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 date

Workshops by: type | Location | Focus | Upcoming | Past
Expedition April 9 - 17, 2016
2 of 9 spaces left | $* 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 

"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 ten guests.

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

 

 

 

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Expedition May 6 - 14, 2016
Limit 40 spaces | $* Register


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Note to Single Travelers: We may have limited availability for those seeking to share double-occupancy staterooms aboard M/V Eclipse. Please contact us if interested.

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.

Click "read more" at below right for:

  • Itinerary
  • Pricing by stateroom class

 

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Expedition May 13 - 21, 2016
Limit 40 spaces | $* Register


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Note to Single Travelers: We may have limited availability for those seeking to share double-occupancy staterooms aboard M/V Eclipse. Please contact us if interested.

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.

Click "read more" at below right for:

  • Itinerary
  • Pricing by stateroom class

 

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Creative Core May 30 - June 3, 2016
Limit 10 spaces | $3,950* 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 30 - July 8, 2016
0 of 6 spaces left | $4,975* Waitlist

 

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...

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Expedition August 9 - 18, 2016
0 of 6 spaces left | $11,995* Waitlist

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 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 at the Fazenda Santa Tereza as well.

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

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Expedition August 18 - 27, 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 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, though most sightings are typically in the range of twenty to ninety minutes. On previous trips, our groups have identified three jaguars that had not been known to local biologists – a mother and daughter, and a large male –  that members of our group earned the privilege to bestow with 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 night, and the final two) 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 at the Fazenda Santa Tereza as well.

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

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Expedition September 22 - October 4, 2016
Limit 18 spaces | $18,995* Register

 

Thank you for another fantastic VW expedition! What a privilege to experience and photograph this wild and remote area in comfort while accompanied by the best leaders offering a wealth of experience and a willingness to share their immense talents. Thanks to Justin’s meticulous advance planning, all the arrangements were perfect throughout. –David & Kathy R., 2015 Greenland participants


Greenland's remote and little-visited ice fjords hold a wealth of arctic grandeur. Towers, arches, and walls of ancient blue ice thrust skyward from the water's surface. Steep-walled fjords, dramatic coastal mountains, tundra in autumn color, the vast Greenland Ice Sheet, and the Aurora Borealis combine to form an incomparable landscape. Join this world-class team of leaders – Frans Lanting, Christine Eckstrom, and Justin Black – for this exclusive expedition to Greenland's east and west coasts, photographing this arctic wilderness in all its glory. With generous photographic instruction and attentive support along the way, explore the largest fjord system in the world – Scoresbysund on the east coast – aboard the three-masted expedition vessel Rembrandt van Rijn, followed by a four night stay on Greenland's west coast at Ilulissat, where the massive Jakobshavn Glacier calves some 35 billion tons of icebergs into the sheltered waters of Ilulissat Icefjord, the only UNESCO World Heritage Site on the world's largest island. Excursions by helicopter for doors-off aerials, and by boat to get in among the massive bergs, yield extraordinary photographic opportunities.


Greenland was a trip of a lifetime. Imagine fog-shrouded icebergs, vibrant red/orange/yellow tundra, unreal sunsets, glistening ice and snow, colorful villages clinging to rocky headlands, Northern Lights and so much more under the generous guidance of world class instructors. I learned so much while having lots of fun. Thank you! –Ann L., 2015 Greenland participant


Our adventure begins in Reykjavik, Iceland, the world's northernmost capital. Guests will be greeted upon arrival at Keflavik International Airport and transferred to the elegant Hotel Holt, conveniently located in the city center. After an introductory group meeting and dinner at Grillmarket, one of Reykjavik's finer restaurants, the next morning we board our private charter flight to Greenland's east coast. Awaiting our arrival will be our private floating base camp for the first eight days in Greenland: the 168-foot, three-masted schooner Rembrandt van Rijn (click here for more about RVR). 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 up to eighteen participants and three leaders, though Rembrandt normally sleeps 33 guests in addition to her twelve-person crew and expedition staff. 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 whales if we encounter them, as well a variety of coastal and pelagic birds such as fulmars, kittiwakes, and gannets. The ethereal glow of the Aurora Borealis dancing in the night sky over the iceberg-dotted fjords and bays will be the sight of a lifetime. While underway, in the ship’s common area Frans, Justin, and the ship's expedition staff will make inspiring and instructive presentations, and offer constructive feedback on participants’ photographs during group critique sessions, with the aid of the ship's four large LCD screens.

To make this special itinerary possible, we have arranged three private charter flights aboard modern twin-engine turboprop airliners (Dash-8 and Bombardier Q200). After disembarking Rembrandt, a private charter flight whisks us across the world's second largest icecap to the west coast and the small fishing port 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 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. We will also make excursions on a local charter boats to approach towering icebergs, and hikes on the autumn tundra with stunning views of Disko Bay and the coastal mountains.

Click "read more" at below right for the detailed itinerary...

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Expedition October 10 - 25, 2016
Limit 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...

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Advanced November 2 - 8, 2016
Limit 12 spaces | $11,950* Register

 

TESTIMONIALS FROM OUR 2015 POLAR BEAR GUESTS:

I have to say that was the best trip ever!!!!!  So many great photos and a really great group. I would love to go back, but I think the mark that was set would be hard to beat. –J. Furber

Loved our polar bear trip. Many thanks for putting together such a great trip. Am very pleased with my pictures and still trying to decide which ones to cull out. –J. Allen

Back from the shores of Hudson Bay on a polar bear photo safari with lots of images. Great adventure with expert assistance from Visionary Wild. The experience of a lifetime! –K. Cochran

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 – reserved for our group's use only – 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 Chris Linder at Nanuk, a remote wilderness lodge positioned in prime polar bear territory on the shores of Hudson Bay east of the mouth of the Nelson River in Manitoba. This is a very special opportunity to intensively photograph polar bear behavior close-up in the wild. 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. This area is unusual in also enjoying excellent sightings of wolves, and it's also one of the few places on Earth where polar bears and black bears can be seen together.

Our 2015 Polar Bears – Eye to Eye workshop with Roy Toft was a great success, and our group was blown away by the quality of the photography and the overall experience. Nanuk is a very 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 assistant instructor Chris Linder 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 Chris 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 – Nanuk Lodge), all lodging, all meals, all beverages, all photographic instruction and bear guiding, partial gratuities, 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 $11,950 per person, due to the limited number of guest rooms and beds at Nanuk Lodge (lodge normally accommodates sixteen guests, but we are limiting our group size to twelve and buying out the remaining beds to ensure that our group has exclusive use of the lodge), 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.

Click "read more" at below right to continue...

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Expedition November 4 - 20, 2016
-1 of 49 spaces left | $* Waitlist

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

Note for Single Travelers: We may have limited availability for those seeking to be paired with a roommate in double-occupancy. Please contact us if interested.

Designed for photographers by photographers, this expedition to the Falklands and South Georgia Island will be led by Frans Lanting, Tom Mangelsen, Art Wolfe, and Justin Black. We will take you to the places we love and will allow us 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, 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. After a restful night at Hotel Atton–El Bosque, we fly the next morning to the Falkland Islands, where our ship awaits. Once we set sail, the decks of the Polar Pioneer provide a great vantage point for sightings of Commerson's dolphins, imperial cormorants, and more. On our first full day of the trip, we plan to kick off our photography with an excursion to one of the largest breeding colonies of black-browed albatrosses in the world, numbering around 200,000 pairs, on Steeple Jason Island. At nearby Saunders Island, colonies of rockhopper, king, and gentoo penguins await us as well. As always, weather, wind, and sea conditions will dictate our exact landing site.

We then move on to South Georgia. Along the way, we hope to see 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 – including wandering, grey-headed, light-mantled sooty, black-browed, and royal albatrosses – as well as 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 sub-Antarctic region. 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!

PRICING and ITINERARY – Click "read more" at below right:

See below for Highlights, Travel arrangements, and Inclusions/Exclusions.

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Expedition December 4 - 11, 2016
Limit 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

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