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 18 spaces | $* Closed
Expedition March 7 - 18, 2018 | View other workshops

Hawaii with Justin Black, G. Brad Lewis and M. Westmorland

Map via Google

It's time to experience a different Hawaii, Visionary Wild-style. Join us for this all-inclusive, exclusive-charter photographic expedition from Hawai'i to Moloka'i

We're told to visit Hawaii to sip on cocktails along Waikiki Beach. We're told it's a honeymoon and beach vacation destination. But the Hawaiian archipelago remains one of the world's most beautiful natural landscapes, featuring wild, spectacular, and little-visited locations for photography, including many that are best accessed from the water. Escape the crowds and let us guide you on an 11-night itinerary, including seven nights aboard our rather luxurious charter vessel, visiting locations that will amaze the most avid photographer.

A first-class team of three instructors will lead this expedition: G. Brad Lewis, Michele Westmorland, and Justin Black. A photography trip around Hawaii would not be complete without Brad, who we all know as The Volcano Man. The ever-changing landscape and unpredictable conditions mesmerized Brad from his first visit decades ago, and he continues to return, traveling both new and familiar routes, documenting the birth of new land and the transformation of the landscape, and strengthening his connection to this geological and ecological wonder. Michele has led an impressive career as a professional nature and cultural conservation photographer and filmmaker, building upon a diverse skill set. She is comfortable tackling a wide range of subject matter in her work, but she is best known for her photographs of underwater wildlife and native cultures. Michele is the consummate teacher in underwater photography, the one you want along as you snorkel along the Hawaiian coast. Justin is a landscape photography specialist with decades of experience helping passionate photographers make the most of unique opportunities like this one to take their work to the next level. All three are kind, compassionate, conscientious, and engaging people, whose goal is to create the best possible overall experience for everyone on this expedition.

We start on Hawai'i Island, also known as the Big Island. Private transportation will take us around the northern half of the island to Hilo, where we spend one night, before traveling around the southern half of the Big Island back to Kona. These first three nights of the expedition will include photography on location at a lava lake, waterfalls, forest, and more, taking advantage of the best opportunities presented by the light and weather conditions during a stunning overland journey.

Then, we embark on the Safari Explorer: our exclusive charter vessel. Up to 15 cabins are available to our guests to host a maximum of 18 participants (up to two per cabin), though the Safari Explorer normally accommodates 36 guests. The group size is thus limited to maximize the overall experience, helping to ensure that our photographic locations and the ship are uncrowded, that participants are all able to receive attentive photography instruction with opportunities to work one-on-one with all three leaders, and to generally enhance the efficiency of our operations during the trip. With at least 14 ship's crew members aboard, the staff-to-passenger ratio will be about 1:1. Safari explorer is a highly capable expedition vessel and a superb platform for serious photography, but comfort doesn't take a back seat. Her stylish staterooms have heated tile floors in bathroom, air conditioning, Tempur-Pedic® memory foam mattresses, flat-screen TV/DVD, iPod docking station, large view windows (no portholes!), and private en suite bath with shower. The ship carries two Zodiac boats that normally accommodate up to 19 people each, so our excursions on the water will be uncrowded, with plenty of room to maneuver camera gear.

While aboard the Safari Explorer for our 7-night cruise, we will encounter more of the sealife and landscapes that make Hawaii the centerpiece of the Pacific Ocean. From snorkeling with manta rays to cruising beneath some of the tallest sea cliffs in the world, each day will be an adventure, holding in store plenty of opportunities for photography. The timing of this trip coincides with the return to Hawaiian waters of humpback whales in abundance. Between December and May, they calve and nurse their young before migrating to the waters off Alaska. After exploring West Maui, Olowalu, and Lana'i, we disembark on the island of Moloka'i. We spend one last night together here before an early morning flight to Honolulu, Oahu, where there are midday flights departing for the U.S. mainland and other destinations so that everyone can easily arrange their own flights back home.

In the words of Michele, "Swimming with dolphins is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have when doing underwater photography. Combine that with traveling around Hawaii by ship with Brad and Justin... this trip is a slam-dunk." We hope you will join us to see the more undiscovered parts of Hawaii as we island hop to its most pristine and breathtaking views!




March 7-18, 2018
March 7 – Arrive on Hawai'i Island: Arrive at Kona International Airport (KOA) on Hawai'i Island, the Big Island. After a warm Aloha greeting, you'll be transferred to your hotel to relax after your day of travel. We will meet in the evening for an orientation session and festive group dinner. Overnight at Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel (D)
March 8 – Kohala-Hamakua-Hilo: After a buffet breakfast on an open-air seating with views of Hapuna Beach, travel from the leeward side of the island to the lush, windward side of the rugged Kohala and Hamakua coasts. There will be stops along the way for photo ops of glittering waterfalls and greenery—palm forests, giant hapu‘u ferns, and red-blossomed ohi‘a lehua. This coast has a rich history—ancient Hawaiian battles, Kamehameha the Great’s homeland, a legendary hula festival. Arrive at Hilo on the east side of the Big Island. Overnight at the Grand Naniloa Hotel (B,L,D)
March 9 – Kona: Finish your circumnavigation around the south end of the island into the volcano zone. Watch for distinctive signs of past flows—chunky a‘a and rope-like pahoehoe. And keep an eye out for the steam plume where the volcano is actively erupting into the ocean. Along the way, we'll see an abundance of wildlife, and hope to encounter sea turtles trekking through the black sand beaches where they often build their nests. A land of contrasts, drive close to the southern-most point of the island, and of the 50 states. Return to Kona for dinner and rest. Overnight at the Hapuna Prince Hotel (B,L,D)
March 10 – Safari Explorer Embarkation: Gather with the group for transfer to Kawaihae Harbor where the Safari Explorer waits dockside. Meet your captain and crew, then set sail before dropping anchor for the evening. Overnight on the Safari Explorer (B,L,D)
March 11 – Kailua-Kona: Skiff to Kealakekua Bay, where Captain Cook was slain in 1779, for some of the island’s best snorkeling. On a guided exploration by kayak and skiff, your expedition team shares their knowledge about the marine life and history of the bay. Overnight on the Safari Explorer (B,L,D)
March 12-14 – Honomalino Bay-West Maui-Olowalu: The search is on in an area favored by marine mammals: Honomalino Bay. Fringed by coconut palms, Honomalino Bay offers opportunities for snorkeling, paddle boarding, and kayaking. The bay reveals a diversity of colorful corals, sponges, and tropical fishes. We will anchor offshore on at least one of these evenings to search for and night snorkel with Giant Pacific Manta rays. The Humpback National Marine Sanctuary—located between Lana‘i, Moloka‘i, and Maui—provides front-row seats as you search for dolphins, whales, and other marine life. Overnight on the Safari Explorer (B,L,D)
March 15-16 – Lana'i-Moloka'i: Thousand foot sea cliffs line the shore of Lana'i. Ancient volcanic plugs sit both above and below the water hosting a diversity of marine life. Snorkel, paddle board, kayak, and explore by skiff. Choose a long or short hike to Sweetheart Rock, a sea stack jutting 80 feet above the surf, and discover the legend of the princess Puu Pehe. Learn about the islands plantation days with a visit to the quaint Lana‘i Culture and Heritage Center. A visit to Moloka'i is the best way to see Hawaii by vessel. Its eastern cliffs are the highest in the world and we think this site will leave your breathless. On land, a warm Aloha spirit gives you a sense of Hawaii long ago. No stop lights, no high-rises, just a welcome slower pace. Take in cultural lessons in taro patches and poi making, or hike to a towering waterfall in Halawa’s cathedral valley—one of the island’s most historic places. At the Moloka‘i Museum, discover the history of this ancient land as you enjoy an evening pa‘ina (feast), complete with a home-style Hawaiian jam session. Overnight on the Safari Explorer (B,L,D)
March 17 – Disembarkation on Moloka'i Island: Gather for breakfast before the Safari Explorer docks on Moloka‘i. Overnight at the Hotel Moloka‘i. (B,L,D)
March 18 – Fly to Honolulu: Early morning transfer to the Moloka‘i Airport (MKK) for the 8:00am group flight back to Honolulu, Oahu where you say your farewells at the Honolulu Airport (HNL). (B)

Prices provided below are for the all-inclusive package, based on cabin class and either single or double occupancy. Cabin class and occupancy type may be selected via our online registration form, or contact us directly and we will assist you with registration. A 25% deposit is required upon registration, with another 25% installment due September 7, 2017, and the remaining 50% balance due by December 7, 2017.


  • Commodore Suite (two cabins on Bridge Deck - ONLY ONE REMAINING):  $ 24,925.00 per person double-occupancy; $ 36,925.00 single-occupancy

Separate sitting area; king or twin beds; view window and a sliding glass door opening to a small balcony; private bath with Jacuzzi tub and shower

  • Admiral (three cabins on Cabin Deck and Main Deck): $21,925.00 per person double-occupancy; $28,925.00 single-occupancy

King or twin beds; windowed door or view windows; private bath with Jacuzzi tub and shower

  • Captain (one cabin on Cabin Deck): $17,925.00 per person double-occupancy; $24,925.00 single-occupancy

King or twin beds; view window and windowed door; private bath with Jacuzzi tub and shower

  • Commander (two cabins on Cabin Deck - ONLY ONE REMAINING): $14,925.00 per person double-occupancy; $21,925 single-occupancy

King or twin beds; view window and windowed door; private bath with shower

  • Master (five cabins on Cabin Deck - ONLY TWO REMAINING): $12,925.00 per person double-occupancy; $19,925.00 single-occupancy

Queen or twin beds; view window and windowed door; private bath with shower

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


G. Brad Lewis

Visual reminders that the Earth is alive, fulfilling an agenda of its own, are crucial for understanding our place in nature. Capturing the essence of terrestrial creation, beauty, and raw power—and generating positive inspiration from it—has been my life's mission.

G. Brad Lewis is internationally recognized as a leading volcano and nature photographer. An intense life-long curiosity has led him into a lifestyle of never-ending exploration of the natural world. He has been sought out as a volcano guide by other top professional photographers, who value his expertise and depth of knowledge. Though Brad rarely makes himself available as a photo tour leader or workshop instructor, his approachable, engaging, and conscientious personality have helped earn him an excellent reputation as a teacher.

His award-winning photos have appeared on the covers of Life, National Geographic, Natural History, Geo, etc., and within the pages of Time, Outside, Fortune, Newsweek, Stem, and many other publications. He has been featured on NBC's Today Show and CBS's Evening News, as well as Disney and Discovery channels; photo essays of his work and interviews have been featured in Photo District News, DigitalFoto, Studio Photography & Design and Outdoor Photographer. His photographs are found in numerous private, corporate, and public collections around the world, as well as in fine galleries and major stock agencies.

Inspired by beauty and variety, Brad is based out of Hawaii, Utah, and Alaska, traveling several months each year to pursue his art. Among his primary subjects is Kilauea Volcano on the island of Hawaii. "Nowhere else on Earth is creation happening on a continual basis at such a rapid rate."

M. Westmorland

Michele Westmorland is an internationally-renowned photographer, speaker, and filmmaker specializing in telling the stories of indigenous cultures and the natural history of marine life. Westmorland Images, LLC represents her vast library of imagery from around the world.

First recognized for her talents in capturing beautiful images of the ocean environment, she is passionate about conservation. She is proud to be a Founding Fellow of International League of Conservation Photographers and to have received the award for Fellow of the Year in 2016. In 2011, she was the keynote address speaker at the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) conference and she was inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame.

Michele is an adept visual storyteller, whether covering exotic travel destinations or the wonders of the natural world. Papua New Guinea has been a primary focus of her work, taking her to the remote island thirty-one times since her first visit in 1991. In 2016 she received an National Endowment for the Arts grant in support of her film, Headhunt Revisited, which documents the travels of an American woman artist in the 1920s to the remote islands of Melanesia. To see more on this project, visit

Michele presents regular lectures on world cultures and the marine environment, and has extensive experience as a photography workshop instructor and photo travel leader. She has been honored as a National Fellow of the prestigious Explorers Club and NANPA, as well as a member of the Society of Woman Geographers and Wings WorldQuest.

Her photographs have appeared regularly in National Geographic Adventure & Traveler, Nature’s Best, Smithsonian and Outside magazines. Michele has won several awards for her imagery including, Grand Prize in the Papua New Guinea Underwater category, the Environmental Photography Invitational, Photo District News, and many others. She is proud to have been included in the book Adventurous Dreams-Adventurous Lives by Jason Schoonover. Her book Ocean Duets, focusing on the beauty of the underwater world, was published in 2006. Michele’s passion project is a documentary film titled Headhunt Revisited, which documents the travels of an American woman artist in the 1920s to the remote islands of Melanesia. To see more on this project, visit

Michele's website: WESTMORLAND IMAGES


A unique experience: Travel in-style with three of the world's preeminent nature photographers around the islands of the Hawaiian volcanic archipelago
  • Pre-cruise hotel accommodations: two nights in Kona, one night in Hilo
  • Explore Hawai‘i from the water's edge, with access to remote waterfalls, rugged cliffs, rainforest, volcanoes, lava lake
  • Luxury accommodations on our 7-night Hawaiian photography expedition cruise aboard the Safari Explorer
  • Snorkel with dolphins and giant Pacific manta rays among coral gardens and at a sea turtle habitat
  • Search out the inhabitants of the Humpback National Marine Sanctuary during the peak of Humpback Whale calving season
  • Evening pa‘ina (feast) and Hawaiian jam session with Moloka‘i locals
  • Visit Moloka‘i’s ancient Halawa Valley
  • Discover island history at the Lana‘i Culture and Heritage Center
  • Unparalleled snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, and skiff exploration available aboard Safari Explorer

Accommodations & Travel


The Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel is a resort located on the island of Hawai'i's famed Kohala Coast. It is 30 minutes from the Kona International Airport (KOA). The Grand Naniloa Hotel in Hilo on the island of Hawai'i overlooks the Hilo Bay. This DoubleTree hotel is beautifully designed and is a member of Historic Hotels of America. Hotel Molokai on Moloka'i Island will be the perfect accommodation for our last evening together, located along the quiet shores of the island.

airplane iconcar iconboat iconfoot iconweather icon
Arrive at Kona International Airport (KOA) by mid afternoon on March 7. On March 18 at the end of our journey, we have included one flight, from Moloka‘i Airport (MKK) back to Honolulu (HNL). Airport pickup and all ground transfers included as per itinerary. Cruise the Hawaiian Islands from the Big Island to Moloka'i for eight days / seven nights, aboard the luxury adventure vessel, Safari Explorer, with landings by Zodiac boat at stunning coastal locations. Expect short walks on easy to moderate terrain. Temperatures should range from the high 60s to low 80s Fahrenheit. Weather should generally be fine, with chance of rain showers from time to time.