Which workshop is appropriate for my skill level? Am I ready for a Creative Core Workshop, an Advanced Workshop, a Vision Workshop, or an Expedition?

Visionary Wild offers four types of experiences as part of our scheduled program: Creative Core, Advanced, and Vision Workshops, and Expeditions. Each is designed with specific goals and expectations of participants. Our workshop descriptions provide some detail about topics to be covered and recommended level of experience. Of course, since no one is issuing black-belts in photography, “level” is subjective and hard to define. If you have any questions at all about whether you will feel at home in a given workshop, please let us know. We are more than happy to chat with you and to help match you to the experience that will be most personally rewarding.

Creative Core Workshops (two instructors, 10–12 participants)

These four or five-day programs deal heavily with composition, working with different qualities of light, exposure control, essential gear and creative tools, fundamentals of digital workflow, and introduction to digital exposure blending and stitching. It’s an intense schedule of photography in the field followed by projected lectures, constructive group critiques, and discussion. These are outdoor photography workshops, and the emphasis of any individual participants’ work is up to them, whether they wish to focus on landscape, macro, wildlife, abstraction, color, black and white, HDR, panoramics, multiple exposures, or all of the above. Any enthusiastic photographer will feel right at home in a Creative Core workshop. In our experience, most participants at this level are solid intermediates with a couple relative beginners and a few rather advanced photographers thrown in the mix. We have over two decades of experience successfully accommodating a range of experience levels.

Very often, we are amazed by the way in which the beginners teach the advanced students a thing or two about unrestrained creative openness and serendipity, while the expertise of the more advanced students can be a welcome resource for the rest of the class. We supply materials in advance of the session to get newcomers up to speed with basics having to do with digital camera set-up and techniques, essential equipment recommendations, and other guidelines to ensure that everyone is ready to make the most of the experience.

Advanced Workshops (two instructors, up to 10 participants)

Our Advanced workshops offer the next step for those who feel they are photographing competently, with a good grasp on the technical fundamentals of digital cameras, exposure, essential tools, and a functioning digital workflow, and who are ready to focus on more specialized areas of study. These might include visual storytelling, developing personal style, advanced digital techniques, dedicated wildlife photography, fine digital printing, shooting for conservation campaigns, targeting a participant’s work to specific markets, or intensive fieldwork with a planned outcome, such as an exhibit or book.

Vision Workshops (three instructors, up to 10 participants)

These intensive, small-group, four-day workshops with Jack Dykinga, John Shaw, and Justin Black feature a dual focus, first on field work aimed specifically at developing your vision to a higher plane of creativity to find unexpected and overlooked compositions and, second, on mastering a smart, logical, and comprehensive digital workflow from RAW image capture in the field to a final master file ready for output as a fine print. Vision workshops are open to photographers who are competent with the essentials of composition and exposure control, very comfortable with their equipment, and familiar with a basic digital workflow.

Expeditions (typically two or three instructors, 4–10 participants*)

Expeditions are about photography with a purpose. From one to three weeks in duration, usually international, they feature an emphasis on field work in optimal conditions. In addition in guidance and instruction in the field and during critique sessions, we offer direction to those who are interested in finding outlets for their work to photograph with particular applications in mind. These may include gallery exhibition, magazine or book publication, conservation campaigns, a blog, etc. Participants are expected to be comfortable with the fundamentals of photography, their equipment, and basic digital workflow. To ensure that instruction can be maintained at a high level throughout, Expeditions are for intermediate to advanced photographers, and their companions.

* Most groups number 4 to 10 participants, though some expedition models may accommodate a larger group well, always with a generous supply of instructors relative to the group size.