If you are following my blog you may already know how much I love travel photography.
I like to test myself in different environments and I enjoy exploring places that are not really on the bitten track.
Travel photography in Siberia in winter time has been a dream of mine.
Can you find something more extreme than that?
Table of Contents
So I decided to pack up and go, that simple. I wanted to experience the life in Siberia (you can read more here about that)
How did it go?
I had lots of surprises, all truly amazing
Preparation to travel photography in Siberia
I have to admit that I am not used to the cold weather. I live in Melbourne with winter temperatures at +15 degrees Celsius during the day.
So I had to buy a few clothes, but that was part of the fun.
I tried to gather more intelligence and I asked advice to my followers on Instagram and the web
“Dress in layers” I was said and I followed the suggestion. Overall I never felt cold.
I did, however, a mistake. I bought normal gloves, warm ones, but they did not work with touchscreens (not great for travel photography in Siberia)
So I had to keep taking them off to use the mobile (mostly for maps, photography and droning).
And that was so annoying. On one day my fingers were so frozen that I could not feel them anymore.
I will definitely upgrade them to a more high-tech model in future.
One tip I was given and I followed was to buy great shoes for the snow, so I did and they saved my life.
No sliding and warm feet, definitely very important.
I also bought a new spare battery for my camera, just in case.
But let me add something more about the gear I used
Gear for my travel photography in Siberia
I thought about the cold weather, the snow, the ice, possibly the wind and the fact I was going to do some trekking.
I had two possibilities:
- take two bodies with one lens each
- take a single body with an all-round lens
I could not see myself carrying and changing lenses with gloves, possibly damaging the gear.
Moreover, I desperately wanted to take with me a drone. I know, way too many things.
At the end I decided to pack this gear:
- Sony A7R II camera
- Sony 24-105mm f/4 lens (the only lens I had on this trip)
- Mavic Pro Drone
- Gorilla Pod (I planned to do some photography inside the Moscow metro on my layover day)
- Gimbal for my mobile (to make a few videos)
Of the above, I used all except the Gimbal as I could not work with the touchscreen with my gloves and working without them was too bloody cold.
I also packed up 2 spare batteries for my A7R and 2 for my drone (on top of the installed one).
My camera bag was definitely full (lots of batteries).
Drones in Russia
A question mark came to my mind just a few days before the departure of my flight.
Could I enter Russia with a drone in my bag? And most importantly, could I fly it around Siberia?
I started investigating on the net and I found a few interesting resources.
However, I could not find a definitive answer.
The common feedback was that if it’s small then there is no problem. But I was not sure what did small mean, I could not find any official size.
I decided to take it with me.
I had no issue at the Moscow airports, both International and National, and at the Barnau Airport, in Siberia.
And don’t think that Siberia is running behind in technology.
On a popular spot along the Ob river, I counted 4 drones in the air, including 2 from a couple of Russian guys.
When I used the drone, the days were not extremely cold (-10 degrees Celsius) and I had no issues.
I have to mention that the batteries run out quicker than usual. No more than 12-15 minutes life.
My personal tip is to keep every battery in a warm place.
I left my A7R batteries in one of that money bags around the neck, straight on my body, under the t-shirt.
The drone batteries were in an “insulated” bag inside my main camera bag.
Landscape photography in Siberia
One word: gorgeous
Landscape photography in Siberia is a unique experience, especially if you do it in winter, as I did.
I was said that summer is different, however, as beautiful.
My idea of Siberia was of a land of snow and icy cold weather and that is why I wanted to visit it in winter.
I actually found out during my preparation that Siberia has 4 seasons as most parts of the world. You may read more on the Wiki Page.
Temperatures in summer can go easily over 30 degrees Celsius. Usually, in winter it is cold but not that much if you stay in the south of the region, the most interesting part for landscape photography.
My personal suggestion is to shoot half a stop underexposed, to get all of the details in the snow.
People photography in Siberia
That was probably the most interesting experience of my trip.
I was initially not sure what to expect. Russian people are not famous for their smile.
Siberian people, on the contrary, have been a great surprise.
Most of the locals do not speak English and you need to arrive prepared with a few apps like Google Translate.
In saying that, once you make a small effort, doors open and smiles are not that unusual.
I found very friendly local people on my trip and plenty of opportunities for portraits.
So, how did it go?
I really enjoyed my trip and travel photography in Siberia has been absolutely a revelation.
I found landscapes I would have never imaged existing and people so welcoming.
You can read more of the Siberian facts I have experienced on my trip, a few of them really unusual and interesting.
These are facts that demystify Siberia from being an empty land of desolation. In fact, Siberia has been one of my most interesting trips ever.
This trip would not have been possible without the help and coordination of the project FollowUpAustralia. Of course, the content has not been influenced by any external support, I write only my honest opinion.