with Dan Burkholder
Share a holiday season that you'll never forget — Christmas and New Year's in Romania where ancient festivals and gatherings brighten the winter world. This is Europe from the past. Time moves at its own pace in the Maramures where local people preserve an old way of life with honored traditions, handcrafted goods in Christmas markets and a strong village community. You'll experience caroling celebrations and have personal contact with the Romanian people in their homes, working farms and churches.
This unique itinerary is built around the season's festivals and parades and will include the fascinating Dance of the Bear festival in the Moldova region of Romania. The deafening drumbeat announces a parade of hundreds of people dressed up in real bear fur costumes, growling and swaying their way through the streets. There is always a chance that public celebrations will be altered if the Covid cases rise but we expect plenty of photographic opportunities.
The winter landscape provides a romantic backdrop offering a simple beauty to every photograph. Imagine the medieval castles and vistas of Transylvania with a dusting of snow. No visit to Romania would be complete without a visit to Bran Castle with its connection to the mythical Dracula.
The people of Romania represent a complex heritage mix of Romanian, German, Gypsy and Hungarian cultures. Our accommodations will be in family guesthouses and smaller villages when possible, offering a more traditional experience and easy access to exceptional photographic settings. While traveling throughout the snowy countryside, our group will be in several 4-wheel drive vehicles with enough room for luggage and gear. This light caravan approach will give us the most photo opportunities, both planned and unexpected as unique travel experiences present themselves.
On this tour, all types of digital photography are embraced: DSLR, iPhone and mirrorless cameras are all welcome. Dan Burkholder, master photographer, artist and photographic innovator, promotes a lightweight approach to image making where you can shoot with any digital camera that allows you to transfer images to your iPhones and iPads. You’ll discover the joy of editing on your iPhone during lunch or on your iPad in the middle of the night — a dream for the travel photographer!
Joining Dan will be Jill Skupin Burkholder and Daniel Rosca, a Romanian photographer and guide, whose expertise will keep the expedition flowing smoothly. Daniel coordinates all aspects of the trip, ensuring that the days are packed with local experiences that show the full character of the country. All three group leaders will be at your side providing photographic know-how, experience and a light-hearted approach to sharing friendship and making memories during this winter adventure.
The workshop adventure will begin in the north Romania city of Cluj-Napoca on Thursday evening, Dec. 22nd. The following morning we begin our travel to the Maramures where you will spend the first days of your Christmas tour.
Four nights will be in the Maramures at a rural guesthouse while we fill our days visiting a variety of locations including small villages like Vadu Izei where we'll see carolers wandering from house to house and see locals at the market doing last minute purchases before Christmas; the "Merry Cemetery" of Sapanta (unique for its crosses with lively colors and comical poems of the deceased); the nearby town, Sighet, known for its large Jewish community in the past and a former communist prison, now an historically enlightening museum.
The next location for two nights is the Bucovina region where we will explore two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the painted monasteries, Moldovita Monastery and Sucevita Monastery, located in natural winter settings. Also, we'll have the opportunity to photograph one of Romania's narrow-gauge steam trains in the forest landscape.
Traveling through the Moldova region will end with one night stay in Bacau/Darmanesti to attend one of the most fascinating winter festivals in Romania, the Dance of the Bear. Men and women of all ages put on bear skins and sway through town in a surreal display of color and dance.
The last accommodation in Transylvania is in Brasov where we will spend three nights. The beautiful medieval architecture provides a festive setting for a lively Christmas market with a live concert with fireworks and a countdown to the New Year.
The final travel day takes us to Bran Castle, famous for its association with Dracula, and an outside shoot of the imposing castle with the distant mountains. An afternoon in Bucharest's Old Town ends our stay as we prepare to head home the next day on Tuesday, Jan. 3.
The itinerary is subject to change but will always be planned for the best photographic opportunities. For a friendly relaxed atmosphere and to provide lots of individual attention, the group is limited to 7 participants. The workshop fee is $4850.
Winter in Romania — DEPOSIT (full price is $4850)
Dec 22, 2022-Jan 3, 2023 — Winter photo workshop to rural Romania and Transylvania with Dan Burkholder. Explore the charming villages as they celebrate a traditional Christmas and New Year's. The full cost of the trip is $4850. Balance is due Nov 18, 2022.
• Twelve nights lodging and 13 days of photographic instruction
• Various entrance fees and shooting opportunities
• Ground transportation in 4 wheel drive cars
• All Breakfasts
• 2 Lunches and 6 Dinners (listed in the itinerary)
• Bottled water
• Fluent, English-speaking local guide
• Transfers to and from the airport
• Meals, except those included. On average, you pay $10-15 per meal
• Airfares and related taxes or fees to and from Romania
• Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
• Personal expenses, services, or purchases
• Transportation after the workshop ends
• Travel/cancellation Insurance which includes Overseas Medical Care and Evacuation (available from your travel agent)
Payment and Cancellation Policy
All participants are required to be up-to-date on Covid vaccinations and boosters. We require Travel/Cancellation Insurance that includes Overseas Medical Care and Evacuation (available from your travel agent or agencies like Travelguard.com and TravelInsure.com). Many policies offered by credit cards do not include these options so be sure that you are medically covered for your trip.
Bring winter clothing and comfortable snow boots because you’ll spend lots of time on your feet. You'll get lots of tips and advice during the trip planning to make sure you are ready for the weather.
Any camera is welcome — from DSLR to Mirrorless to iPhone. iPhones and iPads should be newer models that can run iOS version 15 because these models make it much easier for us to share images during classroom critiques and lessons.
A month before departure, you will receive additional detailed information to help you prepare for your adventure. From camera gear advice to packing suggestions, you’ll get lots of guidance to ensure your trip is one of learning and image making instead of headaches and hassles.
Hold your spot with a $1200 deposit with the balance due Nov 18, 2022. If you need to cancel before Oct 23, $600 will be refunded. Because of advanced planning, if the cancellation is within 60 days of the workshop start date, we will not be able to refund any of the workshop fee.
On the unlikely chance that we need to cancel the workshop for any reason, you will be refunded the entire workshop price.
Rooms are based on double occupancy and all have private baths. If you prefer a single room, the supplement is $600. We will make every effort to connect you with a roommate should you like to share a room. However, if we’re unable to make a match, the single supplement will apply. Let us know early if you have difficulty with stairs or have other special needs.
The learning never stops in this workshop. When shooting in the field, I can help you with camera questions and offer invaluable suggestions on lens selection and composition. I think you’ll appreciate help with the “whys” of photography in addition to the more common “hows.” We also have a number of class/image review sessions planned during our trip. In these sessions we’ll review your images (both praising great photos and making valuable suggestions for capturing even better images the next time) and cover powerful — yet easy — image editing techniques on our iPhones and iPads. From simple, $1.99 apps to Lightroom CC, you'll learn the best ways to organize and edit your Romanian photos.
Yes, you can shoot with any camera (from iPhone to Compact, to Mirrorless, to DSLR) as long as you can transfer your images to your iOS device (iPhone or iPad) for editing, stylizing and sharing. I’ve taught this Modern Workflow approach during many trips abroad and students have found it a refreshing, lightweight approach that lets them leave their heavy laptop at home. You’ll be delighted with how easy you can review and edit your images during our bus rides to and from locations. You’ll smile when you wake up at 3 am with fresh ideas on how to improve a photo...all done while laying flat on your back! And you’ll be amazed at how easily we can share images for review and for our final (and always amazing) Slide Shows at the journey’s end.
If you’ve ever taken one of my workshops, you know I am passionate and generous about sharing both techniques and philosophies for image making. You can always seek me out for any kind of photo assistance, whether in the field or back in our hotels; we really are going to bask in photography for these 13 days.
Once you’re registered for the workshop, you’ll receive information-filled newsletters that will help you prepare for the adventure. From camera/lens selection tips to electrical plug adaptors to GPS app suggestions (that will work in Romania with no expensive data plan required), you’ll find answers to all your questions. And if you still have questions, we’ll find the answer so that your trip is one of happy discoveries and not worrisome uncertainties. Jill and I want to make this a photo-and-memory making experience that will bring a smile to your face in years to come as you cherish your photos and the new friends you made in Romania.
As always, please email me with any questions about this thrilling photo excursion to Romania. It’s going to be an epically creative time for us all!