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.
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.
Underwater photographers David Doubilet and Jennifer Hayes are married partners who work together as a team to produce National Geographic stories from equatorial coral reefs to beneath the polar ice. David estimates he has spent nearly half his life in the sea since taking his first underwater photograph at the age of 12 with a Brownie Hawkeye camera sealed in a bag. Between them, Jennifer and David have photographed and explored the ocean depths in such places as New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Tasmania, Scotland, and Antarctica. David has photographed stingrays, sponges, and sleeping sharks in the Caribbean, as well as shipwrecks in the South Pacific, the Atlantic, and at Pearl Harbor. He has produced more than 70 stories for National Geographic magazine and several books, and has received the Explorers Club’s prestigious Lowell Thomas Award and the Lennart Nilsson Award in Photography.
National Geographic photographer Michael Melford has produced 18 feature stories and two covers for National Geographic magazine with an emphasis on wilderness, conservation, and the environment. He also has shot more than 30 stories for National Geographic Traveler, including nine covers. Some of Michael’s recent assignments have focused on Russia and North America’s national parks. He has produced photography for eight books for National Geographic, including three on Alaska. While photographing his favorite book, Treasures of Alaska, he spent four months traveling to every corner of the state. When not shooting for the Geographic, Michael enjoys giving seminars and workshops on photography and sharing both his love of nature and his extensive knowledge of his craft.
During his eight years on the National Geographic staff, photographer Jonathan Irish launched and directed the National Geographic Adventures program. He specializes in documenting adventure lifestyles, landscapes, and cultures abroad. Jonathan has photographed on all seven continents, and has shot a variety of assignments in Antarctica, Patagonia, and beyond. His photography has appeared in National Geographic and The New York Times, on BBC, CNN, and elsewhere. For the 2016 centennial of the U.S. National Park Service, Jonathan took a year-long road trip with an Airstream visiting and photographing all 59 of America’s national parks.
Pulitzer Prize–winning photographer Jay Dickman has worked in photojournalism for more than 40 years, covering topics as diverse as the war in El Salvador, the Olympics, national political conventions, six Super Bowls, and the 40th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Among his more than 25 assignments for the National Geographic Society, Jay has lived for three months in a Stone Age village in Papua New Guinea and spent a week under the Arctic ice in a nuclear attack sub. A popular photo instructor and expedition leader, he has also published five books and numerous articles for National Geographic Traveler, LIFE, Condé Nast Traveler, Time, Sports Illustrated, and Forbes.