Workshops by Focus: Creativity

Expedition January 3 - 18, 2020
6 spaces | $* Register

A Fly-In – Fly-Out, Antarctic Photography Expedition Aboard S/V Ocean Tramp

We are pleased to offer this intimate private-charter photographic expedition, including round trip flights across the Drake Passage, 13-nights aboard S/V Ocean Tramp, and instruction and guiding throughout by award-winning photographer and polar specialist Daisy Gilardini.

Ocean Tramp is a 20-meter motor-sail yacht (specifically, a ketch) which is operated by personal friends of Visionary Wild founder Justin Black, whose company Quixote Expeditions specializes in small-vessel Antarctic adventures. In an era when Antarctic expedition vessels are getting larger and larger, Ocean Tramp offers a wonderful way to go with a very small group of just six guests, on a comfortable vessel that can get into locations that bigger ships can’t reach.

Spend almost two weeks on location at Antarctica, rather than wasting precious days “rockin’ and rollin'” on the Drake Passage crossing. As master of the boat, Daisy will work with Captain David Roberts (U.K.) to choose the best route to maximize the photographic opportunities at destinations along the way, responding to local conditions of weather and ice. Captain Roberts and Ocean Tramp’s experienced first mate and cook have an excellent track record of delivering exceptional Antarctic experiences for their guests.

Ocean Tramp normally sleeps eight guests in four cabins, but we are limiting the group size to six to eliminate crowding onboard, in the Zodiac, and at landing sites. The boat’s Shackleton Suite features an en-suite private bathroom, while the other three cabins share two bathrooms.

If you have any questions at all, please let us know. We hope you will join us on this Antarctic adventure!

Contact info@visionarywild.com or +1-202-558-9596 to register or for more information.

VIDEO OF S/V OCEAN TRAMP IN ANTARCTICA
https://youtu.be/jAPXU7DH1ik

VIDEO TOUR OF INTERIOR OF S/V OCEAN TRAMP, by our friend Laura Smith of Quixote-Expeditions: https://youtu.be/YNpsYLosl3M

Antarctica by Yacht
Map via Google
Expedition November 10 - 23, 2019
8 spaces | $13,500* Register

PATAGONIA is vast and beautiful, and there is a great deal most visitors never see, beyond the most iconic locations like Torres del Paine National Park. While Torres represents a wonderful microcosm of what Patagonia has to offer, Chile’s little-visited Aysén region is home to soaring peaks, pristine lakes, wild turquoise rivers, water-sculpted marble caves, unique forest ecosystems, and numerous glaciers descending from the massive Northern Patagonian Ice Field. It offers the passionate photographer incredible opportunities for landscape, wildlife, and cultural photography, without the tour buses of the more heavily touristed Patagonian destinations. Put simply, the wild serenity, scenic splendor, and photographic potential will amaze you.

We are visiting in the Patagonian spring, when the lupines and other wildflowers are in full bloom, the rivers are roaring, and the high peaks still wear veils of fresh snow. Our trip begins in Balmaceda, Chile (population approximately 500), the location of the regional airport, with direct flights from Chile’s capital of Santiago. You will be met upon exit from baggage claim by our local guide team, headed by our good friend Ruth Cohen, regarded as one of the very best guides in Chilean Patagonia. Then, transfer to Patagonia House, Ruth’s excellent boutique lodge on the outskirts of the regional capital of Coyhaique (population approx. 50,000). We’ll all gather there and then kick off our adventure with a festive welcome dinner to get to know everyone. The next morning after breakfast, we will load up in our two spacious passenger vans, with plenty of extra room for gear and luggage, and proceed on the rest of our journey through the stunning landscape of Aysén. We will take helicopter flights to do aerial photography over the ice cap, a jet boat trip to the face of the Leones Glacier, and an excursion by boat through the fjords. See below for the full itinerary.

Eddie Soloway and Justin Black will lead this small group of passionate photographers (limited to eight guests) on field sessions adapted to make the most of the best opportunities presented to us by light, weather, landscape, and wildlife each day. Emphasis will be on creative photography and hands-on mentoring in the field. We’ll photograph when the conditions and light are their best, and we’ll gather for presentations on composition, visualization, qualities of light, technique, and digital workflow at times when light or weather aren’t as conducive for photography (during harsh mid-day light, if a rain storm passes through, etc.). We will also hold constructive critiques of participant photographs and then head back out into the field to apply what we’ve learned.

Excursions will include helicopter flights (each guest gets one flight) to do doors-off photography over the spectacular Northern Patagonian Ice Field and Monte San Valentin, a jet boat excursion from Lago Leones to the Leones Glacier, a boat excursion to Marble Caves on Lago General Carrera, as well as a day aboard a private expedition boat to visit the fjords and the Jorge Montt Glacier. Via our group vehicles, we’ll visit spectacular locations that we have explored on prior visits. Some locations involve short hikes, but nothing particularly strenuous.

Each evening, we will gather for a nice dinner and some good Chilean wine. Then it’s off to bed to get some rest, as most mornings we’ll be out around 5:30am to take advantage of the incredible pre-dawn light. Breakfasts and lunches will be handled in relation to our photographic activities, served either at our accommodations or local restaurants, or in the field as a gourmet picnic.

read more…

Hidden Patagonia
Map via Google
Creative Core April 15 - 19, 2019
10 spaces | $3,750* Register

In April, Great Smoky Mountains National Park comes alive with the elegant rebirth of spring in the Appalachian mountains on the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. Redbud and dogwood trees bloom, fragile new pale-green leaves emerge, and fog brings simplicity to the chaotic the forest backdrop. This is without question one of the gems of the National Park system, and along with neighboring Blue Ridge Parkway it represents the highlight of Appalachia. Offering easy to a wide range of opportunities from expansive landscapes to intimate designs, it’s one of our favorite outdoor photographic “classrooms,” visiting midweek in spring means no crowds in this, the most visited park in the entire National Park System.

Your instructors are two of the most highly regarded – and down to earth – fine art photographers working today: Charles Cramer and Tillman Crane. Working in digital color and black & white platinum-palladium processes respectively, both are renowned as master print makers and natural teachers.

Charles is a masterful artist renowned for landscape photographs that derive their power from their elegant composition and gentle calm. He has returned again and again to Appalachia over the years to draw inspiration from its atmospheric interplay of light, mist, and elegant graphics. 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.

Tillman’s motto is, “Great photographs can be made in ordinary places.” His distinctive platinum photographs combine 19th-century materials with a 21st century aesthetic. A former photojournalist turned artist, he loves Great Smoky National Park and Appalachia in general for its combination of nature and fascinating human history. Tillman has been teaching the art and craft of photography for three decades, and his passion for the artform continues to evolve as he embraces modern digital technology while simultaneously furthering his mastery of the platinum/palladium print. The focus of his imagery remains on the unique qualities of light and sense of place in the ordinary, everyday locations where he lives and teaches.

This all-inclusive workshop will be based at Highland Manor Inn, in the village of Townsend, Tennessee, the quietest of the three “gateway” communities accessing the park. This base of operations provides excellent access to field locations. Along with eight field sessions, Charlie and Tillman will present projected lectures on composition, light, exposure control, anticipating and working through changing conditions, and essentials of digital image development. A minimum of two constructive critique sessions will provide essential feedback on images created by participants in the workshop.

This Creative Core workshop deals heavily with developing creativity and visualizing compositions, with a great deal of photography in the field. Creative Core workshops are general outdoor photography workshops designed to expose participants to the full creative toolbox, but the emphasis of individual participants’ work is up to them. Whether they wish to focus on classic landscape, abstraction, color, black and white, HDR, panoramics, multiple exposures, or all of the above, any enthusiastic photographer will feel right at home in this workshop. Together, Charlie and Tillman have over 75 years of combined experience successfully accommodating a range of experience levels within the context of photographic workshops.

In advance of the session, we supply materials to get everyone up to speed with fundamentals of digital camera set-up and technique, as well as essential equipment recommendations, recommended packing list, and other guidelines to ensure that everyone is ready to make the most of the experience. Users of film are of course welcome to join the workshop, though in order to participate in critiques they will need to either bring digital files or prints of existing work.

Note: This workshop is operated under National Park Service Commercial Use Authorization.

Great Smoky Mountains
Map via Google
Expedition January 16 - 30, 2019
6 spaces | $* Register

A Fly-In – Fly-Out, Antarctic Photography Expedition Aboard S/V Ocean Tramp

Note: As this opportunity has developed on very short notice, and availability of berths is limited, this expedition may be booked directly through our office only. Please either call us at +1-202-558-9596 or email Director of Operations Jennifer Woolley at jennifer@visionarywild.com to book this trip or be added to the waiting list. Online bookings for this expedition are not enabled at this time.

We are pleased to offer this intimate private-charter photographic expedition, including round trip flights across the Drake Passage, 12-nights aboard S/V Ocean Tramp, and instruction and guiding throughout by National  Geographic photographer Michael Melford.

Ocean Tramp is a 20-meter motor-sail yacht (specifically, a ketch) which is operated by personal friends of Visionary Wild founder Justin Black, whose company Quixote-Expeditions specializes in small-vessel Antarctic adventures. In an era when Antarctic expedition vessels are getting larger and larger, Ocean Tramp offers a wonderful way to go with a very small group of just six guests, on a comfortable vessel that can get into locations that bigger ships can’t reach.

Spend almost two weeks on location at Antarctica, rather than wasting precious days “rockin’ and rollin'” on the Drake Passage crossing. As master of the boat, Michael Melford will work with Captain David Roberts (U.K.) to choose the best route to maximize the photographic opportunities at destinations along the way, responding to local conditions of weather and ice. Captain Roberts and Ocean Tramp’s experienced first mate and cook have an excellent track record of delivering exceptional Antarctic experiences for their guests.

Ocean Tramp normally sleeps eight guests in four cabins, but we are limiting the group size to six to eliminate crowding onboard, in the Zodiac, and at landing sites. The boat’s Shackleton Suite features an en-suite private bathroom, while the other three cabins share two bathrooms.

Travel insurance and medical evacuation insurance are required for this trip.

If you have any questions at all, please let us know. We hope you will join us on this Antarctic adventure!

Contact info@visionarywild.com or +1-202-558-9596 to register or for more information.

VIDEO OF S/V OCEAN TRAMP IN ANTARCTICA
https://youtu.be/jAPXU7DH1ik

VIDEO TOUR OF INTERIOR OF S/V OCEAN TRAMP, by our friend Laura Smith of Quixote-Expeditions: https://youtu.be/YNpsYLosl3M

Antarctica by Yacht II
Map via Google
Creative Core February 4 - 8, 2019
10 spaces | $3,995* Register

The Sierra Nevada’s majestic snow-capped mountains, dramatic winter skies and striking sunrises and sunsets make for amazing photographic opportunities. Join master photographers Jim Stimson and Jerry Dodrill for an exploration of the unique winter landscapes of the Eastern Sierra. The workshop will be based at Creekside Inn in Bishop, California, located in America’s deepest valley between the dramatic Eastern Sierra Nevada and the White Mountains, both rising to over 14,000 feet.

Jim and Jerry will lead a total of eight early morning and sunset field trips to locations in the Owens Valley, Eastern Sierra Nevada and the White Mountains. Emphasis will be on hands-on instruction, helping participants refine their seeing, improve their landscape compositions and technical skills, and generally empower them to take control of their photography and move to the next level. Participants will learn techniques for photographing in cold weather conditions and managing exposure for snowy scenes ranging from low to high contrast. Lectures and projected constructive group critique sessions emphasize refining your creative vision and developing a strategic image processing workflow utilizing Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.

This well-rounded workshop is appropriate for any level of outdoor photographer. The pace of our schedule and group mealtimes provide perfect opportunities to casually discuss a wide range of topics of interest to participants. This will be an upbeat learning environment in which we intend to inspire, energize, and engage. Participants will hone their photographic vision, compositions and techniques during quality time in the field and in the classroom with Jim and Jerry. Both instructors possess an intimate knowledge of the area and share a vast wealth of knowledge when it comes to getting the most from dynamic, fast-changing landscape scenarios.

Sierra Winter
Map via Google
Expedition January 3 - 18, 2019
6 spaces | $* Register

A Fly-In – Fly-Out, Antarctic Photography Expedition Aboard S/V Ocean Tramp

Note: As this opportunity has developed on very short notice, and availability of berths is limited, this expedition may be booked directly through our office only. Please either call us at +1-202-558-9596 or email Director of Operations Jennifer Woolley at jennifer@visionarywild.com to book this trip or be added to the waiting list. Online bookings for this expedition are not enabled at this time.

We are pleased to offer this intimate private-charter photographic expedition, including round trip flights across the Drake Passage, 13-nights aboard S/V Ocean Tramp, and instruction and guiding throughout by award-winning photographer and polar specialist Daisy Gilardini.

Ocean Tramp is a 20-meter motor-sail yacht (specifically, a ketch) which is operated by personal friends of Visionary Wild founder Justin Black, whose company Quixote-Expeditions specializes in small-vessel Antarctic adventures. In an era when Antarctic expedition vessels are getting larger and larger, Ocean Tramp offers a wonderful way to go with a very small group of just six guests, on a comfortable vessel that can get into locations that bigger ships can’t reach.

Spend almost two weeks on location at Antarctica, rather than wasting precious days “rockin’ and rollin'” on the Drake Passage crossing. As master of the boat, Daisy will work with Captain David Roberts (U.K.) to choose the best route to maximize the photographic opportunities at destinations along the way, responding to local conditions of weather and ice. Captain Roberts and Ocean Tramp’s experienced first mate and cook have an excellent track record of delivering exceptional Antarctic experiences for their guests.

Ocean Tramp normally sleeps eight guests in four cabins, but we are limiting the group size to six to eliminate crowding onboard, in the Zodiac, and at landing sites. The boat’s Shackleton Suite features an en-suite private bathroom, while the other three cabins share two bathrooms.

If you have any questions at all, please let us know. We hope you will join us on this Antarctic adventure!

Contact info@visionarywild.com or +1-202-558-9596 to register or for more information.

VIDEO OF S/V OCEAN TRAMP IN ANTARCTICA
https://youtu.be/jAPXU7DH1ik

VIDEO TOUR OF INTERIOR OF S/V OCEAN TRAMP, by our friend Laura Smith of Quixote-Expeditions: https://youtu.be/YNpsYLosl3M

Antarctica by Yacht
Map via Google
Expedition July 5 - 22, 2019
6 spaces | $14,500* Register

There’s a reason why two of the six participants from our 2017 expedition to the Kyrgyz Republic chose to join us again in 2018, and one of them is joining us again in 2019. Yes, this trip is that good.

When I tell folks that my wife Lena is from Kyrgyzstan, the response is usually, “She’s from Kurdistan?!?” or alternatively, “What? Where is that?” This little-known Silk Road country is, however, home to some of the most awe-inspiring mountain landscapes on the planet, as well as an immensely hospitable culture. Visionary Wild’s first overland expedition there in July 2017 grew out of a lengthy scouting trip that Lena and I made in 2015. This photographic adventure, from the idyllic alpine lake of Song Kul to the glacier-borne basecamp beneath mighty Khan Tengri – one of the world’s most beautiful peaks rising to 23,000ft. – represents what Lena and I consider the finest of the Kyrgyz mountain landscape. We have fallen in love with the Kyrgyz people and their spectacular homeland, and look forward to sharing this wonderful corner of the planet with you! –Justin Black

For lovers of wild mountain landscapes, the Kyrgyz Republic is among the most underrated travel destinations on Earth. The Tien Shan mountains rise higher and wilder than the Rockies, Sierra Nevada, Alps, or Andes, and peaks below 16,000-feet in elevation are barely considered worthy of a name. Along the Chinese border, the Kokshaal-Too range soars to truly Himalayan heights, on the world’s most northern summits over 7,000 meters: Khan Tengri and Jengish Chokusu (known in the Soviet era as Pik Pobeda). The landscape beneath the peaks is sublime: glacier-carved gorges, slopes covered in alpine wildflowers, raging rivers, spruce and fir forests, and high pastures (“jai-loh”) where semi-nomadic Kyrgyz graze small herds of horses, yaks, sheep, and cattle during the short summer.

The sheer scale and beauty of this landscape is phenomenal, but what is almost unimaginable is the fact that it is barely on the tourist radar. The Kyrgyz Republic is an emerging democracy, and the Kyrgyz people take their freedom seriously. Though it is commonly referred to as the “Switzerland of Central Asia,” this complimentary moniker neglects to recognize the nation’s unique qualities. A former Soviet republic with relatively slow economic growth, Kyrgyzstan has been spared excessive development, so what it lacks in infrastructure is made up for with glorious wild nature. The Kyrgyz people are a Turkic nomad culture that boasts the longest history of all currently extant groups in Central Asia. Over the last fifteen centuries, their language and culture have survived the Uyghurs, the Chinese, the Mongols, various Khaganates, the Russians, the Soviet era, and the challenges of building a viable democracy while surrounded by less democratic neighbors.

Our adventure begins in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, where our guests will be met at the airport and transferred to the thoroughly modern Golden Tulip Hotel, offering excellent accommodations in the city center. There, we will welcome you to our introductory orientation and first dinner as a group. Early the next morning, we load up into our four-wheel-drive caravan, comprising three highly capable and comfortable Toyota Sequoias to carry our six guests, plus Visionary Wild photo leaders Justin Black and Jerry Dodrill, both veterans of three prior trips to Kyrgyzstan. Two additional 4WD support vehicles will carry gear, provisions, our cook and camp staff. From there, we set off on our spectacular route through the Tien Shan mountains.

Our itinerary is designed to take advantage of prime light on the landscape morning and evening each day. After dark, clean air and absence of light pollution provide a superb opportunity for nighttime landscapes including the Milky Way. We will also enjoy excellent opportunities for photography of the Kyrgyz people themselves, in the high pastures, at our yurt camps, and at the sprawling and colorful Osh Market in Bishkek. This will be a highly productive and immensely fun photographic adventure that you’ll never forget.

Note: We advise anyone considering this adventure to read “The Realities of Travel in the Kyrgyz Republic,” farther down on this page.

Kyrgyz Republic
Map via Google
Expedition April 5 - 16, 2019
10 spaces | $10,995* Register

This combination of workshop and expedition is a unique hit! The leaders knew the area, worked well together, imparted their knowledge with enthusiasm and congeniality to each participant and the local staff were professional and helped us as a group and individually at all times. The logistics and lodgings were excellent. An outstanding photographic experience! –S. Dater, 2015 Patagonia participant

We returned home with lots of great memories and many images to review and process! It was a very well organised trip & thanks again to the entire team. We will definitely look at Visionary Wild when planning future trips. –G. & H. Cuff, 2018 Patagonia participants

Patagonia: the word is synonymous with awe-inspiring landscape, and Torres del Paine National Park is both its crown jewel and a microcosm of the most aesthetically appealing features of the region. This hybrid program – part expedition, part workshop, led by National Geographic photographer Michael Melford and Justin Black is designed to maximize opportunities to execute well-crafted and compelling photographs that capture the spirit of this incredible place. Participants will have ample time to get to know Torres del Paine during its colorful autumn splendor, and your photography there will benefit from the opportunity to revisit fruitful situations to apply lessons learned and to take advantage of changing weather and light. The goal is for each participant to come away from this trip with a strong body of work, a new body of knowledge, new friendships, rejuvenation, and priceless memories.

Puma Extension – Save $1,000: Those interested in the best opportunity on Earth to photograph wild pumas up close should note that this itinerary is preceded immediately by and can be combined perfectly with our Pumas of Patagonia trip led by Roy Toft, March 30-April 6. Joining us for both itineraries entitles you to a $1,000 discount on the combined cost (on a per person basis, in either single or double-occupancy).

Torres del Paine National Park and Biosphere Reserve is the centerpiece of Patagonia – the ultimate distillation of the region’s most inspiring qualities. It’s one of those rare places that routinely exceeds the grandest dreams of even the most experienced photographers. Peaks and spires thrust abruptly upward above turquoise lakes, forcing moisture-laden winds off the ocean to form soaring lenticular clouds that catch the fiery sunrise and sunset alpenglow. Glaciers spill down from the Patagonian icecap, depositing cobalt blue icebergs on the shores of Lago Grey. Endemic lenga and ñirre tree forests glow in hues of gold and copper in the southern autumn. Rivers tumble over cascading waterfalls as condors ride thermals on the flanks of the Cordillera del Paine mountains. Guanacos, foxes, and pumas range over the golden pampas, and flamingoes wade the lagoons. At this time of year, the days are a manageable length with extended periods of dawn and dusk, and the sun never rises more than 35 degrees above the horizon. The quality of light is spectacular.

 

Michael Melford and Justin Black will lead the small group on field sessions adapted to make the most of the prevailing conditions each day. Emphasis will be on photography and hands-on mentoring in the field. We’ll photograph when the conditions are good, and we’ll gather in the lodge for presentations on light, composition, visualization, technique, and digital workflow at times when light or weather aren’t as conducive for photography (during harsh mid-day light, if a rain storm passes through, etc.). We will also hold constructive critiques of participant photographs, and then head back out into the field to apply what we’ve learned.

Excursions will include trips by ferry to visit the calving face of Glacier Grey and, via our group vehicles, spectacular locations around the park that we have discovered and scouted thoroughly on numerous prior visits. Some locations involve short hikes, but nothing particularly strenuous.

 

Torres del Paine
Map via Google
Expedition March 30 - April 7, 2019
6 spaces | $13,995* Register

Pumas, wild and up close, beneath the Torres del Paine

Pumas are secretive survivors, adapting to a tremendously diverse range of environments. Also known as Mountain Lions or Cougars (all are Puma concolor), they sometimes thrive in surprisingly close proximity to humans, but rarely permit themselves to be seen, much less photographed up close and eye-to-eye. So, you might wonder what our secret is to reliably photographing wild pumas up close on this Patagonian expedition.

To find out for yourself, make pictures you never imagined were possible, and learn a great deal about puma behavior in the process, join Roy Toft on a huge private ranch, Estancia Laguna Amarga, with panoramic views over one of the most beautiful landscapes on Earth: Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park. A healthy population of wild pumas roam free there, moving at will between the ranch and park, and we have mastered the art of successfully tracking these apex predators through this landscape of rolling hills beneath the Paine range.

Based out of excellent accommodations at Hotel Las Torres,  we will observe and photograph many of these amazing cats at distances that can be surprisingly close. With the help of our top notch Puma spotters and guides, our 2018 group had several close-up encounters, including one individual that calmly approached us within thirty feet. Note that the pictures illustrating this page are all the product of Visionary Wild’s 2018 Puma trip, not a “greatest hits” collection accumulated over the course of several visits or months on location. The simple fact is that the opportunities here are unrivaled anywhere in the Puma’s expansive range. Please watch the videos below (made on an iPhone) for a first-hand glimpse of Pumaland:

Though we will use 4WD vehicles to drive into the vicinity of puma sightings, and may sometimes see pumas from our vehicles, venturing out on foot yields the best opportunities. Throughout the itinerary, we expect to walk a total of about one to two miles each day in hilly, uneven terrain, split between two field sessions. We do recommend that you are fit enough to hike with gear, including tripods and long telephotos. With advance notice, porters can be made available to assist with carrying equipment (at additional cost); please inquire for further details.

On the way back to Punta Arenas, we are including a special day to visit the private “Cerro Palomares” Condor Roost Cliff where Andean Condors fly. From convenient perches, we will photograph scores of “below-horizon fly-bys” of Andean Condors, the world’s heaviest flying creature. The roost cliff normally has 60-90 Andean Condors on it in the late afternoon as they fly back and forth below the horizon, offering the world’s most spectacular photo opportunities for this impressive bird.

Landscape Extension – Save $1,000: This itinerary dovetails perfectly with our Torres del Paine landscape photography workshop, led by National Geographic photographer Michael Melford, and Justin Black of Visionary Wild, which meets the Puma group at Hotel Las Torres on April 6, and ends in Punta Arenas on April 16. Joining us for both itineraries entitles you to a $1,000 discount on the combined cost (on a per person basis, in either single or double-occupancy).

Throughout the itinerary, we expect to walk a total of about one to two miles in hilly terrain each day, split between two field sessions. For a more pleasant photographic experience, we do recommend that you are fit enough to hike with gear, including tripods and long telephotos. Porters are available (by advance request and at additional cost) to assist with carrying equipment; please inquire for further details. Though we may sometimes see pumas from our vehicles, venturing out on foot yields the best opportunities.

PLEASE NOTE:

  • VISA: No visa is required for stays less than 90 days.
  • TRAVEL INSURANCE: We always strongly recommend arranging travel insurance. 
  • FLIGHTS: No flights are included. Please contact us if you would like recommendations regarding flights to and from Punta Arenas, Chile (airport code: PUQ)
  • GRATUITIES: Baseline tips are included. Our local guides, driver, and lodging staff work very hard to make our experience in Chile be the best it can be, and Visionary Wild budgets for a healthy group tip in recognition of their services. Guests are encouraged to tip additionally if they would like to recognize exceptional service.
  • CAMERA EQUIPMENT: Participants will carry their camera body and lens; a tripod is optional. Porters are available to assist with carrying equipment; please inquire for further details.
Pumas of Patagonia
Map via Google
Creative Core January 21 - 25, 2019
10 spaces | $3,695* Register

We are excited to operate our third workshop based in Moab, Utah, as we visit Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. We are going during the best time of the year—early. After researching visitor statistics, there is no better time: “In January of 2016, about 20,000 people visited Arches. By May, that number jumped to more than 200,000, according to the National Park Service.” Roads will be open and soft sheets of snow will illuminate the Parks. Arches National Park contains the highest density of natural arches in the world and Canyonlands National Park has multiple waterways carving away at the sandstone buttes and ephemeral pools with frozen surfaces, making for an impressive and serene landscape like no other.

Instructors Jeff Foott and Jerry Dodrill will lead eight field sessions to explore remote coves, canyons, creeks, the Colorado River, and striking desert ecology. Jeff lives nearby and can frequently be found exploring will know a lot of locations to scout and use for instruction. 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.

During field sessions, Jeff and Jerry 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.

Any enthusiastic photographer will feel right at home in this workshop. Jeff and Jerry are both experienced at successfully accommodating a range of experience levels in photography workshops. We supply materials in advance of the session to make sure all participants are prepared to get the most out of the experience.

The group size is limited to ten participants.

Workshop will be operated under a commercial use authorization issued by Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park.

Moab
Map via Google
Vision January 14 - 18, 2019
10 spaces | $3,400* Register

Refine your vision and harness the aesthetic potential of one of the world’s most geological wonders.

Wondering where to travel in winter? Bryce Canyon National Park is one of our favorite places to go to view some of the most unique opportunities during this season of snow dustings and low-angled light. Ponderosa pines, fir-spruce forests, slot canyons, horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters, and pink cliffs cover this area. Utah has a wealth of public lands to explore and challenge your photographic senses, and Bryce Canyon National Park in among the most rewarding.

This greatest concentration of hoodoos in the world – an unearthly landscape to be sure – was formed over hundreds of millions of years of deposition and erosion. Bryce’s colorful rock spires are oriented perfectly to catch the reflected morning light, resulting in a glowing fairytale landscape providing endless options for creative photography. Join us to capture its splendor.

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 Cliff Zenor. Both instructors have photographed Bryce 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 hoodoos and sculpted designs in the canyons.

Packaged with single-occupancy lodging at the Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel (a Best Western Plus property), located ideally near the park entrance, 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. Our Vision workshops 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.

On Creative Vision:

When we experience images that really move us, we are aware that they have impacted us, though we may not know what it was in the image that made it so powerful. In other words, we know when it works, but can be difficult to quantify. I try to teach the time-honored components of fine photography to build successful compositions…even in ordinary situations. People ask me, “What’s the difference between a pro and an amateur?” My response is, (a) the amateur has better equipment and (b) the professional photographer must create a publishable image every single time. To be successful, the professional must be the practitioner of a disciplined approach to situations that will result in compelling images that inform and move people. This workshop is designed to unleash that creativity in my students. –Jack Dykinga

Both in the classroom and in the field, Jack and Cliff will focus on advanced seeing and ways to unlock creativity in situations that require conceptual and compositional ingenuity on the part of the photographer. In other words, they will answer the questions, “How do I make a great photograph when the subject matter and composition don’t suggest themselves to me?” and, “How do I avoid photographic clichés when the situation offers up a beautiful composition that is almost too obvious?”

Great photography starts with an impression – an idea, concept, or feeling – channeled through the photographer’s vision, but it doesn’t end there. Once you have a great composition in the bag, it takes good processing skills and aesthetic sensibilities to produce the best final image suitable for showcasing your talents.

Cliff will focus on teaching a logical, effective development workflow that ensures the highest quality for your work, as well an image archive that is stable, consistent, and retrievable over the long term, and that ultimately liberates rather than burdens.  He will cover the step-by-step process from shooting RAW files in the field to optimizing the final image.

Workflow topics to be covered include:

  • File formats for shooting and for archiving
  • Exposing for digital
  • Downloading
  • File naming
  • Cataloging of images: Lightroom or other software
  • Keywording and captioning
  • The many uses of metadata
  • Processing the raw file
  • Using the tools in Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom’s Develop Module
  • Color spaces for the best results in different media
  • Creating panoramic images
  • Creating focus-stacked images
  • Color adjustment strategies
  • Localized adjustments and masking
  • Controlling luminosity and contrast
  • Sharpening for output
  • Color-managed workflow from input to output

As always, both instructors will be present to teach, assist, and socialize with participants throughout the workshop. The workshop includes eight field sessions, classroom lectures and ample hands-on instruction, critiques. Group meals provide an informal setting to socialize and address specific interests that may not be covered during lectures and classroom discussion.

The class size is limited to a small group of ten to ensure that everyone gets the time and attention they need, both in the field and the classroom.

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.

Note: Visionary Wild, LLC operates this workshop under a permit issued by the National Park Service at Bryce Canyon National Park.

Bryce in Winter
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Vision December 2 - 6, 2019
10 spaces | $4,250* Register

Pastel pinks and blues reflect from the sky at dawn and dusk, painting gypsum dunes that roll elegantly across the landscape. The tapestry of light and shadow, form and texture tempts the creative mind. Yuccas punctuate the landscape, rising in striking graphic isolation against the sand and sky. This is New Mexico’s White Sands National Monument, home of the world’s largest gypsum dune field, covering 275 square miles, set in a high desert basin with a dramatic mountain backdrop. This will be our outdoor classroom for this Vision series workshop, a special program of advanced instruction designed and presented by world-renowned photographers Jack Dykinga and John Shaw. Jack is recognized as one of the greatest practitioners and teachers in the history of landscape photography, and John is a natural photographic educator who is relied upon by some of the most successful photographers in the business to keep them current on digital workflow practices and Photoshop techniques. The combination is a uniquely effective and enjoyable experience.

Our fieldwork during this workshop will emphasize the search for elegant, carefully crafted compositions while anticipating the flow of light over the landscape each morning and evening. Opportunities abound, from classic near-far compositions that use yuccas to anchor foreground design, to abstracts harnessing the tones, curves and colors of the dunes, to broad panoramics and macro subjects.

The creation of a 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. read more…

White Sands
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Expedition July 5 - 22, 2018
6 spaces | $14,500* Register

When I tell folks that my wife Lena is from Kyrgyzstan, the response is usually, “She’s from Kurdistan?!?” or alternatively, “What? Where is that?” This little-known Silk Road country is, however, home to some of the most awe-inspiring mountain landscapes on the planet, as well as an immensely hospitable culture. Visionary Wild’s first overland expedition there in July 2017 grew out of a lengthy scouting trip that Lena and I made in 2015. This photographic adventure, from the idyllic alpine lake of Song Kul to the glacier-borne basecamp beneath mighty Khan Tengri – one of the world’s most beautiful peaks rising to 23,000ft. – represents what Lena and I consider the finest of the Kyrgyz mountain landscape. We have fallen in love with the Kyrgyz people and their spectacular homeland, and look forward to sharing this wonderful corner of the planet with you! –Justin Black

For lovers of wild mountain landscapes, the Kyrgyz Republic is among the most underrated travel destinations on Earth. The Tien Shan mountains rise higher and wilder than the Rockies, Sierra Nevada, Alps, or Andes, and peaks below 16,000-feet in elevation are barely considered worthy of a name. Along the Chinese border, the Kakshaal-Too range soars to truly Himalayan heights, on the world’s most northern summits over 7,000 meters: Khan Tengri and Jengish Chokusu (known in the Soviet era as Pik Pobeda). The landscape beneath the peaks is sublime: glacier-carved gorges, slopes covered in alpine wildflowers, raging rivers, spruce and fir forests, and high pastures (“jai-loh”) where semi-nomadic Kyrgyz graze small herds of horses, yaks, sheep, and cattle during the short summer.

The sheer scale and beauty of this landscape is phenomenal, but what is almost unimaginable is the fact that it is barely on the tourist radar. The Kyrgyz Republic is an emerging democracy, and the Kyrgyz people take their freedom seriously. Though it is commonly referred to as the “Switzerland of Central Asia,” this complimentary moniker neglects to recognize the nation’s unique qualities. A former Soviet republic with relatively slow economic growth, Kyrgyzstan has been spared excessive development, so what it lacks in infrastructure is made up for with glorious wild nature. The Kyrgyz people are a Turkic nomad culture that boast the longest history of all currently extant groups in Central Asia. Over the last fifteen centuries, their language and culture have survived the Uyghurs, the Chinese, the Mongols, various Khaganates, the Russians, the Soviet era, and the challenges of building a viable democracy while surrounded by less democratic neighbors.

Our adventure begins in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, where participants will be met at the airport and driven to the thoroughly modern Golden Tulip Hotel, offering excellent accommodations in the city center. There, we will welcome you to our introductory orientation and first dinner as a group. Early the next morning, we load up into our four-wheel drive caravan, comprising three highly capable and comfortable Toyota Sequoias to carry our six guests, Visionary Wild photo leaders Justin Black and Jerry Dodrill, as well as our team’s Kyrgyzstan native and Russian-language interpreter, Lena Black, Visionary Wild Director of Operations. Two additional 4WD support vehicles will carry gear, provisions, and camp staff. From there, we set off on our spectacular route through the Tien Shan mountains.

Our itinerary is designed to take advantage of prime light on the landscape morning and evening each day. After dark, clean air and virtual absence of light pollution provide a superb opportunity for nighttime landscapes including the Milky Way. We will also enjoy excellent opportunities for photography of the Kyrgyz people themselves, in the high pastures, at our yurt camps, and at the sprawling and colorful Osh Market in Bishkek. This will be a highly productive and immensely fun photographic adventure that you’ll never forget.

Click “read more” at below right for the full itinerary, inclusions, exclusions, and more photos…

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Kyrgyz Republic
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Creative Core September 25 - 29, 2017
10 spaces | $3,395* Register

The Potomac Highlands region of West Virginia’s Allegheny Mountains is one of the most scenic areas of the central Appalachians, at its best when brilliant autumn colors adorn the landscape. We invite you to join us for this exciting photo workshop, timed to operate during the peak of fall foliage among mountains densely covered in yellow birch, red maple, black cherry trees, spruce, and eastern hemlock trees. Color is everywhere at this time of year, framing the five-story waterfall and blowing in the mountain breezes.

In addition to visiting the iconic Blackwater Falls itself, we will take advantage of the best seasonal conditions in the surrounding mountain and valley landscapes, including excursions to Dolly Sods Wilderness and Canaan Valley, the highest large valley east of the Mississippi.

National Geographic photographer Michael Melford and renowned landscape photographer Justin Black will lead this workshop. Both have photographed extensively in the area, and are very familiar with an array of potential locations. Working one-on-one with participants, Michael and Justin aim to improve your photographic vision and composition skills, understanding of how to use changing qualities of light and weather to your advantage, and ability to effectively control exposure. They will also focus on creative exposure techniques to create mood, essential gear and creative tools, fundamentals of digital workflow, digital exposure blending and panoramic stitching, and lots of photography in the field followed by constructive group critiques.

Click the “read more…” tab below right for more information and to see the photo gallery!

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Blackwater Falls
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Expedition July 7 - 16, 2017
10 spaces | $12,500* Register

 

Join arctic explorer Chris Linder and Cornell Lab of Ornithology photographer Gerrit Vyn for this unique photographic experience during prime puffin chick-rearing season on a diligently customized route around northwest Iceland.

Iceland’s steep, rocky coastline explodes with life in the summer months. Atlantic puffins, black guillemots, northern fulmars, and kittiwakes all raise their chicks here before returning to a life at sea.  Our primary subject will be the colorful, charismatic Atlantic puffin, and we will be visiting some of the best locations for puffin photography in the world. In addition to Iceland’s cliff-dwelling seabirds, we will also spend time looking for tundra breeding birds including red-throated loons, tufted duck, black-tailed godwit, whimbrel, European golden plover, red-necked phalarope, and redshank.

Renowned bird photographers Chris Linder and Gerrit Vyn will lead this nine-night photo workshop for ten participants, which will be focused on the remote Westfjords region of Iceland. Chris is a repeat visitor to Iceland, making his familiarity with the best photography locations, timing for optimal light, and personal contacts there a great benefit for the expedition. He is the 2015 Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards winner for the birds category and recently completed an assignment on climate change impacts on Icelandic puffin populations. Gerrit’s 2016 photography book, The Living Bird, was a New York Times Bestseller and he continues to travel around the world to document wildlife and conservation stories. He is well-experienced in creating powerful photography, particularly showcasing birds as they can show affects from climate change and environmental challenges.

The itinerary has been carefully crafted based on numerous assignments to photograph Iceland’s puffins with Icelandic bird researchers, and includes some unique locations you won’t find on any other Icelandic photography tour.  The expedition was developed with the focus of puffin chick-rearing in mind; mid-July is the best time to capture images of puffins bringing bill-fulls of spaghetti-like sand eels back to their burrows.

Our small group will travel in comfort in a specially customized 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 while we’re on the road. When traveling to the next location, we will take advantage of photogenic opportunities of the Icelandic landscape. Chris and Gerrit scheduled exceptional locations for more instruction inland, such as tiered waterfalls, and will look out for serendipitous moments as the bus rolls onward.

Click the “read more” tab below to continue… read more…

Birds of Iceland
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Creative Core May 29 - June 2, 2017
10 spaces | $4,250* 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 Jack Dykinga and Carr Clifton. 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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Redwood Coast
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Vision October 17 - 21, 2016
10 spaces | $4,295* Register

The southwest United States holds some of the world’s most inspiring landscape photography destinations, and the area including Capitol Reef National Park is one of our favorites. In addition to numerous steep ridges, colorful canyons, and sandstone formations, Capitol Reef National Park boosts the largest exposed monocline in North America and layers of sedimentary rock recording nearly 200 million years of geological change. 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, John Shaw, and Cliff Zenor. Packaged with single-occupancy lodging at The Broken Spur Inn in Torrey, the closest town to the Park, this is a superb workshop scenario set to challenge and amaze all participants. We hope you’ll join us!

Photography sessions will take place in locations with very unique geology, including the Waterpocket Fold, Cathedral Valley, Temples of the Sun and Moon, and other opportunities scouted in advance by the instructors. The timing of this workshop was specifically chosen to coincide with the burst of peak fall foliage found among the cottonwoods and willows in the canyons, and aspens in the high country. The leaves of these trees turn into a brilliant hues of yellow, orange, and red during the fall. When set against a background of reddish-orange Entrada Sandstone or grayish desert storm clouds, capturing photos of these glowing leaves will be a very rewarding and exhilarating experience for the landscape photographer.

Packaged with single-occupancy lodging at The Broken Spur Inn, located ideally near the entrance to Capitol Reef National Park, and with all meals, snacks and beverages included, this is a superb fall foliage and landscape photography workshop scenario. We hope you’ll join us!

Click “Read More…” below right to read on and see the image gallery…

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Capitol Reef National Park II
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Vision October 10 - 14, 2016
10 spaces | $4,295* Register

The southwest United States holds some of the world’s most inspiring landscape photography destinations, and the area including Capitol Reef National Park is one of our favorites. In addition to numerous steep ridges, colorful canyons, and sandstone formations, Capitol Reef National Park boosts the largest exposed monocline in North America and layers of sedimentary rock recording nearly 200 million years of geological change. 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, John Shaw, and Cliff Zenor. Packaged with single-occupancy lodging at The Broken Spur Inn in Torrey, the closest town to the Park, this is a superb workshop scenario set to challenge and amaze all participants. We hope you’ll join us!

Photography sessions will take place in locations with very unique geology, including the Waterpocket Fold, Cathedral Valley, Temples of the Sun and Moon, and other opportunities scouted in advance by the instructors. The timing of this workshop was specifically chosen to coincide with the burst of peak fall foliage found among the cottonwoods and willows in the canyons, and aspens in the high country. The leaves of these trees turn into a brilliant hues of yellow, orange, and red during the fall. When set against a background of reddish-orange Entrada Sandstone or grayish desert storm clouds, capturing photos of these glowing leaves will be a very rewarding and exhilarating experience for the landscape photographer.

Packaged with single-occupancy lodging at The Broken Spur Inn, located ideally near the entrance to Capitol Reef National Park, and with all meals, snacks and beverages included, this is a superb fall foliage and landscape photography workshop scenario. We hope you’ll join us!

Click “Read More…” below right to read on and see the image gallery…

read more…

Capitol Reef National Park
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Expedition December 4 - 11, 2016
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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Costa Rica
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Expedition October 10 - 25, 2016
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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New Zealand
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