Ice and fire. Photographer Vyacheslav Savinsky about Kamchatka peninsula and his favorite places out there


Stories | 27.03.2019


Kamchatka Peninsula is definitely on the list of the most amazing places on the planet. There are more than 20 active volcanoes, in the forests you can easily come across bears and foxes, there are volcanic beaches, geysers, and there are not so many tourists. Kamchatka photographer Vyacheslav Savinsky has compiled a route around his favourite places for MAPS.ME, and also spoke about life on the peninsula.
Author
I started taking pictures recently. I am actually an entrepreneur, and I travel in my free time. I never had any type of huge desire to travel, but now I want to travel a lot, to go back to the places where I've already been, and to take pictures of everything. I can definitely say that one influences the other.
Many local people leave Kamchatka when they finish school and go to university. They move mainly due to lack of infrastructure, and I have always been much more interested in nature. Therefore, I chose Kamchatka University and stayed here. By profession I am something like a computer science teacher, but I've never worked according to my specialty.

I love Kamchatka for a lot of reasons. For its mystery and the most beautiful autumns. Here you can travel all your life and constantly discover new places. The landscape is also always constantly changing due to volcanic eruptions. It is very cool.
Life in Kamchatka
It's not easy, even though I have nothing to compare it with. If we talk about life, then we have everything we need for a good life. Kamchatka itself exists due to two main industries: fishing and tourism. Fishing is not very stable, but profitable. And there are always tourists.
It is interesting to live on Kamchatka. In 2013, Tolbachik volcano erupted and lava flowed in huge quantities. There are also sports activities to do: free-riding, heli-skiing, surfing, ski-touring and others. We don't have any pre-made slopes, like you'll find in ski resorts. Instead, we have natural ones: volcanoes and mountain passes. Our snow is not really the same as somewhere in Alaska or in Japan, but it's still quite good. It's absolutely find to live here, there are no difficulties.
In the summer you can regularly stumble across wild animals. You can easily see bears, and even more often foxes, which are actually quite tame. In winter, the chances of seeing them are much less, but I have never particularly set myself the goal of looking for them for the sake of photos at this time. In the year during the winter, I saw an elk on the territory of Nalychevo Park. Even in the forest hares are often found.
Adventures
In September 2018, I flew to Kurile Lake by helicopter. At that time I managed to see more than 30 bears. After the lake, the group and I flew to the volcanic crater of Ksudach volcano, and then landed on the Khodutkinsky thermal springs to rest. It was a memorable journey, because usually a trip around Kamchatka takes a lot of time, and during that time I was able to see many locations during the day and managed to shoot a lot.
I was part of another really interesting trip in 2016. My friends and I drove off-road cars to the Karymsky volcano. At that time I was the navigator and still did not even shoot. Now I remember this and regret it a little.

We drove through the wilderness, sometimes only occasionally seeing hunting lodges. There are no roads in those places either, and on the way we met no one, except bears and other wild animals. Imagine what a path it was: a week spent on the road there, two days living near a volcano and then a week back. It was absolutely amazing. Now I want to go hiking for at least a week in the area of the Bakening volcano.
I always wanted to travel, but at first there was no one to go with. Gradually, I began to travel in jeeps with friends, then I started driving myself, and a year and a half ago I started shooting.
Now I understand that it is never too late to do something new. I am over 30, and I just discovered photography, alpine skiing, free-riding, ski-touring and even mountaineering.
Now I understand that it is never too late to do something new. I am over 30, and I just discovered photography, alpine skiing, free-riding, ski-touring and even mountaineering.
In the future I plan to develop this direction of tourism. Kamchatka region is very promising. Even if the tourism industry there isn't exactly perfect now, I think it will be very good in the future.
Route
For the route, I chose locations that deserve to be seen by everyone. I marked the points where I would take my friends to show them the beauty of Kamchatka. I wanted to tell you about the places that people fall for and when they finally understand that all the effort was worth it.
Nalychevo Nature Park. Nalychevo Nature Park was created in 1995. It is surrounded by 9 volcanoes. Zhupanovsky Volcano constantly pumps out a huge amount of steam. The park is suitable for visits in winter and summer. There are wild hot thermal springs, as well as equipped small pools. For night-time, you'll find purpose-built houses with wood-burning stoves for heating. It is important to remember that you have to have permission in order to be in the park. You can get it at the National Park's office "Volcanoes of Kamchatka".
Ganali mountains. A place that really doesn't feel like Kamchatka at all. The pointed peaks not only attract climbers, but also photographers. You need to be ready to go through a lot to see this beauty. You'll get the best shots from the right ridge. In the summer you need a four-wheel drive car, and for the winter a snowmobile, in order to get to this place.
Khalaktyrsky beach. The fastest and easiest way to get to the Pacific Ocean is to go to Halaktyr beach. The view is amazing: the multi-kilometre coastline full of volcanic black sand beaches. Our beach is the only place in the world where there is an ocean on one side and active volcanoes on the other. Also here you can find Kamchatka's experienced surfers.
Gorely volcano. The volcano that last erupted in 2010. Previously, there was an acid lake here, after the eruption it disappeared, nevertheless, the volcano didn't cease to be beautiful. The gentle slope allows almost anyone to climb here. In the spring and early summer, the snow continues to lie, at which time you can get to the top by all-terrain vehicle.
Cape Kekurny (home of sea lions). This cape is home to sea lions. The Kekur may be small, but it is filled with sea lions. It is easy to get to this place, but the path is long. You need to head south by boat or yacht for about 6 hours. The cape itself is located immediately after Russkaya Bay. Killer whales and whales can be found on the way to the cape.
Kamchatka attracts lovers of adventure with its untouched nature and places that are not found anywhere else in the world. Find more unique places on Kamchatka with Vyacheslav Savinsky's route "Kamchatka through my eyes" in MAPS.ME's routes catalogue.
To see more stories from Vyacheslav Savinsky follow his Instagram profile
instagram.com/savinskyv

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