A Different Kind of Tour
“The reason I started PhotoEnrichment Adventures was to share the amazing places and cultural experiences I’ve had with other, like-minded people. I also enjoy passing on my knowledge of travel and photography to enthusiastic and interested people from around the world.
Joining a PEA trip will surely be an overall travel experience, not just a photo tour. I’ve become very good friends with so many of the wonderful people who join my trips, and you will too.”
– Ralph Velasco, President / CEO (Chief Experience Officer)
PhotoEnrichment Adventures (PEA) was founded in 2005 by travel photographer, author, and international guide Ralph Velasco, who at the time was leading local and domestic photo walking tours in his spare time, while working full-time as a financial adviser. With the stock market crash in September of 2008, Ralph decided it was the perfect time, and a clear sign, to leave the financial services industry altogether and to focus full time on organizing, administering and leading both domestic and international, small group cultural tours around the world, which he had experience doing locally and for short periods of time (4 days maximum) up until that point.
The First Trip
The first international trip Ralph ever led was to the Central European Christmas markets, and needless to say it’s been an incredible journey ever since. In the meantime, he’s organized and led over 50 small group, international cultural tours around the world, both under the PEA banner and for other companies. Those trips have included Spain, Cambodia, Vietnam, Tuscany, Lapland, Mexico’s Copper Canyon, Egypt, Romania, Turkey, Bhutan, Nepal, Iceland, Morocco, and other destinations.
Additionally, as of this writing PEA has organized and administered, and Ralph has led, more than a dozen fully-licensed People-to-People exchange and Humanitarian programs to Cuba. He’s also led multi-day domestic tours to Joshua Tree National Park, Death Valley National Park, San Francisco and to his hometown of Chicago.
This is NOT a Workshop
PhotoEnrichment Adventures trips go way beyond your everyday kind of tour, but they’re certainly not a photo “workshop,” either. Workshops often consist of long, hard days of shooting with a variety of photographic assignments, downloading at night, daily image reviews and critiques, post-processing sessions, and more, so it’s all photography, all the time.
Workshops are fine, but not what most people would consider a vacation because W-O-R-K is four letter word, and with PEA you’re in these wonderful places to have fun, while at the same time make great photographs. In addition to photography, which you’ll do for anywhere from 2 to 4 hours each day, on average, you’ll also be exposed to the culture of each place, including its people, the food, music, dance, and all the other aspects that make travel great. Remember that “travel photography” is two words, so we encourage clients to spend as much time really traveling and experiencing each location, as they do photographing them.
If you’re looking for a photo workshop then a PhotoEnrichment Adventures trip may not be for you, and we want you to know exactly what kind of experience you’re in for on our trips.
Why Travel With Us?
- Extensive experience organizing over 50 tours around the world.
- We take you to distant, but very reachable, destinations.
- Our trips are an overall experience, not just focused on photography, but also on the distinctive food, drink, music, people and other cultural aspects of each location.
- All trips are thoroughly scouted in advance by Ralph personally, and/or our other instructors.
- On average we provide a half-day scheduled group activities…
- …as well as plenty of free time to experience each place on your own so that you can pursue personal interests that aren’t on the itinerary, i.e. take a cooking class, visit a museum or royal palace, see a play, get a spa treatment or simply sit in a café.
- Not all meals are included so that you can discover new restaurants and markets on your own, and you won’t feel like you have to be with the group 24/7.
- Participants get the benefits of small group travel, at a big group price.
- All the details are taken care of in advance, so all you have to do is show up and enjoy the ride.
- There’s lots of camaraderie in a group, and it’s a great way to make new friends and even to learn from each other.
More Reasons to Join a PhotoEnrichment Adventures Trip
- Our trips are made up of small groups (6 to 11 participants maximum).
- On most days we get out early, not necessarily for sunrise, but before the heat of the day and rush of the crowds, so you can concentrate on photographing the locals, not avoiding tourists.
- Keeping our overall travel schedule in mind our goal is to put you in the right place at the right time whenever we can.
- We provide important travel and location-specific information in advance on what to expect and how to prepare for your trip.
- In most places we stay at centrally-located, boutique hotels, often with pools, spas, free Wi-Fi and great food (breakfast is always included).
- Along with making sure you’re introduced to the highlights of each destination, Ralph goes out of his way to search for unique and culturally rich experiences to share with our guests, ones that get you off-the-beaten-path and that you’ll talk about for years to come.
- A country is its people, and so Ralph and his guides will always do their best to help you get to know and interact with the locals, and perhaps even get inside their homes and/or places of business to learn about their unique way of life.