Frequently Asked Questions
What is a photo tour?
What is a photo workshop?
A photography tour with me, including all North American destinations and my ‘international cultural or wildlife tours’ are very different from oh-so boring, and often overcrowded workshops offered by many other 'schools' or companies. On my tours, I will be your one-of-a-kind, enthusiastic, fun, leader. I usually photograph alongside participants, but I am always ready to help you when or if you need it. You will be led, by me, to the best area for capturing excellent photos at the best times, and you’ll be given lots of suggestions and information about the exact area’s potential for photography, and we’ll be making photos together. Classroom sessions (if any) on tours are optional and scheduled for reviewing of photos and/or critiques of photos. There will not be any formal teaching of techniques in the classroom on my tours, however, while in the field, as mentioned, I will always be available to answer any and all photography questions as they arise. My small group size of 4-8 participants means you can always find me and ask me anything. The best teaching and learning experience comes from DOING. My FUN approach is to get you outside to DO PHOTOGRAPHY.
A photography workshop means that it is both, a classroom learning, and a shooting experience with time for teaching scheduled on most days in the classroom. Classroom sessions are designed to discuss photography or more likely, post-processing topics. Typical overcrowded photography workshops schedule time for sitting in a dark classroom and watching with tired eyes as the instructor goes over Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom techniques. On my tours you will not be subjected to this unless you would like to have a one-on-one teaching/learning session. In this case if you ask me and we have time, I'll gladly sit with you and go over whatever it is you want. I can discuss my very simple method of processing images (not using Lightroom). I can talk about selling your images, how I research locations, how I find and photograph wildlife, my world travels to 74 different countries, my experience studying endangered species, the unique travel experience of living out of a backpack while traveling the world for 21 months non-stop, or anything else photography, travel or nature related.
Where do we sleep? Do we camp out on your tours or workshops?
No camping. While great photos can certainly be had by roughing it in the backcountry - on my tours and workshops we’ll always stay in a hotel, motel, or B&B close to the photo areas.
The lodging arrangements will be made by me, and I’ll reserve a room for each person or couple on the trip. On almost all my tours lodging is included in the tour fee.
Are meals included? Will we dine together?
On domestic tours, No. On my Costa Rica and my Galapagos tours, yes. For domestic tours, with the exception of breakfast, which is sometimes offered by our accommodations, meals are not included. You’ll be given ample time to fit in three meals per day.
We often schedule a group get-together for a final lunch or dinner towards the end of a trip, otherwise you are free to eat where and when you wish.
My spouse isn’t a photographer but wants to come along. Is this ok?
Yes. I encourage you to bring your non-participating spouse on all my trips. For domestic (North American) trips if they are truly non-participating, then they are most welcome to come along free of charge. For my international cultural and foreign wildlife tours, I must charge the same tour fee to everyone who comes along.
Why limit your group size to 6 or 8 participants?
Smaller groups of 4-8 photographers have an overall better experience. Every time, all the time. I've been leading trips for 19 years now and I know both sides of this spectrum. If you've ever tried to photograph in a somewhat tight space (Mesa Arch or the boardwalks of Yellowstone) before, then you know how hard it can be with a bigger group. I take just 6 or 8 clients maximum on ALL of my photo tours (except Galapagos). You'll never feel 'left out' or resigned to the back of the crowd on my tours. The only exception to my group size of 6-8 is my Galapagos tour where I bring 14 people. Why this exception? Because neither the yacht owners nor I can justify going to sea with a half-full boat. The yacht I charter has 8 double cabins (14 people, plus myself). However, there is a crew of 8 to take care of this size group! You'll be well taken care of!
Do you offer private instruction?
Yes. If there is some location, park or city which you’d like to visit and have a private trip with me as leader, I will consider whatever you have in mind. If you have a small group or club, which would like to have a professional photographer to lead you wherever, I would be happy to discuss this. Prices will be determined as we talk.
What are your cancellation policies?
You can read the cancellation policy here.
What if the weather is bad?
Bad weather is often good for photography. Especially in scenic nature locations, often when ‘bad’ weather moves through, we end up getting the most amazing shots of the entire trip. Never let the weather determine if you’ll go somewhere or not. I know each and every place where I lead tours intimately, and I’ll figure out an alternative spot to visit if we do come across some type of impossible-to-deal-with weather event.
I’m just a beginning photographer, can I join one of your trips?
Of course! I encourage any interested person, no matter their abilities or photography skill level to come with me. I love teaching people about my passion, which is photographing nature, travel and wildlife subjects. Beginners have a huge opportunity to learn from both myself and from the others on the trip. Anyone with an interest is welcome!
Are rooms shared/double occupancy, or will I have my own room?
On all tours, rooms are based on double occupancy and I normally charge a single supplement to cover the fact that I need to pay more per person/room as compared to when 2 people are participating (spouses or friends) and sharing a room. The single supplement amount varies depending on the tour and is due with the final tour tuition payment.
What type of camera equipment do I need?
I encourage you to sign up and join one of my tours no matter what camera you own. Even point and shoot cameras, as long as they have some ‘creative control’ modes, can make excellent photos on any of my trips. A tripod is also very helpful for most trips.
A detailed packing list will be sent to all participants normally two months from the time we are scheduled to begin the trip. No specialized or ‘professional’ gear is required.
Sign up, bring what you already own and you’ll get great photos in a fun, supportive atmosphere all the while learning about photography.
How much hiking will we be doing?
The answer varies depending on the location visiting, but we won’t ever hike any extreme or strenuous high-altitude mountains, etc. Most of our shooting, in most locations, is done within about ¼ mile from wherever we leave our cars. Some trips do have moderate hikes of up to 1.5 miles one-way, but these are always at your option and I’ll suggest other locations if you opt not to tackle such a hike. On most of my international cultural tours, we walk on city streets quite a bit, but it’s never very far at any one time. And you are always certainly welcome to sit in a café or restaurant and rest. On all my trips, I go at the group’s general pace. If nobody wants to hike to a location, I’ll pick a different shooting spot. You’ll be sent more information about hiking on the trip you join, when I send out information packets to participants.
I’m a professional photographer, can I join one of your trips?
Of course! I often have professionals with me on tours and workshops. Sometimes they are using their camera in a different capacity such as weddings or portraiture and merely want to join a group or go somewhere new and/or see a different part of the world. All are welcome!
What is included in the trip cost?
On all my tours you are paying for my time and expertise. You are paying for me to be in charge of all the logistics and to make all the arrangements for our group. You are paying to have a credentialed, experienced professional photographer with you at all times in order for you to maximize your time and to get the best photos possible.
If there is something extra such as a jeep tour, or the need to be guided by local guides, this is normally included in the tour or workshop fee. On both domestic and international cultural tours, lodging is also included in your fee. See individual trip pages to see what else is and isn’t included in the exact trip you are interested in joining.
Do I need a car? Do I need a jeep or a 4x4?
For North American tours, not necessarily. If you can get to the designated hotel or place of lodging for the first scheduled meeting, then normally there will be someone in the group who can offer a ride to you during our time together. Some people, but not everyone will need vehicles while on my tours. I will facilitate car rental sharing among participants if you need and want this - just ask.
You will not need any sort of off-road or 4x4 vehicle on any of my workshops or tours.
Exception on the 4x4 is my Colorado Fall Color tour where at least some folks should have a vehicle with high clearance/off road abilities On international cultural and wildlife tours that require driving, I’ll rent a proper vehicle and I’ll do all the driving or alternatively, depending on the tour, I'll hire local, professional drivers.