SNOW LEOPARD Photo Tour 2023 — SCOUTING TRIP

February 22 - March 6, 2023
Mongolia
Join me in February 2023 for my first-ever Mongolia Snow Leopard Photo Tour 2023. Mongolia hosts one of Earth’s largest populations of wild and free Snow Leopards.

Join me in February 2023 for my first-ever Mongolia Snow Leopard Photo Tour 2023.  Mongolia hosts one of Earth’s largest populations of wild and free Snow Leopards

This Snow Leopard Photo Tour 2023 is a SCOUTING TRIP, which means you’ll pay a reduced rate because it’ll be my first time there.

The setting, drama, stark beauty, the open, quiet land, the unique culture…these factors combine to create the sort of rare experience that few ever encounter.

I can’t wait!

I’ve always wanted to lead a Snow Leopard photo tour.  In that vein, my first attempt was in 2018 when I traveled without clients to Ladakh, India.  While I saw eight different cats on that trip, the leopards were too far away for me to capture a decent image. 

After lots of research, I believe we can get closer to these secretive cats in Mongolia.  Based on both my research and discussions with my contacts, this trip presents one of the world’s very best opportunities for capturing images of wild Snow Leopards.  (Worldwide, there are only about 7,500 wild.)

Not only that, but the elevation is significantly lower than the India location:  6,000 to 9,000 feet vs. 13,200 feet.  This is a big deal as the altitude in Ladakh caused much suffering.

The tour takes place in winter because that’s when the cats are most accessible.  In late-February, days become longer while the leopards are still hanging out at lower elevations.   February also marks the beginning of their breeding season and that, too, should work in our favor!

Limited to four (4) photographers. ~ ALL-INCLUSIVE (double-occupancy; singles very limited – email me for price).  SCOUTING TRIP ~ offered at a one-time only special price. ~ TWO SPOTS LEFT!

Join me in February 2023 for my first-ever Mongolia Snow Leopard Photo Tour 2023. Mongolia hosts one of Earth’s largest populations of wild and free Snow Leopards.

In order to maximize our chances of good images, plan to spend plenty of time tracking the cats on foot.  That said, there’s no guarantee we’ll see a Snow Leopard, let alone get super images.  However, what I can guarantee is that you will have an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Indeed, this will be an adventure.  A true one.  But, I’m pretty sure our tour in this north-central Asian country will be nothing like anywhere else on our great planet. Together, we’ll capture our many unique discoveries, lenses in-hand.  That will likely include creating images focused on the local culture.  (I really enjoyed that aspect of my Ladakh journey and plan to enjoy it on this one, too.) 

Mongolia’s variety of habitats and its small population make for rich and abundant wildlife (for example: plan to photograph the National Animal of Mongolia: Przewalski’s Horse.)  We journey via domestic flights, 4-wheel drive and on foot through the steppes and basins at the base of the Altai Mountains and Hustai National Park.

Join Jeff Parker in February 2023 for my first-ever Mongolia Snow Leopard Photo Tour 2023. Mongolia hosts one of Earth’s largest populations of wild and free Snow Leopards.

And, while wild Snow Leopard images will be the tour’s primary focus, along the way we’ll also seek to photograph the following mammals:

Photograph Przewalski's Horses during Jeff Parker's Snow Leopard Photo Tour 2023.

Wapiti will also be on our shot list.

  • Saiga Antelope (a highly endangered species!)
  • Przewalski’s Horse (called “takhi”in Mongolian; it means “spirit”)
  • Wapiti
  • Siberian Ibex (a favored leopard meal)
  • Goitered Gazelle
  • Mongolian Gazelle
  • Tolai Hare
  • Mongolian Gerbil
  • Corsac Fox (we’ll be there during their mating season)
  • Red Fox
  • Brandt’s Vole

There’s also a chance of photographing the following bird species:

We also hope to photograph Siberian Ibex on this Snow Leopard Photo Tour 2023

We also hope to photograph Siberian Ibex on this Snow Leopard Photo Tour 2023. The ungulates are a near-threatened species.

ITINERARY:

PLEASE NOTE: This is an estimated schedule subject to change according to weather conditions and wildlife behavior.   This is a scouting trip. Good photographic experiences and plenty of chances to view wildlife will be our goals at all times.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023:
Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia.  At just 4,430 feet elevation the city gives us the perfect jumping-off place.  (Note:  the city’s name can also be spelled “Ulan Bator.” )

Get to know your fellow adventurers during our Welcome Dinner (time TBA; will depend on everyone’s arrival times). During dinner, we’ll discuss our plan of action for our upcoming days of adventure.

OVERNIGHT:  Ulaanbaatar (Hotel:  TBD)

Thursday, February 23, 2023
Wake in your hotel room in Ulaanbaatar and enjoy your first breakfast in Mongolia.  Next, we catch a domestic flight to western Mongolia, where we’ll base while we track the elusive Snow Leopard.  (NOTE: domestic flights included in the price of your photo tour.)

Upon landing at the small airport in Khovd, we eat lunch and then enjoy a short stop for bird watching.  In particular, we’ll look for Red-mantled, Long-tailed, and Great Rosefinch.

Next, it’s time to head to our base camp which is situated about 90 miles from Khovd at the base of the Altai Mountains.  The local community operates the camp, and its residents do all they can to make sure guests are comfortable. 

Once we arrive at camp, settle into your “ger.”  Then, it’s time for your first Mongolian meal in the field.  Sleep warm thanks to the stove inside your ger.  Sleep well under über dark skies.

OVERNIGHT:  Ger camp / Base of the Altai Mountains

Friday, February 24, 2023
Today, we begin tracking the elusive Snow Leopard.  Plan to trek on foot with your gear in-hand (porters available for an additional price) as we search for the gorgeous felines. As we do, take in the unique landscape and keep a look out for any other wildlife that comes our way, including the Golden Eagles that live in the crags overhead.  (Check out this fascinating New Yorker article about traditional hunting with eagles in Mongolia.)

OVERNIGHT:  Ger camp / Base of the Altai Mountains

Saturday, Feb. 25 – Friday, March 3, 2023
We spend this next week tracking and  – fingers crossed! – photographing Snow Leopards in their thick winter coats.

On these steep slopes there’s also a chance of photographing Siberian Ibex — a meal favored by the leopards. 

Also, keep your lens ready for Bearded Vultures, endangered Saiga Antelope, raptors,

OVERNIGHT:  Ger camp / Base of the Altai Mountains

Saturday, March 4, 2023:
After breakfast, we pack up and take a domestic flight to Hustai National Park, located in central Mongolia.

The park was created in to protect the Przewalski’s horses that roam free here.  Our plan is to photograph the horses (called “takhi” by locals), which were reintroduced in 1992 after they went extinct in the wild.

wild horse in mongolia

Map created by Guilbert Gates.

While in Hustai keep a look out for Tarbagan Marmots.  In addition, we have good chance of seeing Wapiti.  The elk here are smaller than the ones in North America, but they tend to boast thicker antlers. 

OVERNIGHT:  Ger camp / Hustai National Park

Photograph Przewalski's Horses during Jeff Parker's Snow Leopard Photo Tour 2023.

Photograph Przewalski’s Horses during Jeff Parker’s Snow Leopard Photo Tour 2023.

Sunday, March 5, 2023:
Wake up in Hustai National Park.  After breakfast, we’ll head out again in search of more wildlife, including trying for some additional images of the horses.

Today, we head to the park’s southern steppe where Mongolian Gazelles hang out.  The habitats contained in the park also provide home to a variety of bird species, including Golden Eagles, Meadow Buntings, Mongolian Larks, Saker Falcons, Daurian Partridges, and Small Snowfinches.

When evening comes we’ll return to Ulaanbaatar. 

OVERNIGHT:  Ulaanbaatar (Hotel:  TBD)

Monday, March 6, 2023:
This morning marks the last time you’ll greet the new day in Mongolia.  After breakfast, pack up (if you haven’t already) and prep for your flight

Once home, share your incredible adventure and awesome images with friends and family (be sure to share images with me, too!).

WHAT YOU CAN LEARN ON THIS TOUR:

  • How to photograph wildlife in harsh light.
  • Other tips for improving your wildlife photography.
  • Tips to improve your landscape photography.
  • How to master manual exposure (& when it’s better than priority exposures)
  • How & when to do silhouettes
  • Suggestions for creating wildscapes

A note about instruction on my photo tours:
Since skill levels vary so much on photo tours, I tailor my teaching to individual needs.  Please do not be shy about telling me what you need.

Join me in February 2023 for my first-ever Mongolia Snow Leopard Photo Tour 2023. Mongolia hosts one of Earth’s largest populations of wild and free Snow Leopards.

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

  • Double-occupancy accommodations (12 nights)
  • Meals from dinner the first night through breakfast the last morning
  • Ground transportation, including 4WD-drive vehicles as needed
  • Domestic flights
  • Park entrance fees
  • Local guides
  • Wildlife trackers
  • My guidance, one-on-one instruction, image review
  • An extensive, bound, full-color dossier

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED:

Lodging that’s not included in the itinerary. International airfare, excess baggage charges (easy to rack up on domestic flights; your dossier will have detailed info), travel insurance, alcoholic beverages, bottled drinks, medical expenses, laundry service, phone calls, any other personal items, and tips (your dossier will contain detailed tipping guidance).

LOGISTICS, EQUIPMENT & SUCH:

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS:
This tour is much more physical than my other offerings – even the puma tour. We will primarily by on foot in extremely cold temperatures.  This is a true adventure and one you’ll be proud of having done.  To get the most from your experience you should be capable of walking two to four (2-4) miles per day carrying your equipment, including carrying it over steep, snowy and rocky ground.  

NOTE: Porters will be available for an additional $78 PER DAY.  We must hire porters BEFORE the tour begins so if you’ll want one please let us know when paying the tour’s deposit.)

We will be operating at varying altitudes, but the highest won’t exceed 9,000 feet above sea level. Temperatures at this altitude and at this time of year will hover between -4º and +40º Fahrenheit (-20º and +5º Celsius) plus wind chill.

EQUIPMENT:
As our departure date grows closer, you’ll receive a bound dossier full of info about our destination, its wildlife, currency and much more.  It will also include lists of gear and personal items we suggest you pack.  

In the meantime, if you’re wondering what type of photography equipment you’d need/want to bring along on a photo adventure such as this here’s that EQUIPMENT CHECKLIST (PDF) for your convenience.

You’ll want to bring your longest lens (a 400mm at the least; a 600mm is best, but admittedly heavy to tote.)

NOTE:  There will be no cell phone coverage and no internet access once we leave Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia.

GETTING THERE / ARRIVAL:
You’ll fly into the airport in Ulaanbaatar (Chinggis Khaan International Airport – a.k.a. Buyant-Ukhaa International Airport). The airport code is ULN. Korea Air has flights from Seattle.

I will arrange for you to be picked up from the airport. All ground transportation is included in your tour. 

If you plan to arrive a day before the tour begins, please let me know and I can give you information about where we plan to lodge the first night of the tour so you can book there if you’d like.  Doing so would be a good idea given the extensive travel time.

Our limited time in Ulaanbaatar will be the only period during the tour in which you will have access to cell and Internet coverage.  You’ll want to be sure and let family and friends know this.

Mongolia does not require a visa for U.S. or Canadian citizens.

FOOD & LODGING:

Meals are included in your tour from the Welcome Dinner the first night through breakfast the last morning.

Fresh bottled drinking water is provided, along with all meals during your adventure.  

Lodging (double-occupancy) is also included.  Limited singles are available for an additional cost on a first-come, first-serve basis (email me if you’re interested in a single). You’ll stay in a modern hotel in the city of Ulaanbaatar your first and last night, but the other ten nights will be in the field. 

While in the field we’ll stay in yurts, which are called gers” (or “gyrs”) in Mongolia. 

Our gers will be heated by small stoves and kept at comfortable temps. Once inside you should be plenty warm enough.  Each ger also contains basic wash-up facilities. That said, please know that there is no shower or flush toilets during our time at camp.  Restrooms are western-style pit toilets, but rest assured that camp staff keeps things clean and work hard to keep us as comfortable as possible.

GENERAL INFO / SIGN UP:

    • DURATION:  12 nights / 11 full days / 2 partial days
    • DATES:  February 22 – March 6, 2023
    • SPACE FOR:  FOUR (4) ~ TWO SPOTS LEFT!
    • PRICE:  $5,940 ~ ALL-INCLUSIVE (double-occupancy)
    • DEPOSIT AMOUNT:  $1500
    • PAYMENT DUE DATES:   A total of half the cost of the tour due 6-months before departure. Remaining balance due 90-days prior to start date of tour.

Snow Leopard Photo Tour 2023




CANCELLATION POLICY

Please read our Cancellation Policy before purchasing.(Follow the provided link or go to link under “MORE” on sidebar to the right.) Thanks!

LIABILITY WAIVER:

At the start of each event, we’ll ask you to sign this liability waiver.  We encourage you to review it before signing up.

Join me in February 2023 for my first-ever Mongolia Snow Leopard Photo Tour 2023. Mongolia hosts one of Earth’s largest populations of wild and free Snow Leopards.

EIF with Jeff Parker, LLC ~ DBA: Explore in Focus™  / Wildlife photography tours & workshops for the Naturally Curious™

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