Join Gary Friedman on a photo experience in Latvia

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We are announcing a very unique trip for budding travel and reportage photographers out there. This is a “Photo Expedition” – different from a traditional tour package – put together by professional photographer and Sony Alpha system e-Book author Gary Friedman (who runs the stock photo website ).

Latvian Church

Says Gary: “Photo Expeditions are guided travel programs which cater to the unique needs (some people might say “eccentric needs”) of photographers. Getting up at 4:00am in order to catch the sunrise is not out of the ordinary. Taking you to landmarks only when the light is right makes perfect sense to us. Taking you to places off the beaten path and leave you free to roam and photograph a fishing village is exactly our itinerary. And you’ll be with fellow photographers who love to travel, make new friends, and tell the story via pictures. The whole tour is based on the premise that nobody ever took a National Geographic quality photo from the window of a moving bus.

“The event will be taking place in the beautiful Republic of Latvia on July 13-20, 2008. UK readers can book low-cost flights from Ryanair, typical costs for the return journey from Stansted and various other airports to Riga are around £130-£200 on the dates involved, including taxes.

“Where…? Not many people have heard of Latvia, but it is one of the most beautiful of the former Soviet Republics. You can see pictures and read a detailed itinerary at .
“The trip is all-inclusive – once you get your self to Riga, we take full care of you from start to finish. We have room for only 14 people, so if you’re thinking of going, signing up sooner is better than later!

“I feel especially proud that we were able to secure as our “home base” one of the best retreat properties in Latvia. From the website:

This property was once an exclusive retreat for KGB VIP’s where satisfaction was guaranteed for the Soviet elite: Deer were tied to a tree so old Generals could shoot it, and divers would secretly hang fish onto submerged fishing hooks to please their high-ranking vacationers.

“The new facility built to European standards and situated on Valguma lake where you can sit at breakfast and enjoy the view of the hills and woods.

“If you’re even thinking you might want to join us, please send me an email at [email protected] to let me know your intent and I can let you know when spaces are about to run out. This is going to be a fun trip!

“Check out the details at and let’s hear from you!”


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    This is up there with assertions that bear walked the streets of Moscow during the cold war. A Russian comedy film actually popularized the 2nd notion, with the fish – where the diver’s underwear, ultimately, got hooked. Needless to say, whoever done any fishing (or hunting) in real life could see how those things would defeat the purpose and in fact insult the skill and intelligence of the fisherman/hunter. I make no excuses for what KGB was tasked to do – like any nation’s security agency, it had its proud and shameful moments. But few of the KGB officers who survived through the Stalin times to be old dogs in the milder later times in question, were dumb, or bad shots.

    That said, Latvia is a beautiful and historically rich place. The sentiment in the site in question may be driven by the general hostility of many Latvians towards the former Soviet Union – regarding the heavy-handed “big brother” cultural and economic influence during soviet times as an invasion and in fact preferring the time when the Nazis came in the beginning of WWII. They now even have a museum celebrating those presumably happier times. That’s a good controversy to cover journalistically, I think. Also, Walter Zapp, the inventor of a wonderful Minox camera, is from Lativia and in fact it was manufactured in WEF, a factory in Riga. They must have amuseum – check it out!

  • Gary does say ‘was one’ – however, I agree, his wording isn’t accurate as it could mean it once was beautiful – etc. I’ll edit it.


  • Thank you for sharing, it’s nice, but common people, what a hell is “…one of the most beautiful of the Soviet Republics” ???
    Latvia is independent country already 17 years and in EU 4 years. It could be quite OK if you write at least “past Soviet Republic”.

    For fun interesting site about Latvia:

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