September 2019: The Eagle Hunters, Mongolia

September 2019: The Eagle Hunters, Mongolia


September 10 - 16, 2019

Imagine 60 Dothraki bloodriders charging at you with Golden Eagles on their arms and you will get a sense for what is in store for you at the Altai Eagle Festival in Mongolia. Well… something like that.

We will spend six days nights with Eagle Hunters, staying in a nomad village in a genuine Mongolia ger. Ethnically Kazakh, the Eagle Hunters still follow a nomadic way of life herding and hunting from the land. This trip will offer you a once in a lifetime photographic opportunity to capture a culture and tradition that is in danger of disappearing.


Workshop Information


Day one - Arrival in Ulgii

Styles: Landscapes, nature, photojournalism

We will meet you at the airport and then head out to the home of our Kazakh guide where will do our briefing and discuss the program for the following week. Following this we will drive out to Altansogs village where we will stay with Eagle Hunter Aiu and his famous Eagle Hunter father Sailau. They were filmed for the BBC Human Planet. A segment of which you can see on YouTube:

You will meet the family and have a chance to explore their winter home and get acclimated to your surroundings as we will spend the next three days immersed in nomadic life. This is a great opportunity to start building ideas for your project.

In the afternoon we will drive and then hike up Ononmountain where you will have the opportunity to see the nesting place of the Golden Eagle as well as panoramic views of the surrounding countryside where we will be spending our time.

Can you see the gers spread out in the valley?

Can you see the gers spread out in the valley?

Day two - Nomadic life

Styles: : Landscape / photojournalism / nature

Today we rise early before sunrise and to take advantage of the dramatic sunrise over the Mongolian steppes. Landscape photographers get ready!

The day will be spent working on your personal project around the village with support from our staff photographer.

We will spend some time with the family around the village documenting daily life and time to head up to the mountains for some spectacular sunrise and and sunsets.

Eagle Hunter, Sailau, on horseback with his Golden Eagle

Eagle Hunter, Sailau, on horseback with his Golden Eagle

Day three - Eagle Hunters

Styles: Environmental portraiture

Today we head up to the mountains with some of the Eagle Hunters from the region to shoot environmental portraits ahead of the Eagle Festival. We will have exclusive access to the Eagle Hunters in full hunting attire with their horses and eagles.

Two Golden Eagles have struck a fox

Two Golden Eagles have struck a fox

Day four - Hunt day

Styles: Environmental portraiture, action and landscapes

We will ride (on a Mongolian horse) with the Eagle Hunter on a hunting trip into the magnificent steppe and mountain country of Western Mongolia, the home to many rare animal species like: the Snow Leopard, Lynx, Ibex and Wolverine. The family will be hunting for common foxes, marmots, rabbits and other abundant small animals.

One of the games played at the Altai Festival where the hunter must call his Eagle to his hand

One of the games played at the Altai Festival where the hunter must call his Eagle to his hand

Day five and six - Altai Eagle Festival

Styles: Action, sports, nature

Today, we say goodbye to our friends and we drive about 2 hours to get to a place Sagsai to attend the Altai Eagle Festival.

Over the next two day you will experience a unique and amazing event. You will see the parade of the fifty to sixty Eagle Hunters as they ride past, with their Golden Eagles and dressed in their traditional hunting outfits. See, as the competition unfolds, how the hunters compete with each other for victory. The competition includes extreme tests of skill for the eagles and their human trainers such as:

  1. Picking up coins from horseback being ridden at a full gallop

  2. Calling their eagles from a distance and winning points for the speed in which their eagles respond

  3. In a timed, simulated fox hunt, a fox skin is dragged behind a horse and the Eagles must catch them as quickly as possible.

It will be an opportunity for you to to capture some unique images of one of the final enduring customs of these nomadic tribes.

At the end of day 6 we will have final presentations and a farewell dinner with our guides.

Day seven - Departures

We say farewell and head to the airport with wonderful memories, new friendships and a bunch of new images for our portfolios!


Gary Tyson

Gary Tyson

Gary Tyson, the principal of F8 Photography, is one of Asia’s foremost commercial photographers whose client list includes brands such as Ducati, Audi, Coca-Cola and Swire Properties.

He is a veteran workshop leader, having led numerous workshops for F8 in India, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Japan and Hong Kong. We can attest to his abilities having been participants in many of his workshops!

He will be on hand actively coaching not just on photographic techniques but more importantly how to work with real world subjects to put them at ease so you can get the best possible pictures. Expect honest feedback and expect to leave better than you arrived.

Prior to arriving in Asia, Gary was a decorated soldier and combat camera team photographer / videographer in the British Army, serving in multiple theatres around the world. It wasn’t all bullets and bombs though, his service was punctuated by many privileged moments working alongside most members on the Royal family, including Her Majesty, the Queen.

Things you need to know

What’s included

  1. Daily coaching from our team

  2. All ground transportation, including drivers, cars and horses

  3. Food cooked three times daily by a professional chef who will accompany us for the duration

  4. Accommodation: Day 1 thru day 4 we will have our own gers set up at the base of the mountains near the family. It will be a maximum of three per ger. For day 5 and 6 we will be in a hotel. As the town is very small, the hotel basic, but clean, has hot water and western style toilets.

  5. Fees for the festival and access to Eagle Hunters

  6. Airport delivery and pickup

  7. Photography permits from the local town

  8. Generators for electricity to charge phones and laptops

  9. Access to our private, client only community for ongoing constructive critique and photography discussions!

What’s not included

  1. Airfares

  2. Any additional hotel nights before and after

  3. Alcohol

Group size

The group will be limited to between 6-8 people and a minimum group size of 4 is required for this workshop to proceed.