Workshops by Focus: Planning and Serendipity

Expedition September 21 - October 4, 2019
0 of spaces left | $* Waitlist

For over thirty years, Michael Yamashita has covered Asia for National Geographic, with special emphasis on the Silk Road region and Tibet. Justin Black fell in love with the Tibetan culture and landscape through his late mentor, renowned adventure photographer Galen Rowell. Together, Yamashita and Black have designed a very special photographic itinerary across Tibet from the vibrant and historic capital of Lhasa to the glacier-draped vistas of the Everest region, to sacred Mount Kailas, and on to western Tibet, visiting carefully scouted locations in the grand landscape, colorful monasteries, and welcoming villages along the way, all offering exceptional photographic opportunities. Join us for this comfortable, well-supported journey in the footsteps of explorers like Rowell, Eric Shipton, and Heinrich Harrer, to see why they considered Tibet one of the most beautiful and evocative places on Earth.

The Tibetan Plateau is often referred to as “the roof of the world,” and it’s easy to understand why. Including Mount Everest, Tibet claims eleven of the world’s fourteen 8,000-meter peaks, as well as more than 1,500 lakes. Our route takes across the southern portion of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, which is sparsely populated with only 3.5 million inhabitants, despite making up 1/8th the landmass of China. In addition to photographing historic Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and sublime vistas of the highest mountains on Earth, we will have opportunities to visit with traditional tent-dwelling nomads and Buddhist pilgrims at Mount Kailas, experience local festivals, and photograph endemic Tibetan wildlife such as Kyangs (Tibetan wild asses) and elegant Goas (Tibetan gazelles), yaks on the grasslands, and more. The itinerary below offers more details and highlights.

Our small group of ten guests will travel in our own very comfortable private group bus, with lots of extra space aboard for gear and with support from Michael’s long-time local guide and “fixer.” Accommodations will be in best-available lodges and hotels, including the five-star Crowne Plaza Chengdu Panda Hotel, the superb Songtsam boutique hotel in Lhasa, and hotels equal to 2-3 star standard in most other locations, with showers and electricity. The local cuisine features tasty Sichuan and Tibetan specialities.

The expedition gallery below features the work of Mike Yamashita, as well as eight select images by Justin Black’s late friend and mentor, Galen Rowell, from locations that we will visit on this itinerary, such as Rongbuk Monastery, Tingri Plain, Everest North Face Base Camp, Mount Kailaish, and more. Photos © Michael Yamashita, and © Galen Rowell / Alamy.

Tibet: The Roof of the World
Map via Google
Expedition January 3 - 18, 2020
6 spaces | $* Register

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

read more…

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

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

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

Charles is a masterful artist renowned for landscape photographs that derive their power from their elegant composition and gentle calm. He has returned again and again to Appalachia over the years to draw inspiration from its atmospheric interplay of light, mist, and elegant graphics. Garnering rave reviews whenever he teaches, Charlie enjoys nothing more than sharing his insights, creativity, and craftsmanship with other passionate photographers in an effort to help them refine their own vision.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Antarctica by Yacht II
Map via Google
Expedition January 3 - 18, 2019
6 spaces | $* Register

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Antarctica by Yacht
Map via Google
Expedition April 5 - 16, 2019
10 spaces | $10,995* Register

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PLEASE NOTE:

  • VISA: No visa is required for stays less than 90 days.
  • TRAVEL INSURANCE: We always strongly recommend arranging travel insurance. 
  • FLIGHTS: No flights are included. Please contact us if you would like recommendations regarding flights to and from Punta Arenas, Chile (airport code: PUQ)
  • GRATUITIES: Baseline tips are included. Our local guides, driver, and lodging staff work very hard to make our experience in Chile be the best it can be, and Visionary Wild budgets for a healthy group tip in recognition of their services. Guests are encouraged to tip additionally if they would like to recognize exceptional service.
  • CAMERA EQUIPMENT: Participants will carry their camera body and lens; a tripod is optional. Porters are available to assist with carrying equipment; please inquire for further details.
Pumas of Patagonia
Map via Google
Vision January 14 - 18, 2019
10 spaces | $3,400* Register

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

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

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

This outdoor classroom is a highlight of our Vision series, a special program of advanced instruction focusing on refining your personal creative vision, composition, digital workflow and image processing, designed and presented by renowned photographers Jack Dykinga and Cliff Zenor. Both instructors have photographed Bryce extensively and know its secrets well. We will photograph at a variety of locations in the park during our morning and evening field sessions, with emphasis on the hoodoos and sculpted designs in the canyons.

Packaged with single-occupancy lodging at the Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel (a Best Western Plus property), located ideally near the park entrance, and with all meals, snacks and beverages included, this is a superb workshop scenario. We hope you’ll join us!

 

About Vision Workshops

The creation of a truly great finished photograph is part of a process from initial concept and vision through execution in the field to digital workflow and creation of a high-quality, final master file ready for printing or publication. Our Vision workshops address the two greatest challenges faced by photographers as they advance. The first of these is the tendency for original creative vision to reach a plateau in development, and the second is a digital workflow in need of streamlining and refinement to make the most of your images.

On Creative Vision:

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

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

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

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

Workflow topics to be covered include:

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

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

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

We supply materials in advance of the session to get newcomers up to speed with basics having to do with digital camera set-up and techniques, essential equipment recommendations, and other guidelines to ensure that everyone is ready to make the most of the experience.

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

Bryce in Winter
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. read more…

White Sands
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 14 - 18, 2015
7 spaces | $3,950* Register

Characterized by the ebb and flow of tides and fog, California’s sleepy Sonoma Coast features light, atmospherics, and landscape as fine as the region’s famous pinot noir. Dramatic headlands, sea stacks, and beaches are sculpted by the Pacific waves and the action of tectonic plates along the San Andreas Fault. The rugged beauty here offers unending opportunities for passionate photographers. This advanced workshop is geared for photographers who are fairly comfortable with the fundamentals of photography and digital workflow, and who seek higher-level mentorship.

Instructors Jeff Foott and Jerry Dodrill will lead eight field sessions to explore remote coves, sea arches and tidepools, coastal ridges and steep canyons filled with redwood forest. 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.

Our basecamp at historic Timber Cove Inn, located on a headland with dramatic views of sea stacks and surf, serves as an excellent position from which we will set off for a range of photographic objectives from Bodega Bay’s bluffs and sand dunes to the Russian River, Fort Ross, and the sculpted tufoni sandstone formations and wind-sculpted bishop pines at Salt Point. We will visit mysterious Bowling Ball Beach and the historic Point Arena lighthouse. Special features of this workshop include a field session in a scenic ridge-top old-vine Zinfandel vineyard, and a private wine tasting dinner with a local wine maker.

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Sonoma Coast
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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

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Patagonia Vision
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Vision January 12 - 16, 2015
10 spaces | $3,890* 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.

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 of Oakhurst, California, 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.

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White Sands
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
Vision January 13 - 17, 2014
10 spaces | $3,890* 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 inspires 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 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 the “read more” button below right to continue…

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White Sands
Map via Google
Advanced September 13 - 17, 2012
12 spaces | $3,585* Register

Characterized by the ebb and flow of tides and fog, California’s sleepy Sonoma Coast features light, atmospherics, and landscape as fine as the region’s famous pinot noir. Dramatic headlands, sea stacks, and beaches are sculpted by the Pacific waves and the action of tectonic plates along the San Andreas Fault. The rugged beauty here offers unending opportunities for passionate photographers. This advanced workshop is geared for photographers who are fairly comfortable with the fundamentals of photography and digital workflow, and who seek higher-level mentorship. read more…

Sonoma Coast
Map via Google
Advanced July 8 - 12, 2012
12 spaces | $2,995* Register

The Olympic Peninsula offers an astonishing array of landscapes and micro-climates in a relatively compact area. From its dramatic rocky coast and tidal pools, to old-growth temperate rainforest, to alpine meadows, glaciated peaks, and vast wilderness, it seems to have it all. Marine fog pours through mountain passes, filling inland valleys while ridge-top meadows in full bloom bask in the sun. Roosevelt elk bugle in the lush forest, home to some of the world’s largest trees. The snowcapped splendor of the Olympic Mountains provides a constant backdrop. No one knows this majestic place better than the award-winning photographic team of Terry Donnelly and Mary Liz Austin.

Click the “read more…” tab below right to continue and see the photo gallery.

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Olympic
Map via Google