BTO -- Bachmann Tour Overdrive
I have traveled on assignment - with camera in hand - almost all of my adult life. For many years I simply was in charge of large crews of models, assistants, make-up artists and art directors going to lush, exotic places on our planet. It seemed we always "made believe" -- creating ads showing the perfect couple parading down perfect beaches to imitate the "perfect" vacation. Or we shot beautiful fashion models in tropical surroundings wearing clothes that the public simply MUST have. It always seemed we were using the location to sell something rather than the EXPERIENCE of traveling.
But there was a part of me that is a teacrher and a director that was unfulfilled. I wanted to share remote places on Earth with people that liked photography and travel as much as I still did.
After having requests from photographers to direct a trip, I started a tiny little group of adventurous people who would appreciate the fabulous places on Earth that I loved. I NEVER envisioned that this little humble start would grow into a once-a-year adventure with different people each year exploring with me some remote spot on Earth.
Thus "Bachmann Tour Overdrive" was born and I have treasured the experience since its inception. I only have time from my commercial work to direct one or two grand trips a year, but so many of us look forward to our next adventure together. Since the year 2000, we have had 21 seperate trips & counting, and these escapades have become part of our DNA.
When we travel as a BTO group there is one rule that is so different from all other "tours." The rule is-- If we see something beautiful or see interesting people in exotic places, we stop and explore. Simply STOP and join the celebration!!! I have seen my 20 people with cameras invade the smallest of villages when we stop and the experiences we all share I would not trade for ANY fashion assignment! Most tours don't have time to change their rigid itinerary for a visit to places we stop. My thinking is --we don't have enough time on Earth NOT to stop.
We have traveled on three separate extensive trips to China & Tibet, explored South Africa, Australia/New Zealand/Papua New Guinea, India/Nepal, Guatemala/Honduras, the Greek Islands, Vietnam/Cambodia/Laos/Malaysia/Singapore, Peru,/Argentina, Kenya/Tanzania, Iceland, Morocco and 10 unique trips to Cuba. In future years we plan on going to Croatia/Eastern Europe, Canada, Trans-Siberian Railroad, back to India & Nepal, Italy/France, Antarctica and probably many more remote areas of our dynamic planet.
Wherever we go, we will experience locations from more than just a passing bus. We will "get our hands dirty" shooting on the streets, in the villages, in the mountains, and learn to appreciate the various cultures up close and personal. It is the only way I want to travel.... no isolation from the experiences for us.
We are in this world only once and my prayer for each of you is to go out and enjoy this grand planet from every corner. You will learn more than you can read about and the joys will live in you forever.
"TWENTY YEARS FROM NOW, YOU WILL BE MORE DISAPPOINTED BY THE THINGS YOU DIDN'T DO -- THAN BY THE ONES YOU DID !"
Below are two video links we made for you to "experience" a trip with our Bachmann Tour Overdrive group. One is a really short version and the long version is much better and more informative. If you look at one of these you will get an idea of what our group does, how they feel about our trips and the kind of adventures we all love. If you love adventure, travel and photography -- then BTO is for you.
If you have a slow internet connection, as you look at the videos, you may have a little bit of buffering. The best thing to do is to click one of the links below and wait a minute or two while it loads. Then you should see the video without it stopping to buffer. If you have a fast connection you probably do not need to load. If you have the time, I would strongly recommend the longer version!
Our tentative schedule of trips, with links when possible
Trans-Siberian Railroad, Russia- POSTPONED UNTIL 2018 ---- We are heading through seven time zones starting in Moscow, thru Mongolia all the way to Beijing, China. This will be one of our greatest adventures. We will take the train for several days and fly to other cities to stay in hotels in Siberia and even stay in nomad gers with locals in Mongolia. This trip promises to fill up quickly so act fast. Click Here
Ireland & Northern Ireland July 9 - 24th, 2017 ---- This is a great opportunity to circle the green countries of Ireland & Northern Ireland for 2 fabulous weeks. We arrive & finally depart 2 weeks later from the capital city of Dublin. We will board a luxury bus and slowly traverse both countries. Along the way we will shoot numerous castles, tiny quaint villages, taste the beers & foods in so many tiny Irish pubs and, basically, explore the towns & daily life of our Irish roots. We will stop and meet people everywhere, from lonely farmers to village residents. This will be a first-hand photo experience as we capture the green mountains, exotic castles and friendly residents as we have much free time to wander & photograph everything we see. For more infomation and to register Click Here
Cuba 2017 ---- April 18, 2017 - May 2, 2017. We have a 15-day mission to Cuba in the Spring of 2017. The demand for Cuba trips is skyrocketing because everyone now wants to see Cuba before it changes and becomes "Americanized". We have the most extensive trip available at a price far less than others are charging. Bill has led 9 trips to Cuba and knows it well. He will show you parts of Cuba and set up photographs you will get nowhere else. For more information Click Here
Antarctica, South Georgia & The Falklands Feb 21 - March 16, 2017 ---- There are just a few spots left in the most exciting voyage that BTO has ever done. We are flying to Buenos Aires, Argentina for several days and then on to Ushuaia -- the southernmost city in the world. Then we board a ship for the most fantastic trip anyone will ever take. We will spend time with penguins, whales, seals, icebergs and everything else Antarctica has to offer. But after that, we travel to the best place to see thousands of King Penguins -- South Georgia. Words can not describe what it feels like to walk amidst of a group of thousands of 3 foot high King Penguins!! After several days, we then travel to The Falklands for more penguins and history. After several days there we cruise up to the beautiful capital of Montevideo, Uruguay. We then fly home from Montevideo. Bill has found a great company that has a super price, and you can get 10% off if paid in full one year before the date of travel. You must act fast to get this special price and the few remaining spots. For more information Click Here.
Northern Italy July 7 - 21, 2016 ---- We will travel to the most exciting & beautiful areas of Italy: Tuscany, Cinque Terre, Lake Como, Florence, the Dolomites mountains, Milan & Venice. Click Here for details.
Cuba 2016 ---- March 29 - April 12, 2016. We have a 15-day mission to Cuba in the Spring of 2016. Email the studio for more information if you are interested.
Iceland & Greenland in September of 2015 ---- This will be probably the most beautifully scenic trip that BTO has ever done. Everywhere we look in Iceland is unique & picturesque. We will drive the Ring Road circling this fantastic country of "Fire & Ice". We will stay in many villages and explore the icebergs, green fields, and the geothermal energy of Iceland's many geysers. The small country of Iceland has many looks --- part of it looks like Alaska, part of it would pass for Ireland and also much of it looks like the geysers of the Western USA. It will be an easy trip filled with fresh seafoods and wonderful warm people. Bill also plans a three day excursion to Greenland --- which is almost all ice, if we can get a more reasonable price for these few days in Greenland. CLICK HERE
Morocco & Spain November 3 - 20, 2014 ---- We have an exciting Photographic Caravan to Spain & Morocco. This trip will be co-lead by Harold Davis & Bill Bachmann. This is a spectacular voyage starting in Barcelona, Spain and continuing across the Rock of Gibraltar and all over the colorful cities & desert locations of Morocco. It will be a combination of fine-art photography and colorful travel imagery. For more information Click Here.
Cuba 2014 ---- We have a 14-day mission to Cuba on April 23rd - May 7th, 2014. Email the studio for more information if you are interested.
Greek Isles September 6th-20th, 2013 ---- Bill will be taking a group of photographers -- and people who love to travel -- on a grand adventure. We are traveling around the beautiful Greek Islands. We will photograph the colorful people, beautiful architecture and breathtaking scenery. Great hotels, food, and adventures lay ahead. For all details Click Here.
Cuba 2013 ---- We have a 14-day mission to Cuba on April 2nd - April 16th, 2013. Email the studio for more information if you are interested.
Africa Safari June, 2012 ---- Bill will be taking a group of photographers -- and people who love to travel -- to a special safari in Kenya and Tanzania on June 15th - June 29th, 2012. We will shoot the large animals in Africa from jeeps on many, many safaris, in addition to visiting various areas & photograph Maasai tribes of the two countries. Deborah Sandidge, a talented instructor on BetterPhoto.com, is my Co-Leader on this trip and will give several seminars along the way. Click Here.
Cuba 2012 ---- We have a 14-day mission to Cuba on March 30th - April 13th, 2012. Deborah Sandidge, a talented instructor on BetterPhoto.com, is my Co-Leader on this trip and will give several seminars along the way. Email the studio for more information if you are interested. Click Here.
Peru, Ecuador & Galapagos Islands 2011 ---- We are planning two BTO trips in Fall of 2011. The China trip is above and we also are exploring South America. We will visit Lima, Cuzco & magnificent Machu Picchu in Peru and then fly to visit for several days in Quito, Ecuador. There also will be a fabulous 5-day optional extension trip to the unbelievable Galapagos Islands. Deborah Sandidge, a talented instructor on BetterPhoto.com, is my Co-Leader on this trip and will give several seminars along the way. The dates of this trip are October 27 - November 10, 2011, with plenty of time to get ready at home for Thanksgiving. Click Here for all information on the trip.
China 2011 ---- One of my two Fall 2011 trips will be an extensive journey through this mysterious region of Asia. Click Here to find out more about this 16-day trip we are directing throughout this exciting region for a low, all-inclusive price. A group will be traveling with Bill on this tremendous opportunity to learn from him. The dates of the trip are from September 26th - October 11th, 2011. Let us know if you are interested in this trip.
Cuba 2011 ---- We have a different 14-day mission to Cuba on March 27th - April 10th, 2011. Deborah Sandidge, a talented instructor on BetterPhoto.com, is my Co-Leader on this trip and will give several seminars in Cuba. Email the studio for more information if you are interested. Click Here.
Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia & Singapore November 2nd - November 18th, 2010 --Click Here for all information.
Here are comments from people who have joined me on these exciting trips:
I have made many trips worldwide, but none compare to a BTO experience. Great new friends, unusual places and great leisurely fun are the norm. I look forward to many more.
Our Cuba and Africa BTO Trips are among the highlights of my life. I think of them and speak of them often, and the photographs & memories are treasures to me. I understand the enormous amount of work that goes into planning these adventures and we all appreciate it . You helped get me places I've always wanted to go and for that you have my unending thanks.
I'd follow Bill Bachmann anywhere! I have been an independent traveler for over 20 years. This was my first "tour" experience, and it felt soooo good. The trip was spontaneous, yet planned. It was so unlike a "tour" - - more like traveling around with a wonderful core of people who all enjoy the same things - photography, travel, and the beautiful people & places we meet along the way.
I'm happy to be in the BTO family!
It takes a long time to forge Lifetime Friendships, but traveling with the BTO group really jump-starts the process. I consider my BTO Fellow Travelers to be Lifetime Friends and I value each one.
As an amateur photographer I am grateful for professional suggestions and mentoring -- all done with caring, and making me feel my questions were actually legitimate. I love traveling with BTO; I love the reunions; I love the respect and appreciation we have for one another. Above all, I love the people I get to know and travel with. I am forever grateful for this and will continue traveling "'til I drop."
My favorite quote in the world is Bill's: "We can rest when they bury us."
"Honey, I shrunk the planet!" The Earth is now a smaller place for me in two ways. First, I think we've all discovered that the more you travel to distant lands and meet people face to face, the more you realize we are all really One Race of Humanity. The clothes change, the language changes, and certainly the customs, but a smile is universal... a "high 5" from a beaming boy in Papua New Guinea is worldwide. Secondly, our pixilated (but never pixelated) band of BTO is a family regardless of in what city we each live.
Our home is Earth and our family is BTO!
I tread carefully on this planet. I believe it is my responsibility to all that I love to do so. My camera has taught me to be a protector of nature and beautiful things. This magical tool I lug with me is my skeleton key to places far beyond my imagination. It has allowed me to freeze time with the click of a shutter and preserve it for others to enjoy. The memories that quietly reside behind each of my images are reminders of the places I have been, the friends I have made, and the beauty I have seen. It is in my travels with the Bachmann Tour Overdrive group that so many of these memories began. We have shared so much over the years. The camaraderie and loyalty within this group is boundless and I am honored to be part of it. The joy and laughter, both at each other and at ourselves, has left me with a smile etched permanently into my heart.
Travel is one of my greatest passions and so is travel photography. Thanks to Bill starting his group BTO, I’ve traveled to all corners of the world on six trips with BTO– China/Tibet , South Africa, India/Nepal, Guatemala/Honduras, Cuba and Kenya/Tanzania– with other crazy and adventurous photographers who also “live” to get the great shot! Besides getting to know some great people, I have learned so much about “on location” shooting from my BTO travel mates who are always willing to share their wisdom and their perfectly staged local subjects with a photo hobbyist like me!
I feel truly blessed to be a part of the BTO group! Never before have I traveled to Third World countries with such a great group of people and felt so safe and secure knowing that each and every day would be a fantastic adventure! The love of travel and photography has brought this special group of people together and has created a new family, one that I will treasure forever. I have traveled on eight wonderful BTO trips and look forward to many more adventures with the BTO group and our fearless leader, Emperor Bill !
I had a wonderful time in Cuba, all over Asia and African safaris. Much better than when I went before alone, mostly because of the great itinerary that Bill put together.
Of course all the great people on the tour made it even better. Now that I am an official BTO'er and part of Bill's travel family, I look forward to seeing all the great photo work that all have done on trips.
I have been on two trips with BTO: China and Guatemala/Honduras. On a scale of one to ten, each trip rated a 18, and that is being conservative!! For photographers, we are taken to the "creme de la creme" as far as photography. Numerous people that are not photographers go on these trips also -- just because of the quality of places we see, but these people have the same love of life as the photographers do
Bill Bachmann has traveled to over 170 countries, and these BTO trips he does strictly to share his love of seeing the world first hand with others. I truly believe that none of us could put together a trip so well planned, with great accommodations, transpiration, food, but-most of all, Bill takes us to the most photogenic of all the locations in the places we go to. We accomplish more in three days out of the approximately two weeks, than the average person could expect to see at the same places in a month.
Bill definitely practices what he preaches, which is to LIVE life to it's fullest, and rest when you are in the ground. His passion is contagious, and absolutely wonderful!
It’s been an eye-opening experience traveling to China, India, Greece, Cuba, all over Asia and Africa
with so many wonderful people and talented photographers. And to meet
and interact with so many that live halfway around the world has been
quite rewarding. The photographic opportunities have been awesome! I
hope to travel to another part of the world with BTO in the near future.
With this group, it’s all about acquiring fantastic images - - and
having fun along the way.
Photography, like travel, is a voyage of discovery. It allows me to capture the extraordinary in the ordinary. Photography is a means by which to discover new places, new perspectives, to find hidden treasures, and to invoke strong emotional responses. It sometimes even opens windows and gives us the freedom to see ourselves in new and unexpected ways. Proust said that 'the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes'. Photography gives me new eyes.
Having traveled extensively in the past with three very diversified photographic travel groups, we have found "BTO" to be the best ! Traveling
to exotic locations with "BTO" has expanded our photographic horizons, as well as having created new long term social friendships.
Each tour has included a "hands on" teaching program using locals or tour members as models, to foster and promote the exchange of knowledge to advance our expertise in photography.
Join us on our next tour and you will be sure to have a great social as well as photographic adventure.
Joe & Mary LaFauci
I met Bill Bachmann a few years ago when he appeared as a featured speaker at a Maryland Professional Photographers Annual Convention. Learning of his guided trips to photogenic locales, it seemed like a no-brainer, an aspiring stock photographer could hardly do any better than travel on the inside track with a chance to learn from one of the best in the business. Traveling with Bill and his BTO group to China was an opportunity too good to pass up. Adding to the experience was sharing the company of an eclectic group of travelers. My appetite already whetted for traveling was undiminished from those 16 days on the road with BTO. Moreover, the experience strengthened my commitment and resolve to create more beautiful images. I am looking forward to future journeys with Bill and the group.
I came home from the fabulous BTO trip to Cuba with new laugh and smile lines!
Adventure, excitement, exhilaration.... these are but a few words to describe a BTO tour. For me, the most amazing part is the new friends you make along the way. Not just those friends that are traveling with you, but the beautiful people of the world set against a backdrop of amazing landscapes.
I just wanted to personally thank you for being the sweetheart that you were with all of us on our trip of a lifetime. The trip certainly changed my life and you made it so pleasant from start to finish. You truly care about each and everyone of us and it shows.
At 44 years of age I have never traveled in a group, much less with people I had never met before, and because of BIll's expertise and love for travel it was all just a fantastic experience from start to finish. THANK YOU!
The BTO group was really welcoming to a newcomer and traveling with them in Guatemala & Honduras was quite fun. Guatemala was a wonderful country and the people were very sweet. With all the vibrant colors, what was not to love photographically? I especially loved the Lake Atitlan area. Cruising from village to village by boat was relaxing, and I was surprised at the diversity of cultural character from one village to another as we progressed around the lake. Oscar was a fabulous guide-- a great asset.
Seizing an opportunity that is life-changing is exactly what the BTO trip to India and Nepal became for me. I am at a time and place in my life where I can travel and capture the "Spirit of Place" (as Bob Krist's book title suggests) with my camera. Bill, Shama and Anita were great guides on the trip. Many of those who traveled with us were strangers, but quickly became friends. I would travel anywhere with them. Highlights of the trip were spending a night at an orphanage in Kathmandu, observing a Hindu cremation and photographing the Taj Mahal from every conceivable angle... what a structure! Namaste...
BTO trips have taken me to corners of the world where I would never have
ventured – South Africa, China, India, Nepal, Guatemala, Greece and Cuba.
Before meeting Bill Bachmann and his BTO family, my travels were to the usual
vacation destinations, with the usual sightseeing trips, and the usual
guided tour here and there. Nice, but superficial. Not so with BTO!
We don’t just pass through. We descend on a village, with cameras in
hand, like a swarm of locusts. We immerse ourselves in the culture. We
mingle, laugh, sing and dance with the locals. We explore and personally
experience their towns, villages, markets and the surrounding countryside.
Traveling with BTO photographers and shooting photos with them is like
seeing an ordinary movie come to life in 3-D. Now I’m not just looking –
I’m seeing. Through the lens of a camera, I am seeing people’s faces,
their expressions, their clothing, their mannerisms, their lives and the
colors of their lives. With a camera, there are no language barriers.
Sharing a digital photo and seeing the joy, surprise and smiles that it
brings transcends any spoken words.
Last, but by no means least, I value the wonderful friendships I have
formed with fellow BTO’ers. What a caring, sharing, talented and gifted
group of people! I am especially indebted to my dear friend and travel
companion Chris Coss, and her late husband Ron, for bringing Bill Bachmann
and his BTO family into my life. My BTO travels have expanded my horizons
and deepened my appreciation of the lives of others all over the world,
and my own life here in the wonderful USA.
It’s great to travel with other photographers - people who are more interested in “getting the shot” than getting to the next souvenir shop. We love having time for impromptu stops for great photographs on our various BTO trips instead of being held a captive to a rigid schedule.
Jim and Nell Welborn
My experience to China was my first outside the US. As I returned, I gained a new appreciation for the things I have. The Chinese people are a happy people. They value their children and family above all else and are extremely grateful when you pay attention to their children. They are friendly, warm and open, and I felt a connection. Even though language was at times a barrier, you would be able to feel the moment and both would understand.
People are the same all over the world we just live differently and have many destinations. This is what the experience with BTO and discovering our planet brought to me.
I know I am lucky, as I have traveled to many places. I know I am blessed, as I have seen many wonders of this world. I know I am fortunate, as I have met wonderful people. I am a member of the BTO family.
I am a retired Registered Nurse and I was introduced to the BTO travel group by my friend, Janet Hanpeter. Since then, I have taken 5 wonderful trips with the BTOer's. Each destination had its own unique and wonderful charms. Many images were taken by all. The last 5 trips I had the honor of playing Florence Nightingale also for the few people that were a touch under the weather!! I enjoyed helping them and they were very grateful!! I look forward to future trips with the BTO Group.
The BTO trip to China was on of the most meaningful journeys I have ever been
on. I will never forget the awesome people I met and the fascinating experiences
After my first wonder-filled BTO excursion to China (thanks to friend and photographer Heather D'Amore), I've become "hooked" on these annual group travel jaunts with Bill Bachmann and his entourage.
The locations, accommodations, guides and adventures have been unique, fascinating, educational and simply...the best...as have the many new friends I've made through sharing diverse experiences and cultures. From jungle jeeps in Ranthambore, zip lined flights through rain forests in Tikal, maneuvering amidst vibrant village life and marketplaces in China, India, Nepal, Guatemala, Honduras and Cuba to snapping pix of major world marvels such as the Great Wall, Taj Mahal and Mayan ruins. These exciting treks are not to be missed!
My world-view has certainly expanded in understanding and happiness. Needless to say, my writing and photography skills have improved each step along the way of these incredible journeys. Cheers to discovering more about our planet with BTO! Can't wait for the next trip!
When I think BTO, I think of friendships for life and extended family. After the death
of my beloved photographer husband, and with a trip already planned for South Africa, I decided to continue my husband's dream of seeing the whole world. I had no idea that this dream would bring me so many wonderful memories or introduce me to so many wonderful new friends. I like to think that this was Ron's heavenlyworks, to share this wonderful world with these wonderful people.
The joy of being part of the BTO family is the close relationships that we have all formed over the years. Each adventure adds another layer of experiences to old friendships and new friends are found as well. Of all the travel I do each year, the time spent with my fellow BTO members is by far the most rewarding.
Our first trip with the BTO group was to China. We had such a wonderful time that we joined the group two years later that went to New Zealand, Australia, and Papua, New Guinea.
Our photographs and ongoing friendships with our travel-mates are frequent reminders of the fun times we had exploring new countries, new cultures and meeting new people. All of our photographs have memories associated with them that make them very special.
Walter and Vivian Key
Traveling with this BTO group has been a dream of a lifetime. Bill made us a big family and it was such a good feeling GIVING to people in Cuba that needed so much.
After leaving clinics and schools I felt so proud about what we did. These people in small villages will never quit talking about the day the American bus invaded their town with gifts! I was proud to be an American.
I would travel with BTO any time. Thank you Bill.
Travel is a spiritual adventure which is greatly enhanced by friends you are with and the souls you meet in these exotic lands. When travelling with photographers, each has his own vision of the same locales and attempts to capture unique moments to savor for eternity. However, when the recipe of people and places magically simmer together, somehow the resulting blend can form indelible images within the mind that even a photograph cannot emulate.
In my BTO trip to India & Nepal, I embarked on a "trip of a lifetime" that has given me
an aspiration to travel to other far places of our planet Earth. One can
easily see different lands and cultures from pictures in a book, or the
comfort of your living room in high-definition television. But to see the
images with your own eyes, feel the very emotions of the place, to hear the
sounds with your ears and smell the land with your very nose, will imbed the
"whole" image in you mind forever. Each photo that I took will always be
remembered with all of these senses.
I love traveling with the BTO group because everyone is spontaneous, fun and always ready to change the itinerary. I am the only person who still uses film -- this keeps people guessing why I am on a tour for serious Photographers. On the very first BTO trip I chopped off people's heads. Now, after careful mentoring, I do identifiable faces.
Being with the BTO Family is one of my favorite ways to see the World!
Traveling with the BTO group was a great experience. The trips are well planned and I enjoyed being able to travel with different people who all have the same purpose: being able to travel to exotic places like China and Tibet to capture wonderful images. The group on this trip became a family away from home as we were together on September 11, 2001. We all shared a extraordinary event which we will never forget. We will also always remember whom we were with and where, the Great Wall of China, for the memorial service that we held for our fallen countrymen. I loved both the China and Cuba BTO trips and hope in the future to travel with Bill and his gang again and again.
Characteristics and personalities of a group permeate the end result in terms of the success of that group. As Managing Director of Rama Tours for the past 30 years, I can say, with ease, that the energy, positive attitude, and excitement that each individual brought forth every day from Bill's group is the main reason why this was one of my favorite groups of all time!
Shama Kapur , India Guide