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!


Limit 10 spaces | $5,495* Closed
Advanced December 2 - 8, 2012 | View other workshops

Costa Rica with Justin Black and Daniel Beltra

Map via Google

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, 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, 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 full of character and beautiful graphic compositions just waiting to be discovered.

Instructors Daniel Beltrá and 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.

CLICK HERE to read Justin Black's article "Frogs of the Osa" in Outdoor Photographer magazine

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

Our basecamp, El Remanso eco-lodge, is a uniquely rich and accessible environment to witness and explore the incredible flora and fauna of Central America's rainforests.  The owners are personal friends of the instructors, 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 beach and waterfalls, monkeys and frogs, gorgeous old-growth trees and various species of land crabs.  Ziplines lead to platforms in the jungle canopy that can offer an ideal shooting perspective.

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


Day 1 – (December 2) – Travel from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez and El Remanso

Arrive in San Jose, Costa Rica – *please see note below regarding scheduling international flights. At 2pm, join fellow participants at SANSA domestic airline terminal adjacent to the main international airport terminal. You will be greeted there by an El Remanso representative who will facilitate your check-in for the private charter flight on a SANSA Cessna Grand Caravan to Puerto Jimenez. The flight itself is incredibly scenic, and a great opportunity to do some aerial photography. Daniel Beltrá, Justin Black, and El Remanso staff will pick up the group at the Puerto Jimenez airstrip for the 45-minute drive to El Remano. Welcome orientation, time to get settled, and cocktails and dinner.

Days 2 through 6 – (December 3-7) – El Remanso and surroundings

This is the workshop itself. We will spend a full five days helping workshop participants make the most of the endless photographic opportunities to be found on El Remanso's 185 acres, as well as at locations nearby. Most instruction will be carried out through hands-on demonstrations and discussion in the field. In the evenings, we will gather to download, edit, go over digital workflow techniques, and constructively critique participant images to  sessions to ensure that everyone has ample opportunity to learn from the personal visions of participants and instructors alike.

Day 7 – (December 8) – Return to San Jose to catch international flights

After breakfast, we will say goodbye to El Remanso and transfer to Puerto Jimenez to catch our charter flight back to San Jose (landing at SJO at 11:00am) so participants can catch international flights that afternoon.

• Price based on double occupancy: $4,998/person (Single supplement: $497)

• Two-person package cost for one workshop participant and non-participant guest: $7098.00 (double-occupancy; please contact us to arrange this package at info@visionarywild or 202-558-9596)

Included in the program:

  • Photographic instruction throughout by Daniel Beltrá and Justin Black
  • In-country group charter flights: San Jose – Puerto Jimenez – San Jose
  • Group ground transfers: Puerto Jimenez – El Remanso – Puerto Jimenez
  • Six nights lodging, all meals, and beverages (including beer, wine, cocktails with dinner) at El Remanso
  • Group local transportation
  • Naturalist guides
  • Group gratuities
* IMPORTANT NOTE: Scheduling International Flights
Participants flying into San Jose's modern international airport on December 2nd will need to arrive no later than 1:00pm in order to ensure adequate time to clear customs and catch our charter flight to Puerto Jimenez from the SANSA airlines terminal directly adjacent to the international airport terminal (a walk of about 100 meters). Depending on the limitations of international flight schedules from your point of origin, some participants may prefer to (or may need to) fly into San Jose at least a day prior to the December 2nd charter flight from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez, and may need to spend the night in San Jose following return from Puerto Jimenez. If you need to stay in San Jose prior to or following our group itinerary, we highly recommend Hotel Bougainvillea – – a very comfortable, quiet, and reasonable hotel with excellent amenities and English-speaking staff. The immaculately kept tropical gardens there are well worth a photo session on their own. A reliable English-speaking taxi service affiliated with El Remanso can be arranged to meet you at the airport in San Jose and transport you to Hotel Bougainvillea and back to the SANSA airlines terminal on Dec 2nd, to arrive by 2pm.

Justin Black

JUSTIN BLACK is a photographer, writer, editor, expedition leader, photo workshops instructor, a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Writers (ILCW), and a former executive director of the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP). Since 2011 with Visionary Wild and for ten years at Galen Rowell's Mountain Light Photography, 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

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, 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



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


Daniel Beltra

My work allows me to bear witness to the challenges our environment faces and help celebrate its triumphs.

Born in Madrid, Spain, Daniel Beltrá is a photographer based in Seattle, Washington. Over the past two decades, Daniel's work has taken him to all seven continents, including several expeditions to the Brazilian Amazon, the Arctic, the Southern Oceans and the Patagonian ice fields. For his work on the Gulf Oil Spill, in 2011 he received the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award, the Lucie Award for the International Photographer of the Year – Deeper Perspective, and was chosen as one of the six finalists for Critical Mass for Photolucida. In 2009, Beltrá received the prestigious Prince’s Rainforest Project award granted by Prince Charles, and was recognized by ABC News as its "Person of the Week" for his conservation photography.

Other highlights include the inaugural “Global Vision Award” from the Pictures of the Year International in 2008. In 2007 and 2006 he received awards for his work in the Amazon from World Press Photo. Daniel’s work has been published by the most prominent international publications including The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, Le Monde, and El Pais, amongst many others. Daniel Beltrá is a fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers.
Two months of photographing the Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill led to a major exhibit titled "SPILL," which premiered in August 2010, toured around the globe in 2011 and will continue touring through 2012

Video: ABC News Person of the Week
Video: The Prince of Wales announces Daniel as the Prince's Rainforests Project winner
Seattle Times profile

Video: Daniel's presentation at the Annenberg Space for Photography (video in 11 parts)

Video: Plum TV, Beltrá interview at his Aspen, Colorado exhibit
Video: Beltrá interview on rainforest deforestation
Video: CBC News, Beltrá interview
Video: Daniel talks about his Focus on the Rainforest exhibit at Kew Gardens, London
Aspen Peak Magazine story on Daniel's Aspen, Colorado exhibit
Aspen Times story on Daniel's exhibit: ICE, in Aspen, Colorado
Daniel's Gulf oil spill coverage with audio commentary, The Guardian newspaper, UK

Visit Daniel's website


  • Explore this private rainforest preserve, featuring primary old-growth forest, waterfalls, and wild Pacific beach
  • Exotic native birds, frogs, New World primates, and other tropical wildlife
  • Two photo instructors and experienced local naturalist guides ensure excellent participant support and an incredibly rich learning experience.
  • Small group size and low ratio of participants to instructors.
  • Superb and ecologically responsible and sustainable accommodations at El Remanso Lodge.
  • Package includes single-occupancy lodging, all meals, beverages, daily naturalist guiding, round-trip in-country air charter from San Jose, Costa Rica to Puerto Jimenez, 4WD ground transfers from Puerto Jimenez to El Remanso, group ground transportation to field sessions off the El Remanso conservancy, and all group gratuities.

Accommodations & Travel

A part of the Osa Peninsula National Refuge, El Remanso is owner-operated by gracious and enthusiastic hosts Daniel Gehring and Adriana Domenech Momeñe. The small-scale character of the lodge enables a highly personalized service, and they are proud that most of their guests are enthusiastically referred to El Remanso by friends and family who have stayed there themselves.

The property includes an extensive trail system, which lets you discover the magic of a primary rainforest and observe the abundant wildlife surrounding the lodge. Within an easy fifteen-minute walk from the lodge, one can explore secluded waterfalls, take a stroll on a deserted beach with tide pools and a lagoon, or look for colorful poison dart frogs next to creeks deep in rainforest canyons. Or, simply relax on the wooden deck of the restaurant while watching monkeys swing through the surrounding trees!

El Remanso has been a pioneer in sustainable practices in the Osa Peninsula since its creation in 1999. The lodge was one of the first in Costa Rica to provide its electricity exclusively by its own micro-hydro system. 90% of all waste is recycled or composted, waste waters are treated on site, and the lodge participates in local reforestation programs on the Osa Peninsula. El Remanso also has close ties with the community and provides work for more than 25 local staff all year around.

Thanks to all these efforts, in 2011 the Costa Rican Tourism Board awarded the lodge with the highest rating of the Certification For Sustainable Tourism (CST – level 5) in the lodge’s first certification process.

airplane iconcar iconfoot iconweather icon
Included are round-trip SANSA charter flight from San Jose (SJO) Costa Rica to Puerto Jimenez; 4WD ground transfers from Puerto Jimenez to El Remanso and ground transportation during field sessions off the El Remanso property. Walks to field locations on the El Remanso property are relatively short and easy. The most strenuous walk is the 15 to 20 minute uphill hike from the beach to the lodge on a well maintained trail. Some outings will include wading in shallow creeks, traversing rough terrain, and the occasional easy scramble over a fallen log or rock formation. Early December is the beginning of the dry season on the Osa Peninsula, but occasional rain showers are likely (it is a coastal rain forest, after all). Temperatures typically range between 90ºF and 68ºF with high humidity.