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!

 

Limit 5 spaces | $18,750* Closed
Expedition June 3 - 21, 2013 | View other workshops

African Vision with Lou Coetzer and Justin Black

Map via Google

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

Etosha – Chobe – Victoria Falls, and more...

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

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

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

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

Our itinerary makes the most of the photographic opportunities, and offers excellent lodging and amenities, attentive photographic instruction, and expert guiding throughout:

Day 1: June 3rd

Arrive at O.R. Tambo International Airport. You will be met at the airport and transferred to Chez Coetzer Guest House to rest and de-jetlag after flight.

AV presentation on Etosha and Chobe safaris. South African dinner at Guest House.

Overnight at Chez Coetzer Guest House.

Day 2: June 4th

Early morning breakfast at Guest House. Photography at the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre.

Afternoon safari orientation. Traditional South African Braai dinner and overnight at Chez Coetzer.

Day 3: June 5th

Transfer to O.R. Tambo and depart for Windhoek International Airport. Arrive in Windhoek and transfer to Okonjima Lodge. Afternoon leopard photography. Dinner and overnight at Okonjima Lodge.

Day 4: June 6th

Early morning game drive and African Wild Dog photography session. Breakfast at Okonjima. Transfer to Etosha National Park, Namutoni Lodge. Afternoon photography session in Etosha. Overnight at Namutoni Lodge.

Days 5–8: June 7th–10th

Daily photography in Etosha National Park and overnight at Namutoni Lodge.

Day 9: June 11th

Early morning photography session in Etosha. Breakfast at Lodge and depart for Windhoek. Afternoon at leisure in Windhoek. Dinner and overnight in Windhoek at Safari Court Hotel.

Day 10: June 12th

Breakfast in Windhoek and transfer to Windhoek International Airport. Depart for Victoria Falls. Arrive at VFI and transfer to Victoria Falls Safari Lodge. Dinner and overnight at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge

Day 11: June 13th

Early morning photography at Victoria Falls and breakfast. Transfer to Chobe Marina Lodge. Afternoon photography on the boat. Dinner and overnight at Chobe Marina Lodge.

Days 12–18: June 14th–20th

Stay at Chobe Marina Lodge. Two daily photography sessions on the Chobe River. Dinner and breakfast at the Lodge.

Day 19: June 21st

Early morning photography session on the Chobe River. Breakfast at Lodge.

Option A (applies to most participants): Depart for Kasane Airport and fly Air Botswana to Johannesburg for outbound flight.

Option B (applies to those staying on for Namibia Landscape Safari): Afternoon transfer to Vic Falls Airport for flight to Windhoek.

This package is designed to deliver a superb overall experience, and includes all lodging, meals, beverages, expert guides, photographic instruction, loaner Nikon telephotos and cameras, park entry fees, ground transfers, and three flights during the itinerary (Johannesburg – Windhoek; Windhoek – Victoria Falls; Chobe – Johannesburg).

Not included are international flights from your point of origin to Johannesburg, South Africa (currently between $1,700 to $2,300 for economy class from the US), and incidental personal expenses.

The single-occupancy rate for this all-inclusive package is $18,750. Double-occupancy is $17,960 per person. 25% deposit required upon booking, 25% due in January 2013, and balance due in March 2013.
For more information, please contact Justin at justin@visionarywild.com or 202-302-9030.

 

Lou Coetzer

Understanding animal behaviour enabled me to predict with reasonable accuracy "what’s going to happen next," which I discovered was a wonderful asset when photography became part of my life 40 or so odd years ago.

Lou Coetzer is an award-winning professional wildlife and sports photographer and safari leader from Johannesburg, South Africa. His photographic adventure began four decades ago as a student at the then Helpmekaar Boys High School in Johannesburg. These early years in the black and white darkroom and his involvement in sports and sport photography remain major influences in his wildlife photography today.

Before becoming a full-time sports photographer, Lou was involved with The Photographic Society of South Africa for many years. As a member of PSSA, Lou won numerous National and International awards in various fields such as Wildlife, Sports, Landscape and Portraiture. In the years following his entry into the sports photography field, Lou received numerous awards in the prestigious Allied Bank South African Sport Photographer of the Year competition

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These were the days of Apartheid when South Africa was still in relative economic isolation, and a sustainable career as a sports photographer was major challenge. "If Madiba and F.W. De Klerk had gotten together one year earlier I would probably today still be a sport photographer!" says Lou. He moved to other photographic interests in the early 90's, achieving international recognition for his portrait work along the way, but it was in his love of wildlife that he found his ultimate calling.

Lou’s years of experience as a sports photographer and portraitist are revealed in his constant search for exquisitely lit wildlife subjects in high-action against clean backgrounds. "I'll be honest: only when the action is not happening will I start looking for the graphic image."

In 2010, Lou was honored by Nature’s Best magazine for his outstanding photography, and he has been recognized repeatedly for his skill at capturing animal behavior. His photographs have been published and exhibited internationally, including in the USA at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. Lou was also the chief photographic moderator for The African Photographic Awards 2010.

"I’ve been going into the African bush to experience the animals in the wild from a very young age, and I learned early on to pay close attention and learn from wildlife behaviour. This understanding helped me to predict with reasonable accuracy "what’s going to happen next," which I discovered was a wonderful asset when photography became part of my life 40 or so odd years ago.

I have an insatiable appetite for detail, and out of that grew my love for nature’s intimate stories. As I write this, I’m at Etosha National Park in Namibia, and over the last few days I’ve had the privilege to photograph lions unsuccessfully hunting Giraffe, Kudu, Cape Turtle Dove and even little Red Billed Queleas! I can truthfully say, though, that the highlight of the week was the way the Helmeted Guinea Fowl out foxed the Tawny Eagles this morning just to have the favour returned by a Male African Shelduck this afternoon. Africa's magic is often revealed by the unexpected and not necessarily by the so-called “Big Five,” or can we rather say the “Big Seven” and include the Hippo and Nile Crocodile.

Whether on my own or with a safari group, I am adamant about choosing destinations and scenarios in nature that make for successful photography. It’s easy to get addicted to the clean blue water and sky backgrounds of the Chobe River in northern Botswana, but I also have a deeply ingrained respect and affection for Africa's animals that must struggle to survive in its desert and arid areas like Etosha.

My wife Veronica and I have been pursuing nature photography seriously for many years, and we started leading photo safaris in 2004 on a limited scale, but it was only after launching our first photographic boat on the Chobe River in 2009 that we became real “Safari Rats.” Since then, we’ve led over seventy specialized wildlife photographic safaris to African destinations, and several to Alaska as well!

–Lou Coetzer

Justin Black

JUSTIN BLACK is a photographer, writer, editor, expedition leader, photo workshops instructor, and an affiliate of the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP). Through both Visionary Wild and Galen Rowell's Mountain Light Photography (1999 – 2009) he has created inspiring and effective educational photographic experiences for thousands of passionate photographers. He is widely recognized as one of the world's leading photo workshops organizers.

A professional photographer since 1995 when he signed his first picture agency contract, before founding Visionary Wild he served the ILCP as Executive Director, and for seven years was General Manager and Curator of Mountain Light Gallery.

Justin's photographs have been published by magazines such as National Geographic Adventure, Sierra, Sunset, American Photo, Outdoor Photographer, Rock & Ice, and Nature Conservancy among others. His work has also been published by major news outlets in print and online, and has been used in advertising for brands such as MasterCard, Patagonia, Nikon, and Fujifilm.

Among conservation NGOs that have used his photographs in their campaigns are World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International, The Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation Association, Panthera, Land Trust Alliance, Earth Justice, The Wilderness Society, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, ILCP, and the Wild Foundation.

In 2017, he entered the world of motion pictures as an Executive Producer on the award-winning documentary film, Headhunt Revisited: With Brush, Canvas, and Camera, produced and directed by Michele Westmorland. Justin was invited to serve as a judge for the 2015 and 2017 Nature's Best Photography Africa competitions. He has also been an editor and contributor to numerous award-winning photo book projects, including Galen Rowell: A Retrospective; Freshwater: The Essence of Life; The Wealth of Nature: Ecosystem Services, Biodiversity, and Human Well-Being; Our National Parks: America's Natural Heritage; as well as Flying South: A Pilot's Inner Journey by Barbara Rowell. His limited edition fine prints are available through his portfolio website at www.justinblackphoto.com, and are represented by G2 Gallery in Venice, California, and in Europe by The Art of Wild gallery.

An early career as a travel photographer and image licensing specialist led him to Mountain Light Photography in the San Francisco Bay Area, founded by Galen Rowell – a world-renowned National Geographic photographer, author, and mountaineer – and his wife and business partner, Barbara Cushman Rowell. Beginning in May of 1999, Justin managed marketing of the Rowell image collection, assisted Galen on assignments and in his workshop program, and taught seminars on nature photography. In April 2002, the Rowells invited Justin to relocate with them to California's scenic Owens Valley as Mountain Light's General Manager. Justin eagerly embraced his new responsibility, along with the sublime Eastern Sierra Nevada landscape as his new home.

Four months later, Galen and Barbara perished in the crash of a chartered plane, leaving behind a tremendous creative and visionary vacuum. Justin went to work, building on the impressive Rowell legacy to reinvigorate Mountain Light by establishing a seasonal series of guest photographer exhibitions, expanding the image collection, and relaunching the highly acclaimed photo workshop program through collaboration with Galen's leading professional peers, including Frans Lanting, Pat O'Hara, Jack Dykinga, John Shaw, David Muench, and Jeff Foott. In May 2008, Justin's successful efforts were recognized by both Sunset and American Photo magazines, as each magazine featured editorial recommendations of his workshop program at Mountain Light.

After ten years with Mountain Light, Justin was recruited to take over the position of Executive Director of ILCP, a non-profit association of the best photographers worldwide working in the field of environmental and cultural conservation. At ILCP, Justin oversaw an explosion of productivity in expeditions, publishing, multimedia production, and the achievement of successful conservation outcomes. He contributed photographic coverage to ILCP's Rapid Assessment Visual Expeditions (RAVE) program, including Flathead Valley (Canada, 2009), Yucatán (Mexico, 2009), and Chesapeake (USA, 2010), as well as a solo project for The Nature Conservancy, documenting the Dragon Run wetland on Virginia's Middle Peninsula. One of Justin's photographs from the Flathead River project appeared as a section opener in the Vancouver Sun newspaper – the first time the threatened watershed received significant coverage in that nationally important media outlet.  The photograph was later selected by the United States Senate for display in the U.S. Capitol Building, as Canada and the USA reached an agreement to protect the Flathead.

Justin left his position at ILCP in late 2010 to establish Visionary Wild, building on his successful leadership of the Mountain Light workshop program and applying expertise gained at ILCP to provide superlative workshops and expeditions for passionate photographers seeking to advance to the next level of creativity, quality, purpose, and meaning in their work. His own work continues to evolve in new directions, driven by the ongoing search for extraordinary qualities in our world's dynamic landscapes.

Justin lives in Washington, DC, with his brilliant wife, Lena (Visionary Wild's Director of Operations), and their children Philippe and Alexandra.

Justin Black's limited editions portfolio

Justin's Outdoor Photographer Profile

Bringing focus and meaning to your photography

The Top 40 Nature Photos Project

Justin's Conservation Photography Projects

 

Justin’s Camera Bag

After using an array of 4x5, medium format, and 35mm film cameras in the first two decades of his career, Justin fully embraced digital cameras in 2010. His current gear includes Nikon DSLRs and Fujifilm mirrorless systems.

 

Fujifilm Medium Format Mirrorless:

GFX 50S camera

23mm f/4 GF Fujinon

32-64 f/4 GF Fujinon

120mm f/4 GF Fujinon

 

Nikon DSLR:

Nikon D810 cameras (x2)

24mm f/3.5 PC-E tilt-shift Nikkor

45mm f/2.8 PC-E tilt-shift Nikkor

85mm f/2.8 PC-E tilt-shift Nikkor

24mm f/1.4 Sigma Art

35mm f/1.4 Sigma Art

50mm f/1.4 Sigma Art

85mm f/1.8 G AF-S ED Nikkor

200mm f/4 AF-D Micro-Nikkor

500mm f/4 AF-S Nikkor

18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 G AF-S ED Nikkor

24-70mm f/2.8 G AF-S ED Nikkor

70-200mm f/4.0 G AF-S ED VR Nikkor

200-400mm f/4.0 G AF-S ED VR Nikkor

Nikon TC-14EII teleconverter

Nikon TC-20EIII teleconverter

Nikon SB-900 flash

Nikon SB-700 flash

Assorted Nikon TTL flash cables

 

Fujifilm APS-C Mirrorless:

X-Pro2 Cameras (x2)

14mm f/2.8 XF Fujinon

23mm f/2 XF Fujinon

35mm f/1.4 XF Fujinon

50mm f/2 XF Fujinon

18-55mm f/2.8-4 XF Fujinon

55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 XF Fujinon

 

Filters and Light Modifiers

Nikon Circular Polarizer II

Singh-Ray Vari-ND

Tiffen WW IRND neutral density filters

Photoflex reflectors and diffusers

Lumiquest soft boxes

Rogue Flashbender

Rosco gels

 

Tripods

Really Right Stuff TVC-24L with leveling base and Really Right Stuff BH-55 ballhead or Arca-Swiss D4 geared head

Gitzo 1028 with RRS BH-25 ballhead

 

Photo Packs

MindShift Backlight 36L

MindShift Backlight 26L

Mindshift FirstLight 30L

MindShift Rotation 180 Pro

Mindshift Rotation 180 Horizon

Mindshift Rotation 180 Panorama

ThinkTank Airport Addicted V2.0

ThinkTank Urban Disguise 50 V2.0

 

Highlights

  • An unbeatable combination of locations, seasonal conditions, photo and safari equipment, excellent lodging, expert guiding and photographic instruction
  • Custom photo boat at Chobe with revolving Wimberley camera mounts on swivel chair bases offer photo opportunities not to be found in any other type of safari vehicle
  • New customized 4WD safari vehicles at Etosha, with Wimberley camera mounts and only three photographers to a vehicle
  • Location on the Chobe River and the Etosha pan that provide some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities anywhere
  • Experience with the area and wildlife photography to put us in the right place at the right time to capture peak-action animal behavior in the best light
  • Professional-grade supertelephoto lenses and camera bodies to enable participants to capture the best photos possible
  • Small group of five participants with the support of two professional photographer instructors, naturalist guides, and experienced safari drivers
  • We will be unrushed at each location, to let you get to know the place and make the most of the opportunities
  • First-rate lodging and dining included throughout
  • Three in-Africa flights and all ground transfers included
   

Accommodations & Travel

  • Pretoria: Chez Coetzer Guest House: A beautifully decorated guesthouse in a African-Victorian style with luxury en-suite guest rooms. Relax in a beautiful Victorian garden and heated pool.
  • Etosha: Namutoni Lodge, an exceptionally well-run luxury safari lodge in a historic German fort, convenient to our field locations
  • Chobe: Chobe Marina Lodge, excellent accommodations just steps away from our boat dock.
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Fly into Johannesburg, South Africa to be met for ground transfer to our guesthouse the first night. Three in-Africa flights are included. All ground transfers, transportation, and excursions using newly customized 4WD photo-safari vehicles at Etosha are included. A best-in-class customized photo boat will be our shooting platform at Chobe N.P. This is the beginning of the dry and cool winter season in southern Africa. Expect highs between 75ºF - 80ºF, and lows 45ºF – 32ºF.