire and Ice

Travel photography is a huge passion of mine. I think the emphasis is more on travel than the photography. Kamchatka is a place that most people have never heard of and I take great pleasure in enlightening people of its whereabouts.

The journey

Described as the ‘lost world’ or the ‘land of fire and ice’, volcanically active Kamchatka is one of Russia’s most pristine wilderness havens. We decided to book a trip there as a special treat for my big birthday year (don’t ask) and when we told people where we were going, many didn’t even know where it was – bonus! Initially we took a 5 hour flight to Moscow and stayed overnight, followed by a city tour the following morning.

Then back to the airport for a further 8 hour overnight flight to Kamchatka. It is really mind boggling that we were still in the same country. Any further and we would have crossed the international dateline and would eventually arrive in Alaska.  Kamchatka is a 780 mile long  peninsula in the far east of Russia, with an area of around 100,000 square miles. It lies between the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Sea of Okhotsk to the west. Immediately offshore along the Pacific coast of the peninsula runs the 10,500 metre (34,400 ft) deep Kuril–Kamchatka Trench, which accounts for the volcanic activity in the area.

Travel Photography in Kamchatka, Russia
Documenting my Travel Photography in Kamchatka, Russia
Visiting Kamchatka in Russia - The land of fire and ice
Visiting and photographing Kamchatka in Russia – The Land of fire and ice

It was all about the bears

Kamchatka brown bears in Andrew Boschier's travel photography
Kamchatka brown bears captured within Andrew Boschier’s travel photography

The other attraction is the wildlife which takes full advantage of the wilderness. Around a quarter of the world’s salmon return to the rivers here to breed during July and August. This attracts hundreds of Kamchatka brown bears to the area, who feast on the bounty in order to fatten up for the severe winters. So this ticks all of the boxes for us. As a bonus due to the area being so remote, our main mode of transport was ex-soviet military Mi-8 helicopters.

This all added up to be a very exciting trip which did not disappoint! Some memorable moments were for me to get up before dawn to catch the first rays of the sun striking the distant volcanoes. What I did not expect was to be joined by a family of bears wandering along lake shore a few feet from where I was standing! Luckily there was an electric fence between us, although the bears were not particularly bothered by my presence. For my partner Cathy, it was just the sheer abundance of wildlife – the chance to get very close to the bears and practice her wildlife photography.

Travel photography in Kamchatka by Andrew Boschier
Travel photography in Kamchatka
A Kamchatka brown bear catching fish photographed by Andrew Boschier
A Kamchatka brown bear photographed as part of Andrew Boschier’s travel photography
Wildlife in Kamchatka captured by Andrew Boschier
Brown bear and it’s cub in Kamchatka shot by Andrew Boschier
Kamchatka brown bears in the water Andrew Boschier Travel photography
Capturing Kamchatka brown bears playing in the water

And we did get VERY close. Each day we left the safety of the lodge compound, accompanied by armed rangers, to roam along and through the rivers in search of the bears

© Andrew Boschier Photography 2017

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