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China, A trip like no other to

                            Adventures in Photography


          February 21st - March 7th, 2015 (15 days/14 nights)

          a trip planned by photographers for photographers


Day 1: Feb. 21st 

We’ll meet at JFK International Airport for our nonstop flight to Shanghai. Arrival in Shanghai is the next day at 19: 30 PM local time

Depart:  JFK           16:35pm EST                China Eastern (MU588) 

Arrive: Shanghai 19:30pm Local Time 15 hrs nonstop next day

Day 2: Feb. 22nd

After our arrival in Shanghai, we’ll check in to the Renaissance Shanghai Yu Garden Hotel, located downtown near the famous Yu Garden (豫园) and Yu Garden Bazaar. The Renaissance Shanghai Yu Garden Hotel is just 15 minutes away from the Bund, as well as the famous Xintiandi and other tourist attractions. In addition to their top-notch facilities and services, their 17th-floor Club Lounge with expansive views of the city skyline is worth visiting for those who are interested in photographing the city‘s night scene.

 Pudong night scene image link. Bund info link.

After dinner, we’ll walk to the internationally renowned Bund to photograph some night scenes.

Overnight in Shanghai Renaissance Yu Garden Hotel, link.

Day 3: Feb. 23rd

We’ll walk to the Bund at dawn to photograph sunrise behind Pudong's skyscrapers and of course tai-chi performers on the Bund.  The Bund is a magnificent riverside sweep of masonry that grew with the rise of Shanghai and impassively watched the city’s decline and renaissance.  Nowhere else in Shanghai are the ebbing symbols of Western hegemony so deftly contrasted to monuments of China’s growing importance.

Sunrise behind Pudong Financial District

Tai-chi performers on the Bund

After an early lunch, we’ll get on our bus and drive to the ancient water town of Wuzhen, about 2 hours away from Shanghai. With a history of over 1,000 years Wuzhen has lots to offer to photographers during the day as well as at night.  Wuzhen image link, flickr image link.

Wuzhen at night

Dockside Boutique Hotel, in Wuzhen

Dockside Boutique Hotel, in Wuzhen

Day 4: Feb. 24th

In the morning, Wuzhen offers some different photo ops when the water town wakes up and residents start their daily routines.

Vendors making rice cakes wrapped in edible rice paper.

After our morning shoot we’ll have lunch and head back to Shanghai. Checking into the Renaissance Shanghai Yu Garden Hotel again is like being back home. After a short break, we will go to a private club in a restricted area, where we can photograph the night scene of Shanghai's famous Bund and Pudong financial districts. Here are some the images taken on our 2014 AIP China photo tour:

Doreen Rose, a participant on our 2014 trip won "Image of the Year" award in her camera club. Congratulations, Doreen!!! Great shot.

Overnight in Shanghai Renaissance Yu Garden Hotel.

Day 5: Feb. 25th.

We’ll need to catch an early flight from Shanghai to Kunming in order to arrive at Chenzi village before it’s too dark to photograph.  After landing in Kunming, we will head for Chengzi Ancient Village, to photograph Tuzhang Houses, traditional dwellings of Yi people with a history of over several hundred years. The dwellings' most distinguishing feature is that the roof of a house is the courtyard of the upper neighbor. Layer upon layer, the roofs extend to the peak of a mountain, and some are even as high as seventeen floors. It looks like a long ladder as well as a honeycomb. Google Image Search .

Following are images from our 2014 China trip:

After a late afternoon shoot, we drive back to nearest town Luxi for the night: LuXi FuDing Hotel.

Day 6: Feb. 26th

After breakfast in our hotel, we will go back to Chengzi Ancient Village to shoot under soft morning light.

We will then drive to Luoping to photograph the fields of canola (also known as rapeseed) in full bloom. Depending on weather conditions, we will photograph Snail farms (Luositian) 螺蛳田 first. The farms here are on a smaller scale. They are carved out of a shallow valley with gentle slopes. These farms do not look any different or attractive as one passes them by on ground level. However, as soon as one gets higher up, following the road, the scenery changes. The flowers are grown in circular rings following the contours of the slopes. As a result, from higher ground, these farms looks like the rings of a snail’s shell, akin to rice terraces in corkscrew patterns. It is rather amazing when one considers that the farms were created by the farmers as a response to the natural limitations of the land. Yet they are like a work of art, with an artist exquisitely drawing circular rings on the ground and then filling them up with splashes of shocking yellow.

"Snail farms" fields of Canola

Overnight in Zhongyuan Hotel In Luoping

Day 7: Feb. 27th

Early morning shoot in Jinjiling(金 鸡岭, also known as Jinjifeng; Golden Rooster Hill), which is the classic spot for photographing rapeseed flowers of Luoping. It offers an excellent and expansive view of the fields and hills in a north-south direction.

View from Jinjifeng

Our 2014 tour participants photographing the fields of Canola

In the afternoon, we will photograph Jiulong Waterfalls.

On our way back to hotel, we will stop at Jingjiling for the sunset scenes, which will offer totally different lighting conditions than the sun rise shots.

Overnight in Zhongyuan Hotel at Luoping

Day 8: Feb. 28th

We’ll do a makeup shoot if weather conditions are better than the weather at our earlier shoot. This is our last chance to photograph canola fields before departing from Luoping.  Then we head to the newly discovered Puzhehei Scenic Area, which is also known as Yunnan's Guilin.

As a typical karst landscape, the Puzhehei Scenic Area abounds in beautiful waters and green mountains which are very similar to and even prettier than those in Guilin. It is praised as being ‘a unique pastoral scene in China’.

'Puzhehei’ in the Yi language, means ‘a pond teeming with fish and shrimp. With an area of 165 square kilometers (40,772 acres), the scenic area mostly consists of clusters of limestone peaks, karst caves and natural lakes.

Puzhehei Lake, an upland freshwater lake, stands in the center of this area. It is 1,310 acres of clear, sparkling water, and is called ‘Pearl Lake’ by the local people. About 70 lakes of different sizes link together to form a 12.4 mile long tourist watercourse. 300 distinct peaks tower over crystal waters; some seem like elegant pagodas while others resemble penholders. Among the peaks there are more than 200 karst caves, of which about 80 large ones can be visited. In the deep, quiet caves, milky stalagmites grow thickly and steles stand in great numbers. Outside, the vast waters are dotted in summer with shining lotus flowers and boundless lotus leaves, enhancing the picturesque scenery.

Tourists can take a traditional canoe made by the Yi people to admire the stunning spectacle. Simple cottages in good condition, surrounded with cut bamboo, are situated by the lakes. Five ethnic minorities, the Yi, Zhuang, Miao, Yao and Sani, live nearby and preserve their old folk-customs and cultures. Away from the hustle and bustle of big cities, the Puzhehei Scenic Area offers people a fairyland with a tranquil environment and beautiful scenery.

Overnight at Puzhehei Silver Lake Hotel.

Day 9: March 1st 

After our morning shoot at Puzhehei, our bus will take us to the ancient city of Jiangshui. After checking in to our hotel we’ll have dinner and then depart for photo ops in the ancient city.

We’ll be staying in the best hotel in Jianshui: LinAn Hotel, which is right across the street from the Old Street of Jianshui, perfect for a casual walk in the late afternoon or at night.

Day 10: March 2nd

We will visit the Shuanglong (Double Dragon 双龙桥) Bridge in the early morning for soft lighting. A combination of science and art, the stone bridge ranks first in Yunnan Province in terms of size and artistic value. It is now under provincial protection.

Shuanglong (Double Dragon 双龙桥) Bridge

We’ll also visit the Zhu Family Garden and Mansion . It was the former residence and ancestral temple of Zhu Weiqing during the Qing Dynasty. It took about 30 years to complete the whole mansion and its gardens. The buildings are either parallel or perpendicular to each other. They are juxtaposed in an orderly manner. Each of the 42 patios has delicate and traditional Chinese architectural.

After shooting the Zhu's Garden, we will go to Yuanyang to photograph rice terraces in the afternoon light as well as at sunset.

Honghe Hani Rice Terraces was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage.

The Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, China covers 16,603-hectares in Southern Yunnan. It is marked by spectacular terraces that cascade down the slopes of the towering Ailao Mountains to the banks of the Hong River. Over the past 1,300 years, the Hani people have developed a complex system of channels to bring water from the forested mountain tops to the terraces. They have also created an integrated farming system that involves buffalos, cattle, ducks, fish and eel and supports the production of red rice, the area’s primary crop. The inhabitants worship the sun, moon, mountains, rivers, forests and other natural phenomena including fire. They live in 82 villages situated between the mountaintop forests and the terraces. The villages feature traditional thatched “mushroom” houses.

The resilient land management system of the rice terraces demonstrates extraordinary harmony between people and their environment, both visually and ecologically, based on exceptional and long-standing social and religious structures.

Overnight in Yuanyang.

Day 11: March 3rd

To get the best photo spots, we need to get up really early in the morning and get to the Duoyishu  rice terraces about one hour before sun rise. The results could be very awarding if the weather cooperates. Here are the images from our 2014 China trip:

The Duoyishu Rice Terraces Scenic Area is one of the most photographed areas in Yuanyang County of Yunnan Province. The low lying clouds and the water field rice terraces are unique during winter and early spring. As the sun rises the terraces come alive with the sky's reflection. In the winter months the fields are flooded in order to plow and plant for the new season. The rising sun creates an amazing reflection off the water in the terraces.  Google image search link.

For afternoon and sunset, we will go to the mesmerazing  Bada  rice terrace:


The 3 most-famous rice terrace zones you’ll be visiting are Duoyishu, Bada and Tiger Mouth Pass. Duoyishu is the best spot for sunrise shooting while the latter two are perfect for a sunset spectacle. We will visit all for sunrise and sunset shoot, plus a few more in between.

  Bada rice terrace  

Overnight in Yuanyang.

Day 12: March 4th

Depending on weather conditions, we can go back to any of previous rice terrace locations for makeup shooting, or we will photograph Qingkou Hani Ethnic Village with homes built of dry stone walls, their unique, mushroom-shaped roofs clad in rice straw that are warmly welcoming as the 800 villagers whose lives remain untrammeled by exposure to the outside world. Surrounded by tens of thousands of terraced fields, Qingkou Village provides a snapshot of a tidy place where fresh spring water gushes from faucets at the communal laundry, sheaves of soybeans hang outside homes to dry and kindling is neatly stacked for the cooking fire.

Qingkou reading 1, reading 2, Qingkou images search link.

Then we head back to Kunming.  After checking in to our hotel and having dinner, the evening will be free for you to stroll leisurely, on your own, in the modern city of Kunming. There are many bars, restaurants and night markets within walking distance of our hotel.

Day 13: Mar 5th

We will go for an early morning shoot around Cui Lake or Dian Lake. It has been over 25 years since tens of thousands of black-headed gulls migrated from Siberia to Kunming for warmer weather and they continue to live here through the winter.  Black-headed gulls image search, image link 2.

Black-headed gulls

After an early lunch, we’ll take a flight from Kunming back to Shanghai. We’ll check in to our hotel and after dinner you’ll be free to walk to Xintiandi.  Xintiandi is composed of an area of reconstituted traditional mid-19th century Shikumen  ("stone gate") houses on narrow alleys, some adjoining houses which now serve as book stores, cafes and restaurants and shopping malls. Most of the cafes and restaurants feature both indoor and outdoor seating. Xintiandi has an active nightlife on weekdays as well as weekends, though romantic settings are more common than loud music and dance places. Xintiandi info link, link 2.

Overnight in Shanghai Renaissance Yu Garden Hotel.

Day 14: March 6th

After more than 13 days of getting up early for sunrise shooting, some of you may prefer to have some time on your own. You can choose to relax in the modern hotel,  or do some early morning street photography around the Yu Garden and Bazaar, or sunrise shooting at the Bund, or gift shopping for family and friends. Although it’s a free day, your tour leader will be there to help as much as he can.

Yu Garden info link, link 2. Yuyuan  Market image link.

If anyone is interested, we can go to and spend a couple of hours in the Xing Guang  photography equipment center, which is featured in CNN " Best markets in Shanghai". Xingguang is one of the oldest photography equipment markets in Shanghai, occupying a 6-story podium and total area of 90000 square feet, covering photographic equipment, photographic materials, photofinishing equipment and accessories, digital imaging, background props, studio supplies, cold laminating film, and repair of second-hand cameras, studio lights, wedding photography and video courses, etc almost all industry-related products. It is no exaggeration to say that any photography-related goods and services you need, can be found here. (It’s an Asian B&H)  

We are working with Camera Clubs in Shanghai for some special photo locations, some of them are in the restricted areas like secured roof top on high rise buildings with incredible views of Shanghai. We will let you know when the information is available.

Day 15: March 7th

You don’t want miss the last chance to photograph sunrise behind the Pudong Financial District from the Bund. After breakfast our bus will take us to airport for our nonstop flight back to JFK International Airport. WHEW!!!

Depart: Shanghai  11:30am Local Time  China Eastern (MU587)

Arrival: JFK    14:15pm EST      13.5 hrs nonstop SAME day

Highlights of our photo adventure

Fifteen days and 14 nights of intense photography in China at unique locations chosen to provide the best possible photo ops imaginable.

Our own tour guide and co-organizer of Adventures in Photography, Jia Han Dong (Eric) will be leading the tour. Eric is fluent in Chinese and English in addition to being an award winning photographer in his own rights. Originally from Shanghai, Eric is thoroughly familiar with the country, its customs and its landscape.

Eric and Adventures in Photography are committed to take you to the very spot that you need to be at and to be there at the precise time that you need to be there to get the quintessential shot. We can’t control the weather but we’re working on it.

The price of the tour will include:

  All hotel accommodations

  All transportation within China

  Most meals, except the free day on D14

  Professional guide service for the entire trip

  13 full days plus 2 half days of photography

  All gratuities

  Best possible hotel accommodations in rural areas where choice of hotels are limited.

  Upscale meal plans 

Informational footnotes:

Most of the costs associated with this photographic adventure are not refundable. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance. We’ll be happy to suggest companies that supply travel insurance, at your request.

In some instances elevation improves perspective and climbing a bit higher up a hill will improve your perspective and result in a more pleasing photograph. A certain amount of agility may be required. While we will have a local guide to help when necessary, this can’t always be counted on.

Since we will be travelling “off the beaten path” to photograph the unusual and not often seen sights, the food that we will encounter will be authentic local food and not the usual “tour food”. On our last trip everyone was so happy with the meals the they even called our adventure a “photo plus gourmet” tour. Do not count on finding a burger in the countryside.

Participants in the tour will be asked to fill out a short medical history form to be used in case of an emergency. The form will remain sealed unless needed for an emergency.

Participants will also be asked to fill out the usual “waiver of liability” form that is used with most tours.

The price of the tour does not include:

  Round trip air from Newark to Shanghai, China 

  Round trip transportation from home to Newark

  Items of a personal nature

  Anything not specifically mentioned in the "What’s included section"


Since this is a small intimate tour of dedicated photographers we have established the following pricing structure:

Min 8 participants: $3,550.00 plus airfare most likely under $1,000

10+ participants: $3,460.00 plus airfare most likely under $1,000

Forms of Payment:

  Preferred method of payment: Check

  PayPal: There is a 3% service charge so if you pay by PayPal please pay 103%  of the applicable amount so that we will receive the appropriate net amount.

      Credit card: There is a 3% service charge so if you pay by a credit card we'll charge your credit card for 103% of the applicable amount so that we will receive the appropriate net amount.   

Visa and documents cost $140.00. The task of obtaining visa’s and documents is fairly onerous so we have contracted with an outside agent to do it for us. It will cost $40.00 per person but it’s well worth the price. If you wish to save the $40.00 and get your own documents, you’re welcome to do so.

There is a single supplement fee of $1,127 per person. However, if you’re a single but willing to share, we’ll be happy to provide a matching service.

To reserve your spot and request further info


Martin Joffe at: [masked], or

Eric Dong at: [masked]

John Pickles at: [masked]

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  • John P.

    I was a part of this adventure tour in 2014. It was absolutely great. If you are a photographer who enjoys adventure off the beaten path, and are reasonably agile, this is a must tour. Much of the time if not most of the time we ate in Chinese restaurants and not tourist restaurants. The food was excellent and much different. It was an adventure in cuisine as well as an adventure in photography.

    July 4, 2014

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