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!

 

Limit 10 spaces | $4,245* Register
Creative Core February 26 - March 2, 2018 | View other workshops

Big Bend with Jack Dykinga and Justin Black

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Join our deeply engaging and inspirational instructors, Jack Dykinga and Justin Black, in one of the sunniest parts of the United States in winter: southern Texas. We plan to navigate around the high mountains and into the canyons of Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park for a customized itinerary to visit locations scouted for the most favorable photography instruction and practice.

Big Bend National Park, one of the least-visited national parks, and Big Bend Ranch State Park comprise desert, mountain, and river landscapes that are home to a remarkable variety of cacti, birds, and reptiles. This region’s layers of mountain ranges within the "bend" of the Rio Grande River make for majestic and breathtaking views to experience first-hand, particularly in the crisp air during crimson sunsets. We will be visiting the parks before spring break, when even these overlooked destinations can get busy.

Jack and Justin will lead eight field sessions to explore the uncountable location options for photography. Big Bend National Park alone has over 100 miles of paved road, giving us access to stunning vistas and geological wonders. At the same time, they won't get in the way of our photos, since Big Bend also contains the largest expanse of roadless public lands in Texas. 

Field sessions begin the evening of the first day. Each day, we'll be out to photograph during the best morning and evening light, following the daily weather conditions to make the most of opportunities. During mid-day hours, Jack and Justin will make presentations on composition and creativity, light and exposure, digital workflow, and maximizing image potential through post-production. Refreshments and light snacks are provided in the classroom. During field sessions, Jack and Justin will offer hands-on guidance on composition and technique, suggest creative ways to capture the mood and spirit of the place, and provide tips on creative use of aperture, shutter speed, filtration, multiple exposures, exposure blending, and panoramic stitching.  Classroom sessions to review and critique your photographs will empower you to revisit and improve upon your creative ideas during subsequent outings. Friday morning will be the final field session, followed by critique until we adjourn at 3:00 pm.

The group size is limited to ten participants, and the package includes the workshop itself from 1:00 pm on February 26 to 3:00 pm on March 2, four nights’ accommodations, all meals, snacks, and drinks (including adult beverages with dinner). The rate for single-occupancy is $4,245; double-occupancy is $3,745 per-participant; for those who do not need lodging arrangements provided, the rate is $3,245.

Workshop will be operated under a commercial use authorization issued by Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park.

Jack Dykinga

Taste life and strive to make a difference.

Pulitzer Prize (1971 Feature Photography) winning photographer Jack Dykinga blends fine art photography with documentary photojournalism.  He is a regular contributor to Arizona Highways and National Geographic Magazines.  His ten wilderness advocacy, large format books include: Frog Mountain Blues, The Secret Forest, The Sierra Pinacate, The Sonoran Desert, Stone Canyons of the Colorado Plateau, and Desert: The Mojave and Death Valley.   He authored and photographed Large Format Nature Photography, a “how to” guide to color landscape photography.  Jack Dykinga’s ARIZONA, released in 2004 from Westcliffe Publishers, a compellation of Jack’s best Arizona images and: IMAGES:  Jack Dykinga’s Grand Canyon released by Arizona Highways, May 2008, reflect Jack’s love for Arizona. Jack’s latest book: “Capture the Magic” released November 2013, delves into composition and the creative process.

Dykinga’s fine art images were featured along with the work of Ansel Adams in an Arizona Highways Magazine retrospective shown at the Phoenix Art Museum, The Center for Creative Photography, and the Museum of Northern Arizona. 

Recent work includes:

Texas/Mexican border highlighting the biological diversity of protected areas along the Rio Grande River, appearing in the February 2007, National Geographic Magazine.

His illustration of the wilderness lands of Native American Tribes is featured in the August 2010 National Geographic.

Jack has donated his talents to the International Leagure of Conservation Photographer’s RAVEs (Rapid Assessment Visual Expeditions) El Triunfo, Mexico, 2007; Balandra 2007, Baja Sur, Mexico; the Yucatan 2009, Yucatan, Mexico; the U.S./ Mexico Borderlands 2009, as well as the 2010 Patagonia, Chile RAVE and the September 2010 Great Bear RAVE in B.C. Canada.

In each case, Jack and teams of celebrated photographers from all over the world pooled their collective talents to highlight potential environmental degradation.

 In April 2010, Jack’s image: “Stone Canyon” was selected as one of the forty best Nature Photographs of all time by the International League of Conservation Photographers, and he received: The Outstanding Photographer of the Year Award from the Nature Photographers of North America in March 2011. He has recently been named the recipient of NANPA's 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award.

He and his wife Margaret live in Tucson, Arizona.  His daughter Camille Bralts lives in Champaign-Urbana. His son Peter Dykinga lives in Tucson and manages Jack’s image collection.

Arizona PBS Interview with Jack:

An Interview with pre-digital Jack:

The Nature Conservancy's Director of Photography interviews Jack

National Geographic gallery of Jack's Native Lands project

Video: Profile of Jack Dykinga

Video: Interview with Jack Dykinga

Learning to See: an interview with Jack Dykinga

Visit Jack's website

 

Justin Black

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

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

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

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

In 2015, Justin was invited to serve as a judge for the Nature's Best Photography Africa competition. He has also served as an editor and contributor to numerous award-winning photo book projects, including Galen Rowell: A Retrospective; Freshwater: The Essence of Life; The Wealth of Nature: Ecosystem Services, Biodiversity, and Human Well-Being; Our National Parks: America's Natural Heritage; as well as Flying South: A Pilot's Inner Journey by Barbara Rowell. His limited edition fine prints are represented by G2 Gallery in Venice, California, and by The Art of Wild in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.

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

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

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

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

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

Justin Black's limited editions portfolio

Justin's Outdoor Photographer Profile

Bringing focus and meaning to your photography

The Top 40 Nature Photos Project

Justin's Conservation Photography Projects

 

Justin’s Camera Bag

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

Camera Bodies:

Nikon D810 (x2)

Lenses

24mm f/3.5 PC-E tilt-shift Nikkor

45mm f/2.8 PC-E tilt-shift Nikkor

85mm f/2.8 PC-E tilt-shift Nikkor

24mm f/1.4 Sigma Art

35mm f/1.4 Sigma Art

50mm f/1.4 Sigma Art

85mm f/1.8 G AF-S ED Nikkor

200mm f/4 AF-D Micro-Nikkor

500mm f/4 AF-S Nikkor

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

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

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

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

 

Nikon TC-14EII teleconverter

Nikon TC-20EIII teleconverter

 

Flash

Nikon SB-900

Nikon SB-700

Assorted Nikon TTL flash cables

Lumiquest soft boxes

Rogue Flashbender

Rosco gels

 

Filters

Nikon Circular Polarizer II

Singh-Ray Vari-ND

Tiffen WW IRND neutral density filters

 

Tripods

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

Gitzo 1028 with RRS BH-25 ballhead

 

Photo Packs

MindShift Rotation 180 Pro

Mindshift Rotation 180 Horizon

Mindshift FirstLight 30L

Think Tank Photo (TTP) Streetwalker Harddrive

TTP Streetwalker Pro

TTP Airport Addicted V2.0

TTP Airport Acceleration

TTP Urban Disguise 50 V2.0

 

Highlights

  • Two of the Southwest's most visually spectacular parks: Bed Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park.
  • Eight field photography sessions, morning and evening
  • Timed during period of lower visitor count
  • Composition
  • Working the scene to capture its essence
  • Using various qualities of light to best effect
  • Exposure and tonal control
  • Essentials of digital workflow
  • Optimizing images in post-processing
  • Three constructive group critique sessions
  • Packaged with single-occupancy lodging, all meals and beverages
  • Accommodations at two highly-rated hotels with meeting rooms

Accommodations & Travel

 

We meet at Chisos Mountains Lodge located in the center of Big Bend National Park to stay from Monday to Wednesday morning. Our group has Casa Grande rooms reserved together, all of which will be on the ground floor. This lodge is in an ideal location to spend time in and around the mountains of the national park; Lajitas Golf Resort in Lajitas, TX – a very comfortable hotel tucked away in the rugged desert landscape – will be our basecamp and indoor classroom from Wednesday to Friday and offers different locations for field sessions as it is located between the national park and Big Bend Ranch State Park. All rooms are Officer's Quarters Jr. Suite rooms, which include a king bed, superior furnishings, and some of the most desirable views in the resort.

airplane iconcar iconfoot iconweather icon
The closest airports served by major airlines are the Midland International Air and Space Port (MAF) and El Paso International Airport (ELP). We will carpool to field locations, with drive times ranging from a few minutes to an hour. Locations will be accessed on foot via easy walks ranging from a few feet to a 1/2-mile on good trails. Although typically sunny, clouds are possible and snow rare. Plan for any temperatures, from below freezing to as high as 80°F.

Expectations

Jack and Justin will make any enthusiastic photographer will feel right at home in this workshop. They are both very experienced photo leaders and often lead Visionary Wild workshops in tandem. From critique sessions to field drives to sharing meals together, the atmosphere is friendly, open, and noncompetitive. Jack and Justin easily foster an environment where learning, purpose, and camaraderie are strongly valued. We also supply materials in advance of the session to make sure all participants are prepared to get the most out of the experience.