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.
Mike Greenfelder learned early on that the best way to escape Ohio was to become a marine biologist. During college at Wittenberg University, he attended a semester at Duke University's Marine Lab. His time there confirmed his love for all things oceanic and maritime. After graduation, Mike promptly moved to Catalina Island in California, where he taught marine biology to school kids. Since 1999, Mike has been working and traveling chasing his three loves: marine critters, photography, and birds. Before joining Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, Mike spent one and a half years as the resident biologist at the Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort, a renowned vacation destination in the South Pacific. His days were filled with a great combination of educating guests and local school children, research, and environmental projects. Mike has also worked in the Amazon of Peru and Ecuador, the Pribilof Islands of Alaska, the cloud forest of Costa Rica, and the kelp forests of Victoria, Australia. When not working, Mike enjoys underwater photography, searching for endemic birds, and sunset chasing. Throughout 2018, Mike is acting as a National Geographic Year of the Bird Ambassador.
David Cothran has worked for Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic since 1993 on six continents and in more than 65 countries. David is interested in many of the natural sciences, particularly ornithology, geology and marine biology; he most enjoys contrasting the broad perspectives provided by world travel with detailed investigations of local ecosystems on land and in the sea. David is an avid wildlife and landscape photographer and enjoys shooting with DSLRs, compact cameras and his iPhone. He particularly focuses on photography of wildlife in habitat, macro images of insects and abstract images of patterns and textures. Before joining Lindblad-National Geographic, David worked as a staff field biologist and education coordinator at the Point Reyes Bird Observatory, an independent research institution in California. At PRBO David studied songbirds, seabirds, owls and elephant seals while overseeing a broad education program, which included classes for school-children, workshops for professional biologists and interpretation for the general public. His home, which is completely off the grid, is at the crest of the Siskiyou Mountains in southern Oregon.
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 covered the Pacific region for National Geographic, completing numerous photographic and National Geographic Television documentary projects since 2001—from Easter Island to Pitcairn, and from the Marquesas in French Polynesia to traditional language documentation projects in the Tuamotu Archipelago. He is deeply passionate about sharing his love of the Pacific Islands with travelers on this expedition.
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.
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.
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.
Doug’s passion for the natural world started at an early age in his home state of Michigan. He received two biology degrees from Central Michigan University, and later went on to get a master’s degree in conservation biology. His education led him to study a diverse range of natural sciences, with an emphasis on ecology, animal behavior, and migratory birds. Shortly after leaving the academic world, Doug migrated north to Alaska with his trusty Siberian husky, Koda. He began working as a naturalist in Denali National Park in 1999. For more than seven years, he has shared his love of Alaska and Denali’s six million acres with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic guests, as trip leader for the Denali Land Extension based at the North Face Lodge deep within the park. Throughout 2018, Doug is acting as a National Geographic Year of the Bird Ambassador.
Photographer Cristina Mittermeier dedicates her life to creating images that help us understand the urgent need to protect wild places. Born in Mexico, Cristina first discovered her insatiable passion for the natural world, both above and below the surface, as a marine biologist working in the Gulf of California and Yucátan Peninsula. From there, it didn’t take long for her to realize that she could make a bigger impact on how people see the world, and connect to it, through the lens of her camera than through data on spreadsheets. Specializing in conservation issues surrounding the ocean and indigenous cultures, Mittermeier has worked in more than 100 countries on every continent in the world. Cristina is an assignment photographer for National Geographic magazine, and she was acknowledged as one of National Geographic's 2018 Adventurers of the Year along with her partner Paul Nicklen. She is the Vision Lead and co-founder of her own conservation society, SeaLegacy, as well as the Founder and former President of the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP). Her images focus on demonstrating the significant relationship between human cultures and biodiversity. Mittermeier has also edited 25 coffee table books on conservation issues, and is a public speaker in forums ranging from the Conference of the Parties and the Convention on Biological Diversity to the TEDx stage and the National Geographic Live lecture series. Cristina is a Sony Artisan of Imagery, and she has earned numerous distinctions, including 2011 Nature’s Best/Smithsonian Conservation Photographer of the Year, the North American Nature Photographer’s Association 2010 Mission Award, and being recognized as one of the World’s Top 40 Most Influential Outdoor Photographers by Outdoor Magazine. Cristina sits on the board of the WILD Foundation and is part of Conservation International’s Chairman’s Council, as well as the advisory board for the Wild Seas and Waters Program and the Marine Wilderness 10 + 10 Project.
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. His imagery is remarkably memorable, reminding us how the emotion of an image can touch our spirit. 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. He is also an experienced climber, diver, arctic explorer, and workshop leader. Andy has worked extensively in Fiji, including a shark diving expedition with the Waitt Foundation in 2014. In 2015, he established a first ascent in the Marquesas Islands–of a 3,000-foot-tall jungle rock tower on Ua Pou Island–with a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, Mike Libecki. French Polynesia is one of his most cherished places, and he looks forward to sharing it with travelers. Andy’s images are represented by Nat Geo Creative.