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 8 spaces | $6,295* Closed
Expedition August 12 - 19, 2017 | View other workshops

Wind River with Justin Black and Charles Cramer

Map via Google

Renowned landscape photographer Charles Cramer and Visionary Wild's Justin Black have teamed up to lead a small group to the dramatic granite spires, alpine lakes, and meadows in Wyoming's Wind River Range. "The Winds" are the most alpine range in the northern Rockies, with soaring granite peaks reminiscent in many ways of the High Sierra Nevada but less well known and more lightly visited. The alpine wildflowers in the meadows and nearby lakes and streams offer excellent foregrounds for photographing the east-facing Cirque of the Towers and other nearby peaks, which catch spectacular alpenglow at sunrise.

This is one of North America's great mountain wildernesses, but don't take our word for it. Following a summer 1999 horse pack trip into the Winds, internationally acclaimed mountain photographer Galen Rowell wrote the following in his April 2000 column for Outdoor Photographer magazine:

"The Wind River Range is my favorite in the Rockies. Warm, relatively dry summers create a paradise for backpackers, climbers, and photographers. Hundreds of peaks rise over 12,000 feet above glaciers and snows that last late into summer. Melt waters cascade into alpine basins filled with meadows, open pine forest, and countless lakes before joining into rivers separated by the Continental Divide."

Charles Cramer and Justin Black will lead photography outings morning and evening, and whenever else the light and weather conditions offer compelling opportunities. Night photography of the high-elevation starry skies can be amazing too. Options for midday activities will include scouting hikes, talking photography, relaxing around camp, reading, napping, fishing, lake swimming, etc. Beyond the phenomenal landscape and wildlife photography opportunities, these pack trips provide an excellent shared experience with other passionate photographers, enjoying fireside stories and camping under the stars.

Click "read more" below right for more information and the image gallery...

Our itinerary begins with a group orientation and dinner at Diamond 4 Ranch at a place called Dickinson Park, Wyoming, on the east side of the Wind River Range (Lander is the closest large town). Our first night will be spent at an elevation of 9,200ft. in the ranch's rustic cabins, which will serve to help acclimate us to the elevation. After a hearty breakfast the next morning, the experienced wranglers of Diamond 4 Ranch will lead our group on a horseback ride to camp at Lizard Head Meadows. The horses are docile and very familiar with the trail to our camp, our base for five nights at an elevation of 10,000ft. – where a camp manager and backcountry chef will take great care of us. This is a "drop" or "spot" trip, meaning that all of our gear, coolers of fresh food, etc., will be carried in on horseback, and our camp will serve as our base for short hikes to explore the Cirque's rich photographic opportunities. After the wranglers pick us up on August 18 and we ride back to the ranch, we'll drive to our hotel in Lander, Wyoming, for a celebratory dinner, followed the next day with a group image edit, review, and critique session, finishing up by 3pm.

Join us for this world-class opportunity to photograph and learn in the high Rockies, and leave with a portfolio of mountain images and deeply moving memories of an experience of tranquility, camaraderie, fun, and adventure.

No prior horseback experience is necessary. The trip is limited to eight participants, and includes photographic instruction and guiding throughout by Charles and Justin, expert horse packer services, mounts and pack stock (the horses), camp staff services, tents, all meals, and lodging the night before and night after the pack trip.

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


Charles Cramer

After spending seven years of college studying classical piano, Charles Cramer visited Yosemite National Park, and soon realized he wanted out of those tiny practice rooms!  Realizing the similarities between interpreting music and interpreting a negative, he soon became enamored with making prints. Thirty years later, he is recognized as a master landscape photographer and printmaker, first for his darkroom-based dye transfer printing, and for the last several years in digital processes.  In 1987 and again in 2009, Cramer was selected by the National park Service to be an artist-in-residence in Yosemite. 

He has taught workshops since 1988 for the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite. His Spring and Fall workshops there fill almost instantly.  He has also taught for the Palm Beach workshops in Florida, Anderson Ranch workshops in Colorado, and the John Sexton Workshops in California.

Cramer has been profiled in magazines including Outdoor Photographer, PhotoVision, View Camera, PhotoTechniques,  Outdoor Photography (UK), Camera Natura (Sweden),  and Popular Photography (China). His work has been published by National Geographic Books, Sierra Club, and the Yosemite Association.  He is also included in the books  “Landscape: The World’s Top Photographers,” published in 2005, and “First Light: Five Photographers Explore Yosemite’s Wilderness,” published in 2009.   His work can be seen at many galleries and at  

Praise for Charlie Cramer's teaching style:

"Charlie couldn't have been better. He's a gifted teacher - gentle - helpful - makes subject matter clear” –Tom U., California

"Charles is a brilliant instructor. He is organized, precise and thoughtful in approach.” –Woody S., Colorado

“Everything exceeded my expectations, exponentially!” –Julie J., Oregon

"Charlie is a national treasure as a photographer and an instructor.” –Kerby S., California

"That Charlie Cramer is a superb teacher is well known and firmly established. 
What is less well known perhaps is a crucial and distinguishing core element in Charlie's teaching: he makes it possible for people to make their own pictures, however differing in style and subject from his own work, and to make those pictures better.” –Jed W., California


  • Alpenglow on granite peaks, mirror lakes, crystal-clear creeks, alpine wildflowers and meadows, and the peaceful solitude of one of the most beautiful mountain settings in North America
  • Our camp is strategically positioned to access a range of awe-inspiring landscape opportunities within easy hiking range
  • Photographic instruction and guiding by Charles Cramer and Justin Black throughout the trip
  • Our gear will be carried horseback, as will we.
  • Backcountry catering by our camp staff
  • On our final day, we will hold a constructive group critique session at our hotel in Lander.

Accommodations & Travel

Our first night will be at Diamond 4 Ranch, in shared rustic cabins (each cabin has several beds). In the backcountry, our camp will be at 10,000 feet in Lizard Head Meadows. Tents and catering are provided. On the last night following the pack trip, we will relocate to Holiday Inn in Lander, Wyoming, in preparation for a day of projected photo review and critique. All meals are included.

airplane iconcar iconfoot iconweather icon
Riverton, WY Airport (RIW) is 30 miles from Lander, served by United commuter flights from Denver, and Hertz car rentals are available there. Jackson, WY, airport is 3 hours from Lander. We will help coordinate participant carpools to Diamond 4 Ranch at Dickinson Park, Wyoming, on the east side of the Wind River Range. The horseback ride to camp is about 16 miles (approx. six hours). From our base camp at 10,000ft, we will make hikes of anywhere from a 1/2-mile to four-miles (total round trip) with limited elevation gain to access our photographic locations. Summer temperatures tend to range from highs in the 70s and lows in the 30s. Afternoon thunderstorms are not uncommon.


Beyond being an opportunity to photograph a spectacular wilderness and to learn from two leading pros and the other passionate participants, this backcountry expedition is about taking time to get to know a place, how the light and weather play across the landscape, how the geology and ecology make the Winds special. This expedition will provide ample time for unrushed photography in the field, hands-on instruction and one-on-one mentorship, hikes to get out into the landscape to incredible locations, and time to just relax and enjoy the place.

Charlie and Justin are generous, professional, and good-humored workshop leaders and excellent hosts who care deeply about providing a meaningful experience that exceeds expectations. Their combined diversity of expertise and experience in photography, natural history, and wilderness travel makes them a fountain of knowledge and a highly effective team.

Summer in the Wind River Range offers a tremendous range of excellent photographic opportunities, from broad, panoramic vistas and classic "near-far" landscape compositions with dramatic clouds building each day. There will be ample opportunities for wildflower photography, close-ups, abstractions, motion studies, and creative experimentation. We will certainly see wildlife, such as black bear (there are grizzlies farther north in the Winds, but they haven't been seen where the group will camp), elk, moose, mule deer, bald eagles, hawks, and mountain songbirds. Participants will have time for a thoughtful approach to photography that encourages experimentation and creative development.