Affordable Private Photo Tours

Private Tours Customized To Meet Your Needs
and Group Workshops

Want to capture photos you'll be proud to show off? Want to get the most out of your visit to San Diego? My Private Photo Tours and Workshops are for you.

Why my tours trump the others:

  1. I've lived in San Diego over 40 years and photograph here almost daily. I know every photographic nook and cranny.
  2. You get to use my extensive Canon photo equipment collection. If you shoot Nikon, I have a few choice pieces of equipmet for you, too.
  3. I hold nothing back: I'll teach you everything I know.

San Diego Instructional Nature Photo Tours by Steve Cirone

It's fun to use Steve's 800mm lens rig. Steve carries it for you.
He will explain the settings and why they work.

It doesn't matter if you're old or young, a beginner or a seasoned pro, a Canon or Nikon shooter: I will help you capture exciting images at the hottest photo spots in the San Diego area.

Each day's schedule is completely flexible. I tailor the time, locations and physical activity to meet your needs.

I'll show you how to get the most out of the photo gear you already own. Plus, I'll demonstrate my extensive equipment collection. You can even rent my equipment for your own use during the tour.

Read on to learn more or, click here to register.


I've been a commercial photographer most of my life. I've photographed weddings, concerts and conventions and operated a portrait studio.

I’ve served as president of the Sierra Club Photo Section. I've lectured at the Museum of Photographic Arts and Duke University. Since 1998, I've served as a judge for international photography exhibitions, galleries and photo competitions.


The San Diego Safari Park and Zoo offer unique opportunities to create spectacular photographs. Since I know both so well, I'm able to lead you straight to the best spots. And, with my special pass, I get up to two folks in free.



If you're a nature photographer, I will guide you to spectacular locations such as the lakes, rivers, beaches, and lagoons of San Diego. October through the end of March is the best time.

Steve Cirone teaching a tour participant to photograph birds

Other iconic San Diego locations such as the Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego Mission and others also offer excellent photographic opportunities.


I specialize in teaching you:

Tour Leaders


All tours are personally led by Steve and Elena and include pre-tour instruction and post-tour email consultation.

My spouse, Elena, is an accomplished nature photographer and the eyes of the operation. She has an uncanny ability to locate wildlife and predict behavior. While we're photographing our current subject, she's off locating our next.

San Diego Photo Ops

Due to its diverse habitat including ocean, rivers, lakes, mountains and deserts, San Diego county has the widest diversity of avian species in the world.

Typical lake species include Wood Ducks, Snowy and Great Egrets, Little Green and Great Blue Herons, hawks, American Widgeons, Ring-Neck Ducks and Ospreys.

Macro photography opportunities include dragonflies, spiders, caterpillars, butterflies, moths, grasshoppers, beetles, bees, wasps and other insects, especially in warm weather months.

Coastal species include Marbled Godwits, Long-Billed Curlews, Willets, Terns, Long-Billed Dowitchers, Sandpipers, Black-Bellied Plovers, and Whimbrels, just to name the regulars.

I’ll show you specific techniques for each subject depending on the light and what we discover. I photograph in San Diego almost daily, so I know what works.

Equipment for Nikon and Canon Photographers

I own a lot of professional camera gear and I'll show you how to use it. You can even rent it for the day to use on the tour.

If you're shooting Nikon, you can use my Nikon 300mm f/4 lens - it's great for birds in flight and general macro. To complement this rig, I also have a Nikon SB-900 flash, Better Beamer flash extender and Nikon flash battery booster.

For Nikon micro work, you can use my Nikon-mount Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Micro lens and, the key ingredient for micro photography: the special Ring Light that mounts on the tip of the lens.

For Canon shooters, I own just about everything a nature photographer can dream of. Everybody gets to try my Canon Mark IV body and monster Canon 800mm f/5.6 rig. I carry it and set it up. You'll need a separate CF or SD card for this rig - preferrably about 8GB. Visit my equipment page to see it all.

Our tours make great gifts! We'll send you a customized gift certificate including your name and the name of the recipient. Tour dates can be scheduled later.

To register with a credit card, use the PayPal buttons below. Additional days can be added in the PayPal Shopping Cart window. In the event of an emergency, you can reschedule your tour any available time during the next 12 months.

For date availability, email your preferences to or call my cell at 858-761-1020.


Private 4-HOUR Photo Workshop / Tour

For a longer tour, order multiple 4-hour increments
$245 per Photographer

Additional Non-photographing Companion

Your spouse or friend can come along for
$50 per 4-Hour Tour

Optional Luxury Tour Transportation

If you prefer not to follow in your own vehicle,
I'll drive you to the photo spots in my Lexus SUV.
Does not include non-tour transportation such as airport shuttle.
$65 per day (2 people maximum)


Group 4-HOUR Photo Workshop / Tour

2-person minimum
You put the group together
$155 per Photographer


(See my Equipment page for more info about this gear.)

Bird Equipment Package

Includes everything you need to photograph birds in flight
for Canon or Nikon shooters:
  • Canon Mark 1V Camera
  • Canon 800mm f/5.6 lens
  • Canon 400mm f/5.6 lens
      or Nikon 300mm f/4 lens
  • Gitzo 3542XLS Carbon Fiber Tripod
  • Mongoose Gimbal Head

$150 per day


Canon Micro Equipment Package

  • Canon Mark IV Camera
  • Canon MT-24EX Macro Twin Lite Flash
  • Canon MR-14EX Macro Ringlite Flash
  • Canon 100mm f/2.8 IS Macro lens
  • Canon 180mm f/2.8 Macro lens
  • Battery Booster with Batteries
  • Gitzo GM3551 Carbon Fiber Monopod

$120 per day


Nikon Micro Equipment Package

  • Sigma 105mm Macro Lens
  • Nikon R1C1 Close-UP Speedlight System
  • Gitzo GM3551 Carbon Fiber Monopod
  • (Use your own Nikon camera)

$100 per day


Contact me for special rates for groups, presentations,
locations outside San Diego County, etc.