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.
When Peter Hillary first climbed Mount Everest in 1990, he and his father, Sir Edmund Hillary—who made the first ascent of Mount Everest in 1953—became the first father and son to reach the summit. He reached the summit again in 2002 on a National Geographic-sponsored ascent later featured in the film Surviving Everest. Peter has completed more than 40 mountaineering expeditions and is deeply involved in assistance programs for the people of the Mount Everest region in Nepal.
National Geographic photographer Michael Melford has produced more than a dozen feature stories for National Geographic magazine and more than 30 for National Geographic Traveler, including eight covers. Some of Michael’s recent assignments have focused on Russia, Israel, and North America’s national parks. He has produced photography for eight books for National Geographic, including three on Alaska, his favorite being Treasures of Alaska, for which he spent four months traveling to every corner of the state. When not shooting for National Geographic, Michael enjoys giving seminars and workshops on photography and sharing both his love of nature and his extensive knowledge.
Award-winning photographer, filmmaker, and instructor Rich Reid has specialized in environmental and adventure photography for more than two decades. He explored Alaska's Inside Passage by bike and ferry for National Geographic Adventure magazine and is represented by the National Geographic Image Collection. Rich is familiar with the midnight sun from his years of leading guests on a variety of tours at high latitudes, photographing wildlife and landscapes from the temperate rainforest to the Arctic tundra. When not aboard with National Geographic Expeditions, Rich works with non-profit organizations preserving lands and cultural sites with multimedia projects and pursues his passion for time-lapse photography.
National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Jared Diamond is a professor of geography at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed and the widely acclaimed Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize as well as Britain's Rhone-Poulenc Science Book Prize.
Jared is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Genius Award; research prizes and grants from the National Geographic Society, American Physiological Society, and Zoological Society of San Diego; and many teaching awards and endowed public lectureships. In addition, he has been elected a member of all three of the leading U.S. national scientific and academic honorary societies—the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He is a founding member of the board of the Society of Conservation Biology and a member of the board of directors of World Wildlife Fund/USA and Conservation International.
Chris Rainier specializes in the documentation of indigenous cultures, and is considered one of the leading documentary photographers working today. A National Geographic Explorer, Chris was a co-founder of the Society’s All Roads Photography Program and is a co-director of the Enduring Voices Project, documenting endangered languages and cultures. He serves as a contributing editor for National Geographic Traveler magazine. His life's mission is to document endangered cultures and help empower them to use modern technology to save their ancient traditions through a project he directs called the Last Technology Program. He has conducted expeditions to all seven continents and the North Pole. Chris has won numerous awards for his photography, including the Lowell Thomas Award given by the Explorers Club for his work with endangered cultures. Chris was recently elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society in London.
Photographers Sisse Brimberg and Cotton Coulson have collectively photographed more than 60 stories for National Geographic and National Geographic Traveler magazines. They have spent most of their careers working in Europe, shooting stories from the Arctic and Scandinavia to Italy and France. Sisse and Cotton have been awarded prizes by Pictures of the Year International, the National Press Photographers Association, White House Press Photographers Association, and Communication Arts. Today they are based in Glasgow, Scotland, yet spend most of the year on the road producing magazine stories and videos for the Geographic. Sisse and Cotton will share their love of photography and of polar regions.
Born and raised in Italy, photojournalist Massimo Bassano has published his work in National Geographic Traveler and on the National Geographic website, as well as in numerous European publications. He regularly teaches National Geographic photography workshops in Tuscany and Venice. His acclaimed photography book The Color of Silence detailed the 12 weeks he spent in a little-known Italian monastery. Massimo has also traveled and photographed extensively in Europe and Africa. Massimo frequently joins photography and other expeditions for National Geographic, and is a favorite with the Society's travelers.