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

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

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

Sara Robb – Operations Assistant: sara@visionarywild.com

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Workshops by date

Workshops by: type | Location | Focus | Upcoming | Past
Creative Core September 25 - 29, 2017
1 of 10 spaces left | $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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Vision October 9 - 13, 2017
0 of 10 spaces left | $3,750* Waitlist

The southwest United States holds some of the world's most inspiring landscape photography destinations, and the area including Capitol Reef National Park is one of our favorites. In addition to numerous steep ridges, colorful canyons, and sandstone formations, Capitol Reef National Park boosts the largest exposed monocline in North America and layers of sedimentary rock recording nearly 200 million years of geological change. This outdoor classroom is a highlight of our Vision series, a special program of advanced instruction focusing on refining your personal creative vision, composition, and digital workflow, designed and presented by renowned photographers Jack Dykinga and John Shaw. Packaged with single-occupancy lodging at The Broken Spur Inn in Torrey, the closest town to the Park, this is a superb workshop scenario set to challenge and amaze all participants. We hope you'll join us!

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

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

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Expedition October 13 - 28, 2017
0 of 6 spaces left | $16,495* Waitlist

An intimate first-class photo adventure through the magnificent landscape of the South Island

"I feel my experience in New Zealand has made me a much better photographer. I had several 'a-ha' moments that I will carry with me everytime I pick up the camera." –Marla R., 2016 participant

"The expedition greatly exceeded my expectations. It was no doubt an amazing and awesome experience of a lifetime!" – Susan S., 2015 participant

Towering mountain ranges, hanging alpine glaciers, wind-swept coastlines, crystal blue lakes, pristine turquoise river valleys, and primordial tree fern rainforests are just some of the scenes we will photograph as we explore the South Island on this intimate 16-day journey led by two top pros: National Geographic photographer Michael Melford (who recently covered the South Island on assignment for Nat Geo), and Phillip Bartlett, a renowned Kiwi landscape photographer and guide who is acclaimed for his professionalism and intimate knowledge of New Zealand's stunning landscape. It was with good reason that motion picture director Peter Jackson chose New Zealand as his location for the fantasy world of Tolkien's "Middle Earth": the variety of incredible landscapes found in such a compact area is simply astounding.

We sought to design a trip that would take your breath away, visiting locations off the regular tourist path that offer superb photography. To access these areas we will be travelling by 4WD Toyota Landcruisers, with two guests per vehicle. In addition, private charter excursions by helicopter and boat – at Fox Glacier and Milford Sound – provide us access to some truly phenomenal opportunities. All the while, your trip leaders offer generous guidance and instruction to ensure that you make the most of the photographic possibilities.

All of our past three annual excursions were exceedingly well received by our guests (see testimonials at the top and bottom of this page), but nevertheless we have adjusted the itinerary slightly to maximize the quality of the overall experience.

Click "read more" below right to see the itinerary and photo gallery...

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Expedition November 9 - 16, 2017
0 of 12 spaces left | $25,350* Waitlist

TESTIMONIALS FROM OUR 2015 and 2016 POLAR BEAR GUESTS:

I have to say that was the best trip ever!!!!!  So many great photos and a really great group. I would love to go back, but I think the mark that was set would be hard to beat. –J. Furber

Loved our polar bear trip. Many thanks for putting together such a great trip. Am very pleased with my pictures and still trying to decide which ones to cull out. –J. Allen

Back from the shores of Hudson Bay on a polar bear photo safari with lots of images. Great adventure with expert assistance from Visionary Wild. The experience of a lifetime! –K. Cochran

Big thanks for the special expertise of our fabulous professional photographers!  They were always there to help, provide tips and give one on one consultations. It was so surprising to see so many large polar bears close to each other and sparring, and it was extra special to watch the wolf on the ice. Nanuk Lodge is full of wow experiences. The bear guides were skilled, experienced, knew the animals behaviors, and were very safe.  To be able to freely walk with wild polar bears is something we will cherish. And the cuisine was amazing. The fresh vegetables, delicious wild rice, spices, baked goods and more. Every meal was truly a superb gourmet treat! Thanks to you very very much for a great trip! –J. Pace.

Picture yourself standing on arctic tundra at the edge of Hudson Bay, photographing a pair of polar bears wrestling in the glow of sunset as they wait for the bay to freeze over so they can begin their annual hunting season on the ice. An arctic fox watches the action from the sidelines. The only sounds are the bears, the breeze, and waves lapping at the ice forming on the shoreline. Then imagine, as the light fades and temperatures drop, you walk just a few feet away to sit beside the fire in a cozy wilderness lodge – reserved for our group's use only – joining your fellow photographers for a glass of wine while reviewing the day's photographs, in anticipation of a gourmet dinner and excited conversation about the opportunities that await tomorrow. Keep your camera ready, though... the aurora borealis may well appear in the night sky.

Join Frans Lanting, Chris Eckstrom, and Justin Black at Nanuk, a remote wilderness lodge positioned in prime polar bear territory on the shores of Hudson Bay east of the mouth of the Nelson River in Manitoba. This is a very special opportunity to intensively photograph polar bear behavior close-up in the wild. Our small group will photograph the bears from eye level, on foot, via short excursions onto the tundra and from the grounds of the lodge, where polar bears walk within inches of the fence line. This area is unusual in also enjoying excellent sightings of wolves, and it's also one of the few places on Earth where polar bears and black bears can be seen together.

Nanuk is a very comfortable, recently renovated and upgraded fly-in lodge that offers unique access to a high density of polar bears with a lovely coastal landscape backdrop. To ensure you make the most of your visit, Frans, Chris, and Justin will provide highly attentive, thoughtful, and generous instruction throughout the trip, offering feedback and useful guidance drawn from their combined four decades of experience as professional nature photographers. They will provide recommendations on camera setup optimized for wildlife photography, teach strategies and techniques to empower you to anticipate and capture fleeting wildlife behaviors, offer advice on composition and working the available light and weather conditions for best effect, and more. In the evening, Frans, Chris, and Justin will provide feedback and constructive critique of your images to ensure that the quality of your work improves significantly over the course of the trip.

Included in the package are round-trip flights (Winnipeg – Churchill – Nanuk Lodge), all lodging, all meals, all beverages, all photographic instruction and bear guiding, partial gratuities, and Canadian tax. Though most Visionary Wild workshops and expeditions are packaged and priced as single-occupancy by default, this workshop is packaged as double-occupancy at $12,675 per person, due to the limited number of guest rooms and beds at Nanuk Lodge, and the fact that their operating season is relatively short, which makes the cost for a room for one person exactly double the double-occupancy price. We will be happy to help pair up individual participants of the same gender who wish to share a room, but we can certainly accommodate those who wish to book single-occupancy rooms.

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Expedition December 3 - 10, 2017
0 of 6 spaces left | $6,495* Waitlist

Exotic Birds – Poison Dart Frogs –  Monkeys – Waterfalls – Wild Pacific Beach

All of this and more is to be found in one of the most biologically exciting places on Earth – Coast Rica's remote Osa Peninsula – and we'd like to share the best of it with you. Envision original primary rainforest rising up a low ridge from a pristine and entirely undeveloped Pacific beach, stretching as far as the eye can see. Native toucans, scarlet macaws, two- and three-toed sloths, and four species of New World monkeys cruise through the trees, while dramatic waterfalls roar in the jungle. Numerous species of visually striking frogs inhabit the area, including three species of colorful poison dart frogs, red-eyed tree frogs, masked tree frogs, and massive cane toads in their native habitat. Hundreds of exotic bird species abound. In addition to the toucans and macaws, long-tail hermit hummingbirds, elegant and violaceous trogons, blue-capped manakins, crested caracaras, ibis, various raptors and myriad other species are readily photographed. The forest itself is stunning, with old-growth trees and vegetation full of character and beautiful graphic designs just waiting to be discovered.

Expedition leader Justin Black will share their creative approaches to photographing rainforest fauna and flora, as well as the dramatic landscape. Hands-on in the field, we will cover long-lens and macro wildlife techniques, control of composition and light, fill-flash, control of focal plane and perspective with tilt-shift lenses, panoramic stitching, and other techniques that can be used to great effect in this amazing place.

Our base camp is El Remanso, a top-rated eco-lodge, which offers a uniquely rich and accessible environment to witness and explore the incredible flora and fauna of Central America's rainforests.  The owners are our personal friends, and the staff make guests feel like family. It’s a peaceful resort where it’s easy to let go of the hassles of travel logistics and fully immerse yourself in exploring and photographing the birds, waterfalls, monkeys and frogs, gorgeous old-growth trees, and the stunning Pacific beach.

The staff at El Remanso take great care of us – providing a delicious mix of international and local Tico cuisine, fresh tropical fruits, not to mention the superb margaritas, caipirinhas, and piña coladas – all on an inviting and spacious covered dining deck perched at the top of a canyon, at eye-level with the forest canopy.  We'll bring our long lenses to breakfast to photograph monkeys, macaws and toucans feeding in the trees.  The opportunities to explore don’t end with the setting sun. A stroll with our naturalist guides around El Remanso just after dark reveals all manner of nocturnal species.

Click "read more" at below right for the full itinerary

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Vision January 8 - 12, 2018
0 of 10 spaces left | $3,850* Waitlist

 

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.

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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.

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Creative Core January 15 - 19, 2018
0 of 10 spaces left | $3,695* Waitlist

 

We are excited to operate our second workshop with basecamp in Moab 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 Justin Black will lead eight field sessions to explore remote coves, canyons, rivers and streams, and striking desert ecology. As Jeff lives nearby and frequently visits these Parks, he 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 15 to 3pm on January 19, 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.

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Expedition February 17 - 26, 2018
Limit 7 spaces | $18,750* Register

Join Roy Toft – renowned wildlife photographer and animal behaviorist – for this unique itinerary focusing on intimate encounters with some of humanity's closest living relatives: Mountain Gorillas at Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Chimpanzees at Mahale Mountains National Park on the shores of Tanzania's Lake Tanganyika. Our basecamps for this all-inclusive expedition are two of Africa's finest accommodations – Virunga Lodge and Mahale Greystoke Camp – and excellent logistics have been arranged throughout.

Few Mountain Gorillas remain in the world; the subspecies (Gorilla beringei beringei) has dwindled down to fewer than 1,000 individuals due to war, poaching, habitat loss, and disease. About half of those that remain reside in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda, where George Schaller and Dian Fossey both studied the Mountain Gorilla groups extensively. To get up close and eye-to-eye with these apes in their natural surroundings is truly an experience of a lifetime. Like their lush forests, these gorillas are prodigious. Weighing as much as 500 pounds, their extra fur helps them adapt to the high altitudes of the mountains when the temperatures fall. The gorillas' survival depends on the health of their forests and a continued stable political climate; we hope to share the experience of seeing these wild and beautiful primates first-hand with you!

Experienced trackers will lead our group on gorilla hikes which can take anything from a total of three to eight hours depending on the movements and activity of the family groups. Participants need to be reasonably fit and prepared to hike. Our group will have eight of the 38 available gorilla tracking total for the group of those 38. Groups are permitted to remain with their assigned gorilla family for one hour once they encounter it, and this time is precious, magical, and photographically productive.  The golden monkeys (also known as blue monkeys) are a local subspecies of the Sykes monkey and also require permitting to track. They also reside in the Volcanoes National Park area, but behave in a more sociable and playful manner. We will have two gorilla trekking sessions and one golden monkey trekking session over a span of three days.

While at Volcanoes National Park, we retreat to Virunga Lodge, a first-rate sustainable eco-lodge, spectacularly located on a hillside overlooking the Virunga Volcanoes and Lakes Ruhondo and Bulera. The views, luxurious comfort, and its intimate feel make Virunga one of the top lodge destinations in the continent.  All of Viruga's eight bandas (cabins) have private verandas with views over the lakes and volcanoes. Open fire places in the lounge and dining room are a warm welcome after a day tracking the mountain gorillas.

Following our time in Rwanda, we fly into Tanzania and visit Mahale Mountains National Park to track chimpanzees. This area of western Tanzania is home to the world`s largest chimp population. These intelligent apes are also on the endangered species list, particularly due to loss of habitat, hunting, and commercial exportation. Hear their hoots and watch them traipse around the tropical jungle that surrounds you. Watch them communicate with numerous facial expressions and gestures, and use their long arms and opposable thumbs to use tools to help them feed as they forage for food. A truly amazing experience!

While in Mahale Mountains National Park, we will be accommodated in exotic wooden bandas overlooking the white sand beach at Nomads Greystoke Camp: a luxurious camp in a small bay lined with palm trees and backing on to the lush green slopes of the Mahale Mountains. The camp provides direct access to one of the largest habituated troops of chimpanzees.

Through the itinerary, Roy Toft will provide attentive, hands-on photographic guidance and instruction, including sharing his insights into gorilla and chimp behavior, to help every guest make the most of the experience.

This 9-night 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, park entry fees, trekking permits, ground transfers, and three flights during the itinerary.

Click "read more" below right for the itinerary and more information...

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Creative Core February 26 - March 2, 2018
1 of 10 spaces left | $4,245* Register

Join our deeply engaging and inspirational instructors, Jack Dykinga and Justin Black, in one of the sunniest parts of the United States in winter: southern Texas. We plan to navigate around the high mountains and into the canyons of Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park for a customized itinerary to visit locations scouted for the most favorable photography instruction and practice.

Big Bend National Park, one of the least-visited national parks, and Big Bend Ranch State Park comprise desert, mountain, and river landscapes that are home to a remarkable variety of cacti, birds, and reptiles. This region’s layers of mountain ranges within the "bend" of the Rio Grande River make for majestic and breathtaking views to experience first-hand, particularly in the crisp air during crimson sunsets. We will be visiting the parks before spring break, when even these overlooked destinations can get busy.

Jack and Justin will lead eight field sessions to explore the uncountable location options for photography. Big Bend National Park alone has over 100 miles of paved road, giving us access to stunning vistas and geological wonders. At the same time, they won't get in the way of our photos, since Big Bend also contains the largest expanse of roadless public lands in Texas. 

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, Jack and Justin will make presentations on composition and creativity, light and exposure, digital workflow, and maximizing image potential through post-production. Refreshments and light snacks are provided in the classroom. During field sessions, Jack 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.

The group size is limited to ten participants, and the package includes the workshop itself from 1:00 pm on February 26 to 3:00 pm on March 2, four nights’ accommodations, all meals, snacks, and drinks (including adult beverages with dinner). The rate for single-occupancy is $4,245; double-occupancy is $3,745 per-participant; for those who do not need lodging arrangements provided, the rate is $3,245.

Workshop will be operated under a commercial use authorization issued by Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park.

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Expedition March 7 - 18, 2018
Limit 18 spaces | $* Register

It's time to experience a different Hawaii, Visionary Wild-style. Join us for this all-inclusive, exclusive-charter photographic expedition from Hawai'i to Moloka'i

We're told to visit Hawaii to sip on cocktails along Waikiki Beach and hike around the fascinating landscape of Volcanoes National Park. We're told it's a honeymoon destination and a great retreat for island-style vacation. Hawaii is definitely "on the map," but the Hawaiian archipelago remains one of the world's most beautiful natural landscapes, still featuring spectacular and little-visited locations for photography, including many that are best accessed from the water. Escape the crowds and let us guide you on an 11-night itinerary, visiting locations that will amaze the most avid photographer.

A first-class team of three instructors will lead this expedition: G. Brad Lewis, Michele Westmorland, and Justin Black. A photography trip around Hawaii would not be complete without Brad, who we all know as The Volcano Man. The ever-changing landscape and unpredictable conditions mesmerized Brad from his first visit decades ago, and he continues to return, traveling both new and familiar routes, documenting the birth of new land and the transformation of the landscape, and strengthening his connection to this geological and ecological wonder. Michele has led an impressive career as a professional nature and cultural conservation photographer and filmmaker, building upon a diverse skill set. She is comfortable tackling a wide range of subject matter in her work, but she is best known for her photographs of underwater wildlife and native cultures. Michele is the consummate teacher in underwater photography, the one you want along as you snorkel along the Hawaiian coast. Justin is a landscape photography specialist with decades of experience helping passionate photographers make the most of unique opportunities like this one to take their work to the next level. All three are kind, compassionate, conscientious, and engaging people, whose goal is to create the best possible overall experience for everyone on this expedition.

We start on Hawai'i Island, also known as the Big Island. Private transportation will take us around the northern half of the island to Hilo, where we spend one night, before traveling around the southern half of the Big Island back to Kona. These first three nights of the expedition will include photography on location at a lava lake, waterfalls, forest, and more, taking advantage of the best opportunities presented by the light and weather conditions during a stunning overland journey.

Then, we embark on the Safari Explorer: our exclusive charter vessel. Up to 15 cabins are available to our guests to host a maximum of 18 participants (up to two per cabin), though the Safari Explorer normally accommodates 36 guests. The group size is thus limited to maximize the overall experience, helping to ensure that our photographic locations and the ship are uncrowded, that participants are all able to receive attentive photography instruction with opportunities to work one-on-one with all three leaders, and to generally enhance the efficiency of our operations during the trip. With at least 14 ship's crew members aboard, the staff-to-passenger ratio will be about 1:1. Safari explorer is a highly capable expedition vessel and a superb platform for serious photography, but comfort doesn't take a back seat. Her stylish staterooms have heated tile floors in bathroom, air conditioning, Tempur-Pedic® memory foam mattresses, flat-screen TV/DVD, iPod docking station, large view windows (no portholes!), and private en suite bath with shower. The ship carries three Zodiac boats that normally accommodate up to thirteen people, so our excursions on the water will be uncrowded, with plenty of room to maneuver camera gear, and only six participants plus one instructor and a driver per boat.

While aboard the Safari Explorer for our 7-night cruise, we will encounter more of the sealife and landscapes that make Hawaii the centerpiece of the Pacific Ocean. From snorkeling with manta rays to cruising beneath some of the tallest sea cliffs in the world, each day will be an adventure, holding in store plenty of opportunities for photography. The timing of this trip coincides with the return to Hawaiian waters of humpback whales in abundance. Between December and May, they calve and nurse their young before migrating to the waters off Alaska. After exploring West Maui, Olowalu, and Lana'i, we disembark on the island of Moloka'i. We spend one last night together here before an early morning flight to Honolulu, Oahu, where there are midday flights departing for the U.S. mainland and other destinations so that everyone can easily arrange their own flights back home.

In the words of Michele, "Swimming with dolphins is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have when doing underwater photography. Combine that with traveling around Hawaii by ship with Brad and Justin... this trip is a slam-dunk." We hope you will join us to see the more undiscovered parts of Hawaii as we island hop to its most pristine and breathtaking views!

PRICING AND ITINERARY – CLICK "READ MORE" AT BELOW RIGHT:

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

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Expedition March 28 - April 6, 2018
Limit 6 spaces | $12,945* Register

SEE PUMAS EVERYDAY

WITH EXPERT GUIDES ON A PRIVATE RANCH

ON THIS ALL-INCLUSIVE EXPEDITION

Pumas can easily spy on nearby activity without being noticed. From hiding in tall grasses or lounging about shadows among rocky cliffs, they often spot us before we spot them. Pumas are surprisingly secretive big cats, adapting to more hostile environments where the other felines do not bother to live. How do photographers get close-up to the action and experience the lives of pumas in their territory?

Join Roy Toft on a huge private ranch, directly adjacent to Torres del Paine National Park, where these wild pumas roam free and our talented local guides track these apex predators through this landscape of rolling hills beneath the Paine mountains, otherwise known as "Pumaland."

In partnership with SouthWild, our Puma spotters and guides are top notch. We will see and photograph many of these amazing cats at reasonable distances. Please watch the video below for a first-hand glimpse of visiting Pumaland:

SouthWild Pumas on Vimeo.

Before the expedition ends, we are including a special day to visit the private the “Cerro Palomares” Condor Roost Cliff where Andean Condors fly. From convenient perches, we will photograph scores of “below-horizon fly-bys” of Andean Condors, which on average is 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 Andean Condors.

Throughout the itinerary, we expect to walk a total of about 3-6 miles each day, split between two field sessions. There are also some hills which we will need to hike around at each person's own pace; for a more pleasant photographic experience, we do recommend that you are fit to hike with gear, including tripods and long telephotos. Porters are available 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.

Although we consider this expedition to be one of our more strenuous ones, you can expect to have extremely comfortable hotel nights to prepare you for more activity in the days ahead. At Hotel Cabo de Hornos in Punta Arenas, we will stay in sea view rooms of this highly-rated, modern hotel. All rooms boast deep soaking tubs, free WiFi, 24-hour room service, and luxurious bedding. At Hotel Las Torres near Pumaland, we will stay at their Ciprés rooms, which are newly renovated, spacious, with large windows to enjoy the scenery. Each one has been decorated with different and special elements of the area, such as looms and ethnic masks with furniture made by artisans from Patagonia.

Outside of the park borders, we are able to seek out and respectfully approach the Pumas, without the hinderance of recent National Park restrictions regarding walking off trail. If you are ready to follow in the paths of these powerful animals and capture their incredible behavior on camera, this expedition is what you have been waiting for.

 

 ITINERARY

March 28 – Arrival day in Punta Arenas: Land at Punta Arenas Airport (PUQ), where our representative meets you and takes you to your hotel. Overnight in Punta Arenas at Hotel Cabo de Hornos. (D)

March 29 – Leave Punta Arenas for Pumaland: After breakfast, your guide will be meet you at the hotel and transfer you to Torres del Paine, arriving at Refugio Laguna Amarga. The Puma search begins in the afternoon; join the trackers who will have been out from pre-dawn looking for Pumas for you. Overnight at Hotel Las Torres.  (B, L, D)

March 30-April 4 – Pumas: Spend three to four hours each day searching for and tracking pumas in Pumaland.  We will have breakfast before the morning session, lunch between sessions and then dinner after the late afternoon pumas tracking session, which will last another three to four hours. Overnight at Hotel Las Torres.  (B, L, D)

April 5 – Condors and return to Puntas Arenas: After breakfast, we will drive for approximately four hours south to an exciting new location: the “Cerro Palomares” Condor Roost Cliff at the private, 20,000-acre “Estancia Olga Teresa” Ranch. At dusk we will drive approximately one hour back to Punta Arenas for our farewell dinner.  Overnight in Punta Arenas at Hotel Cabo de Hornos. (B, L, D)

April 6 – Departure day: Wake up for breakfast at the hotel, and then our driver will be transfer you to the airport. Check out of the hotel is at noon. (B)

PLEASE NOTE:

  • VISA: No visa is required for stays less than 90 days.
  • TRAVEL INSURANCE: We always strongly recommend arranging travel insurance. Travelguard.com is excellent.
  • 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.

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Expedition April 1 - 13, 2018
Limit 10 spaces | $11,750* 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

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 acclaimed fine art photography instructor Eddie Soloway and Justin Black of Visionary Wild 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. Assuming the weather cooperates, moonless nights during our itinerary will mean excellent opportunities to incorporate the Milky Way in nocturnal landscapes. 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.

Our trip begins in Santiago, Chile, where we will meet participants at the airport and transfer to The Aubrey, a splendidly remodeled historic boutique hotel in the colorful and photogenic Bellavista district of Santiago, next to the Park Metropolitano and Cerro San Cristobal. We'll all gather there and go out as a group for a welcome dinner to get to know everyone. The next day features a guided photo walk through highlights of the historic city center, with lunch featuring superb local seafood at our favorite restaurant in the Mercado Central. The next morning, we'll catch a flight to Punta Arenas, our jumping off point in Patagonia. There we will be joined by our local guide team, good friends regarded as some of the very best local guides in Chilean Patagonia. We proceed to Torres del Paine National Park (with lunch at a restaurant along the way) where we'll check into Hotel Las Torres, the first of three excellent lodges in the park that will serve as our base camps for the next nine days and nights – the others are the spectacularly located Hostería Pehoe, and recently upgraded Hotel Lago Grey.

Eddie Soloway 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 a trip by ferry to visit Glacier Grey and, via our comfortable group vehicles, spectacular locations around the park that we have scouted in detail on prior visits. Some locations involve short hikes, but nothing particularly strenuous.

After dusk each day, we will gather for a nice dinner and some good Chilean wine. Then it's off to bed to rest, as most mornings we'll be out around 6:00am 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 lodges or in the field as a gourmet picnic.

Included in the program:

  • Photographic instruction throughout by Eddie Soloway and Justin Black, a highly effective instructor team with several previous Torres del Paine visits under their belts
  • Top local guide, plus support by a first-rate team of assistant guides and drivers
  • Flights: Santiago – Punta Arenas – Santiago
  • Ground transportation and transfers
  • Twelve nights lodging (package is priced as single-occupancy; double-occ available at pro-rated fee)
  • All meals, snacks, and beverages (including beer, wine, cocktails with dinner)

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Expedition May 16 - 29, 2018
Limit 7 spaces | $14,400* Register

The land that time forgot...

After thirty-two visits to Papua New Guinea, photographer and filmmaker Michele Westmorland considers this exotic destination her second home. She invites you to experience this incredible photographic journey in some of the most remote and beautiful areas of Papua New Guinea, featuring the best accommodations available, a three-night luxury river boat cruise, and charter flight transfers between our various locations.

On her first visit to Papua New Guinea in 1991, Westmorland was immediately hooked:

"I was completely taken by the beauty and diversity of the underwater world," she says. "It was on my third or fourth trip that I raised my head above the water and realized how diverse the landscape and the people are."

PNG is home to the most linguistically diverse population on Earth with over 800 different languages spoken in a country with a population of just over 7 million people. It is a land of traditional cultures living a subsistence hunter-gatherer lifestyle, and small villages and small-scale farming are the norm. The colorful wigmen of the Huli Tribe of the Southern Highlands and Hela Province use multi-colored clays, feathers, and flowers for traditional body decoration. Birds of Paradise grace the forests with their dramatic color and form.

In contrast the young men of the Sepik region, formerly the home of a head-hunting culture, undergo painful decorative scarring on their backs. Life in the Sepik area revolves around the river, with men paddling narrow dugout canoes full of goods for trade, women fishing or making sago, and children joyfully swinging from trees to splash down in the river. Crocodiles are the manifestation of the local river spirits. The Sepik is a gallery of tribal art – each village boasts a unique style and every villager is an artisan.

Through the song, dance, and pageantry of "sing-sings," proud local people showcase their traditional customs and artistry. It's a wonderful opportunity for us to photograph the various cultures of PNG together in an array of color and passion.

Cape Nelson in Oro Province of PNG is full of mystery as we approach from the air.   The short one-hour flight from Port Moresby reveals the green fingers of land stretched out into the turquoise waters of the Solomon Sea.  Arriving in the morning, we will settle into our charming accommodations and prepare for the next 3 days of a rich cultural experience in a stunning coastal environment. Our group will experience the beauty of the fjord areas by traditional canoe allowing for exceptional photography, or a bit of video, as exotic birds swoop overhead.  Hornbills, parrots and cockatoos are common in this area.

Our village hosts will not only share their daily lives with our group of photographers, but prepare for another sing-sing where we will capture the extensive body décor that reveals the sense of pride these warm and friendly people have in their tradition.  In addition to the dance, there will be demonstrations of facial tattooing, fire making and preparation of sago, a staple food source that comes from the pulp of a endemic palm. Other activities will include a trip to waterfalls or hikes with vistas overlooking the fjord areas.

Group size is limited to seven participants, led by Michele and local guides. Michele will be very accessible and generous with her time for all participants. She will provide personalized photographic instruction in the field, and will address post processing tools and techniques, including black & white conversion. We look forward to sharing this off-the-beaten-path cultural documentary journey with you!

PACKAGE
This trip is packaged by default as single-occupancy (guests who prefer to share double-occupancy accommodation save $1,100 each), and includes all accommodations, a three-night luxury river cruise aboard Sepik Spirit, all meals, beverages (including beer or wine with dinner), air and ground transfers (including six internal charter flights), excursions, special performances and cultural photo-ops, and of course expert photographic instruction and guiding throughout by Michele Westmorland.

ITINERARY

May 16

Upon arrival at Jacksons International Airport (POM) in Port Moresby from your international flight, you will be met and transferred to our group hotel for our initial meeting and orientation, followed by a festive group dinner. Our accommodation for the night, the Airwarys Hotel, is located by the airport. We will stay in the modern, luxurious Dakota Suites of this award-winning hotel.

Overnight: Airways Hotel (--D)

May 17

Morning excursion and then transfer to our Air Niugini flight from Port Moresby to Mt. Hagen. Meet/Greet and transfer to Highlander Hotel, nestled among tropical gardens and with very comfortable and elegant rooms.

Overnight: Highlander Hotel (B,L,D)

May 18

Today, a full day is spent at the Tumbuna singsing - witness traditional dances, interact with Stone Age cultures and hear stories about "Taim bilong Tumbuna" (time of the ancestors). Tumbuna is the Tok Pisin (the lingua franca of Papua New Guinea) word for ancestors. Picnic lunch will be provided at the show grounds.

Overnight: Highlander Hotel (B,L,D)

May 19

Transfer from your Hotel to Kagamuga Airport for your charter flight to Karawari.  Meet/Greet and transfer from Karawari Airstrip to the comfort of the Sepik Spirit. Inspired by the local architecture of the "haus tambaran" or spirit house, the Sepik Spirit has a truly unique design. Proceed with lunch then begin your voyage of discovery to local villages. The time aboard the Sepik Spirit will make for a very scenic trip down the Karawari River, passing thick forests and villagers paddling canoes. Our group will be the only guests of the Sepik Spirit during our stay.

Overnight: Sepik Spirit (B,L,D)

May 20-21

Enjoy two full days tour to the remote Black Water Lakes. You will visit villages where the people are prolific carvers. Here you will find many tradition handicrafts such as masks, elaborately carved hooks, ancestral figures, hand drums, baskets, bilums and gourds.

Overnight: Sepik Spirit (B,L,D)

May 22

Transfer from Sepik Spirit to Karawari Lodge sitting on a ridge above the Karawari River. The remote Karawari Lodge boasts a spectacular view over hundreds of kilometers of dense tropical jungle. Inspired by local architecture and built with traditional materials, while still providing modern comforts.  Sitting on a ridge above the Karawari River, the lodge boasts a spectacular view over hundreds of kilometers of dense tropical jungle. Inspired by local architecture and built with traditional materials, Karawari Lodge nevertheless provides modern comforts.  It is the perfect base for some old-fashioned jungle, river, and village exploration. You are in the middle of Arambak country – locals pole dug-out canoes, the drums throb, the wild birds call, and traditional village lifestyles continue largely unchanged. You'll feel like a participant in a classic National Geographic expedition: no roads, thick jungle, locals poling dugouts, and crocodiles.

A day excursion along the jungle-fringed waterways of the Karawari River where boatmen, standing upright, paddle their slender dugout canoes with sculpted silhouettes of crocodile masks.  Village life, including carved totems, drums, woodcarvings and different expressions of art are also experienced.  Photograph bountiful bird life along the rivers and nearby lakes.  Excursions will enhance your understanding of traditional village culture in the Sepik region.

Overnight: Karawari Lodge (B,L,D)

May 23

Transfer from Karawari Lodge to Karawari Airstrip for your charter flight to Tari/Ambua Lodge.  The Tari Valley - home of the Huli, a colorful and proud people still largely living the same way that their ancestors did. Ambua Lodge is an inspired mixture of local architecture, spectacular views and modest luxury off the beaten track. Located at 7000 feet (2100 meters) in the PNG Southern Highlands, homeland of the Huli clan with their human hair wigs adorned with colourful flowers.

Afternoon guided nature walk through the alpine forest looking for the exotic bird of Paradise.

Overnight: Ambua Lodge (B,L,D)

May 24

Enjoy full day of cultural touring. In contrast to the Sepik people whose art is manifested in ceremonial and decorative carvings, these Highland people employ as their art, body decoration, face painting and human hair wigs decorated with feathers, flowers and moss.  The Huli culture is the most vibrant intact and colourful to be experienced anywhere.

Overnight: Ambua Lodge (B,L,D)

May 25

In the morning, transfer from Ambua Lodge to Tari Airstrip of your domestic Air Niugini flight to Port Moresby. Once at Port Moresby, the group will take a second flight to arrive in the afternoon at Tufi Resort on Cape Nelson. Afternoon activity, depending on time of arrival at the Resort, could be a brief photography session or a look at post-production of selected images.

Overnight: Tufi Resort (B,L,D)

May 26-27

Daily excursions exploring the overwhelming opportunities presented by the local ecology, landscape, and cultures. Tours will include McLaren Harbour, Orotoaba Village, and a fjord cruise.

Overnight: Tufi Resort (B,L,D)

May 28

Morning transfer to airport for flight back to Port Moresby. An afternoon activity will be scheduled as well as a farewell dinner before retiring to the Dakota Suites of the Airways Hotel.

Overnight: Airways Hotel (B,L,D)

May 29

Transfer to airport for flights home. (B--)

PLEASE NOTE:

  • VISA: To enter PNG, you must have a passport that is valid for at least six months from the date of intended travel, an onward/return airline ticket, and proof of sufficient funds (the latter can be a credit card, or simply a statement that you are participating in a pre-paid package holiday). You may obtain a tourist visa (valid for stays of up to 60 days, with extensions available for an additional 30 days) upon arrival at Jacksons International Airport in Port Moresby.
  • TRAVEL INSURANCE: All participants are expected to obtain travel insurance for this expedition; Travelguard.com has excellent options for purchasing travel insurance.
  • FLIGHTS: Six flights within PNG are included. Please contact us if you would like recommendations regarding international flights to and from Jacksons International Airport (airport code: POM).
  • GRATUITIES: Baseline tips are included. Our local guides and lodging staff work very hard to make our experience in PNG be the best it can be, and Visionary Wild budgets for a healthy group tip in recognition of their services. Please refrain from providing any tips to any individuals throughout the expedition.

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Expedition June 24 - July 6, 2018
Limit 6 spaces | $18,495* Register

 

There is more than one Namibia

 

Explore five destinations around the country on our customized journey to truly see its breadth of beauty.

 

Experience the haunting beauty of Namibia – Africa’s desert gem – with renowned landscape photographers Michael Melford and Eddie Soloway. We will explore the striking quiver tree forests and geological formations, a ghost town abandoned to drifting sands, the rugged beauty of the coast, the elegant forms of the thousand-foot red dunes of Sossusvlei, and the majestic wildlife amid Namibia's large Etosha salt pan.

A string of colonial port towns dot the coast, trapped between the South Atlantic and the dunes. Lüderitz, on the edge of the diamond-rich Sperrgebiet area, is a fascinating relic of Germany’s late 19th-century imperial aspirations. Nearby is the otherworldly and sand-bound abandoned mining town of Kolmanskop, where dunes have invaded the abandoned buildings. With warm tints of apricot, orange, red and maroon, these dunes offer abstract beauty unseen anywhere else in the world. The photographic potential of this place is astonishing. Further north, Swakopmund brackets the southern end of the Skeleton Coast and possesses a welcoming resort town atmosphere, with easy travel to a very unique area of the nomadic Himba tribe and thriving wildlife species.

We wouldn't let you leave Namibia without stopping for a few days at Etosha National Park. Timed to coincide when plentiful wildlife species will arrive at Lake Etosha for replenishment during the dry season, watch and photograph from special vehicles outfitted specifically for photographers. Two 4WD photo safari vehicles with innovative custom features deliver an ideal photographic experience. They seat three photographers along the centerline of the vehicle, with excellent lines of sight through pop-up hatches on either side. They also feature photographer's chairs with fully adjustable 360-degree revolving, gas-assist-lifted Wimberley camera mounts. This makes it a breeze to work with big lenses and photograph dynamic wildlife behavior, repositioning and panning with ease.

 

Awe-inspiring and unrestrictive, this diverse geography leaves an impact you won’t soon forget.

 

Our itinerary has been designed to take maximum advantage of some of the best landscape, cultural, and wildlife photography opportunities that Namibia has to offer. In addition to attentive photographic instruction throughout by Michael and Eddie, our group of up to six photographers will be led by two excellent local guides. This trip includes excellent lodging, four private scenic light aircraft flights (Sossus Dune Lodge - Swakopmund Airport (SWP) - Okahirongo Elephant Lodge - Mokuti Etosha Lodge - Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH)), transfers and group ground transportation from start to finish, and all meals, snacks, and beverages.

 

ITINERARY

June 24 – Arrival day in Windhoek: Upon arrival at Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH) in Windhoek and after clearing customs and immigration, Michael and Eddie will greet you and collect the group. Meet your expedition guides and drive together to the Hilton Hotel Windhoek, which is located in the heart of the city by the main shopping streets and pedestrian zone of Namibia's capital. Our first dinner as a group will be held at a favorite restaurant close to the hotel. Overnight at Hilton Hotel Windhoek. (D)

June 25 – Travel to Quiver Tree Forest: Today you will drive to Quiver Tree Forest Rest Camp and have lunch together en route. Arrive at the farm Gariganus where everyone can explore the ancient and famous Quiver Tree Forest and the dolerite rock formations of the Giants Playground. The quiver tree or "Kokerboom" is one of the most interesting and characteristic plants of the very hot and dry parts of Namibia. The quiver trees can be two to three centuries old (look for the tallest ones) and are actually a species of aloe. Overnight at Quiver Tree Forest Rest Camp. (B, L, D)

June 26 – Travel to Luderitz: Early morning photography in Quiver Tree Forest and Giants Playground, followed by a late breakfast. Midday transfer from Keetmanshoop to Lüderitz. Afternoon photography in the surrounding area. Overnight at Luderitz Nest Hotel. (B, L, D)

June 27 – Kolmanskop: Early morning and afternoon photography in the Lüderitz and Kolmanskop area. Once a booking mining town, Kolmanskip faced depopulation after the diamond mine collapsed. The town is now overwhelmed with sand, around the buildings and inside them. Overnight at Luderitz Nest Hotel. (B, L, D)

June 28 – Travel to Sossusvlei: Early morning photography in Lüderitz or Kolmanskop. Then, depart in group vehicles with lunch en route to Sossusvlei, which is one of the most photographed places in Sub-Saharan Africa; however, how and when you photograph there is very important and our guides will know what to do. In fact, from the property of our overnight accommodations, you can reach Sossusvlei before sunrise, and stay until after sunset—a special and unique requirement needed to get the best photography field sessions possible. Overnight at Sossus Dune Lodge. (B, L, D)

June 29-30 – Sossusvlei: Early morning, afternoon and night photography in the Sossusvlei surroundings. Located in Namibia’s Namib-Naukluft National Park, the Sossusvlei region is a salt and clay pan famous for its sand dunes. The dunes range in color from deep orange to bright pink and are some of the largest in the world, occasionally exceeding 1,000 feet. The fascinating colors of the dunes are due to oxidation of the sand’s high iron content. The older dunes are more intensely red, and some of the more stable dunes are partially covered with vegetation. Underground and ephemeral rivers occasionally flood the pans, creating marshes known as vlei in the Afrikaans language. Overnight at Sossus Dune Lodge. (B, L, D)

July 1 – Travel to the Skeleton Coast: Today you will transfer to the airstrip for your private scenic light aircraft flight to Swakopmund
(SWP). Enjoy a relaxing group lunch and coastal breezes on the deserted beach of the Skeleton Coast—truly unique to this itinerary in an area of Namibia where driving the roads can be extremely dangerous. The Skeleton Coast is famous for its rocky coastline and remains of shipwrecks, and cannot be overlooked when visiting Namibia. Afterwards, transfer back to the airport for your private light aircraft flight to Okahirongo Elephant Lodge. Overnight at Okahirongo Elephant Lodge. (B, L, D)

July 2 – Kaokoveld: There are numerous desert-adapted mammal species that inhabit Kaokoveld including desert elephants. Along with Mali’s Sahara region, the Kaokoveld is the only place where elephants have adapted to a desert environment. The indigenous black rhino was extinguished from Kaokoveld a few decades ago but have been successfully reintroduced and now roam the land along with small herds of oryx, kudu, springbok, ostrich, giraffe, and mountain zebra. In addition to seeing more wildlife, you will visit the ancient tribe of semi-nomadic herders known as the Himba. They have attracted photographers from all over the world, particularly as the women ritually apply paste to their skin and hair to protect themselves from the sun and insects. Stay at a very serene and luxurious lodge, where vegetables come from their organic garden and chalets boast unhindered views of pristine desert landscapes. Overnight at Okahirongo Elephant Lodge. (B, L, D)

July 3 – Travel to Etosha National ParkToday you will have a private light aircraft flight to Mokuti Etosha Lodge near the legendary Etosha National Park. Arrival date is timed perfectly to line up with the onset of the dry season when wildlife as the salt pan becomes almost completely barren. Overnight at Mokuti Etosha Lodge. (B, L, D)

July 4-5 – Etosha National Park: As Namibia’s premiere wildlife destination, the park is named for and dominated by the Etosha Pan. In addition to the salt pan, the park is covered by mopane scrubland as well as tall tree forests of the unique moringa or “ghost tree.” The 850-kilometer fence surrounding the park protects the reserve’s diverse wildlife from external contamination and has resulted in many healthy populations. The park is also home to excellent concentrations of elephant, giraffe, lion, leopard and cheetah, and promises sightings of the endemic black-faced impala and endangered black rhinoceros. Mokuti Etosha Lodge is the perfect venue for exploring the famous eastern side of Etosha National Park where the best wildlife photography opportunities are guaranteed. Overnight at Mokuti Etosha Lodge. (B, L, D)

July 6 – Return to Windhoek: Wake up for breakfast at Mokuti Etosha Lodge, followed by a two-hour private light aircraft flight back to Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH) in Windhoek where you will connect to your departing commercial flights. (B)

PLEASE NOTE:

  • VISA: Passports must have at least six months of validity remaining beyond your planned date of departure. At least six completely blank pages are required for entry; tourist visas are issued upon arrival at Windhoek.
  • TRAVEL INSURANCE: We always strongly recommend arranging travel insurance. Travelguard.com is excellent.
  • FLIGHTS: Four private flights are included (Sossus Dune Lodge - Swakopmund Airport (SWP) - Okahirongo Elephant Lodge - Mokuti Etosha Lodge - Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH)). Please contact us if you would like recommendations regarding flights to and from Windhoek, Namibia (airport code: WDH)
  • GRATUITIES: Tips are included. Our local guides, drivers, and lodging staff work very hard to make our experience in Namibia be the best it can be, and Visionary Wild budgets for a healthy group tip in recognition of their services. Guests may tip additionally if they would like to recognize exceptional service.

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Expedition July 5 - 22, 2018
2 of 6 spaces left | $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.

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Expedition August 4 - 11, 2018
Limit 10 spaces | $6,895* Register

 

Renowned landscape photographer Charles Cramer and highly acclaimed adventure photographer Jerry Dodrill will team 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 Jerry Dodrill 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.

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Expedition August 9 - 18, 2018
Limit 6 spaces | $11,250* Register

This is the finest jaguar photography experience, bar none.

Excellence is in the details.

 

"To see this iconic species hunting, stalking for yacarés, capybaras, is one unforgetable experience. During the trip, every day got better, lots of excitement, amazing photos, opportunities like no other place in the world for Jaguars."

-Alwin v.d.H., 2016 Jaguars of the Pantanal participant

 

It was once inconceivable that there could be a place where one could reliably photograph wild jaguars in their home habitat, and better yet, in the open along a river bank and in great light. Incredibly, such a place exists in the Pantanal wetland of Brazil, at an inland river delta where at least 47 individual jaguars presently hunt along 70 miles of riverbank. Years of research have proven it to be by far the world's most productive location for photography of wild jaguars. On all of our prior trips here our guests have enjoyed multiple jaguar sightings each day, lasting anywhere from five minutes to seven hours (most sightings are typically in the range of twenty to ninety minutes). On a previous trip, we have discovered a mother and daughter that had not been known to local biologists, and members of our group got to assign the nicknames that biologists will use for reference. We were also very fortunate to see one of our favorite cats, an-year-old male nicknamed "Mick Jaguar," stalk and take down a 200-pound, eight-foot-long caiman in the open and from close range  (see photos in the gallery and link to the video at the bottom of the page). Rivers and channels provide easy access for our customized photo boat – a state-of-the-art aluminum speedboat with revolving centerline camera mounts – to locations frequented by the big cats in the dry season. This may be the closest thing to an African photo safari in the New World.

Justin Black and Morgan "Mo" Heim will provide first-class photo instruction and guidance throughout the itinerary. Justin returns to lead his seventh expedition in the Pantanal for Visionary Wild. Mo comes to photography with a background in wildlife ecology and environmental journalism, bringing years of experiences as a scientist and photographer. Her wildlife photography has been featured in BBC Wildlife, Smithsonian, and National Geographic, ranging from mountain lions to monarch butterflies in Iowa to elusive fishing cats in Thailand. To get the best sense for Mo, we highly encourage you watch this one-minute film, An American Icon, about her recent adventure to photograph bald eagles in Alaska. As Mo puts it, this film reveals her heart. They look forward to sharing their experience, expertise, and good humor on this expedition for just six passionate photographers.

The small group size ensures ample space to maneuver for photography from the boat, and a great deal of time one-on-one with the instructors. The video below shows the brilliant design and construction of the boat we will use for photographers:

 

SouthWild Photoboat on Vimeo.

 

The Brazilian Pantanal, the world's largest continental wetland, is a luxuriant forest-savannah mosaic in central-western Brazil that is home to the highest density of jaguars in the world. It is also simply the greatest wildlife spectacle of Latin America. In addition to its jaguars, it harbors the world’s largest parrots (hyacinth macaw), the world’s largest snake (anaconda), the world’s largest otter, and many other species in astonishingly high densities.

We will spend a total of three nights (the first two nights, and the final one) at the Pantanal Wildlife Center’s Fazenda Santa Tereza, an intimate and comfortable lodge located on an expansive estate on the banks of the wildlife-rich Pixaim River. Our floating hotel for the other six nights of the trip is the spacious Jaguar Suites, offering the finest guest rooms in all the Pantanal, purpose-built to support serious photographers in comfort. Moored to the riverbank where the Piquiri and Cuiabá Rivers meet in the heart of the best jaguar action, when compared with other accommodations in the area this privileged location on the water permits us to spend an additional two hours per day with the cats, and at the best times of day for quality of light, comfortable temperatures, and scenic beauty in the Pantanal.

This trip coincides with the surreal magenta bloom of numerous large Tabebuia or "Ipê" trees on the lodge grounds and across the Pantanal landscape. Unique wildlife observation towers include one located just 16 meters from an active nest of habituated Jabiru storks – perfect at first light in the morning – and a second one in gallery forest along the banks of the river. Virtually guaranteed wildlife sightings here include giant otters, ocelots, capuchin monkeys, numerous bird species including toco toucans, hyacinth macaws, rufescent tiger heron, anhingas, crested caracaras, various fishing hawks, stunning yellow-billed cardinals, an the extraordinary great potoo. Jaguars and tapirs are sometimes seen at the Fazenda Santa Tereza as well.

Click "read more" below right for the itinerary, photo gallery, and more information...

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Expedition August 18 - 27, 2018
Limit 6 spaces | $11,250* Register

This is the finest jaguar photography experience, bar none.

Excellence is in the details.

 

"To see this iconic species hunting, stalking for yacarés, capybaras, is one unforgetable experience. During the trip, every day got better, lots of excitement, amazing photos, opportunities like no other place in the world for Jaguars."

-Alwin v.d.H., 2016 Jaguars of the Pantanal participant

 

It was once inconceivable that there could be a place where one could reliably photograph wild jaguars in their home habitat, and better yet, in the open along a river bank and in great light. Incredibly, such a place exists in the Pantanal wetland of Brazil, at an inland river delta where at least 47 individual jaguars presently prey along 70 miles of riverbank. Years of research have proven it to be by far the world's most productive location for photography of wild jaguars. On all of our prior trips here our guests have enjoyed multiple jaguar sightings each day, lasting anywhere from five minutes to seven hours (most sightings are typically in the range of twenty to ninety minutes). On a previous trip, we have discovered a mother and daughter that had not been known to local biologists, and members of our group got to assign the nicknames that biologists will use for reference. We were also very fortunate to see one of our favorite cats, a seven-year-old male nicknamed "Mick Jaguar," stalk and take down a 200-pound, eight-foot-long caiman in the open and from close range  (see photos in the gallery and link to the video at the bottom of the page). Rivers and channels provide easy access for our customized photo boat – a state-of-the-art aluminum speedboat with revolving centerline camera mounts – to locations frequented by the big cats in the dry season. This may be the closest thing to an African photo safari in the New World.

Michele Westmorland and Morgan "Mo" Heim will provide first-class photo instruction and guidance throughout the itinerary. Michele is proud to be a Founding Fellow of International League of Conservation Photographers — she received the award for Fellow of the Year in 2016 — and is highly regarded as a leader of small-group photo tours. Whether from open safari vehicles, hides, river boats, or on foot, capturing the incredible diversity of wildlife is a highlight of her photographic talents. We admire how she effectively engages our guests with ease and can anticipate the best opportunities for photography at any location. Mo comes to photography with a background in wildlife ecology and environmental journalism, bringing years of experiences as a scientist and photographer. Her wildlife photography has been featured in BBC Wildlife, Smithsonian, and National Geographic, ranging from mountain lions and monarch butterflies in Iowa to elusive fishing cats in Thailand. To get the best sense for Mo, we highly encourage you watch this one-minute film, An American Icon, about her recent adventure to photograph bald eagles in Alaska. As Mo puts it, this film reveals her heart. They look forward to sharing their experience, expertise, and good humor on this expedition for just six passionate photographers.

The small group size ensures ample space to maneuver for photography from the boats, and a great deal of time one-on-one with the instructors. The video below shows the brilliant design and construction of the boat we will use for photographers:

 

SouthWild Photoboat on Vimeo.

 

The Brazilian Pantanal, the world's largest continental wetland, is a luxuriant forest-savannah mosaic in central-western Brazil that is home to the highest density of jaguars in the world. It is also simply the greatest wildlife spectacle of Latin America. In addition to its jaguars, it harbors the world’s largest parrots (hyacinth macaw), the world’s largest snake (anaconda), the world’s largest otter, and many other species in astonishingly high densities.

We will spend a total of three nights (the first night, and the final two) at the Pantanal Wildlife Center’s Fazenda Santa Tereza, an intimate and comfortable lodge located on an expansive estate on the banks of the wildlife-rich Pixaim River. Our floating hotel for the other six nights of the trip is the spacious Jaguar Suites, offering the finest guest rooms in all the Pantanal, purpose-built to support serious photographers in comfort. Moored to the riverbank where the Piquiri and Cuiabá Rivers meet in the heart of the best jaguar action, when compared with other accommodations in the area this privileged location on the water permits us to spend an additional two hours per day with the cats, and at the best times of day for quality of light, comfortable temperatures, and scenic beauty in the Pantanal.

This trip coincides with the surreal magenta bloom of numerous large Ipê trees on the lodge grounds and across the Pantanal landscape. Unique wildlife observation towers include one located just 16 meters from an active nest of habituated Jabiru storks – perfect at first light in the morning – and a second one in gallery forest along the banks of the river. Virtually guaranteed wildlife sightings here include giant otters, capuchin monkeys, numerous bird species including toco toucans, hyacinth macaws, rufescent tiger heron, anhingas, crested caracaras, various fishing hawks, stunning yellow-billed cardinals, an the extraordinary great potoo. Jaguars and tapirs are sometimes seen at the Fazenda Santa Tereza as well.

Click "read more" below right for the itinerary, photo gallery, and more information...

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Expedition August 28 - September 6, 2018
Limit 50 spaces | $* Register

 

Join us for this all-inclusive, exclusive-charter expedition to the crown jewel of the High Arctic

Designed for photographers by photographers, this expedition to the Svalbard archipelago will be led by a dream team: Michael Melford, Roy Toft, Daisy Gilardini, Eddie Soloway, Justin Black, and Chris Linder. We will take you to the places we love to make the most of the great spectacle of Arctic light, landscape, wildlife, and ice. Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • A uniquely optimized small-group photographer's experience aboard the ideal private-charter expedition vessel
  • World-class photo instructor team, and an excellent participant-to-instructor ratio that is almost unheard of on a ship-based expedition
  • 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's private charter 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 deliberately limited her passenger capacity for this voyage to only fifty guests (though the ship sleeps up to 116 normally). 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 uniquely 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 six 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 exclusive charter 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  passenger limit of fifty guests, self-imposed to optimize both the photographic scenario and overall experience. Other “small-ship” trips operating in these waters carry 110 to 150 guests, resulting in a far less intimate experience and less nimble operations when making excursions from the ship. Superb expedition support includes 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 and large photo leader team, everyone will have excellent access to leaders and expedition staff, landing operations are far more efficient, and we'll be able to get to know one another much better. 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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Advanced November 10 - 16, 2018
Limit 12 spaces | $13,600* Register

TESTIMONIALS FROM OUR 2015 and 2016 POLAR BEAR GUESTS:

I have to say that was the best trip ever!!!!!  So many great photos and a really great group. I would love to go back, but I think the mark that was set would be hard to beat. –J. Furber

Loved our polar bear trip. Many thanks for putting together such a great trip. Am very pleased with my pictures and still trying to decide which ones to cull out. –J. Allen

Back from the shores of Hudson Bay on a polar bear photo safari with lots of images. Great adventure with expert assistance from Visionary Wild. The experience of a lifetime! –K. Cochran

Picture yourself standing on arctic tundra at the edge of Hudson Bay, photographing a pair of polar bears wrestling in the glow of sunset as they wait for the bay to freeze over so they can begin their annual hunting season on the ice. An arctic fox watches the action from the sidelines. The only sounds are the bears, the breeze, and waves lapping at the ice forming on the shoreline. Then imagine, as the light fades and temperatures drop, you walk just a few feet away to sit beside the fire in a cozy wilderness lodge, joining your fellow photographers for a glass of wine while reviewing the day's photographs, in anticipation of a gourmet dinner and excited conversation about the opportunities that await tomorrow. Keep your camera ready, though... the aurora borealis may well appear in the night sky.

Join Roy Toft and Chris Linder at Seal River Heritage Lodge, a remote wilderness lodge positioned in prime polar bear territory on the shores of Hudson Bay about 40 miles north of Churchill, Manitoba. This is a very special opportunity to intensively photograph polar bear behavior close-up in the wild. Forget the diesel-belching tundra buggies at Churchill; our small group will photograph the bears from eye level, on foot, via short excursions onto the tundra and from the grounds of the lodge, where polar bears walk within inches of the fence line.

Roy, a highly regarded and widely published professional wildlife photographer and inspiring workshops instructor, already led two Visionary Wild Polar Bears Eye-to-Eye expeditions, and was blown away by the quality of the photography and the overall experience each time. Seal River Heritage Lodge is a comfortable fly-in lodge that offers unique access to a high density of polar bears with a lovely landscape backdrop. To ensure you make the most of your visit, Roy and Chris will provide highly attentive, thoughtful, and generous instruction throughout the trip, offering feedback and useful guidance drawn from their decades of experience as professional nature photographers. They will provide recommendations on camera setup optimized for wildlife photography, teach strategies and techniques to empower you to anticipate and capture fleeting wildlife behaviors, offer advice on composition and working the available light and weather conditions for best effect, and more. In the evening, Roy and Chris will provide feedback and constructive critique of your images to ensure that the quality of your work improves significantly over the course of the trip.

Included in the package are round-trip flights (Winnipeg – Churchill – Seal River Heritage Lodge), all lodging, all meals, all beverages, all photographic instruction and bear guiding, partial gratuities, and Canadian tax. Though most Visionary Wild workshops and expeditions are packaged and priced as single-occupancy by default, this workshop is packaged as double-occupancy at $13,600 per person, due to the limited number of guest rooms and beds at Seal River Heritage Lodge (its eight rooms sleep a maximum of sixteen guests), and the fact that their operating season is relatively short, which makes the cost for a room for one person exactly double the double-occupancy price. We will be happy to help pair up individual participants of the same gender who wish to share a room, but we can certainly accommodate those who wish to book single-occupancy rooms.

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Expedition November 16 - December 2, 2018
Limit 46 spaces | $* Register

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Join us for this all-inclusive, exclusive-charter expedition to the crown jewel of the sub-Antarctic

Designed for photographers by photographers, this expedition to the Falklands and South Georgia Island will be led by Frans Lanting, Tom Mangelsen, Art Wolfe, and Justin Black. We will take you to the places we love and will allow us to make the most of the southern ocean's greatest wildlife spectacle, based on our collective experience.

Exclusive charter of Polar Pioneer – a 235-foot expedition ship with accommodation limited to forty-six guests in simple but comfortable cabins – facilitates our goals for this trip. We have chosen to do this voyage on this ship because it offers a degree of intimacy that makes for superior interactions and experience for everyone, both aboard and on shore. If you wish to travel with the best photographers to the best places and are willing to sacrifice a little luxury in favor of a world-class photographic adventure, there is no better trip, and this one may never be repeated.

Our expedition begins in Santiago, Chile, with an introductory reception dinner at one of the capital's best restaurants. After a restful night at Hotel Atton–El Bosque, we fly the next morning to the Falkland Islands, where our ship awaits. Once at sea, the decks of the Polar Pioneer provide a great vantage point for sightings of Commerson's dolphins, imperial cormorants, and more. On our first full day of the trip, we plan to kick off our photography with an excursion to one of the largest breeding colonies of black-browed albatrosses in the world, numbering around 200,000 pairs, on Steeple Jason Island. At nearby Saunders Island, colonies of rockhopper, king, and gentoo penguins await us as well. As always, weather, wind, and sea conditions will dictate our exact landing site.

We then move on to South Georgia. Along the way, we hope to see dolphins ride the ship's bow wave, and whale sightings are common. This rugged island of towering mountains covered in immense glaciers hosts extraordinary gatherings of penguins and pelagic birds – including wandering, grey-headed, light-mantled sooty, black-browed, and royal albatrosses – as well as southern elephant seals and Antarctic fur seals. In spring, currents of krill sweep up from the Weddell Sea, providing food for one of the planet’s greatest wildlife concentrations. In addition to the vast colony of 200,000 king penguins at Salisbury Plain, we will visit a colony of yellow-crested macaroni penguins at Hercules Bay, the historic whaling base of Grytviken, and more, photographing sublime landscapes too along the way.

The Land of the Kings - Print - 6193

We’ve chosen to let go of Antarctica itself on this trip, in favor of focusing our time on the best concentrations of wildlife in the entire sub-Antarctic region. The timing of our trip during southern spring means South Georgia looks its best: the newly returned penguin colonies are clean, and fresh snow still blankets the mountains looming just inland of the coast.

Learn as we travel, with instruction throughout by Frans, Tom, and Art. This is a rare opportunity to spend time with these masters, both in the field and onboard. Visionary Wild founder Justin Black will serve as assistant instructor, and Christine Eckstrom and Sue Cedarholm will be on hand for technical support. We have recruited Denise Landau, a first-rate expert on South Georgia Island and governor of the American Polar Society, to act as the ship’s expedition leader. Additional expedition staff will provide natural history interpretation and guide services.

Polar_Pioneer_Antarctica_600

Polar Pioneer: Our exclusive charter vessel provides an excellent platform for this voyage, in part due to her strength, nimble maneuverability, and ability to navigate waters that can be impassable to larger ships. Those who appreciate small-group travel will enjoy the passenger limit of forty-six guests. Every other commercial expedition vessel operating in these waters carries over one hundred passengers, resulting in a far less intimate experience. With our relatively small group and large photo leader team, everyone will have excellent access to leaders and expedition staff, landing operations are more efficient, and we'll be able to get to know one another much better.

Built in Finland as a polar and oceanographic research ship (Ice Rating 1A), Polar Pioneer has been transformed into a highly effective expedition vessel offering an excellent balance of capability, functionality, and comfort. She offers simple-yet-comfortable, clean, well-maintained cabins that offer plenty of room for you and your gear, as well as pleasant public spaces for presentations by trip leaders, informal gatherings, and group meals. Superb expedition support includes a large fleet of zodiacs (seven plus a spare), highly experienced expedition staff, and the top-notch crew, who welcome guests on the ship's spacious bridge. Outside areas on the ship provide excellent platforms at various levels for photographing marine fauna, icebergs, and the seascape.

We have coordinated with Polar Pioneer's new kitchen staff, headed by two talented chefs from the Philippines, to develop a menu offering meals that are tasty, wholesome, and satisfying, with emphasis on fresh ingredients and healthy options. We are assembling an excellent wine list for the trip as well!

PRICING and ITINERARY – Click "read more" at below right:

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Expedition January 11 - 27, 2019
0 of 4 spaces left | $16,895* Waitlist

A very special small-group expedition to one of Earth's great wildlife meccas.

Situated in the South Atlantic Ocean 300 miles east of the tip of South America, this wind-blown archipelago of nearly 800 islands is home to four species of penguins (southern rockhopper, gentoo, magellanic, and king), black-browed albatross, imperial and rock cormorants, southern elephant seals and southern sea lions.

If you’ve ever visited the Falklands by ship, you’ll know that a few hours at each landing site is just enough to hint at the tremendous photographic potential. This tour puts you right in the heart of the Falklands’ most remarkable locations, with ample time in each spot to take advantage of the best opportunities to capture your subjects in the perfect light.  Best of all, because of the scarce accommodations in the Falklands, you won’t be elbow to elbow with other photographers. During group leader Chris Linder's travels to the Falkland Islands, he has frequently found himself to be the only human present, photographing penguins at sunrise and sunset in outrageous light.  It is no hyperbole to say that the Falklands offer an immersive wildlife experience like no other.

Renowned polar photographer Chris Linder will lead this two-week photo workshop.  Chris has spent months at a time in the field photographing penguins and other seabirds, resulting in numerous accolades, including winning the 2015 Nature’s Best birds category.  His knowledge of bird behavior and enthusiastic teaching style will enable you to get the best possible shots of these charismatic seabirds.

This workshop is deliberately capped at only four participating photographers, enabling us to visit locations that are inaccessible to larger groups, as well as providing a more private and comfortable experience overall. The itinerary is carefully crafted to maximize precious time at the prime wildlife locations, including two unique locations you won’t find on any other Falklands photography tour.  We will spend multiple days at Sea Lion Island, Carcass Island (including a day trip to West Point Island), Saunders Island, and Volunteer Point.  The trip is scheduled to coincide with the most photogenic period of penguin and albatross chick rearing.  In January, southern rockhopper, gentoo, and magellanic penguin chicks will have hatched and will be entering the crèche phase, and black-browed albatross chicks will be large enough to be easily photographed on their mud-cup nests.  In addition, our timing at Volunteer Point should feature newly hatched king penguin chicks resting on their parents’ feet.

The focus of this expedition is photography in the field. Chris will provide generous hands-on mentorship, sharing his expertise and professional insights on developing creativity and personal vision, composition, working with various qualities of light and changing weather, and working landscape scenarios to best effect.

Constructive critiques will be included in the schedule to help participants identify where they are succeeding and how they might focus their energies to advance their vision and skills. During critiques, emphasis is first placed on identifying what participants are doing right with regard to chosen subject and composition, followed by discussion of ways to improve the execution of the image in light of the emotional response, concepts, and aesthetics that led the photographer to make the image in the first place.

ITINERARY

January 11 – Arrival day in Santiago: After landing at Santiago’s international airport (SCL), check-in at the modern and stylish Holiday Inn Santiago - Airport Hotel, conveniently located directly in front of the International Airport Terminal, just steps from baggage claim. During the afternoon, meet for group introductions and orientation at the hotel. Our first dinner as a group will be held at the rather good hotel restaurant, to maximize your time to rest. Overnight at the Holiday Inn Santiago - Airport Hotel. (D)

January 12 – Travel to Sea Lion Island: After an early breakfast at the hotel, we will board the LATAM flight to Mount Pleasant international airport in the Falklands, via Punta Arenas, Chile.  After clearing customs in the Falklands, we will immediately board a Falkland Islands Government Air Service (FIGAS) flight to Sea Lion Island, aboard a BN2B Islander aircraft.  Flight time on the Islander is approximately 25 minutes.  After unpacking and a quick orientation of the island, we will eat dinner and begin our tour with a sunset photo shoot at Rockhopper Point, home to bustling southern rockhopper penguin and imperial cormorant colonies.  The next three nights will be spent at the well-appointed Sea Lion Lodge conveniently located near penguin colonies and beaches. Overnight at Sea Lion Lodge. (B, L, D)

January 13-14 – Sea Lion Island: Sea Lion Island is a National Nature Reserve; livestock was removed here in 2009, allowing native plant and animal species to flourish. The photographic subjects and landscapes here are extremely varied.  Gentoo and magellanic penguin colonies are within sight of the lodge.  Southern sea lion and southern elephant seals haul out on the nearby beaches.  At the far end of the island (transportation provided), southern rockhopper penguins and imperial cormorants nest on the top of an impressive 80-foot vertical cliff.  Sea Lion Island is also home to small native birds, since predators like rats, mice, and cats have never been introduced here. Overnight at Sea Lion Lodge. (B, L, D)

January 15-18 – Carcass and West Point Islands: We will take another FIGAS flight roughly 45 minutes over East and West Falkland Islands to Carcass Island.  Like Sea Lion Island, Carcass is also cat and rat free, making it a haven for endemic species like Cobb’s wren.  The island has a variety of habitats, from sandy beaches to tussac grasses and rocky cliff tops.  Magellanic penguins nest near the settlement, and a gentoo penguin colony is a short walk away.  Elephant seals, imperial cormorants, night herons, and short-eared owls can also be found on the island.  Weather permitting, on one of our days on Carcass we will take a 1-hour boat ride to nearby West Point Island and spend the day photographing rockhopper penguins and black-browed albatross at Devil’s Nose Cliffs. Overnight at Carcass Island Lodge. (B, L, D)

January 19-20 – Saunders Island (northeast coast): No Falklands itinerary would be complete without a visit to Saunders Island.  We will stay at two different sites to get the full Saunders experience.  The first, The Rookery cabin, is located north of the settlement on the slopes of Mount Richards and is an excellent base of operations for exploring the nearby sea cliffs.  The cabin is short a five-minute walk from a sprawling black-browed albatross colony and a 20-minute walk from two large southern rockhopper penguin colonies.  The rockhopper colony is famous for its “penguin shower”, a tiny waterfall where the rockhoppers bathe after returning from the sea.  Magellanic and gentoo penguins are also found in the nearby valley, and a broad sandy beach is only a 10-minute walk from the cabin. Overnight at The Rookery cabin. (B, L, D)

January 21-23 – Saunders Island (northwest coast):  After our two nights at the Rookery, we will drive to another site on Saunders known simply as “The Neck”.  The Neck is named for the broad sandy beach lying between Mount Harston and Mount Richards.  This location boasts a diverse array of seabird species and spectacular landscapes.  Gentoo and king penguins nest on the beach in between the mountains.  Extensive magellanic penguin burrows and predatory caracaras can be found on the grassy hillsides.  There are also two southern rockhopper penguin rookeries within easy walking access of the cabin, plus more black-browed albatross nest areas. January sunsets are particularly spectacular, as the setting sun’s rays bathe the gentoo colonies on the beach with warm golden hour light.  Our three days here will pass quickly! Overnight at the refurbished cabin at The Neck. (B, L, D)

January 24-25 – Volunteer Point, East Falkland Island:  Our final destination is the large (2000+) king penguin colony at Volunteer Point.  After a 45-minute FIGAS flight from Saunders to Stanley’s regional airport, we will transfer to 4WD vehicles and drive roughly 2.5 hours to Volunteer Point.  Volunteer Point is a broad, mile-long sandy beach with a king penguin colony, as well as nesting gentoo and magellanic penguins.  When it is visited at all, Volunteer Point is typically done as a day trip from Stanley, but fortunately, because of our small group size, we will have the opportunity to spend two nights here at the Warden’s Cottage with hosts Derek and Trudi.  Both sunrise and sunset are incredible at Volunteer Point, with thousands of penguins heading out to sea to feed in the morning and returning to their nests at dusk. Overnight at the Warden's Cottage of Volunteer Point. (B, L, D)

January 26 – Return to Santiago: We say goodbye to our generous hosts, Derek and Trudi, to take ground transfers and flights back to Santiago, Chile. Since we arrive back at Santiago late at night, we will return to the airport hotel. Overnight at the Holiday Inn Santiago - Airport Hotel. (B, L, D)

January 27 – Departure day: Wake up for breakfast at the Holiday Inn and say our farewells. (B)

 

Pricing:

  • Double-occupancy: $16,895.00/person
  • Single-occupancy is available at a rate of $17,995.00, for the option of having your own room at three of our accommodations: the Holiday Inn Santiago Airport Hotel, Carcass Island Lodge, and Sea Lion Lodge. All guests will share double-occupancy rooms at The Neck cabin, The Rookery cabin, and the Warden's Cottage at Volunteer Point, in either single beds or bunks.

 

PLEASE NOTE:

  • VISA: No advance visa is required for tourist entry into Chile or the Falkland Islands for citizens of the USA, Canada, EU nations, and most other developed countries.
  • TRAVEL INSURANCE: We always strongly recommend arranging travel insurance. Travelguard.com is excellent.
  • FLIGHTS: R/T flights from Santiago to Mount Pleasant Airport in the Falkland Islands are included, in addition to four FIGAS flights around the Falkland Islands. Please contact us if you would like recommendations regarding flights to and from Santiago, Chile (airport code: SCL)
  • LUGGAGE ALLOWANCE: FIGAS flights around the Falkland Islands normally allow for total baggage weight of no more than 44 pounds, but we have arranged an additional allowance 55 pounds. Total included baggage limit is 99 pounds per person, including all carry-ons. Overweight charges apply above this limit. In addition to carry-on luggage, Latam Airlines (R/T flights from Santiago to Mount Pleasant Airport) allows for two checked bags weighing no more than 50 pounds each at no charge. Overweight charges apply above this limit. 
  • GRATUITIES: Tips are included. Our local guides, drivers, and lodging staff work very hard to make our experience be the best it can be, and Visionary Wild budgets for a healthy group tip in recognition of their services. Guests may tip additionally if they would like to recognize exceptional service.

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