Loved by non-photographers too, our photo tour holidays offer the ultimate, small-group travel experience to the world's most wonderful and unique places - with special access away from the crowds. I love to travel, but I hate being stuck with loads of other people (especially when we've got nothing in common), being taken to the regular, over-crowded tourist attractions or wasting hours in an amazing country just relaxing by some pool. I want to get the most out of my holidays - I want to see as many different animals as I can, I want to travel through different landscapes and be shown hidden gems off the beaten path, I want to experience the culture, taste the food, meet new friends with similar interests, enjoy some luxury and importantly, I want to have the time to take some beautiful and unique photos of it all. This is what we strive for with our photography tours and workshops.
It's not enough for me to spot a distant lion, tick it off and move on - I wan't to have the option to try and get closer, on the correct side for best lighting and even wait for him to lift his head and stare directly down the barrel of my camera lens for a great photo - or to move on when I'm done - I want flexibility. I want the inside tips for the best photo location to be ready when the sun rises over the horizon and spills across the bay onto those boulders - and if I can't quite get my photo to work, it'd be awesome to have a friendly pro-photographer right there to offer advice (not one who'll stand in front of me to get the best shot themselves!). If there's a seal colony out on an island nearby, then I'd want to charter a boat tour out there just with my friends onboard so we can spend as long or as short as we want to get the photos without being crowded on a regular sight-seeing tour. If the seal colony was a bit of a tourist attraction on a local beach then I'd want to wait for the crowds to leave, and go down onto the beach after hours - just us as a small group, and a private ranger guide to photograph them at our leisure in beautiful evening lighting.
You don't even need to be a photographer to love this style of holiday - who wouldn't like a bit of luxury and a bit of extra patience from their tour leaders, or to be given the opportunity to fly over lakes covered in pink flamingos in Africa in a doors-off plane or over a beautiful coastline in a doors-off helicopter for some epic views? Stay on a private island, learn some new skills with your photography, make some new friends and have an unforgettable, unique holiday - all at the same time! Sound good? Well, there's a reason more than half of our guests come back again, and again on our photo tours!
Absolutely not! We have many non-photographers (and partners of photographers) enjoy our tours! As one guest said "It didn’t matter that I’m not a photographer - I used my iPhone. Just experiencing all these amazing locations at a relaxed pace, in comfort and without the crowds was wonderful!". The expert photography tuition is a bonus - the incredible access to experience the best places in a tiny group is the main thing! If you're traveling to take photos, or just as a holiday - in the end, it's all about seeing as many of the amazing animals as possible, experiencing the local food and culture, admiring the landscapes, breathing the fresh air and enjoying the whole unforgettable experience with a small group of friends. Whether or not you put a camera in front of your face doesn't really change this. We've had many non-photographers come on our tour, enjoying just spotting animals, identifying them, or watching their behaviour and by the end of the trip many of them do start picking up a camera (or borrowing one of ours) and start getting excited about photography too! Some have later gone on to become full-on photographers, to the delight of their partners! Either way, they have a ball and often come away with us again and again.
Most photography guests are beginner to keen-enthusiast level - so no need to stress that your photography may not be good enough - the whole point is to improve your photography, no matter what your level! Our tours are enjoyed by everyone from non-photographers, iPhone and happy-snap photographers right up to serious professionals. We start each tour with a quick photography crash-course, and our expert photography guides are there to help you throughout the whole tour. There is no better way to improve your photography than spending a solid week or two practicing, surrounded by amazingly inspiring subjects, with a small, friendly group of like-minded people. You will be amazed how much your photography will improve. We're there to offer as much or as little assistance as you'd like, at whatever level of complexity you're ready for.
The level of physical activity varies for each of our tours, however none involve strenuous hiking or anything like that. In Kenya, for example, the hardest thing you'll have to do is walk to and from your tour vehicle mostly, other destinations involve things like optional snorkelling, or may include short walks or humid conditions. We've had 83 year old guests, guests with bad knees and even heart-conditions do even what we consider our most strenuous tours, so rest assured the tour you're looking at is very likely achievable. If you're concerned, just ask us. The tour information booklet we provide for each tour gives a clearer indication of what's involved for each destination. We're very mindful of the abilities of our guests and can always provide less demanding alternatives for those wishing a break.
For each of our tours, we've carefully prepared (and keep updated) a detailed information booklet covering everything including our recommendations for what kind of camera & lenses we'd consider well suited for that trip, as well as also everything else like clothes, what type of power plug, what currency, what the climate is like, language tips and plenty of other information to help answer all your questions! We'll send you a copy of this information booklet when you book, or you can email us for one in advance. We also have a selection of lenses including telephoto lenses for hire, please email us in advance if you're interested.
We do have a selection of lenses (including macro, wide and telephoto lenses, for both Canon and Nikon) available for hire. Please just ask us about this if you're interested during your booking. There's no need for amazing camera gear though to enjoy our tours - some guests come as non-photographers or just with an iPhone camera and still absolutely love the experience of small-group, luxury and relaxed-pace travel to these very special places. It's up to you how serious you want your photography focus to be, and we do provide an information booklet for each tour including our recommendations for what kind of camera & lenses we'd consider best suited to maximise your photography for each trip. We'll send you a copy of this information booklet when you book, or you can email us for one in advance.
Fear not - more than half of our tour guests travel solo. To help you make friends before you even leave and to be reassured and aided by the advice of your fellow-travellers (and those who have gone before you), we've created an interactive Facebook group for our CBP Voyager Club members (that's anyone who's been on, or is going on any of our tours, which also gives them 10% OFF any future tours!). You can find out who's coming from your area, perhaps even meet up beforehand or fly together. This is a great resource and we encourage you to make the most of it if you're on Facebook! Anyone can read the CBP Voyager Club Facebook page, but you can only interact once you've paid your deposit.
We recommend that you book your flights and travel insurance with our dedicated, friendly travel agent Brenda as she can try and put you on the same flights and accommodations as your fellow travellers pre/post tour. Before you depart you'll be told exact details for who will be meeting you at the airport, holding what sign, and also give you contact phone numbers to call in the unlikely event that you are delayed or plans need to change.
And do not worry that most accommodation is twin-share - we're good at pairing you up with a roomie who you'll get along with - it has been the start of long-term friendships for many! We can't guarantee that we'll always be able to have you sharing with someone of the same sex - it depends on the gender split, but we do our best. You can request to purchase a single supplement (a room to yourself) if you really need to (subject to availability) though keep in mind that you're usually only in your rooms to sleep as we fill your waking hours with plenty to do, and the couple of occasions we have had guests request rooms to themselves, they end up regretting it when they see the amazing friendships that form between the other roomies.
Of course we can - even in places like Kenya we've successfully catered for vegan, gluten-free, lactose-intolerant and vegetarian guests, and all have had a wonderful tour.
Rest assured that we do not travel through any of the major danger hot-spots like those highly warned against in travel advisory boards etc. For example, in Kenya, we do not even pass through downtown Nairobi and we operate completely away from the coast / Mombasa region and the Somali border. The fact that we like to take you to the more tranquil, less-touristy places on our tours conveniently means we only ever spend minimal time in busy, built up areas or large tourist attractions where thieves or terrorists might target - most of the places we stay at are quite rural and private, and you'll quickly feel right at home & safe.
Our cancelation policies are in line with other leading tourism operators, and you can read all about them here in our Booking Terms and Conditions. We are proud to employ industry best-practices such as holding your payments in a trust-fund and have been awarded the T-QUAL tick (Australian Government's national symbol of tourism quality).
The Voyager Club is our photo tour loyalty program! As our photo tours apparently can be very addictive (we've had guests come to more than half a dozen of our tours!), we created the Chris Bray Photography Voyager Club, giving repeat guests 5% OFF future tours with automatic Silver Membership, and then 10% OFF as Gold Members after their fifth tour with us.
Either click the 'Book Now' button above and fill in your details, or simply contact us and let us know which tour you're keen to join us on, and we'll send you a deposit invoice to secure your spot, along with the tour information booklet and our Booking Terms and Conditions.
A 2-hour flight from Perth (not included) will have you touching down in Paraburdoo, a small community in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The photo tour starts with us jumping aboard our private, air-conditioned 24-seater bus (that gives you two seats each!) and heading towards the luxurious 'Karijini Eco Retreat'. While it's normally only a 2-hour transit, we know you'll be itching to photograph this dramatic and vibrant landscape, so we'll take our time and make as many stops as you'd like along the way – including a stop in the town of Tom Price where we'll run through a quick photography refresher course and brief you on the program for the tour.
We'll arrive at the Karijini Eco Retreat in time for a wonderful lunch chosen from their gourmet, seasonal menu. The retreat is ideally located in the depths of the breathtaking Karijini National Park and is the only permanent accommodation within the park. We'll be spending the next four nights here in our luxury tents with ensuite bathroom facilities.
After settling in, this afternoon we'll drive to a lookout near Joffre Falls for our first sunset shoot. This will be a great introductory shoot so we'll take our time helping you work with the natural beauty of this stunning gorge and surrounding landscapes, experiment with HDR etc. Especially impressive after rain, this spectacular curved waterfall can form a natural amphitheater with water cascading down over the layered red and black rock walls. After the lookout we'll walk to the top of the falls where you'll be able to take some slow shutter-speed photos of the smaller cascades as the light turns golden making the red rocks come alive.
When we're all done, we'll head back to the retreat for dinner where a wonderful alfresco dining experience will be ready and waiting.
We know that photographing star trails and the Milky Way is high on everyone's photography bucket list – especially in the famously clear, dark skies out here. Rest assured we'll be keeping an eye out for a perfect night while at Karijini, and will help you with the camera settings and the post processing needed to capture some amazing night shots - stars, the milky way, and even curving star trails.
This morning we'll depart early to reach Kalamina Gorge for sunrise. Making our way into the gorge in the dark, we'll be in the best position to shoot the towering red cliffs and cascade of waterfalls just as they become bathed in the golden morning light. After sunrise we'll head back to the retreat for a hearty cooked breakfast before giving you some time off to go through some of your photos.
After another gourmet lunch we'll set off for the famous Hemersley Gorge. A 1km-walking trail leads us to a large, tranquil rockpool fed by a waterfall, beautifully framed by the strikingly layered, iron ore rich rock walls. Anyone keen for a swim? On the way back to camp, we'll stop at Oxer lookout, an awesome vantage point that reveals the true grandeur and scale of this landscape, providing unrivalled views out over the junctions of Weano, Red, Hancock and Joffre Georges, as well as more tiers of banded iron ore formations framing a pool at the base. After the golden lighting and sunset fades, we'll head back to the retreat for dinner.
Another early morning departure (you guessed it!) will have us making our way to Weano Gorge for sunrise. A short walk down concreted steps will take us to the bottom of the gorge where a large pool will then reflect the brilliant red rocks and snappy gum trees as the morning sun brings the colours to life. Continuing further along the gorge as it start to narrow, we'll encounter a series of small pools as the walls of the red gorge tower above us. Here we'll be able to use some long shutter speeds to capture photos of the waterfalls flowing over the rocks. A picnic breakfast will top it off before returning to the lodge mid-morning.
After lunch we'll run an Adobe Lightroom photo editing tutorial before returning to Joffery Falls in the afternoon. This time, however, we'll view it from the vantage point on the other side of the gorge. It's only a short walk from your tents to this lookout and this is a great opportunity to look for macro shots of wildflowers, back lit leaves and textures on trees. This is also a chance for the more energetic among us to walk to the pool at the base of Joffery falls while others slowly make their way back to the retreat, photographing the huge red termite mounds and white snappy gum trees glowing of the afternoon light along the way.
While we're in this spectacular location we have to make the most of it, so yes, we'll be up early again this morning for our sunrise photography shoot at Fern Tree pool and Fortescue Falls in Dales Gorge. Here the vibrant green ferns flank azure streams, tranquil pools and permanently cascading waterfalls, all contrasted against the red cliffs in the background. It's stunning! After a picnic breakfast you'll have the option of taking the beautiful walk down through the gorge to Circular Pool. Along the way you'll see giant fig trees with their roots cascading over the terraced rock faces and be rewarded with a cool swim in the Circular Pool oasis at the end! On our way back to the retreat we'll visit the new Karijini Visitors Centre.
It's our last afternoon here in Karijini National Park so as the golden lighting of sunset approaches, we'll be driving out towards Mt Bruce to capture some iconic ‘Australian Outback' landscape shots. The outback here offers a huge array of photography opportunities from the back-lit snappy gum trees to reflections in pools of water, towering termite mounds, blossoming wild flowers, Spinifex grass and, of course, the terraced red hulk of Mt Bruce (the second highest mountain in WA) and the Hamersley Ranges.
You've earned a sleep in this morning! After a leisurely breakfast we'll depart for Karijini Airstip where our private Cessna Caravan jet prop will be ready and waiting to take us on our 1hr 45min flight to Exmouth (saving us two days of 4WD'ing!). This incredible flight over the spectacularly patterned Pilbara landscape really is a highlight! There's room for everyone to have a window seat, and with big windows to shoot through it's a great aerial photography opportunity (use your polarizing filter if you have one) as the red rocks and mountain ranges slowly turn to a kaleidoscope of turquoise pools, azure water and white sand.
We've saved the best until last -'Sal Salis' is part of the ‘Luxury Lodges of Australia' circuit and it's not difficult to see why. With only 16 eco-lux wilderness tents hidden amongst the dunes in the Cape Ranges National Park overlooking Ningaloo Reef (the largest fringing reef in the world), Sal Salis is a unique place from which to explore WA's coral coast - one of Australia's best-kept natural secrets. We'll spend three nights here at this luxury resort, so spread out and make yourselves at home!
This afternoon Sal Salis will kit us all out with snorkelling gear and wetsuits before our introductory drift snorkel. Sal Salis is lucky enough to have it's own house reef, right in front of the lodge which hosts an array of sea life from huge stag horn coral formations to anemones, clownfish, rays, sponge gardens and if we're lucky, turtles!
This evening our resident chef will prepare us a delicious 3 course dinner with local ingredients and fresh W.A. seafood. All drinks are included here, so feel free to sample their selection of beers, spirits and premium Western Australian wines, and each dinner course is served with wines to match. Enjoy!
You'll have learnt a lot during yesterday's whale shark swim, and after reviewing your photos, you'll be glad we've gone all-out and booked you guys a second, private trip today to do it all again! It's a real highlight and you've come a long way to experience this, and filled with confidence from yesterday, you'll be a pro at it today and nail some even better shots. We've shortened the day a little by skipping the introductory snorkel in the morning and the lagoon snorkel in the afternoon, which gives us time afterwards for Dave from Ningaloo Safari Tours to pick us up from the boat ramp and drive us through Cape Range National Park (stopping for any Emus, Bustards, Galas, Kestrels, Osprey or Eagles we see along the way) and onto his boat for a short tour up Yardi Creek to photograph Ospreys and the threatened Black-footed Rock Wallaby. On the way back to Sal Salis, we'll head to the famous Turquoise Bay for a magic drift snorkel. Like a giant aquarium you'll see parrotfish, angelfish and perhaps turtles and stingrays, small (harmless) reef sharks and more! Then it's back to Sal Salis to celebrate what has been an unforgettable tour as we dine under the stars one last time - sunset canapés, drinks and an amazing meal.
You're not going to want to do anything this morning except sleep-in and enjoy the luxury of this incredible accommodation. After one last gourmet breaky, we'll pack up and board our Exmouth airport transfer and your flights home. It'll take you weeks to go through all your amazing photos but best of all, you'll forever remain a better photographer thanks to all the new skills learnt and the experience gained from these last eight unforgettable days!
IMPORTANT - Ensure you have read our Tour Booking Conditions prior to booking. A copy will be sent with your deposit invoice and must be signed and returned to us (an emailed scan/photo of your signed copy will suffice), before we accept and confirm your booking. The document covers everything from your rights, inclusions and payment schedule, to our cancellation policy and extent of liability.
All our photo tours are subject to minimum numbers. Please ensure you have read our photo tour Booking Conditions for our cancellation policy (above).
The price of the photo tour does not include flights from your hometown to Paraburdoo, nor your return flight back home from Exmouth (airport is called Learmonth). However, the price DOES include the private charter flight from Karijini to Exmouth and all transfers.
All meals are provided on the tour, and for the second half of the trip, at Sal Salis Ningaloo, drinks (including a selection of beers, spirits and premium Western Australian wines) are also included. Beverages purchased during our time in Karijini are at your own expense, except water refills which will be provided.
Physical Activity - This tour requires a relatively good level of fitness, mobility and balance – it's not for the unfit or infirm, or those who struggle to carry their camera gear in the heat. You certainly don't need to be super fit, however accessing some of the best photographic locations in Karijini often involves walking down rocky staircases and along uneven paths through the gorges, sometimes in the dark with head torches (and back up again). The walks are of course optional, and there are sometimes possible alternatives such as photographing birds, lizards and wildflowers in the area, however if you choose not to join the group for the walks in the gorges we can't leave a guide with you on those occasions, and you won't get as much out of the tour. If you have a reasonable level of fitness and balance, you'll absolutely love the tour and be blown away by the dramatic beauty of the gorges! It's well worth the effort!
While there are no strenuous walks planned at Sal Salis, the lodge is a 500m walk from the car park. Sal Salis staff will transport all your bags to and from your tent upon arrival and departure so you won't need to carry them to your rooms, however each time the group leaves the lodge for an activity during the stay it will require you to make your way to the carpark (though again your camera bags can be taken on ahead in a golf cart). There is no rush though, and it's not very hilly, so it's no trouble!
We reserve the right to decline guests from booking on this trip if we feel they may not be well suited, may risk hurting themselves, or may detract from the experience of the other guests by holding the group back in any way.
If you're at all concerned about your level of fitness, please feel free to email us tours@ChrisBrayPhotography.com at for a more detailed description of the walks so you can assess your own suitability.
Snorkelling - Rest assured you don't need to be an experienced swimmer to swim with Whale Sharks - you don't even need any snorkelling experience! Our crew onboard specialises in helping less confident, nervous and less experienced swimmers into the water to swim with the Whale Sharks, with a practice swim first in the protected waters of the lagoon. We've had snorkelers who have not only never snorkelled before but who were actively afraid of the water manage to come out and go snorkelling with us to see the whale sharks here in Ningaloo and totally loved it! Snorkelling gear will be provided by Sal Salis lodge but you are always welcome to bring your own if you'd prefer (providing it still fits inside the luggage weight limit.) For those who don't want to swim with the Whale Sharks, there is no pressure to do so. You'll still enjoy the experience of being out on the boat and seeing these magnificent creatures in their natural environment.