Visionary Wild, LLC • 2200 19th St. NW, Ste 806, Washington, DC 20009

E-mail: info@visionarywild.com    •    Tel: 1-202-558-9596 (9am to 6pm, EST).    •    Justin Black’s iPhone: 1-202-302-9030

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Featured Instructor

Lou Coetzer

Understanding animal behaviour enabled me to predict with reasonable accuracy "what’s going to happen next," which I discovered was a wonderful asset when photography became part of my life 40 or so odd years ago.

Lou Coetzer is an award-winning professional wildlife and sports photographer and safari leader from Johannesburg, South Africa. His photographic adventure began four decades ago as a student at the then Helpmekaar Boys High School in Johannesburg. These early years in the black and white darkroom and his involvement in sports and sport photography remain major influences in his wildlife photography today.

Before becoming a full-time sports photographer, Lou was involved with The Photographic Society of South Africa for many years. As a member of PSSA, Lou won numerous National and International awards in various fields such as Wildlife, Sports, Landscape and Portraiture. In the years following his entry into the sports photography field, Lou received numerous awards in the prestigious Allied Bank South African Sport Photographer of the Year competition

These were the days of Apartheid when South Africa was still in relative economic isolation, and a sustainable career as a sports photographer was major challenge. "If Madiba and F.W. De Klerk had gotten together one year earlier I would probably today still be a sport photographer!" says Lou. He moved to other photographic interests in the early 90's, achieving international recognition for his portrait work along the way, but it was in his love of wildlife that he found his ultimate calling.

Lou’s years of experience as a sports photographer and portraitist are revealed in his constant search for exquisitely lit wildlife subjects in high-action against clean backgrounds. "I'll be honest: only when the action is not happening will I start looking for the graphic image."

In 2010, Lou was honored by Nature’s Best magazine for his outstanding photography, and he has been recognized repeatedly for his skill at capturing animal behavior. His photographs have been published and exhibited internationally, including in the USA at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. Lou was also the chief photographic moderator for The African Photographic Awards 2010.

"I’ve been going into the African bush to experience the animals in the wild from a very young age, and I learned early on to pay close attention and learn from wildlife behaviour. This understanding helped me to predict with reasonable accuracy "what’s going to happen next," which I discovered was a wonderful asset when photography became part of my life 40 or so odd years ago.

I have an insatiable appetite for detail, and out of that grew my love for nature’s intimate stories. As I write this, I’m at Etosha National Park in Namibia, and over the last few days I’ve had the privilege to photograph lions unsuccessfully hunting Giraffe, Kudu, Cape Turtle Dove and even little Red Billed Queleas! I can truthfully say, though, that the highlight of the week was the way the Helmeted Guinea Fowl out foxed the Tawny Eagles this morning just to have the favour returned by a Male African Shelduck this afternoon. Africa's magic is often revealed by the unexpected and not necessarily by the so-called “Big Five,” or can we rather say the “Big Seven” and include the Hippo and Nile Crocodile.

Whether on my own or with a safari group, I am adamant about choosing destinations and scenarios in nature that make for successful photography. It’s easy to get addicted to the clean blue water and sky backgrounds of the Chobe River in northern Botswana, but I also have a deeply ingrained respect and affection for Africa's animals that must struggle to survive in its desert and arid areas like Etosha.

My wife Veronica and I have been pursuing nature photography seriously for many years, and we started leading photo safaris in 2004 on a limited scale, but it was only after launching our first photographic boat on the Chobe River in 2009 that we became real “Safari Rats.” Since then, we’ve led close to fifty specialized wildlife photographic safaris to African destinations, and even two to Alaska!

–Lou Coetzer

Welcome to Visionary Wild

We invite you to have a look around and learn about our vision and upcoming programs. Visionary Wild specializes in inspiring, effective, and generous instruction by leading professionals, low student-to-instructor ratios, accompanied by excellent support and amenities. We pride ourselves on being exceptional hosts, and our programs are usually packaged inclusive of single-occupancy lodging (double-occupancy available at prorated fees) and fine dining or high-quality catering of all meals.

Upcoming experiences in 2014 and 2015 include: a western Greenland expedition based on a three-masted schooner; a ten-day workshop at Patagonia’s Torres del Paine National Park; African safaris in Tanzania and Botswana; the stunning South Island of New Zealand; Iceland; Zion National Park; jaguars of the Brazilian Pantanal; polar bears in the Canadian Arctic;  the colorful cultures of Papua New Guinea; Cuban culture and nature reserves; and more. Our popular Vision Workshops with Jack Dykinga and John Shaw will be held at White Sands National Monument, New Mexico, Catalina State Park, Arizona, and among the canyons of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument at Boulder, Utah. We’ll also lead workshops to photograph Zion National Park with Charlie Cramer, the redwoods and rhododendrons of the northern California coast with Jeff Foott and Jerry Dodrill, and more. We hope you will join us!