Friday, September 18, 2015

How to Plan Your Own Do-It-Yourself Photo Safari by Matt Sparapani and Alison Newberry

Do you ever look at an advertisement for one of those fabulous photo safaris in Africa and think, “That sounds incredible, but I can’t afford that” or “Someday I will do that, but that’s a once-in-a-lifetime trip”? Our philosophy is carpe diem: seize the opportunity and go now. How you ask? By planning your own do-it-yourself photo safari.

As teachers, the three things we love best are June, July and August. Summer is the time of year we get to travel, hike and photograph nature, so we do our best to take advantage of our time off. Many people we talk to say they would love to travel more but feel they can’t afford it. Our answer to that is “Do It Yourself!” With a little bit of research and advanced planning, you can build your own independent photo adventure. You’ll lose the crowds and escape the pre-set schedule of an organized tour. Plan an itinerary that suits your interests and gain the freedom to shoot as many zebra pictures as you want! Why pay someone else to guide you when you can do it yourself more affordably?

Our program will take you through our process of planning great photography trips, from researching potential destinations to booking transportation and locating local outfitters. We will tell you about self-driving safaris in South Africa, Namibia and Iceland, supported trekking adventures in the mountains of India and Peru, as well as some fantastic drivable destinations right here in the US. 

Topics Covered in Program:
  • Thought process involved in planning a do-it-yourself photo safari
  • Timeline and resources available
  • Important considerations:  budget, time, permits, visas, physicl limitations, desired activities, prime times of yer to visit, etc.
  • Lodging, food and transportation options
  • Challenges and rewards of do-it-yourself travel
  • Creative ways to document your adventure

Bio: About Matt & Alison

Matt and Alison discovered their passion for travel (and each other!) while living in Italy nearly 20 years ago.  As newlyweds they discovered a mutual love of nature photography at an Audubon Society workshop in Main.  since then, they have combined travel and photography with a variety of outdoor activities.  From trekking in Nepal to safari in Africa, from backpacking in Patagonia to canoeing in the Boundary Waters, the camera has served as a constant reminder to pause and savor the subtle beauty of nature.  As one of their favorite bands sings, "You get to know things better when they go by slow!"

While not on the road, Matt and Alison reside in Chicago.  Matt teaches Latin, Greek and Ancient History at a private high school, while Alison teaches computer at a K-8 public school.  They have been active members of Riverwoods Nature Photographic Society for the past 10 years which they credit for helping them hone their skills.  You can see Matt and Alison's photography and follow their adventures on their blog, Take a Hike Photography ( Matt and Alison are also contributors to Sidewalk, a new curated online hiking magazine that helps readers discover and plan amazing hiking adventures (

Matt and Alison will be speaking at CAPS- Chicago Area Photographic School on Sunday, November 22nd.
Check out the CAPS homepage at: Home
To Register for CAPS go to: Chicago Area Photographic School (CAPS) 2015 - RegOnline

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