Image © Patsy Leyendecker Birchfield
Leaving my graphic design job in 1999, I became a full time outdoor, travel and lifestyle photographer. I have visited 99 countries around the globe and have no plans to stop exploring. Since 2005, I have led dozens of instructional photo tours and photo workshops all over the world, and I am just as comfortable photographing Naga Sadhus at a Hindu festival as I am photographing puffins on the edge of a cliff in Iceland. I am known for my boundless energy and enthusiasm.
Working together with some of the best guides and tour operators in the industry, my goal is always to get my clients to the right place at the right times—unless something else crops up in between. I have a loyal following with some clients having taken more than 25 tours with me over the years.
When it comes to photography, I consider myself to be a Jack of all trades— wildlife, landscape, travel, lifestyle— more recently I have become very proficient at photographing portraits of people around the world.
Back in the day I was the winner of the “Wild Places” Award in the BG Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award in 2000 with my image Lightning over 12 Apostles, and in 2002 I was the Nature’s Best Magazine Competition “Grand Prize Winner” for my image of Fly Geyser, both photographed with a Fuji GX 617 Panoramic film camera.
In 2016 I was the Winner of the TPOTY Best Single Image in a Portfolio Mankind, and his image was Highly Commended in the One Shot Shaped by Light.
Our tours require a genuine level of commitment both photographically and physically. We will be up before dawn most days and we will not put our cameras down until the sun has set, and sometimes beyond. Most of our trips are not for the "casual photographer!" You will often be expected to "go with the flow" and adapt to all conditions regardless of what mother nature might throw at us.
You are expected to have a good knowledge of the digital photographic process, (film users are also welcome), and you will also be expected to have a sound working knowledge of your camera equipment. My commitment to you is to be always available, give you ideas, inspire and encourage you, offer advice and tips on techniques on-the-fly when needed, and, with the help of our expert guides/co-leaders, to get you to the right places at the right times.
Tiger at Ranthambore NP
On Tour in Serbia & Macedonia with Luka
You may not become best friends with everyone in the group but being friendly is always encouraged. If you are intolerant, are a control freak, love to complain, have little patience, are negative, are a "could have, should have, would have" type of person, a great likelihood exists that these trips are not for you.
If you are spontaneous, in the moment, can manage your expectations and know how to immerse yourself in a culture far different than your own, these trips will be a great photographic/travel experience.
We collaborate with other photographers on some of our tours, usually those with 10 or more clients. Photographers with whom we have worked in the past or will be working with in the future include, Nevada Wier, Holly Wilmeth, Luka Esenko, Brenda Tharp, Alison Wright, Gavriel Jecan & Catherine Farqharson.
Our collaborations have taken us to Burma, Chiapas, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, India, Italy, Yemen and more…
Since late 2013, I have been leading trips with Epic Photo Tours, the first to Ethiopia, then on to Southern India and Kashmir in 2014, Since then we have returned to India and Ethiopia multiple times.
I also lead tours for Jim Cline Tours to destinations such as Cuba, Morocco, Romania, and coming up in the spring of 2022, Tajikistan
With Nevada & Holly on tour in Colombia
Nomadic Family in Ladakh
From time to time, in preparation for a future tour, I organize special scouting tours. These tours are typically longer than the scheduled tours, the groups are usually smaller, and they are usually priced more competitively than the scheduled tours. On these tours, though we have a program, we have the freedom to change that program if necessary.
Recent scouting trips have taken us to Ladakh and Amritsar in India, to Sicily, to the island of Socotra off the coast of Yemen, and to Andalucia, Spain. In February 2015 we visited Nepal & Bhutan.
Since Covid-19 has curtailed much of my travel. I have taken up road cycling. Perhaps in the future I will do a biking/photo tour. Who knows. There is a lot of open road and a lot to see out there!
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