About the Instructor and Trip Leader:
Ralph Paonessa

Ralph PaonessaThanks for considering these workshops and photo tours. My goal is to truly make them the "Best Photo Trips to the Greatest Locations on Earth!" I've chosen some of my favorite nature photography locations and designed trips expressly for photographers.

I am a patient and enthusiastic teacher. I enjoy guiding and instructing photographers from novice through expert. I work full time pursuing my love of nature photography and teaching, and have been leading these photo trips since 1997.

My photographs have been published in such magazines as Outdoor Photographer, WildBird (including several covers), Birder’s World, Birdwatcher’s Digest, Nature and Wildlife, Martha Stewart Living, and Outdoor Traveler. My work has been featured in calendars by Audubon, Barnes and Noble, Birder's World, Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund, At-A-Glance, Pet Prints, and the Himalayan Calendar.

WildBird magazine recently honored me by publishing a portfolio of some of my favorite hummingbird images. Birder's World included one of my photos in their selection of the very best photos from their twenty year history, an honor accorded to only fourteen photographers.

My images have also appeared in numerous books, including hummingbirds on the covers of three. Eleven of my photos were awarded prizes in the Texas Valley Land Fund Photo Contest, including first prize for Hummingbirds, and are featured in the book "Focus on the Wild."

For my own work, I use the Canon EOS system, with lenses ranging from the 10 mm to the 500 mm f/4. I have retired my Arca Swiss 4x5 view camera in favor of my digital SLRs. I use a variety of specialized flash systems for hummingbird photography.

I am based in Ridgecrest (China Lake), California, in the heart of the Mojave Desert. (If you're ever in the neighborhood—next door to Death Valley and just south of Mt. Whitney—be sure to call and say "Hi.")

Past participants have been enthusiastic about their experiences, and I hope you'll consider joining us. If you have more questions about our Photo Workshops and Tours, the equipment you might need, or would just like to talk about photography, feel free to contact me

— Ralph Paonessa