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

E-mail: info@visionarywild.com    •    Tel: 1-202-558-9596 (9am to 5pm, EST).

Justin Black – Managing Director: 1-202-302-9030 • Email: justin@visionarywild.com

Sara Robb – Operations Assistant: sara@visionarywild.com

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Limit 10 spaces | $3,890* Closed
Vision January 12 - 16, 2015 | View other workshops

White Sands with Jack Dykinga, John Shaw and Justin Black

Map via Google

Pastel pinks and blues reflect from the sky at dawn and dusk, painting gypsum dunes that roll elegantly across the landscape. The tapestry of light and shadow, form and texture tempts the creative mind. Yuccas punctuate the landscape, rising in striking graphic isolation against the sand and sky. This is New Mexico's White Sands National Monument, home of the world's largest gypsum dune field, covering 275 square miles, set in a high desert basin with a dramatic mountain backdrop. This will be our outdoor classroom for this Vision series workshop, a special program of advanced instruction designed and presented by world-renowned photographers Jack Dykinga and John Shaw. Jack is recognized as one of the greatest practitioners and teachers in the history of landscape photography, and John is a natural photographic educator who is relied upon by some of the most successful photographers in the business to keep them current on digital workflow practices and Photoshop techniques. The combination is a uniquely effective and enjoyable experience.

Our fieldwork during this workshop will emphasize the search for elegant, carefully crafted compositions while anticipating the flow of light over the landscape each morning and evening. Opportunities abound, from classic near-far compositions that use yuccas to anchor foreground design, to abstracts harnessing the tones, curves and colors of the dunes, to broad panoramics and macro subjects.

The creation of a great finished photograph is part of a process from initial concept and vision through execution in the field to digital workflow and creation of a high-quality, final master file ready for printing or publication. Vision workshops with John Shaw and Jack Dykinga address the two greatest challenges faced by photographers as they advance. The first of these is the tendency for original creative vision to reach a plateau in development, and the second is a digital workflow in need of streamlining and refinement to make the most of your images.

A SPECIAL GIFT TO PARTICIPANTS: Each participant in this workshops is entitled to have two free fine exhibition prints up to 20"x30" in size made by the master printmakers at West Coast Imaging of Oakhurst, California, one of the very best digital fine art photography labs in the world. These print packages include all the expert digital prep work of your original image file, based on your wishes and input as the artist, to make the best possible print. This special offer is cumulative, so you get two prints for each workshop you take.

Click the "read more" button below right to continue...

On Creative Vision:

When we experience images that really move us, we are aware that they have impacted us, though we may not know what it was in the image that made it so powerful. In other words, we know when it works, but can be difficult to quantify. I try to teach the time-honored components of fine photography to build successful compositions…even in ordinary situations. People ask me, “What’s the difference between a pro and an amateur?” My response is, (a) the amateur has better equipment and (b) the professional photographer must create a publishable image every single time. To be successful, the professional must be the practitioner of a disciplined approach to situations that will result in compelling images that inform and move people. This workshop is designed to unleash that creativity in our students. – Jack Dykinga

Jack will focus on advanced seeing and ways to unlock creativity in situations that require conceptual and compositional ingenuity on the part of the photographer. In other words, he'll answer the questions, "How do I make a great photograph when the subject matter is overwhelming and compositions don't suggest themselves to me, and how do I avoid photographic clichés when the situation offers up  a beautiful composition that is almost too obvious?"

On Workflow:

As photographers have switched to digital, one fact has become apparent:  we are drowning in files.  We’re shooting more images than ever, and digital file sizes are increasing with each new generation of cameras.  Without a smart, logical workflow – and a familiarity with programs such as Lightroom and Photoshop – we will quickly be overwhelmed with data.   – John Shaw

John will focus on teaching a logical, effective workflow that ensures the highest quality for your work, as well an image archive that is stable, consistent, and retrievable over the long term, and that ultimately liberates rather than burdens.  He will cover step by step the process from shooting RAW files in the field to optimizing the final image in Photoshop.

Workflow topics to be covered include:
• File formats for shooting and for archiving
• Exposing for digital
• Downloading for automatic image organization
• Proper file naming
• Cataloging of images: Lightroom or other software
• Keywording and captioning of images
• The many uses of metadata
• Processing the raw file
• Using the tools in Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom’s Develop Module
• Color spaces for the best results in different media
• The many faces of Bridge
• Creating panoramic images
• Color adjustment strategies
• Using Photoshop to finalize the image: dodging and burning, adjustment layers and layer masking, controlling luminosity and contrast, sharpening for output
• Creating a PDF electronic book
• Color-managed workflow from input to output

The workshop includes eight field sessions at various locations around White Sands that we have scouted in advance. Also featured are several projected classroom lectures, and ample hands-on instruction, critiques, single-occupancy lodging (prorated fee available for double-occupancy or for those who do not require lodging), and all meals and drinks. Justin Black of Visionary Wild will be present to serve as assistant instructor and to ensure everything runs smoothly. As always, all three instructors will be present to teach and assist students throughout the workshop.

We will meet at Fairfield Inn in Alamogordo, New Mexico at 1pm on the first day. Photography sessions at White Sands begin that afternoon. Each morning and evening, we'll be out to photograph first light before breakfast and the evening light before dinner. During mid-day hours, Jack and John will make presentations on advanced seeing, composition and creativity, digital workflow, and maximizing image potential. Critique sessions will follow each day before returning to the field for photography around 3:30pm. Friday morning will be the final field session, followed by critiquing until the final lunch and break up at 2:00 pm. The class size is limited to ten to ensure that everyone gets ample time and attention from the three instructors, both in the field and the classroom.

Any enthusiastic photographer will feel right at home in this workshop. We supply materials in advance of the session to get newcomers up to speed with basics having to do with digital camera set-up and techniques, essential equipment recommendations, and other guidelines to ensure that everyone is ready to make the most of the experience.

Please contact us with any questions you may have about this session. We recommend registering promptly to reserve your space as our Vision workshops fill especially quickly. A deposit of 50% is required at time of booking to reserve space, with balance payable 60 days prior to workshop start date.

 

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

John Shaw

I think a good attitude to have is that the next frame you shoot is going to be the better, definitive frame.

John, a natural and dedicated teacher, has been a professional nature photographer since the early 1970s. His work has been published in many publications and books, including National Geographic, Nature's Best, National Wildlife, Audubon, Outdoor Photographer, and many others. In 1997 he received the first-ever Outstanding Photographer Award given by the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA). Nikon chose him as a featured Legend Behind the Lens in 2002, while Microsoft designated him an Icon of Imaging in 2006.  He has been part of Epson's Stylus Pro fine art print makers group since 2001.

John has published six books on nature photography, plus five eBooks on Photoshop and Lightroom.  He has photographed on every continent, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, from Provence to Patagonia.  While he once used a variety of film cameras, he much prefers the advantages of digital capture.

Visit John's Website

Testimonials

I just wanted to thank you personally for the best two days of photographic instruction that I've had in my 52 years. – Bill A.

The breadth and width of information that John Shaw provided both as an artist/photographer and his knowledge of digital software was impressive. His ability to communicate the information even more impressive. – Ric K.

John Shaw is a great leader and photographer and I always look forward to traveling with him. – Gordon K.

Justin Black

JUSTIN BLACK is a photographer, writer, editor, expedition leader, photo workshops instructor, and an affiliate of the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP). Through both Visionary Wild and Galen Rowell's Mountain Light Photography (1999 – 2009) 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 www.justinblackphoto.com, and are represented by G2 Gallery in Venice, California, and in Europe by The Art of Wild gallery.

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 (Visionary Wild's Director of Operations), 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

 

Tripods

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

 

Highlights

  • Small group of ten participants, with a student-to-instructor ratio of just over 3 to 1
  • Advanced seeing: Learn to find new and unexpected compositions
  • Breaking through creative block and making great photographs in challenging situations
  • Mastering a logical, efficient, and consistent workflow, from capture to final master image, that frees you to focus on creativity
  • Eight field photography sessions, early morning and afternoon/evening
  • Three projected group critique sessions
  • Emphasis on refining composition and stimulating creativity
  • Mastering a logical, efficient, and consistent workflow, from capture to final master image, that frees you to focus on creativity
  • Working the scene through changing conditions and light
  • Understanding and using various qualities of light to best effect
  • Control of digital exposure and dynamic range
  • A creativity-inspiring landscape, full of images waiting to be discovered.

Accommodations & Travel

Package includes single-occupancy lodging, all meals, and adult beverages with dinner. Prorated fees are available for double occupancy and for those who do not require lodging. Alamogordo, New Mexico's comfortable Fairfield Inn will be our convenient "base camp" and mid-day classroom.

airplane iconcar iconfoot iconweather icon
For those traveling by air, the nearest major airport is in El Paso, TX (ELP), a 90-minute drive away. During field sessions, we will carpool 20 minutes to White Sands National Monument. We will make short hikes from our vehicles to access photographic opportunities in the dunes. The average daytime high is 56ºF and the average low is 32ºF. Precipitation is unlikely.

Expectations

Participants in this Vision workshop should expect to come away with an advanced skillset for finding original compositions and new approaches to subject matter within a grand landscape. Opportunities abound for compelling abstraction, motion studies, designs, patterns, details, multiple exposures, panoramics...not to mention stunning landscape compositions. We will approach our subject matter with an eye toward avoiding clichés and creating original photographs.

This experience is best suited to passionate photographers seeking to work with a small group of peers who are familiar with their equipment and photographic fundamentals. We will gather each day for lectures and projected group image critique sessions. This workshop is ideal for photographers seeking to refine their approach to previsualization, working a scene to find original compositions, and bringing greater creativity to their work. Most of all, this will be a fun, positive, and inspiring workshop that will exceed your expectations, provide new understanding and important skills to advance your creative development, and will leave you energized and excited to apply what you learned. Please feel free to contact us with any questions about recommended experience level, recommended equipment, or anything else that you are curious about.