Charlie and I have dreamed of this trip for several years. Now it is going to happen! 10 (including travel days to and from Hokkaido) days of snow/trees/rolling hills and glimpsed mountainsides…charming lodging, private cars for transport (no buses, no trains), native Japanese speakers as our guides, and two photography instructors. This is a ‘shake-down’ trip, so the cost is lower and the participants are fewer…which means better shooting! Do NOT miss this once in a life-time opportunity to see this serene landscape in all its silent majesty.

We’ll concentrate on three areas (Asahikawa, Biei, and Kushiro, with a possible stay in Otaru if we coincide with the lantern festival) that will yield the greatest landscape possibilities. Lone poetic trees, curves in rivers and lakes with silver ribbons of water, the dancing cranes…all of this and so much more will captivate our imagination and spark a flurry of creativity with our lenses! Yes, it will be very cold but we will take every opportunity to ensure your warmth. The beauty of such a small group means flexibility and comfort. I will be making a pre-trip scouting session to perfect the itinerary.

You might consider renting a very long lens (300-400mm with tripod foot) from to make the most of your opportunities with the cranes. You will be assisted throughout the trip with your luggage but as with all international trips I do encourage you to pack, then take 1/2 of it out, and then repack. (That’s my trick). We will have laundry service available at each stop. Just think layers of smart wool or silk long underwear. I’m going to investigate rental for heavy down parkas. And I’ll be supplying glove and foot warmers for everyone each day. More information and suggestions to come in official trip information.

Lodging in 3* or better accommodation throughout. Charming guest houses (Ryokans) with gracious welcomes await! All breakfasts and two dinners included. We’ll often get a take-along lunch to maximize our time in the field. As days are short in winter we’ll want to be out as much as possible! And of course there will be review sessions during the trip with Charlie and Keron.

Group size, 4-5 guests
If there is great interest we will add a second trip. We will not increase the trip size.
Begin at Sapporo, end at Sapporo for international air arrival/departure
Single, $8,700
Double, $7,700
Deposit required (fully refundable up to 120 days prior to trip) $1200
Trip Insurance is a requirement

Portugal sessions

DATES BELOW, 7 nights, transport from and to airport, all meals (with wine) included, local guides and all other transport, entries for UNESCO sites, museums, Fado, Bullfights are included. This trips is truly ALL INCLUSIVE and an incredible value. There is no difference between single and double. There are three bathrooms and three guest bedrooms in the house. We will all share in some form. There is one bedroom that is a single (twin), One bedroom with a king bed, and one bedroom with two twins. There is also a full double ‘day bed’ in the living area that your hostess might use if my own room is needed. In other words, plenty of space!
Sleeping accommodations will be worked out in advance.
Pre-release price: $3400 (post April 3, cost goes to $3850 per person)
Deposit required (fully refundable up to 120 days prior to trip) $1200
Begin and end at Lisbon airport
Trip Insurance is a requirement

April 6-13*, prior to Holland trip for tulips, art, and more art!

June 20-27*, prior to France trip for horses, lavender, art and villages

October 6-13*, prior to Morocco for desert, Chefchaouen, Medinas, and culture!

Date to be Determined for Elizabeth Opalenik Portugal session. There will be a modest adjustment in cost for this trip. It is likely to be just after the France trip.

*I’ve allowed time at the end of these trips to EXTEND the Portugal experience to include 3 nights in the north of the country, based in the incomparable Palacio Freixo, right on the river in Porto. We’ll have a day trip out into the Douro, explore Porto, and soak up the culture and art that make this such an exciting destination. Extension Price will be $1775 total for a single, $1375 for a double. (includes hotel, transport, breakfasts, but no other meals). Porto is just over three hours drive to the north.

I’ve arranged these dates to make it an easy transition for you to come to Europe, relax, learn, recover from jet-lag, and sharpen your technical skills before going on to another destination (with me perhaps!!). It saves time, money, and wear and tear on you to bundle these trips.

The Portugal trip highlights include, in addition to the SMALL GROUP SIZE:

  • Exploring Lisbon with local photography guides
  • Keron’s favorite Fado spot in the Alfama for dinner and music
  • Reveling in the majesty of UNESCO sites
  • Photographing the glorious Lusitano in new and exciting locations
  • Enjoying the coast at sunset for landscape and atmosphere
  • Delicious food, catered in my home or meals out in my favorite restaurants
  • Daily opportunities for image review and sharing
  • Special guest photographers to help you strengthen your composition, lighting, editing and ‘seeing’ skills.

The Portugal trips will fill very quickly. There has been tremendous interest since I first announced my move last year. If you have a small group of photo buddies interested in coming at any other time of the year, please contact me to create your specialized opportunity. The weeks throughout the year are already filling fast and of course I will maintain a robust mentoring schedule throughout. Therefore, weeks are limited.

Holland for Flowers, Art, and more Art!

April 16-23
Once again (if it is marvelous, why change?) we’ll gather at the charming boutique hotel (Vila Beukenhof) that serves as our base to explore all the flower fields and the spectacular Keukenhof garden. Located at the edge of Leiden, birthplace of Rembrandt, we’ll have easy access to the north (Amsterdam) and to the south (The Hague and Kinderdijk…new this year) for a broad experience of Holland. Art museums large and small, iconic windmills, the World Press Photo Debut, and strolling along canals for great night shooting will round out our experience. And if your interests include history, the Dutch Resistance Museum is fascinating and I’ll work hard to procure tickets to the Anne Frank House. But the centerpiece remains the flowers! We’ll have a minimum of four trips to the gardens. Personal instruction for Macro, ICM, and other Creative techniques, along with review and critique sessions will enhance your skill and vision.

All breakfasts, welcome dinner and final night dinner, entrances to museums and gardens, transportation included. Lunch and other dinners not included. To call it simply ‘breakfast’ at Vila Beukenhof is like calling Versailles a house. Trust me. It’s a feast of food and refinement!

Pre-Release Price Single $4550 (regular price, $5150)
Pre-Release Price Double $3925 (regular price $4475)
Deposit required (fully refundable up to 120 days prior to trip) $1200
Trip Insurance is a requirement
Trip begins and ends at Amsterdam Schipol Airport

South of France

June 30 – July 8 With special guest: CHARLIE WAITE
Trip extended to 9 nights, 10 days (same price!)
Magical white horses of the Camargue? The lavender fantasy of Provence? ART, VILLAGES, FOOD? YES. This trip has it all, often all rolled into one amazing day!

I’ve been photographing the marvelous horses in the Camargue for many years and I never ever tire of it. With a tremendous local guide making all our arrangements, we are assured of great locations and unique opportunities. Patrice is always looking for something new and exciting for us…and he never fails to deliver. We’ll begin in Saintes Maries de la Mer in a charming boutique hotel (with a pool as the afternoons can be HOT). Early morning and late evening shoots with the horses (4 in total…more than any other tour I know…) will have us jump right into the action.

Then off to the plateau where the lavender blooms. It’s about a 3.5 hour drive so we’ll break it up with a stop in a typical provencal village for lunch. We’ll finish the day with our first lavender shoot. We’ll search for tiny stone buildings, sunflowers, and perfect rolling hills to give depth to our images. After two nights and 4 shoots in the lavender, we’ll return to the heart of Provence and stay three nights near St. Remy de Provence.

We’ll explore Avignon, Arles, and a number of other small villages. One highlight here is the Carriere des Lumieres, under the spectacular village of Les Baux en Provence. This immersive experience is so good that we are likely to go TWICE! Cultural festivals, shooting, shopping, and wonderful dining will cap our French idyll. Minimum 4 guests, limit 7 guests.

All breakfasts and three dinners included
Pre-Release Price Single $6670 (regular price, $7340)
Pre-Release Price Double $5750 (regular price $6340)
Deposit required (fully refundable up to 120 days prior to trip) $1200
Trip Insurance is a requirement
Trip begins and ends in Marseille (airport)


October 17-26 With special guest: CHARLIE WAITE
I can’t wait to go back to Morocco! I was utterly charmed by the people and entranced by the landscapes. And then there’s the thousand year old (or more) Medinas of Fez and Marrakech. Color, pattern, detail, light, texture, geometry…all making a dizzying feast for the photographer. While my first trip there (though my co-leader, Charlie Waite, had been often), was a resounding success, I’ve identified two key elements to make the next trip nothing short of astounding.

We’ll begin by meeting in Tangier and then departing for the Blue Pearl, Chefchaouen. It’s about an hour’s drive up into the hills. We’ll arrive in time for evening photography and a welcome dinner. We’ll spend another day exploring the Medina and a few sites outside of the city. Each person or couple will have a guide to allow you to explore at your own pace and for your own duration. We won’t be rushed and we won’t have the stress of losing anyone either. These are key components of the trip: NO STRESS, plenty of shooting time!

Then it’s off to Fez for two nights, exploring the culture and history of the world’s oldest and largest Medina. Again, each person or couple will be with your own guide. We’ll meet up for dinner to share our stories.

The next day finds us flying to Errachidia, with private transfer to Merzouga. We are skipping the 8 hour drive over the Atlas Mountains and down to the desert… this will have us arriving in our luxury tents with time to spare for our first evening shoot in the dunes. We’ll spend three nights in the desert, shooting at dawn and at dusk each day, with camels one evening and horses another, and we’ll also explore the surrounding area to meet Berber tribespeople and learn a bit about the history and fascinating geology of the area. Our time in the desert will also allow us concentrated review time during the afternoons. This is another integral element of a successful trip.

Then we’re off to Marrakech for three nights (via transfer two hour transfer to Errachidia and then flight to Marrakech) to immerse ourselves again in the cacophony and flurry of activity in the Medina and the various souks. Once again we will fly from Merzouga to Marrakech in order to minimize the long travel days. Our afternoon and evening in Marrakech will be spent at the sublime Majorelle Garden. The next two days we’ll each have our guides and the opportunity to visit the Medina. We’ll also go to Le Jardin Secret and Bahia Palace, as a group, for the antidote to all the activity in the souks. We’ll fit in the Maison de Photographie for fascinating photographs from 1880 until the 1950’s (their cafe is a great high point to look out over the Medina too). Finally, shopping and great food will give us a FULL experience in Marrakech.

All breakfasts, FIVE dinners included
Lodging in authentic Riads chosen for charm, mystery, amenities, and location.
Pre-Release Price Single $6470 (regular price, $7240)
Pre-Release Price Double $5610 (regular price $6170)
Deposit required (fully refundable up to 120 days prior to trip) $1200
Trip Insurance is a requirement
Trip begins in Tangier and ends in Marrakech. (Connecting flights to/from Lisbon and Paris are the easiest to book. Please don’t hesitate to ask for assistance)