Estonia, unknown to many photographers, invites you to explore the country with your camera. Estonia is the smallest of the three Baltic states and it is an unique piece of Europe. Not only because of its history, but especially also because three quarters of Estonia is covered with forests and peat bogs. As result it still offers a lot of untouched nature. This photo tour focuses on the 2 main elements of Estonia: trees and water.
Together with nature photographer Kristel Schneider you will discover the beauty of this almost Scandinavian-looking country. The journey starts on the island of Hiiumaa, focusing on the coastal landscapes of the Baltic Sea. We will visit Ristna, according to the Estonians one of the most beautiful beaches in the country, to photograph rocks and colored boulders by the sea.
Ruins, country houses and old wooden barns can be a photography subject if the group is interested in these human elements. Then we move back to the mainland to take on the photographic challenge of the vast forests and bogs. Of course we hope for beautiful light and some fog so that the bogs show their mystical side. And with a bit of luck, we also capture the beautiful autumn colors. We take plenty of time for photography and can also return to photo locations to try out other frames or from a different point of view in different light conditions. During the trip, two photo reviews are planned that will undoubtedly provide a starting point for new inspiration. Besides the many possibilities for landscape photography, there is also a chance of wildlife in Estonia. We always keep our eyes and ears open to spot deers and elks, as well as for the many migratory birds. This can be a welcoming addition to the possibilities for landscape photography.
Join us to this special country and ‘get a taste of Estonia’!
The travel sum is based on a shared double room with private facilities.
A subcharge of € 200 applies for a single room.
(international group is possible, in which case English is the official language)
You will travel to Lennart Meri airport in Tallinn (TLL) on your own, where Kristel is ready to take you to the ferry for the trip to Hiiumaa island, a ride of about 1 hour and a half. The boat trip also takes 1 hour and a half and Kristel will go through the program of the coming days. After checking- in at the hotel it will already be dark and time to enjoy our first Estonian meal. The next morning we expore the area nearby the hotel.
Day 2 – 7
During the first days Kristel will bring you to the different photographic places of the beautiful island Hiiumaa. Hiiumaa is the third largest island in Estonia, very sparsely populated and far less touristy than the largest island of Saaramaa.
On the island we will mainly focus on coastal landscapes of the Baltic Sea, beaches with colored boulders, large stones that have remained after the various ice ages and water features with reeds. We will visit the beach of Ristna, located on the tip of the Kõpu peninsula . Because of the relief of the seabed, westerly winds create waves that roll on the beach. This beach is therefore very popular with surfers, there fore an excellent place for nature photographers to explore. The island also offers plenty of opportunities to photograph old wooden farms or Estonian churches. Depending on the wishes of the group, we will make stopovers to ruins of old country houses and a mysterious cemetery. The locations are often close to the parking area or accessible by a short walk of up to 15 minutes. On the beaches you can stroll around on your own.
In addition to your wide-angle lens, we also recommend, taking a zoom lens and / or macro lens, because of the many oppertunities for creative landscape photographs and colorful details.
After a few days of fresh sea air, it is time to return to the mainland. Our next destination is about 3 hours drive from the ferry. We will take plenty of time to get there and stop at the photo opportunities that occur spontaneously, but also at one of the many old country houses (Mõis in Estonian).
The second part of the trip focuses on the peat bogs and old forests. These are very photogenic, especially at the crack of dawn. The fog in the beautiful morning light gives the peat bogs a mystical atmosphere.
We will explore this topic extensively and to look at the various possibilities to photograph the peat landscapes. Given the time of the year, there are still plenty of migratory birds in Estonia. If you can not capture them on the the photo, then just enjoy the experience, the sound of the hundreds of geese flying over and, if we are lucky the cranes that cover or gather in the meadows. Not to mention the wildlife we can encounter in Estonia: deer, lynx and elk. It is good for those in the front seat to watch out for them in the early or late hours.
The photographic possibilities?
– landscape photography
– panoramic photos
– work with filters, gray and gray gradient and slow shutter speeds
– creative photo techniques (ICM, double exposure, slow shutter speeds, etc.)
– on request travel photography: old country houses, wooden farms, old dilapidated (wooden) houses, etc.
At the end of the morning it is time to go back to Tallinn Airport. The flight back it will be filled with beautiful memories and gigabites of photos. And no doubt you will look back on a beautiful photography experience, and that special ‘taste of Estonia’.
At all accommodations we offer a full board stay. We start with 3 nights at the new Hotel Kassari Puhkekeskus on the island Hiiumaa. Then we stay 3 nights in the rural farm Hotel Mokko and last but not least we finish the trip with 2 nights on a 16th century estate, Vihula Manor Country Club & Spa. In all hotels we have rooms with private shower and toilet at our disposal .A single room is available for a subcharge.
All meals are included and sometimes we choose to bring breakfast or have a late breakfast so that we can get out early. Furthermore, we receive a packed lunch everywhere and dinner always takes place at the hotel. And for a fee you can use the saunas in the various hotels. And as they say in Estonia, you can not possibly return home without having tried this 800-year-old Estonian custom.
From the airport we have a 9-person mini-van available for the entire trip to drive to all photo locations. The motorways are generally good, but in the early mornings and evenings we will all have to keep our eyes open for ‘wildlife’ which fortunately still runs around pretty freely. The distances and driving times to the various photo locations vary and also dependent on the weather conditions. There may be fog at this time of the year or some early snow fall, so speed has to be adapted.
The weather conditions in Estonia can vary from very cold in the early hours to warm during the day. There may be rain and fog and in the second half of the trip an early snow shower is not excluded. Because of the differences in temperatures, it can make your stay outside heavier. It is important that you are well equipped with the right ‘outdoor’ clothing and waterproof shoes with good grip to walk small parts.
The soil can be swampy but generally the paths are good and hardened. A flexible attitude to be willing to get up early, and want to capture the beautiful morning light is important. The swamps are accessible after short walks, no more than 20-30 minutes on easily accessible paths. The bogs are equipped with wooden walkways as well as a with a lookout tower over the area.
In connection with outstanding options / reservations, it must be known by no later than 25 August 2019 whether the minimum number of participants has been reached. Once 5 participants have booked, you can arrange the ticket (yourself or by Nordic Vision Photo tours). We will inform you about this.