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 | $11,995* Closed
Expedition July 13 - 25, 2014 | View other workshops

Iceland with Justin Black and Daniel Beltra

Map via Google

 Join Daniel Beltrá nd Justin Black for this unique photographic experience in the land of fire and ice.

Storybook waterfalls gushing over volcanic formations... Icebergs on black sand beaches... Orange-billed Atlantic puffins perched on sea cliffs... Deep sapphire hues in ancient glacial ice... steaming geothermal rivers flowing through a multi-colored volcanic landscape…

This is Iceland, land of fire and ice. Astride the Mid Atlantic Ridge, this geologically active island is being ripped in two by the opposing movement of the North American and Eurasian Plates, while magma surges through the Earth's fractured crust to fill the void of displaced land. The ice cap and glaciers feed pristine rivers, and over 100 volcanoes and countless geothermal springs dot the landscape.

Renowned photographers Daniel Beltrá and Justin Black will lead this twelve-night photo workshop for ten participants, emphasizing photography in the field at amazing locations selected on our prior Icelandic travels. Our small group will travel in comfort in a specially customized bus with room for everyone to have a window seat, complete with Wi-Fi and numerous power outlets to enable us to edit our images while we're on the road.

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We will make the most of light and weather conditions each day, remaining flexible enough to respond to great opportunities. Accommodations will be at quality hotels, with all meals and beverages included. On the last evening of the trip, we’ll return to Reykjavík, enjoy a final celebratory dinner together and spend the night at the excellent Grand Hotel Reykjavik, located in the city center. Most flights to the U.S. depart the in morning.

The focus of this expedition is photography in the field. Daniel and Justin will provide generous hands-on mentorship, sharing their expertise and professional insights on developing creativity and personal vision, composition, working with various qualities of light and changing weather, working landscape scenarios to best effect, and capturing wildlife behavior. Techniques covered will include working the scene to find optimal perspectives and compositions, stitching for high-resolution and panoramics, merging exposures for tonal-range control, using filters, fill flash, and long-exposure techniques.

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.

Attentive group support during the workshop will be provided by experienced Icelandic guides Ragnar Sigurdsson and Einar Erlendsson.



13. July. Arrival Reykavik and transfer to hotel. Supper. Overnight at Grand Hotel Reykjavik
14. July. Orientation and lectures on composition and technique to get everyone prepared to make the most of our time in the field. City photography mid afternoon. Supper. Overnight at Grand Hotel Reykjavik

Underneath Vatnajokull Glacier

15. - 16. July. Drive to the south-east to stay in the vicinity of the largest glacier in Europe. Sunrises and sunsets at the glacier lagoon, icebergs on the beach, and other glacier locations selected with the light and weather in mind.

In the vicinity of Laki, the largest recorded volcano eruption (1783)

17. July. Move more to the west on the south-east coast. Waterfalls, basaltic formations, lava fields, volcano craters, and more.

Behind the mountains in the south

18. July. Drive to Hrauneyjar highland hotel. 2-3 possible routes depending on weather. Along the coast or Fjallabak south or north, routes behind the mountains on the south coast.

Iceland hidden highland treasure

19. July.  Stationed at Hrauneyjar hidden gems of the Icelandic Highlands will be explored. The highland lakes in the desert, some majestic waterfalls or mossy mountains.

Hveravellir highland geothermal area 

20. July.  Travel via Gullfoss up to Kerlingafjöll and to Hvervellir, a camp by a geothermal area in the middle of the highland of Iceland. Two oases in the biggest desert in Europe.

Breidafjordur & Snæfellsnes peninsula

22.-23. July.  Travel to Snæfellsnes peninsula and spend two nights there. Explore locations at the peninsula like Dritvik, Malarrif, Arnarstapi and Hellnar. Visit beaches and seacliffs with birds.

Icelandic horses, red sand beach on route back to Reykjavik

24. July

Photograph two locations en route to Reykjavik. Last supper in Reykjavik, overnight Reykjavik.

25. July

Fly home.


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


  • Top-notch instruction throughout
  • Icelandic Highlands
  • Dramatic seascapes, black sand beaches, seastacks
  • Waterfalls, among the most stunning and photogenic in the world.
  • Vatnajökull Glacier – the largest in Europe
  • Icebergs and stranded natural ice "sculptures" at Jökulsárlón Bay
  • One of the most dramatic volcanic landscapes on Earth
  • Small group of ten
  • Inclusive of excellent lodging and dining
  • Specially arranged group vehicle: two seats per person, Wi-Fi, power outlets recharging and laptops.
  • First-rate local guides and logistical support
  • Additional vehicle for logistical support (for running errands, scouting, any emergencies, etc.), to maximize your time for photography in the field.

Accommodations & Travel

Single-occupancy hotel rooms, ranging from upscale accommodations at Grand Hotel Reykjavik, to comfortable 3-star minimum guesthouse accommodations (best available) in more remote areas.

airplane iconcar iconfoot iconweather icon
Fly into Keflavik Airport, Reykjavík. Ground transportation is provided from arrival to departure. Hiking will be fairly easy, and no longer than three miles round-trip. Icelandic weather in July is cool and variable with a fairly even mix of sun, rain, and overcast. Typically, temperatures range between 65ºF high and 40ºF low.