How refreshing to go on a photography expedition that felt like a true adventure. Vlad’s deep knowledge of the fjords of Lofoten was palpable, as we visited location after location only accessible by boat and deserted for the harsh, polar winter. Well organised, well paced, welcoming accommodation, experienced skippers and a talented guide. A trip to Lofoten with Vertical Shot is not one to be forgotten.
The Arctic Norway dogsledding photography tour and workshop with Lars Schneider exceeded my expectations in every way. The entire tour process, from initial contact and registration, to travel, to being out in the Arctic, was professionally organized and seamless. Jan and Ane have nothing but love and respect for their dogs and the national parks we travelled through, and it showed. Lars is a consummate professional who showed great flexibility and incredible amounts of patience. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone, and would do it again without hesitation.
Vlad, Wojciech and Dominik expertly and cheerfully led us through the two weeks we spent around Lofoten, each bringing a wealth of experience and no shortage of anecdotes. They ran the whole operation very smoothly and always with good humour. Every detail was taken care of and they were always on hand with plenty of information and advice, be it about Lofoten, sailing or photography in general. The yacht itself was ideal; sure life was somewhat cramped during the 2 weeks, but it allowed enough personal space, especially on deck during fine weather, and was the perfect way to explore the area (providing some truly unique viewpoints). Having come back from the trip with no shortage of great shots, a load of sailing knowledge and some new friends, I would highly recommend joining future photography expeditions with the team of Vertical Shot Expeditions.
The two-week expedition, which was led by an experienced and creative photographer with in-depth knowledge of the area, offered something refreshingly new and different: a view of the remarkable Lofoten islands from the sea as well as access to remote areas of the archipelago. A flexible itinerary meant we had the freedom to venture off by ourselves to, say, try one of the many recommended short hikes when on-shore. Expert advice on Lofoten in addition to every aspect of photography was always on hand, if needed. The sailing expedition and VSE are both highly recommended to experienced photographers seeking a tour that offers adventure. I look forward to joining VSE on another expedition.
Vlad was very helpful in the run up to the trip to Lofoten and was there to meet me off the ferry despite the very late arrival time. The accommodation was basic but with a friendly atmosphere. Lilian, the hotel owner, is extremely helpful and an excellent cook. The area has very dramatic scenery and it would not have been possible to visit all the areas we did without the ground work put in by Vertical Shot Expeditions. Trips on the RIB boat and ferry were calm enough and didn’t cause me any concern. A certain degree of fitness is required but I’m 61 and didn’t have any issues. I would recommend this trip to anyone considering it but you do have to be aware that the terrain is rugged and that it is winter.
Brilliant and brave of Vlad and his ultra-efficient team to offer a photography/dogsledding trip in the Arctic in January. Most people would shun this based on the temperatures alone but the scenery and above all the lighting (day and night) was absolutely spectacular for photography - well worth enduring -35C. And considering it was the first trip of its kind, our photographer/guides Lars and Jan did an amazing job of balancing the precarious mix of kinetic huskies and static photographers. By far one of the best trips I’ve been on in terms of preparation, organisation and expertise. Would do it again in a heartbeat.
Vlad Donkov has a reputation for braving the elements to shoot fantastic images of some of the remotest locations on the planet, and he enjoys the challenge that comes from facing the wilderness ... To say that he suffers for his art is an understatement. A self-confessed lover of ice and snow, he can sometimes spend months on his own in the frozen wilderness, and it’s all in the name of bringing back yet another set of exceptional images.
Vertical Shot Expeditions has found that niche of providing true outdoor adventure with expert photography guidance. In my case the combination of providing an intense dogsledding experience high above the arctic circle in Norway with the expert guidance of an action sport pro photographer was first rate. The organisation of the tour was superb and Vlad and his team ensured that we were well informed and prepared prior to departure and always ready to answer any additional questions that arose. Their selection of photographer and mushing guide shows their passion for the outdoors and in providing one with a very personal experience.Both Jan, our mushing guide, and Lars, our photographer are highly passionate and experienced people in their field and this showed in how they ran the tour and interacted with the group. It’s a testament to both of them that, after 6 days of mushing in -30C and camping in very rugged conditions, we had become a tight knit little group of adventures. Not only did we return with some fantastic photos of the northern lights, but more importantly we returned with a wonderful experience. One that I would look to seek out again in the future.
I attended the Vertical Shot Expeditions dog sledding photography tour and was not disappointed. The team helped me prepare appropriately with ample emails answered patiently and swiftly! The photographer Lars is first class. A very knowledgable guide and a real pleasure to spend a week with. Jan our dog mushing guide was one of the most passionate individuals I have come across. The dogs are his life and his devotion to them, the group he is leading and the natural environment around him is unparalleled. And that’s not to mention the excellent food, beautiful tipis and cabins and the superbly trained huskies that work so tirelessly and with such enthusiasm!
I thought the trip was really well run from the information provided before we set off right up to when we left the boat. The 18 hours when we sailed through the Moskenstraumen, had a BBQ in Hell, saw the Aurora and then saw killer whales probably rates as the best 18 hours of my life but there were lots of other lower key moments which will stick with me for a long time.It’s testament to the trip that, after two weeks living in fairly confined quarters with 9 strangers, I left the boat asking myself “what’s next” rather than looking forward to a warm and comfortable bed!
Vlad Donkov’s dedicated attitude towards experiencing the landscape made him an ideal photographer for Outdoor Photography Magazine. Gracing our October issue’s ‘In the Spotlight’ section, we collaborated further for February’s ‘Lie of Land’ piece, where he recounted his thrilling photo expedition to northern Pakistan. One of Vlad’s photographs was on the cover of our November’s issue.Vlad was also one of our speakers at this year’s The Telegraph Outdoor Adventure and Travel Show in London.
One of the most enjoyable trips I’ve ever had, with an enormous amount of expert knowledge of sailing, photography and the area on offer. The encyclopedic knowledge of Lofoten offered by Vlad allowed to find some truly unique shots and his coaching made sure I made the most of the opportunities. Have recommended this trip to friends, as it really was a brilliant experience.
I recently had the great fortune to travel with Vertical Shot Expeditions to the Lofoten Islands. Vlad’s expert guidance and impeccable organisation skills made the whole trip a great pleasure; he took us to some incredible locations and wowed us with breathtaking scenery; it was one of the most exciting and memorable trips of my life - I hope I get the chance to travel with Vertical Shot again soon.
The Lofoten Islands have been an obsession of mine for more than a decade. But thus far, I had only seen the views in which my feet could take me. So when I heard about Vlad putting together a sailing expedition around the islands, I made an immediate booking.I thought I had seen everything while standing atop mountains and staring across the sea. That was until I was sitting on that calm sea, sailing into the sunset and looking up towards those familiar peaks. We traveled to places that I’ve dreamed of visiting for years, yet never had a way of getting to. Our days were filled with new friends and the rhythm of the sea. Our nights with campfires and northern lights. I look forward to sailing the islands again one day!
This wonderful, memorable expedition down the Danube exceeded all my expectations, and was truly a trip that I will always remember. From our relaxed, sunny days paddling downstream and looking out for wildlife through to our evenings camping on the beautiful island beaches, the trip quickly settled into a lovely daily routine. To top it all off, Vlad and Demo were kind and considerate guides, and each had a great sense of humour which added a lot to the holiday; together with the other trip companions, they made wonderful, entertaining company. I was truly sorry when our journey ended, and couldn’t have asked for more from this trip. I am also now addicted to kayaking! Thanks to all of you for making it so much fun.
The Lofoten expedition was hands down an experience of a lifetime. It allowed us to access so many remarkable locations which would otherwise take many months to reach by hiking and traveling around. On top of that, traveling by boat allowed us to travel very comfortably and at our own pace, to benefit from the great maritime infrastructure of Arctic Norway and to know that there’s always a hot teapot around for the pauses between the shooting sessions from the deck. Vlad, Dominik and Wojciech swiftly introduced the trip, guided us through the sea of options and made us feel at home so that we felt like a proper crew after a day or so of getting used to the boat. The crew was very diverse in terms of photography and outdoors background. The team did a tremendous job in building the right dynamics, taking the necessary time and making sure that everyone got the most out of the trip. I truly believe that great experiences happen organically given the right people, at a special place and time: choosing an adventure with Vertical Shot Expeditions automatically checks the first ingredient while the others are quickly taken care of!
I booked this trip at fairly short notice as I only discovered it a few weeks before it was due to start. I had quite a lot of questions and I also wanted to try and add some additional activities before the trip. Vlad answered all of the questions in detail he also helped me connect up with a nature guide who was superb and added an really good extra dimension to the trip. The kayaking part of the trip really felt like an exploration as it was the first time it had been run and although it felt like an exploration it was extremely well organised. The kayak guide was second to none, he provided the right balance of guidance and then feedback through the trip to help you improve your kayaking skills. The food was great tasting and plentiful. We ate out a number of times and both of the guides helped get the most out of the local cuisine and drinks (loved the rakia). There was plenty of wildlife on the trip I observed; deer, grass snakes, kingfishers, spoonbills, pelicans and many more. One of the elements that I really enjoyed was viewing the Bulgarian way of life; drifting past the huge barges and seeing the sunflower fields being two examples. All in all a great trip!
Thank you for a wonderful week in the Lofoten Islands. It was indeed a special experience to visit during the polar night, and made doubly special by your keen sense of the interesting places to go, and where to find the magical shots. Each day was well organised and well thought out and we were very comfortably looked after by Lilian with her warm home and fantastic hospitality. I took a lot of learnings away from the week and found it tremendously motivating.
Vlad Donkov from Vertical Shot Expeditions gave talks to both of the clubs we run here at Fotofilia (Birmingham). It’s not often I see our club members’ jaws drop but they did when they heard about Vlad’s adventures and saw the amazing images that resulted. His is an incredible and inspiring story which he delivered with humour and professionalism. His personal charisma was no doubt also a factor in the success of a landscape photography masterclass he ran for us and which led to some excellent feedback from the attendees.
Having the courage to travel to remote, isolated regions and live in solitude to capture exquisite moments on camera is not for the faint of heart. It requires fortitude, dedication and a burning desire to explore, express and create. Vlad Donkov brings these qualities to his photo expeditions. Each photograph can be a story unto itself. It inspires you to reach beyond yourself and imagine what is possible.His photographs are often otherworldly, while clearly demonstrating his knowledge of the craft and attention to detail.