Workshops by Focus: Fill Flash

Creative Core November 3 - 10, 2021
6 spaces | $* Register

Paris and photography; photography and Paris – the two have been bound together in a lyrical poetic dance since the invention of the medium nearly two centuries ago. Her romantic beauty, layers of history, and progressive culture  have long attracted many of the world’s greatest artists, among them some of the most important photographers of the last century – Atget, Kertész, Brassaï, Doisneau, Cartier-Bresson, and many more – yielding a collective body of work that informs our notions of the City of Light to this day.

Beyond the nostalgia and iconic views, however, Paris is always evolving. We find inspiration in the photographic raw material that Paris offers the creative photographer to capture new visions woven from aspects of past, present, and future. We invite you to join Justin Black and Paris-based photographic artist Julia Keil for this small-group workshop for just six passionate photographers, based at a 5-star boutique hotel on the Left Bank in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the heart of the 6th Arrondissement. We will explore our favorite vantage points along the river Seine, the city’s markets, parks, avenues, and side streets, so full of life, culture, and characters from another time. The streets of Paris have a unique ability to breathe beauty, and the city wears many faces depending on the time of day or night, the weather and the path you take through it. Through the changing light in early morning and evening, Julia and Justin will encourage you to open your mind’s eye to make the most of available opportunities, sharing creative insights and helpful instruction throughout. There is nothing like losing yourself in the Parisian arrondissements with childlike eyes, with the city’s symphony in your ears, wondering what notes may be played next.

While we are there, we’ll take advantage of Paris’s status as one of the world’s great centers of photography, to make visits to at least two of the city’s most important photography galleries, drawing inspiration from exhibitions of work by great masters and contemporary artists alike. Back at our hotel’s meeting room, we will hold at least two group image reviews during mid-day hours, to provide you with constructive feedback that you can then apply during our next photographic outing. When we have a little down time during the day, you’ll be free to explore on your own, edit your photographs, or just relax. And, of course, we invite you to join us for a celebration of Parisian gastronomic delights at group meals in some of our favorite cafés and restaurants.

If you have a spouse, partner or friend who would enjoy this exploration of Paris, we have two additional spaces available for accompanying non-photographers (limit of one accompanying non-photographer per participant). Accompanying non-photographers are welcome to join the group on all excursions and at meals, but photographic instruction in the field and classroom/critique sessions are not included in this registration option.

At the request of a few regular clients, we have designed this creative photography workshop in Paris, France. I find photographing in Paris exhilarating and immensely productive, and though I know my way around, there is no substitute for local knowledge and experience. So, I’ve invited my friend Julia Keil, an immensely talented Paris-based photographic artist, to join us as co-leader. Julia knows the city intimately, has a great deal of experience teaching photographers to make the most of Paris as a creative palette. She is warm, engaging, and an absolute joy to spend time with. Together, we will teach you how to use the characteristic and unique opportunities offered by the city to create unique creative compositions, rather than simply doing a “tick list” of iconic views (though I suppose some of that is inevitable). We look forward to welcoming you for this creative exploration of the City of Light! –Justin Black

Paris: City of Light
Map via Google
Expedition August 22 - September 9, 2017
5 spaces | $13,812* Register

“This was the experience of a lifetime. Visionary Wild provided a terrific photo safari. The educational value of this workshop was unparalleled, and I have participated in many workshops.” –African Vision Safari Participant

Join expert African wildlife photographers Lou Coetzer, Johan Greyling, and Elana Erasmus for this superlative African safari experience for a small group of five, designed to exceed a passionate photographer’s wildest dreams. We will visit Africa’s very finest wildlife destinations at an ideal time of year: Masai Mara, Kenya during the Great Migration, and Chobe River, Botswana, with mammals and birds concentrated along the river by the dry season.

• Includes loan of big telephotos – 600mm f/4 and 500mm f/4 – so you don’t have to travel with them. Full-frame Nikon DSLR bodies available for free loan too!

• Unique custom photo safari vehicles, the best photographer’s set-up in the business, both on the land and on the water, complete with photographer’s chairs featuring fully adjustable 360-degree revolving Wimberley camera mounts. This makes it a breeze to work with big lenses  and capture fleeting moments of dynamic wildlife behavior.

• Excellent accommodations, perfectly positioned at Chobe River Lodge and &Beyond’s Kichwa Tembo luxury tented camp in the Mara Triangle.

At Chobe, animals congregate along the river in the dry season to drink and feed on the lush greenery on the banks and flood plain. In addition to Chobe’s population of over 50,000 Kalahari elephants, opportunities include hippos (with young at this time of year), Nile crocs, buffalo, waterbuck, kudu, impala, giraffes, fish eagles, lions, hyenas, baboons, and countless bird species. Lou Coetzer and Johan Greyling will lead inspiring photography instruction at Chobe. Both Lou and Johan have successfully lead our previous expeditions to the Chobe River. Lou continually receives positive feedback from our clients as the most experienced and knowledgeable photo leader they have learned from in Africa, and Johan is a talented teacher of wildlife photography and receives high praise for his editing and classroom critiques.

Masai Mara is famous for its migration of millions of wildebeest, zebras, and Thompson’s gazelles, accompanied by an abundance of lion, cheetah, leopard, and other African species. Elana Erasmus will lead expert photography instruction at Masai Mara.

At both locations we have arranged use of new photo safari vehicles with innovative custom features that deliver an ideal photographic experience. The heavily customized and air-conditioned 4WD IVECO vehicle we will use at Masai Mara features wide pop-up window panels for a broad unobstructed field of view for each photographer, and the vehicle seals up tight to keep out dust, rain, and heat.  Both the IVECO and our custom-built photo boat at Chobe comfortably accommodate our whole group. Both on land and on the water, each photographer will have his or her own rotating photographer’s chair with fully adjustable revolving Wimberley-equiped telephoto lens mount.

This package is designed to deliver a superb overall experience, and includes first-rate lodging, all meals, beverages (including fine wine and beer at dinners), expert guides, photographic instruction, loaner Nikon telephotos and cameras, park entry fees, ground transfers, and in-Africa flights during the itinerary.

Click “read more” below right for the itinerary and more information…
read more…

African Vision
Map via Google
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
Map via Google
Expedition June 30 - July 8, 2016
6 spaces | $4,975* Register

 

This special boat-based Botswana photo safari offers a first-rate experience and an unbelievable value.

Join award-winning wildlife photographer Johan Greyling on Botswana’s spectacular Chobe River for this exciting all-inclusive boat-based safari for a small group of six participants. Johan has a distinct, recognized talent in story telling photography, exhibiting excellent quality and personal passion in capturing candid wildlife behavior, particularly from the waters of the Chobe River.

Set in one of Africa’s finest wildlife destinations at an ideal time of year, this safari focuses on the incredible biodiversity accessible via the Chobe River’s various channels, islands, and wetlands, where animals congregate along the river in the dry season to drink and feed on the lush greenery on the banks and flood plain. In addition to Chobe’s population of over 50,000 Kalahari elephants, opportunities include hippos (with young at this time of year), Nile crocodiles, leopards, buffalo, waterbuck, kudu, impala, giraffes, fish eagles, lions, hyenas, baboons, and countless bird species. In fact, this safari is a bird photographer’s dream, featuring the tiny and colorful Malachite Kingfisher, the largest heron in the world – the Goliath, several species of Bee-Eater, African Jacanas, and an endless array of water birds.  The concentrated displays of mammalian wildlife behavior, from battling hippos to leopards drinking at water’s edge and herds of elephants looming overhead on the riverbank, ensure you will capture peak moments of exceptional behavior. The quality of light in morning and evening is wonderful on the Chobe, as the wide, open floodplain enables low-angle light at sunrise and sunset to skim over the water and bathe the animals in golden illumination.

• Includes loan of big telephotos – 600mm f/4 and 500mm f/4 AF-S Nikkor Lenses – so you don’t have to travel with them. Full-frame Nikon DSLR bodies available for free loan as well.

• The best boat-based photo safari set-up in the business, complete with photographer’s chairs featuring fully adjustable 360-degree revolving Wimberley camera mounts, makes it a breeze to work with big lenses and photograph dynamic wildlife behavior.

This very competitively-priced package is designed to deliver a superb overall experience, and includes excellent accommodations, all meals, beverages (including fine wine or beer at dinners), snacks and soft drinks during photography sessions, expert guides, photographic instruction, loaner Nikon telephotos and cameras, park entry fees, ground transfers, and in-Africa flights during the itinerary.

We have arranged use of Lou Coetzer’s custom-built photo boats with innovative features that deliver an optimal photographic experience. Each photographer will have his or her own rotating photographer’s chair with fully adjustable revolving Wimberley-equiped telephoto lens mount.  Included at no additional cost is loan of Nikon super-telephoto lenses (600mm f/4 and 500mm f/4) and pro camera bodies, so there is no need to carry big glass to Africa.

 

Click “read more” below right for the itinerary and more information…
read more…

Chobe River Safari II
Map via Google
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

read more…

Costa Rica
Map via Google
Expedition June 30 - July 8, 2016
6 spaces | $4,975* Register

 

This special boat-based Botswana photo safari offers a first-rate experience and an unbelievable value.

Join award-winning wildlife photographer Lou Coetzer on Botswana’s spectacular Chobe River for this exciting all-inclusive boat-based safari for a small group of six participants. Lou is simply the best there is at teaching the anticipation of animal behavior, timing, and camera handling skills that empower you to capture successful “decisive moment” wildlife images.

Set in one of Africa’s finest wildlife destinations at an ideal time of year, this safari focuses on the incredible biodiversity accessible via the Chobe River’s various channels, islands, and wetlands, where animals congregate along the river in the dry season to drink and feed on the lush greenery on the banks and flood plain. In addition to Chobe’s population of over 50,000 Kalahari elephants, opportunities include hippos (with young at this time of year), Nile crocodiles, leopards, buffalo, waterbuck, kudu, impala, giraffes, fish eagles, lions, hyenas, baboons, and countless bird species. In fact, this safari is a bird photographer’s dream, featuring the tiny and colorful Malachite Kingfisher, the largest heron in the world – the Goliath, several species of Bee-Eater, African Jacanas, and an endless array of water birds.  The concentrated displays of mammalian wildlife behavior, from battling hippos to leopards drinking at water’s edge and herds of elephants looming overhead on the riverbank, ensure you will capture peak moments of exceptional behavior. The quality of light in morning and evening is wonderful on the Chobe, as the wide, open floodplain enables low-angle light at sunrise and sunset to skim over the water and bathe the animals in golden illumination.

• Includes loan of big telephotos – 600mm f/4 and 500mm f/4 AF-S Nikkor Lenses – so you don’t have to travel with them. Full-frame Nikon DSLR bodies available for free loan as well.

• The best boat-based photo safari set-up in the business, complete with photographer’s chairs featuring fully adjustable 360-degree revolving Wimberley camera mounts, makes it a breeze to work with big lenses and photograph dynamic wildlife behavior.

This very competitively-priced package is designed to deliver a superb overall experience, and includes excellent accommodations, all meals, beverages (including fine wine or beer at dinners), snacks and soft drinks during photography sessions, expert guides, photographic instruction, loaner Nikon telephotos and cameras, park entry fees, ground transfers, and in-Africa flights during the itinerary.

We have arranged use of Lou’s custom-built photo boats with innovative features that deliver an optimal photographic experience. Each photographer will have his or her own rotating photographer’s chair with fully adjustable revolving Wimberley-equiped telephoto lens mount.  Included at no additional cost is loan of Nikon super-telephoto lenses (600mm f/4 and 500mm f/4) and pro camera bodies, so there is no need to carry big glass to Africa.

 

Click “read more” below right for the itinerary and more information…
read more…

Chobe River Safari
Map via Google
Expedition November 29 - December 6, 2015
6 spaces | $8,500* 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, 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 compositions just waiting to be discovered.

Leaders Tom Mangelsen 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

read more…

Costa Rica
Map via Google
Expedition August 2 - 18, 2014
5 spaces | $18,500* Register

“This was the experience of a lifetime. Visionary Wild provided a terrific photo safari. The educational value of this workshop was unparalleled, and I have participated in many workshops. Justin Black and Lou Coetzer were both terrific in facilitating the photography learning experience and in finding the best locations to maximize the opportunities.” –2013 African Vision Safari Participant

Join award-winning wildlife photographers Lou Coetzer and Justin Black for this superlative African safari experience for a small group of five, designed to exceed a passionate photographer’s wildest dreams. South African pro Lou Coetzer is simply the best there is at teaching the anticipation of animal behavior, timing, and camera handling skills that empower you to capture successful “decisive moment” wildlife images.

We will visit Africa’s very finest wildlife destinations at an ideal time of year: Masai Mara, Kenya during the Great Migration, and Chobe River, Botswana, with mammals and birds concentrated along the river by the dry season.

• Includes loan of big telephotos – 600mm f/4 and 500mm f/4 – so you don’t have to travel with them. Full-frame Nikon DSLR bodies available for free loan too!

• The best photo safari vehicle set-up in the business, both on the land and on the water, complete with photographer’s chairs featuring fully adjustable 360-degree revolving Wimberley camera mounts. This makes it a breeze to work with big lenses and photograph dynamic wildlife behavior.

This package is designed to deliver a superb overall experience, and includes first-rate lodging, all meals, beverages (including fine wine and beer at dinners), expert guides, photographic instruction, loaner Nikon telephotos and cameras, park entry fees, ground transfers, and in-Africa flights during the itinerary.

Conceived as a unique wildlife photography experience that delivers the best that east and southern Africa have to offer, this experience for a small group of only five passionate photographers focuses on the incredible biodiversity accessible via the Chobe River in Botswana, and the peak of the great migration at Masai Mara. Masai Mara is famous for its August migration of millions of wildebeest, zebras, and Thompson’s gazelles, accompanied by an abundance of lion, cheetah, leopard, and other African species. At Chobe, animals congregate along the river in the dry season to drink and feed on the lush greenery on the banks and flood plain. In addition to Chobe’s population of over 50,000 Kalahari elephants, opportunities include hippos (with young at this time of year), Nile crocs, buffalo, waterbuck, kudu, impala, giraffes, fish eagles, lions, hyenas, African wild dog, baboons, and countless bird species.

At both locations we have arranged use of new photo safari vehicles with innovative custom features that deliver an ideal photographic experience. The two 4WD vehicles we will use at Masai Mara seat three photographers each, and the custom-built photo boat at Chobe comfortably accommodates our whole group. Both on land and on the water, each photographer will have his or her own rotating photographer’s chair with fully adjustable revolving Wimberley-equiped telephoto lens mount.  Included at no additional cost is loan of Nikon super-telephoto lenses (600mm f/4 and 500mm f/4) and pro camera bodies, so there is no need to carry big glass to Africa.

Click “read more” below right for the itinerary and more information…
read more…

African Vision
Map via Google
Expedition November 30 - December 7, 2013
10 spaces | $5,850* 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, 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 full of character and beautiful graphic compositions just waiting to be discovered.

Instructors Daniel Beltrá 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 basecamp, El Remanso eco-lodge, is a uniquely rich and accessible environment to witness and explore the incredible flora and fauna of Central America’s rainforests.  The owners are personal friends of the instructors, 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 fresh tropical fruits, a delicious mix of international and local Tico cuisine, 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.

* IMPORTANT NOTE: Scheduling International Flights
We have found that is difficult or impossible to fly from the USA to the Osa Peninsula in one day, hence the overnight at Hotel Bougainvillea on November 30th prior to the flight to Puerto Jimenez and El Remanso. The tropical gardens at Hotel Bougainvillea are truly stunning, so those who are able to schedule a mid-day arrival at SJO on 11/30 will be rewarded with an amazing experience and excellent photographic opportunities. Transfer from SJO to Hotel Bougainvillea can be arranged at any time, even for late evening arrivals.  Return flights to the USA on December 7th should be scheduled no earlier than 1:30pm. We are happy to arrange an additional night (or nights) at Hotel Bougainvillea on your outbound leg if you wish.
Costa Rica
Map via Google
Expedition June 3 - 21, 2013
5 spaces | $18,750* Register

We bring the big telephotos so you don’t have to.

Etosha – Chobe – Victoria Falls, and more…

Over the last year, we have packaged a unique wildlife photography safari for a small group of five passionate photographers, visiting Etosha National Park in Namibia, Victoria Falls, and Chobe National Park in Botswana. Scheduled for June 3-20, 2013, in the early part of the winter dry season, we will enjoy comfortable temperatures and dramatic concentrations of diverse wildlife at the watering holes of Etosha. Black rhinos, giraffes, lions, elephants, and numerous antelope species are common here, and cheetahs and leopards are often seen as well.

At Chobe, animals congregate along the river in the dry season to drink and feed on the lush greenery on the banks and flood plain. In addition to Chobe’s population of over 50,000 Kalahari elephants, opportunities include hippos (with young at this time of year), Nile crocs, buffalo, waterbuck, kudu, impala, giraffes, fish eagles, lions, hyenas, African wild dog, baboons, and numerous bird species.

At both locations we have arranged use of new photo safari vehicles with innovative custom features that deliver an ideal photographic experience. The two 4WD vehicles we will use at Etosha seat three photographers each, and the custom-built photo boat at Chobe comfortably accommodates our whole group. Both on land and on the water, each photographer will have his or her own photographer’s chair with fully adjustable Wimberley-equiped telephoto lens mount.  Included at no additional cost is loan of Nikon super-telephoto lenses (600mm f/4, 500mm f/4, and 200-400mm f/4 plus teleconverters) and pro camera bodies, so there is no need to carry big glass to Africa.

Click “read more” below right for the itinerary, photo gallery from Chobe and Etosha, and more information…
read more…

African Vision
Map via Google
Advanced December 2 - 8, 2012
10 spaces | $5,495* 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, 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, 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 full of character and beautiful graphic compositions just waiting to be discovered.

Instructors Daniel Beltrá 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.

CLICK HERE to read Justin Black’s article “Frogs of the Osa” in Outdoor Photographer magazine

Click “read more…” below right for more information and the photo gallery…

read more…

Costa Rica
Map via Google
Expedition July 13 - 25, 2014
10 spaces | $11,995* Register

 Join Daniel Beltrá nd Justin Black for this unique photographic experience in the land of fire and ice.

Storybook waterfalls gushing over volcanic formations… Icebergs on black sand beaches… Orange-billed Atlantic puffins perched on sea cliffs… Deep sapphire hues in ancient glacial ice… steaming geothermal rivers flowing through a multi-colored volcanic landscape…

This is Iceland, land of fire and ice. Astride the Mid Atlantic Ridge, this geologically active island is being ripped in two by the opposing movement of the North American and Eurasian Plates, while magma surges through the Earth’s fractured crust to fill the void of displaced land. The ice cap and glaciers feed pristine rivers, and over 100 volcanoes and countless geothermal springs dot the landscape.

Renowned photographers Daniel Beltrá and Justin Black will lead this twelve-night photo workshop for ten participants, emphasizing photography in the field at amazing locations selected on our prior Icelandic travels. 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.

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

Iceland
Map via Google
Creative Core March 26 - 30, 2012
15 spaces | $2,495* Register

Point Reyes National Seashore and the Marin Coast are truly a photographer’s playground, rich with diverse subject matter – landscape, seascape, flora and fauna –  with ever-changing light and the beautiful interplay of sun and marine fog. It’s the perfect setting for a workshop focused on developing creativity and honing skills. The talented team of Jerry Dodrill and Justin Black will teach you to take control of the finer points of composition, exposure and tonal control, and specialized techniques for approaching this sublime coastal landscape.

Scheduled during the spring wildflowers season and during mid-week to avoid weekend crowds, we will spend our morning and evening field time at locations along the Marin County coast as far north as Tomales Point and as far south as Marin Headlands. Old-growth redwood forest, the blooming flanks of Mt. Tamalpais overlooking the Pacific, seastacks and cliffs, wild beaches, headlands, tule elk, seals, sea birds, and more make this place very special indeed.

My good friend and colleague, Jerry Dodrill, and I started our photographic exploration of this astonishing landscape when we worked with the late Galen Rowell, leading workshop groups to the Marin coast from Galen’s gallery in Emeryville. Jerry has chosen to spend the last eleven years here, chasing storms and photographing along edges of land and sea, earth and sky, fog and light. As Galen pointed out in his book Bay Area Wild, this piece of coastline is a spectacular natural treasure, despite being within easy day-trip range of a major metropolitan area. Those who live nearby just might begin to take its wonders for granted, but it is amazing what you can find here when you approach it with eyes wide open. –Justin Black

This four-day, four night Creative Core workshop deals heavily with composition, working with changing light, exposure control, essential gear and creative tools, fundamentals of digital workflow, and introduction to digital exposure blending and stitching, and an intense schedule of photography in the field followed by constructive group critiques. Creative Core workshops are generalist outdoor photography workshops and the emphasis of any individual participant’s work is up to them, whether they wish to focus on landscape, macro, wildlife (as the opportunity presents itself), 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. In our experience, most participants will be solid intermediates with a couple relative beginners and a handful of advanced photographers. Jerry and Justin each have over a decade of experience successfully accommodating a range of experience levels at workshops.

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 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.

Lodging, all meals, and beverages are included in the package.

Point Reyes and Marin Coast
Map via Google