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

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

Justin Black – Managing Director: 1-202-302-9030 • Email:

Jennifer Woolley – Director of Operations • Email:

We look forward to hearing from you!


-8 of 0 spaces left | $4,995* Waitlist
Vision October 15 - 19, 2018 | View other workshops

Back to Boulder with Jack Dykinga and John Shaw

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*Please note that the only available slots for this workshop are under the "No Lodging" package for $3295, whereby participants are responsible for securing lodging and transportation to the workshop, but are included in all workshop activities and meals. If you would like to register for this option, please contact us at or (202) 558-9596.

The majestic Grand Staircase descending toward the Grand Canyon and the canyons of the Escalante are a creative photographer's dream come true. 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 beautiful Boulder Mountain Lodge, and with first-class dining at the famous Hell's Backbone Grill, this is a superb workshop scenario, which helps explain why Visionary Wild clients often repeat this experience. We hope you'll join us!

Boulder Mountain rises to the west of Capital Reef National Park in the picturesque Aquarius Plateau of South Central Utah. It is the highest timbered plateau in North America, with over 50,000 acres of rolling forests of pine, spruce, fir, and aspen, as well as expansive meadowlands. The area features the dramatic red rock canyons and sculpted formations for which southern Utah is famous, but it is a little known and refreshing alternative to more heavily trafficked southwestern locations.

The author and desert wilderness advocate Edward Abbey once astutely observed:

There are more hills, holes, humps and hollows, reefs, folds, domes, swells and grabens, buttes, benches and mesas, synclines, monoclines, and anticlines than you can ever hope to see and explore in a lifetime.

We'll add that the quality of light and atmosphere here are superb.

Click "Read More..." below right for more details and pricing, and see the image gallery...

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.

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
  • Creating a PDF electronic book
  • Color-managed workflow from input to output

The workshop includes eight field sessions, classroom lectures and ample hands-on instruction, critiques, single-occupancy lodging (prorated fee available for double-occupancy or for those who do not require lodging), and all meals and drinks. As always, both 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, Jack and John will make presentations on advanced seeing, composition and creativity, digital workflow, and maximizing image potential. Critique sessions will follow each day before returning to the field for photography in afternoon and evening light. Friday morning will be the final field session, followed by critiquing 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 Boulder Mountain Lodge, an intimate arrangement of buildings and outdoor common areas located on a 15-acre bird sanctuary at an elevation of 6650ft. In addition to beautiful rooms, the welcoming and comfortable lodge offers an array of amenities. Our meals (included) will be provided by Hell's Backbone Grill, a highly rated gourmet restaurant featuring southwestern flavors and locally sourced organic ingredients. 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. Breakfast and dinner are served at the renowned Hell’s Backbone Grill each day, and the grill provides box lunches as well.

Room types and Pricing: As available rooms at Boulder Mountain Lodge fall into three different tiers of amenities and price (all are very nice and quite comfortable), there are multiple rate options for this workshop:

Deluxe (SOLD OUT) Double-occupancy package  $4,295.00 per person; Deluxe Single-occupancy package: $4,995.00 - (two units) - Separate Bedroom and Living Room with Sofa, Large Master Bathroom with Jacuzzi Tub, Powder Room, and Full Kitchen; Air Conditioning, Free internet, WiFi, TV-DVD Player.

Luxury (SOLD OUT) Double-occupancy package: $3,895.00 per person; Luxury Single-occupancy package: $4,595.00 - (five units) - Two Queen Beds (or One King Bed with Kitchenette), Air Conditioning, Free internet, WiFi, TV-DVD Player

Basic (SOLD OUT) Double-occupancy package: $3,495.00 per person; Basic Single-occupancy package: $4,195.00 - (two units) - One Queen Bed, Air Conditioning, Free internet, WiFi, TV-DVD Player

No Lodging Participants arrange for their own lodging and transportation to and from the workshop, but are included in all workshop activities and meals. $3295.00 per person.

Please contact us promptly to reserve your space. A deposit of 50% is required at time of booking to reserve space, with balance payable 60 days prior to workshop start date.
The workshop begins at 2pm on Monday, October 15th, and ends by 3pm on Friday, October 19th, 2018.

Note: Visionary Wild, LLC operates this workshop under a Commercial Use Permit issued by the Bureau of Land Management at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Jack Dykinga

Taste life and strive to make a difference.

Pulitzer Prize (1971 Feature Photography) winning photographer Jack Dykinga blends fine art photography with documentary photojournalism.  He is a regular contributor to Arizona Highways and National Geographic Magazines.  His ten wilderness advocacy, large format books include: Frog Mountain Blues, The Secret Forest, The Sierra Pinacate, The Sonoran Desert, Stone Canyons of the Colorado Plateau, and Desert: The Mojave and Death Valley.   He authored and photographed Large Format Nature Photography, a “how to” guide to color landscape photography.  Jack Dykinga’s ARIZONA, released in 2004 from Westcliffe Publishers, a compellation of Jack’s best Arizona images and: IMAGES:  Jack Dykinga’s Grand Canyon released by Arizona Highways, May 2008, reflect Jack’s love for Arizona. Jack’s latest books are highly educational and showcase his talents as a photographer: “Capture the Magic,” released November 2013, delves into composition and the creative process, and “A Photographer's Life: A Journey from Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photojournalist to Celebrated Nature Photographer," released January 2017, recounts the events and influences throughout his 50-year career that shaped the subject matter, style, and design in his art.

Dykinga’s fine art images were featured along with the work of Ansel Adams in an Arizona Highways Magazine retrospective shown at the Phoenix Art Museum, The Center for Creative Photography, and the Museum of Northern Arizona. 

Recent work includes:

Texas/Mexican border highlighting the biological diversity of protected areas along the Rio Grande River, appearing in the February 2007, National Geographic Magazine.

His illustration of the wilderness lands of Native American Tribes is featured in the August 2010 National Geographic.

Jack has donated his talents to the International Leagure of Conservation Photographer’s RAVEs (Rapid Assessment Visual Expeditions) El Triunfo, Mexico, 2007; Balandra 2007, Baja Sur, Mexico; the Yucatan 2009, Yucatan, Mexico; the U.S./ Mexico Borderlands 2009, as well as the 2010 Patagonia, Chile RAVE and the September 2010 Great Bear RAVE in B.C. Canada.

In each case, Jack and teams of celebrated photographers from all over the world pooled their collective talents to highlight potential environmental degradation.

 In April 2010, Jack’s image: “Stone Canyon” was selected as one of the forty best Nature Photographs of all time by the International League of Conservation Photographers, and he received: The Outstanding Photographer of the Year Award from the Nature Photographers of North America in March 2011. He has recently been named the recipient of NANPA's 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award.

He and his wife Margaret live in Tucson, Arizona.  His daughter Camille Bralts lives in Champaign-Urbana. His son Peter Dykinga lives in Tucson and manages Jack’s image collection.

Arizona PBS Interview with Jack:

An Interview with pre-digital Jack:

The Nature Conservancy's Director of Photography interviews Jack

National Geographic gallery of Jack's Native Lands project

Video: Profile of Jack Dykinga

Video: Interview with Jack Dykinga

Learning to See: an interview with Jack Dykinga

Visit Jack's website

John Shaw

I think a good attitude to have is that the next frame you shoot is going to be the better, definitive frame.

John, a natural and dedicated teacher, has been a professional nature photographer since the early 1970s. His work has been published in many publications and books, including National Geographic, Nature's Best, National Wildlife, Audubon, Outdoor Photographer, and many others. In 1997 he received the first-ever Outstanding Photographer Award given by the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA). Nikon chose him as a featured Legend Behind the Lens in 2002, while Microsoft designated him an Icon of Imaging in 2006.  He has been part of Epson's Stylus Pro fine art print makers group since 2001.

John has published six books on nature photography, plus five eBooks on Photoshop and Lightroom.  He has photographed on every continent, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, from Provence to Patagonia.  While he once used a variety of film cameras, he much prefers the advantages of digital capture.

Visit John's Website


I just wanted to thank you personally for the best two days of photographic instruction that I've had in my 52 years. – Bill A.

The breadth and width of information that John Shaw provided both as an artist/photographer and his knowledge of digital software was impressive. His ability to communicate the information even more impressive. – Ric K.

John Shaw is a great leader and photographer and I always look forward to traveling with him. – Gordon K.


  • Small group of ten participants, with a student-to-instructor ratio of 5 to 1
  • Advanced seeing: Learn to find new and unexpected compositions
  • Breaking through creative block and making great photographs in challenging situations
  • Mastering a logical, efficient, and consistent workflow, from capture to final master image, that frees you to focus on creativity
  • Ensuring the highest-possible final image quality
  • Eight field photography sessions, pre-dawn to mid-morning and mid-afternoon to twilight
  • Constructive group critiques of participant work

Accommodations & Travel


Package includes lodging, all meals, and adult beverages with dinner. Prorated fees are available for double occupancy and for those who do not require lodging. Boulder Mountain Lodge is an oasis of calm, comfort, and luxury in the middle of Utah's scenic red rock canyon country and mountain forests. It is perfectly located for quick access to the unparalleled natural wonders of the Boulder-Escalante region, and as if that weren't enough, it features a superb restaurant on its premises – The Hell's Backbone Grill.

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For those traveling by air, the nearest major airport is in Salt Lake City, UT, 4.5 hours drive away. There are also flights into Page, AZ which is slightly closer, and the drive from Page is stunning. We will carpool to field locations no more than an hour from the lodge. Access to locations on foot is easy. Highs will likely range from the low 60s to the low 80s, with lows ranging from the high 20s to the low 40s first thing in the morning. Precipitation is unlikely.


TESTIMONIALS from recent Boulder workshop participants:

The workshop in Boulder, Utah, was the best workshop I have ever attended. The combination of field work and classroom sessions provided a nice balance, and the participant critiques enabled everyone to learn from each others work. Great location; great instructors. I would highly recommend Visionary Wild to anyone who is serious about nature photography. –Steve A.

It was such a pleasure to have such constant input and feedback from both instructors. The workshop exceeded my expectations! – Nancy H.

The workshop at Boulder last week was extremely enjoyable & enlightening. The location, field & class room instruction, image reviews, fellow participants, & leaders were all top notch. In particular, the emphasis on the crafting of an image was crucially helpful for me.  This is now an essential step for my pre-visualization.  I suspect that i did indeed get some of the best landscape images i've ever taken thanks to the two of you. This workshop puts VW at the top of my list for landscape workshops. –Carl Z.