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!

 

Workshops by date

Workshops by: type | Location | Focus | Upcoming | Past
Expedition May 15 - 28, 2015
Limit 10 spaces | $14,500* Register

After thirty visits to PNG over the last two decades, photographer Michele Westmorland considers it her "second home." She and co-leader Karen Kasmauski, one of the world's most highly respected photojournalists with over two dozen feature assignments for National Geographic magazine to her name, invite you to experience this incredible photographic journey in some of the most remote and beautiful areas of Papua New Guinea, featuring the best accommodations available and charter flight transfers between our various locations.

On her first visit to Papua New Guinea in 1991, Westmorland was immediately hooked:

"I was completely taken by the beauty and diversity of the underwater world," she says. "It was on my third or fourth trip that I raised my head above the water and realized how diverse the landscape and the people are."

PNG is home to the most linguistically diverse population on Earth with around 800 different languages spoken in a country with a population of around 5 million people. It is a land of traditional cultures living a subsistence hunter-gatherer lifestyle, and small villages and small-scale farming are the norm. The colorful wigmen of the Huli tribe of the southern highlands use multi-colored clays, feathers, and flowers for traditional body decoration. Birds of Paradise grace the forests with their dramatic color and form.

In contrast the young men of the Sepik region, formerly the home of a head-hunting culture, undergo painful decorative scarring on their backs. Life in the Sepik area revolves around the river, with men paddling narrow dugout canoes full of goods for trade, women fishing or making sago, and children joyfully swinging from trees to splash down in the river. Crocodiles are the manifestation of the local river spirits. The Sepik is a gallery of tribal art – each village boasts a unique style and every villager is an artisan.

Through the song, dance, and pageantry of "sing-sings," proud local people showcase their traditional customs and artistry. It's a wonderful opportunity for us to photograph the various cultures of Papua New Guinea together in an array of color and passion.

The Cape Nelson in Oro Province of Papua New Guinea is full of mystery as we approach from the air.   The short one-hour flight from Port Moresby reveals the green fingers of land stretched out into the turquoise waters of the Solomon Sea.  Arriving in the morning, we will settle into our charming accommodations and prepare for the next 3 days of a rich cultural experience in a stunning coastal environment. Our group will experience the beauty of the fjord areas by traditional canoe allowing for exceptional photography, or a bit of video, as exotic birds swoop overhead.  Hornbills, parrots and cockatoos are common in this area.

Our village hosts will not only share their daily lives with our group of photographers, but prepare for another sing-sing where we will capture the extensive body décor that reveals the sense of pride these warm and friendly people have in their tradition.  In addition to the dance, there will be demonstrations of facial tattooing, fire making and sago preparation.  Sago is a staple food source that comes from the pulp of a endemic palm.Other activities will include a trip to waterfalls or hikes to vistas overlooking the fjord areas.  And if you are willing to put your camera down, you can snorkel along the mangroves and forest growth in the shallow reef areas.

PACKAGE
This trip is packaged as single-occupancy by default (double-occupancy guests save $1250 each), and includes all lodging, meals, beverages (including beer or wine with dinner), air and ground transfers (including six internal charter flights), excursions, special performances and cultural photo-ops, and of course expert photographic instruction and guiding throughout by Michele Westmorland and Karen Kasmauski.

 
ITINERARY: Click "read more" below right...

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Expedition May 16 - 24, 2015
0 of 10 spaces left | $5,695* Waitlist

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!

 

 

 

 

 

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Creative Core June 1 - 5, 2015
Limit 12 spaces | $3,250* Register

Colossal redwoods thrust upward into the coastal fog. The pink blooms of wild rhododendrons take on a translucent glow against the dark greens of the forest. Dramatic seastacks and driftwood accent the wild Pacific coast. One of the world's most creativity-inspiring and evocative landscapes – Northern California's Redwood Coast – will be our outdoor classroom for this photo workshop, presented by photographers Jeff Foott and Jerry Dodrill. This place is truly a photographer's playground, rich with diverse photographic opportunities and a dynamic interplay of sun and fog. It's the perfect setting for a fun, upbeat, and supportive workshop focused on developing creativity and honing skills. Participants will learn to take control of the finer points of composition, exposure and tonal control, and specialized techniques for approaching this sublime coastal landscape.

Click the "read more..." tab below right for more information and to see the photo gallery!

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Expedition June 8 - 19, 2015
0 of 9 spaces left | $16,995* Waitlist

A Dream of Wild Africa

The Serengeti ecosystem supports the largest concentration of animals on the planet! This itinerary puts us in the heart of that living, breathing, moving...... sea of beasts! –Roy Toft

Roy Toft and Justin Black have selected three of the very finest safari destinations in all of Africa – Tanzania's Tarangire and Serengeti National Parks and little-known Grumeti Reserve – to offer a world-class, all-inclusive safari experience that features superb opportunities to capture stunning wildlife behavior, generous and effective photographic instruction, luxury amenities, excellent photographer support, a lack of crowds, and a ton of fun! Roy and Justin are both renowned for the lengths they go to to ensure safari participants have an exceptional experience that exceeds expectations, all within a good-humored atmosphere of camaraderie and mutually supportive exploration and learning. We promise a superb safari experience and a great time had by all.

Itinerary and Locations

June 8, 2015: Upon arrival at Tanzania's Kilimanjaro International Airport, you will be met by our representative who will assist with your private vehicle transfer to Onsea House. Accommodation: Onsea House Private Room – This tranquil boutique hotel works hard to maintain its status as the best luxury bed and breakfast in Arusha.

June 9: Today you will transfer from Onsea House to the Arusha airstrip for your light aircraft flight to Oliver’s Camp. Accommodation: Oliver’s Camp Luxury Tent – A lovely, friendly, remote, and rustic tented camp that has by far the best location at Tarangire, within the best game viewing area in the park.

June 9 – 13: Spend your days exploring all that Tarangire National Park has to offer. Roy, Justin, and our naturalist will lead morning and evening wildlife photography excursions, with time mid-day for image review and critique, and presentations including wildlife photography technique, composition, and digital workflow and processing.

Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park is famous for its tree climbing lions, stout baobab trees, massive elephant herds, and, importantly, a lack of crowds (particularly compared to tourist-mobbed Ngorongoro crater). Our safari coincides with the beginning of the dry season when animal numbers and concentrations are at their peak. The Tarangire River is a trickle when compared with the wet season, but it throbs with wildlife. Herds of up to 300 elephants wallow in the river bed, while migratory wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, hartebeest, and eland crowd the shrinking lagoons. It is the greatest concentration of wildlife outside the Serengeti ecosystem proper, and this is the only place in Tanzania where the stately fringe-eared oryx and elegant long-necked gerenuk are regularly observed. Sausage trees in Tarangire are home to leopard, where they are often seen waiting for prey.

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Expedition August 17 - 26, 2015
0 of 8 spaces left | $9,650* Waitlist

New in 2015: Upgraded lodging and an extra day on location!

Jeff Foott has also been added to this itinerary as co-leader at no extra charge.

Just a few years ago, it was inconceivable that there could be a place where a photographer could reliably photograph wild jaguars in their home habitat, and better yet, in the open along a river bank and in great light. Incredibly, such a place exists in the Pantanal wetland of Brazil, and years of research have proven it to be by far the world's most productive location for photography of wild jaguars. Our 2013 Visionary Wild group enjoyed multiple jaguar sightings each day, lasting anywhere from five minutes to an hour and a half each, totaling nine individuals patrolling their territories in the area. We discovered a mother and daughter that had not been known to local biologists (so members of our group got to assign the nicknames biologists will use for reference), and we were very fortunate to see one of our favorite cats, a seven-year-old male nicknamed "Mick Jaguar," stalk and take down a 200-pound, eight-foot-long caiman from a great vantage point just forty meters away! Rivers and channels provide easy access by boat to water's-edge locations frequented by the big cats in the dry season. This is the closest thing to an East African photo safari in the New World.

The Brazilian Pantanal, the world's largest continental wetland, is a luxuriant forest-savannah mosaic in central-western Brazil that is home to the highest density of jaguars in the world. It is also simply the greatest wildlife spectacle of Latin America. In addition to its jaguars, which are far more accessible to photographers here than anywhere else in their range, it harbors the world’s largest parrots (hyacinth macaw), the world’s largest snake (anaconda), the world’s largest otter, and many other species of wildlife, often in astonishingly high densities.

Award-winning nature photographer Justin Black – a Pantanal veteran – looks forward to sharing this expedition with six passionate photographers. The small group size will ensure ample space to maneuver for photography from the boats.

Our floating hotel for five nights of the trip is the brand-new and spacious Jaguar Suites, offering the finest guest rooms in all the Pantanal, purpose-built to support serious photographers in comfort. Anchored on the Cuiabá River right in the middle of the best jaguar action, when compared with other accommodations in the area this privileged location on the water permits us to spend up to two hours of extra time per day with the cats, and at the best times of day for quality of light, comfortable temperatures, and scenic beauty in the Pantanal. The suites also feature scenic river views, air-conditioning, high-speed Wi-Fi, and desktops with multiple power outlets for charging laptops and batteries. We have secured enough space at the Jaguar Suites for each of the six participants to have a private room with en-suite bathroom. The suites accommodate double-occupancy very comfortably as well.

We will also spend a total of four nights (the first night, and the final three) at the Pantanal Wildlife Center’s Fazenda Santa Teresa, an intimate and very comfortable lodge located on an expansive estate on the banks of the wildlife-rich Pixaim River. This trip coincides with the surreal magenta bloom of numerous large Ipê trees on the lodge grounds and across the Pantanal landscape. Unique wildlife observation towers include one located 16 m east of an active nest of habituated Jabiru storks – perfect at first light in the morning – and a second one in gallery forest along the banks of the river. Virtually guaranteed wildlife sightings here include giant otters, capuchin monkeys, numerous bird species including toco toucans, hyacinth macaws, rufescent tiger heron, anhingas, crested caracaras, various fishing hawks, stunning yellow-billed cardinals, an the extraordinary great potoo. Jaguars and tapirs are sometimes seen that Fazenda Santa Teresa as well.

Click "read more" below right for the itinerary, photo gallery, and more information...

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Expedition August 21 - September 2, 2015
Limit 10 spaces | $11,995* Register

Join Jack Dykinga, Chris Linder, and top Icelandic photographer Ragnar Sigurdsson for this unique photographic experience in the land of fire and ice.

All-inclusive single-occupancy package (prorated double-occupancy available).

Storybook waterfalls gushing over volcanic formations... Icebergs on black sand beaches... Orange-billed Atlantic puffins perched on sea cliffs... Deep sapphire hues in ancient glacial ice… braided rivers... multi-colored volcanic landscapes…

Astride the Mid Atlantic Ridge, this geologically active island is being ripped in two by the opposing movement of the North American and Eurasian Plates, while magma surges through the Earth's fractured crust to fill the void of displaced land. The ice cap and glaciers feed pristine rivers, and over 100 volcanoes and countless geothermal springs dot the landscape.

Renowned photographers Jack Dykinga and Chris Linder will lead this visually rich landscape photography expedition for ten participants, emphasizing photography in the field at amazing locations selected on our prior Icelandic travels. Joining them as co-instructor will be Ragnar Sigurdsson, one of Iceland's most highly regarded landscape photographers, known internationally for his incredible images from the 2010 eruption of the volcano Eyjafjallajökull. Our small group will travel in comfort in a custom-built, high-clearance expedition 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 as we move around the country.

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Expedition August 8 - 17, 2015
0 of 6 spaces left | $10,195* Waitlist

New for this itinerary in 2015

• Upgraded, spacious accommodation at the floating Jaguar Suites

• An extra day in the Jaguar Zone

• Leader Jeff Foott will be joined by co-leader Justin Black, providing an incredible participant to instructor ratio of 3:1.

Just a few years ago, it was inconceivable that there could be a place where a photographer could reliably photograph wild jaguars in their home habitat, and better yet, in the open along a river bank and in great light. Incredibly, such a place exists in the Pantanal wetland of Brazil, and years of research have proven it to be by far the world's most productive location for photography of wild jaguars. Our 2013 Visionary Wild group enjoyed multiple jaguar sightings each day, lasting anywhere from five minutes to an hour and a half each, totaling nine individuals patrolling their territories in the area. We discovered a mother and daughter that had not been known to local biologists (so members of our group got to assign the nicknames biologists will use for reference), and we were very fortunate to see one of our favorite cats, a seven-year-old male nicknamed "Mick Jaguar," stalk and take down a 200-pound, eight-foot-long caiman from a great vantage point just forty meters away! Rivers and channels provide easy access by boat to water's-edge locations frequented by the big cats in the dry season. This is the closest thing to an East African photo safari in the New World.

The Brazilian Pantanal, the world's largest continental wetland, is a luxuriant forest-savannah mosaic in central-western Brazil that is home to the highest density of jaguars in the world. It is also simply the greatest wildlife spectacle of Latin America. In addition to its jaguars, which are far more accessible to photographers here than anywhere else in their range, it harbors the world’s largest parrots (hyacinth macaw), the world’s largest snake (anaconda), the world’s largest otter, and many other species of wildlife, often in astonishingly high densities.

Jeff Foott – a multiple-award-winning nature photographer, wildlife cinematographer, and a three-time Pantanal veteran – looks forward to sharing this expedition with six passionate photographers. The small group size will ensure ample space to maneuver for photography from the boats.

Our floating hotel for six nights of the trip is the brand-new and spacious Jaguar Suites, offering the finest guest rooms in all the Pantanal, purpose-built to support serious photographers in comfort. Anchored on the Cuiabá River right in the middle of the best jaguar action, when compared with other accommodations in the area this privileged location on the water permits us to spend up to two hours of extra time per day with the cats, and at the best times of day for quality of light, comfortable temperatures, and scenic beauty in the Pantanal. The suites also feature scenic river views, air-conditioning, high-speed Wi-Fi, and desktops with multiple power outlets for charging laptops and batteries. We have secured enough space at the Jaguar Suites for each of the six participants to have a private room with en-suite bathroom. The suites accommodate double-occupancy very comfortably as well.

We will also spend a total of three nights (the first two nights, and the final one) at the Pantanal Wildlife Center’s Fazenda Santa Teresa, an intimate and very comfortable lodge located on an expansive estate on the banks of the wildlife-rich Pixaim River. This trip coincides with the surreal magenta bloom of numerous large Ipê trees on the lodge grounds and across the Pantanal landscape. Unique wildlife observation towers include one located 16 m east of an active nest of habituated Jabiru storks – perfect at first light in the morning – and a second one in gallery forest along the banks of the river. Virtually guaranteed wildlife sightings here include giant otters, capuchin monkeys, numerous bird species including toco toucans, hyacinth macaws, rufescent tiger heron, anhingas, crested caracaras, various fishing hawks, stunning yellow-billed cardinals, an the extraordinary great potoo. Jaguars and tapirs are sometimes seen that Fazenda Santa Teresa as well.

Click "read more" below right for the itinerary, photo gallery, and more information...

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Expedition September 9 - 21, 2015
0 of 16 spaces left | $14,995* Waitlist

 

 

Featuring private charter of the three-masted expedition vessel Rembrandt van Rijn, helicopter flights onto the second largest ice cap on Earth, close encounters with the Arctic's largest icebergs, and excursions onto the colorful autumn tundra.

Greenland's remote and little-visited west coast is a world of arctic grandeur. Each year, the massive Jakobshavn Glacier calves some 35 billion tons of icebergs into the sheltered waters of Disko Bay and Ilulissat Icefjord, the only UNESCO World Heritage Site on the world's largest island. Towers, arches, and walls of ancient blue ice thrust skyward from the water's surface. Whales and seabirds abound. Steep-walled fjords, dramatic coastal mountains, tundra in autumn color, the Greenland Ice Sheet, and the Aurora Borealis combine to form an incomparable landscape. Visionary Wild presents a unique opportunity to experience and photograph this arctic wilderness in all its glory.

Join this world-class team of leaders – Frans Lanting, Christine Eckstrom, Justin Black, and Chris Linder – for our all-inclusive photographic exploration of Greenland's west coast. The 168-foot, three-masted schooner Rembrandt van Rijn (click here for more about the vessel) will be our private floating base camp for the first eight days in Greenland. We are radically under-booking this comfortable vessel to ensure ample space for our group both on the ship and in zodiacs – our group will consist of only sixteen participants and four leaders, though Rembrandt normally sleeps 33 guests in addition to her crew of twelve. She is exceptionally well-suited to exploration and photography along the Greenland coast, with a reinforced hull, expansive unobstructed sight lines even under sail, and very comfortable accommodations. We will make frequent landings by zodiac to photograph in morning and evening light, and as serendipity presents us with compelling opportunities along the way. In addition to the arctic landscape, we will photograph Disko Bay's whales, including beluga, bowhead, and humpbacks, and a variety of coastal and pelagic birds such as eider ducks and albatross. The etherial glow of the aurora borealis dancing in the night sky over the iceberg-dotted bay will be the sight of a lifetime.

After disembarking from Rembrandt, we will move on to the nearby town of Ilulissat, home to 5,000 Greenlanders and an equivalent number of sled dogs. There, our base will be Hotel Hvide Falk (White Falcon). One of the highlights of our four days there will be a series of helicopter excursions (one hour of flight time per participant, each with a window seat) to do aerial photography of icebergs, Jakobshavn Glacier and Ilulissat Icefjord, and to access the Greenland Ice Sheet itself, where we will land and photograph at a moulin, meltwater lake, or other interesting feature on the kilometers-deep icecap. We will also make excursions on a local charter boat to approach large icebergs, and hikes on the autumn tundra with stunning views of Disko Bay and the coastal mountains.

Click "read more" at below right for addition information, the itinerary, and the complete photo gallery...

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Creative Core September 14 - 18, 2015
Limit 10 spaces | $3,950* Register

Characterized by the ebb and flow of tides and fog, California’s sleepy Sonoma Coast features light, atmospherics, and landscape as fine as the region’s famous pinot noir. Dramatic headlands, sea stacks, and beaches are sculpted by the Pacific waves and the action of tectonic plates along the San Andreas Fault. The rugged beauty here offers unending opportunities for passionate photographers. This advanced workshop is geared for photographers who are fairly comfortable with the fundamentals of photography and digital workflow, and who seek higher-level mentorship.

Instructors Jeff Foott and Jerry Dodrill will lead eight field sessions to explore remote coves, sea arches and tidepools, coastal ridges and steep canyons filled with redwood forest. They will share insights that will help you to refine your creative vision, composition skills, and field techniques, understand the practical implications of human visual cognition, explore ways to use the element of time to expand your creative horizons, and help find ways to add greater purpose and meaning to your photography.

Our basecamp at historic Timber Cove Inn, located on a headland with dramatic views of sea stacks and surf, serves as an excellent position from which we will set off for a range of photographic objectives from Bodega Bay’s bluffs and sand dunes to the Russian River, Fort Ross, and the sculpted tufoni sandstone formations and wind-sculpted bishop pines at Salt Point. We will visit mysterious Bowling Ball Beach and the historic Point Arena lighthouse. Special features of this workshop include a field session in a scenic ridge-top old-vine Zinfandel vineyard, and a private wine tasting dinner with a local wine maker.

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Expedition October 9 - 24, 2015
0 of 6 spaces left | $16,995* Waitlist

 

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.

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Vision October 12 - 16, 2015
Limit 10 spaces | $4,495* Register

The majestic Grand Staircase descending toward the Grand Canyon and the canyons of the Escalante are a creative photographer's dream come true. This outdoor classroom is a highlight of our Vision series, a special program of advanced instruction focusing on refining your personal creative vision, composition, and digital workflow, designed and presented by renowned photographers Jack Dykinga and John Shaw, with support by popular workshops leader Jerry Dodrill, a protégé of the legendary Galen Rowell. Packaged with single-occupancy lodging at the beautiful Boulder Mountain Lodge, and with first-class dining at the famous Hell's Backbone Grill, this is a superb workshop scenario, which helps explain why Visionary Wild clients often repeat this experience. We hope you'll join us!

Boulder Mountain rises to the west of Capital Reef National Park in the picturesque Aquarius Plateau of South Central Utah. It is the highest timbered plateau in North America, with over 50,000 acres of rolling forests of pine, spruce, fir, and aspen, as well as expansive meadowlands. The area features the dramatic red rock canyons and sculpted formations for which southern Utah is famous, but it is a little known and refreshing alternative to more heavily trafficked southwestern locations.

The author and desert wilderness advocate Edward Abbey once astutely observed:

There are more hills, holes, humps and hollows, reefs, folds, domes, swells and grabens, buttes, benches and mesas, synclines, monoclines, and anticlines than you can ever hope to see and explore in a lifetime.

We'll add that the quality of light and atmosphere here are superb.

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Vision October 19 - 23, 2015
Limit 10 spaces | $4,495* Register

The majestic Grand Staircase descending toward the Grand Canyon and the canyons of the Escalante are a creative photographer's dream come true. This outdoor classroom is a highlight of our Vision series, a special program of advanced instruction focusing on refining your personal creative vision, composition, and digital workflow, designed and presented by renowned photographers Jack Dykinga and John Shaw, with support by popular workshops leader Jerry Dodrill, a protégé of the legendary Galen Rowell. Packaged with single-occupancy lodging at the beautiful Boulder Mountain Lodge, and with first-class dining at the famous Hell's Backbone Grill, this is a superb workshop scenario, which helps explain why Visionary Wild clients often repeat this experience. We hope you'll join us!

Boulder Mountain rises to the west of Capital Reef National Park in the picturesque Aquarius Plateau of South Central Utah. It is the highest timbered plateau in North America, with over 50,000 acres of rolling forests of pine, spruce, fir, and aspen, as well as expansive meadowlands. The area features the dramatic red rock canyons and sculpted formations for which southern Utah is famous, but it is a little known and refreshing alternative to more heavily trafficked southwestern locations.

The author and desert wilderness advocate Edward Abbey once astutely observed:

There are more hills, holes, humps and hollows, reefs, folds, domes, swells and grabens, buttes, benches and mesas, synclines, monoclines, and anticlines than you can ever hope to see and explore in a lifetime.

We'll add that the quality of light and atmosphere here are superb.

Click "Read More..." below right to read on and see the image gallery...

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Creative Core October 26 - 30, 2015
0 of 12 spaces left | $3,250* Waitlist

Zion National Park’s red rock and limestone cliffs and spires tower above sculpted canyons, grottoes, and waterways, forming a unique and awe-inspiring landscape at the convergence of the Colorado Plateau, the Great Basin, and the Mojave Desert.  Autumn’s arrival brings comfortably cool temperatures and fall colors in the maples and cottonwoods.  Zion is quite simply one of the gems of the National Park system, a highlight of the American Southwest, and one of our favorite outdoor photographic "classrooms."

Charles Cramer is a masterful artist renowned for landscape photographs that derive their power from their elegant and gentle calm. He has returned again and again to Zion over the years to draw inspiration from its astonishing interplay of canyon light, color contrasts, and dramatic forms. Garnering rave reviews whenever he teaches, Charlie enjoys nothing more than sharing his insights, creativity, and craftsmanship with other passionate photographers in an effort to help them refine their own vision. Assistant instructor Justin Black has led four prior workshops at Zion and is always struck by the way this landscape reveals its secrets like the layers of an onion being peeled back – every visit yields a new discovery and new qualities of light.

This all-inclusive workshop will be based at Flanigan’s Inn of Springdale, Utah, just outside the western entrance of Zion National Park, providing excellent access to field locations. Along with eight field sessions, Charlie and Justin will present projected lectures on composition, light, exposure control, anticipating and working through changing conditions, and essentials of digital workflow. Three critique sessions will provide essential constructive feedback on images created during the workshop.

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Advanced November 14 - 20, 2015
1 of 10 spaces left | $10,950* Register

One Space Left – in shared female double-occupancy accommodation. Please contact us to register.

Picture yourself standing on arctic tundra at the edge of Hudson Bay, photographing a pair of polar bears wrestling in the glow of sunset as they wait for the bay to freeze over so they can begin their annual hunting season on the ice. An arctic fox watches the action from the sidelines. The only sounds are the bears, the breeze, and waves lapping at the ice forming on the shoreline. Then imagine, as the light fades and temperatures drop, you walk just a few feet away to sit beside the fire in a cozy wilderness lodge, joining your fellow photographers for a glass of wine while reviewing the day's photographs, in anticipation of a gourmet dinner and excited conversation about the opportunities that await tomorrow. Keep your camera ready, though... the aurora borealis may well appear in the night sky.

Join Roy Toft and Justin Black at Seal River, a remote wilderness lodge positioned in prime polar bear territory on the shores of Hudson Bay about 40 miles north of Churchill, Manitoba. This is a very special opportunity to intensively photograph polar bear behavior close-up in the wild. Forget the diesel-belching tundra buggies at Churchill and the crowded cruise ships at Svalbard. Our small group will photograph the bears from eye level, on foot, via short excursions onto the tundra and from the grounds of the lodge, where polar bears walk within inches of the fence line.

Roy, a highly regarded and widely published professional wildlife photographer and inspiring workshops instructor, recently had the opportunity to photograph the polar bears at Seal River, and he was blown away by the quality of the photography and the overall experience. Seal River is a comfortable fly-in lodge that offers unique access to a high density of polar bears with a lovely landscape backdrop. To ensure you make the most of your visit, Roy and Justin will provide highly attentive, thoughtful, and generous instruction throughout the trip, offering feedback and useful guidance drawn from their combined four decades of experience as professional nature photographers. They will provide recommendations on camera setup optimized for wildlife photography, teach strategies and techniques to empower you to anticipate and capture fleeting wildlife behaviors, offer advice on composition and working the available light and weather conditions for best effect, and more. In the evening, Roy and Justin will provide feedback and constructive critique of your images to ensure that the quality of your work improves significantly over the course of the trip.

Included in the package are round-trip flights (Winnipeg – Churchill – Seal River Lodge), all lodging, all meals, all beverages, all photographic instruction and bear guiding, and Canadian tax. Though most Visionary Wild workshops and expeditions are packaged and priced as single-occupancy by default, this workshop is packaged as double-occupancy at $10,950 per person, due to the limited number of guest rooms and beds at  Seal River Lodge (its eight rooms sleep a maximum of sixteen guests), and the fact that their operating season is relatively short, which makes the single-occupancy supplement for this trip $6,550. We will be happy to help pair up individual participants of the same gender who wish to share a room, but we can certainly accommodate those who wish to book single-occupancy rooms.

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Expedition November 29 - December 6, 2015
Limit 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.

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Vision January 11 - 15, 2016
Limit 10 spaces | $4,195* Register

Refine your vision and harness the aesthetic potential of one of the world's harshest landscapes.

At first glance, the largest National Park in the Lower 48 appears to be nothing more than a stark and desolate wasteland, desiccated by sun and wind in the rain shadow of the High Sierra and the Panamint Range. Depite its reputation as a land of extremes – the driest place in the United States, the lowest elevation in North America, and the hottest place on Earth – the careful observer will find Death Valley to be a place of elegant and haunting beauty.

This outdoor classroom is a highlight of our Vision series, a special program of advanced instruction focusing on refining your personal creative vision, composition, digital workflow and image processing, designed and presented by renowned photographers Jack Dykinga and John Shaw, with support by Visionary Wild's Justin Black. All three instructors have photographed Death Valley extensively and know its secrets well. We will photograph at a variety of locations in the park during our morning and evening field sessions, with emphasis on the dunes, salt formations, water courses, and sculpted designs in the canyons. At this time of year, the days are comfortable and the nights are cool, and the weather can bring anything from sunny bluebird skies to dramatic boiling storm clouds. Death Valley always serves up surprises, which is one reason we like to return time and time again.

Packaged with single-occupancy lodging at Stovepipe Wells Hotel, located ideally near Mesquite Flat Dunes, and with all meals, snacks and beverages included, this is a superb workshop scenario. We hope you'll join us!

About Vision Workshops

The creation of a truly great finished photograph is part of a process from initial concept and vision through execution in the field to digital workflow and creation of a high-quality, final master file ready for printing or publication. Vision workshops with John Shaw and Jack Dykinga address the two greatest challenges faced by photographers as they advance. The first of these is the tendency for original creative vision to reach a plateau in development, and the second is a digital workflow in need of streamlining and refinement to make the most of your images.

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Vision January 18 - 22, 2016
Limit 10 spaces | $4,195* Register

Refine your vision and harness the aesthetic potential of one of the world's harshest landscapes.

At first glance, the largest National Park in the Lower 48 appears to be nothing more than a stark and desolate wasteland, desiccated by sun and wind in the rain shadow of the High Sierra and the Panamint Range. Depite its reputation as a land of extremes – the driest place in the United States, the lowest elevation in North America, and the hottest place on Earth – the careful observer will find Death Valley to be a place of elegant and haunting beauty.

This outdoor classroom is a highlight of our Vision series, a special program of advanced instruction focusing on refining your personal creative vision, composition, digital workflow and image processing, designed and presented by renowned photographers Jack Dykinga and John Shaw, with support by Visionary Wild's Justin Black. All three instructors have photographed Death Valley extensively and know its secrets well. We will photograph at a variety of locations in the park during our morning and evening field sessions, with emphasis on the dunes, salt formations, water courses, and sculpted designs in the canyons. At this time of year, the days are comfortable and the nights are cool, and the weather can bring anything from sunny bluebird skies to dramatic boiling storm clouds. Death Valley always serves up surprises, which is one reason we like to return time and time again.

Packaged with single-occupancy lodging at Stovepipe Wells Hotel, located ideally near Mesquite Flat Dunes, and with all meals, snacks and beverages included, this is a superb workshop scenario. We hope you'll join us!

About Vision Workshops

The creation of a truly great finished photograph is part of a process from initial concept and vision through execution in the field to digital workflow and creation of a high-quality, final master file ready for printing or publication. Vision workshops with John Shaw and Jack Dykinga address the two greatest challenges faced by photographers as they advance. The first of these is the tendency for original creative vision to reach a plateau in development, and the second is a digital workflow in need of streamlining and refinement to make the most of your images.

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Expedition May 6 - 14, 2016
0 of 35 spaces left | $* Waitlist


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Join us for this unique once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The world's preeminent natural history photographers – Frans Lanting, Tom Mangelsen, and Art Wolfe – have joined forces to lead an expedition to photograph the extraordinary wildlife spectacle on a little volcanic archipelago that changed the world forever: Galapagos. The Masters of Nature Photography and Visionary Wild are pleased to present this luxury photo adventure, aboard our 210-foot private expedition vessel, M/V Eclipse. Learn as you travel through the islands, with instruction and guidance by Lanting, Mangelsen, and Wolfe, and generous support by a first-rate team of assistant instructors and the best naturalist guides in the Galapagos. This is a rare opportunity to spend one-on-one quality time with each of these great masters, both in the field and onboard. During our daily excursions in this wondrous wildlife hotspot, you will experience close-up encounters with species found nowhere else on the planet, including giant tortoises, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, and Darwin's finches, among others.

We will make regular landings at locations that offer unparalleled opportunities to observe and photograph wildlife behavior up-close and eye-to-eye, with the dramatic volcanic landscape as a backdrop. Aboard Eclipse, enjoy informal discussions and image reviews with the masters. Eclipse's spacious and luxurious staterooms, impressive amenities and relaxing public spaces, fine dining, and the services of an expert crew and our certified Galápagos naturalists. Presentations by Lanting, Mangelsen, and Wolfe will inspire creativity and help elevate your photographic technique, while our expert naturalists paint the rich and colorful picture of the Galapagos' remarkable natural history. The itinerary is designed to optimize opportunities for photography, but at its core this is a first-class natural history tour of the Galapagos, making this a perfect opportunity for non-photographer guests to join in as well.

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Expedition May 13 - 21, 2016
0 of 39 spaces left | $* Waitlist


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Join us for this unique once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The world's preeminent natural history photographers – Frans Lanting, Tom Mangelsen, and Art Wolfe – have joined forces to lead an expedition to photograph the extraordinary wildlife spectacle on a little volcanic archipelago that changed the world forever: Galapagos. The Masters of Nature Photography and Visionary Wild are pleased to present this luxury photo adventure, aboard our 210-foot private expedition vessel, M/V Eclipse. Learn as you travel through the islands, with instruction and guidance by Lanting, Mangelsen, and Wolfe, and generous support by a first-rate team of assistant instructors and the best naturalist guides in the Galapagos. This is a rare opportunity to spend one-on-one quality time with each of these great masters, both in the field and onboard. During our daily excursions in this wondrous wildlife hotspot, you will experience close-up encounters with species found nowhere else on the planet, including giant tortoises, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, and Darwin's finches, among others.

We will make regular landings at locations that offer unparalleled opportunities to observe and photograph wildlife behavior up-close and eye-to-eye, with the dramatic volcanic landscape as a backdrop. Aboard Eclipse, enjoy informal discussions and image reviews with the masters. Eclipse's spacious and luxurious staterooms, impressive amenities and relaxing public spaces, fine dining, and the services of an expert crew and our certified Galápagos naturalists. Presentations by Lanting, Mangelsen, and Wolfe will inspire creativity and help elevate your photographic technique, while our expert naturalists paint the rich and colorful picture of the Galapagos' remarkable natural history. The itinerary is designed to optimize opportunities for photography, but at its core this is a first-class natural history tour of the Galapagos, making this a perfect opportunity for non-photographer guests to join in as well.

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Expedition August 9 - 18, 2016
Limit 6 spaces | $11,995* Register

The finest wild Jaguar photography experience, bar none.

Excellence is in the details.

It was once inconceivable that there could be a place where one could reliably photograph wild jaguars in their home habitat, and better yet, in the open along a river bank and in great light. Incredibly, such a place exists in the Pantanal wetland of Brazil, at an inland river delta where at least 47 individual jaguars presently for prey along 70 miles of riverbank. Years of research have proven it to be by far the world's most productive location for photography of wild jaguars. On all of our prior trips here our guests have enjoyed multiple jaguar sightings each day, lasting anywhere from five minutes to seven hours (most sightings are typically in the range of twenty to ninety minutes). On a previous trip, we have discovered a mother and daughter that had not been known to local biologists, and members of our group got to assign the nicknames that biologists will use for reference. We were also very fortunate to see one of our favorite cats, a seven-year-old male nicknamed "Mick Jaguar," stalk and take down a 200-pound, eight-foot-long caiman in the open and from close range  (see photos in the gallery and link to the video at the bottom of the page). Rivers and channels provide easy access for our wide and stable aluminum speedboats to locations frequented by the big cats in the dry season. This may be the closest thing to an African photo safari in the New World.

The Brazilian Pantanal, the world's largest continental wetland, is a luxuriant forest-savannah mosaic in central-western Brazil that is home to the highest density of jaguars in the world. It is also simply the greatest wildlife spectacle of Latin America. In addition to its jaguars, it harbors the world’s largest parrots (hyacinth macaw), the world’s largest snake (anaconda), the world’s largest otter, and many other species in astonishingly high densities.

Award-winning nature photographer and BBC wildlife cinematographer Jeff Foott, and Visionary Wild founder Justin Black, both Pantanal veterans, look forward to sharing their experience, expertise, and good humor on this expedition for just six passionate photographers. The small group size ensures ample space to maneuver for photography from the boats, and a great deal of time one-on-one with the instructors.

Our floating hotel for six nights of the trip is the brand-new and spacious Jaguar Suites, offering the finest guest rooms in all the Pantanal, purpose-built to support serious photographers in comfort. Moored to the riverbank where the Piquiri and Cuiabá Rivers meet in the heart of the best jaguar action, when compared with other accommodations in the area this privileged location on the water permits us to spend an additional two hours per day with the cats, and at the best times of day for quality of light, comfortable temperatures, and scenic beauty in the Pantanal. The suites feature scenic river views, powerful air-conditioning, high-speed Wi-Fi, and desktops with multiple power outlets for charging laptops and batteries. We have secured enough space at the Jaguar Suites for each of our six guests to have a private room with en-suite bathroom. The suites accommodate double-occupancy very comfortably as well. In 2015, the upper deck restaurant and common areas at the floating Jaguar Suites have undergone a stylish renovation and expansion, offering guests a great place to relax in comfort and modern elegance.

We will also spend a total of three nights (the first two nights, and the final one) at the Pantanal Wildlife Center’s Fazenda Santa Tereza, an intimate and comfortable lodge located on an expansive estate on the banks of the wildlife-rich Pixaim River. This trip coincides with the surreal magenta bloom of numerous large Ipê trees on the lodge grounds and across the Pantanal landscape. Unique wildlife observation towers include one located just 16 meters from an active nest of habituated Jabiru storks – perfect at first light in the morning – and a second one in gallery forest along the banks of the river. Virtually guaranteed wildlife sightings here include giant otters, capuchin monkeys, numerous bird species including toco toucans, hyacinth macaws, rufescent tiger heron, anhingas, crested caracaras, various fishing hawks, stunning yellow-billed cardinals, an the extraordinary great potoo. Jaguars and tapirs are sometimes seen that Fazenda Santa Tereza as well.

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Expedition November 4 - 20, 2016
Limit 50 spaces | $* Register

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

Designed for photographers by photographers, this expedition to the Falklands and South Georgia Island – led by Frans Lanting, Tom Mangelsen, Art Wolfe, and Justin Black – will take you to the places we would choose to make the most of the southern ocean's greatest wildlife spectacle, based on our collective experience.

Exclusive charter of Polar Pioneer – a 235-foot expedition ship with accommodation limited to fifty guests in simple but comfortable cabins – facilitates our goals for this trip. We have chosen to do this voyage on this ship because it offers a degree of intimacy that makes for superior interactions and experience for everyone, both aboard and on shore. If you wish to travel with the best photographers to the best places and are willing to sacrifice a little luxury in favor of a world-class photographic adventure, then there is no better trip, and this one may never be repeated.

Our expedition begins in Santiago, Chile, with an introductory reception, dinner at one of the capital's finest restaurants, and a restful night at Hotel Atton–El Bosque. The next morning, we fly to the Falkland Islands, where our ship awaits. Embarking on Polar Pioneer, we kick off our photography with an excursion to the largest breeding colony of black-browed albatrosses in the world, numbering around 200,000 pairs, on Steeple Jason Island. At nearby Saunders Island, colonies of rockhopper and gentoo penguins await us as well.

We then move on to South Georgia. along the way, dolphins ride the ship's bow wave and whale sightings are common. This rugged island of towering mountains covered in immense glaciers hosts extraordinary gatherings of penguins and pelagic birds species of albatross – wandering, grey-headed, and sooty, southern elephant seals, and Antarctic fur seals. In spring, currents of krill sweep up from the Weddell Sea, providing food for one of the planet’s greatest wildlife concentrations. In addition to the vast colony of 200,000 king penguins at Salisbury Plain, we will visit a colony of yellow-crested macaroni penguins at Hercules Bay, the historic whaling base of Grytviken, and more, photographing sublime landscapes too along the way.

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We’ve chosen to let go of Antarctica itself on this trip, in favor of focusing our time on the best concentrations of wildlife in the entire Subantarctic and Antarctic regions. The timing of our trip means South Georgia looks its best: the newly returned penguin colonies are clean, and fresh snow still blankets the mountains looming just inland of the coast.

Learn as we travel, with instruction throughout by Lanting, Mangelsen, and Wolfe. This is a rare opportunity to spend time with these masters, both in the field and onboard. Visionary Wild founder Justin Black will serve as assistant instructor, and Christine Eckstrom and Sue Cedarholm will be on hand for technical support. We have recruited Denise Landau, a first-rate expert on South Georgia Island and governor of the American Polar Society, to act as the ship’s expedition leader. Natural history interpretation and guiding will be provided by the ship’s staff.

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Polar Pioneer: Our exclusive charter vessel provides an excellent platform for this voyage, in part due to her strength, maneuverability, and ability to navigate waters that can be impassable to larger ships. Those who appreciate small-group travel will enjoy the passenger limit of fifty guests. Every other commercial expedition vessel operating in these waters carries at least twice as many passengers, resulting in a far less intimate experience. With our relatively small group and large photo leader team, everyone will have excellent access to leaders and expedition staff, landing operations are more efficient, and we'll be able to get to know one another much better.

Built in Finland as a polar and oceanographic research vessel (Ice Rating 1A), Polar Pioneer was never meant to be a luxury cruise ship. She has been transformed, however, into a highly effective expedition vessel offering an excellent balance of capability, functionality, and comfort. She offers simple-yet-comfortable, clean, well-maintained cabins that offer plenty of room for you and your gear, as well as pleasant public spaces for presentations by trip leaders, informal gatherings, and group meals. Superb expedition support includes a large fleet of zodiacs (seven plus a spare), highly experienced expedition staff, and the top-notch crew, who welcome guests on the ship's spacious bridge. Outside areas on the ship provide excellent platforms at various levels for photographing marine fauna, icebergs, and the seascape.

We have coordinated with Polar Pioneer's new kitchen staff, headed by two talented chefs from New Zealand, to develop a menu offering meals that are tasty, wholesome, and satisfying, with emphasis on fresh ingredients and healthy options. We are assembling an excellent wine list for the trip as well!

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