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 | $14,995* Closed
Expedition September 5 - 12, 2011 | View other workshops

Great Bear Rainforest with Jack Dykinga, Daniel Beltra and Justin Black

Map via Google

Visionary Wild is kicking off our program of world-class photography workshops and expeditions with a unique opportunity in British Columbia’s remote and pristine Great Bear Rainforest, based out of the world-class King Pacific Lodge, September 5-12, 2011. This expedition is led by photographers Jack Dykinga and Daniel Beltrá, both of whom became intimately familiar with this threatened coastal ecosystem in September 2010, during a Rapid Assessment Visual Expedition (RAVE) organized by the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP). Justin Black of Visionary Wild will manage workshop operations and serve as assistant instructor.

There are few places on Earth where pristine temperate rain forest merges with a healthy and thriving marine ecosystem. Jack Dykinga characterizes the place beautifully:

The Great Bear Rainforest is pure enchantment. It's a place for the best chance of encounter with the legendary and extremely rare Kermode or "Spirit" bear. Like a ghost, the presence of the white bear deepens the sense of true wilderness. Breaching humpback whales, dense temperate rain-forested islands, and endangered Steller’s sea-lions are just some of the photographic opportunities to excite the senses. This is a rare opportunity to ‘feel' this magical place.

Expert Gitga’at First Nation wildlife guides will lead our small group in search of the white spirit bears. The Kermode bear (Ursus americanus kermodei) is a subspecies of the black bear with a double-recessive gene that causes about ten percent to be born with white fur, though they are not albino. The white spirit bears number between 200 and 400, making them the rarest bear in the world. Despite the bears' scarcity, by September each year the local guides have learned the movement and feeding habits of individual bears and know where to find them. We’ll be there during the peak of the great Pacific Northwest salmon run, so the bears will be in the streams and on the beaches, while whales feed in the channels.

Boat excursions each day will take us to nearby landings to photograph spirit bears and the lush landscape under the green canopy of the rain forest itself. We will also make excursions to photograph orcas, Steller’s sea lions, and humpback whales bubble-netting and breaching out of the water, often close enough to the lodge to photograph them from the deck. Wolves, grizzlies, and bald eagles hunting the migrating salmon may also present themselves to us along the way.

We are very fortunate that Jack and Daniel got to know the Great Bear at exactly the same time last year and that they were both available to lead this trip. In addition to being recognized as two of the finest photographers working today, Jack and Daniel are both deeply insightful and inspiring mentors and are about as engaging and gregarious as they come. Without a doubt, there will be fun and laughter to be had by all on this trip.

The G2 Gallery of Venice, California, has graciously offered to host a juried exhibit of participant photographs created during this workshop. This opportunity to show your work at a prestigious Los Angeles photography gallery will help to raise awareness of a special place that few know anything about, at a critical time when it faces challenges to its existence.

Included in the package are the photography workshop with Jack and Daniel (limited to ten participants), expert wildlife guiding, daily boat services for field sessions, all meals, all beverages (including the adult variety), the two round-trip flights necessary to reach the lodge from our initial meeting at the airport in Vancouver, Canada (including the final leg in a float plane), and the opportunity to participate in the follow-up exhibition at the G2 Gallery. The cost is $14,995 per person (based on double occupancy; single supplement is an additional $2,700) for the seven-night stay, including taxes.

There is a helicopter available at King Pacific Lodge as well, in the event that guests wish to charter flights. The helo will comfortably carry up to three photographers at a time with window seats. It is available for aerial photography or to make outings to remote ridge tops overlooking the mountainous rainforest and waterways. Due to limited capacity, the helo is one of the very few King Pacific Lodge amenities not included in the package.

As the date for this trip is approaching, please contact us soon via the online enrollment form (link above) whether you are ready to enroll, wish to express interest, or need more information. We already have several participants enrolled, and we expect to fill the remaining spaces quickly. Payment in full confirms your reservation and is due no later than July 4, 2011. Please do not hesitate to contact us at or (+1)202-558-9596 with any questions you may have.

Payment may be made by check in $USD may be sent to:

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

Upon enrollment, participants will receive a confirmation letter, followed shortly thereafter by a package containing a detailed itinerary, gear and packing recommendations, resources to help prepare for the workshop, and travel information.

We hope you can join us in the Great Bear Rainforest!

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

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

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



  • Spirit bears, black bears, grizzlies, gray wolves, river otters, and bald eagles
  • Orcas, humpback whales, and Steller's sea lions
  • Pristine coastal rainforest landscape
  • Expert local wildlife guides and boat crews
  • World-class luxury wilderness lodge "basecamp"
  • Small group with a low instructor-to-participant ratio
  • The G2 Gallery in Venice, California, will host a juried exhibition exclusively of participant photographs from this expedition

Accommodations & Travel

King Pacific Lodge – our basecamp – is a 17-room floating luxury wilderness lodge located in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, anchored off Princess Royal Island about 380 km north of Vancouver. The accommodations, cuisine, views, and quality of service at King Pacific Lodge are world-class, and its location is extraordinary. In 2010, it was recognized as North America's Leading Green Hotel at the World Travel Awards in London, and has been voted the No. 1 resort in Canada in the Condé Nast Readers' Choice Awards for the last three years.

airplane iconboat iconfoot iconweather icon
Flights from Vancouver, BC, to KPL via Bella Bella, BC, are included. We will be met at 7:00am on September 5th at the Fairmont Hotel at Vancouver Airport by KPL staff. We arrive at the lodge onboard a seaplane. We will arrive back in Vancouver around 2:15pm on the 12th. We will make daily excursions by boat to photograph marine life and to field locations in the rainforest. Expect several hikes of up to one mile, uneven terrain, shallow stream crossings, and wading along the shoreline. Weather in the Great Bear Rainforest is highly changeable. It's a rainforest, so rain is to be expected, but it's a big mix of sun, overcast, and rain.


The Great Bear Rainforest is an incredibly rich and diverse environment for photography of both the wildlife and landscape, so our emphasis will be on making the most of available time in the field. Some of our field trips will be all-day excursions that involve round-trip hikes of up to two miles in rugged terrain and rainforest weather (we don't expect rain all the time at this time of year – we're likely to have a mix of sun and overcast – but it will rain), and participants must be prepared for these realities. Excursions to photograph marine wildlife will be aboard King Pacific Lodge boats. All excursions will be guided by expert naturalists.

This experience is best suited to passionate photographers who feel comfortable with the fundamentals of digital photography and who are generally familiar with the workings of their equipment. We will gather in the evenings for three group image critique sessions over the course of the week, and Jack and Daniel will make presentations to fuel your creativity and growth as a photographer. This expedition is perfect for photographers seeking to learn how to photograph with purpose. Please feel free to contact us with any questions about recommended experience level, fitness, recommended equipment, or anything else that you are curious about.


Participant Exhibit at The G2 Gallery

At present there are few formal protections in place to ensure that the Great Bear Rainforest endures in the years to come. Timber and mining companies have great interest in the area, but the most prominent threat along this coast stems from a proposed pipeline that would bring oil from the Alberta Tar Sands, over 1,000 miles to the east, to a steady stream of supertankers that would ply the narrow channels of the Inside Passage. A single spill from these massive tankers, which carry thirty times the load of the Exxon Valdez, would devastate the coastal ecosystem that sustains the Great Bear and its inhabitants, including the people of the Gitga'at First Nation.

It is clear that rational, democratic decisions about the future of the Great Bear should be informed by awareness of this place and how extraordinary it and its inhabitants are. To that end, the G2 Gallery in Venice, California, has offered to host a juried show of photographs created by the participants of this workshop. Participation is optional, but those who do wish to participate will go to the Great Bear with the knowledge that they are photographing with a purpose in mind and a ready-made outlet for their work.