The Three Photo Tours on my Wishlist for 2017

22 Feb The Three Photo Tours on my Wishlist for 2017

©Bushtracks Expeditions

We’ve turned the corner into 2017. It’s raining in California and I’m sitting in front of a roaring fireplace dreaming of Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go! If I could go anywhere, I ask myself, where would I go? Well, what better way to get inside a place than on a photo tour? I’d get to see amazing, eminently picturesque places – and I’d return home with photos to relive the adventures and share them with the world!

The Adventure Collection companies offer hundreds of journeys to spectacular places, but the following three are specifically oriented towards photographers: So here’s my dream travel trio for 2017.




Lindblad Expeditions: Epic Galapagos Photo Expedition

Photo by Michael S. Nolan. ©Lindblad Expeditions

Islands, the sea, fearless endemic creatures both under and over the water, snorkeling, swimming, and photography – these are a few of my favorite things. Mix those in with a few more of my favorite things — warm weather, kayaking, and the fact that Lindblad has been taking travelers to the Galapagos for almost 50 years now…What’s not to like? Henry David Thoreau called the Galapagos the “tonic of wildness.” This photo expedition sounds like the perfect tonic for mid-winter cabin fever.

The biggest draw for me is that the photographer/naturalist who will accompany us is a certified National Geographic photographer. The idea that I can study with a pro whose photos grace the pages of National Geographic magazine blows my mind.

We’ll zip off in Zodiac boats during the magic hours of dawn and sunset to photograph marine mammals up close. On land we’ll see giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and a host of seabirds, including blue-footed boobies. Whether I’m shooting from the ship’s deck, a Zodiac, or on a trek, this tour promises to make sure I’ll be in the right place at the right time. Also, there will be onboard photo clinics, and “laptop gallery” events in which photographers may share their shots. Floating photo workshop in paradise, anyone?

With this 17-day tour, I’ll have time to make the ship my home and to be in the Galapagos, wielding a camera in one of the world’s most fascinating places.

This expedition has the goosebumps feel of a trip that could change my life.

For more information about Lindblad’s Epic Galapagos Photo Expedition Tour, click here.


Natural Habitat Adventures: Classic Polar Bear Photo Adventure

Photo by Henry Holdsworth. ©Natural Habitat Adventures

Now for an entirely different environment: On this classic polar bear expedition, photographers will find themselves eye to eye with one of the world’s most cuddly (from a distance, at least) and endangered species – the polar bear.

In a group of 16 photographers or less, this tour will traverse the tundra in custom-built vehicles that are spacious, feature bathrooms with full-flush toilets, and are outfitted with steel-mesh flooring to allow the taking of photographs literally inches from polar bears.

Each expedition leader on this tour goes through in-depth annual training sessions with scientists and each has specialized training in photographing polar bears. Evening lectures will round out each adventure-packed day.

As a huge bonus, photographers will also get to meet with elders of the First Nations cultures, among the world’s most venerated storytellers. This feature alone could tip the scales for me.

And finally, with Nat Hab, all carbon emissions from the trip are 100-percent offset. Nice!

For more info, click here.


Bushtracks: Photographic Safari Expedition by Private Air with Dana Allen

Photo by Dana Allen. ©Bushtracks Expeditions

This 15-day safari caught my eye for a number of reasons. For one, it begins in Johannesburg and ends in Cape Town, meaning I’ll get to visit two cities I’ve wanted to see for years.

Second, this trip is flight-centric, featuring specially designed aircraft for soaring low, over the vast vistas and animal migrations below. Move over Beryl Markham, author of West with the Night! I can’t imagine a better way to take in the vastness of the plains and wildlife herds than by flying overhead.

And third, who better to guide this trip than Dana Allen, a Southern Africa-based professional wildlife photographer with over 25 years’ experience? Allen picked the best game-viewing destinations he knows for this trip, and he will be there at our side at every point along the way.

Photographers will be flown in private aircraft to the Mala Mala in the Greater Kruger, renowned for its leopards, hyenas, cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, and nocturnal animals. A plus for me is that there will be instruction in night photography.

Next, we’ll visit the Mashatu Game Reserve in Botswana to see the giants — elephants, ostrich, lions, and giraffes. And finally, we’ll journey to the Okavango Delta with its sweeping grasslands, papyrus-filtered rivers, ivory palm trees, red sunset skies, and extraordinary game viewing.

This safari promises to pack wonder on top of wonder and may just be the crème de la crème of photo safaris.

For more information, click here.


That’s my wish list. How about you? How will you decide what you want to do?

I’d like to suggest you consider the sage words of Dr. Seuss: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.” 

Wherever it takes you, may your 2017 travel wish list come true – and may my dream travel trio come true too!

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Robin Sparks
Robin Sparks writes stories that connect hearts across borders, ethnicities, and different belief systems. Her stories have been published in numerous magazines and newspapers including The San Francisco Examiner, Yankee Magazine, The Reno Gazette Journal and Women’s World. She is a former travel columnist for the Reno Gazette Journal and former assistant editor for the online magazine, Escape Artist. She is writing a book about her 9-year global search for a new home in a new country - an odyssey which took her to France,Thailand, Nepal, Brazil, Turkey, Argentina, and Bali. Today Robin is based in Marin, California with homes in Istanbul, Turkey and Bali, Indonesia. Robin facilitates and teaches writing workshops around the world.
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