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

E-mail: info@visionarywild.com    •    Tel: 1-202-558-9596 (9am to 5pm, EST).

Justin Black – Managing Director: 1-202-302-9030 • Email: justin@visionarywild.com

Sara Robb – Operations Assistant: sara@visionarywild.com

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Workshops by Focus: Adventure

Expedition August 28 - September 6, 2018
50 spaces | $* Register

 

Join us for this all-inclusive, exclusive-charter expedition to the crown jewel of the High Arctic

Designed for photographers by photographers, this expedition to the Svalbard archipelago will be led by a dream team: Michael Melford, Roy Toft, Daisy Gilardini, Eddie Soloway, Justin Black, and Chris Linder. We will take you to the places we love to make the most of the great spectacle of Arctic light, landscape, wildlife, and ice. Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • A uniquely optimized small-group photographer’s experience aboard the ideal private-charter expedition vessel
  • World-class photo instructor team, and an excellent participant-to-instructor ratio that is almost unheard of on a ship-based expedition
  • The natural beauty of Svalbard itself, a superb destination for both landscape and wildlife photography, timed to coincide with seemingly endless sunsets, first snows of autumn on the mountains, and excellent wildlife opportunities.
  • All-inclusive from airport pickup in Oslo, Norway, featuring a high standard of accommodations and dining, and including R/T flights from Oslo to Svalbard, and all ground transfers.

Our expedition’s private charter vessel, M/V Plancius, optimizes the photographic potential and overall quality of experience on this trip. She is a very comfortable and capable 296-foot ice-rated expedition ship with accommodation in comfortable en suite cabins and staterooms. We have deliberately limited her passenger capacity for this voyage to only fifty guests (though the ship sleeps up to 116 normally). We have chosen to do this voyage on this ship because she offers the capabilities, amenities, comfort, dining, and photographic support that will enable us to deliver a uniquely enjoyable and creatively productive experience, both aboard and on shore. If you wish to travel with a world-class team of photographic instructors to the best locations, and you appreciate the advantages of an adventure designed specifically to optimize both the photography and overall experience, this is an exceptional opportunity.

Our expedition begins in Oslo, Norway, with an introductory reception dinner at one of the capital’s finest restaurants. After a restful night at The Thief – a modern Scandinavian boutique hotel that is one of Oslo’s very best – we fly as a group to the small harbor of Longyearbyen on the island of Spitsbergen, where our ship awaits us. We set sail that afternoon through the sheltered waters of Adventfjord on our way to the west coast where we will work our way northward with views of the stunning mountain landscape.

The wild landscape of Svalbard and the pack ice are characterized by a mesmerizing serenity… I felt like I was floating through a dream. –Justin Black

The High Arctic is one of Earth’s most serene, sublime, and evocative places, and in our opinion the mountainous, glacier-covered islands of the Svalbard archipelago are the crown jewels, in part because a visitor here experiences the best features of the Arctic in microcosm. We have deliberately timed this expedition for Arctic autumn – late August and early September – to take advantage of special seasonal phenomena. The quality of light at this time of year is beautiful. The sun sets for several hours at this time of year, but gorgeous post-sunset light lingers all night long. Also, by this time the mountains typically have had their first fresh snow for the season, making the landscape look its best. Polar bears are to be found on both the islands and the pack ice, and Arctic fox patrol the shorelines. Blue whales – the largest animal that has ever lived on Earth – ply the coastal waters. Large walrus colonies can be photographed both ashore and at sea, and seals – bearded, ringed, harp, and harbor – are commonly sighted. Migratory birds linger on for a while, including Ivory Gulls, Kittywakes, Fulmars, Eider ducks, and more, while native Rock Ptarmigans transition to their winter plumage. Temperatures are still relatively comfortable by Arctic standards, but the summer’s mosquitoes will have been killed off by the frost. Weather and seas tend to be calm, and free of fog that can limit visibility in summer.

We have conceived this Svalbard expedition with considerable advantages for the passionate photographer. The first-rate photo leader team comprises six outstanding professionals, all known as generous and engaging teachers, who have a superb collaborative chemistry. Their photographic specialties cover a cross-section of the opportunities we will be presented with during the expedition: wildlife, landscape, natural abstract, travel, fine art, and conservation.

M/V Plancius: Our exclusive charter vessel provides an excellent platform for this voyage, in part due to her strength, maneuverability, and ability to navigate the ice pack and waters that can be impassable to larger ships. Those who appreciate small-group travel will enjoy our  passenger limit of fifty guests, self-imposed to optimize both the photographic scenario and overall experience. Other “small-ship” trips operating in these waters carry 110 to 150 guests, resulting in a far less intimate experience and less nimble operations when making excursions from the ship. Superb expedition support includes a fleet of ten zodiacs, a highly experienced expedition staff of eight, and a top-notch crew who welcome guests on the ship’s spacious bridge. With our relatively small group and large photo leader team, everyone will have excellent access to leaders and expedition staff, landing operations are far more efficient, and we’ll be able to get to know one another much better. Plancius offers an impressive range of vantage points for photography, from close to waterline to up high, and her three diesel-electric engines are surprisingly quiet and produce little vibration.

Dining aboard Plancius is of a high standard, with menus prepared by an accomplished German chef, sous chefs, and baker, with ample fresh ingredients and healthy options available. We are assembling an excellent wine list for the trip as well! She’s just a great ship.

PRICING AND ITINERARY – CLICK “READ MORE” AT BELOW RIGHT:

SEE BELOW FOR HIGHLIGHTS, TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS, AND INCLUSIONS/EXCLUSIONS.

read more…

Svalbard
Map via Google
Expedition August 22 - September 9, 2017
5 spaces | $16,750* Register

“This was the experience of a lifetime. Visionary Wild provided a terrific photo safari. The educational value of this workshop was unparalleled, and I have participated in many workshops.” –African Vision Safari Participant

Join expert African wildlife photographers Johan Greyling, Elana Erasmus, and Wenzel Kotze for this superlative African safari experience for a small group of five, designed to exceed a passionate photographer’s wildest dreams. We will visit Africa’s very finest wildlife destinations at an ideal time of year: Masai Mara, Kenya during the Great Migration, and Chobe River, Botswana, with mammals and birds concentrated along the river by the dry season.

• Includes loan of big telephotos – 600mm f/4 and 500mm f/4 – so you don’t have to travel with them. Full-frame Nikon DSLR bodies available for free loan too!

• Unique custom photo safari vehicles, the best photographer’s set-up in the business, both on the land and on the water, complete with photographer’s chairs featuring fully adjustable 360-degree revolving Wimberley camera mounts. This makes it a breeze to work with big lenses  and capture fleeting moments of dynamic wildlife behavior.

• Excellent accommodations, perfectly positioned at Chobe River Lodge and &Beyond’s Kichwa Tembo luxury tented camp in the Mara Triangle.

At Chobe, animals congregate along the river in the dry season to drink and feed on the lush greenery on the banks and flood plain. In addition to Chobe’s population of over 50,000 Kalahari elephants, opportunities include hippos (with young at this time of year), Nile crocs, buffalo, waterbuck, kudu, impala, giraffes, fish eagles, lions, hyenas, baboons, and countless bird species. Johan Greyling and Elana Erasmus will lead inspiring photography instruction at Chobe. Johan has successfully led numerous photo safaris on the Chobe River, and is a talented teacher of wildlife photography. He receives high praise for his image editing and classroom critiques as well. Elana is also a highly experienced professional wildlife photographer experienced in navigating the Chobe River and using photography as a tool to tell a story.

Masai Mara is famous for its migration of millions of wildebeest, zebras, and Thompson’s gazelles, accompanied by an abundance of lion, cheetah, leopard, and other African species. Wenzel Kotze will lead photography instruction at Masai Mara. He is a highly experienced and energetic safari leader and wildlife photographer who is eager to share how to best anticipate animal behavior, timing, and camera handling skills that empower you to capture successful “decisive moment” wildlife images.

At both locations we have arranged use of new photo safari vehicles with innovative custom features that deliver an ideal photographic experience. The heavily customized and air-conditioned 4WD IVECO vehicle we will use at Masai Mara features wide pop-up window panels for a broad unobstructed field of view for each photographer, and the vehicle seals up tight to keep out dust, rain, and heat.  Both the IVECO and our custom-built photo boat at Chobe comfortably accommodate our whole group. Both on land and on the water, each photographer will have his or her own rotating photographer’s chair with fully adjustable revolving Wimberley-equiped telephoto lens mount.

This package is designed to deliver a superb overall experience, and includes first-rate lodging, all meals, beverages (including fine wine and beer at dinners), expert guides, photographic instruction, loaner Nikon telephotos and cameras, park entry fees, ground transfers, and in-Africa flights during the itinerary.

Click “read more” below right for the itinerary and more information…
read more…

African Vision
Map via Google
Expedition August 12 - 19, 2017
8 spaces | $6,295* Register

Renowned landscape photographer Charles Cramer and Visionary Wild’s Justin Black have teamed up to lead a small group to the dramatic granite spires, alpine lakes, and meadows in Wyoming’s Wind River Range. “The Winds” are the most alpine range in the northern Rockies, with soaring granite peaks reminiscent in many ways of the High Sierra Nevada but less well known and more lightly visited. The alpine wildflowers in the meadows and nearby lakes and streams offer excellent foregrounds for photographing the east-facing Cirque of the Towers and other nearby peaks, which catch spectacular alpenglow at sunrise.

This is one of North America’s great mountain wildernesses, but don’t take our word for it. Following a summer 1999 horse pack trip into the Winds, internationally acclaimed mountain photographer Galen Rowell wrote the following in his April 2000 column for Outdoor Photographer magazine:

The Wind River Range is my favorite in the Rockies. Warm, relatively dry summers create a paradise for backpackers, climbers, and photographers. Hundreds of peaks rise over 12,000 feet above glaciers and snows that last late into summer. Melt waters cascade into alpine basins filled with meadows, open pine forest, and countless lakes before joining into rivers separated by the Continental Divide.”

Charles Cramer and Justin Black will lead photography outings morning and evening, and whenever else the light and weather conditions offer compelling opportunities. Night photography of the high-elevation starry skies can be amazing too. Options for midday activities will include scouting hikes, talking photography, relaxing around camp, reading, napping, fishing, lake swimming, etc. Beyond the phenomenal landscape and wildlife photography opportunities, these pack trips provide an excellent shared experience with other passionate photographers, enjoying fireside stories and camping under the stars.

Click “read more” below right for more information and the image gallery…

read more…

Wind River
Map via Google
Expedition July 7 - 16, 2017
10 spaces | $12,500* Register

 

Join arctic explorer Chris Linder and Cornell Lab of Ornithology photographer Gerrit Vyn for this unique photographic experience during prime puffin chick-rearing season on a diligently customized route around northwest Iceland.

Iceland’s steep, rocky coastline explodes with life in the summer months. Atlantic puffins, black guillemots, northern fulmars, and kittiwakes all raise their chicks here before returning to a life at sea.  Our primary subject will be the colorful, charismatic Atlantic puffin, and we will be visiting some of the best locations for puffin photography in the world. In addition to Iceland’s cliff-dwelling seabirds, we will also spend time looking for tundra breeding birds including red-throated loons, tufted duck, black-tailed godwit, whimbrel, European golden plover, red-necked phalarope, and redshank.

Renowned bird photographers Chris Linder and Gerrit Vyn will lead this nine-night photo workshop for ten participants, which will be focused on the remote Westfjords region of Iceland. Chris is a repeat visitor to Iceland, making his familiarity with the best photography locations, timing for optimal light, and personal contacts there a great benefit for the expedition. He is the 2015 Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards winner for the birds category and recently completed an assignment on climate change impacts on Icelandic puffin populations. Gerrit’s 2016 photography book, The Living Bird, was a New York Times Bestseller and he continues to travel around the world to document wildlife and conservation stories. He is well-experienced in creating powerful photography, particularly showcasing birds as they can show affects from climate change and environmental challenges.

The itinerary has been carefully crafted based on numerous assignments to photograph Iceland’s puffins with Icelandic bird researchers, and includes some unique locations you won’t find on any other Icelandic photography tour.  The expedition was developed with the focus of puffin chick-rearing in mind; mid-July is the best time to capture images of puffins bringing bill-fulls of spaghetti-like sand eels back to their burrows.

Our small group will travel in comfort in a specially customized bus with room for everyone to have a window seat, complete with Wi-Fi and numerous power outlets to enable us to edit our images while we’re on the road. When traveling to the next location, we will take advantage of photogenic opportunities of the Icelandic landscape. Chris and Gerrit scheduled exceptional locations for more instruction inland, such as tiered waterfalls, and will look out for serendipitous moments as the bus rolls onward.

Click the “read more” tab below to continue… read more…

Birds of Iceland
Map via Google
Expedition June 30 - July 8, 2016
6 spaces | $4,975* Register

 

This special boat-based Botswana photo safari offers a first-rate experience and an unbelievable value.

Join award-winning wildlife photographer Johan Greyling on Botswana’s spectacular Chobe River for this exciting all-inclusive boat-based safari for a small group of six participants. Johan has a distinct, recognized talent in story telling photography, exhibiting excellent quality and personal passion in capturing candid wildlife behavior, particularly from the waters of the Chobe River.

Set in one of Africa’s finest wildlife destinations at an ideal time of year, this safari focuses on the incredible biodiversity accessible via the Chobe River’s various channels, islands, and wetlands, where animals congregate along the river in the dry season to drink and feed on the lush greenery on the banks and flood plain. In addition to Chobe’s population of over 50,000 Kalahari elephants, opportunities include hippos (with young at this time of year), Nile crocodiles, leopards, buffalo, waterbuck, kudu, impala, giraffes, fish eagles, lions, hyenas, baboons, and countless bird species. In fact, this safari is a bird photographer’s dream, featuring the tiny and colorful Malachite Kingfisher, the largest heron in the world – the Goliath, several species of Bee-Eater, African Jacanas, and an endless array of water birds.  The concentrated displays of mammalian wildlife behavior, from battling hippos to leopards drinking at water’s edge and herds of elephants looming overhead on the riverbank, ensure you will capture peak moments of exceptional behavior. The quality of light in morning and evening is wonderful on the Chobe, as the wide, open floodplain enables low-angle light at sunrise and sunset to skim over the water and bathe the animals in golden illumination.

• Includes loan of big telephotos – 600mm f/4 and 500mm f/4 AF-S Nikkor Lenses – so you don’t have to travel with them. Full-frame Nikon DSLR bodies available for free loan as well.

• The best boat-based photo safari set-up in the business, complete with photographer’s chairs featuring fully adjustable 360-degree revolving Wimberley camera mounts, makes it a breeze to work with big lenses and photograph dynamic wildlife behavior.

This very competitively-priced package is designed to deliver a superb overall experience, and includes excellent accommodations, all meals, beverages (including fine wine or beer at dinners), snacks and soft drinks during photography sessions, expert guides, photographic instruction, loaner Nikon telephotos and cameras, park entry fees, ground transfers, and in-Africa flights during the itinerary.

We have arranged use of Lou Coetzer’s custom-built photo boats with innovative features that deliver an optimal photographic experience. Each photographer will have his or her own rotating photographer’s chair with fully adjustable revolving Wimberley-equiped telephoto lens mount.  Included at no additional cost is loan of Nikon super-telephoto lenses (600mm f/4 and 500mm f/4) and pro camera bodies, so there is no need to carry big glass to Africa.

 

Click “read more” below right for the itinerary and more information…
read more…

Chobe River Safari II
Map via Google
Expedition December 4 - 11, 2016
6 spaces | $6,995* Register

Exotic Birds – Poison Dart Frogs –  Monkeys – Waterfalls – Wild Pacific Beach

All of this and more is to be found in one of the most biologically exciting places on Earth – Coast Rica’s remote Osa Peninsula – and we’d like to share the best of it with you. Envision original primary rainforest rising up a low ridge from a pristine and entirely undeveloped Pacific beach, stretching as far as the eye can see. Native toucans, scarlet macaws, two- and three-toed sloths, and four species of New World monkeys cruise through the trees, while dramatic waterfalls roar in the jungle. Numerous species of visually striking frogs inhabit the area, including three species of colorful poison dart frogs, red-eyed tree frogs, masked tree frogs, and massive cane toads in their native habitat. Hundreds of exotic bird species abound. In addition to the toucans and macaws, long-tail hermit hummingbirds, elegant and violaceous trogons, blue-capped manakins, crested caracaras, ibis, various raptors and myriad other species are readily photographed. The forest itself is stunning, with old-growth trees and vegetation full of character and beautiful graphic designs just waiting to be discovered.

Leaders John Shaw and Justin Black will share their creative approaches to photographing rainforest fauna and flora, as well as the dramatic landscape. Hands-on in the field, we will cover long-lens and macro wildlife techniques, control of composition and light, fill-flash, control of focal plane and perspective with tilt-shift lenses, panoramic stitching, and other techniques that can be used to great effect in this amazing place.

Read Justin Black’s article “Frogs of the Osa” in Outdoor Photographer magazine

Our base camp is El Remanso, a top-rated eco-lodge, which offers a uniquely rich and accessible environment to witness and explore the incredible flora and fauna of Central America’s rainforests.  The owners are our personal friends, and the staff make guests feel like family. It’s a peaceful resort where it’s easy to let go of the hassles of travel logistics and fully immerse yourself in exploring and photographing the birds, waterfalls, monkeys and frogs, gorgeous old-growth trees, and the stunning Pacific beach.

The staff at El Remanso take great care of us – providing a delicious mix of international and local Tico cuisine, fresh tropical fruits, not to mention the superb margaritas, caipirinhas, and piña coladas – all on an inviting and spacious covered dining deck perched at the top of a canyon, at eye-level with the forest canopy.  We’ll bring our long lenses to breakfast to photograph monkeys, macaws and toucans feeding in the trees.  The opportunities to explore don’t end with the setting sun. A stroll with our naturalist guides around El Remanso just after dark reveals all manner of nocturnal species.

Click “read more” at below right for the full itinerary

read more…

Costa Rica
Map via Google
Expedition June 30 - July 8, 2016
6 spaces | $4,975* Register

 

This special boat-based Botswana photo safari offers a first-rate experience and an unbelievable value.

Join award-winning wildlife photographer Lou Coetzer on Botswana’s spectacular Chobe River for this exciting all-inclusive boat-based safari for a small group of six participants. Lou is simply the best there is at teaching the anticipation of animal behavior, timing, and camera handling skills that empower you to capture successful “decisive moment” wildlife images.

Set in one of Africa’s finest wildlife destinations at an ideal time of year, this safari focuses on the incredible biodiversity accessible via the Chobe River’s various channels, islands, and wetlands, where animals congregate along the river in the dry season to drink and feed on the lush greenery on the banks and flood plain. In addition to Chobe’s population of over 50,000 Kalahari elephants, opportunities include hippos (with young at this time of year), Nile crocodiles, leopards, buffalo, waterbuck, kudu, impala, giraffes, fish eagles, lions, hyenas, baboons, and countless bird species. In fact, this safari is a bird photographer’s dream, featuring the tiny and colorful Malachite Kingfisher, the largest heron in the world – the Goliath, several species of Bee-Eater, African Jacanas, and an endless array of water birds.  The concentrated displays of mammalian wildlife behavior, from battling hippos to leopards drinking at water’s edge and herds of elephants looming overhead on the riverbank, ensure you will capture peak moments of exceptional behavior. The quality of light in morning and evening is wonderful on the Chobe, as the wide, open floodplain enables low-angle light at sunrise and sunset to skim over the water and bathe the animals in golden illumination.

• Includes loan of big telephotos – 600mm f/4 and 500mm f/4 AF-S Nikkor Lenses – so you don’t have to travel with them. Full-frame Nikon DSLR bodies available for free loan as well.

• The best boat-based photo safari set-up in the business, complete with photographer’s chairs featuring fully adjustable 360-degree revolving Wimberley camera mounts, makes it a breeze to work with big lenses and photograph dynamic wildlife behavior.

This very competitively-priced package is designed to deliver a superb overall experience, and includes excellent accommodations, all meals, beverages (including fine wine or beer at dinners), snacks and soft drinks during photography sessions, expert guides, photographic instruction, loaner Nikon telephotos and cameras, park entry fees, ground transfers, and in-Africa flights during the itinerary.

We have arranged use of Lou’s custom-built photo boats with innovative features that deliver an optimal photographic experience. Each photographer will have his or her own rotating photographer’s chair with fully adjustable revolving Wimberley-equiped telephoto lens mount.  Included at no additional cost is loan of Nikon super-telephoto lenses (600mm f/4 and 500mm f/4) and pro camera bodies, so there is no need to carry big glass to Africa.

 

Click “read more” below right for the itinerary and more information…
read more…

Chobe River Safari
Map via Google
Expedition October 10 - 25, 2016
6 spaces | $16,495* Register

 

 

An intimate first-class photo adventure through the magnificent landscape of the South Island

The NZ trip was really spectacular… and you’re to be congratulated for ensuring that it was such a great experience for us from beginning to end.” –Kathy R., 2014 participant

“The expedition greatly exceeded my expectations. It was no doubt an amazing and awesome experience of a lifetime!” – Susan S., 2015 participant

Towering mountain ranges, hanging alpine glaciers, wind-swept coastlines, crystal blue lakes, pristine turquoise river valleys, and primordial tree fern rainforests are just some of the scenes we will photograph as we explore the South Island on this intimate 16-day journey led by two top pros: National Geographic photographer Michael Melford (who recently covered the South Island on assignment for Nat Geo), and Phillip Bartlett, a renowned Kiwi landscape photographer and guide who is acclaimed for his professionalism and intimate knowledge of New Zealand’s stunning landscape. It was with good reason that motion picture director Peter Jackson chose New Zealand as his location for the fantasy world of Tolkien’s “Middle Earth”: the variety of incredible landscapes found in such a compact area is simply astounding.

We sought to design a trip that would take your breath away, visiting locations off the regular tourist path that offer superb photography. To access these areas we will be travelling by 4WD Toyota Landcruisers, with two guests per vehicle. In addition, private charter excursions by helicopter and boat – at Fox Glacier, Milford Sound, and Kaikoura – provide us access to some truly phenomenal opportunities. All the while, your trip leaders offer generous guidance and instruction to ensure that you make the most of the photographic possibilities.

Our 2014 and 2015 trips were exceedingly well received by our guests (see testimonials at the bottom of this page), but nevertheless we have adjusted the itinerary slightly to maximize the quality of the overall experience.

Click “read more” below right to see the itinerary and photo gallery

read more…

New Zealand
Map via Google
Expedition April 9 - 17, 2016
9 spaces | $* Register

Testimonials from our 2015 Lake Powell participants

“I just wanted to take a minute to thank you (and the rest of the crew) for the wonderful Lake Powell workshop. Both Lynne and I had a great time and the uniqueness of the location was perfect for a variety of different photographic challenges.” –Steve A.

“Thanks again for another great trip… Quite the adventure!” –Dan W.

“Just back from a houseboat-based photo workshop on Lake Powell with Visionary Wild. It was a great trip with lots of old friends, and few new ones.” –Julie F [Posted to Facebook]

“Thanks again for great time at Lake Powell!  I had a ton of fun.” –Walter R.

The sinuous channels, sculpted slick rock, red rock formations, abstract glowing reflections, and sublime canyon light of Lake Powell and Glen Canyon await you on this eight-day, seven-night photographic exploration with Jack Dykinga and Jeff Foott. A professionally crewed deluxe 75-foot houseboat will be our base camp, and 19-foot Boston Whaler motorboats will provide access to the quiet corners of the sprawling lake, including sections of Glen Canyon that haven’t been seen since it was flooded. We’ll also have a few kayaks along for accessing slot canyons so narrow that one can touch both sides with arms outstretched.

The trip will begin at Comfort Inn and Suites in Page, Arizona, with an afternoon meeting and orientation before kicking things off with a group dinner. The next morning, we’ll drive across Glen Canyon Dam to Wahweap Marina to board our boat and cruise out to onto the lake. From pre-dawn to post-sunset each day, we will make the most of the light, including mid-day use of bounced canyon light. Instructors Jack Dykinga and Jeff Foott will guide excursions by motorboat to explore and photograph while the houseboat crew cruises from one anchorage to the next. We will make short hikes into side canyons and across the slickrock landscape to access mind-bending locations. Each evening, we will spend the night at anchor in a secluded cove beneath the amazing starscape of the  clear southwestern sky.

Accommodations on the houseboat include five staterooms with queen beds (suitable for single or double occupancy), plus two large pull-out beds (convertible dinette areas, best suited to single occupants), as well as the option for two guests to sleep out under the stars on the sun deck (the crew and leaders will also share this space). The boat also features two full bathrooms with hot showers, washbasins, and toilets, spacious common areas, a hot tub, fireplace, and more. Hearty meals will be prepared by our friendly, Coast Guard-licensed captain and guide, Myron Cook.

 

Pricing and Accommodation Options:

Master Suite – One Queen Bed, extra room, and private entrance onto stern deck (Quantity: 1 only)
$6995 Double Occupancy (per person) – or – $7995 Single Occupancy 

Standard Cabin – One Queen Bed (Quantity: 4)
$5995 Double Occupancy (per person)  – or – $6995 Single Occupancy 

Convertible Dinette Bed – One full (Quantity: 2)
$5995 Single Occupancy 

Sun Deck Mattress – Outside, under the Stars (Quantity: 2)
$5500 Single Occupancy

Maximum group size is limited to nine guests.

This workshop will be operated under a Commercial Use Authorization issued by the National Park Service.

 

 

 

Lake Powell
Map via Google
Expedition November 29 - December 6, 2015
6 spaces | $8,500* Register

Exotic Birds – Poison Dart Frogs –  Monkeys – Waterfalls – Wild Pacific Beach

All of this and more is to be found in one of the most biologically exciting places on Earth – Coast Rica’s remote Osa Peninsula – and we’d like to share the best of it with you. Envision original primary rainforest rising up a low ridge from a pristine and entirely undeveloped Pacific beach, stretching as far as the eye can see. Native toucans, scarlet macaws, and four species of New World monkeys cruise through the trees, while dramatic waterfalls roar in the jungle. Numerous species of visually striking frogs inhabit the area, including three species of colorful poison dart frogs, red-eyed tree frogs, masked tree frogs, and massive cane toads in their native habitat. Hundreds of exotic bird species abound. In addition to the toucans and macaws, long-tail hermit hummingbirds, elegant and violaceous trogons, blue-capped manakins, crested caracaras, ibis, various raptors and myriad other species are readily photographed. The forest itself is stunning, with old-growth trees and vegetation full of character and beautiful graphic compositions just waiting to be discovered.

Leaders Tom Mangelsen and Justin Black will share their creative approaches to photographing rainforest fauna and flora, as well as the dramatic landscape. Hands-on in the field, we will cover long-lens and macro wildlife techniques, control of composition and light, fill-flash, control of focal plane and perspective with tilt-shift lenses, panoramic stitching, and other techniques that can be used to great effect in this amazing place.

Read Justin Black’s article “Frogs of the Osa” in Outdoor Photographer magazine

Our base camp is El Remanso, a top-rated eco-lodge, which offers a uniquely rich and accessible environment to witness and explore the incredible flora and fauna of Central America’s rainforests.  The owners are our personal friends, and the staff make guests feel like family. It’s a peaceful resort where it’s easy to let go of the hassles of travel logistics and fully immerse yourself in exploring and photographing the birds, waterfalls, monkeys and frogs, gorgeous old-growth trees, and the stunning Pacific beach.

The staff at El Remanso take great care of us – providing a delicious mix of international and local Tico cuisine, fresh tropical fruits, not to mention the superb margaritas, caipirinhas, and piña coladas – all on an inviting and spacious covered dining deck perched at the top of a canyon, at eye-level with the forest canopy.  We’ll bring our long lenses to breakfast to photograph monkeys, macaws and toucans feeding in the trees.  The opportunities to explore don’t end with the setting sun. A stroll with our naturalist guides around El Remanso just after dark reveals all manner of nocturnal species.

Click “read more” at below right for the full itinerary

read more…

Costa Rica
Map via Google
Expedition October 9 - 24, 2015
6 spaces | $16,995* Register

 

 

An intimate first-class photo adventure through the magnificent landscape of the South Island

The NZ trip was really spectacular…and you’re to be congratulated for ensuring that it was such a great experience for us from beginning to end.” –Kathy R., 2014 participant

Towering mountain ranges, hanging alpine glaciers, wind-swept coastlines, crystal blue lakes, pristine turquoise river valleys, and primordial tree fern rainforests are just some of the scenes we will photograph as we explore the South Island on this intimate 15-day journey led by three top pros: National Geographic photographer Michael Melford (who recently covered the South Island on assignment for Nat Geo), Justin Black of Visionary Wild, and Phillip Bartlett, a renowned Kiwi landscape photographer and guide. It was with good reason that motion picture director Peter Jackson chose New Zealand as his location for the fantasy world of Tolkien’s “Middle Earth”: the variety of incredible landscapes found in such a compact area is simply astounding.

We sought to design a trip that would take your breath away, visiting locations off the regular tourist path that offer superb photography. To access these areas we will be travelling by 4WD Toyota Landcruisers, with two to three passengers per vehicle. In addition, private charter excursions by helicopter and boat – at Fox Glacier, Milford Sound, Lake Wanaka, and Kaikoura – provide us access to some truly phenomenal opportunities. All the while, your trip leaders offer generous guidance and instruction to ensure that you make the most of the photographic possibilities.

Our 2014 trip was exceedingly well received by our guests (see testimonials at the bottom of this page), but nevertheless we have made significant improvements to this trip in 2015, upgrading accommodations, adding a second helicopter excursion, and refining the itinerary to maximize the quality of the overall experience.

Click “read more” below right to see the itinerary and photo gallery

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New Zealand
Map via Google
Expedition May 16 - 24, 2015
10 spaces | $5,695* Register

The sinuous channels, sculpted slick rock, red rock formations, abstract glowing reflections, and sublime canyon light of Lake Powell and Glen Canyon await you on this eight-day, seven-night photographic exploration with Gary Ladd, Jeff Foott, and Justin Black. A professionally crewed deluxe 75-foot houseboat will be our base camp, and three motorboats will provide access to the quiet corners of the sprawling lake, including sections of Glen Canyon that haven’t been seen since it was flooded. We’ll also have a few kayaks along for accessing slot canyons so narrow that one can touch both sides with arms outstretched.

The trip will begin at Comfort Inn and Suites in Page, Arizona, with an afternoon meeting and orientation before going out for an inaugural group dinner. The next morning, we’ll drive across Glen Canyon Dam to Wahweap Marina to board our boat and cruise out to onto the lake. From pre-dawn to post-sunset each day, we will make the most of the light, including mid-day use of bounced canyon light. Instructors Gary Ladd, Jeff Foott, and Justin Black will guide excursions by motorboat to explore and photograph while the houseboat crew cruises from one anchorage to the next. We will make short, easy hikes into side canyons and across the slickrock landscape to access mind-bending locations. Each evening, we will spend the night at anchor in a secluded cove beneath the amazing starscape of the  clear southwestern sky.

Accommodations on the houseboat include five staterooms with queen beds, plus two large pull-out beds (all suitable for single or double occupancy), as well as the option of sleeping out under the stars on the sun deck (the crew and leaders will share this space). The boat also features two full bathrooms with showers, spacious common areas, hot tub, fireplace, and more.

Hearty meals will be prepared by our friendly boat crew: captain Randy Tucker – a Coast Guard-licensed and experienced Lake Powell and Grand Canyon guide – and his wife Barbara, a certified Grand Canyon raft guide. Randy and Barb are some of the finest people we know, and we are very pleased to have them join us for this trip. We hope you will too!

 

 

 

 

 

Lake Powell
Map via Google
Vision March 25 - April 5, 2015
10 spaces | $11,250* Register

This workshop is designed to maximize opportunities for well-crafted and compelling photographs in one of the world’s most awe-inspiring landscapes. Participants will have ample time to get to know Torres del Paine during its colorful autumn splendor, and your photography there will benefit from the opportunity to revisit fruitful situations to apply lessons learned and to take advantage of changing weather and light. The goal is for each participant to come away from this trip with a strong body of work, a new body of knowledge, new friendships, rejuvenation, and priceless memories.

Torres del Paine National Park and Biosphere Reserve is the centerpiece of Patagonia – the ultimate distillation of the region’s most inspiring qualities. It’s one of those rare places that routinely exceeds the grandest dreams of even the most experienced photographers. Peaks and spires thrust abruptly upward above turquoise lakes, forcing moisture-laden winds off the ocean to form soaring lenticular clouds that catch the fiery sunrise and sunset alpenglow. Glaciers spill down from the Patagonian icecap, depositing cobalt blue icebergs on the shores of Lago Grey. Endemic lenga tree forests glow in hues of gold and copper in the southern autumn. Rivers tumble over cascading waterfalls as condors ride thermals on the flanks of the Cordillera del Paine mountains. Guanacos and foxes range over the golden pampas, and flamingoes wade the lagoons. At this time of year, the days are a manageable length with extended periods of dawn and dusk, and the sun never rises more than 35 degrees above the horizon. The quality of light is spectacular.

Click “read more” below right for the itinerary and image gallery

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Patagonia Vision
Map via Google
Expedition August 2 - 18, 2014
5 spaces | $18,500* Register

“This was the experience of a lifetime. Visionary Wild provided a terrific photo safari. The educational value of this workshop was unparalleled, and I have participated in many workshops. Justin Black and Lou Coetzer were both terrific in facilitating the photography learning experience and in finding the best locations to maximize the opportunities.” –2013 African Vision Safari Participant

Join award-winning wildlife photographers Lou Coetzer and Justin Black for this superlative African safari experience for a small group of five, designed to exceed a passionate photographer’s wildest dreams. South African pro Lou Coetzer is simply the best there is at teaching the anticipation of animal behavior, timing, and camera handling skills that empower you to capture successful “decisive moment” wildlife images.

We will visit Africa’s very finest wildlife destinations at an ideal time of year: Masai Mara, Kenya during the Great Migration, and Chobe River, Botswana, with mammals and birds concentrated along the river by the dry season.

• Includes loan of big telephotos – 600mm f/4 and 500mm f/4 – so you don’t have to travel with them. Full-frame Nikon DSLR bodies available for free loan too!

• The best photo safari vehicle set-up in the business, both on the land and on the water, complete with photographer’s chairs featuring fully adjustable 360-degree revolving Wimberley camera mounts. This makes it a breeze to work with big lenses and photograph dynamic wildlife behavior.

This package is designed to deliver a superb overall experience, and includes first-rate lodging, all meals, beverages (including fine wine and beer at dinners), expert guides, photographic instruction, loaner Nikon telephotos and cameras, park entry fees, ground transfers, and in-Africa flights during the itinerary.

Conceived as a unique wildlife photography experience that delivers the best that east and southern Africa have to offer, this experience for a small group of only five passionate photographers focuses on the incredible biodiversity accessible via the Chobe River in Botswana, and the peak of the great migration at Masai Mara. Masai Mara is famous for its August migration of millions of wildebeest, zebras, and Thompson’s gazelles, accompanied by an abundance of lion, cheetah, leopard, and other African species. At Chobe, animals congregate along the river in the dry season to drink and feed on the lush greenery on the banks and flood plain. In addition to Chobe’s population of over 50,000 Kalahari elephants, opportunities include hippos (with young at this time of year), Nile crocs, buffalo, waterbuck, kudu, impala, giraffes, fish eagles, lions, hyenas, African wild dog, baboons, and countless bird species.

At both locations we have arranged use of new photo safari vehicles with innovative custom features that deliver an ideal photographic experience. The two 4WD vehicles we will use at Masai Mara seat three photographers each, and the custom-built photo boat at Chobe comfortably accommodates our whole group. Both on land and on the water, each photographer will have his or her own rotating photographer’s chair with fully adjustable revolving Wimberley-equiped telephoto lens mount.  Included at no additional cost is loan of Nikon super-telephoto lenses (600mm f/4 and 500mm f/4) and pro camera bodies, so there is no need to carry big glass to Africa.

Click “read more” below right for the itinerary and more information…
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African Vision
Map via Google
Expedition November 8 - 23, 2014
6 spaces | $14,500* Register

Motion picture director Peter Jackson chose New Zealand as the location to film the fantasy world of Tolkien’s “Middle Earth” for a very good reason: the variety of incredible landscapes found in such a small area is simply astounding! Towering mountain ranges, wind-swept coastlines, pristine river valleys, and moss-covered tree fern forests are just some of the scenes we will photograph as we explore the South Island on this unique small-group 15-day journey led by National Geographic photographer Michael Melford, Justin Black, and renowned “Kiwi” landscape photographer Phillip Bartlett.

We wanted to take you to wild places on the South Island which are off the regular tourist path, locations which are seldom-visited, but that offer superb photography. To access these areas we will be travelling by 4WD vehicles, with a maximum of three passengers per vehicle. In addition, private-charter excursions by helicopter and boat provide us access to some truly phenomenal opportunities.

Click “read more” below right to see the itinerary and photo gallery

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New Zealand
Map via Google
Vision March 26 - April 6, 2014
10 spaces | $11,250* Register

This workshop is designed to maximize opportunities for well-crafted and compelling photographs in one of the world’s most awe-inspiring landscapes. Participants will have ample time to get to know Torres del Paine during its colorful autumn splendor, and your photography there will benefit from the opportunity to revisit fruitful situations to apply lessons learned and to take advantage of changing weather and light. The goal is for each participant to come away from this trip with a strong body of work, a new body of knowledge, new friendships, rejuvenation, and priceless memories.

Torres del Paine National Park and Biosphere Reserve is the centerpiece of Patagonia – the ultimate distillation of the region’s most inspiring qualities. It’s one of those rare places that routinely exceeds the grandest dreams of even the most experienced photographers. Peaks and spires thrust abruptly upward above turquoise lakes, forcing moisture-laden winds off the ocean to form soaring lenticular clouds that catch the fiery sunrise and sunset alpenglow. Glaciers spill down from the Patagonian icecap, depositing cobalt blue icebergs on the shores of Lago Grey. Endemic lenga tree forests glow in hues of gold and copper in the southern autumn. Rivers tumble over cascading waterfalls as condors ride thermals on the flanks of the Cordillera del Paine mountains. Guanacos and foxes range over the golden pampas, and flamingoes wade the lagoons. At this time of year, the days are a manageable length with extended periods of dawn and dusk, and the sun never rises more than 35 degrees above the horizon. The quality of light is spectacular.

Click “read more” below right for the itinerary and image gallery

read more…

Patagonia Vision
Map via Google
Expedition June 22 - July 3, 2013
10 spaces | $10,250* Register

Magical places with towering red sand dunes, ancient withered, desiccated forests, and storm-ravaged coastline make Namibia unique.  Rare desert lions, gemsbok, elephants, and giraffes inhabit the area, with the colorful Himba people carving out a life in this arid region.

In all my travels, I have never seen such amazing and colorful dune formations.  The colors ran from black to garnet to peach and red colored…sometimes bathed in coastal fog.  The Namib Desert has a timeless quality that calls to me. –Jack Dykinga

Experience the haunting beauty of Namibia – Africa’s desert gem – with renowned landscape photographers Jack Dykinga and Justin Black. We will explore the striking quiver tree forests and geological formations, a ghost town abandoned to drifting sands, the rugged beauty of the coast, culminating with three days of intensive photography among the elegant forms of the thousand-foot red dunes of Sossusvlei. With warm tints of apricot, orange, red and maroon, these dunes offer abstract beauty unseen anywhere else in the world. This special place is also home to the ancient sun-blackened skeletons of camel thorn trees at the white clay “dead marsh” of Deadvlei.

A string of colonial port towns dot the coast, trapped between the South Atlantic and the dunes. Lüderitz, on the edge of the diamond-rich Sperrgebiet area, is a fascinating relic of Germany’s late 19th-century imperial aspirations. Nearby is the otherworldly and sand-bound abandoned mining town of Kolmanskop, where dunes have invaded the abandoned buildings. The photographic potential of this place is astonishing. Further north, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay bracket the southern end of the Skeleton Coast. Both possess a welcoming resort town atmosphere, with ample photographic opportunities along the coast.

Awe-inspiring and unrestrictive, this diverse geography leaves an impact you won’t soon forget.

Our itinerary has been designed to take maximum advantage of the best landscape photography opportunities that Namibia has to offer. In addition to attentive photographic instruction throughout by Dykinga and Black, our group of up to ten photographers will be led by two excellent local guides. This trip includes excellent lodging, in-Africa flights (Johannesburg–Windhoek–Johannesburg), transfers and group ground transportation from start to finish, and all meals, snacks, and beverages.

Namibia is a very safe and welcoming country, and a tourist visa is not necessary for citizens of the USA and most developed nations.

We hope you will join us! To sign up, click the “REGISTER” link above right.

Click “read more” at below right to continue to the itinerary and image gallery…

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Namibia
Map via Google
Expedition November 30 - December 7, 2013
10 spaces | $5,850* Register

Exotic Birds – Poison Dart Frogs –  Monkeys – Waterfalls – Wild Pacific Beach

All of this and more is to be found in one of the most biologically exciting places on Earth – Coast Rica’s remote Osa Peninsula – and we’d like to share the best of it with you. Envision original primary rainforest rising up a low ridge from a pristine and entirely undeveloped Pacific beach, stretching as far as the eye can see. Native toucans, scarlet macaws, and four species of New World monkeys cruise through the trees, while dramatic waterfalls roar in the jungle. Numerous species of visually striking frogs inhabit the area, including three species of colorful poison dart frogs, red-eyed tree frogs, masked tree frogs, and massive cane toads in their native habitat. Hundreds of exotic bird species abound. In addition to the toucans and macaws, long-tail hermit hummingbirds, elegant and violaceous trogons, blue-capped manakins, crested caracaras, ibis, various raptors and myriad other species are readily photographed. The forest itself is stunning, with old-growth trees full of character and beautiful graphic compositions just waiting to be discovered.

Click the “read more” tab below right to see the itinerary and photo gallery!

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Costa Rica
Map via Google
Expedition August 3 - 10, 2013
10 spaces | $5,500* Register

Renowned landscape photographer Marc Muench and Visionary Wild’s Justin Black have teamed up to lead a trip to the dramatic granite spires, alpine lakes, and meadows at the Cirque of the Towers in Wyoming’s Wind River Range. “The Winds” are the most alpine range in the Wyoming-Montana-Idaho complex, with soaring granite peaks reminiscent in many ways of the High Sierra Nevada but less well known and more lightly visited. The alpine wildflowers in the meadows and nearby lakes and streams offer excellent foregrounds for photographing the east-facing Cirque and other nearby peaks, which catch spectacular alpenglow at sunrise.

This is one of North America’s great mountain wildernesses, but don’t take our word for it. Following a summer 1999 horse pack trip into the Winds, internationally acclaimed mountain photographer Galen Rowell wrote the following in his April 2000 column for Outdoor Photographer magazine:

The Wind River Range is my favorite in the Rockies. Warm, relatively dry summers create a paradise for backpackers, climbers, and photographers. Hundreds of peaks rise over 12,000 feet above glaciers and snows that last late into summer. Melt waters cascade into alpine basins filled with meadows, open pine forest, and countless lakes before joining into rivers separated by the Continental Divide.”

Our itinerary begins with a group orientation and dinner at Diamond 4 Ranch in Dickinson Park, Wyoming, on the east side of the Wind River Range (Lander is the closest large town). Our first night will be spent at an elevation of 9,200ft. in the ranch’s rustic cabins, which will serve to help acclimate us to the elevation. After an early breakfast the next morning, the experienced wranglers of Diamond 4 Ranch will lead our group on a horseback ride to camp at Lizard Head Meadows. No prior horseback experience is necessary. The horses are docile and very familiar with the trail to our camp, our base for five nights at an elevation of 10,000ft. – where a camp manager and backcountry chef will take great care of us. This is a “drop” or “spot” trip, meaning that all of our gear, coolers of fresh food, etc., will be carried in on horseback, and our camp will serve as our base for short hikes to explore the Cirque’s rich photographic opportunities.

Click “read more” below right for more information and the image gallery…

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Cirque of the Towers
Map via Google
Expedition June 3 - 21, 2013
5 spaces | $18,750* Register

We bring the big telephotos so you don’t have to.

Etosha – Chobe – Victoria Falls, and more…

Over the last year, we have packaged a unique wildlife photography safari for a small group of five passionate photographers, visiting Etosha National Park in Namibia, Victoria Falls, and Chobe National Park in Botswana. Scheduled for June 3-20, 2013, in the early part of the winter dry season, we will enjoy comfortable temperatures and dramatic concentrations of diverse wildlife at the watering holes of Etosha. Black rhinos, giraffes, lions, elephants, and numerous antelope species are common here, and cheetahs and leopards are often seen as well.

At Chobe, animals congregate along the river in the dry season to drink and feed on the lush greenery on the banks and flood plain. In addition to Chobe’s population of over 50,000 Kalahari elephants, opportunities include hippos (with young at this time of year), Nile crocs, buffalo, waterbuck, kudu, impala, giraffes, fish eagles, lions, hyenas, African wild dog, baboons, and numerous bird species.

At both locations we have arranged use of new photo safari vehicles with innovative custom features that deliver an ideal photographic experience. The two 4WD vehicles we will use at Etosha seat three photographers each, and the custom-built photo boat at Chobe comfortably accommodates our whole group. Both on land and on the water, each photographer will have his or her own photographer’s chair with fully adjustable Wimberley-equiped telephoto lens mount.  Included at no additional cost is loan of Nikon super-telephoto lenses (600mm f/4, 500mm f/4, and 200-400mm f/4 plus teleconverters) and pro camera bodies, so there is no need to carry big glass to Africa.

Click “read more” below right for the itinerary, photo gallery from Chobe and Etosha, and more information…
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African Vision
Map via Google