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 | $6,950* Register
Expedition April 17 - 28, 2019 | View other workshops

Grand Canyon by Raft with Jerry Dodrill and Grant Ordelheide

Map via Google


What happens when a group of enthusiastic photographers join together for a 10-day raft trip through 226-miles of mind-bending Grand Canyon scenery and 1.84 billion years of geological history?

Here are some impressions that participants on previous Grand Canyon raft trips have shared:

Having traveled to 5 continents, I can honestly state the Grand Canyon river trip was the best photo trip I have ever taken!

Seeing the Grand Canyon from the bottom is a visual and spiritual experience that is not to be missed by any photographer.

My mind is still in the Canyon. Thanks to you for putting together this amazing experience. The Canyon is past wonder. I am sitting here working on the images and can’t seem to leave the river.

While I think I've finally gotten the sand out of all of my clothes, it will most definitely be a long time before I get the Grand Canyon out of my soul.

About two days into the trip...I realized that I should enjoy the trip because it was just about as good as it gets. It was indeed. At this point, maybe it's enough to say that I actually miss the sand and I hope we all will continue to keep in touch.

Initially designed by Jack Dykinga and Justin Black, and further developed by Jerry Dodrill and Grant Ordelheide, this trip absolutely maximizes photographic potential and overall quality of experience that can be had during ten days on the Colorado River in the mile-deep Grand Canyon.

Applying our experience of numerous Grand Canyon raft trips, and in collaboration with our hand-picked boat crew from Arizona Raft Adventures, we've developed an itinerary that takes advantage of favorable spring conditions and sets us up for the best landings for photo excursions and camps along the river. Detailed planning and the expert skill of experienced boat crews we've worked with before are critical, because there's no going back upstream on the Colorado River.

Our itinerary starts in Flagstaff, Arizona, at the Little America Hotel. The day before our departure for the river, we will convene to get to know each other (and catch up with returning friends), and Jerry will make presentations to get your creative juices flowing and prepare you for photography in the Canyon. This will be followed by an orientation by AZRA staff to go over the game plan, safety, answer questions, and distribute dry bags for packing your personal gear. We'll set off early the following morning for Lee's Ferry, where our raft and crew will be waiting for us at our launch point.

A little about the raft: We will use a 32-foot-long raft built around a strong aluminum frame with a below-deck cargo hold for important items that tolerate getting wet, like camp chairs and cans of beer. Personal gear and camera bags will be stored in drybags strapped to lockers on deck above the waterline. Two expert AZRA guides will crew our raft, which is equipped with a quiet four-stroke Honda motor for steering purposes. The motor is shut off as we drift with the current down the river in stretches of calm water. We will be running a great deal of whitewater, and where you sit in the raft will determine whether you get soaked or stay dry (or dryish). Getting soaked by a big splash is a great way to cool off, as is floating a one of the milder rapids in your life vest, which the guides offer as an option on occasion and as safety conditions permit.

Once on the Colorado River, we quickly enter Marble Canyon and from there the canyon rim towers higher and higher as we pass through ever more ancient rock strata. From the raft, we'll take in the stunning mesas and rock formations all around us, watch bighorn sheep just a few meters away at the water's edge, marvel at condors soaring and ravens playing overhead, and watch the light and shade play across the water and reflect in hues of gold and red on the canyon walls. Each afternoon, we'll pull into riverside beaches, which will serve as our camps. These are selected in advance for group comfort and excellent photo opportunities close to camp in the evening, and to position us strategically to target the next morning's photography location.

As we arrive in camp each afternoon, we'll form a "bag line" as a team to unload personal gear and camp equipment from the raft to the beach. This group bonding experience is not to be underestimated. After that, we each locate our personal piece of Colorado River beach to put down our tarp, comfy sleeping pad, pillow, sheet, and sleeping bag (all provided, as are tents, though few seem to bother with them after a night or two). Then, while the boat crew prepares a fabulous and well-deserved dinner, we'll photograph in the evening light. Otherwise, choices of camp activities are up to you. We'll gather the camp chairs in a circle to chat over a beer or glass of wine, have a rinse in the river, or just relax and enjoy the peace, solitude, and crystal clear night skies.

When our time on the river comes to an end, it will be too soon. We will have been away from computers, smart phones, and traffic for ten days. AZRA will pick us up at Diamond Creek for the trip back to the Radisson in Flagstaff, stopping off on old Route 66 at Delgadillos Snow Cap in Seligman for a milkshake. Back at the hotel in Flagstaff, after a proper shower and calls to loved ones to confirm that we've reemerged into civilization, we'll meet for a final celebratory dinner with our boat crew at one of the finer restaurants in town. After breakfast the next morning, we'll meet for a classroom session to edit and project images for review and critique. Wrapping up by mid-afternoon, we'll say "until we meet again," and our merry band will part company with hard drives full of amazing images, heads full of incredible memories, spirits uplifted by the experience, and hearts just a little heavy that it's all over.

We hope you'll join us for this trip of a lifetime!

Workshop Cost: $6,950.00 based on single-occupancy at Little America Hotel, or $6,800 for double-occupancy.

Note: The National Park Service requires all Photography Workshops to list the outfitters cost as well as the additional "Photo" component of the workshop. AZRA cost = $3,334.00 per participant, Visionary Wild photo-workshop cost = $3616/per participant


Jerry Dodrill

Jerry Dodrill has been an award-winning professional photographer and highly regarded photography teacher for more than two decades. A protégé of the late legendary adventure photographer Galen Rowell in the late 1990s, an unrelenting passion for photography and outdoor adventures made it clear that Jerry was not destined for a desk job. An avid climber and outdoorsman for most of his life, he feels equally at home in a rocky bivouac or a soft bed. In college, pre-med classes gave way to studies in fine art and weekends spent scaling Yosemite's granite walls. Photography was at first a byproduct of his adventures but quickly became his artistic medium of choice as he captured each experience with a concise aesthetic and quality of light revealing his inspiration.

Jerry's adventures have led him around the globe. He has climbed all the major walls in Yosemite Valley, at crags across the West, close to a hundred summits in the Sierra, and peaks in Bolivia, Argentina, Kyrgyzstan, and China. His full embrace of the many disciplines of climbing have led to many adventures and tales best told late at night around a raging campfire.

Jerry holds degrees in fine art and photography, which in 1997 led him to work for acclaimed photographer Galen Rowell at Mountain Light in Berkeley. There, he managed Galen's gallery space and workshops, an amazing experience (akin to a photographer's bootcamp).

Since 2000, he has been pursuing his own adventures and photography career. Jerry's immense talent and creative eye have been well recognized through international awards and exhibition in fine galleries, such as the Ansel Adams in Yosemite, Mountain Light, Mumm Napa Valley, and the Banff Center for Mountain Culture. Through his numerous workshops for Mountain Light Gallery, Visionary Wild, and Sierra Nevada College, and college-level teaching at Pacific Union College in Napa Valley, he has proven himself as a highly engaging and effective photography teacher and workshops leader.

After running his own gallery on California's North Coast for five years, he now resides in the Sonoma County town of Sebastopol, California, focusing on commercial and editorial assignment photography, exhibitions of his work, and sharing his vision and expertise with others. Jerry's work has been featured in many ad campaigns, books, and publications and is represented by Aurora Photos. Editorial and commercial clients include The North Face, Vanity Fair, Sunset, Men's Journal, Outside, Alpinist, Rock & Ice, and Climbing magazines. Expert in Photoshop and digital color management, Jerry is regularly sought out as a color pre-press manager for high-end photo books, and as a fine digital printmaker. He was also recently recruited as a design consultant for the exciting new outdoors-oriented photo pack company MindShift Gear, a spin-off from Think Tank Photo.

Visit Jerry's website

Visit Jerry's blog

Jerry Dodrill portrait: © Grant Ordelheide.

Grant Ordelheide

Grant Ordelheide is a rare breed: a successful full-time professional landscape photographer under thirty, whose aesthetic sensibilities, style, skills, drive, teaching ability, and personality are mature beyond his years. Growing up in the Colorado Rockies, in a family that explored and played in the outdoors at every opportunity, instilled in him a profound reverence for the landscape. Grant’s love of nature and wild places preceded his love of photography, which emerged as a natural extension and by-product of his adventures in the mountains, as an avid backpacker, climber, and snowboarder. Following his passion, Grant earned a Bachelor’s degree in photography with an emphasis in business from Pacific Union College in California’s Napa Valley, studying there under Visionary Wild instructor Jerry Dodrill. In 2016, Grant was a recipient of the Art Wolfe Next Generation Photographer Grant organized by Luminous Landscape. His work has won numerous awards, including one of the top honors in the U.S. Landscape Photographer of the Year contest. His photos have been published in National Geographic Traveler, Backpacker, Outside, Climbing, The New York Times, The Yosemite Journal, and many other print and online publications. Grant’s fine art prints hang in gallery, corporate, and private collections across the country. For several years, Grant has shared his eye, expertise, and contagious passion for photographing the outdoors, teaching photography workshops through Galen Rowell’s Mountain Light Gallery in California, where he had the opportunity to work alongside masters such as Jack Dykinga, Jerry Dodrill, and David Muench among others. Grant currently resides in Denver with his wife Alexis. His work can be seen at


  • Ten days and 226 miles down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, traveling past layer after layer of rock strata from 250 million to 1.84 billion years old
  • Detailed planning to maximize photographic opportunities
  • Generous and thoughtful photographic instruction throughout
  • Carefully planned photography sessions each day at amazing locations along the way
  • Expert boat crew who we know and respect deeply, and who understand our photographic priorities
  • Excellent catering – you'll be amazed what the crew can serve up a week into the trip
  • A truly marvelous group bonding experience
  • The awesome sensation of intimately exploring one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. We use the word “awesome” in its fullest and most correct sense.

Accommodations & Travel


Single-occupancy lodging is included the night before and the night after the raft trip, at the Little America Hotel in Flagstaff, Arizona.  Each night during the expedition on the river, we will offload our personal gear, camp chairs, and group camp equipment from the rafts and make camp on the beach. The boat crew cooks up excellent meals that will leave you more than satisfied. Sleeping kits, including a ground tarp, sleeping pad, sheet, and sleeping bag are provided, as are two drybags for your personal gear (you will need to bring your own drybag for your camera bag). Tents are available for those who request them, but on Grand Canyon raft trips most seem to end up sleeping al fresco with the sound of the river and the canyon breeze to lull us to sleep.

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Fly into Flagstaff, AZ (FLG) If you arrive by air, taxi and hotel shuttle service is available to the Little America Hotel. Other than that, all transportation during the trip is included. Personal vehicles may be parked at the Little America Hotel for the duration of the trip. Ten days on a 32-foot raft traveling 226 miles downriver, with carefully planned landings for photography, and camps on beaches along the river. Hikes into side canyons at landings along the way. These will generally be no more than a mile, mostly much less. For the most part the hiking is easy, though accessing certain spots can involve steep uphill sections, the occasional scramble, and somewhat precarious footing in places. A reasonable level of fitness and ability to hike rugged, undeveloped terrain while carrying your photo gear is required. High temperatures on the river in April average 85ºF, with lows averaging 55ºF in the early morning hours. The river water will be around 52ºF.