Participants Galleries and comments

Trans Siberian Railway Photo workshop 2018

 image ©Jorge Antonio Ayala Robles Linares, 2018

image ©Jorge Antonio Ayala Robles Linares, 2018

My writing....



Marvin Crossnoe, USA

Thanks for  a wonderful experience you afforded me with the Trans Siberian Workshop.  It is all that I imagined and wanted it to be… I did not want the Golden Eagle Express!!!  I also really appreciate your photographic tutoring.. I hope I can put more into practice.  You said one thing at the first of the trip that really stuck… always set the ISO when you go into a building or a new light situation. I really did practice that on the trip… even though my cropping and “watching the edges” needs more work.

All images ©Marvin Crossnoe, 2018

Nick Barratt-Boyes, New Zealand

Personal reflections 

Under a blood red sky we clambered aboard the train. It was almost midnight on a chilly Vladivostok evening. Fireworks from the 9th May Victory Parade were exploding above us and ringing out over the city. I had always dreamed of going on an adventure to Siberia and forging a path to Lake Baikal. I had read so much about the crystalline water, it’s fathomless depths and the extreme harshness of life, in winter, on the lakes unforgiving fringes. This trip did not disappoint.

 It was a workshop that had the hallmarks of adventure and comradery combined with the opportunity to meet wonderful people in remote parts of the country - all through photography. I learnt a great deal about how to make a beautiful photographic image and what that meant. There was tuition on composition, low-light photography and techniques on how to approach and photograph strangers. We learnt to experiment with Lightroom CC and post production.  Every second day there was a critique and review of each participants photos by Harald and Birgit. Many hours were spent in the evening preparing, editing and drinking strong black coffee (with a little slice of smoked horsemeat ) for the following morning’s review session. As we criss-crossed the country heading to Moscow exploring villages, towns and cities, getting on and off the train, we were challenged to head out each day to be fearless and look for interesting situations and human encounters that could be just around the corner. I learnt to be hyper observant, follow my intuition and wander like  a “stray dog” searching for that special moment when a photograph can capture a lifetime in a split second.

 In Tultuk, Lake Bailkal down by the dilapidated wharves on a spring afternoon I was fortunate to happen upon Alexander “Sasha” the captain of a classic trading vessel who spontaneously took Nadia, our interpreter, and myself out on the lake for an adventure. It was  a crystal clear afternoon. The lake was a mirror and like marble. We drank lake water from a wooden bucket, drank homemade vodka and ate lard on stale bread. My lake Baikal unforgettable experience complete. I will never forget this workshop, my fellow photographers from all around the world and our two workshop directors Harald Claessen and Birgit Kripnner. Both acclaimed photographers who were so generous with their time and tuition. It wildly surpassed expectations.

 I am hoping to have a small exhibition in Seatoun, Wellington New Zealand where I live -a Trans Siberian photographic essay. Family and friends have been inspired and fascinated by the stories of all the wonderful and crazy Russian folk we met and the images that I took.  I am very keen to join Harald and Birgit  again on another workshop and go to Cuba if I get half the chance. Until then I am carrying my Leica Q with me everywhere and looking for soulful and powerful images at every turn.

 Nick Barratt-Boyes, New Zealand

All images ©Nick Barratt-Boyes, 2018

Mary-Anne Thomson, New Zealand


Over the years I have always kept an eye out for the opportunity to do a photography course, preferably in a small group, which would be both challenging and inspiring. After viewing the same trip undertaken in 2017, I made the decision to go on this adventure. Russia was an unknown quantity which made it all the more intriguing. There were seven of us altogether, including Harald and Birgit our tutors, plus Nadia our interpreter who were all exceptional, personally and professionally. The train trip was a wonderful experience which strengthened us as a group and gave another perspective from a photographic point of view. While staying in various towns & cities, we spent a lot of time exploring the terrain on our own, which allowed us the freedom to wander wherever we wanted at our own pace and gave us a sense of place. It also took us out of our comfort zone, presenting challenges which we took on board to help build our confidence. We also worked as a group depending on the situation. We were very fortunate to be welcomed into a couple of peoples’ homes which was truly a rewarding experience. Our photos were reviewed as a group every couple of days, which enriched our skills as a photographer and helped us in our final selection in creating a body of work. Harald and Birgit were always extremely helpful and were always open to one on one tuition. As a group it worked very well, and as a result we had a lot of fun. I feel this workshop enhanced my passion for photography, taking me beyond the familiar, making me more observant and deliberate in my delivery. I am left with a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction, not to rest there, but to continue my journey in becoming a skilled photographer, at the same time giving me an in-depth experience of life itself.
Kindest regards
Mary-Anne Thomson, New Zealand

All images ©Mary-Anne Thomson, 2018

Jorge Antonio Ayala Robles Linares, Mexico

All images ©Jorge Antonio Ayala Robles Linares, 2018