About Us

Small-group photo tours for people with a passion for photography, nature, and culture

All experience levels welcome

We craft small group tours for travelers who want to improve their photography skills through immersive experiences in some of the world’s most vibrant cultures and beautiful ecosystems. We go beyond a traditional travel experience by building strong local relationships and then connecting you with living, breathing communities and natural areas. We make sure you check off all the local must-sees, but we know that the experiences you’ll remember for the rest of your life are the ones that are unique, authentic, and reveal the hidden spirit and true beauty of the places we visit.

Travelers with all levels of photography experience are welcome on our tours. Our professional photographers stay with you in the field to offer guidance on technique, composition, lighting, post processing, and more. We actively seek opportunities for wildlife, landscape, portrait, street, architecture, night, macro, and underwater photography.

If you’re brand new to photography, we’ll help you get to know your camera and focus on the basics of taking great photos. If you’re more advanced, we’ll tailor our approach to your skill level and interests. We can offer collaborative feedback, share tips, and show specific examples of concepts that have worked for us. It’s our goal for you to head home with incredible memories and stunning photos from your dream destination.

Meet Our Team

Wayde Carroll

Principal and Photography Instructor

Wayde Carroll is an award-winning freelance imagemaker based in Anchorage, Alaska. For the past 14 years he’s been leading photography tours and workshops in Alaska and around the globe for several major tour companies and now for Lightminded Photo Tours. His easy-going style, humor, dedication, patience, and attention to detail have garnered him loyal clients who, regardless of the many photo tour options, choose to travel with him repeatedly. Wayde is a full-time shooter whose body of work spans a multitude of major projects, including portraits of Native Alaskans throughout bush Alaska, several Iditarods, and promotional photography for the Alaska Marine Highway System, Visit Anchorage, and visitors bureaus throughout Alaska and California. His images have graced magazine covers, buses, and billboards. His work has represented the State of Alaska’s 40th anniversary and adorned the walls of the California State Capitol—several of his images are on permanent display at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Wayde takes great pleasure in sharing his photography expertise and making sure that every client feels comfortable and goes home with expanded knowledge, rich experiences, and wonderful images. Seeing clients reach that “Ah ha!” moment as they learn is his greatest reward.

Marco Fallas

Wildlife and Culture Guide: Costa Rica

Marco has been introducing travelers, photographers, and adventure seekers to Costa Rica for more than 20 years. He has an advanced diploma from the Costa Rica North American Culture Center and continues to take courses and participate in studies in many different areas. His vast knowledge of birds, plants, animals, history, culture, and photography—coupled with his sparkling wit, infectious laughter, and unbridled passion for his home country—make our clients fall in love with Costa Rica. They go home with incredible photos and many happy memories. Marco has led tours for several travel companies, including REI, and he’s consistently ranked as a traveler favorite.

Superpower: Can imitate any bird sound, including a Montezuma oropendola. It’s pretty incredible.

Annie O'Dea Hestbeck

Music and Culture Guide: Ireland

The effervescent Annie O’Dea Hestbeck, a native of County Clare, Ireland, is a driving force in Northern California’s Celtic music scene and host of a weekly Celtic music radio show. Annie regularly returns to her homeland and is a special addition to our Emerald Isle explorations. Her enthusiasm for all things Irish and her vast knowledge of traditional Irish music, coupled with her generous an adventurous spirit make our Ireland Photo Exploration a special trip indeed. Sláinte!

Superpower: Knows literally everyone in Ireland.

Miyu Tamamura

Organizer and Guide: Japan

Owner Sacred Japan/ Tour Leader/ Translator

When it comes to leading trips in Japan, Miyu is an expert. Her passion and devotion to service and authentic experiences have benefited travelers as she leads them into the heart of her native country. Many clients have claimed a tour with Miyu is a trip of a lifetime. Miyu is a native of Kyoto and is the daughter of Master Kimono Artist Ei Tamamura.

She graduated from Kyoto University of Art with a degree in Modern Art. She spent many years studying and currently practices the art of traditional Japanese calligraphy.

Growing up in a culturally fertile environment, she was surrounded by exceptional and inspiring artists who helped her cultivate a deep appreciation of authentic beauty and what it means to have a true experience.

Miyu was the executive trip coordinator, guide and translator for the popular tour company Journeys East prior to establishing her own custom tour operation, Sacred Japan. By her innate intuitive ability and passion to share Japanese art and culture in the most authentic way, she has been successfully leading small groups on unique, custom designed trips to Japan for over twenty years. She is committed to excellence in trip planning and guiding services. Miyu’s heart-centered approach to travel creates a bridge of peace between Japanese culture and the West.

Miyu lives in Nevada City, California with her husband Perry. Together they created YU Healing Arts offering acupuncture, Shiatsu Therapy and herbal medicine to the community.

Karen Brinkmann

Organizer and Guide: France

Karen is a lifelong student of French language and culture. A comparative literature graduate of Brown University, Karen lived in France for one year and has returned frequently ever since. Having completed a career as a communications attorney and raised two children, Karen is now a full-time traveler who focuses on exploring France through its diverse regions.  Karen especially enjoys photography, cooking, music, and hiking.  Her itinerary for Southwest France evolved through repeated visits to the region beginning in 2015, where she’s been inspired by its natural beauty, rich gastronomy, and unique culture.  She loves to introduce newcomers to her second country, la belle France.