Technical Skills - Creative Inspiration - Exciting Destinations

China: Ancient Tea and Horse Road and Grand Landscape during foliage

Sichuan Province – Western Tibetan Area

October 12 – 26, 2016

8 participants only

In a country as vast as China there exist a vast range of photographic opportunities. However, most visitors stick to the well-visited places, typically bound by pollution and overpopulation. Move to the Western part of China and the story changes. You’ll find yourself surrounded by ancient culture, minorities that still wear their traditional outfit on a daily basis, and landscape that has inspired many visual artists.

On this journey, we’ll follow part of the famous Ancient Tea and Horse road. The Road traces back to the period of the Tang dynasty (618-907) and Tibetan (Tubo) regime. Modernization has made the road more accessible, still keeping the mystery and beauty of the early days, and the ethnic and cultural diversity of the region. There is a local saying, “The languages beyond five square li [2.5 kilometers] are different from each other, and the customs beyond ten square li are different from each other.” There are more than twenty different ethnic groups to be found along the route. Some famous old towns and villages which once were key stations and markets of the Tea and Horse Caravan Road have been listed among the most important international sites for historic preservation. For example, the Lijiang, where the Naxi people form the majority of inhabitants, was been designated as a world cultural heritage site by UNESCO in 1997.

During the fall, the landscape turns magical, with snowy peaks and leaf color changing to bright yellow and red. Locals are celebrating before the winter arrives. Many pilgrims come here to worship and circumambulate the mountain with their tents, sheep and horses to ask for blessings from the mountain god. In Serta, we’ll visit the largest Buddhism school and monastery in the world. We will spend time to understand the importance of this school and the ramification it has over the religion worldwide. With tea being so important in the region, we’ll stop in tea houses. The atmosphere will make for memorable images.

Here is a quote from the Tao de Ching (translated by Stephen Mitchell), which give you an idea on how this workshop could enhance your photographic vision:

A good artist lets his intuition
Lead him wherever it wants.
A good scientist has freed himself of concepts
And keeps his mind open to what is.
Thus the Master is available to all people
And doesn't reject anyone.
He is ready to use all situations
And doesn't waste anything.
This is called embodying the light.

Our goals are multiple folds, with the following cropping to the top: We want to make your experience memorable by taking you to a place most Westerners don't know about. We want to share more than just photography so you can discover new ways of thinking and improving your personal photographic vision. We want you to come back and be radiant as we are.

China is changing like the rest of the world, except that changes in China are much more pronounced and quick. Chinese philosophers have been praising this place for centuries and for good reasons. Come and experience it with your own eyes and soul.

See you in October in the Sichuan Province.


Double Occupancy: $6,900
Single Supplement: $700

Deposit (non-refundable):
$500 (Double Occupancy)
$700 (Single Occupancy)

Select Deposit

Oliver Klink has been photographing in China for the past 12 years. He has visited many minority cultures and National Parks in Hunan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Fujian and more provinces. His image, “Herding Instinct” won the grand prize at the Rayko International Photocontest in 2014, others have received “mentioned” in the Black and White Spidar Awards for the past 5 years. “China is changing rapidly, as the traditions in remote villages are vanishing. We travel with unique privileges from local guides and field experts, and where Westerners have seldom been seen.

Jeffrey Tang, field expert, has been my guide in China for the past 6 years. His strength is to connect with the local people and make us feel “welcome with them”. His attentive demeanor and attention to details enable us to travel safely and give us privileged access that will make your images “stand out”.

Two local staff members (driver and a visual artist) who enrich our stay with the most current information, special activities, and “ways in” to places you only dream about!

- Photographing Grand landscape and foliage
- Photographing in monasteries with thousands of monks
- Photographing with special access to minority villages
- Model shoots
- Daily review of images (emphasis on “what else can I do”)
- Brainstorming sessions (theme, story telling, portfolio, hero shots)
- Post processing and workflow (efficiency, accuracy, quality)

- 15 days of guided photoshoot
- Accommodation, Meals, ground transportation
- Special permits & Model shoots
- Instruction booklet emailed before the workshop

Not Included :
- Transportation to and from Chengdu (CTU)
- Transport from Chengdu airport to hotel
- Personal expenses, alcoholic beverages
- Travel Insurance
- Extra night(s) in Chengdu
- Tips to local staff

Double Occupancy: $6,900
Single Supplement: $700

Deposit (non-refundable):
$500 (Double Occupancy)
$700 (Single Occupancy)

Full payment due by June 1, 2016 (payable by check)

Registration: $6,900
Deposit: $700

Terms and Conditions

- We are going to travel at heigh altitude, the highest be 12,200 Feet (3,700 meters). If you have any doubt, consult your doctor for advices.
- Up to 2 miles hiking on trails and uneven rocky paths.
- Weather can be challenging. Be prepared for moody sky.
- We are staying in local hotels, eating freshly cooked local Chinese cuisine with lots of vegetables, soup, local meat (not spicy).
- We are traveling on ultra-modern highways to the local unpaved roads.
- However, the photographic opportunities are incredible. It is an amazing adventure and photographic experience.

- September 28 – October 11, 2016: Eagles, Horses and Nomadic (Mongolia)

- October 26 – November 4, 2016: Ethnic Minorities and Giant Pandas in Sichuan (China)

- Register to 2 or 3 workshops before March 31, 2016 and get upgraded to single room in China workshop ($1,400 savings)

Where: Sichuan Province (China)
When: October 12 – 26, 2016
Who: Oliver Klink, Jeffrey Tang, two local staffs
Airport: Chengdu (CTU)
Accommodations: Local hotels (single or double occupancy)
Weather: 35 – 65F. Moody Sky
Cost: $6,900 ($700 Single supplement)

Workshop details for Ethnic Minorities and Giant Pandas (China)


15 days of guided photoshoot and reviews
October 12 – 26, 2016
Note: Itinerary and activities might change based on weather conditions

Day 0: (October 11) On your own arrival in Chengdu. We can arrange airport transportation and hotel for you.
Day 1 (October 12): 7AM Start workshop
- Drive to Hailuogou
- Ancient roads & Cultural sites

Day 2: Hailuogou
- Grand scene of Western Sichuan with High peaks of Tibet as background
- Majestic mountain lakes

Day 3: Hailuogou to Kangding
- Mountain roads
- Many stops along the way to capture grand views

Day 4: Kangding to Mugecuo to Yajiang
- Mountain pass, lakes
- Rural villages
- Model Shoots

Day 5: Yajiang to Litang to Yading Daocheng to Riwa town(Yading)
- One of the most beautiful drives with Tibet High Peaks as a backdrop
- Pristine mountain lakes
- Foliage galore

Day 6: Yading (Riwa Town)
- Drives to remote regions of the protected area
- Short hikes to pristine mountain sceneries, in foliage blum

Day 7: Yading (Riwa Town)
- Drives to remote villages (protected area)
- Model shoots are rural villages

Day 8 : Yading to Litang
- Mind blowing sceneries, twisted roads, jagged peaks
- Foliage
- Litang monastery
- Small villages perched deep in valleys

Day 9: Litang to Xinlong to Bai Gangzi
- Drive along the Western Tibetan mountains
- Pass, lakes, small villages
- Many stops along the way

Day 10:Gangzi to Serta
- Continuation of the Western Tibetan mountains
- Rural village

Day 11: Serta
- World largest Buddhism school and monastery
- Model shoots
- Celebration

Day 12: Serta to Luhuo
- Remote culture of West Northern Sichuan
- Model shoots with minorities performing

Day 13: Luhuo to Danba
- Drive thru the northern Sichuan province
- Grand scene with Tibetan High peaks as a backdrop
- Ancient relic of Chinese history

Day 14: Danba to Rilong Balang to Chengdu
- Photoshoot at tea houses
- Ancient roadways

Day15: (October 26) Chengdu, conclusion of the tour. Transfer to International Airport.

What to Bring

Upon signing up for the workshop, you’ll receive a detailed coursebook describing what to bring, recommended camera gears, booking your flight, extra activities pre or post workshop.

Clothing: (temperature ranges from 35 – 65F)
- Comfortable layered clothes (neutral color recommended)
- Sturdy shoes (walking on uneven pavement)
- Hat, sunglasses, and sun screen
- Rain gears/windbreaker
- Knee pads for low angle shooting

Camera Equipment:
- Camera with extra batteries and memory cards
- Lens for grand landscape: 10 – 300mm
- Lens for portraiture: 35 - 200mm
- Lens for grand details (foliage): 100 - 200mm
- Tripod (sturdy as you’ll be using it extensively)

Other Equipment (Optional):
- Small notepad (notes, observations, …)
- Flash with diffuser
- Extender (1.4x, 2x) for details of remote peaks

Photography Review Equipment (Recommended):
- Laptop (with power cord), memory card downloader
- Post processing software (Lightroom, Photoshop, plug-ins)
- External hard drives (backup)


This workshop includes:
- 15 days of guided photoshoot
- Accommodation, Meals, ground transportation
- Special permits & Model shoots
- Small group (maximum 8 people) - Daily reviews (including tips on post processing, file management, idea to build portfolio)
- One instructor, One local expert, two local guides

Not Included:
- Visa Application
- Transportation to and from Chengdu (CTU)
- Transport from Chengdu airport to hotel
- Personal expenses, alcoholic beverages
- Travel Insurance
- Extra night(s) in Chengdu
- Tips to local staff

Travel Recommendations:
- Plan on arriving in Chengdu no later than October 11. Your return flight can be booked any time on October 26.
- We can assist with booking extra nights in Chengdu (pre workshop) and airport transportation. •

Trip Cancellation & Travel Insurance Suggestions:

Here are a few recommendations but please browse around as services and prices vary.

- Travelex Travel Select (800) 228-9792
- Travel Guard or Travel Insurance Services
- Travel Insurance Services (Walnut Creek, CA) (800) 937-1387
- Atlas International Insurance (HCC Medical Insurance Services)
- TEN (Travelers Emergency Network) Emergency Evacuation Coverage
- Medjet Assist 1-800-527-7478

Example Images from Past Workshops

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