Visionary Wild, LLC • 2200 19th St. NW, Ste 806, Washington, DC 20009

E-mail: info@visionarywild.com    •    Tel: 1-202-558-9596 (9am to 5pm, EST).

Justin Black – Managing Director: 1-202-302-9030 • Email: justin@visionarywild.com

Sara Robb – Operations Assistant: sara@visionarywild.com

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Workshops by Focus: Flowing Water

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…

read more…

Kyrgyz Republic
Map via Google
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
Map via Google
Expedition September 22 - October 4, 2016
18 spaces | $15,995* Register

Thank you for another fantastic VW expedition! What a privilege to experience and photograph this wild and remote area in comfort while accompanied by the best leaders offering a wealth of experience and a willingness to share their immense talents. Thanks to Justin’s meticulous advance planning, all the arrangements were perfect throughout. –David & Kathy R., 2015 Greenland participants


THIS UNIQUE ADVENTURE MAY NOT BE REPEATED, AS OUR SHIP’S CHARTER COMPANY WILL REPOSITION HER FOLLOWING OUR VOYAGE AND FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE.

Greenland’s remote and little-visited ice fjords hold a wealth of arctic grandeur. Towers, arches, and walls of ancient blue ice thrust skyward from the water’s surface. Steep-walled fjords, dramatic coastal mountains, tundra in autumn color, the vast Greenland Ice Sheet, and the Aurora Borealis combine to form an incomparable landscape. Join this world-class team of leaders – Frans Lanting, Christine Eckstrom, and Justin Black – for this exclusive expedition to Greenland’s east and west coasts, photographing this arctic wilderness in all its glory. With generous photographic instruction and attentive support along the way, explore the largest fjord system in the world – Scoresbysund on the east coast – aboard the three-masted expedition vessel Rembrandt van Rijn, followed by a four-night stay on Greenland’s west coast at Ilulissat, where the massive Jakobshavn Glacier calves some 35 billion tons of icebergs into the sheltered waters of Ilulissat Icefjord, the only UNESCO World Heritage Site on the world’s largest island. Excursions by helicopter for doors-off aerials, and by boat to get in among the massive bergs, yield extraordinary photographic opportunities.


Greenland was a trip of a lifetime. Imagine fog-shrouded icebergs, vibrant red/orange/yellow tundra, unreal sunsets, glistening ice and snow, colorful villages clinging to rocky headlands, Northern Lights and so much more under the generous guidance of world class instructors. I learned so much while having lots of fun. Thank you! –Ann L., 2015 Greenland participant


Our adventure begins in Reykjavik, Iceland, the world’s northernmost capital. Guests will be greeted upon arrival at Keflavik International Airport and transferred to the elegant Hotel Holt, conveniently located in the city center. After an introductory group meeting and dinner at Grillmarket, one of Reykjavik’s finer restaurants, the next morning we board our private charter flight to Greenland’s east coast. Awaiting our arrival will be our private floating base camp for the first eight days in Greenland: the 168-foot, three-masted schooner Rembrandt van Rijn (click here for more about RVR). We are booking the entire ship for our exclusive use to ensure ample space for our group both on the ship and in zodiacs – our group will consist of sixteen to eighteen participants and three leaders (though Rembrandt normally sleeps up to 33 guests) in addition to her twelve-person crew and expedition staff. She is exceptionally well-suited to exploration and photography along the Greenland coast, with a reinforced hull, expansive unobstructed sight lines even under sail, and very comfortable accommodations. We will make frequent landings by zodiac to photograph in morning and evening light, and as serendipity presents us with compelling opportunities along the way. In addition to the arctic landscape, we will photograph whales if we encounter them, as well a variety of coastal and pelagic birds such as fulmars, kittiwakes, and gannets. The ethereal glow of the Aurora Borealis dancing in the night sky over the iceberg-dotted fjords and bays will be the sight of a lifetime. While underway, in the ship’s common area Frans, Justin, and the ship’s expedition staff will make inspiring and instructive presentations, and offer constructive feedback on participants’ photographs during group critique sessions, with the aid of the ship’s four large LCD screens.

To make this special itinerary possible, we have arranged three private charter flights aboard modern twin-engine turboprop airliners (Dash-8 and Bombardier Q200). After disembarking Rembrandt, a private charter flight whisks us across the world’s second largest icecap to the west coast and the small fishing port of Ilulissat, home to 5,000 Greenlanders and an equivalent number of sled dogs. There, our base will be Hotel Hvide Falk (White Falcon). One of the highlights there will be a series of helicopter excursions (one hour of flight time per participant, each with a window seat) to do aerial photography of icebergs, Jakobshavn Glacier and Ilulissat Icefjord, and to access the Greenland Ice Sheet itself. We will also make excursions on a local charter boats to approach towering icebergs, and hikes on the autumn tundra with stunning views of Disko Bay and the coastal mountains.

Click “read more” at below right for the detailed itinerary…

read more…

Greenland
Map via Google
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

read more…

New Zealand
Map via Google
Expedition October 9 - 24, 2015
6 spaces | $16,995* 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

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 15-day journey led by three top pros: National Geographic photographer Michael Melford (who recently covered the South Island on assignment for Nat Geo), Justin Black of Visionary Wild, and Phillip Bartlett, a renowned Kiwi landscape photographer and guide. 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 to three passengers per vehicle. In addition, private charter excursions by helicopter and boat – at Fox Glacier, Milford Sound, Lake Wanaka, 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 trip was exceedingly well received by our guests (see testimonials at the bottom of this page), but nevertheless we have made significant improvements to this trip in 2015, upgrading accommodations, adding a second helicopter excursion, and refining the itinerary to maximize the quality of the overall experience.

Click “read more” below right to see the itinerary and photo gallery

read more…

New Zealand
Map via Google
Expedition September 9 - 21, 2015
16 spaces | $14,995* Register

 

 

 

Featuring private charter of the three-masted expedition vessel Rembrandt van Rijn, helicopter flights onto the second largest ice cap on Earth, close encounters with the Arctic’s largest icebergs, and excursions onto the colorful autumn tundra.

Greenland’s remote and little-visited west coast is a world of arctic grandeur. Each year, the massive Jakobshavn Glacier calves some 35 billion tons of icebergs into the sheltered waters of Disko Bay and Ilulissat Icefjord, the only UNESCO World Heritage Site on the world’s largest island. Towers, arches, and walls of ancient blue ice thrust skyward from the water’s surface. Whales and seabirds abound. Steep-walled fjords, dramatic coastal mountains, tundra in autumn color, the Greenland Ice Sheet, and the Aurora Borealis combine to form an incomparable landscape. Visionary Wild presents a unique opportunity to experience and photograph this arctic wilderness in all its glory.

Join this world-class team of leaders – Frans Lanting, Christine Eckstrom, Justin Black, and Chris Linder – for our all-inclusive photographic exploration of Greenland’s west coast. The 168-foot, three-masted schooner Rembrandt van Rijn (click here for more about the vessel) will be our private floating base camp for the first eight days in Greenland. We are radically under-booking this comfortable vessel to ensure ample space for our group both on the ship and in zodiacs – our group will consist of only sixteen participants and four leaders, though Rembrandt normally sleeps 33 guests in addition to her crew of twelve. She is exceptionally well-suited to exploration and photography along the Greenland coast, with a reinforced hull, expansive unobstructed sight lines even under sail, and very comfortable accommodations. We will make frequent landings by zodiac to photograph in morning and evening light, and as serendipity presents us with compelling opportunities along the way. In addition to the arctic landscape, we will photograph Disko Bay’s whales, including beluga, bowhead, and humpbacks, and a variety of coastal and pelagic birds such as eider ducks and albatross. The etherial glow of the aurora borealis dancing in the night sky over the iceberg-dotted bay will be the sight of a lifetime.

After disembarking from Rembrandt, we will move on to the nearby town of Ilulissat, home to 5,000 Greenlanders and an equivalent number of sled dogs. There, our base will be Hotel Hvide Falk (White Falcon). One of the highlights of our four days there will be a series of helicopter excursions (one hour of flight time per participant, each with a window seat) to do aerial photography of icebergs, Jakobshavn Glacier and Ilulissat Icefjord, and to access the Greenland Ice Sheet itself, where we will land and photograph at a moulin, meltwater lake, or other interesting feature on the kilometers-deep icecap. We will also make excursions on a local charter boat to approach large icebergs, and hikes on the autumn tundra with stunning views of Disko Bay and the coastal mountains.

Click “read more” at below right for addition information, the itinerary, and the complete photo gallery…

read more…

Greenland
Map via Google
Vision March 25 - April 5, 2015
10 spaces | $11,250* Register

This workshop is designed to maximize opportunities for well-crafted and compelling photographs in one of the world’s most awe-inspiring landscapes. 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.

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 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 and foxes 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.

Click “read more” below right for the itinerary and image gallery

read more…

Patagonia Vision
Map via Google
Creative Core October 26 - 30, 2015
12 spaces | $3,250* Register

Zion National Park’s red rock and limestone cliffs and spires tower above sculpted canyons, grottoes, and waterways, forming a unique and awe-inspiring landscape at the convergence of the Colorado Plateau, the Great Basin, and the Mojave Desert.  Autumn’s arrival brings comfortably cool temperatures and fall colors in the maples and cottonwoods.  Zion is quite simply one of the gems of the National Park system, a highlight of the American Southwest, and one of our favorite outdoor photographic “classrooms.”

Charles Cramer is a masterful artist renowned for landscape photographs that derive their power from their elegant and gentle calm. He has returned again and again to Zion over the years to draw inspiration from its astonishing interplay of canyon light, color contrasts, and dramatic forms. 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. Assistant instructor Justin Black has led four prior workshops at Zion and is always struck by the way this landscape reveals its secrets like the layers of an onion being peeled back – every visit yields a new discovery and new qualities of light.

This all-inclusive workshop will be based at Flanigan’s Inn of Springdale, Utah, just outside the western entrance of Zion National Park, providing excellent access to field locations. Along with eight field sessions, Charlie and Justin will present projected lectures on composition, light, exposure control, anticipating and working through changing conditions, and essentials of digital workflow. Three critique sessions will provide essential constructive feedback on images created during the workshop.

Click “read more” below right for more information…

read more…

Zion
Map via Google
Expedition November 8 - 23, 2014
6 spaces | $14,500* Register

Motion picture director Peter Jackson chose New Zealand as the location to film the fantasy world of Tolkien’s “Middle Earth” for a very good reason: the variety of incredible landscapes found in such a small area is simply astounding! Towering mountain ranges, wind-swept coastlines, pristine river valleys, and moss-covered tree fern forests are just some of the scenes we will photograph as we explore the South Island on this unique small-group 15-day journey led by National Geographic photographer Michael Melford, Justin Black, and renowned “Kiwi” landscape photographer Phillip Bartlett.

We wanted to take you to wild places on the South Island which are off the regular tourist path, locations which are seldom-visited, but that offer superb photography. To access these areas we will be travelling by 4WD vehicles, with a maximum of three passengers per vehicle. In addition, private-charter excursions by helicopter and boat provide us access to some truly phenomenal opportunities.

Click “read more” below right to see the itinerary and photo gallery

read more…

New Zealand
Map via Google
Vision March 26 - April 6, 2014
10 spaces | $11,250* Register

This workshop is designed to maximize opportunities for well-crafted and compelling photographs in one of the world’s most awe-inspiring landscapes. 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.

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 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 and foxes 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.

Click “read more” below right for the itinerary and image gallery

read more…

Patagonia Vision
Map via Google
Creative Core May 26 - 30, 2014
10 spaces | $2,995* Register

Truly a photographer’s playground, the sublime, dramatic, and moody Pacific coast around Bandon, Oregon, will be our outdoor classroom for this landscape- and seascape-oriented photo workshop, presented by renowned photographers and workshops leaders Justin Black and Jerry Dodrill.

Ever-changing light and the beautiful interplay of sun, waves, towering sea stacks, tide pools, wind-sculpted clouds, and marine fog mean that every day offers a different mood, even when we revisit our primary location, the sprawling Bandon Beach. Just down a wooden stairway from our hotel, it’s the perfect setting for a workshop focused on developing creativity, honing skills, and refining your personal vision. Justin and Jerry will teach you to take control of the finer points of composition, exposure and tonal control, and specialized techniques for capturing this amazing coastal landscape.

A SPECIAL GIFT TO PARTICIPANTS: Each participant in this workshops is entitled to have two free fine exhibition prints up to 20″x30″ in size made by the master printmakers at West Coast Imaging one of the very best digital fine art photography labs in the world. These print packages include all the expert digital prep work of your original image file, based on your wishes and input as the artist, to make the best possible print. This special offer is cumulative, so you get two prints for each workshop you take.

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

read more…

Oregon Coast
Map via Google
Creative Core October 8 - 12, 2012
12 spaces | $2,950* Register

Zion National Park’s red rock and limestone cliffs and spires tower above sculpted canyons, grottoes, and waterways, forming a unique and awe-inspiring landscape at the convergence of the Colorado Plateau, the Great Basin, and the Mojave Desert.  Autumn’s arrival brings comfortably cool temperatures and fall colors in the maples and cottonwoods.  Zion is quite simply one of the gems of the National Park system, a highlight of the American Southwest, and one of our favorite outdoor photographic “classrooms.”

For three decades, Jack Dykinga has captured the astonishing beauty of light, form, texture, and natural history that make the southwestern American deserts and canyons unique. He knows this landscape and its amazing light better than anyone and enjoys nothing more than sharing his insights and vision with other passionate photographers. Assistant instructor Justin Black has co-led three prior workshops with Jack at Zion and is always struck by the way Zion reveals its secrets like the layers of an onion being peeled back – every visit yields a new discovery and new qualities of light. This all-inclusive workshop will be based at Flanigan’s Inn of Springdale, Utah, just outside the western entrance of Zion National Park, providing excellent access to field locations. Along with eight field sessions, Jack and Justin will present projected lectures on composition, light, exposure control, anticipating and working through changing conditions, and essentials of digital workflow. Three critique sessions will provide essential constructive feedback on images created during the workshop.

Click “read more” below right for more information…

read more…

Zion
Map via Google