Cypres Fairytale Tour

November 9 — 13, 2024

Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou

Start Location  — Panama City, FL

Dates: November 9 — 13, 2024

Price$1900 per participant before 2/01/2024

          $ 2100 per participant after 2/01/2024

Group Size: 7 participants + 1 guide.

InstructorAlex Mironyuk

Deposit$ 500 (payments accepted for the remainder of the balance)

Tour Description

I invite you to visit and photograph one of the most unusual and unique ecosystems in the southern United States — cypress swamps and lakes with cypress groves growing directly in the water. Due to poor, almost undeveloped infrastructure and an unfavorable humid and hot climate, these places are rarely visited by tourists and photographers. 

We travel to these areas during the most favorable time of the year when the air temperature rarely rises above 75°F, and at night, it does not drop below 45°F. At the same time, the lake experiences the peak of autumn colors when a dark brown shade of autumn cypresses is added in addition to the usual yellow and red hues of the foliage.

Every morning and evening, we will be in our canoes exploring different parts of that lake with ancient bald cypress in the water. 

At least once, we will visit one of the countless springs with crystal-clear water on our canoes. 

Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou

Cypress swamps in the southern United States are a natural habitat for alligators, making capturing images from the shore or from a boat safe. No one can prevent you, at your own risk, from wading into the shallows and setting up a tripod in the water amidst the cypress trees. In this case, swamp boots or waders would come in handy.

Surprisingly, these swamps and lakes usually have almost no mosquitoes. Nonetheless, we recommend having mosquito repellent or another form of insect repellent.

Don’t forget to bring a telephoto lens from home. These swamps, lakes, and rivers are true birds and wildlife paradise.

This workshop is designed to enhance your skills and abilities in landscape photography, providing a new impetus to your creative potential. 

The entire masterclass is dedicated to the practical aspects of landscape photography. I will be with you every step of the way, helping you understand composition, camera settings, chasing light, tricks of night photography, focus bracketing, panoramic shooting, and much more.

Physical Activity Level: From light to moderate. During the tour, you will engage in canoeing on the cypress lake (approximately 3-4 miles per day) and walking along the lake shore (less than a mile per day).

Accommodation: The tour cost includes accommodation in a hotel in Panama City based on double occupancy. Individual accommodation is possible—please inquire before tour payment, and for an additional fee, I will reserve a separate room for you.

Transportation: Not included in the tour cost. Each participant must arrive in their own (rented) vehicle at the tour location.

Airport: The nearest airport to the tour location is Northwest Florida Beaches (ECP) International Airport (Panama City (Florida)).

Meals: Not included in the tour cost. Near our hotel, there are a dozen restaurants and several supermarkets.

Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou

Itinerary

Day 0: November 3, Sunday

On this day, we will conduct an online Zoom conference with all tour participants to discuss the details of the upcoming trip. An informal masterclass on photography techniques will also be shown during this online meeting. We will cover topics such as:

  • Various photography techniques and modes help improve your skills and enhance your artistic vision.
  • Working with light, especially during the golden hour.
  • Basics of composition.
  • Specific tips for shooting from a boat.

This virtual session allows participants to connect, address questions, and gain valuable insights into photography techniques before the journey begins.

Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou

Day 1: November 9, Saturday

The tour participants independently make their way to the hotel by 2:00 PM. Around 2:30 PM, we will head to the cypress lake for our first evening photo session*.

For about 20-30 minutes, we will practice safely getting in and out of the canoe. We will also be able to practice canoe control using paddles, individually and in pairs.

Following the practice, we will spend the remainder of the daylight on the lake, capturing images of cypress trees illuminated by the evening sun. After sunset, we will return to the hotel and proceed to our first group dinner.

*Please note that the exact timing of activities may vary based on local conditions and logistics.

*If you arrive late, you miss our first evening photo session. So you go to the hotel and check in in your room. 

Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou

Days 2–4: November 10–12, Sunday–Tuesday

Each day, an hour before sunrise, we will depart from the hotel to be on the lake during the pre-dawn twilight. The vast cypress lake makes it challenging to find areas (bays, inlets) without ripples. We will launch our boats in different locations depending on the weather to efficiently capture photographs.

There is a particularly convenient spot on the lake for photographing cypresses directly from the shore, and we will conduct at least one sunrise and one sunset photo session there. Additionally, we will witness the sunrise directly on the water.

One of these days, we will visit one of Florida’s most beautiful and rarely visited springs, with turquoise clear water and cypresses lining the shores. To reach this location, we will use our canoes. The water temperature in Florida Springs remains at approximately 72°F throughout the year, providing an opportunity for those interested to even take a dip in this remarkable place.

Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou

We will spend the first two hours each day on the boats, searching for compelling shots on the lake. Around 9.30 AM, we will return to the hotel for breakfast and relaxation. During this time, we will enhance our photographic skills by discussing the day’s captures and refining our editing abilities using Lightroom and Photoshop. There will be at least one informal hands-on seminar on processing the day’s photos in Lightroom and partially in Photoshop. The topics covered will include:

  • Basic editing of RAW files in Lightroom.
  • Utilizing Lightroom filters.
  • Applying adjustment layers in Photoshop.
  • Using masks and brushes in Photoshop.
  • Applying special techniques in Photoshop, such as Gaussian blur, dodge, burn, and using various blending modes.
  • Preparing images for online sharing.

Around 2:30 PM, we will head back to the lake until sunset, capturing endless scenes of cypress trees.

Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou

Day 5: November 13, Wednesday

At around 5:30 AM, we checked out of the hotel and headed back to “our” lake for the final morning photo session of the tour. Around 9:30 AM, we come ashore, load the boats onto the trailer, and officially conclude our workshop.

Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou

Payment schedule and cancellation policy:

The total price for the tour is $ 1900 if you booked this tour before 02/01/2024; after that date, the price is $2100. 

A  deposit of $ 500 is required to reserve a space in this workshop.

Cancellation Policy — If you decide to cancel this trip before 09/09/2024, we will refund your deposit. If you decide to cancel your trip after 09/09/2024, your deposit becomes non-refundable. So we suggest all participants buy separate travel insurance.  

The final balance is due by September 9, 2024, and there will be no refunds on the total amount owed if you cancel after the final payment. However, if we find another client to fill your space, you will receive a full refund minus your deposit.

If we cancel this tour — you will get a full refund.

What is included:

  • Double occupancy room.
  • Rent of a canoe and some help in their use (2 persons per canoe).
  • Expert instructions and guidance to a wonderful variety of locations, In-field instruction on capture technique (composition, compensating for high dynamic range, focus stacking, creating effective sun-stars, night photography, light painting, and much more)
  • In-field recommendation on your photo gear
  • An incredible, unforgettable experience, full of adventure with amazing people and loads of great photos!!!

* You can upgrade your lodging to a single occupancy — just send this inquiry before you book the workshop.

What is NOT included:

  • Transportation*;
  • Meals and snacks;
  • Medical Insurance & Incidental Costs;
  • Airfare to and from Panama City, FL;
  • Travel passports, visas, and other travel documents;
  • Alcoholic beverages

* To reduce transportation and fuel expenses, I recommend all participants get in touch with each other to carpool. 

Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou

Recommended Photo Equipment:

  • Camera (DSLR or Mirrorless) W/Extra Batteries And Memory Cards
  • Tripod with a ball head (leveling base is optional but very helpful to take panoramic shots)
  • Shutter release
  • Wide to standard zoom lens, with their lens hoods (I carry 12-24mm and 24-70mm lenses)
  • Telephoto zoom lens for extraction and abstract scenes (I use a 70-200mm)
  • Telephoto zoom lens for wildlife shots (I use 150-600mm lenses)
  • Circular polarizer filter to remove glare from the water (it’s OK if you do not have one)
  • Graduated neutral density filters (if you use them)
  • Rocket blower and microfiber cloths for keeping glass surfaces dry and clean
  • Most importantly — a great attitude!

Recommended Personal Gear:

  • Rubber boots or waders
  • Dry bag to care for your photo gear in the boat
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Rain jacket and pants
  • Fleece jacket
  • Waterproof hiking boots
  • Extra warm clothing for possible cold weather conditions including long underwear, hats, and gloves
  • Backpack (bag) to carry photo gear.
Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou

Questions? Please feel free to call me at +1 (386) 627−1449 if you have any questions or message me.

A follow-up email with schedule details, recommended gear, and a liability release will be sent to the registered photographers

Send a request to participate in the “Cypress Fairytale” workshop

Cypress Fairy Tale. Pet, Senior, Landscape, portrait studio, photographer in Miami and Sou