Harald Claessen Old Believers Siberia.jpg


May 6-26, 2019

Analog/Digital Photo workshop

In 2019, we want to do something excitingly new, something close to our heart. We decided to launch Analog/Digital Adventure Workshops.

Bring plenty of film and share 21 days among people who are equally passionate about analog photography, it’s about enjoying shooting film for our own reasons and sharing that passion with the rest of the group, learning more about film photography and returning home with amazing images. Digital photographers are welcome, we will follow a slightly different learning program.

Our Journey

Time evaporates on this diverse journey. We will make several multi-day stops to explore life in cities and little villages along the Trans Siberian Railway line from Vladivostok to Moscow. We have been asked many times, but no, we can not make this workshop shorter, this is a once-in-a-lifetime-journey, with no short-cuts when it comes to diversity and experience. We do not only pass through the big cities along the Trans Siberian railway line, but we spend a lot of time in the small villages and settlements to really experience what it’s like to live in Siberia.

During our 21 day journey, we will sleep approximately 6 nights on-board the train. The remaining nights, we will stay in hotels.

The Russian Railway announced a renewal program, which is planned to be ready in 2020, when the loved carriages with charming cabin attendants will disappear and make place for modern carriages with vending machines. We will take the last opportunities to travel in the older style carriages which we love so much.

Our journey in a small group of adventure photographers or unique experience seekers alike will start in the Far East town of Vladivostok and take us through seven time zones with striking variety of ethnical cultures of a largely unknown territory of Russia till we reach its sparkling capital Moscow.

We want you to experience, explore, develop a feel for this unknown land and express yourself through your photography. That’s why our 21 days journey starts in Vladivostok, the town of squarely Soviet architecture and stern monuments yet developing into a ‘Far East capital’ of the hipster culture attracting young energetic seekers of a brighter future from nearby villages and settlements. It boasts its own Mariinsky ballet and opera theatre, elaborate and elegant restaurants with a mix between eastern- and traditional cuisine, exhibitions and museums, local music bands and clubs. We’ll witness the Victory Day Parade, when old and young come to commemorate their ancestors lost in the WWII, each holding a portrait of their grandfathers. Touching and impressive as it is, we’ll leave Vladivostok in the evening of the Victory parade to see another Russia, its villages, inhabitants and their lives.


In the next place, we’ll stay overnight in a settlement where there are no hotels nor restaurants, have long walks and talks with the locals, some of whom we got to know over the years, visit their homes, this is the only evening that we shop and cook for ourselves because there are no restaurants. This settlement stood still in time and has given us so many beautiful images. Where is our journey going to bring us next?

We arrive to Buddhist areas in Ulan Ude on the eastern side of Lake Baikal where people will look different, speak different and feel different to what you thought you were getting used to and started to understand. Ulan Ude will be a stop from where we will make several day trips to areas we know so well. From Ulan Ude we will visit a village inhabited with descendants of people who refused to adopt reforms in the Russian church around 1650 and who were therefore forced to flee or were exiled. Ever since, the ‘Old Believers’ villages are a very closed society. Luckily, we know father Sergiy, the local priest.

Then we’ll move on to the ‘Pearl of Siberia’, Lake Baikal, considered the deepest lake in the world. We’ve explored both cities on each side of this lake, Ulan Ude and Irkutsk extensively and know all the villages and settlements in between. This will be time to rest, absorb the breathtaking beauty of the nature surrounding Lake Baikal, reflect on your travels, make day trips by car and meet new people, find out about their life and experience Baikal hospitality, plunge into new adventures. It’s an energising point for more unexpected to come.

After spending time at Lake Baikal we will continue our journey to Irkutsk which was once called the Paris of Siberia, it was also a centre of learning, on account of exiled intelligentsia. 

Big towns with their splendour, small villages. The road will bring us to areas, where cultures and religions mixed and twisted, merged yet kept their identity, to places with astonishingly beautiful architecture and historical monuments, so different but harmonious. 

Our journey will then bring us to Yekatarinburg and Kazan in the Ural mountains where many more adventures await us before heading to our final destination Moscow.

Mamiya RZproII +110mm F/2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 | Dev/scan Carmencita Film Lab

Mamiya RZproII +110mm F/2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 | Dev/scan Carmencita Film Lab

Mamiya RZProII +110mm F/2.8 | Kodak TX 400 | Dev/scan Carmencita Film Lab

Mamiya RZProII +110mm F/2.8 | Kodak TX 400 | Dev/scan Carmencita Film Lab

The workshop

We’re passionate about teaching the different aspects of photography.

This workshop is suitable as an introduction to shooting film for the dslr user as well as for the experienced film and digital photographer.

We will explain how to become comfortable photographing strangers in unfamiliar environment. You will receive our E-book "For the right reasons”, a breakdown of different situations you may find and how to approach them.

For Analog photographers, we want you to understand the zone system for better B&W film results, mastering spot and incident metering for better negatives/files. We discuss the different film stock we use and when we use them and explain in detail on how to deal with different available light situations.

Whether you want to shoot digital or analog, we want you to have a unique experience, further your photographic skills and return home with amazing images.

Group Size

Mamiya RZproII +110mm F/2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 | Dev/scan Carmencita Film Lab

Mamiya RZproII +110mm F/2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 | Dev/scan Carmencita Film Lab

Small group - Maximum 10 Guests / Participants, min 3 participants.


Experience | Difficulty

Open to all levels of Analog and Digital photographers

Non-photographers and adventure seekers are welcome

Moderate schedule

Travel by Train, taxi or minibus

Moderate elevation changes and lots of walking

Contax 645 + 80mm F/2 | Kodak Portra 160 | Dev/scan Carmencita Film Lab

Contax 645 + 80mm F/2 | Kodak Portra 160 | Dev/scan Carmencita Film Lab

What to bring?

Bring along your analog film cameras, 35mm, Medium format or Instant camera, plenty of film stock.

Digital camera’s are also welcome.

A list of recommended items to bring along will be send to the participants. We will also send you an optional reading list of great photographers, artists, movies, books etc..

Lecturer | Host

Harald Claessen  

Born in the Netherlands - Flying Dutchman (a legendary ghost ship that can never make port and is doomed to sail the oceans forever). Harald is a Social Documentary and Portrait Photographer who partly lives in Russia and Cyprus.

Harald’s Instagram

Weather | Sun

May - Temps Min. 5.5C/42F, Max. 17.1C/63F, Average 11.3C/52.3F | Sunrise 04:40 | Sunset 21:08 | Daylight 16:28 (Data for Yekatarinburg)



  • All Hotels / Accommodations

  • All Breakfasts (affordable lunches and dinners are not included)

  • All train tickets, cars and minibuses

  • Professional photographer | host | tuition

  • Small group size

  • Advice on visa arrangements for Russia

  • Ebook "For the Right Reasons" - Becoming comfortable photographing strangers

  • Social Documentary, Travel Photography, Street Photography, Landscape Photography, Portraits



Hotels, Guesthouse, Overnight trains

Travel Information

Arrival Airport: Vladivostok (VKO) - Transfer time to hotel 30-45min

Departure Airport: Moscow (MOS) - Moscow has 3 airports.

Travel Visa: A visa may be required depending on your nationality. Contact your local Russian Consulate to find out.



Trans Siberian Railway

21 days  | Analog/Digital Photo Travel Adventure

Price USD 5400,-

Seats are transferrable but not refundable.

Non-refundable deposit:  USD 1000,-

To register, just send me an email to hclaessen@gmail.com mentioning in which workshop you would like to participate.

Nikon FM3a | Cinestill film 800T | Dev/scan Carmencita Film Lab

Nikon FM3a | Cinestill film 800T | Dev/scan Carmencita Film Lab

Contax 645 + 80mm F/2 | Kodak Portra 160 | Dev/scan Carmencita Film Lab

Contax 645 + 80mm F/2 | Kodak Portra 160 | Dev/scan Carmencita Film Lab

Mamiya RZProII +110mm F/2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 | Dev/scan Carmencita Film Lab

Mamiya RZProII +110mm F/2.8 | Kodak Portra 160 | Dev/scan Carmencita Film Lab

Lake Baikal.jpg
Lake Baikal Photo workshop.jpg

Partners on this journey: