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

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Expedition January 11 - 27, 2019 | View other workshops

Falkland Islands with Chris Linder

Map via Google

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.


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)



  • 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.

Payment Schedule:

  • 25% deposit upon booking
  • A further 25% deposit is due by May 15th, 2018
  • Final 50% due October 10th, 2018


  • 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. 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.

Chris Linder

Chris Linder is an award-winning professional photographer, filmmaker, and lecturer. Chris earned a master’s degree in oceanography from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and maintains a part-time affiliation with WHOI as an expedition photographer. For over a decade, Chris has focused on communicating science stories and inspiring the next generation of researchers. He has documented over 50 scientific expeditions and has spent over two years of his life exploring the polar regions.

Chris's images have appeared in museums, books, calendars, and international magazines, including Audubon, Geo (Germany), Nature’s Best, Outdoor Photographer, Smithsonian, and Wired.  He published the hardcover book Science on Ice: Four Polar Expeditions with the University of Chicago Press in Fall 2011.  He was the lead cinematographer and co-producer of the 2015 feature-length documentary film Antarctic Edge: 70 Degrees South.  Chris is a Senior Fellow in the International League of Conservation Photographers and a Fellow National in the Explorers Club.

His work is represented by Aurora Photos and Visuals Unlimited.

Assignments: coverage of 44 major scientific expeditions, including 25 to the polar regions. Recent assignments include the science trials of the new Alvin deep-diving submersible, climate change impacts on Icelandic puffin populations, and thawing permafrost in the Siberian Arctic.

Awards: Winner, 2015 Nature's Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards, Birds category; Highly Honored, 2014 Nature's Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards, Polar Passion category; Honorable Mention, 2012 International Conservation Photography Awards, Flora category; Highly Commended, 2010 BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards, In Praise of Plants category; Honorable Mention, 2010 International Conservation Photography Awards, Natural Environment at Risk category; Winner, 2008 Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice International Photography Awards, Indigenous Cultures category.


The World’s Top Wildlife, Nature, and Culture Photographers by the iLCP, December 2015, Origin Magazine:

The New Stars of Photography, Smithsonian Magazine, March 2012 issue and online:

Can photos of ice help translate the science of climate change? by Jaymi Heimbuch, Mother Nature Network, February 11, 2014:

News From DC, The Polaris Project, And Reel Grrrls: interview with Marcie Sillman on Seattle's NPR station, KUOW, about my work photographing the Polaris Project in Siberia:

Recent Articles:

After the Revolution, Living Bird magazine, Winter 2016, feature story:

Southern Exposure, Audubon magazine, November-December 2015, feature story:

Science on Ice – Chris Linder's new book on polar exploration

Photographer's Guide to Cape Cod and the Islands, by Chris Linder

Visit Chris's website


  • Two nights in Santiago; 14 nights in the Falkland Islands
  • Six flights included: R/T flights from Santiago to Mount Pleasant Airport in the Falkland Islands; four FIGAS flights around the Falkland Islands.
  • A unique opportunity to travel with award-winning photographer, Chris Linder, who recently won the 2017 ASME Reader's Choice Award for Best Cover, Travel and Adventure category for his photo of affectionate bill-rubbing between a Gentoo penguin and chick.
  • Abundant wildlife, particularly four species of penguins (southern rockhopper, gentoo, Magellanic, and king), black-browed albatross, imperial and rock cormorants, southern elephant seals, and southern sea lions.
  • Timed during chick rearing in penguin and albatross bird colonies.
  • Coastal regions of five islands: Sea Lion Island, Carcass Island, West Point Island, Saunders Island, and East Falkland Island.
  • One-hour scenic boat ride from Carcass Island to West Point Island
  • Dramatic seascapes, including cliffs, beaches, and waterfalls
  • Small group of four participants, allowing for stays in locations where larger groups cannot stay overnight
  • Inclusive of all lodging and dining
  • Excellent lodging selected for logistical ease of itinerary and superior hospitality shown during previous visit.
  • First-rate local guides and logistical support from owners and managers of our accommodations
  • Top-notch instruction throughout
  • Easy travel: No visa required for passport holders from most of the developed world.

Accommodations & Travel


Inclusive of stays at six different accommodations, starting and ending at Santiago's Holiday Inn Santiago - Airport Hotel, which we prefer for their high quality amenities and service, and convenient location. We look forward to returning to the other accommodations on the Falkland Islands as their proximity to bird colonies and brilliant sunrises/sunsets is unparalleled, the proprietors are hospitable and informative, and their rooms are quite comfortable.

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Arrange for your own international flights into and out of Santiago’s international airport (SCL). All ground transportation and transfers are included; hired vehicles will make transfers to more distant field locations. Expect to walk up to a mile to most field locations on level terrain. Certain locations require longer hikes on steep slopes. Although it is never required to visit all parts of our field locations, the ability to walk a bit farther on more rugged terrain can yield considerable rewards in the bird colonies. It will probably rain for a portion of every day, as the wind whips the clouds overhead. Be prepared to wear layers as temperatures typically dip down to around 40°F and climb back up to nearly 60°F .