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!


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Expedition November 16 - December 2, 2018 | View other workshops

South Georgia & Falklands with Frans Lanting, Tom Mangelsen, Art Wolfe and Justin Black

Map via Google


This expedition is sold out. However, spaces do become available from time to time. If you would like to be notified if a space does become available, please join the waitlist.

Join us for this all-inclusive, exclusive-charter expedition to the crown jewel of the sub-Antarctic

Designed for photographers by photographers, this expedition to the Falklands and South Georgia Island will be led by Frans Lanting, Tom Mangelsen, Art Wolfe, and Justin Black. We will take you to the places we love and will allow us to make the most of the southern ocean's greatest wildlife spectacle, based on our collective experience.

Exclusive charter of Polar Pioneer – a 235-foot expedition ship with accommodation limited to forty-six guests in simple but comfortable cabins – facilitates our goals for this trip. We have chosen to do this voyage on this ship because it offers a degree of intimacy that makes for superior interactions and experience for everyone, both aboard and on shore. If you wish to travel with the best photographers to the best places and are willing to sacrifice a little luxury in favor of a world-class photographic adventure, there is no better trip, and this one may never be repeated.

Our expedition begins in Santiago, Chile, with an introductory reception dinner at one of the capital's best restaurants. After a restful night at Hotel Atton–El Bosque, we fly the next morning to the Falkland Islands, where our ship awaits. Once at sea, the decks of the Polar Pioneer provide a great vantage point for sightings of Commerson's dolphins, imperial cormorants, and more. On our first full day of the trip, we plan to kick off our photography with an excursion to one of the largest breeding colonies of black-browed albatrosses in the world, numbering around 200,000 pairs, on Steeple Jason Island. At nearby Saunders Island, colonies of rockhopper, king, and gentoo penguins await us as well. As always, weather, wind, and sea conditions will dictate our exact landing site.

We then move on to South Georgia. Along the way, we hope to see dolphins ride the ship's bow wave, and whale sightings are common. This rugged island of towering mountains covered in immense glaciers hosts extraordinary gatherings of penguins and pelagic birds – including wandering, grey-headed, light-mantled sooty, black-browed, and royal albatrosses – as well as southern elephant seals and Antarctic fur seals. In spring, currents of krill sweep up from the Weddell Sea, providing food for one of the planet’s greatest wildlife concentrations. In addition to the vast colony of 200,000 king penguins at Salisbury Plain, we will visit a colony of yellow-crested macaroni penguins at Hercules Bay, the historic whaling base of Grytviken, and more, photographing sublime landscapes too along the way.

The Land of the Kings - Print - 6193

We’ve chosen to let go of Antarctica itself on this trip, in favor of focusing our time on the best concentrations of wildlife in the entire sub-Antarctic region. The timing of our trip during southern spring means South Georgia looks its best: the newly returned penguin colonies are clean, and fresh snow still blankets the mountains looming just inland of the coast.

Learn as we travel, with instruction throughout by Frans, Tom, and Art. This is a rare opportunity to spend time with these masters, both in the field and onboard. Visionary Wild founder Justin Black will serve as assistant instructor, and Christine Eckstrom and Sue Cedarholm will be on hand for technical support. We have recruited Denise Landau, a first-rate expert on South Georgia Island and governor of the American Polar Society, to act as the ship’s expedition leader. Additional expedition staff will provide natural history interpretation and guide services.


Polar Pioneer: Our exclusive charter vessel provides an excellent platform for this voyage, in part due to her strength, nimble maneuverability, and ability to navigate waters that can be impassable to larger ships. Those who appreciate small-group travel will enjoy the passenger limit of forty-six guests. Every other commercial expedition vessel operating in these waters carries over one hundred passengers, resulting in a far less intimate experience. With our relatively small group and large photo leader team, everyone will have excellent access to leaders and expedition staff, landing operations are more efficient, and we'll be able to get to know one another much better.

Built in Finland as a polar and oceanographic research ship (Ice Rating 1A), Polar Pioneer has been transformed into a highly effective expedition vessel offering an excellent balance of capability, functionality, and comfort. She offers simple-yet-comfortable, clean, well-maintained cabins that offer plenty of room for you and your gear, as well as pleasant public spaces for presentations by trip leaders, informal gatherings, and group meals. Superb expedition support includes a large fleet of zodiacs (seven plus a spare), highly experienced expedition staff, and the top-notch crew, who welcome guests on the ship's spacious bridge. Outside areas on the ship provide excellent platforms at various levels for photographing marine fauna, icebergs, and the seascape.

We have coordinated with Polar Pioneer's new kitchen staff, headed by two talented chefs, to develop a menu offering meals that are tasty, wholesome, and satisfying, with emphasis on fresh ingredients and healthy options. We are assembling an excellent wine list for the trip as well!

PRICING and ITINERARY – Click "read more" at below right:

See below for Highlights, Travel arrangements, and Inclusions/Exclusions.


This is representative of what we plan to undertake on this trip, though it is subject to change to enable us to take advantage of special opportunities, or respond to weather and other unforeseeable circumstances. Due to the variability of weather and other seasonal conditions, we cannot guarantee any particular landings or locations. We can guarantee that we will do our best to make the most of the opportunities available to us, and deliver a first-rate experience.

Nov 16 – Dec 2, 2018
Day 1 – Nov 16  - Participants will be met at Santiago Airport (SCL) and to be transferred to Hotel Atton – El Bosque, a modern accommodation in Santiago's safe and charming Providencia district. There you will meet group leaders Frans Lanting, Tom Mangelsen, Art Wolfe, and Justin Black, as well as the rest of the team, for an introductory orientation program in the late afternoon, followed by a festive group dinner at one of Santiago's finest restaurants. Overnight at Hotel Atton (D)
Day 2 – Nov 17  - Early in the morning, our group will transfer via comfortable chauffeured charter buses to the airport in Santiago (SCL) for the flight to Mount Pleasant Airport (MPN) in the Falklands, followed by short ground transfer to Port Stanley to embark on Polar Pioneer. We will be welcomed aboard by the ship's expedition staff, the Captain, and crew, and settle into quarters before setting out for the remote and wild northwest corner of the Falklands.  Aboard Polar Pioneer (B,L,D)
Day 3 – Nov 18 -  Falkland Islands: We wake up in the vicinity of Steeple Jason and Saunders Islands in the remote northwest of the Falklands, to make our first landings to photograph gentoo and rockhopper penguins, as well as the world's largest colony of black-browed albatrosses. Aboard Polar Pioneer (B,L,D)
Days 4-6 – Nov 19-21 - At sea: In transit to South Georgia Island. This is our opportunity to prepare for the exciting opportunities that await us at South Georgia, and get to know one another better. Frans, Tom, and Art will deliver presentations intended to inspire and help you take your photography to new levels. We will also conduct photographic critiques of existing participant work. Aboard Polar Pioneer (B,L,D)

Days 7-12 – Nov 22-27 - South Georgia Island Aboard Polar Pioneer (B,L,D)

  • Nov 22 - Landing at Elsehul, a small bay noted for its grey-headed and light-mantled sooty albatrosses, plus a visit to Right Whale Bay.  
  • Nov 23 - Bay of Isles and Salisbury Plain for king penguins, and Prion Island for wandering albatrosses. If it's clear, we'll have a full moon.  
  • Nov 24 - Landing at Hercules Bay for macaroni penguins, plus Stromness or Fortuna Bay.  
  • Nov 25 - Historic Grytviken and Godthul.  
  • Nov 26 - St. Andrews Bay plus  Gold Harbour king penguin colonies. 
  • Nov 27 - Cooper Bay plus Drygalski Fjord.  

Days 13-15 – Nov 28-30 - At sea returning to Port Stanley. Our transit back to the Falklands will be used well. In addition to providing valuable time to talk photography and review the images we've made during our week at South Georgia, Frans, Tom, Art, and the expedition staff will offer inspiring, informative, and entertaining presentations and offer critique of participant work.  Aboard Polar Pioneer (B,L,D)

Day 16 – Dec 1 - Return to Santiago – Disembark at Stanley in the morning, and transfer to Mount Pleasant Airport for our afternoon flight back to Santiago, arriving around 10pm. Group transfer via comfortable chauffeured buses to Hotel Atton for the night. (B,L,D)

Day 17 – Dec 2 (Departure Day, Santiago) – After breakfast, transfer to airport at your convenience, and catch your flight home. (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. A 25% deposit is required upon registration, with an additional 25% due as of August 30, 2017, and the remaining 50% balance due August 1st, 2018

Note: Traveling alone? Feel free to book at the lower double-occupancy rates, so long as you are content to be paired with another guest of the same gender.

Twenty-three cabins are available to guests on our expedition vessel, to host a maximum of 46 guests (up to two per cabin). All are "outside" cabins with windows or portholes for views and additional light. The Captain's Suite, two Mini-Suites, and twelve Twin Private cabins on Decks 4 & 5 all have private en-suite showers and toilets. The remaining eight Twin Shared cabins on Deck 3 have in-room washbasins, but share a several nearby restrooms and showers (Twin Shared are offered at a value rate). All cabins are cleaned daily.


Captain's Suite (Sold Out- 1 cabin ):  $22,000 per person double-occupancy; $41,000 single-occupancy

Double bed in separate room, plus foldout couch that can be used as a single bed, forward and port windows, lounge and table area, fridge, TV, video player, and private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin.

SIZE: Living Room/Bedroom – 14.75 x 16.4 ft = 241 sq ft.; Bathroom – 3.9 x 5.25 ft = 20.5 sq ft.

Mini Suite (Sold Out - 2 cabins): $20,500 per person double-occupancy; $38,000 single-occupancy

Double bed in a separate room, foldout couch that can be used as a single bed, TV, video player, windows, desk, table area, fridge, and private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin.

SIZE: Living Room/Bedroom/Bathroom – 14.85ft x 12.15ft = 180.4 sq ft; Bathroom – 3.9 x 5.25 ft. = 20.5 sq ft.

Twin Private  (Sold out 12 cabins): $18,500 per person double-occupancy; $33,500 single-occupancy

Two lower bunks, a desk, windows and private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. (Note: #402 and #403 have one upper bunk, one lower bunk, and a couch).

SIZE: Bedroom/Bathroom – about 115 sq ft.; Bathroom – about 20.5 sq. ft. (varies slightly from cabin to cabin)

Twin Shared (Sold Out - 8 cabins): $14,500 per person double-occupancy; $26,500 single-occupancy

Two lower bunks, a desk, small washbasin, ample storage and hanging space, a couch and a porthole. Showers and toilets are very close by and are shared with other Main Deck cabins.

SIZE: Total Cabin: 13 x 8 ft = 104 sq ft.

Frans Lanting

FRANS LANTING has been hailed as one of the great nature photographers of our time.  His influential work appears in books, magazines, and exhibitions around the world.  Born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, he earned a master’s degree in economics then moved to the United States to study environmental planning.  Soon after, he began photographing the natural world—and never turned back.

For three decades he has documented wildlife from the Amazon to Antarctica to promote understanding about the Earth and its natural history through images that convey a passion for nature and a sense of wonder about our living planet.

“Frans Lanting has set the standards for a whole generation of wildlife photographers,’’ according to the BBC.  “Mr. Lanting’s photographs take creatures that have become ordinary and transform them into haunting new visions,” writes field biologist Dr. George Schaller in The New York Times.  “As a chronicler of natural history today, Frans Lanting is a singular, extraordinary talent,” says Thomas Kennedy, former Director of Photography at National Geographic.  “He has the mind of a scientist, the heart of a hunter, and the eyes of a poet.”

Lanting’s work is commissioned frequently by National Geographic, where he served as a Photographer-in-Residence.  His assignments have ranged from a first look at the fabled bonobos of the Congo to a unique circumnavigation by sailboat of South Georgia Island in the subantarctic.  In a remote part of the upper Amazon Basin, he spent weeks on platform towers to obtain rare tree-canopy views of wild macaws.  He has lived for months with seabirds on isolated atolls in the Pacific Ocean, followed lions through the African night, and camped among giant tortoises inside a volcano in the Galápagos.

Lanting did pioneering work in Madagascar, where he documented wildlife and tribal traditions never photographed before.  His celebrated coverage of the Okavango Delta in National Geographic has been credited with inspiring a surge of international interest in wildlife and conservation in Botswana.  His photo essays about rainforest ecology in Borneo, emperor penguins in Antarctica, and the troubled fate of puffins in the North Atlantic, have been featured in publications around the world.  Images from his year-long odyssey to assess global biodiversity at the turn of the millennium filled an issue of National Geographic. 

Lanting’s work also includes profiles of ecological hot spots from India to New Zealand, as well as features on the majesty and plight of albatrosses, and a remarkable study of chimpanzees in Senegal that is shedding new light on human evolution.

In 2006, Lanting launched The LIFE Project, a lyrical interpretation of the history of life on Earth from the Big Bang to the present, as a book, an exhibition, an interactive website (, and a multimedia orchestral performance with music by Philip Glass.  The symphonic version of LIFE premiered in Santa Cruz, California, in 2006 and has been touring North America and Europe ever since.  ORIGINS, a new multimedia production based on LIFE, was performed in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2008, at the official ceremony to inaugurate CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, the largest machine ever built to study the origins of the universe.  LIFE was performed at the Lincoln Center in New York in 2009 to launch the World Science Festival and to honor the distinguished biologist Dr. E. O. Wilson, and in 2012 Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands attended a performance at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam during a gala event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the World Wildlife Fund. 

Lanting’s books have received awards and acclaim: “No one turns animals into art more completely than Frans Lanting,” writes The New Yorker.  His books include Life:  A Journey Through Time (2006), Jungles (2000), Penguin (1999), Living Planet (1999), Eye to Eye (1997), Bonobo (1997), Okavango: Africa’s Last Eden (1993, 2013), Forgotten Edens (1993), Madagascar, A World Out of Time (1990), Islands of the West (1986), and Feathers (1982).  In 2000, his book Eye to Eye was named by National Public Radio-KQED as one of the 50 most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century.

Lanting has received many honors and awards for his work.  In 2001 H.R.H. Prince Bernhard inducted him as a Knight in the Royal Order of the Golden Ark, the Netherlands’ highest conservation honor.  He has received top honors from World Press Photo, the title of BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year, and the Sierra Club’s Ansel Adams Award.  Lanting has been honored as a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in London and is a recipient of Sweden’s Lennart Nilsson Award.  In 2012 he was appointed as an Ambassador for the World Wildlife Fund Netherlands.

Lanting’s mission is to use photography to help create leverage for conservation efforts ranging from local initiatives to global campaigns, through his publications, alliances, public appearances, and active support of environmental organizations.  He serves on the National Council of the World Wildlife Fund, on the Chairman’s Council of Conservation International, and on the International Board of WildAid.  Lanting is a Trustee of the Foundation Board of the University of California Santa Cruz, and is an honorary Director of the Friends of Long Marine Lab.  He is a columnist for Outdoor Photographer, a co-founder of the North American Nature Photographers Association (NANPA), and a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP).

Frans Lanting makes his home in Santa Cruz, California, with his wife and partner, Chris Eckstrom, an editor, videographer, and former staff writer at National Geographic with whom he collaborates on fieldwork and publishing projects.

Tom Mangelsen

A Nebraska native, Thomas D. Mangelsen is recognized as one of the world’s premier nature photographers. Mangelsen’s love of nature, his life in the outdoors and business success were heavily influenced by his father. An avid sportsman, Harold Mangelsen took his sons to favorite blinds along the Platte River in Nebraska to observe the huge flocks of ducks, geese and cranes that migrate through the area. From these outings Mangelsen learned important lessons for photographing in the field, including patience, waiting for the right moment and understanding animal behavior.

In the early 1970’s, Tom and his brother David began selling limited edition prints of his images, and opened the first Images of Nature® gallery in 1978 in Jackson, Wyoming.

Tom’s honors include his image Polar Dance being selected by the International League of Conservation Photographers in 2010 as one of the 40 Most Important Nature Photographs of All Time.

He was chosen in 2006 as one of Jane Goodall’s “Heroes of the Animal Planet” and profiled in the television series of the same name. Also in 2006, he was presented with an honorary doctorate from Doane College. Additional accolades were being named one of the “100 Most Important People in Photography” in 2005 by American Photo magazine and also honored with Nikon’s “Legend behind the Lens” recognition. He received an Honorary Fellowship from The Royal Photographic Society in 2002 and was named “Outstanding Nature Photographer of the Year” by the North American Nature Photographer Association’s in 2000. In 1994, Mangelsen received the prestigious British Broadcasting Corporation’s “Wildlife Photographer of the Year” Award. Mangelsen is co-founder of the Cougar Fund, a founding Fellow of The International League of Conservation Photographers, on the international advisory council for the Jane Goodall Institute and a board ambassador for the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance.

Tom’s published fine art books include, Images of Nature: The Photography of Thomas D. Mangelsen, Polar Dance: Born of the North Wind, and Spirit of the Rockies: The Mountain Lions of Jackson Hole, the first and only portrayal of cougars in the wild. In May 2008, Tom’s fourth fine art book, The Natural World, based exclusively on his work in the panoramic format, was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Award for best coffee table/large format book by the PMA, the Independent Book Publishers Association.

Mangelsen’s work has been published in National Geographic, Life, Audubon, National Wildlife, Smithsonian, Natural History, Newsweek, Wildlife Art, American Photo and many other publications as well as featured on television programs from The Today Show and Good Morning America, to CNN's World News and ABC's World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.

Art Wolfe

It is in the wild places, where the edge of the earth meets the corners of the sky, the human spirit is fed.

The son of commercial artists, Art Wolfe was born on September 13, 1951 in Seattle, Washington, and still calls the city home. He graduated from the University of Washington with Bachelor's degrees in fine arts and art education in 1975. His photography career has spanned five decades, a remarkable testament to the durability and demand for his images, his expertise, and his passionate advocacy for the environment and indigenous culture. During that time he has worked on every continent, in hundreds of locations, and on a dazzling array of projects.

Art Wolfe’s photographs are a superb evocation of some of the most breathtaking spectacles in the world. —Sir David Attenborough

 Wolfe's photographic mission is multi-faceted. By employing artistic and journalistic styles, he documents his subjects and educates the viewer. His unique approach to photography is based on his training in the arts and his love of the environment.

His goal has always been to win support for conservation issues by “focusing on what’s beautiful on the Earth.” Hailed by William Conway, former president of the Wildlife Conservation Society, as "the most prolific and sensitive recorder of a rapidly vanishing natural world," Wolfe has taken an estimated two million images in his lifetime and travels nearly nine months out of the year photographing for new projects, leading photographic tours and seminars, and giving inspirational presentations to corporate, educational, conservation and spiritual groups.

Long before the genre of ‘conservation photography’ was conceived, Wolfe was practicing it. In 1997 he created a conservation-themed photography contest as “an event for the advancement of photography as a unique medium capable of bringing awareness and preservation to our environment through art.” After a very successful run in 2012 in which the International Conservation Photography Awards drew entries from around the world and was exhibited and traveled by The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle, the contest is now in hiatus. Currently Art is judging his ongoing “Compelling Image” contest at

Art Wolfe's work tells a story that is overwhelming, breathtaking, and vast. –Robert Redford

In 1978 he published his first book Indian Baskets of the Northwest Coast with the late Dr. Allan Lobb, a close friend and mentor, who also gave Wolfe a start by putting the young photographer’s work into patients’ rooms at Swedish Medical Center. Wolfe was soon photographing for the world’s top magazines such as National Geographic, Smithsonian, Audubon, GEO, and Terre Sauvage. Magazines all over the world publish his photographs and stories, and his work is licensed for retail products and advertising.

Numerous US and international venues have featured monographs of his work as well his traveling exhibits, Travels to the Edge and Beyond the Lens. He has had four major shows at Seattle’s Frye Art Museum, including One World, One Vision. Today his work is available at the Art Wolfe Gallery in Seattle, Rotella Gallery™ in Las Vegas and New York City, as well as online at

Art Wolfe is a virtuoso whose eye brings home, again and again, the absolute need to preserve what we have.—Morgan Freeman

Since 1989 he has published at least one book a year—1997 alone saw seven titles in the United States and abroad. He has released over eighty books, including award-winning The High Himalaya, Water: Worlds between Heaven & Earth, Tribes, Rainforests of the World, Pacific Northwest, Land of Light and Water, as well as numerous children’s titles, including O is for Orca and Animal Action Alphabet. Graphis included his books Light on the Land and the controversial Migrations on its list of the 100 best books published in the 1990s. His books have sold over 500,000 copies and have been translated into eight languages.

In 2000 he formed Wildlands Press and subsequently published much of his signature work: The Living Wild, which has more than 70,000 copies in print worldwide and garnered awards from the National Outdoor Book Awards, Independent Publisher, Applied Arts and Graphis; Africa (2001) and Edge of the EarthCorner of the Sky (2003), both of which captured significant publishing awards, including IPPY (Independent Publishers), Benjamin Franklin (Publishers Marketing Association), and National Outdoor Book Award. Wolfe’s latest books are Human Canvas, Graphis Photography Annual 2014 gold medal winner; and two instructional texts published by Amphoto Books: an updated edition of the bestselling Art of Photographing Nature and The Art of the Photograph with author Rob Sheppard. Coming in 2014 is the Art’s encyclopedic Earth Is My Witness with Insight Editions and an eagerly anticipated second edition of Vanishing Act (Cameron + Company).

The intensity, texture, and strange density of Art Wolfe’s photographs are truly astonishing. —Peter Matthiessen

Wolfe has ventured into the world of television production with “On Location with Art Wolfe,” “Techniques of the Masters” and as host of “American Photo's Safari”, which aired on ESPN 1993-1995. In May 2007 Art made his public television debut with the high definition series “Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge,” an intimate and upbeat series that offers unique insights on nature, culture, and the realm of digital photography. The thirteen-episode first season garnered American Public Television’s 2007 Programming Excellence Award—unprecedented for a first season show. The thirteen-episode second season garnered five Silver Telly Awards, their highest honor, for outstanding achievement. It has been broadcast more than hundreds of thousands times in the United States and is in syndication throughout the world.

Education is a major component of Wolfe’s work, whether it is about the environment or about photography. He leads domestic and international photographic tours as well as regularly giving his Art of Composition seminar. He is a Phase One Digital Artists Series instructor. In an exciting collaboration of the most renowned nature photographers in the world, he is combining forces with Frans Lanting and Thomas Mangelsen on the Masters of Nature Photography workshops (

Art has the broadest range of excellence of any nature photographer I know. —Galen Rowell

Along with his numerous book and television awards, Wolfe is the proud recipient of the Nature's Best Photographer of the Year Award, the North American Nature Photography Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the Photographic Society of America’s Progress Medal for his contribution to the advancement of the art and science of photography; he has been awarded with a coveted Alfred Eisenstaedt Magazine Photography Award. The National Audubon Society recognized Wolfe’s work in support of the national wildlife refuge system with its first-ever Rachel Carson Award. In 1999 he was named to the UW Alumni Association’s magazine list of 100 “most famous, fascinating and influential” alumni of the 20th century. He is a member of the American Society of Media Photographers; he is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers and has served on the advisory boards for the Wildlife Conservation Society. Wolfe has been a member of Canon’s elite list of renowned photographers Explorers of Light, Microsoft’s Icons of Imaging, Fujifilm’s Talent Team, and Nikon’s NPS Pros.

Wolfe maintains his gallery, stock agency, and production company in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood.

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



  • A unique opportunity to travel with the world's preeminent nature photographers in the sub-Antarctic region's greatest wildlife spectacle.
  • We give South Georgia Island the time and attention it deserves, as a world-class destination for wildlife and landscape photography.
  • 200,000 king penguins in a vast colony at Salisbury Plain.
  • Several other penguin species, both on shore and at sea.
  • Five species of albatross (wandering, royal, light-mantled sooty, black-browed, and grey) – stunning both in flight and on the ground.
  • Many other pelagic bird species: petrels, fulmars, prions, and shearwaters.
  • Large numbers of southern elephant and  sub-Antarctic fur seals
  • Vistas including icebergs, glacier-covered mountains, deep blue fjords, and a full moon (weather permitting).
  • Follow in Shackleton's footsteps, learning the history of exploration, exploitation, and recovery of the area.
  • The Polar Pioneer, a brilliant expedition ship for serious photographers, perfectly suited to small-group exploration in the southern ocean. With many years' experience in polar waters and only 46 guests on board, Polar Pioneer has the flexibility to make the most of our visits to the Falklands and South Georgia, if the weather, sea conditions, and wind dictate a change in the itinerary.
  • First-rate photo support team: Justin Black of Visionary Wild, Chris Eckstrom of Frans Lanting Photography, and Sue Cedarholm of Images of Nature.
  • Top Expedition Staff: Leader, Denise Landau, plus hand-picked expedition staff.
  • Easy travel: No visa required for passport holders from most of the developed world.

Accommodations & Travel

  • In Santiago, Chile, nights of November 16 and December 1: Hotel Atton – El Bosque
  • Falkland Islands and South Georgia, nights of November 17-30: Polar Pioneer, a 235-foot expedition ship accommodating up to 46 guests on this trip in simple yet comfortable cabins.
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No advance visa is required for tourist entry into Chile, the Falklands, or South Georgia for citizens of the USA, Canada, EU nations, and most other developed countries. Fly into Santiago, Chile (SCL) on Nov 16th, 2018 (international flights not included). R/T flights from Santiago to Mount Pleasant Airport in the Falkland Islands are included. Airport pick-up and ground transfers are included through return to our hotel in Santiago. Arrangements for outbound transfer to the airport in Santiago may be made with the hotel. Our voyage aboard M/V Polar Pioneer is an 15-day/14-night private charter to explore South Georgia Island and the Falklands. Landings by Zodiac rigid inflatable boats will be the norm. Shore excursions will include relatively short walks of easy to moderate difficulty, with the option of doing a longer guided hike at some locations. Weather is variable, with average temperatures for this time of year ranging from the mid 30s to mid 40s F, with moderate chances of precipitation. Be prepared for windy conditions.


  • 15-day/14-night Falklands–South Georgia cruise aboard Polar Pioneer.
  • Round trip flights from Santiago, Chile, to Mount Pleasant Airport at Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands.
  • All ground transfers from airport pickup in Santiago on Nov 16th to final group transfer by charter coach to Santiago Airport from Hotel Atton-El Bosque on Dec 2nd.
  • Photographic guidance by Frans Lanting, Art Wolfe, Tom Mangelsen, and Justin Black, and the support of a world-class team of assistant instructors and naturalist guides.
  • A first-rate expedition team, including Denise Landau as Expedition Leader, as well as an Assistant Expedition Leader, Naturalist, Historian, Ship's Doctor, Hotel Manager, Bartender, Head Chef, and Sous Chef.
  • Scheduled group landings and excursions by zodiac.
  • All accommodations, including Hotel Atton–El Bosque in Santiago on the nights of Nov 16th and Dec 1st, and cabin aboard Polar Pioneer for the nights of Nov 17-30.
  • All meals from dinner on the night of Nov 16 to breakfast on Dec 2, and all non-alcoholic beverages plus fine wine and/or local beer with dinners.
  • All group permits and landing fees.

Not Included:

  • R/T airfare to our point of origin in Santiago, Chile.
  • Cost of passports, any necessary entry visas or reciprocity fees, vaccinations, or other personal travel expenses
  • Travel insurance and traveler's medical insurance including evacuation insurance (mandatory)
  • Alcoholic beverages other than wine and beer offered at dinners
  • Telephone or internet charges
  • Any private excursions or services not included in the itinerary
  • Gratuities for guides, expedition staff, and ship's crew, at your discretion
  • Personal purchases, souvenirs, and anything else not listed as included

In Support of Conservation on South Georgia Island

As our November 2016 South Georgia – Falklands expedition drew to a close, we hosted a charity auction at sea in support of vital conservation work by South Georgia Heritage Trust. Recently, this has included a large-scale initiative to eradicate invasive rats, which appears to have been successful in eliminating every single rat from the island, radically improving conditions for many bird species that nest there.

Items auctioned included limited edition prints and books by Frans LantingArt WolfeTom Mangelsen, and Justin Black, silk scarves by Sue Ewald Cedarholm, a night with our expedition historian, Ben Maddison (just kidding – though it was the running joke of the evening), various South Georgia souvenirs, and two copies of a detailed South Georgia map, signed by the photo leaders, expedition staff, and key members of the ship's crew. The maps alone sold for $2,000 each, and we raised over $28,000 for conservation on South Georgia Island. We'll see if we can match or exceed that feat in 2018.