A National Geographic expert will accompany each departure to share insights and a rare behind-the-scenes perspective. Listed below are some of the experts and the departure date(s) they will be joining.
Born at home into the house his father built in rural Vermont, Ronan Donovan has spent his adult years immersed in the natural world. A biologist turned photographer and filmmaker, he spent 2011 in the canopy studying wild chimpanzees in Uganda, Africa for Harvard University. The experience inspired his desire to use visual storytelling as a way to reach a greater audience. Ronan's photographic journeys for National Geographic magazine include an entire year living inside Yellowstone National Park documenting the life of wild wolves, covering the human-wildlife conflict between wild chimpanzees and humans in Africa, and hiking volcanoes to photograph mountain gorillas. His images have hung on the walls of the Natural History Museum in London and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. For the past 10 years, Ronan has lived in Montana, where he loves to explore the Rocky Mountains around his home in Bozeman.
During the past 25 years, Phil Schermeister completed more than 40 major assignments for the National Geographic Book Division, National Geographic magazine and other National Geographic publications. He has photographed on assignment in more than 40 National Parks around the United States and has published six single-photographer books with National Geographic, including Range of Light, Our National Parks and America's Western Edge. Some of his other assignments have included coverage of Quechua Indians in the Andes of Peru, Tarahumara Indians in Mexico’s Copper Canyon and Native Americans across the Western United States. Phil is drawn to high-latitudes, and has photographed all types of natural landscapes from National Parks, Seashores, and Recreation Areas to Wild and Scenic Rivers and National Wildlife Refuges. In his search for “decisive moments” in nature, Phil seeks to find drama in the changing light and seasons as the forces of nature continue to sculpt an unfinished natural landscape.
Born near Seattle, Washington, Rab enjoyed a highly unconventional childhood as the son of a veterinary science professor. He spent his youth paddling canoes through Canada’s hinterlands, deepening his love and understanding of the natural world. After earning a degree in natural resource management from the University of Montana, Rab focused his efforts on natural history education. Joyful and curious by nature, Rab has taught field courses in wilderness areas throughout North America, including several years as a National Park Service Ranger at Katmai National Park, the world’s most accessible grizzly bear viewing site. He managed a nationwide network of water science educators. Later as the Youth and Education Coordinator for Ducks Unlimited, he connected elite science teachers with field biologists to conduct wetland and waterfowl monitoring and education. You can expect to learn about birds when you travel with Rab. A lifetime of birding and years of conducting Breeding Bird Surveys for the United States Geological Survey has sharpened his eyes and ears. His experience teaching makes him an enthusiastic guide. Throughout 2018, Rab is acting as a National Geographic Year of the Bird Ambassador.
For over a decade Andy Mann has been a forerunner in the world of adventure film and conservation photography. His work is helping to tell the story of our rapidly changing planet, focusing heavily on ocean conservation and water issues on all seven continents for National Geographic magazine and National Geographic’s Pristine Seas, Sea Legacy, Wildlife Conservation Society, and more. Andy is the co-founder of 3 Strings Productions, a commercial and documentary film studio he co-founded with Keith Ladzinski, as well as a founding member of the Sea Legacy Collective with Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier. His images are also represented by Nat Geo Creative. Andy spent a month exploring and photographing the Antarctic Peninsula on assignment for National Geographic magazine and Sea Legacy, and has traveled extensively in the Northern Arctic. He is also an experienced climber, diver, arctic explorer, and workshop leader. Andy's imagery is remarkably memorable, reminding us how the emotion of an image can touch our spirit.
Photographer and filmmaker Max Lowe was born into traveling shoes. Son of famous alpinist Conrad Anker and writer and artist Jennifer Lowe-Anker, Max was exposed from a young age to the magic in traveling to and observing some of the world’s most remote cultures and environments. Taking up storytelling as his creed, he received a National Geographic Young Explorers grant in 2012, and since then, has shot on and produced for National Geographic Adventure and National Geographic magazines, as well as National Geographic Travel. Max has appeared on The BBC as well as in the internationally released National Parks Adventure IMAX film, and in publications including Science Magazine, Men’s Journal, and Outside Magazine. He has also produced still and film content for brands such as The North Face, Red Bull, Yeti Coolers, and Eddie Bauer. Throughout his career Max has been on shoots taking him up Alaska’s Inside Passage and across Vancouver Island and into Denali National Park, as well as on three separate expeditions to the Antarctic continent by sea. From his backyard in Bozeman, Montana to countless corners across the globe, Max has been witness to extraordinary moments, wildlife encounters, and interactions with people from vastly different walks of life. It is from these experiences that stems his passion and drive to capture stories and bring them to the world around him.
The fourth person ever to reach both Poles, Will Steger is known by many titles—educator, activist, photographer, and explorer. This former Explorer-in-Residence for National Geographic is a pioneer in his field, with a series of firsts in polar exploration to his credit. In 1986 he made the first confirmed unsupported journey to the North Pole, leading a team of eight people with 50 sled dogs. Two years later, he guided the longest unsupported dogsled expedition in history, a 1,600-mile south-north traverse of Greenland. In 1995, Will led a 1,200-mile expedition between Russia and Ellesmere Island, Canada, via dogsleds and canoe sleds with a team of five educators and scientists. This sweeping project earned him the prestigious National Geographic John Oliver La Gorce Medal. Will joined Roald Amundsen, Amelia Earhart, Admiral Robert Peary, and Jacques-Yves Cousteau in this honor. In 2004, he led a five-month journey through the Northwest Territories in Canada. Having testified before the U.S. Congress on polar and environmental issues, he has become a recognized authority on polar environmental concerns.
Todd Gipstein has been a photographer, writer, producer and lecturer for more than 40 years. He has worked with National Geographic since 1987. For many years, he was the Society’s Director of Multi-Image and Executive Producer for Multimedia. His award-winning documentaries for the Geographic have dealt with a diverse range of topics, including photography, nature, the environment, history, exploration, travel, and National Geographic itself. His work is known worldwide for its evocative storytelling, and has covered places in the United States; Canada; Europe; the Mediterranean, Adriatic, and Baltic Seas; Asia; South America; New Zealand; the South Pacific; and Antarctica and the Arctic. Todd’s images have been published in National Geographic and National Geographic Traveler magazines and in many books. He also continues to take photographs for the Nat Geo Creative image library. Todd’s work has been exhibited internationally, and he frequently participates in photography and media festivals in Europe. An enthusiastic traveler and teacher, he has lectured, presented his documentaries, and given photography workshops for the Geographic around the world.
Wildlife photographer, field biologist, and ornithologist Tim Laman received his Ph.D. in biology from Harvard University, where he is a Research Associate in the Ornithology Department. Multiple grants from the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration and its Expeditions Council have supported his fieldwork, which includes a long-term comprehensive study of the exquisitely ornamented birds of paradise. Tim photographs and writes for National Geographic and other popular magazines to promote the conservation of endangered species and habitats. His photographs have received numerous awards, and he has been named both BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year and the North American Nature Photography Association’s Outstanding Nature Photographer.
Susan Goldberg is editor in chief of National Geographic magazine and editorial director of National Geographic Partners, in charge of all publishing ventures, including digital journalism, magazines, books, maps, children and family, and travel and adventure. Under her leadership, National Geographic magazine won two National Magazine Awards and the George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting in 2015. After spending most of her career in newspapers, she served as executive editor for Bloomberg News in Washington. In 2013, she was voted one of Washington’s 11 most influential women in the media by Washingtonian magazine. Susan will join this departure as a Global Perspectives Speaker.
Travel and conservation photographer Jonathan Irish specializes in documenting adventure lifestyles, landscapes, and cultures with a keen eye on highlighting important conservation issues. He spent eight years on the National Geographic staff, where he launched and directed the National Geographic Adventures program, bringing travelers and photographers around the world on active adventure trips. As a freelance photographer, Jonathan’s work has appeared in publications in print and online, including National Geographic and National Geographic Traveler, The New York Times, Condé Nast Traveler, Smithsonian Magazine, Travel + Leisure, The Telegraph, BBC, and CNN. For the 2016 centennial of the U.S. National Park Service, Irish went on assignment for National Geographic Traveler on a year-long road trip visiting and photographing all 59 of America’s national parks. From this project, he published a U.S. National Parks book, and was featured on Good Morning America. Jonathan is also a skilled Virtual Reality shooter, having shot assignments with 360-degree cameras on six different continents for Discovery Communications and Google. Through his photographic work, Jonathan seeks to share the beauty of the natural world while highlighting important conservation stories and the need for continued and increased protection, so that future generations may enjoy the same beautiful natural world in which we live today. He also enjoys traveling with National Geographic Expeditions teaching photography around the world–from Antarctica to the Arctic and Africa to the Amazon. Jonathan’s images are represented by National Geographic Creative and National Geographic Fine Art Galleries, and have appeared in National Geographic books.
In a career spanning over 40 years, Ken Garrett has photographed more than 60 feature stories for National Geographic and National Geographic Traveler magazines, and has been involved with multiple National Geographic books and museum exhibits. Ken grew up in a world of photographers and spent his childhood traveling in Canada, Mexico, and around Alaska and the continental United States. He knew from an early age that he wanted to be a photographer, and he was offered his first National Geographic assignment in 1976 for the American Bicentennial. Ken sailed as a training cadet on the Polish tall ship, Dar Pomorza, to capture the story of the voyage from Poland to New York City to cap off with celebrations of the American Bicentennial. Building a career in magazine journalism, Ken worked for a variety of publications, including Time, Fortune, Forbes, Smithsonian, Audubon, Natural History, Science 80, German GEO, Air and Space, as well as clients such as Marriott, IBM, Starbucks, UNC Aviation, and The Aluminum Association. With an academic background in anthropology and investigative inquiry, Ken’s work gradually focused on his passion for the Origin of Civilization. He has documented ancient cultures, archaeological sites, and dramatic landscapes worldwide. The subject of his work has ranged from Meso American civilizations and Egyptian history to human evolution stories and more. Ken has photographed on all seven continents, and he looks forward to sharing his photographic and storytelling insights with travelers.
Krystle Wright is an adventure photographer, cinematographer, and director from Australia, although she now lives a semi-nomadic lifestyle in her quest to capture and present unique moments from extreme sports, expeditions, and adventures across the globe. National Geographic lists Krystle as one of the leading female adventure photographers who is pushing the limits in the industry. The world has no boundaries, and she will do whatever it takes to shoot from her unique perspective–whether hanging from precarious positions on remote cliff edges, swimming through jagged, unexplored canyons, or trudging for days through vicious, baleful weather. For Wright, it’s about that final experience–capturing a fleeting moment, sharing a treasured insight, telling incredible stories about impassioned endeavors that might otherwise go undocumented. Krystle's assignments have covered all seven continents in over 55 countries. Her images have been published in National Geographic magazine and several National Geographic books, and she is a regular contributor to the @NatGeoTravel Instagram account. Her work has also appeared in Outside magazine, The Times, GQ, Red Bulletin, and the Huffington Post. Krystle speaks at worldwide photography and film festivals, hosts Canon Australia photo workshops, and enjoys sharing her love of photography and adventure with others.
Award-winning travel and editorial photographer Susan Seubert has photographed more than 30 feature stories for National Geographic Traveler. Her subjects range from Canada to the Caribbean and Texas to Thailand and beyond. Susan’s work has been recognized by Columbia University's Alfred Eisenstadt Award and most recently by the North American Travel Journalists Association for excellence in photography. She lectures regularly about her work at such institutions as Harvard University and the Portland Art Museum. Based in Portland, Oregon and Maui, Hawaii, Susan travels throughout the world shooting a variety of subjects and capturing a sense of place through her wide-ranging imagery. Susan's in-depth knowledge of digital technologies and her multimedia skills keep her at the cutting edge of visual storytelling. Born and raised in Indiana, she earned her Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts from the Pacific Northwest College of Art and hasn't set down her camera since.
National Geographic Explorer and acclaimed documentary photographer Chris Rainier specializes in highlighting endangered cultures and traditional languages around the globe. In 2002, he received the Lowell Thomas Award from The Explorers Club for his efforts in cultural preservation, and was elected in 2014 as a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society of London, where he specializes in cultural preservation. During his continued tenure with the National Geographic Society as a National Geographic Fellow and Explorer, he has been the co-founder and co-director of the Enduring Voices Project and director of the All Roads Photography Program, both designed to support indigenous groups desiring to document their traditional cultures and create sustainable solutions to preserve the planet in the 21st century. Chris also served as a cultural editor and photographer for National Geographic Traveler magazine for over 18 years. Today he directs The Cultural Sanctuaries Foundation, whose mission is to create legally protected cultural zones around the globe that protect both traditional knowledge as well as the biodiversity the communities are guardians of. In the early 1980s, Chris served as the last assistant for famed photographer Ansel Adams. The two worked together to amplify the use of art photography as a social tool, ultimately helping to preserve threatened wilderness areas and national parks. Rainier has deep passion for teaching photography, and for the past 20 years has been leading photographic expeditions for National Geographic around the world.