Becky Miller


MPA: Why do you love photography?

BM: Photography gives me the opportunity to share beauty and adventure with the world (or my little portion of it). I love when I get that one great shot. And I really love when someone really likes my photos.

MPA: Your favorite thing about MPA?

BM:  I have always loved taking photos and as I was taking them I was sure they were just going to be photographic masterpieces but then they came back from the drug store as regular old tourist pictures. But that has definitely changed since joining MPA.They have helped me SO much with my technical skills but they especially help me by taking the time to call attention to creative ideas I had not thought of. All the instructors are so approachable and knowledgeable. They always take the time to be sure I truly understand what they are explaining. Another favorite thing about MPA is all the new friendships I’ve made on my travels with them. It’s always so fun to be with a fun group of people with similar interests. And, of course, another big favorite is the opportunity to travel safely around the world and experience places and fun times I would probably never have done by myself.

MPA: Your favorite trip or course with MPA?

BM: So far, my favorite trip was Tanzania in 2015. It was beyond amazing! My photos from that trip are some of my very favorites. I have also done a few US trips including going to Montana two years in a row and got to photograph baby animals at Animals of Montana. I have also done several other international trips with MPA and every one was well thought out and completely fun,
enjoyable and educational.

MPA: Your aspirations as a photographer / artist?

BM:  I want to continue traveling and learning how to take better and better images. Practice makes perfect, right? And what better way to practice than with excellent instructors and company in exquisitely beautiful locations!

MPA: Where do you look forward to traveling next?

BM: My next trip with MPA is to Alaska at the beginning of December to photograph the Aurora and the beauty of Alaska. I went last year and the trip was phenomenal. 2017 is going to be an amazing year for me too – I have trips scheduled to Patagonia and Antarctica, Croatia and Iceland with MPA!

Julie Wilson

Why I love photography?

This is difficult to put into words but I will try.  I lost a large part of the vision in my right eye in 2007.  I lost a lot of memories as well.  I had an arterial bisection in my brain.  I am lucky to be alive and functioning at all.

I don’t know why I decided to buy myself a camera.  Maybe I was looking for a way to regain my ability to see and I was looking for a creative outlet to satisfy the artist in me.  I cannot paint or draw anymore.  The message gets scrambled from brain to hand.  So I thought maybe I can use a camera.  I researched on Amazon and I splurged on a Canon T3i.  Hey, free shipping right?!

When it arrived, I put the battery in and away I went.  I was enthralled and challenged.  It was exactly what I needed.  After two years now, photography has become my passion.  There is always something to learn.  Always something to strive for.  Always a wonderful surprise when a photo comes out just right or better than you envisioned!  Photography is my escape from stress and my pursuit of beauty all rolled into one.  If I have a bad day, I go shoot and all is right with my world.


My favorite thing about MPA?

Traveling with a group of like minded people, (photographers), while being watched over by the McKay crew.  Any question I have about photography, someone is available to help.  I love to travel without stressing about the itinerary or where I will stay, etc. etc. etc.  It is really quite nice.  I need a support group and they keep me on track.

My favorite trip with MPA?

Cuba, Bavaria, Vermont were all fantastic experiences.  But my favorite trip is still my first trip.  Winter Yosemite 2015.  Adam Furtado took me under his wing the first morning and showed me how to shoot Manual mode.  I have not looked back since.  The encouragement that I was given on that trip helped me to get through the initial frustration of learning something so new to me and gave me the understanding that this was worth the effort.


My aspirations as a photographer/artist?

I want to be as good as I can be.  I would like to continue creating and capturing for the rest of my life.  I set goals for myself.  This year my goal is to learn portrait photography because I found myself to be very intimidated by it.  Next year it may be to start charging people for those portraits!  Not necessarily because I want to go into business but it would be lovely to retire and have an additional source of income from my photography that will pay for the gear and travel!  Best of both worlds right?


Where do you look forward to traveling next?

Yellowstone in January 2017 is my next big trip with MPA.  But I like to schedule something every 2-3 months on a smaller scale.  In the fall I am attending the portrait academy for the second time.  Visits to friends and family are always good.  I would like to explore just about everywhere in the world but can only take the time for one international trip per year.  Shorter trips to explore the US are easier to fit in and really enjoyable as well.


Any info I want to share about myself and work?

I share the fact that I am a traumatic brain injury survivor because one of the biggest issues for those with this challenge is that they feel isolated and alone.  Symptoms are not visible to the average person and understanding of the challenges faced every day is almost non existent.  Depression is a very real outcome for most because they do not see how they can lead a life of exploration and independence.  I want them to know it is possible.  I want them to see that I am doing it and so can they.



Steven Cheng

Why you love photography?
Ever since I was little, I seemed to have always had an interest in taking pictures and seeing how they turn out.  It wasn’t until I got my first SLR that it really started opening up the possibilities of what I can potentially do.  I get inspired when I look at the type of pictures that professional photographers take and it drives me to try and search and take the same type of amazing images.  The statement “a picture is worth a thousand words” rings so true to me.  When I take pictures there is usually a story behind it and I love to tell people about those stories or hear about the stories behind pictures that other people take.

Your favorite thing about MPA?
Before I became involved with MPA, I only knew how to shoot in automatic mode.  Using any other setting on my camera was a bit foreign and intimidating.  I’ve always wanted to lean how to become a better photographer and when I saw a Groupon to attend introductory photography courses by MPA, I decide to give it a try.  I’m so glad I did.  The way that David and Ally teaches take the intimidation of out learning all the details and they are really good that simplifying the concepts.  Then when I went on one of the MPA photo safaris and put all the concepts to practice, that was when I really started to get into photography as the coaching really opened up the possibilities of the type of photographs that I was striving to achieve.  The entire MPA team is very patient in the way they teach and are very approachable to ask questions on virtually anything to help us become better photographers.

Your favorite trip with MPA?
I’ve done a few local trips with MPA such as San Francisco and Point Lobos but my recent trip with MPA to Cuba was absolutely mind-blowing.  Cuba has always been a top destination on my bucket list and to be able to travel to such a destination, getting to meet some fantastic people, and getting photography instruction with MPA along the way was priceless.   They do a great job at organizing the trips.  I had such a great experience on the Cuba trip that it convinced me to book their upcoming Antarctica and Patagonia trip.

Your aspirations as a photographer/artist?
Anytime I go out a shoot, I’m always looking for that one or two shots where you can say, yeah, that’s the one.  It’s the inexplainable feeling you get when you absolutely captured the moment in a way that gives you goose bumps.  If I can build up a respectable collection of those shots, then I can say I’ve reached my goal as a photographer.
Where do you look forward to traveling next?
Traveling is a top priority in my life.  So far I have traveled to 49 countries across 6 continents.  My next upcoming trip with MPA is Antarctica and Patagonia which is by far one of the most exciting destinations I can imagine going to.  What fantastic destinations to get me to my 50th country and my final continent!

Shiloh Nicola

I first started of with buying an entry level camera just to kind of learn and see exactly what was possible or the possibilities were to make images I see, to be able to myself do the same thing. I first signed up with two other companies to take their classes to explore my options and learn about the magic behind the camera. I learned a few things, but felt my expectations were more than what they were willing to show me. I wanted to be able to take an image and make it look like what I can see with my naked eye. I wasn’t getting that knowledge after spending the money with these other two companies. Now after endless experiences, opportunities, classes and instruction, I am above and beyond with what I thought could ever be possible. With MPA, the sky’s the limit and feel that I am so impressed with where I was and where I am and look forward to keep expanding and improving.

MPA: Why do you love photography?

SN:  I love to travel and take pics and feel that photography is a great way to document travel and life experiences. It makes me happy and is fulfilling to see a great image I captured, it’s motivating and inspirational.

MPA: Your favorite thing about MPA?

SN:   I love that MPA has it all from one on one instruction, classes and travel opportunities, a photoshop program, the experiences, memories, and friendships made. It’s not something you can find anywhere else. MPA also has this great dynamic of all kinds of instructors and each one of them is different and it’s great to listen and learn from each one of them. Ally and David are open books with what has made them successful.  Very refreshing in this competitive industry.

MPA: Your favorite trip or course with MPA?

SN:   My favorite trip by far has been Tanzania, I cannot put into words how amazing this trip was and I’m so excited to be returning in 2016!

MPA: Your aspirations as a photographer / artist?

SN:   My aspirations are to keep building and learning. With each trip I learn so much more and would like to eventually create a website to show case my work and to maybe make some profit to fund my love for travel and photography.

Robin Hagy

MPA: Why do you love photography?

RH:  I have always admired seeing extraordinary images captured of everyday life.  Wondering, how was that achieved?  And, how can I do that? I have a deep love  for my animals, and when one of my dogs was diagnosed with cancer, and only short time left, wanted to make sure I had some images  to remember her by.  After an unfortunate experience with the photographer I hired, I chose to see what I could do on my own.  The instant I picked up my first camera 4 years ago, I was hooked.  I researched cameras and lenses.  I couldn’t take in the information fast enough to learn how to take the perfect photos of my dogs.  From there I spent my hours after work reading and researching like crazy what it takes to create and capture that special moment of any and all animals.  How can I paint the picture to share the incredible movement and expressions of these amazing creatures?

With the passion I felt for animals, and wanting to help out in the community I approached my local shelter to help out taking images, and from there my passion only grew stronger.  It is through this path that I have found an endless yearning to capture the personalities of people and their pets.  Through this journey I have also discovered a deep desire to help with the animals/shelters/rescues in my area through my photography. Hoping that I can show the true wonderful personalities of these beautiful souls, and hoping that it helps them find their forever homes.

MPA: Your favorite thing about MPA?

RH:   I have enjoyed learning from David and Alley McKay and Adam Furtado.  They have been open books as far as what it takes to be successful in photography.  Sharing their secrets of what is important in order to make a living in this industry. Even most importantly how to see the world through my camera and lens, and how can I create special images.  They have taken complex information and helped break it down for even someone like myself who isn’t technically capable naturally.  That is why I have returned time and time again for workshops and safaris.  They make learning enjoyable, and is evident in their own passion with photography.

MPA: Your favorite trip or course with MPA?

RH:   One of the most enjoyable experiences was the amazing adventure in Yosemite.  I am not comfortable with landscape photography, but Ally and David have such incredible vision and artistry with landscapes that I was able to walk away with some wonderful knowledge that I have carried into my normal portraiture photography.  I loved the 3 day business workshop as well. It was packed with lots of great insight to driving my portraiture business, as well as understanding better technically studio and natural light settings.  Ally and David are open books with what has made them successful.  Very refreshing in this competitive industry.

MPA: Your aspirations as a photographer / artist?

RH:   My hope is to continue to grow my portraiture business. My focus is to create unique imagery for owners and their pets.  I am continuing to learn and grow with my pet photography with dogs and horses.  I have also ventured into the fashion side of photography and having fun with creating conceptual shoots in order to have fun with a more artistic vision.  Somehow I would love to bring these two worlds together of conceptual and pet photography and take my work to the next level.

MPA: Any info you want to share about yourself and work?


I can only hope to continue to learn and grow.  Photography is ever changing and as I am still so new to it all hope that I can hope to provide a positive experience for those have interested me to capture those special moments.

You can find out more about me and my work at

Ritesh Shah

MPA: Why you love photography?

RS: I have always been drawn by natural beauty and besides physically visiting the place, photography is the only thing that can take you there.  As a matter of fact,  a beautifully captured and composed picture can emotionally put you inside the landscape.  That is what has I love the most about photography.  It is this aspect of photography that has drawn me towards it.

MPA: Your favorite thing about MPA?

RS: I took my beginning digital photography class with MPA and have not looked back.  That one class was an eye-opener.  The expensive digital camera was no longer intimidating.  The quality of teaching by MPA professionals is something that I have never seen in any other photography academy.  At MPA, the instructors not only interested in teaching but are also very open to sharing tricks to help the student get the best experience.  Nothing is held back.  I’m not surprised that they are one of the very best if not the best.

MPA: Your favorite trip or course with MPA?

RS: My best trip with MPA has been the San Francisco Day Safari.  It was my first and I got a chance to learn so many new and different techniques while photographing one of the most iconic landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge, in the world.  That one trip and the techniques I learnt gave me the confidence to go out on my own, experiment and become a better photographer.

MPA: Your aspirations as a photographer/artist-

RS: I want to continue experimenting and learning to become a better photographer.  I don’t plan on becoming a professional photographer but I would love to take pictures that can make someone say “Wow!, how did he take that picture”.

MPA: Any info you want to share about yourself and work.

RS: I am an avid backpacker and have hiked extensively in US and India.  California’s Lost Coast and the Indian side of the Himalayas are my favorite destinations.  I have hiked all the way up to 18,000 ft and hope to have at least 20,000 ft summit under my belt.  I am hoping I can combine my two hobbies to capture stunning images from places not easily accessible to most.

Steve Scurich

MPA: Why do you love photography?

SS:  When I was a kid, I never really enjoyed team sports with formal rules/plays…I liked skateboarding.  It was a natural artistic expression, a fun culture, and relied on really cool equipment.  I also enjoyed competing against myself to push to new levels.  To me, photography is so similar.  It feels natural, as if my whole life has been spent taking snap-shots of what I see and developing a story in my head.  The culture is diverse and has very few rules, it’s not confined by a physical place or corporation.  And let’s face it, photography allows us to play around with some pretty cool stuff!  Processing photos is my digital canvas, where I come alive sharing what I want to say when words fail…  My faith is extremely important to me and I never feel closer to God, than when I am immersed in shooting a beautiful scene or developing a story from a photograph.

MPA: Your favorite thing about MPA?

SS:  Where do I start…?  First of all, the people.  David, Ally, Adam, Nick etc. are some of the most inspirational people (not just artists) I have met.  They take their work seriously and don’t put up with a mediocre product, but they have a blast along the way!  After spending decades in the corporate world, it is refreshing to see people share their talent with others, instead of creating barriers for new artists.  In a large part, it is because of MPA that I had the support and confidence to step away from corporate life, and do what I truly love…become a full-time photographer.

MPA: Your favorite trip with MPA?

SS:  I recently took the MPA Pro Academy Course and it was hands down, the best money I have ever spent on any education.  I’m signed up for next year’s Iceland Safari and have already started counting the days to departure – literally like a kid looking forward to Christmas!

MPA: Your aspirations as a photographer / artist?

SS:  If I have my way, in a few years I’d like to be traveling the world photographing landscapes, local culture and events.  I see this not only as my work, but part of my legacy.  I’m excited to never stop learning or trying new techniques, while staying focused (no pun intended) on always creating a product that stirs an emotional response from the viewer.  Whether documenting a moment, creating a print to hang in a home, teaching students or encouraging it as a hobby….I’d like photography to be the main conduit through which I serve others.

MPA: Any info you want to share about yourself and work?

SS: You can find out more about me and my work at  Also, please “Like” my Facebook page at

Let’s connect on: Twitter Facebook YouTube

Kevin Denton

MPA: Why do you love photography?

KD: Since High School, photography has been a form of artistic expression and meditation for me. In solitude and through the lens of the camera I find a sense of calm that brings me inner peace.

MPA: Your favorite thing about MPA?

KD: Unlike other Photography schools I have taken classes/safaris with, the MPA staff teaches the fundamentals of why to use certain camera settings as well as the importance of having proper composition and how to create that.

They have the talent for explaining the technical aspects of Photography in a way that is very simple and easy to understand.  I also appreciate the low student to instructor ratio, which provides more one on one instruction.

MPA: Your favorite trip with MPA?

KD: The 2014 Iceland safari by far, from covering the whole island and seeing most of if not all the amazing sites to be seen, all my travel plans were taken care of and I was able to enjoy my passion without any concerns.  An absolute gem and look forward to my next safari with MPA!!

MPA: Your aspirations as a photographer / artist?

KD: My aspiration would be to spend most of my days living my passion of traveling and picturing the world through my lens.

Steve Brazis

MPA: Why do you love photography?

SB:  I have always loved the outdoors and most especially the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where my family used to vacation every year starting when I was just a baby. As I grew older, I began to take to the rocks and climb on my own. I found awe inspiring views and my own connection to the spirituality of the mountains. As I grew older my appreciation grew to include nature in all settings, including landscapes, plant life and wildlife. I was given my first camera in dental school by a friend who was upgrading his own camera. It was a Nikon film SLR camera that I knew nothing about. I used it for years still knowing nothing about the camera or photography. It often frustrated me that I couldn’t translate the feelings I had when out taking the pictures to the medium of the slides I was producing. It was hard for me to learn more on my own because of the expense of film and the time gap between shooting and seeing the results. I never took any classes or read any books on photography, so I just tried to place the needle in the center of the light meter and shot whatever I saw. Many years later, along came the digital era and I finally bought my own digital SLR. I took a class from the McKay’s through which I learned more about my camera’s settings. I enrolled in an online photography course to learn more about the basics of photography. I began to get back out into nature and practice, with immediate feedback available and found that I loved taking pictures that more and more began to allow people to feel something beyond just the picture, their own connection to the spirituality of nature.

MPA: Your favorite thing about MPA?

SB:  I find MPA to be a combination of three ingredients. David and Ally McKay are the founders and the core of MPA for me. Their staff of helpers and instructors are the second tier and provide more opportunity for input, feedback and learning. The other students are the third and really equal ingredient. I sometimes learn just as much from talking to one of the students or from watching an instructor show something to another student as I do from the one on one time with myself and David, Ally or one of the instructors. I think my favorite thing about MPA is this synergy between everyone involved all working together in some of the great photographic settings that David and Ally take us to. It’s not just listening to someone talk about photography and then trying to figure out how that applies to me, it’s the opportunity to interact in all these different ways that really accelerates learning and amplifies the fun of any shoot.

MPA: Your favorite trip with MPA?

SB:  I had to think about this for awhile. I really enjoyed my first outing with MPA in Old Sac. I was having such a good time that I didn’t realize how much I had learned until later when I was on my own. Then I went on the Alcatraz safari and had a great time there. I began to get familiar with some of the other instructors as well on this trip. Then I went to Yosemite and learned even more and had more fun than ever. San Francisco urban safari was again a whole new level of seeing the familiar in a new way. Currently I am so excited to be heading with MPA to Iceland next month. My answer to the question, which trip is my favorite…it has to be “The Next Trip”.

MPA: Your aspirations as a photographer / artist?

SB:  I would ultimately love to be able to find a way to market enough nature pictures to finance my desire to travel to increasingly exotic locations to get these pictures. That’s sort of the financial aspect of my aspiration, but I think in order to achieve that, my goal is actually to be able to take a camera and produce pictures that elicit the same feeling in people who see them that I have when I am taking them: namely, “I am so glad to be right here right now to see this”.

MPA: Any info you want to share about yourself and work?

SB: I am 68 years old this year and soon maybe I’ll be a grown-up. I’m not sure this is a good thing. My body seems to be getting older while I seem to be getting younger all the time. I have been a general dentist for most of my adult life and enjoy that as well as it allows an entirely different expression of creativity. I have been blessed with a patient clientele and staff that have been very supportive throughout my career and who allow me to feel like I am always at home with family. Sounds a bit corny to write it down but that has actually always been the way I feel about going to work. I am now beginning to feel that same way about going on photo safaris with MPA, as well as with other photographer friends I have. I have three grandsons ranging from 11 down to three. The eleven year old has taken to photography and knows how to handle and care for my camera gear and has an excellent eye for the pictures he takes on his own. The best times I have are taking him out somewhere like the Effie Yaw Nature Center and tagging along after him as he chases down pictures I would never have thought to take.

Bill Brown

MPA: Why do you love photography?

BB: I have been enjoying photography for most of my life. As a radiologist with an engineering background, imaging was my career for many years. Photography combines the artistic element of imaging with the scientific component. Also my wife and I travel a lot and I enjoy combining my two interests; travel and photography.

MPA: Your favorite thing about MPA?

BB: It’s more of a combination of things that makes me keep coming back to MPA. I really enjoy meeting others with a passion for photography. I also enjoy traveling to places where I can practice my photographic skills. The McKay photography mentors are a great resource for honing those skills.

MPA: Your favorite trip with MPA?

BB: I have been to Bozeman and Moab twice each and really had a great time with each trip. Troy Hyde, owner of Animals of Montana and the McKay’s work really well together to provide incredible, unique photographic opportunities with the animals.

MPA: Your aspirations as a photographer / artist?

BB: I am merely a photography enthusiast. I enjoy all types of photography including landscape, animal, macro, portrait and travel. I also like to study the photography of others in an effort to improve my own.

Martha Bauder

Martha first joined us on a safari to Yosemite. During that time, we knew right away she had a really good eye for composition. Then, during our time in Ireland, we really saw her blossom. It seemed every time we looked at the back of her LCD, we were impressed with what she was capturing. It was during our image review night of Ireland that she showed an image of a road through the lush green landscape that she had worked on with Photoshop instructor Adam Furtado. It was a beautiful composition and we realized right away that she was already understanding not only capturing an image, but finishing it in post-production to make it complete.

Recently, Martha shared a very transparent and from the heart post on her Facebook page with some graphic designed images that caught our attention. Sharing her passion for those affected by what she had seen in war, the tragedy she has witnessed, and how her outlet was coming through photography and creating something beautiful out of tragedy through Photoshop design, was incredibly powerful.

It is fitting that as we close out the month of May with the Memorial Day remembrance, we honor Martha for her service to our country as well as all the Men and Woman who have served out Nation. Thank you Martha and thank you to all those that have given, sacrificed and fought to keep us free.

MPA: Why do you love photography?

MB: I love photography because I have a creative spirit without a lot of creative talent. I’ve explored all sorts of creative outlets – writing, quilting and photography a few. Photography is the one that provides the most satisfaction (at least currently – these things go in cycles) because of the immediacy of the process. I see the beauty around me and want to record it so I can remember what it looked like on days when I’m not feeling particularly creative. I love the editing and post-processing because I can pick out details of photos that my eye may have missed (but I know my spirit was seeing) and enhance those things into a picture that no one else has taken.

MPA: Your favorite thing about MPA? 

MB: The instructors explain the creative process (camera settings, leading lines, focus, lenses, composition, etc) in a way that is easy to understand and enjoyable. Creativity isn’t all about inspiration; it’s about hard work and practice.

MPA: Your favorite trip with MPA?

MB: I’ve only done two so far – Yosemite and Ireland. I learned a lot from each trip, but especially enjoyed Ireland with its friendly people, green landscapes and history. Italy is coming in the fall!

MPA: You aspirations as a photographer / artist?

MB: My aspiration as a photographer is to leave a legacy that others in future years can enjoy, but even more I would like to create a body of work related to my war experiences so that future generations can see, through my art, how horrible war is, but that good can eventually come from it.

MPA: Any info you want to share about yourself and work?

MB: When I came home from my Iraq and Afghanistan deployments, I went through serious depression / PTSD to the point of being suicidal because of the things that I saw and did as an emergency physician over there. Photography has helped me regain my equilibrium and reminded me, through the beauty of his creation, that God has purpose and a plan for me. I am learning to express my emotion through manipulation of some of the photos that I took overseas, blurring the details into works of art.

PS Fractal designed images:

The following excerpt from Martha’s Facebook page is used with permission. It is graphic in content. You may choose to read or not it you prefer. It is however, very powerful and we applaud Martha for taking the steps in her life to deal with what she has done for our country and what she still must go through.


The first pic is a work called, “Medevac” because if you look closely, you can see that the basis of the fractal is a medevac helicopter. Medevac is a military term that means medical evacuation, evacuating injured or ill soldiers (or civilians) from the battlefront to the closest medical facility or from one medical facility to another. This was a mutilple-time-a-day occurrence in Iraq; less frequent but no less intense in Afghanistan. We would be awakened two or three times in the night sometimes by the medevacs landing at the CSH (Combat Support Hospital), and would be summoned to the hospital to stabilize and treat whatever patients were brought in.


The second pic is called, “Mascal” which in military-speak means, “mass casualty incident”, when the hospital would be inundated with multiple casualties at the same time. That could range from 3-5 wounded soldiers (or civilians or Iraqi police) to 25-30 (the most I worked was 26). It is a chaotic scene, with shouting and helicopters and patients screaming or moaning (it’s the ones who didn’t make any noise that we worried the most about). The floors would be slippery with blood; patients were usually horribly injured.

The basis of the second picture is a photo of a critically injured young Iraqi woman whose leg was blown off. The Islamic culture dictates that if a Muslim person dies, he/she must be buried with all if his/her body parts. Consequently, this young lady was brought to the hospital with her blown-off leg tucked onto the stretcher upside down (with the foot at her groin). That image has haunted me for the last 6 years and creating this piece of art is one way of excising it from my brain. Don’t bother to look closely at the second pic; I’ve obliterated all traces of the original photo.

Marriela Durandegui

Marriela comes to us from Reno, NV. One of the things we love about her, besides her photography of course, is her attitude. Marriela is always smiling and her attitude is always great for us and out other students. Even though she knows a lot in photography already, she still continues to learn and is always open about new adventures and possibilities. Marriela has been on several safaris with us and has also gone through our 3 day “Learn to be a Pro” academy specializing in learning to photograph families and children. We are looking forward to our next adventure with her in Iceland and Italy and thrilled to see how far Marriela has come in her abilities in such a short time.

MPA: Why do you love photography?

MD: Photography continues to teach me to appreciate more of our World. Colors are more vivid now, details and textures are keener. People’s expressions are much more meaningful. It made me see the world at a whole different light, almost with a “new” set of eyes. The creative process is my fulfillment, from capturing that image to conveying the finality of the moment.

MPA: Your favorite thing about MPA?

MD: The people. David, Ally, Adam, Chris and the rest of their amazing staff. They are the reason the Safaris and classes are awesome! They are very knowledgeable and they make it FUN. And they always go the extra mile for their students!

MPA: Your favorite trip with MPA?

MD: Too many. But to name a couple….. Sedona, a memorable trip to see the red rocks under a major snow storm one day and completely under blue skies the next. The Big Sur Safari – a lot of great friendships were forged. And I am looking forward to ICELAND and ITALY this year!

MPA: Your aspirations as a photographer / artist?

MD: To continue to stay true to what I do and love, to never stop learning and to always challenge myself. To be in a position to mentor and teach photography someday.

MPA: Any info you want to share about yourself and work?

MD: I photograph a variety of genre from Landscapes to Sports, from Wildlife to Architecture. Some of my work is displayed on my website or

Praveen Parvataneni

Praveen comes to us Hyderbad, India and first attended a McKay Photographic Safari in May of 2013 to Yosemite. After having a less than memorable experience with another company, Praveen was very nervous.

“I had gone on another trip with another company and didn’t learn anything. I was so disappointed and was unsure I could even learn photography like I wanted to. Within the first hour, I had learned more than I had in a whole day elsewhere and was really excited. The one on one attention that was given to me was personal, fun and patient”, states Praveen.

We are so happy Praveen stuck with photography and with MPA! We have seen Praveen go from barely knowing what a shutter speed is, to producing images like you see here below with exceptional ability. All in less than a year’s time!

Now since Praveen has added learning Photoshop to his education through Adam Furtado, his images have been taken to the level you see below. Praveen, we are so proud of you here at MPA!


MPA: What is your favorite thing about MPA?


MPA: What has been your favorite Safari?

P: Moab, UT

MPA: Why do you love photography?

P: I love nature, animals, travel.

MPA: What does photography do for you personally?

P: It makes me happy when I see what I have created. It’s like Yoga for me. I forget all my stress, trouble’s and worries and am caught up in creating beauty.

MPA: Canon, Nikon or another Brand?

P: Canon

Karen Burns

We first met Karen on a four hour local Old Sacramento at Night Safari. After working with her just a short time, we realized she had a fantastic eye for composition. Later, Karen joined us on her first international Safari to Italy. It was here, that we realized we had a true artist on our hands. Karen has been working with “Photoshop” and “Corel Painter” for some time. At the time of the safaris, she did not have much of an understanding of the mechanics of the manual settings for her camera and was looking to improve her knowledge in order to give her a better foundation on her images for the art work she was producing.

Fast forward a year. Karen has traveled with us to Ireland, is signed up for Tanzania in 2015 and is being featured in galleries, she is leading her own style of “painting her photography”. Karen’s work is selling well and demand increasing, and she is continuing to grow as an artist. You can see more of Karen’s work, as well as learn more about her workshops at Painted Works by KB (site designed by Adam Furtado).


MPA: Why do you love photography?

KB: Photography is fairly new to me ~ I picked up a camera about 5 years ago, and found that I loved shooting and processing. I like the fact that you can capture a single moment in a week, in a day, or in an hour. There will never be a repeat moment like the one you captured, be in in nature, an event or with people.

MPA: Your favorite thing about MPA?

KB:If you have questions, they have answers. Even if you don’t know what you would wish to ask, MPA can always advise or help and push you a bit further ~ often further than you knew you could go. And they do it without bugging you (smile).

MPA: Your favorite trip with MPA?

KB: I have two favorites. Italy, where we toured the most amazing places ~ Venice, Florence and the Cinque Terre Coast. I truly loved the color, the people, the culture and the charming fishing villages ~ places I would not have found.

And I loved the trip to Alcatraz. The history, the textures, the lines of the cell blocks and the whole eerie feeling of the place. I would take both of those trips again because there will always be something new and different to see. Your eye will always pick up something previously unseen.

MPA: Your aspirations as a photographer / artist?

KB: I always hope to continue learning. I am naturally curious about photography as an art, always exploring how to best present an image ~ I am drawn to the painterly aspects that can transform a photograph into something beyond what the lens sees. I experiment a lot with paint on the printed canvas.

MPA: Any info you want to share about yourself and work?

KB: I am a mixed  media artist working on a daily basis. I incorporate technology to transform an image with what I hope is an artistic eye. I enjoy digital brushes to bring out a painterly feel in the work by pushing pixels. After processing, work is printed on canvas. Acrylic paints and mediums are added to the surface for more color and texture. I am always taking classes and workshops to learn more in this medium. Canvases are printed and gallery wrapped in my studio. Finished work is ready to hang. Some of the work is available at the ACCI Gallery in Berkley, Blue Line Art in Roseville and Bushnell’s Garden Shop in Granite Bay. Artworks are also available through the website and or directly through me.