- Q&A with Trip Leader Regina Yopak
- Q&A with Trip Leader Gaston Lacombe
- Q&A with Trip Leader Ross Weinberg
- Q&A with Trip Leader Nathalie Chardon
- Q&A with Trip Leader Chris Johns
- Q&A with Trip Leader Steve Byrne
- An Interview with William Lu
- An Interview with Jamie Alfieri
- An Interview with Simone Levine
- An Interview with Tasha Van Zandt
- Q&A with Trip Leader Ricky Qi
- Q&A with Trip Leader Claire Bangser
- Q&A with Trip Leader Nicole Büttner
Q&A with Trip Leader Ross Weinberg
Documentary filmmaker and photographer Ross Weinberg has developed scripted television shows sold to FX and E! and produced a feature film starring Jessica Biel and Chris Evans. His photography and film work has taken him to the gold mines of Guyana, fashion week in New York City, and the receding glaciers of Antarctica. Ross has traveled to all seven continents and has “swum” in all five oceans—though “plunged” might be the better term.
What has been your proudest achievement so far in your career?
It would have to be the documentary about energy that I have worked on for over five years that is nearing completion. When my friend and I conceived of the concept for the film, the crew was just a few people featuring “Brain Games” host Jason Silva. Slowly it grew into a largescale production that was a rollercoaster ride through the journey of documentary filmmaking. We finally released a teaser premiere at the COP22 Climate Change Conference in Marrakech a few months ago.
You’ll be leading our Switzerland & France Expedition this summer. What is your connection to this part of the world?
My first visit to the Alps was with my family when I was 14. We got lost during a storm, but some nice French climbers found us and escorted us to a chalet on the mountaintop where we overnighted. I currently live near the foothills of the Alps in Vienna, just a short distance from where we will explore. I love the wildlife and cultural history of these rugged and majestic mountains that have tested humans and countries alike.
What part of the Alps trip are you most excited for students to experience this summer?
I last visited Zermatt when I was around the age of most of the students. The sense of adventure this mecca of mountaineering instilled in me lives on to this day. I can’t wait to see its impact.
Any pieces of advice for aspiring filmmakers?
Oh man, where to begin… if you love filmmaking, then you are already half way there. Filmmaking is a way of life, and most filmmakers I know breathe the craft. On my days “off,” I’m watching filmmakers I admire, visiting camera stores, editing new concepts, and practicing with my drone. The other half is equal parts practice, pursuit, and finding your story. And a little luck doesn’t hurt.
What do you think is the best part of a National Geographic Student Expeditions trip?
The human connection. We are going to learn so much about ourselves through the unforgettable interactions we will have with the culture and our new friends. Opening up to new people and ideas greatly expands your art.
Where is the first place you traveled that left a lasting impression on you?
Argentina. I lived there for a year when I was in high school. I’ll never forget how open my classmates were to me and each other. They invited everyone to their birthday parties, even if they didn’t get along or weren’t part of the same friend circle. Being social and inclusive was part of the culture.
What are your hobbies, aside from traveling and sharing your insights with National Geographic Student Expeditions travelers?
I guess my main hobby would be coming up with the next idea for a documentary or photo story. Even if I’m sailing, I’ll make sure I’m sailing somewhere that I think has a great story, and I’ll shoot like there is no tomorrow. And if I’m scuba diving or climbing a mountain, I bring my camera. Other than that, perhaps yoga and meditation are my hobbies. But then again, I tried to make a movie about meditation…
What is the next destination on your travel wish list?
Austria. I live there but surprisingly I have explored very little of the country. Also Tanzania, Bhutan, Tonga, Tibet, Cambodia, China, and like 1,000 other places.
What item won’t you leave home without when traveling?
Other then all my camera gear… Eye mask. Ear plugs. Grey hoodie. Noise canceling head phones. Large bag of Almonds. Vit-C and a warm pair of socks.
One fun fact about yourself?
Dolphins are my favorite animal. When I lived in a Tibetan temple in Los Angeles for a few months, my Lama buddy told me that in my past life I was a dolphin. That pretty much explains everything.