In June 2022 we made a wonderful trip to Costa Rica with Jeff. He set up an itinerary that covered three different regions of Costa Rica and provided a wealth of excellent opportunities for wildlife photography.
Jeff has connections established that allowed us two wonderful and private opportunities to photograph a multitude of hummingbirds. This tour was well run and organized.
We enjoyed the three lodges we stayed at very much and the lodge he selected on the Osa Peninsula was simply amazing. One of the best places we’ve stayed.
The food at the lodges and at the “sodas” we stopped at along the way was consistently great. Loads of excellent wildlife photo opps – monkeys galore, a fabulous sloth encounter, a wide variety of birds, coatis, and on and on.
Jeff is very personable and willing to provide whatever level of photo assistance desired. We will definitely travel with Jeff again!
~ J.T. – Cave Junction, OR
I had a wonderful time in this Colorado Wildflowers Photography Tour with Jeff Parker and Mary O., and all the other participants!
The scenery was just breathtaking and only got better with each passing day.
The hospitality and warmth showed by Jeff and Mary were memorable!
I highly recommend this to anyone seeking great landscapes, lush greenery, serene mountains and, not to mention, splendid stewardship! Thank you again, Jeff and Mary O.!!
~ S.R. – Bengaluru, Karnataka State, INDIA
Jeff and Mary O. did a superb job both before and during our photo tour to Ecuador. The information they provided before the tour was extremely comprehensive and helpful. During the tour, Jeff was always available to provide help and suggestions.
Every aspect of the trip from lodging to field sites came off without a hitch. Having led tours ourselves for over 30 years we can honestly say their photo tour to Ecuador was truly exceptionally well done.
~ P.C. & T.C. – Signal Mountain, TN
I have been on five tours with Jeff Parker /Explore in Focus: three times in Texas, Costa Rica and the Pantanal in Brazil.
I am signed up and looking forward to the Wildflower Workshop and the Big Bend Photo Tour this spring.
Jeff Parker freely shares his technical skills and composition ideas with participants and tries to accommodate the needs of all attendees to his tours and workshops.
All tours have been well-organized, reasonably priced and provided excellent opportunities for the images I wanted. You will definitely get your money’s worth with Jeff!
~ J.E. – Reston, VA
Having been on many other photographic tours, I can only give the highest recommendation for Jeff Parker and Explore In Focus™.
His is an exceptionally well-run operation. As a professional photographer, I feel Jeff and his onsite field contacts got us into the very best photographic opportunities. He is a consummate photographer and leader.
~ J.F. – Sandpoint, ID
We literally had a ‘blast’ witnessing and photographing the predawn blast offs of the Sandhill Cranes and the Snow Geese at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Even though those were the signature photo ops there, we had plenty of other highlight opportunities for memorable images at the various sites at the refuge under the tutelage of Jeff Parker. His experience and knowledge from his many expeditions there were valuable for efficiently maneuvering around – not just in space but in the varied time of the day to capture images in many light conditions.
We even had a tutorial in light painting on a clear star-lit night at a wood fire ‘picnic’ in one of the many canyons near Socorro.
The necessary logistics were handled excellently, especially with the expertise of Mary-o who lend a lot of cheer to our group and provided delicious and welcome refreshments and sustenance – five star rated considering the environment.
I just returned from an 8-day trip to Ecuador with Jeff. The tour was all I expected, and more. So many beautiful birds, very comfortable lodge, and outstanding food.
The birding guide and Jeff were so helpful and encouraging with capturing the various species.
It was an incredible adventure!
~ A.M. – Alexandria, VA
I have attended four of Jeff’s workshops at his Red Belly Ranch. I have learned at each of them and, just as important, they were very enjoyable. Jeff’s presentations are very good and his critiques are given in a friendly and constructive manner.
Mary O’s hospitality is something that is hard to describe. From the moment you meet Mary O. she makes you feel like a long-time friend that she is truly happy to see. Mary O. provides lunches that are gourmet quality.
In my opinion, Jeff’s workshops are a terrific value and offer something for both the novice and experienced photographers of all levels.
~ W. D. – Bryan, TX
Out of the many photography classes and workshops I have participated in, Jeff’s are the best. So often what you get is a lecture period followed by “go out and shoot,” but Jeff, assisted by his artist and educator wife, Mary O., follows a truly educational approach.
The day is filled with educational sessions with visual examples and handouts interspersed with numerous specific shooting exercises to use the skill just taught. There is constant interaction and review.
In addition to the excellent sessions, those lucky enough to take a workshop at Red Belly Ranch will be treated to Mary O.’s gourmet cooking.
A Jeff Parker/Explore in Focus workshop is a must for anyone truly interested in becoming a better photographer.
~ S.V. – Dallas, TX
Photo touring with Jeff Parker in Ecuador added a wealth of opportunities and challenges to photograph bird species in this incredibly diverse country.
Throughout the entire tour we were introduced to new localities, species, and challenging environments. I’m very pleased with my photographic results.
~ M.L. – The Woodlands, TX
I have experienced several of Jeff’s tours and have found them to be well organized and I got what was advertised.
Jeff is a rarity as far as it goes for guides. He is a good listener, concerned about your needs and best of all patient, humble and helpful. You can’t go wrong when you go with Jeff.
I recommend Jeff to all my photographer friends when the subject of guides come up.
~ J.A. – Seal Beach, CA
Jeff and Mary O. are amazing hosts and offer the best of the best. We have gone on two photo tours and have also attended several of their workshops.
On our Bosque del Apache Photo Tour we were given one-on-one attention and they went above and beyond to make sure we were happy. Jeff takes his time to show us the perfect time to take shots and which cameras settings to use. Mary O. offers amazing services to us and makes sure all our needs are met.
I will always be a lifelong fan and plan on taking many more trips with them (in fact we’re doing the Big Bend Photo Tour with them next!).
~ N.T. – San Antonio, TX
Jeff has been a longtime friend to our nature photography club, providing programs at our meetings, material for our newsletter, and judging our annual contest.
Several years ago, my wife and I visited Red Belly Ranch for a day of photographing hummingbirds. It was my first opportunity to shoot hummers with a multi-flash set up. In addition to capturing some great hummingbird shots, we got to know both Jeff and Mary O a little better, and enjoyed a wonderful lunch.
So, when Jeff advertised his Explore in Focus “PUMAS and PEAKS of PATAGONIA Photo Tour” last year, I signed up.
I could not have been more pleased with the experience. Once on the Torres Del Paine location, we saw and photographed cats every day. Jeff’s knowledge and experience contributed to a highly successful and enjoyable trip.
Having shared sleeping and bathroom accommodations with Jeff for nearly two weeks, I can honestly say that I would not hesitate to do it again if he will have me.
~ L.P. – Dallas, TX
I have been on MANY photo tours and have found Explore in Focus™ to be in the top tier!
I have traveled on photo tours with Jeff on several occasions and have always come away with an amazing feeling like I’ve just shared a wonderful time with wonderful people.
Jeff is able to assess your photographic education needs and can be a tremendous help with your technical skills as well as informative about the flora and fauna of the specific area you are visiting.
Jeff and his wife Mary O go above and beyond your expectations with the little details that make a trip special.
~ B.M. – Bartlett, TN
I have been attending photo workshops with Jeff and Mary O since the beginnings of my interest in Nature Photography.
I have learned so much from both of them. Jeff has been a great mentor and resource for photography; Mary O is a wonderful creative inspiration and a great cook to boot!
This past January, I attended my first Photo Tour; the Whooping Crane tour to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. It truly was a trip of a lifetime for me. The photo ops were incredible and, as a birder, the chance to see these amazing birds, of which there are only about 750 left in existence, so close up, was truly a thrill. To spend it with such great people was the icing on the cake. I’m looking forward to the next tour!!
~ J.S. –Roan Mountain, TN
Jeff Parker’s “Nature Photography 101 Workshop” was a perfect experience. This was my first time attending a photo workshop and it was an extremely well-planned event.
The entire day was balanced between Jeff’s informative training lectures and camera time in the field. I found this to be a valuable method of understanding the features of the camera coupled with Jeff’s shared knowledge of photography.
I would highly recommend attending a workshop by Jeff Parker.
~ A.F. – Bastrop, TX
I went on Jeff’s 2017 Big Bend photography tour and had an enjoyable and productive experience.
Jeff was knowledgeable and experienced in the park, and was able to plan our shoot locations where we got the best opportunities for making great images. This was the first time I had done much astrophotography, and Jeff was helpful with camera settings as well as compositional ideas.
One thing I appreciated about Jeff’s approach compared to other photography tours or workshops I have gone on is that he was primarily trying to help the people attending the tour get the shots they wanted rather than trying to shoot for himself. I would definitely like to attend another photography tour with Jeff.
~ R.B. – Friendswood, TX
Jeff did a great job leading this tour of Bosque del Apache. Everything was very professionally done, and the overall experience was fantastic. The tour group was cordial and the group size was manageable. Jeff definitely knows all the ins and outs of the Bosque area. I highly recommend this bucket list experience and look forward to doing another tour with Jeff.
~ M.W. – Sugar Land, TX
Jeff and Mary O. were very accommodating to the workshop participants. Their property is a great workshop setting for all types of photography. I look forward to another Jeff Parker workshop!
~ S.M. – New Braunfels, TX
I just returned from a well-organized & fast-paced South East Arizona workshop with Jeff Parker & his lovely wife & business partner, Mary O.
We had a combination of desert wildlife/flowers & scenery at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum south of Tucson & then three full days at the Santa Rita Lodge in the Madera Canyon Mountains.
Not only were the migratory hummingbirds in their magnificent plumage, but we had the opportunity to shoot the magic desert bird, “Rodie” — better known as the Roadrunner. Jeff & Mary O. provide a wonderful backdrop for the workshop, to unique shooting techniques to capture the hummingbirds in flight & bats at night. After the photography sessions Mary O. included home cooked meals with wonderful desserts.
This was my second workshop with Jeff & Mary O. & I look forward to attending more in the future. A great value with lots of fabulous images now in digital storage.
~ H.H. – Savannah, GA
I must say that I was well prepared for the excursion of a lifetime!
The dossier was great for what to expect, tips on air travel with photography equipment, and included a GOOD packing list. I found the info on mosquitoes in that climate very useful (even though I forgot to “doctor up” when I had a very exciting time on the patio taking great photos of the hummingbirds). And the end-of-trip tipping guides were very helpful during the hurried packing-up time.
The lodge was a perfect home base. Very clean; a good large space for dining, relaxing, meetings, and visiting. The open-air rooms and baths were very welcoming at the ends of our busy days.
Though I have been a birder for about 50 years, this was my first “photo tour”. The lodge patios were where the hummingbird setups were and with the help of Jeff, our very knowledgeable bird guide, and the other photographers, everyone seemed to have all the time they wanted to get great shots of beautiful hummingbirds.
Almost every day we had the opportunity to “pile in the van” and drive to other sites to photograph birds. Most of those sites had covered platforms for cameras and tripods.
And at the end of the day, we were always treated to Ecuadorian delights by Chef Louis!
A trip of a lifetime for me.
~ L.D.- Austin, TX
Jeff does an outstanding job with his tours. He’s always highly organized and available for instruction in the field. His low-key personality makes traveling with him enjoyable. I highly recommend doing a photo tour with him.
~ T.M. – New York, NY
When I attended my first workshop with Jeff a year and a half ago, I only knew how to use my camera in full automatic mode, and took less than mediocre pictures. Now, several workshops and an amazing trip to the Pantanal later, my skills have developed from basically documenting nature to creating pictures that people enjoy looking at.
Jeff not only teaches the technical details of photography, but also addresses the creative side, like composition, color combinations etc., the whole package.
Whether you’re attending a workshop at their ranch (where you also get to enjoy Mary O’s wonderful hospitality and cooking!), or are on a tour with Jeff, he always makes sure you get great photography opportunities and learn about nature at the same time.
The workshops and tours are very well organized and of an informal nature. As a participant you only have to focus on the fun of photographing the beautiful things nature has to offer.
~ M.S. – Brevard, NC
Great People! Great Service! Jeff and Mary O are an extremely personable and client oriented team. Always inclusive. They put their client’s needs and desires first.
Jeff shoots with you on site but is always accessible, willing and able to answer all questions. He has an equal command of the photographic workflow and technique as well as the natural history of the subject and situation at hand.
If a guide service is necessary Jeff prides himself on utilizing local guides who understand photography and photographers.
The right place at the right time. We have attended multiple tours and workshops with them within the same calendar year. Nothing grows old or feels repetitive.
We will return. Thank you Jeff. Thank you Mary O.
~ S.M. – Conway, NH
I went on a trip to Bosque del Apache, November 16-18, 2019. Great trip.
Jeff knew all the good locations to watch and photograph sandhill cranes and snow geese. He provided excellent instructions for photographing birds in flight.
His wife Mary O provided us with excellent home-cooked meals. It was a small, friendly group.
I highly recommend Jeff’s tours.
~ A.G. – Kingston, WA
Beautiful Costa Rica! The tour I took with Jeff was informative, varied in activities, and instruction as I desired. I was able to take time for what interested me as well as in the group.
The foliage, birds, and wildlife was amazing. I captured wonderful photography which included The Resplendent Queztal (gorgeous colors!), Capuchin Monkey in their favorite trees, Howler Monkey and flora of mixed colors which were ideal for the variety of Hummingbirds I would never have seen otherwise.
I recommend his tours as he has thought out and provided information and activities that seem to hit the best of nature for the area toured.