Jim Cline


Jim Cline, (founder and trip leader), is an award-winning cultural documentary and travel photographer based in San Diego, California.  Jim is known for his willingness to shoot all around the edges of light, creating images with tremendous impact that capture the essence of a place or culture. He always strives to transcend ordinary travel pictures, and to convey a strong sense of place, and the spirit of the people in his photographs.

Jim’s wanderlust and search for compelling images has brought him to many less-traveled areas around the world. He takes particular interest in the indigenous peoples and traditional and tribal cultures of developing nations, and in documenting these disappearing cultures. Through his images he strives to portray the dignity and timeless beauty of these people living in harmony with nature.

As well as winning numerous awards, Jim’s work has been displayed in the San Diego Natural History Museum and the Museum of Photographic Arts, and in many galleries, both in the U.S. and abroad. He gives frequent slide presentation lectures of his travels throughout the world. Jim and his photographs have been featured in several books. His images have also been published in numerous magazines, newspapers, annual reports, tourist brochures, calendars, websites, and CD covers. Jim founded Jim Cline Photo Tours in 2002 and he currently leads small-group photo tours to various locations around Latin America.  When not busy running his Photo tours business and leading trips to the best photographic locations in Latin America, Jim works on assignment as a photographer for humanitarian organizations. 

Jim's Business - Jim Cline Photo Tours

For 15 years, Jim Cline Photo Tours has run specialized, small group photography tours. Our photographic journeys are designed to get participants into unique, engaging locations at the optimum times for photography. We have assisted more than 1,000 photographers, from beginners to seasoned professionals, to create fantastic, (often award-winning), images. We travel more slowly than typical tours, providing our tour guests the opportunity to understand the culture and customs of a particular location, and to connect with the local people. Our carefully crafted itineraries are designed to ensure culturally sensitive encounters, resulting in memorable interactions wherever we travel.

We believe that Jim Cline Photo Tours stands above the crowd for several reasons. During the development of each tour, particular attention is paid to the specific needs of photographers. In many of the places we visit, our trip leaders have established personal relationships with the families, the market vendors, boat captains, school principals, and other individuals. This allows for special access for our group members, something that would be nearly impossible when traveling on your own for the first time, or with other, larger tours. At Jim Cline Photo Tours we always limit our group sizes to either 9 or 10 participants. By virtue of this small group size, we can guarantee our guests a more rewarding and fulfilling experience. Additionally, with such small groups, our trip leaders are able to give personal attention to each tour guest and we can be more flexible with each day’s plan, adjusting to conditions and events that present themselves. The small group sizes also means that we spend less time organizing everyone for activities, and when we arrive on location, the photographic interaction between our tour guests and the local people is more easily facilitated.

We’ve put our hearts into these tours, and it shows. We truly care about the experience that each and every one of our clients have on our trips. One of our biggest sources of pride is the literally hundreds of personal, heartfelt testimonials that we receive each the year. We could go on and on telling you how much people enjoy and appreciate our trips or that more than 60% of our guests return to take more tours with us, but perhaps our clients are our best advocates, so have a look at the testimonials section specific to each trip.

More info: www.jimclinephototours.com

Upcoming Events


India Festivals: Holi, Holla Mohalla & Kavant   

February 23 – March 8, 2018

Here’s your chance to witness three of India’s most photogenic festivals, all in the space of a 14 day trip! First we’ll witness Holi Celebration, India’s “Festival of Colors”, an occasion to celebrate the coming of the spring. We will concentrate on photographing Widow’s Holi at Vrindavan, a more sedate and reverent celebration, where flowers are thrown rather than water and color. Next we travel to Punjab to see the Hola Mohalla festival where Sikhs practice their military exercises, hold mock battles and partake in martial arts parades, where Nihang warriors & Nihang Horsemen on beautifully decorated horses display their skills. To round out our three festival tour, we travel to the Kavant Fair, a gathering of Gujarat’s Rathva community, to recreate the joy of existence and life. We will photograph the exuberance of Rathva men and women dressed in their distinctive finery, who congregate to sing, dance, discuss marriages and liaisons and barter goods and services.

For those of you wanting to explore even more, join us on an adventure as we travel over-land to Udaipur, home of the Majarajas where we will photograph the city palace and environs. We’ll be staying at the beautiful Trident Hotel. Spread out over 40 acres and surrounded by wooded lawns and containing 150 year old wild life conservatory, this elegant hotel overlooking Lake Pichola is the perfect spot to wind down your visit to India.

More Info: http://www.jimclinephototours.com/tour/india-festivals-holi-holla-mohalla-kavant/



Cuba: Havana, Vinales & Trinidad  

March 11-20, 2018

On this trip we will experience some of the very best photo destinations that Cuba has to offer. John has a great deal of experience leading photo groups to Cuba – this will be the sixth group he has led. We will start in Havana, with its world-class street shooting and so much more. We will organize photo shoots, such as the most important boxing gym in Cuba, Afro Cubano dancers in an old colonial building, and ballet dancers from the Cuban National Ballet posing in an old mansion. We will be assisted local Cuban photographers, and everywhere we go we will meet and photograph the friendly people of Havana.

Next we will explore the tobacco-growing region of Vinales – with its stunning limestone cliffs, or Mogotes. Vinales would be an important photo destination just for the scenery alone, but it is the traditional farmers that make it so great. We are friends with many of the farmers in the area, and they will invite us into their homes, affording photo opportunities that the typical group will never have. Also we’ll be working with a local photographer who was born and raised there.

Finally we will journey to the colonial city of Trinidad. Many consider this Unesco World Heritage site the most beautiful city in Cuba. With the backdrop of the perfectly preserved colonial buildings, we’ll photograph cowboys riding horses and pulling horse-carts through the cobblestone streets, along with the classic American cars. We’ll meet a local photographer there and visit a cowboy ranch outside of town, where we’ll be served an authentic country-style lunch. Trinidad also hosts a thriving local live music scene, and we will have the opportunity to photograph local musicians there.

More Info: http://www.jimclinephototours.com/tour/barclay-cuba-havana-vinales-trinidad/



India: Ladakh, Heartland of the India Himalaya

 July 17-29, 2018

A fertile, verdant region enclosed by snow-capped mountains, Kashmir valley’s beauty has been praised for centuries: the capital Srinagar with its labyrinth of alleyways, mosques and intricately-carved wooden houses; the stunning maze of waterways that comprise Dal Lake and its famous houseboats.

Ladakh has often been called Little Tibet because of its historical connection with Lhasa and its predominantly Tibetan Buddhist culture. Its awe-inspiring landscape has been modified and sculpted into its spectacular shape by wind and water over the millennia. The moon-like scenery is extraordinary: stark and barren but interspersed with isolated settlements of green oases full of swaying poplar trees, apricot orchards and cultivated farmland.

Despite the rugged terrain and high altitude, the people of Ladakh exhibit a natural exhilaration and their customs and lifestyle are a continuum from the past; these friendly and gentle people.  We hope you will join us on this photo tour that shall prove to be fascinating and memorable!

More Info: http://www.jimclinephototours.com/tour/india-ladakh-leh-himalaya-photo-tour-2/



Papua New Guinea: Mt. Hagen Sing-Sing 

August 10 – 24, 2018

Papua New Guinea is a land on edge, and in many areas still a land forgotten in time. Ancient rituals, such as strict tribal practices, even cannibalism, still reside in remote areas. This, along with the untouched beauty of their land and natural wildlife, present an unmatched opportunity to experience and photograph these rich cultural practices that will soon become history.

With more than 1,000 different tribes and languages that historically have warred among themselves over hundreds of years, this adventure concentrates on the Sing Sing festivals that were originated in the mid-1900’s, to peacefully allow each tribe to share their music, culture and traditions. Today, these Sing Sing festivals provide a rich tapestry of cultures that provide for a truly incredible photographic experience. We will have the honored opportunity to experience up-front and close, more than 70 tribes as they prepare and perform for you during the Mt. Hagen Sing Sing. In addition, we will have an entire day in Paiya Village experiencing the Paiya mini-show, (invitation only). We’ll have the opportunity to be truly personal with many tribes as they prepare and perform up-close dances and demonstrate their way of life.

We also will journey through the Sepik River region to experience the dynamic environment of Papua New Guinea and additional cultural festivals. The tribes of the Sepik River provide stark differences in tribal life from those in the mountain region of Mt. Hagen. We will cruise down the Sepik in native canoes to spend a couple of days living among the tribes that still today practice their beliefs and tend to their lives as they have done for many years. It should be noted that the days spent on the Sepik will be truly primitive, such as staying in the local huts and living among the tribes. Whereas we will share huts and be challenged by the lack of facilities (water, electricity, etc.), these days will offer an adventure that will never be forgotten.

During our journey, we will also have time to stop and explore the diverse bird life of Papua New Guinea that is as unique as the cultures, and view the splendid, rugged landscape that is still difficult to navigate. Considered one of the top bird-watching destinations globally, these birds, and other wildlife, cannot be found any other place in the world, such as the famous Bird of Paradise.

Our trip will conclude at the incredible Tawali Resort on Milne Bay. Located in a secluded area of Milne Bay amongst local fishing villages and accessible only by boat, Tawali offers travelers a unique location to dive, relax and enjoy the unspoiled wonders of this magnificent part of the world. We’ll visit local fishing village and participants will have one on one time with Karl for image review. Built on a limestone bluff eighty feet above the water, Tawali offers guests a private retreat in which to enjoy the wonders of PNG.

Go back in time. Experience cultural diversity, wildlife and beauty available no other place in the world. The Mt. Hagen Sing Sing is considered one of the world’s top cultural events that you will never forget. Join us as we take on one of the truly finest adventures on Earth.

More Info: http://www.jimclinephototours.com/tour/papua-new-guinea-photo-tour-workshop/



Baja Gray Whales 

Feb 2019

Venture with us to the winter breeding grounds of the California Gray Whale. Every winter thousands of California gray whales migrate 6,000 miles from the cold waters off Alaska to the warm waters of Baja California. Located near the town of Guerrero Negro, the Ojo de Liebre Lagoon (also known as Scammon’s Lagoon) is the destination of the largest number of these magnificent mammals, approximately 1,500 – including newborn calves – every year. Come with experienced Baja photographer/guide Jim Cline on a trip to photograph these gentle giants at close range in their natural habitat.

Gray whales have gathered in Ojo de Liebre for centuries to, calve, and relax before heading north to their Arctic feeding grounds. To view the whales as they blow, sound, mate, and calve in their natural habitat is an awe- inspiring experience that will never be forgotten. It’s quite common for mother whales to bring their babies right up to the boat for a closer look!

This unique tour ventures beyond Mexico’s scenic waters…we’ll also spend two nights in the heart of Baja’s most spectacular desert scenery in the Catavina Boulderfields. The boulderfields are home to the majestic Cardon cactus, the world’s tallest cactus, as well as a wide variety of photogenic desert flora and massive granite boulders. We’ll also visit the charming palm oasis town of San Ignacio. With it’s lingering colonial atmosphere and friendly inhabitants, San Ignacio is home to one of the most beautiful missions in Baja.

More Info: http://www.jimclinephototours.com/tour/baja-gray-whales-photo-tour/

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