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

Jennifer Woolley – Director of Operations • Email: jennifer@visionarywild.com

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Workshops by Focus: Landscape

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.

ITINERARY:

Jan 16: Arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile, by late morning for airport pickup and transfer to Hotel Cabo De Hornos, followed by a group dinner with Michael at one of our favorite restaurants.
Jan 17: Transfer to the airport for our quick and comfortable jet flight over Cape Horn and across the Drake Passage to King George Island in the South Shetland Islands, where we board Ocean Tramp and begin our adventure.
Jan 17-29: Aboard S/V Ocean Tramp, photographing the wildlife, ice, and landscapes of the Antarctic Peninsula, south to Lemaire Channel and Vernadsky Research Base, using our vessel’s size and maneuverability to access places that larger ships can’t get to.
Jan 29: Disembark Ocean Tramp for the flight back to Punta Arenas. In Punta Arenas, after transferring to Hotel Cabo De Hornos, the group will enjoy a celebratory final dinner at one of Punta Arena’s best restaurants. Overnight at Hotel Cabo De Hornos.
Jan 30: Transfer to Punta Arenas airport to catch your departing flight.

PACKAGE INCLUDES:

• Attentive and personalized photographic instruction throughout by Michael Melford
• Use of S/V Ocean Tramp and its Zodiac, as well as the services of the experienced crew
• Specially arranged round-trip flights on DAP Antarctic Airways, aboard a four-engine BAE 146 jet, from Punta Arenas to King George Island (seats on these flights typically cost between $6,000 and $8,000 per person).
• Two hotel nights in Punta Arenas (Jan 16 and 29)
• All meals from dinner on Jan 16 to breakfast on Jan 30 (including wine/beer with dinners).
• All necessary transfers from arrival to departure in Punta Arenas, Chile.

PRICING:

• Shackleton Suite (perfect for a couple, with en suite bathroom) – Double-Occupancy at $21,500 per person
• Cabin #3 (a fairly spacious cabin in the bow) – Double-Occupancy: $18,500 per person, or Single-Occupancy for: $25,750 per person
• Cabin #2 (Twin bunks, third most spacious) – Double-Occupancy: $16,500 per person; Single-Occupancy for $24,750
• Cabin #4 (Twin bunks, least spacious) –  Single-Occupancy only for $22,495

Note: Single-Occupancy bookings are limited to two guests total. Group size is limited to six guests total.

A 50% deposit is required upon registration, with the remaining 50% balance due by September 6, 2018.

Modified Cancellation and Refund Terms

Please note that due to the significant commitments involved in chartering the vessel for this trip, the following cancellation and refund schedule will apply, based on date cancellation notification is received:

  • 121 or more days prior to expedition start date: Full refund (less any non-recoverable credit card processing fees)
  • 120 to 91 days prior to start date: 25% of package cost non-refundable
  • 90 to 61 days prior to start date: 50% of package cost non-refundable
  • 60 days or less before start date: No refund

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.

For a detailed itinerary, please click “read more” below right…

read more…

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.

ITINERARY:

Jan 3: Arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile, by late morning for airport pickup and transfer to Hotel Cabo De Hornos, followed by a group dinner with Daisy at one of our favorite restaurants.
Jan 4: Transfer to the airport for our quick and comfortable jet flight over Cape Horn and across the Drake Passage to King George Island in the South Shetland Islands, where we board Ocean Tramp and begin our adventure.
Jan 4-17: Aboard S/V Ocean Tramp, photographing the wildlife, ice, and landscapes of the Antarctic Peninsula, south to Lemaire Channel and Vernadsky Research Base, using our vessel’s size and maneuverability to access places that larger ships can’t get to.
Jan 17: Disembark Ocean Tramp for the flight back to Punta Arenas. Daisy will remain at King George Island to meet the next group arriving for our voyage on M/V Hans Hansson. In Punta Arenas, you will be met by a trusted local guide who will coordinate your transfer to Hotel Cabo De Hornos. Final group dinner at one of Punta Arena’s best restaurants, and overnight at Hotel Cabo De Hornos.
Jan 18: Transfer to Punta Arenas airport to catch your departing flight.

PACKAGE INCLUDES:

• Attentive and personalized photographic instruction throughout by Daisy Gilardini
• Use of S/V Ocean Tramp and its Zodiac, as well as the services of the experienced crew
• Specially arranged round-trip flights on DAP Antarctic Airways, aboard a four-engine BAE 146 jet, from Punta Arenas to King George Island (seats on these flights typically cost between $6,000 and $8,000 per person).
• Two hotel nights in Punta Arenas (Jan 3 and 17)
• All meals from dinner on Jan 3 to breakfast on Jan 18 (including wine/beer with dinners).
• All necessary transfers from arrival to departure in Punta Arenas, Chile.

PRICING:

• Shackleton Suite (perfect for a couple, with en suite bathroom) – Double-Occupancy at $21,500 per person; or Single-Occupancy at $28,500 (Booked)
• Cabin #3 (a fairly spacious cabin in the bow) – Double-Occupancy: $18,500 per person, or Single-Occupancy for: $25,750 per person (Booked)
• Cabin #2 (Twin bunks, third most spacious) (Booked) – Single-Occupancy only for $24,750
• Cabin #4 (Twin bunks, least spacious) – Double-Occupancy: $14,995 per person, or Single-Occupancy for $22,495 (Booked)

Note: Single-Occupancy bookings are limited to two guests total. Group size is limited to six guests total.

A 50% deposit is required upon registration, with the remaining 50% balance due by September 6, 2018.

Modified Cancellation and Refund Terms

Please note that due to the significant commitments involved in chartering the vessel for this trip, the following cancellation and refund schedule will apply, based on date cancellation notification is received:

  • 121 or more days prior to expedition start date: Full refund (less any non-recoverable credit card processing fees)
  • 120 to 91 days prior to start date: 25% of package cost non-refundable
  • 90 to 61 days prior to start date: 50% of package cost non-refundable
  • 60 days or less before start date: No refund

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 September 3 - 15, 2019
18 spaces | $14,950* Register

I feel very privileged to have participated in the 2016 Greenland expedition. It far exceeded my expectations. And, as someone who has traveled extensively, I would rate it as truly a trip of a lifetime. – Sid S., 2016 Greenland participant

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

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, soaring coastal mountains, tundra in autumn color, the vast Greenland Ice Sheet, and the Aurora Borealis combine to form an incomparable landscape. Join a world-class team of leaders – Daisy Gilardini, Daniel Beltrá, and Jerry Dodrill – for this  expedition to Greenland, photographing this arctic wilderness in all its glory. With generous photographic instruction and attentive support throughout, explore the largest fjord system in the world – Scoresbysund, covering 14,700 square miles and penetrating over 200 miles into Greenland’s interior – aboard the three-masted expedition vessel Rembrandt van Rijn.

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 as we encounter them, as well a variety of coastal and pelagic birds such as fulmars, kittiwakes, and gannets. Excursions by Zodiac take us in among the icebergs. 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. One thing is for certain: this expedition will yield extraordinary photographic opportunities. This is of course a floating workshop as well, and while underway, Daniel, Daisy, Jerry, and the ship’s expedition staff will make instructive and inspiring presentations, answer your questions, and offer constructive feedback on participants’ photographs during group critique sessions, with the aid of the ship’s four large LCD screens.


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: 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.

To make this special itinerary possible, we have arranged private Air Iceland charter flights aboard modern twin-engine turboprop airliners (Bombardier Q200). After disembarking Rembrandt at Constable Point, we will be picked up by our aircraft and flown back to Reykjavik, where a celebratory group dinner and final restful night at the Canopy Hotel await you.

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

read more…

Greenland
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. 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.

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

read more…

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.

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

read more…

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.

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

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).

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

read more…

Pumas
Map via Google
Creative Core October 8 - 12, 2018
10 spaces | $3,495* Register

The National Park that would have been, but never was.

Little-known Ricketts Glen State Park, located where Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Plateau meets the Appalachian Mountains, is a must-visit destination for passionate landscape photographers who enjoy working with waterfalls and flowing water in the midst of autumn color. Featuring 2,000 acres of old-growth forest, twenty-four named waterfalls, and numerous cascades, President Franklin Roosevelt was in the process of making Ricketts Glen a national park until World War II got in the way. Fortunately, Pennsylvania’s state government bought up the land and preserved it as a highlight of its own park system.

This fall, join Jeff Foott and Justin Black for several field sessions to photograph the park’s most spectacular waterfalls and watercourses, as well as the rare eastern virgin forest in fall color. 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 you find ways to add greater purpose and meaning to your photography.

Field sessions begin the afternoon of the first day. Each day, we’ll be out to photograph during the best light – whether that be early morning, afternoon, or even mid-day if it is overcast – following the daily weather conditions to make the most of opportunities. During field sessions, Jeff and Justin will offer hands-on guidance on your 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.  Jeff and Justin will also teach on the topics of composition and creativity, light and exposure, digital workflow, and maximizing image potential through post-production. Two constructive sessions critiquing the group’s 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 Justin 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, and the package includes the workshop itself from 1pm on October 8th to 3pm on October 12th, four nights accommodations at Hotel Harrington (without question the best accommodation for miles around), all meals, snacks, and drinks (including adult beverages with dinner). The rate for single-occupancy is $3,495; double-occupancy is $3,295 per-participant; for those who do not need lodging arrangements provided, the rate is $3,095.

Workshop will be operated under a special use permit issued by the park.

Ricketts Glen
Map via Google
Creative Core January 21 - 25, 2019
10 spaces | $3,695* Register

We are excited to operate our second 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.

Field sessions begin the evening of the first day. Each day, we’ll be out to photograph during the best morning and evening light, following the daily weather conditions to make the most of opportunities. During mid-day hours, Jeff and Justin will make presentations from the lecture room at the Gonao Inn on composition and creativity, light and exposure, digital workflow, and maximizing image potential through post-production. During field sessions, Jeff and Justin 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 Justin 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, and the package includes the workshop itself from 1pm on January 21 to 3pm on January 25, four nights accommodations in a suite at Gonzo Inn (arguably the nicest place to stay in Moab), all meals, snacks, and drinks (including adult beverages with dinner). The rate for single-occupancy is $3,695; double-occupancy is $3,395 per-participant; for those who do not need lodging arrangements provided in Moab, the rate is $3,095.

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.

Click “Read More…” below right to read on…

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Bryce in Winter
Map via Google
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.

Click the “read more” button below right to continue…

read more…

White Sands
Map via Google
Expedition September 14 - 27, 2018
18 spaces | $13,500* Register

I feel very privileged to have participated in the 2016 Greenland expedition. It far exceeded my expectations. And, as someone who has traveled extensively, I would rate it as truly a trip of a lifetime. – Sid S., 2016 Greenland participant

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

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 – National Geographic photographer Jason Edwards, Justin Black, and Chris Linder – for this exclusive expedition to Greenland, 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, covering 14,700 square miles and penetrating over 200 miles into Greenland’s interior – aboard the three-masted expedition vessel Rembrandt van Rijn.  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. Excursions by Zodiac take us in among the icebergs. 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. One thing is for certain: this expedition will yield extraordinary photographic opportunities. This is of course a floating workshop as well, and while underway, Jason, Justin, Chris, and the ship’s expedition staff will make inspiring and instructive presentations, answer your questions, and offer constructive feedback on participants’ photographs during group critique sessions, with the aid of the ship’s four large LCD screens.


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 Canopy by Hilton, conveniently located in the city center (please note change in accommodations from the Holt Hotel to Canopy by Hilton). 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: 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.

To make this special itinerary possible, we have arranged private Air Iceland charter flights aboard modern twin-engine turboprop airliners (Bombardier Q200). After disembarking Rembrandt at Constable Point, we will be picked up by our aircraft and flown back to Reykjavik, where a celebratory group dinner and final restful night at the Canopy Hotel await you.

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

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Greenland
Map via Google
Expedition June 5 - 21, 2018
6 spaces | $16,500* Register

“What an incredible experience! Beautifully orchestrated and managed, and exceptional guides and support staff. Choices of lodging and destinations very commendable. I have to say, the Trident, Imperial, Brijrama Palace, and Chamba Camp Diskit were all significant experiences in life, and the birthday celebration has to rank at the top of the list for birthdays. Thanks! The whole trip was seamless, good job!” –T. Hanagan, 2017 Varanasi & Ladakh participant

We invite you to join us for this photographic adventure, limited to only six guests, to two of India’s most visually rich spiritual centers, the ancient Hindu city of Varanasi on the Ganges River, and the Tibetan Buddhist sanctuary region of Ladakh in the Himalaya. The opportunities and experiences on this itinerary make the most of an incredible array of colorful cultural and majestic landscape elements, both urban and natural.

Day 1, Tuesday, June 5, 2018 – Arrive Delhi: Our trip begins with your arrival and airport pickup in Delhi, where-upon you will be transferred to our splendid accommodations at the Imperial Hotel. There you will meet your trip leaders, Justin Black and Jassi Oberai, and get to know your six fellow photographers over a fine dinner.

Days 2 to 4,  June 6-8 – Varanasi: The next morning, we fly to Varanasi on the banks of the Ganges River, the holiest of the seven sacred cities of Hinduism and Jainism, founded (according to legend) by the god Shiva himself.  A major pilgrimage destination, Varanasi is a photographer’s dream, an endless frenetic swirl of color and activity, with a steady stream of pilgrims visiting the ghats (stepped and terraced embankment leading down to the river). Transferring by comfortable Mercedes Sprinter van from the airport to the edge of the city center, we will travel the final two miles by boat on the Ganges itself, passing the spectacle of the ghats, temples, palaces, open-air crematoria, and pilgrims bathing in the river, before arriving at the luxurious and historic Brijrama Palace, our accommodation for the next three nights, at the center of all the action in Varanasi. Our photography in Varanasi will mainly take place morning and late afternoon to avoid the midday heat, and will include strolls along the ghats to photograph of the incredible tapestry of life that gathers there each day, including numerous Sadhus (traditional Hindu holy men) offering prayers for passersby, pilgrims bathing, holy cows strolling the streets, locals doing laundry, and even the odd goat. Turing off the river and into the narrow labyrinthine lanes of the old city will surprise and delight the observant photographer with unusual juxtapositions of subject and form, and endless “decisive moments” waiting to be captured. A visit to Varanasi isn’t complete without photographing the Aarti, a spectacular Hindu religious service of song, flame, smoke, and elaborate traditional dress. We have also made special arrangements to visit cultural sites of particular note, including Sarnath, where Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment, Varanasi’s silk-weaving district, and a traditional open-air wrestlers’ club, and others.

Day 5, June 9 – Varanasi to Delhi en route to Ladakh: After our time in Varanasi, we return to Delhi for a restful overnight at another of our favorite hotels, Trident Gurgaon, in transit to the next phase of our journey, the Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh.

Day 6, June 10 – Leh and Nimmu: Now a Tibetan Buddhist-majority enclave bordering Chinese-occupied Tibet within India’s Jammu and Kashmir State, Ladakh is a high-elevation mountain desert features a very comfortable summertime climate, the green of poplar-forested and terrace-farmed valley bottoms, and rocky mountainsides. Upon arrival in the Ladakhi capital of Leh (elevation 11,500 feet), we will immediately load into our group’s comfortable private vehicles and drive to the village of Nimmu, and the beautiful inn at Nimmu House, a historic countryside palace built in the traditional Tibetan-Ladakhi style, that once belonged to the Ladakhi royal family. The rest of this day will be for rest, altitude acclimatization, and a review and feedback on your photography so far on the trip.

Day 7, June 11 – Yuru Kabyad Festival: We drive west into the Sham valley to Lamayuru, known for it’s mountainous lunar landscape. There, we will photograph the festival of Yuru Kabyad, celebrated with tremendous pomp and enthusiasm by the local Buddhist monks. In the evening, we will return to overnight at Nimmu House.

Day 8, June 12 – Alchi, Likir, Basgo:  Today we visit Alchi and Likir Gompas, as well as the old fortress at Basgo. Overnight at Nimmu House.

Alchi Gompa: 70 Kms from Leh on the banks of the Indus, is the Alchi Gompa, dating to the 10th century. One of its walls features thousands of miniature pictures of the Buddha. Three large, brightly painted images made of clay are focal attractions. No longer an active monastic center, it is looked after by monks from the Likir monastery. Among the thirty-four monasteries in Ladakh, this is the only one which is not located on a hilltop.

Likir Gompa: A monastery founded in the 11th century, skilled craftsmen at Likir produce excellent Thangkas, earthen pots, and carved wooden folding stools. Majestically situated, Likir commands a spectacular view.

Basgo Gompa: 40 Kms downstream from Leh, it was the seat of power of branch of a Namgyal family. It was here in 1680 that invading Mongol and Tibetan armies were held in check over a three-year siege. Original 16th-century murals and other historic art at Basgo are well worth a visit.

Day 9, June 13 – Shanti Stumpa and Leh: After breakfast, we drive the Srinagar highway to return back to Leh, where we will check in for the first night at the Grand Dragon Hotel. After lunch, we will visit the beautiful Shanti Stupa, with a view of the glacier-covered Himalayan Stok range, crowned by glacier-capped 20,187-foot Stok Kangri. In the later afternoon and evening, we will visit the local markets to photograph, and shop for authentic Tibetan and Kashmiri art and handicrafts as well.

Shanti Stupa: On the hilltop of Changspa, the Japanese for World Peace built the Shanti Stupa, inaugurated by the Dalai Lama in 1985. The quality of design and workmanship here is superb.

Day 10, June 14 – Khardung La and Nubra Valley: Onward to the Nubra Valley (known as the Valley of Flowers), via Khardung La pass, among the very highest motorable roads in the world reaching an elevation of 17,582 feet. En route, we will take advantage of spectacular views of the never ending snow-capped mountain ranges around Khardung La. After spending some time at at the pass, we will proceed to Nubra. Nubra valley is distinctly different from Leh, offering excellent landscape photography opportunities such as sand dunes, marshes, streams and snow…

TO CONTINUE, CLICK “READ MORE” TAB, BELOW RIGHT:

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Himalaya & Varanasi
Map via Google
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
Map via Google
Vision January 8 - 12, 2018
10 spaces | $3,850* 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 parks 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, John Shaw, and Justin Black. All three 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. 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.

Click “Read More…” below right to read on…

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

Jack 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, he’ll 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?”

On Workflow:

As photographers have switched to digital, one fact has become apparent:  we are drowning in files.  We’re shooting more images than ever, and digital file sizes are increasing with each new generation of cameras.  Without a smart, logical workflow – and a familiarity with programs such as Lightroom and Photoshop – we will quickly be overwhelmed with data.   – John Shaw

John will focus on teaching a logical, effective 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 step by step the process from shooting RAW files in the field to optimizing the final image in Photoshop.

Workflow topics to be covered include:

  • File formats for shooting and for archiving
  • Exposing for digital
  • Downloading for automatic image organization
  • Proper file naming
  • Cataloging of images: Lightroom or other software
  • Keywording and captioning of images
  • 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
  • The many faces of Bridge
  • Creating panoramic images
  • Color adjustment strategies
  • Using Photoshop to finalize the image: dodging and burning, adjustment layers and layer masking, controlling luminosity and contrast, sharpening for output
  • Color-managed workflow from input to output

The workshop includes eight field sessions, classroom lectures and ample hands-on instruction, critiques, single-occupancy lodging in deluxe rooms (prorated fee available for double-occupancy or for those who do not require lodging), and all meals and drinks. Justin Black will be present to serve as an instructor and to ensure everything runs smoothly. As always, all three instructors will be present to teach and assist students throughout the workshop.

Field sessions begin the evening of the first day. Each morning and evening, we’ll be out to photograph first light before breakfast, and out for evening light before dinner. During mid-day hours in our classroom at the hotel, Jack and John will make presentations on advanced seeing, composition and creativity, digital workflow, and maximizing image potential. Critique sessions will be held each of the last three days before returning to the field for photography in afternoon and evening light. Friday morning will be the final field session, followed by critique until we adjourn at 3:00 pm.

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.

Basecamp is the Best Western Plus Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel. Group meals provide an informal setting to socialize and address specific interests that may not be covered during lectures and classroom discussion.

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.

Please click the “Register” button at the top of the page or contact us directly to reserve your space. A deposit of 50% is required at time of booking, with balance payable 60 days prior to workshop start date.

The workshop begins at 1pm on Monday, January 8th, and ends by 3pm on Friday, January 12th, 2018.

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

Bryce in Winter
Map via Google
Expedition August 28 - September 6, 2018
19 spaces | $* Register

 

Join us for this all-inclusive expedition to the crown jewel of the High Arctic!

Note: Traveling alone? Feel free to book at the lower double-occupancy rates, so long as you are content to be paired with another guest of the same sex.

Designed for photographers by photographers, this expedition to the Svalbard archipelago will take you to the places we love, to make the most of the great spectacle of Arctic light, ice, landscape, and wildlife. Led by a dream team – Michael Melford, Daisy Gilardini, and Justin Black – generous expert photographic instruction will feature prominently throughout the voyage. Here are some highlights:

  • An excellent photography experience aboard the ideal expedition vessel
  • World-class photo instructor team, and an excellent participant-to-instructor ratio (group size limit of 19 guests)
  • The natural beauty of Svalbard itself, a superb destination for both landscape and wildlife photography, timed to coincide with seemingly endless sunsets, first snows of autumn on the mountains, and excellent wildlife opportunities.
  • All-inclusive from airport pickup in Oslo, Norway, featuring a high standard of accommodations and dining, and including R/T flights from Oslo to Svalbard, and all ground transfers.

Our expedition vessel, M/V Plancius, optimizes the photographic potential and overall quality of experience on this trip. She is a very comfortable and capable 296-foot ice-rated expedition ship with accommodation in comfortable en suite cabins and staterooms. We have chosen to do this voyage on this ship because she offers the capabilities, amenities, comfort, dining, and photographic support that will enable us to deliver a thoroughly enjoyable and creatively productive experience, both aboard and on shore. If you wish to travel with a world-class team of photographic instructors to the best locations, and you appreciate the advantages of an adventure designed specifically to optimize both the photography and overall experience, this is an exceptional opportunity.

Our expedition begins in Oslo, Norway, with an introductory reception dinner at one of the capital’s finest restaurants. After a restful night at The Thief – a modern Scandinavian boutique hotel that is one of Oslo’s very best – we fly as a group to the small harbor of Longyearbyen on the island of Spitsbergen, where our ship awaits us. We set sail that afternoon through the sheltered waters of Adventfjord on our way to the west coast where we will work our way northward with views of the stunning mountain landscape.

The wild landscape of Svalbard and the pack ice are characterized by a mesmerizing serenity… I felt like I was floating through a dream. –Justin Black

The High Arctic is one of Earth’s most serene, sublime, and evocative places, and in our opinion the mountainous, glacier-covered islands of the Svalbard archipelago are the crown jewels, in part because a visitor here experiences the best features of the Arctic in microcosm. We have deliberately timed this expedition for Arctic autumn – late August and early September – to take advantage of special seasonal phenomena. The quality of light at this time of year is beautiful. The sun sets for several hours at this time of year, but gorgeous post-sunset light lingers all night long. Also, by this time the mountains typically have had their first fresh snow for the season, making the landscape look its best. Polar bears are to be found on both the islands and the pack ice, and Arctic fox patrol the shorelines. Blue whales – the largest animal that has ever lived on Earth – ply the coastal waters. Large walrus colonies can be photographed both ashore and at sea, and seals – bearded, ringed, harp, and harbor – are commonly sighted. Migratory birds linger on for a while, including Ivory Gulls, Kittywakes, Fulmars, Eider ducks, and more, while native Rock Ptarmigans transition to their winter plumage. Temperatures are still relatively comfortable by Arctic standards, but the summer’s mosquitoes will have been killed off by the frost. Weather and seas tend to be calm, and free of fog that can limit visibility in summer.

We have conceived this Svalbard expedition with considerable advantages for the passionate photographer. The first-rate photo leader team comprises three outstanding professionals, all known as generous and engaging teachers, who have a superb collaborative chemistry. Their photographic specialties cover a cross-section of the opportunities we will be presented with during the expedition: wildlife, landscape, natural abstract, travel, fine art, and conservation.

M/V Plancius: Our ice-rated expedition vessel provides an excellent platform for this voyage, in part due to her strength, maneuverability, and ability to navigate the ice pack and waters that can be impassable to larger ships. Those who appreciate small-group travel will enjoy our group’s participant limit of nineteen guests, with our own private Zodiacs for landings and cruises to approach wildlife and explore the ice.  The ship typically carries a complement of around 108 passengers, supported by a fleet of ten zodiacs, a highly experienced expedition staff of eight, and a top-notch crew who welcome guests on the ship’s spacious bridge. With our relatively small group, everyone will have excellent access to our photo leaders and expedition staff, landing operations will be efficient, and we’ll be able to get to know one another well. Plancius offers an impressive range of vantage points for photography, from close to waterline to up high, and her three diesel-electric engines are surprisingly quiet and produce little vibration.

Dining aboard Plancius is of a high standard, with menus prepared by an accomplished German chef, sous chefs, and baker, with ample fresh ingredients and healthy options available. We are assembling an excellent wine list for the trip as well! She’s just a great ship.

PRICING AND ITINERARY – CLICK “READ MORE” AT BELOW RIGHT:

SEE BELOW FOR HIGHLIGHTS, TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS, AND INCLUSIONS/EXCLUSIONS.

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Svalbard
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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 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…
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African Vision
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Expedition August 12 - 19, 2017
8 spaces | $6,295* Register

Renowned landscape photographer Charles Cramer and Visionary Wild’s Justin Black have teamed up to lead a small group to the dramatic granite spires, alpine lakes, and meadows in Wyoming’s Wind River Range. “The Winds” are the most alpine range in the northern Rockies, with soaring granite peaks reminiscent in many ways of the High Sierra Nevada but less well known and more lightly visited. The alpine wildflowers in the meadows and nearby lakes and streams offer excellent foregrounds for photographing the east-facing Cirque of the Towers and other nearby peaks, which catch spectacular alpenglow at sunrise.

This is one of North America’s great mountain wildernesses, but don’t take our word for it. Following a summer 1999 horse pack trip into the Winds, internationally acclaimed mountain photographer Galen Rowell wrote the following in his April 2000 column for Outdoor Photographer magazine:

The Wind River Range is my favorite in the Rockies. Warm, relatively dry summers create a paradise for backpackers, climbers, and photographers. Hundreds of peaks rise over 12,000 feet above glaciers and snows that last late into summer. Melt waters cascade into alpine basins filled with meadows, open pine forest, and countless lakes before joining into rivers separated by the Continental Divide.”

Charles Cramer and Justin Black will lead photography outings morning and evening, and whenever else the light and weather conditions offer compelling opportunities. Night photography of the high-elevation starry skies can be amazing too. Options for midday activities will include scouting hikes, talking photography, relaxing around camp, reading, napping, fishing, lake swimming, etc. Beyond the phenomenal landscape and wildlife photography opportunities, these pack trips provide an excellent shared experience with other passionate photographers, enjoying fireside stories and camping under the stars.

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

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Wind River
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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.

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Birds of Iceland
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