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A native of Chicago, Ralph Velasco has taught a variety of travel photography classes at a number of institutions, including Santa Ana College, Saddleback College, the UC Irvine Extension program and others. Ralph has a unique series of international cultural tours that provide hands-on experience for photographers of all levels, and you can learn more about these trip at PhotoEnrichment Adventures. Ralph tries to differentiate his photo tours by providing an overall cultural experience, which in addition to photography might also include the food, drink, music, dance, sport and other cultural aspects of a destination. Additionally, Ralph is creator of the My Shot Lists for Travel app for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, available for free on iTunes (be sure to download it before the trip). The app is an organizational tool that helps photographers of all skill levels to bring back a more well-rounded portfolio of images that truly captures the essence of any destination or subject.
Ralph was shortlisted for the prestigious 2015 Travel Photographer of the Year award and he was recognized as “Open Category Photographer of the Year” by the Professional Photographers of Orange County for two years in a row. He’s the author of Ralph Velasco On Travel Photography: 101 Tips for Developing Your Photographic Eye & More, which is available for free on his website, and his latest eBook is titled Essence of a Place: A Travel Photographer's Guide to Using a Shot List for Capturing Any Destination. Ralph is a past member of the Circumnavigators Club, an elite group of travelers whose charter requires that its members have traveled “around the world, in a single journey, having crossed every one of Earth’s meridians.”
“My goal with any tour is to help you to create a cultural portrait, both in images and in memories. For the photographer in you my style is to provide leadership and guidance that will get you in front of some of the most awe-inspiring architecture, interesting people and iconic sites and landmarks in the places we’ll be visiting, while at the same time explore more off-the-beaten-path locations. With our travel schedule in mind, we’ll plan to get out early in the day in order to capture each location in the best light, and before or after the tourist crowds overwhelm. The main goal of any trip is to help you to advance your capability to ‘see like a photographer,’ but also to provide an overall cultural experience that will not only reveal the location through your camera’s viewfinder, but also through your mind’s eye
Participants of all experience levels are welcome, and with any type of camera, and after an orientation I’ll provide advice about photography when asked, however, my style is to allow you the freedom to discover photo, and cultural, opportunities on your own, but to always be available to assist.
In my experience, the traveler who gets the most out of any international adventure is the one who is open to going with the flow and is flexible. I’m a photographer who insists on traveling light, and I shoot 100 percent digital. My feeling is that 75 percent of good photography is simply making an effort to put yourself in the right place at the right time, and we help you to do just that." ~ Ralph Velasco