[OUR STORY] We at Open Sky come from lives on the move… traversing cultures, beholding landscapes, noticing and marveling, taking in the earth. Our founder, Alex (a.k.a Ale, a.k.a. Alejandro), spent his most formative years in Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and Chile—with long plane rides to visit far-away family a regular feature of his youth. Temu's dad was an international airline pilot, regularly jetting between Michigan and far-off Asia, bringing back fresh tales & exposure to difference, and, often taking him along too. All of us here have some element of journey in our roots.
For us, exposure to the planet—rather than being taken for granted—fueled a burning fire within us to further explore its vast, infinitely diverse corners. If able, how could we not spend our time on the earth discovering all the incredible it has to offer? And furthermore, what more authentic expression could there be than to share this with others... to invite our fellow humans to feel & experience what so moved us in all that we had been privileged to encounter?
Open Sky was born in 2010, on a flight back from a scouting trip to Equatorial Guinea that Alex had been sent on by the education travel company he was working for at the time. 8 years after an exciting first assignment with that company veered him off an intended path into the foreign service. 12 years after toting around his first Canon SLR solo to 18 countries on a gap year before college. Looking out the plane window, in awe of the earth—feeling the boundlessness and possibility of the open sky—it was time to take a leap, to use all that rare experience crafting journeys for others in a more personally meaningful, authentic way.
Our first trip was in late 2011 to Chile. In 2012 Alex moved to Morocco with an intention to deeply immerse in a country he had long found compelling, and later that year we ran our first photo tour there. Temu, whom Alex had nudged into educational travel several years earlier, eventually joined forces. And the rest... well, the countless adventures & friends & trials since... is history.
This is a passion-filled affair, my friends. We have personally been powerfully impacted by all of the destinations we offer. It is sincere our aim to offer them to you in the most artful, logistically-sound way possible. Towards that end we have not rushed the process. It has been a slow & deliberate considering of all the puzzle pieces in the places we know—all the colors available to paint with on the palette—that truly has enabled us to work our magic on these travel canvases. In this we take pride, and we are honored when you accept our invite.
[OUR VISION] We are not just a travel company; we are curators of extraordinary journeys to the places we have found most compelling on this earth. Our mission is to create powerful travel experiences that awaken your sense of wonder, foster a profound sense of interconnectedness with the world, and ignite a vibrant spark of life within you.
And from there it is, we hope, that you will create art. Our photography journeys follow from this. As photographers it is our medium of expression. It is how we share what moved us in what we encountered. What we noticed. What stood out, with fresh eyes. What may be unseen by the rest. What beauty there is.
But we don't have just lofty dreams or great imaginations. We back up our vision with extensive experience in high-end educational travel, and an intimate knowledge of what details one must carefully consider in designing & bringing to life journeys in far-off destinations.
[EXPERTS IN TRAVEL] With a cumulative experience of leading travelers through over 60 countries, we are a team of passionate storytellers and experience designers. Our diverse backgrounds in the travel industry, including high-end education travel, tourism, photojournalism, and outdoor adventure, have given us a unique blend of intellectual and artistic perspectives that enrich our clients' experiences. We've collaborated with 25+ renowned partners including National Geographic, Travel and Leisure, Smithsonian Journeys, and Lindblad Expeditions, ensuring that our journeys are designed to the highest standard. Together, we are committed to crafting experiences that bring you into contact with what is rare, magical & fascinating about a place.
ALEX ROS | Founder, Trip Leader
While he'll prefer telling you that he's a lifelong seeker, explorer and "architect of awe"... Alex is also a Harvard graduate fluent in six languages. After a decade of experience in high-end travel and educational programs, Alex created Open Sky to blend his passion for visual art with awe-inspiring global encounters. He's led hundreds of travelers on scores of international adventures. Alex splits his time between Puerto Rico and Jersey City, but he feels truly at home in the skies, gazing at our planet from an airplane window.
TEMU NANA | Senior Trip Leader
Temu Nana, our senior trip leader and professional photographer, hails from Michigan with roots in North America and Asia. He excels in tour logistics and photography. While traveling the planet for two decades, he's honed in on a talented specialization of astrophotography and wildlife photography. Temu is a sought-after presenter on astrophotography, sharing his knowledge through camera clubs, schools, and online mentorship classes.
DAVID H. WELLS | Trip Photo Instructor
David Wells is a photographer and film-maker who divides his time between Rhode Island and India. He has worked on assignment for such magazines as Fortune, Life, National Geographic, and Time, among others. One editor described him as a “…specialist in intercultural communication and visual narratives that excel in their creative mastery of light, shadow and sound, stills and video.” He teaches workshops around the globe in Italy and Morocco as well as at the Maine Media Workshops and at the International Center for Photography in New York City.
MICHAEL DOWNEY | Trip Photo Instructor
Michael is a photography instructor based in the New York City area. His passions include photography, travel, and teaching...all three of which he shares enthusiastically! As the Head Instructor at Unique Photo, he teaches several curriculums, and regularly leads photo excursions throughout the northeast U.S. as well as to international destinations in Europe, Africa, and beyond. He has a patient and encouraging teaching style that fosters self-expression through photography. To quote Michael directly: “All students experience a sense of ruthless compassion!” & "Sometimes I photograph to learn, other times I photograph to teach, I always photograph to appreciate.”
PATRICK CAMPBELL | Expedition Associate
Patrick lives by the mantra of seeking growth through new experiences. With a Bachelor's degree in Geography and a Master's in Sustainability, Patrick collaborates with climate scientists, curating photo stories for National Geographic and National Science Foundation grants. In addition to environmental projects, he documents outdoor adventures, including a 2,886-mile bike ride across the US and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Based in Austin, Texas, he's excited to share his passion for exploration and art with the Open Sky Expedition team.
Partnerships & Press
Partners we have developed photo journeys for and with:
Delaware Photographic Society
International Photo Center
Mollie Isaacs, Awake The Light Photo Workshops & Tours
David H. Wells
Mountain Travel Sobek
Los Angeles Center for Photography
Westchester Photographic Society
CPE Photo Workshops
Organizations Alex & Temu have personally led & developed trips for
Stanford Alumni Association
Harvard Alumni Association
Association of Yale Alumni
Assoc. for Research & Enlightenment
National Trust for Historic Preservation
Archeological Institute of America
American Geographical Society
Columbia University Alumni Association
Industry Partners, Accreditations,
IATAN (yearly accreditation)
New York Times Travel Expert
AEO500 Member of the Week
Travel Insured International
Trips Away Travel
Departures Magazine (twice)
Travel & Leisure
Conde Nast (Alex, pre-OSE)
Madhouse at the End of the Earth (Bestseller we helped author research)