With two trips in Siberia in my bag and exposure of a few remote areas as well as one of the biggest city in the region, it was time for me to organise my first collection of Siberia pictures.
I have been doing travel photography for a while, however, I have mostly worked in warm countries, from Cuba to Sri Lanka, from the Greek summer to humid Indonesia, passing through the desert in Qatar.
I did not even have a warm jacket in my wardrobe, not to mention a winter beanie or a warm scarf. But that was easy to fix with some online shopping.
But let me tell you a bit more about the organisation and the photography experience before going into the Siberia pictures.
Table of Contents
If interested only to the photos then follow this link to bypass the section below. I also suggest reading my guide to Travel Photography in Siberia.
Organization and photography tips
This experience has allowed me to become an Ambassador of Siberia and work with Nornickel and the Follow Up Siberia project.
They have both helped me immensely in the organisation of the trip.
The aim of this project is to expose Siberia to the world, to demystify Siberia with real facts, to show the real life in the region and create a photo and video documentary of this unknown part of the world.
Can you organise a trip to Siberia on your own?
Absolutely yes, without any problem.
In reality, I found Siberia very accessible with plenty of flights connections besides the famous Trans-Siberian train.
You can decide to do the photography trip on your own or with a local guide which is going to help you also with the translation (remember to download the Google Translator App, a real life saver).
Pictures of Siberia in Winter
I travelled to Russia in December and early March in my first 2 trips.
All of my pictures of Siberia are therefore made in winter. I am sure summer is as fascinating. Hopefully, I will experience it soon in a warmer month.
In both cases, it was not that cold (around 0 to -15 degrees Celsius), however, I visited the southern regions of Siberia. The temperature in the north of Siberia can go as low as -70 degrees.
Most of the snow was already melted in my second trip to the Krasnoyarsk region. Probably another sign of global warming.
Which takes me to say that Siberia is not always covered in snow. It depends on the month you visit and the latitude. Read more on the Life in Siberia here.
These are a few tips that may come useful if you plan to take pictures of Siberia in winter:
- take at least 2 spare batteries for your camera. The low temperature will drain them much quicker than you think.
- ideally, take two cameras with one lens each. Changing lenses in the cold and snow can be really challenging, if not impossible. Alternatively, take an all-round lens. A 24-105mm or 24-120mm. The 24-70mm may be too short.
- use two layers of gloves. A warm on top and a thin one, under it. Never go naked hands, it’s really hard to warm them up once they get cold. My thin gloves were specially made to work with the mobile too (very handy)
- underexpose half stop (use exposure compensation or manual setting) especially when sunny. This will help to catch all the details of the ice and snow. The camera may otherwise overexpose them.
- get well dressed. This may be obvious but temperature can change quickly, just because of the wind. I still remember a photo I took on a Krasnoyarsky bridge. It was relatively warm but suddenly a cold wind arrived and it became freezing cold (and I left my beanie behind!).
- learn or write a few Russian words and phrases on your mobile. Most of the people do not speak English. I mean phrases like “Can I make a photo? Can I take a photo of you? or your child?” etc. Write them on your mobile and be ready to show them, if you do not remember them.
- Instagram is very popular. Keep posting photos and stories tagging the places. It’s an easy way to create new local contacts willing to meet for some photography, especially in the cities
Siberia mobile coverage
I recommend also to buy a local SIM card. There are a few operators. I used Tele2 and MTS. The second seems to have better coverage in Siberia.
The cost of the SIM card is ridiculously low, however, it really depends where you buy it.
The best tariff I have seen was at the Sheremetyevo International Airport (European and Aeroflot flights), US$6 for 30 days of unlimited data. In the city centre, they charge twice as much (still a good price).
Do not buy the SIM at the Domodedovo International Airport (intercontinental flights) as they charge around US$30 for the same 30 days of unlimited data.
It is a great idea to take with you an external power bank. The coverage changes quite frequently from none to 3G to 4G once you travel to the countryside and this drains the mobile battery.
If you do not need the mobile coverage then it’s a good idea to activate the flight mode, this will save lots of battery.
My best pictures of Siberia
I have organised these two in two sets: places and people.
An organisation that follows the highlights of my trips, an outstanding, almost unreal, winter landscapes and unexpected welcoming Siberian people.
Places of Siberia
People of Siberia
I have written more about the Siberian people, here you can see a selection of my best photos
2 thoughts on “33 great pictures of Siberia [the real winter]”
Siberia is such an enchanting region but I cannot fathom the fact that some places can be as cold as -70 Celcius at its peak. The lowest I experienced was -30 Celcius and even then I felt like freezing to death!
Hi Dan, it really depends on where you go to Siberia. In the South, you get similar temperatures to Scotland with the exception of Jan/Feb where the temperature may reach -20/-30C.
Still a great part of the world to visit