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Photo by David Trud

Thanks for choosing Better Moments for your next adventure workshop. Better Moments was founded in 2011 by Philip Boissevain and me, two experienced veterans of the international professional photography industry. We met when working at Hasselblad, Philip as the Global Marketing manager and me as the Global Photographer Relations manager. Today Better Moments has become the leading photo workshop platform organizing high-end workshops for photo enthusiasts worldwide. You will learn from the world’s most experienced photographers within their fields to refine your personal style and sharpen your technical skills. Additionally, we want you to share your excitement for photography and enjoy great moments in life. And we want you to explore your passion and expand your photographic skills and vision.

Better Moments CEO and founder: Christian Nørgaard Graphic design: Anders Lundgren Text editor: Jeff Grant All images and text in this catalog are under International Copyright Legislation. However, Better Moment’s guests and potential customers may download the catalog for private use, but not for any commercial use. Any violation of the International Copyright Legislation will be reported to the International Court of Justice of International Copyright Legislation Cover photo by Mike Yamashita

Better Moments mission is to deliver exclusive workshops in landscape, wildlife and travel photography at unique locations around the world. I want you to explore your passion for photography and work and earn from the world’s most renowned photographers who all have excellent teaching skills, local knowledge and experience. Photography with passion, Christian Nørgaard


Photo by Mike Yamashita

SILK ROAD A HISTORICAL LEGACY Travel through one of the world’s most famous trade routes, together with Mike Yamashita, award winning National Geographic photojournalist for more than 30 years. The Silk Road transverses more than 20 cities from central to western China. Each place abounds with fascinating and lively culture as well as unforgettable natural landscapes.



Photo by Mike Yamashita

TRAVEL Better Moments’ mission is to deliver exclusive workshops. We want you to explore your passion for photography and to work with the world’s most renowned photographer, Mike Yamashita during your China expedition.



Terracotta Army, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Work in different lighting and with short/long exposure times and apertures.

Big Goose Pagoda, one of the most famous pagodas in China. Photograph the Zhangye Rainbow Mountain and the Jiayuguan Fortress at sunset and sunrise. Mingsha Sand Dunes.

How to handle equipment with care on location. Private hands-on lessons that can help to take your photography skills to the next level.

The Crescent Moon Lake.


Photograph the Sunday morning livestock bazaar, at Kashgar.

Expert review and constructive criticism of the images taken during the day.

The Id Kah Mosque, the largest in mosque in China.

Workflow in Photoshop and/or Lightroom, and printing.


Portfolio Review.

Learn how to approach the unique challenges of travel and landscape photography, how to capture candid moments and portraits and how to capture expansiveness, dynamic energy and the simplicity of natural landscape photography.

A Better Moments Certified Photo Instructor is available during the entire workshop to offer assistance with camera settings, the basics of composition, and to generally guide and help.

ON LOCATION Teaching and training in the best techniques with personal hints and advice. Composition and focus on lines, golden section, perspective, foreground, middleground and


Photo by Mike Yamashita



MIKE YAMA Michael Yamashita has been shooting for National Geographic magazine for over 30 years, combining his dual passions of photography and travel. After graduating from Wesleyan University with a degree in Asian studies, he spent seven years in Asia, which became his photographic area of specialty. Upon returning to the US, Yamashita began shooting for the National Geographic, as well as other American and international magazines and clients. In addition to Yamashita’s focus on Asia, his work has taken him to six continents. Yamashita’s particular specialty is in retracing the paths of famous travelers and historical routes resulting in stories on Marco Polo, the Chinese explorer Zheng He, Chamagudao - the Tea Horse Road, the Great Wall of China, the Mekong River from source to mouth. His feature documentary, The Ghost Fleet, inspired by his National Geographic story about the 15th-century Admiral, won the Best Historical Documentary prize at the New York International Independent Film Festival. Additionally, his National Geographic Channel documentary, Marco Polo: The China Mystery Revealed, based on his threepart magazine story, received two Asian Television and Film Awards. It was also included in the top twenty most popular NG Channel documentaries of the decade.

Photo by private

Explore China together with National Geographic photographer Mike Yamashita




Photo by Mike Yamashita

A frequent keynote speaker for corporations and foundations, as well as a lecturer and teacher at universities and workshops around the world, Yamashita has received numerous industry awards, including those from the Pictures of the Year, Photo District News, the New York Art Directors Club, and the Asian-American Journalists Association. Major exhibits of his work have opened throughout Asia, in Tokyo, Beijing, Seoul, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Taipei and Singapore, as well as in Rome, Venice, Frankfurt, and Perpignan, France. His work has been exhibited in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and at the National Gallery in Washington, DC Yamashita has published eleven books (mostly inspired by his 30 National Geographic stories): 88: The China Collection; Shangri-La: Along the Tea Road to Lhasa; The Great Wall From Beginning to End; New York: Flying High, an aerial portrait of Manhattan; Zheng He: Tracing the Epic Voyages of China’s Greatest Explorer; Japan: The Soul of a Nation; Marco Polo, A Photographer’s Journey; Mekong: A Journey on the Mother of Waters; In the Japanese Garden; A Pictorial Tribute to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy; Lakes, Peaks and Prairies: Discovering the U.S. Canadian Border. While not traveling, Michael Yamashita lives with his family in rural New Jersey, where he maintains a studio and is an active volunteer fireman.

Photo by Mike Yamashita

Photo by Mike Yamashita

ITINERARY DAY 1 ARRIVE IN XIAN Arrival in Xian, meet in the hotel lobby at 4 pm for an orientation meeting followed by a welcome dinner. We are staying at Sheraton Xi’an North City Hotel. DAY 2 XIAN Early this morning, we visit and photograph the Terracotta Army, created to guard the tomb of Qin Shihuang, the first emperor to unite China. One of the most remarkable archaeological discoveries of all times, the Terracotta Army is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We leisurely admire this vast array of soldiers. We have lunch in the Muslim quarter if time permits, where we find a way of life that derives as much from the ancient cultures of Central Asia as it does from China. For over 1,300 years, Muslims have been an integral part of the colorful daily life of Xi’an. We visit the Great Mosque if time permits. In the late afternoon, we have a quick look at the Big Goose Pagoda, one of the most famous pagodas in China. This provides an opportunity to reflect on how the location of Xi’an at the eastern end of the Silk Road made it a flourishing center of Buddhist development in ancient China. We stay at Sheraton Xi’an North City Hotel. DAY 3 XIAN TO ZHANGYE We fly to Zhangye by GS7679 (0740/0940). Visit and photograph the Zhangye Rainbow Mountain at

sunset. We will stay at the local Zhangye Juxian Hotel. DAY 4 ZHANGYE TO JIAYUGUAN After sunrise photography at Zhangye Rainbow Mountain, we drive directly to photograph the sunset at Jiayuguan Fortress, which is at the west terminal of the Great Wall of China. We stay at the Jiayuguan 4 star Hotel. DAY 5 JIAYUGUAN TO DUNGUANG Early morning, we photograph the Jiayuguan Fortress with sunrise from outside. After breakfast and check out, we visit Jiayuguan Fortress. Afterwards, we drive 5 hours to Dunhuang. We photograph the Mingsha Sand Dunes at sunset. Dunhuang, known as the City of the Sands, is a former terminal of the ancient Silk Road, perched on the edge of the Taklamakan Desert. The Taklamakan Desert is one of the world’s largest deserts with an area of 272,000 square kilometer. The city holds the richest treasure troves of ancient Buddhist murals and statues. We will stay at the Dunhuang Silk Road Hotel. DAY 6 DUNGUANG ON TRAIN TO TURPAN After breakfast, we visit the Mingsha Sand Dunes, which Marco Polo referred to as the “rumbling sands”. Then visit the Crescent Moon Lake, where the oasis meets the desert. Climbing to the top of the dunes, we take in a spectacular view of a green oasis surrounded by an endless desert landscape. The sands

don’t smother the lake because of a certain earth movement that creates winds that blow the sand away from the spring. In the afternoon, we drive 25 km to photograph the Mogao Grottos, which mark the pinnacle of Buddhist artistic development in China. The Grottos were created over nine dynasties, from the 4th to the 14th centuries, and contain 492 caves, each housing murals (45,000), Buddhist paintings and terra-cotta statues (2,000). These grottos are carved into a 1600-meter high cliff. If time permits, at sunset, we take donkey cart to visit and photograph Yangguan Pass, then visit the Yangguan Museum. Drive 135 KM to take an overnight train in soft sleeper carriages (four berths in one compartment) to Turpan by train No. Z138 (00:48/09:07). DAY 7 URUMQI TO KASHGAR Arrival at Urumqi Train Station, we will have breakfast and drive to Urumqi Airport for our flight to Kashgar by 3U8525 (1240/1440). If time permits, we walk around the local bazaar. If you’re up for a bit of a culinary adventure, you can sample some of the traditional specialties such as laghman, a kind of noodle, poluo, a tasty fried rice pilaf, or even goat’s head soup! Of course, the most popular food, lamb kebab seasoned with Xinjiang spices, is everywhere. In the late afternoon, we arrive at Kashgar. We stay at the Radisson Blu Kashgar.

DAY 8 KASHGAR Kashgar is the largest oasis city in Chinese Central Asia. We photograph the Sunday morning livestock bazaar, a massive gathering of farmers and merchants from across the area. This colorful and lively market provides a great opportunity to pick up some of the Silk Road’s most interesting souvenirs, from hand made leather boots, to traditional musical instruments, to bags of fresh spices. In the afternoon, we photograph the old town and another bazaar. Afterwards, we visit the Abakh Hoja Tomb. Commonly known among the Chinese as the Tomb of Xiangfei, it is the most magnificent tomb in Kashgar, filled with history and symbolism. Here, our local guide will introduce the history of the relationship development between Xinjiang and Qing Dynasty. We stay at the Radisson Blu Kashgar. DAY 9 KASHGAR TO KALAKULI LAKE Kashgar is also the heart of Islam within China, and thus we pay a visit to the Id Kah Mosque, the largest mosque in China. This beautifully decorated mosque more closely resembles a mosque in Pakistan or Afghanistan than China, and attracts up to 10,000 worshippers for Friday prayers. Afterwards, we drive 3 hours (200 km) to Kalakuli Lake (3600 meters above sea level), photograph the

snowy mountains people en route.



Overnight by Kalakuli Lake. DAY 10 KALAKULI LAKE TO TAXKORGAN After sunrise photography of the lake and mountain, we then drive 3 hours to Taxkorgan (or tashikuergan). Photograph local school and markets, etc. Overnight in Taxkorgan. DAY 11 TAXKORGAN We photograph the Tajik people and drive to the border with Pakistan. Overnight in Taxkorgan. DAY 12 KASHGAR Today, we drive back to Kashgar, photographing en route. We stay at the Radisson Blu Kashgar. DAY 13 KASHGAR Today is our last photo session in Kashgar. We have a photo review in the late afternoon and farewell dinner. We stay at the Radisson Blu Kashgar. DAY 14 KASHGAR TO URUMQI TO BEIJING

Today, we fly from Kashgar to Urumqi by CZ6885 (1105/1250), Out trip ends at Urumqi Airport. The above itinerary needs to be flexible in terms of local conditions, specific situation and interests at that time, or unforeseen reasons.



Photo by Mike Yamashita



Good international connections to Xianyang International Airport, approximately one hour from the city centre.

It’s very cool and dry, with big temperature differences between day and night. It still feels like summer in the afternoon during a sunny day, but may cool down to 3-4 C (37-39 F) quickly after a few days’ rain.

VISA All visitors are required to have a passport valid for at least six months beyond the intended stay, and all visitors will need a visa. Read more about Chinese visas at embassy/visa.htm If you’re still not sure what you need to do, let us know.



“The short but beautiful autumn (from mid-September to the end of October) is all time travel favorite. Autumn in this city enjoys mild temperature and plenty of sunshine. Long-sleeved shirts and thin coats are adequate for autumn.” – from: The rough weather in October 2015 was as follows: Xian: 12 – 21 celsius degrees Zhangye: 4 – 23 celsius degrees Jiayuguan: 3 – 18 celsius degrees Dunhuang: -1 – 15 celsius degrees Turpan: 8 – 26 celsius degrees Kashgar: 3 – 20 celsius degrees Taxkorgan: -6 – 13 celsius degrees LANGUAGE Mandarin Chinese (Putonghua) based on Beijing dialect, plus local dialects. Many can also communicate in English. CURRENCY Yuan, Renminbi.

Photo by Mike Yamashita

QUICK GUIDE We wish you to travel with the greatest possible comfort and to know that you have received as much information as possible

EQUIPMENT Whether this is your first trip or your ”hundredth” workshop with us, it’s always helpful to have a rundown of what items you may want to pack so you have a travel checklist. Bookmark this packing list, because you’ll want to refer back to it to make sure you’ve thought of everything you might want to pack.

CAMERA The camera list is for inspiration, since you know better than anyone what equipment you prefer. Bring you own laptop computer and storage medium Camera bodie(s) Lenses, 24-70mm zoom and 70-200mm zoom or similar lenses are very good Bag for all camera gear Light bag for easy hiking with camera bodies and accessories

Cleaning kit for cameras and lenses Rain/dust covers for cameras and lenses

NICE TO HAVE Tripod Lens extenders

Spare batteries

Camera straps for ease of changing from one camera to another

Standard power converter

Graduated filter set

Raw processing software

Filter holder

Memory cards and card wallets

High quality polarizing filter

Charger for batteries

Lens belt

Memory card reader USB key to exchange images

Photo by Mike Yamashita

Photo by Mike Yamashita

PHOTOGRAPHER Unni Hjellnes was awarded Photographer Of The Month, December 2016 The award has been granted because of Unni’s unique ability to capture and portray people in various situations and environments. She simply makes compelling images. Unni has participated in four of our workshops – Bhutan, Tanzania, Burma and Indochina. The award winning photograph of the month was taken on our Bhutan workshop, at one of the most beautiful monasteries, Punakha Dzong.



Each month we select a photographer from one of our many workshops who deserves special recognition. The Photographer of the Month is chosen by the Better Moments workshop experts, including Better Moments CEO, Christian Nørgaard.

CHINA - 2017  

Silk Road a Historical Legacy - with National Geographic photographer Mike Yamashita.

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