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!

 

Limit 6 spaces | $8,750* Closed
Expedition August 20 - 29, 2013 | View other workshops

Jaguars of the Pantanal with Jeff Foott and Justin Black

Map via Google

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 happen to be 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 incredibly high densities.

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, but without the crowds and malaria.

Award-winning nature photographer and film maker Jeff Foott – a Pantanal veteran – and Justin Black of Visionary Wild look 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 is anchored right in the middle of the best jaguar action.  This privileged location permits us to spend up to two hours 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. We have secured enough space on the "Flotel" for each of the six participants to have a private en-suite room if they wish (double-occupancy clients save $650 per person; single-occupancy rate is $9,400).

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

Why did we choose this location? First and foremost, it is centrally-located to allow fast boat access to Jaguars spotted on any part of the 80 kilometers of river that years of research have proven to be the world's most productive location for photography of wild jaguars. Experience indicates that river sections further upstream or downstream have proven to be considerably less productive for both jaguars and giant otters.

Itinerary:

20 August (Tuesday): Land late morning in Cuiaba, Brazil, flying in from São Paulo International Airport. Drive to SouthWild Pantanal Lodge, across the Transpantaneira highway, stopping for lunch and to photograph as opportunities present themselves along the way.  Arrive to SouthWild Pantanal in mid afternoon.  Overnight at SouthWild Pantanal Lodge.

21 Aug. Wed: Early in the morning, after breakfast and a possible visit to the lodge by Toco Toucans, leave the lodge to drive south 80 km (50 miles) to the end of the road at Porto Jofre.  Travel upstream 15.5 km (in 30 min) by boat to the SouthWild Jaguar Flotel.   Check-in and then go out in smaller Jaguar search boats, with one person per row.  Lunch at noon, followed by a break until 2:00 pm, when we head out again in the boats to search for jaguars and giant otters.   This afternoon outing will run until sunset. Overnight at SouthWild Jaguar Flotel.

22 Aug. Thurs: Morning and afternoon boat outings (a total of 8 h of boat outings during the period between 600 am and 600 pm) in search of Jaguars, giant otters, tapirs, caiman, macaws, and other fauna.  Overnight at the SWJF.

23 Aug. Fri: Rinse and repeat

24 Aug. Sat: Rinse and repeat

25 Aug. Sun: Rinse and repeat

26 Aug.  Mon: After breakfast, check-out of the flotel and boat in one large transfer boat for the 15.5 km to the river port downstream and board a vehicle for the transfer back up the last 80 km to SouthWild Pantanal Eco-Lodge.  Lunch at SouthWild Pantanal, and rest until the afternoon outing starts at 2:30 pm.  Overnight at SouthWild Pantanal.  SWP has a number of spectacular photo opportunities that are not possible at the Jaguar Flotel. Overnight at SouthWild Pantanal.

27 Aug.  Tues: Two outings at SouthWild Pantanal (one boat ride per day, and also work the two wildlife observation towers and a number of species of habituated large vertebrates such as Marsh Deer, Jabiru Storks, hawks that take fish from the water's surface, Ringed Kingfishers that do the same, and Brown Capuchin monkeys in the forest trails at the lodge.  Overnight at SWP lodge.

28 Aug. Weds: SWP for the day and for overnight.

29 Aug.  Thurs: Out at 9:00 am (after breakfast) to drive 2.5-3.0 h back to the Cuiabá Airport to catch a flight to São Paulo to then fly home that evening.

Jeff Foott

Having had the good fortune to work and play in nature most of my early life, it became obvious to me I had to spend my life outside. After working as a National Park Ranger, a mountain climbing guide, ski patrolman and a few other lesser jobs, I went back to school in marine biology – doing research on sea otters – which at the time were in trouble.

I had come to love these creatures and set out naively thinking that if I could only portray to the public how they survived the ocean storms, raised their young and the danger of extinction they faced, then the otters would be saved. This was my entry into photography.

I first took still pictures for lectures and magazine articles, and then started a film about this unique creature. The film was eventually shown in over 100 countries to an estimated 100 million people. I had found a platform to speak from. Forty-five films later, for National Geographic, Discovery, PBS, BBC, etc., I am still working to portray what we have in the natural world and its importance to our spiritual direction in a time where the calm of nature is less reflected in our beings than at any other time in the history of man.

Along the way, I added art to the biology. My last film for The Living Eden series, Patagonia, was a finalist for an Emmy for cinematography. I have continued to shoot still pictures, now often focusing on the simple beauty and design of nature. I have changed mediums from large format 4x5 to shooting digital. I have never lost touch with the original motivation of using the photography medium to show people the wonder and beauty of nature, and making a plea for sanity in dealing with our natural environment. Pristine natural environments provide optimum opportunity for each of us to experience the calm and wholeness of our being, which is really our natural state. While searching for photographs, I rely on what touches my center, and then with logic and camera I make the effort to pass on to the viewer the original feeling that drew me to the scene. – Jeff Foott

 

Jeff has been widely published in the U.S. and internationally.  National Geographic magazine, National Geographic Traveler, Audubon, National Wildlife magazine, Nature's Best, Outdoor Photographer, Sierra Club calendars, Audubon calendars are a few of the publications that use his work. He is an Associate of the International League of Conservation Photographers and has donated his time and photographic talent to the ILCP Borderlands and Patagonia Rapid Assessment Visual Expeditions (RAVEs).

Video: Jeff's project to fight the pine bark beetle invasion

Video: Jeff gets an amusing endorsement deal! (circa 1982)

Justin Black

How do you find your unique creative vision? Start with your passions.

Justin Black is a nature photographer, writer, and photo workshops organizer, and an affiliate member of the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP). Through both Visionary Wild and Galen Rowell's Mountain Light Photography (1999 – 2009) he has created inspiring and effective educational photographic experiences for thousands of passionate photographers. The editors of Outdoor Photographer magazine have referred to him as a "photo safari expert," and he has been recognized by American Photo and Sunset magazines as one of the world's leading photo workshops and travel organizers.

A professional photographer since 1995, before founding Visionary Wild he served the ILCP as Executive Director, and for seven years was General Manager and Curator of Mountain Light Gallery.
Justin's photographs have been published by magazines such as National Geographic Adventure, Sierra, Sunset, American Photo, Outdoor Photographer, Rock & Ice, and Nature Conservancy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Limited editions portfolio

Outdoor Photographer Profile

Bringing focus and meaning to your photography

The Top 40 Nature Photos Project

 

 

Justin’s Camera Bag

 

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

 

Camera Bodies (Nikon)

 

D810 (x2)

 

Lenses (all Nikkor)

 

24mm f/3.5 PC-E tilt-shift

45mm f/2.8 PC-E tilt-shift


85mm f/2.8 PC-E tilt-shift


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

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

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

200mm f/4 AF-D Micro-Nikkor


200-400mm f/4 G AF-S ED VR

500mm f/4 G AF-S ED VR


TC-14EII teleconverter


TC-20EIII teleconverter

 

 

Flash


 

Nikon SB-900

Nikon SB-700

Assorted Nikon TTL flash cables

Lumiquest soft boxes

Rogue Flashbender

Rosco gels

 

Filters

 

Singh Ray LB Polarizer

Singh-Ray Vari-ND


Singh-Ray Graduated ND (1-5 stop, hard and soft)

Tiffen WW IRND neutral density filters

 

 

Tripods

 

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


Wimberley Sidekick for long lens work

Gitzo 1028 with RRS BH-25 ballhead

 

 

 

Photo Packs

 

Mindshift Rotation 180 Panorama

MindShift Rotation 180 Pro


Think Tank Photo Streetwalker Harddrive


TTP Airport Addicted V2.0


TTP Airport Acceleration


TTP Urban Disguise 50 V2.0


TTP Retrospective 7

Highlights

  • The best opportunity in the world to reliably photograph wild Jaguars close-up and active in their native habitat.
  • Excellent opportunities to get close to Giant Otters, Yacare Caiman crocodiles, Hyacinth Macaws, Tapirs, Jabiru Storks, and other South American wildlife.
  • Generous expert photographic instruction and experienced guiding throughout the trip by Jeff Foott, Justin Black, and English-speaking naturalist guides.
  • Photography outings each morning and evening, making the most of the best light, from three to four hours in duration.
  • Each photographer will have their own seating row in the boats, with only 3 photographers per boat.
  • Comfortable accommodations on the water and close to the action
  • Satisfying meals and all beverages included

Accommodations & Travel

 
  • Four nights at SouthWild Pantanal: air-conditioned bedrooms with private hot-shower bathrooms.
  • Five nights at SouthWild Jaguar Flotel: air-conditioned cabins with private hot-shower bathrooms. The location of the Flotel couldn't be better for photography in the area. This is a small hotel on a river barge in the Pantanal wilderness, however, and accommodations are functional, clean, simple, and comfortable enough, but not designed for luxury.
  • All meals and beverages from lunch on August 20 through breakfast on August 29.
airplane iconcar iconboat iconweather icon
Tourist visa is required for entry to Brazil. Fly from point of origin to Cuiabá. Brazil, via São Paulo (GOL airlines Flt #1624, leaves São Paulo International Airport at 10:10 am, arriving Cuiabá at noon). All ground transfers are provided from Cuiabá on. Boat excursions are included from the lodge and flotel. Temps at this time of year typically range from 70ºF at dawn to a high of 94ºF in mid afternoon. Weather is typically clear to overcast with a small chance of rain showers. Medical note: Though there is little risk of tropical diseases in the dry season, a yellow fever vaccination is recommended at least ten days before the trip. No other vaccinations are necessary, nor is malaria prophylaxis.