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!

 

The next level starts here.

Visionary Wild is a photographic experiences provider, producing world-class workshops and expeditions for the passionate photographer. Founded in early 2011, Visionary Wild is the brainchild of Justin Black, a nature photographer who was the long-time General Manager, Curator, and workshops director at Galen Rowell’s Mountain Light Photography, and Barry Andrews, a passionate amateur photographer and entrepreneur with extensive expertise in brand and product development.

Together, they launched Visionary Wild to provide mentorship experiences that open new pathways to photographers who have done the seminars, taken the standard workshops, and who are looking for new opportunities to move their work to the next level of quality, depth, purpose and meaning. We operate worldwide with our base in Washington, DC, which connects us to the international community and with institutions at the center of photography, art, communications, journalism, natural history, and conservation. A worldwide network of expert resources and partnerships help to ensure the quality and authenticity of our programs.

 

Our Vision

Every passionate photographer follows a path that starts with curiosity. Advances come through experimentation, investigation, discovery, and reflection. One step leads to another, but mentorship helps guide and focus the process. I’m fortunate that some extraordinary mentors and peers have contributed immeasurably to my growth as a photographer, and I find the challenge of opening new pathways to others to be deeply gratifying. It’s inspiring to witness a photographer’s growth over time. – Justin Black

What does it mean to create world-class photographic experiences that empower passionate photographers to advance their work in meaningful ways? We begin with a philosophy of generous guidance and inspiration, as well as thoughtful service to the goals of our participant community.

Visionary Wild mentors are carefully chosen from among the very finest photographers working today for their skill and generosity as teachers, welcoming and gregarious personalities, and dedication to effectively sharing, with every participant, the benefits of their expertise, insights, and unique vision developed over decades of professional experience. We work in settings that are rich with photographic opportunity; conducive to experimentation, discovery, and growth; and encouraging to positive group dynamics and bonding. Our expertise in workshop and expedition logistics is applied to organizing itineraries, field locations, lodging, catering, and support amenities that best serve the program in question and deliver a superb experience overall.

We also aim to help our participants photograph with purpose by identifying and facilitating outlets for their work. Partnerships with galleries, publications, conservation organizations, and other institutions provide our participant community with ways to connect with an audience and make a difference through their photographs.

Finally, to build on the bonding that occurs during photo workshops and expeditions, we’re creating mechanisms to facilitate ongoing communication, growth, richness, and vitality for our community of friends and colleagues. We invite you to join us on the journey!

Values

• Generosity – Instructors are open, accessible, responsive, and eager to share their knowledge, vision, and expertise.

• Efficacy – Clear, concise, useful, practical instruction is designed to empower clients to take their photography to the next level.

• Responsiveness – Low instructor-to-student ratios ensure everyone gets the time and hands-on attention they could hope for.

• Feedback – Thoughtful, useful, and honest critique, advice, and direction advance the personal vision and goals of the client.

• Creativity – Visual exploration, experimentation, and personal discovery are at the heart of teaching how to see beyond the ordinary and obvious, develop personal style, communicate themes, and tell visual stories.

• Purpose – Move beyond photographic competence to artistic expression and communication with audiences and outcomes in mind.

• Satisfaction – Exceed expectations and deliver superlative experiences that reward our clients over the long term.

• Service – Provide informative marketing, responsiveness to client needs, and proactive support, all with thoughtful anticipation.

• Conservation and humanitarian ethics

• Honesty and integrity

• Risk mitigation – Minimize variables for the benefit and safety of all concerned.

• Fun – We take what we do very seriously, but our photographic experiences are fun! We always offer a warm welcome and an upbeat, collegial, and inspiring experience.

• Community building – We’re on a journey together, participants and mentors alike.

 

History

Visionary Wild co-founders Justin Black and Barry Andrews first met in 2007 at a workshop that Justin was leading with Jack Dykinga in Bishop, California. Barry, a brilliant product development expert and entrepreneur, was also a gifted photographer eager to move beyond the fundamentals of composing pretty pictures. Over the course of several workshops the two became friends. In early 2011, Justin discussed the concept for Visionary Wild with Barry, who was excited by the idea of providing world-class photographic learning experiences designed for the many passionate photographers who have become competent image makers but struggle to further develop their vision and technique, find a personal style, an expressive voice, purpose, and deeper meaning in their work.

Barry had given a great deal of thought over the years to what advanced photographers like himself were seeking in new learning experiences, and Justin drew upon his diverse expertise as a professional photographer, gallery curator, conservation communications professional, workshop organizer, and teacher to create new models to match the advanced objectives of more experienced photographers.

Barry, Justin, and Lena Black, Justin’s wife and Visionary Wild’s Director of Operations, established Visionary Wild in Washington, DC in spring of 2011. In consultation and collaboration with top-notch instructors, Visionary Wild has designed a full program of photographic experiences, paving the way for discovery, advancement, growth, purpose, and meaning in our clients’ photography.

All of us welcome you aboard for our adventure into the Visionary Wild!

Biographies

A bit about us…

Justin Black

One of my great joys is helping a photographer move beyond the fundamentals, building on an accumulated visual vocabulary that leads to something new – or at least renewed – as opposed to recycled, that they can truly call their own.

JUSTIN BLACK is a nature photographer, writer, and photo workshops organizer, and an affiliate member of the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP). Through both Visionary Wild and Galen Rowell's Mountain Light Photography (1999 – 2009) he has created inspiring and effective educational photographic experiences for thousands of passionate photographers. He is widely recognized as one of the world's leading photo workshops organizers.

A professional photographer since 1995, before founding Visionary Wild he served the ILCP as Executive Director, and for seven years was General Manager and Curator of Mountain Light Gallery.

Justin's photographs have been published by magazines such as National Geographic Adventure, Sierra, Sunset, American Photo, Outdoor Photographer, Rock & Ice, and Nature Conservancy.

Among conservation NGOs that have used his photographs in their campaigns, publications, and annual reports are The Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation Association, Land Trust Alliance, Earth Justice, The Wilderness Society, Conservation International, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, ILCP, and the Wild Foundation.

Justin has also served as an editor and contributor to numerous award-winning photo book projects, including Galen Rowell: A Retrospective; Freshwater: The Essence of Life; The Wealth of Nature: Ecosystem Services, Biodiversity, and Human Well-Being; Our National Parks: America's Natural Heritage; as well as Flying South: A Pilot's Inner Journey by Barbara Rowell. He is represented by the G2 Gallery in Venice, California.

An early career as a travel photographer and image licensing specialist led him to Mountain Light Photography, founded by world-renowned National Geographic photographer, author, and mountaineer Galen Rowell and his wife and business partner, Barbara, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Beginning in May of 1999, Justin managed marketing of the Rowell image collection, assisted Galen on assignments and in his workshop program, and taught seminars on nature photography. In April 2002, Galen and Barbara invited Justin to relocate with them as Mountain Light's General Manager at the present location in California's scenic Owens Valley. Justin agreed and eagerly embraced the sublime Eastern Sierra Nevada landscape as his new home.

Four months later, Galen and Barbara perished in the crash of a chartered plane, leaving behind a tremendous creative and visionary vacuum. Justin went to work, building on the impressive Rowell legacy to reinvigorate Mountain Light by establishing a seasonal series of guest photographer exhibitions, expanding the image collection, and relaunching the highly acclaimed photo workshop program through collaboration with Galen's leading professional peers, including Frans Lanting, Pat O'Hara, Jack Dykinga, John Shaw, and David Muench. In May 2008, Justin's successful efforts were recognized by both Sunset and American Photo magazines, as each magazine featured editorial recommendations of his workshop program at Mountain Light. As of May 2013 Mountain Light website continued to display positive workshop client testimonials contributed exclusively under Justin's watch.

After ten years with Mountain Light, Justin was recruited for the position of Executive Director of ILCP, a non-profit association of the best photographers worldwide working in the field of environmental conservation. At ILCP, Justin oversaw an explosion of productivity in expeditions, publishing, multimedia production, and the achievement of successful conservation outcomes. He contributed photographic coverage to ILCP's Rapid Assessment Visual Expeditions (RAVE) program, including Flathead (Canada, 2009), Yucatán (Mexico, 2009), and Chesapeake (USA, 2010), as well as a solo project documenting the Dragon Run watershed on Virginia's Middle Peninsula for The Nature Conservancy. One of Justin's photographs of the Flathead River appeared as a section opener in the Vancouver Sun newspaper – the first time the threats facing the watershed had any prominent coverage in that regionally important media outlet.  The photograph was later selected by the U.S. Senate for display in the Capitol Building.

Justin left his position at ILCP in late 2010 to establish Visionary Wild, building on his successful leadership of the Mountain Light workshop program and applying expertise gained at ILCP to provide superlative workshops and expeditions for passionate photographers seeking to advance to the next level of creativity, quality, purpose, and meaning in their work. His own work continues to evolve in new directions, driven by the ongoing search for extraordinary qualities in our world's dynamic landscapes.

Justin lives in Washington, DC, with his brilliant wife, Lena (Visionary Wild's Director of Operations), and their son Philippe.

Justin Black's limited editions portfolio

Justin's Outdoor Photographer Profile

Bringing focus and meaning to your photography

The Top 40 Nature Photos Project

 

Justin’s Camera Bag

After using an array of 35mm, medium format, and 4x5 film cameras for most of his career, Justin has switched fully to Nikon digital SLRs and Nikkor lenses. His current gear includes:

 

Camera Bodies:

2x Nikon D810

 

Lenses (all Nikkor)

18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 G AF-S ED

24-70mm f/2.8 G AF-S ED

70-200mm f/4.0 G AF-S ED VR

200-400mm f/4.0 G AF-S ED VR

24mm f/3.5 PC-E tilt-shift

35mm f/2.8 PC shift

45mm f/2.8 PC-E tilt-shift

85mm f/2.8 PC-E tilt-shift

85mm f/1.8 AF-D

105mm f/1.8 AI-S

200mm f/4 AF-D Micro-Nikkor

500mm f/4 AF-S VR

TC-14EII teleconverter

TC-20EIII teleconverter

 

Flash

Nikon SB-900

Nikon SB-700

Assorted Nikon TTL flash cables

Lumiquest soft boxes

Rogue Flashbender

Rosco gels

 

Filters

Nikon Circular Polarizer II

Singh-Ray Vari-ND

Tiffen WW IRND neutral density filters

 

Tripods

Really Right Stuff TVC-24L with leveling base and Really Right Stuff BH-55 ballhead

Gitzo 1028 with RRS BH-25 ballhead

 

Photo Packs

MindShift Rotation 180 Pro

Mindshift Rotation 180 Panorama

Think Tank Photo (TTP) Streetwalker Harddrive

TTP Streetwalker Pro

TTP Airport Addicted V2.0

TTP Airport Acceleration

TTP Airport Antidote V2.0

TTP Urban Disguise 50 V2.0

TTP Speed Racer V2.0