May 2019

Michael Melford has traveled the world as a professional photographer for 40 years. He has worked for almost every publication worth working for, having scored numerous covers on the likes of National GeographicNat Geo TravelerGeoNewsweekConnoisseurIslandsFortuneDiscoverTravel and LeisureTravel HolidayGardenNatural History, and endless corporate magazines and annual reports.

The United States Postal Service recently honored Michael by featuring several of his images on a set of Forever stamps celebrating Wild and Scenic Rivers.

An accomplished generalist photographer, Michael is adept at teaching on multiple genres, from fine art landscape to wildlife behavior to cultural documentary work and more. Michael has helped countless passionate photographers move forward with their work in meaningful ways, inspiring with his sense of humor and gentle way of teaching.

Last year, Michael led a small group to Antarctica on our special trip on the 66-foot private yacht Ocean Tramp. Upon landing at the airstrip on King George Island after the jet flight across the Drake Passage, Michael had all his cameras and computer destroyed in a freak accident (fortunately, no people were harmed). Faced with spending two weeks in Antarctica without any camera gear, Michael took it all in stride saying, “It was a Zen moment for me as I pulled the iPhone out of my pocket and thought, ‘I still have this, and I can still concentrate on just seeing and helping the guests, which is the whole reason I’m here’”. As it turned out a couple of the guests had brought excess gear, and they kindly offered Michael a loaner Nikon and a couple of lenses, so he was able to lead by example, sharing on the spot ideas for making better images.

“I have been a specialist to a diverse range of clients, adapting to whatever their needs were,” he says. Michael was a travel photographer to some, an architectural photographer to others, a portrait photographer, an industrial photographer, an aerial photographer (having a pilot’s license helped), and ultimately returned to his love of landscape to complete 18 feature articles as a contributor for National Geographic on stories celebrating the beauty of the natural world.

Here is what one Visionary Wild clients says about Michael:

You are my photographer hero. Your photos, of course, warrant that alone; but your insights and perceptions especially of color and light, your willingness to teach and share and above all your kindness, all wrapped up in one “regular guy” is unique. My greatest joy was traveling with you in New Zealand. –Jim V. (45 years experience as an avid photographer)

Melford got his big break after LIFE magazine called him and said that two other photographers had not come through with the goods on a technically challenging shoot and they were giving him a chance. Hear the story first-hand about how Michael delivered an 8×10 chrome to the editors at LIFE magazine and blew them away and thus started his first love affair with a publication that resulted in many more assignments for Time-LIFE and ultimately led to National Geographic and now Visionary Wild as he enters the 4th quarter of his career.

There is still room to join Michael in Tasmania in September 2019Antarctica in January 2020 and Namibia in June 2020.

To get a feel for Michael’s style and approach to teaching, check out his online lessons at Great Courses. Michael is part of the very popular “Masters of Photography at National Geographic” and also has his own 12-lesson set for “Landscape and Wildlife Photography