2020 TOURS


January 12-14, 2020 For more information contact NANPA

Back and expanded by popular demand! This special tour will focus on the winter landscape and biodiversity of Yellowstone National Park. January in Yellowstone makes up for the cold by providing some of the best opportunities for images maximizing the park’s magical light, geyser steam, snow-covered bison, and more. Join Jeff Vanuga (a BBC Wildlife

Photographer of the Year), licensed Yellowstone guide Trent Sizemore, and veteran professional Yellowstone photographer Michael Francis for this spectacular NANPA Regional Event.

This event will be based in West Yellowstone and will be a little different than NANPA’s typical Regional Events. We will rent 14-passenger snowcoaches from Yellowstone Snowcoaches, and attendees will travel into the park by snowcoach for three full days. Lunches will be provided (and included in the registration fee) since there will be limited places to buy meals in the park at that time of year.

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There is no better time to photograph Yellowstone than in the winter. The summer crowds are absent and the landscape is transformed into a wonderland. With frigid winter temperatures and 10,000 geothermal features the land is in a constant state of flux fire and ice. Steam from the numerous geysers crystalize onto solid surfaces and coat the landscape with magical diamond dust.

Our trip includes several days of private snowcoaches visiting many of Yellowstone's iconic geyser basins and we photograph at all the major areas including Upper, Middle and Lower Geyser Basins, Norris and the Mud Volcano areas as time permits. Wildlife are highly visible during this time of year and we generally see bison, elk, coyote, red fox, otters, trumpeter swans, bobcats and many of the other animals that make their home in Yellowstone in winter.

With over 35 years of photographing Yellowstone National Park I hope I can show you some of my favorite places that have taken me a lifetime to learn!

For more information contact Joseph Van Os PhotoSafaris

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Bison wintering in Yellowstone National Park.
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For more information contact Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris

Legends of folklore and shrouded in mystery, snow leopards—the gray ghosts of mountainous Central Asia—are without doubt the most elusive of the world's big cats.

Dwelling atop the Roof of the World, snow leopards live in a punishing terrain of rocky cliffs, river bluffs, rugged grasslands, and arid high-altitude slopes and ridges. They are a flagship species at the apex of the food chain. Threatened by expanding human and livestock populations into their lofty habitat, by retaliation for their predation of domestic animals, and by poaching for their luxuriant pelts, snow leopards have been notoriously difficult to see and almost impossible to photograph—until now!

From the new Snow Leopard Lodge—the only dedicated wildlife lodge in Ladakh, India—we endeavor to photograph these felines of impeccable camouflage as they descend to lower altitudes from their lofty summer home range following the seasonal movements of prey species—blue sheep and Siberian ibex. The lodge provides many comforts for this extremely remote location—heat, good food, comfortable beds, toilets and warm bucket showers—without having to deal with the exhausting issues and discomfort of winter tent camping in intense cold aggravated by high altitude. The lodge is relatively isolated, with far fewer tourists in the area than at an alternative snow leopard viewing location.

Our lodge accommodations take this recently discovered access to snow leopards to a whole new level. No longer do you need to haul your own arctic sleeping bag halfway around the world, sleep on a thin mat in a tiny "crawl-in" tent, head outside in the dark and freezing cold to use a pit toilet, go without a shower for a week, or constantly live in your winter parka. Here, power is easily available for charging batteries and other devices.

We reside in the extremely tiny village of Ulley (about seven houses) which becomes our base as our Ladakhi trackers use their knowledge, dedication and commitment to follow the cats. They interact closely with the local people, using this network of regional intelligence to keep track of snow leopard movement.

We are in these highly photogenic wintry mountains during the snow leopard mating season when their activity level is high and their caution is lower. On this trip, heavy snow in the mountains is advantageous for us as it drives sheep farther down the mountains and, with them, the snow leopards. These days it is sometimes possible to photograph these beautiful cats at "close" range on a kill, while pursuing sheep, or while mating—but big telephoto lenses prove to be invaluable here.

Besides the awesome cats, spectacular Himalayan peaks and rugged steppe scenery, we may have opportunities to shoot additional Himalayan wildlife, including Ladakh urial, woolly hare, Royle's pika, Tibetan gray wolf, red fox, plus blue sheep and Siberian ibex. We may shoot lammergeiers and Himalayan griffon vultures, and large raptors such as golden eagles and upland buzzards are also a possibility, along with their prey species Himalayan snowcock and chukar, plus a host of smaller high-altitude birds.

Though these winter days are short, there is plenty of time to obtain great images of a part of the world seldom visited by photographers. Be prepared for cold temperatures and some high-altitude hiking to obtain the best wildlife photography opportunities. Then relax in Ladakh's only wildlife lodge which—with a fully booked trip—we will have entirely to ourselves.

Borneo Wildlife-Orangutans, Primates and Rainforest

September 5-September 19, 2020 For more information contact Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris

In 1858 English naturalist Alfred Wallace formulated his theory of evolution through natural selection—independent of Charles Darwin. Borneo was his “Galápagos.” While Wallace encountered the impenetrable jungle and hostile headhunters of yesteryear, today the island offers many photogenic rewards to traveling photographers—in relative ease and comfort—while still providing a wonderful sense of adventure.

The Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak lie on the northern perimeter of Borneo—the third largest island on earth. This is the most biodiverse rainforest on the planet, with hundreds of tree species in each square mile. Over 100 species of orchids have been catalogued on a single mountain and extensive tree fern forests cover the wettest terrain. Collectively, the forests here house a fantastic assortment of endemic animals. None are as well-known as the orangutans—Asia’s shy “Man of the Woods"—the great red apes that dwell deep within Borneo's remote and steamy forests.

For a long time orangutans were known only from the sketchy encounters of Western explorers. In recent years, orangutans have been the subject of extensive scientific study, and are now one of the world’s better known primates. Unfortunately, human abductions of young “orangs” from their mothers for the pet and zoo trade, and habitat loss due to logging and expanding oil palm plantations, have reduced orangutan populations and created numerous orphaned animals.

Our first photographic encounters with orangutans begin with a visit to the popular Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. Here, orphaned young orangs are kept safe within a large protected natural environment where they are prepared to be reintroduced to the wild. We photograph these engaging primates in an open setting during their twice-daily feedings.

The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre is immediately adjacent to Sepilok. The center is another wildlife rehabilitation facility dedicated to the care and release of orphaned and ex-captive sun bears back into the wild. At the center we learn about the world's smallest bear species and create hard-to-get images of these otherwise reclusive animals within the semi-natural setting of the center.

The Kinabatangan River is the longest river in Sabah and known for the highest concentration of primates in northern Borneo. The forest here is secondary forest, colonized by a significant quantity of "cluster fig" trees (Ficus racemosa)—a preferred food source for a wide variety of wildlife. Our focus in this area concentrates on photography from a boat. Wildlife we can expect to encounter along the river and surrounding forest includes orangutans, silvered langurs, proboscis monkeys, pygmy elephants, and several showy species of hornbills—to name just a few.

After our stay at the Kinabatangan River, we are off to the Tabin Wildlife Reserve. Four-wheel-drive safari vehicles are our photographic platforms as we search for images within Sabah’s largest wildlife reserve. The roadways allow light to penetrate into what could otherwise be a dark, jungle world. We take advantage of this light on game drives searching for the area’s notable species—Müeller's Bornean gibbons, leopard cats and hornbills. Of course, we cannot pass up the opportunity to get out on a night drive to locate some of the reserve’s intriguing nocturnal denizens.

Our photography in the remote Danum Valley takes place on foot along a network of well-maintained trails that radiate from our luxurious jungle lodge. We spend three full days exploring the local nature trails with a guide, all the while keeping an eye out for species such as maroon langurs, orangutans, cats, civets, colugos, and more. Birdlife is especially diverse, with 275 recorded species. A wonderful network of canopy walks among the tree tops is a fantastic way to get a birds-eye view of the forest while nature trails near the lodge also provide good opportunities for nighttime photos.

2019 TOURS



It is the place on Earth where superlatives are born. The pinnacle, the apex and the zenith of nature’s creation—there are no adequate words to describe the awesome beauty which is South Georgia. This phenomenal sub-Antarctic island—102 miles long and 24 miles wide, a mere speck in the vast Southern Ocean—is crowned by a wreath of flowing glaciers covering half of its expanse. The craggy scenery of South Georgia is no less spectacular than if the Alps had been plunged recklessly into the tempestuous South Atlantic. Despite its extreme isolation, South Georgia ranks among the most vital breeding oases for one of the world’s greatest wildlife concentrations.

"South Georgia is a must-see destination. JVO Photo Safaris was a great way to see and photograph it."

- M. Goyen

If you've dreamed of visiting South Georgia, or longed to return to its rugged shores, our 2019 Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris Epic South Georgia cruise offers an incredible opportunity to experience this fabulous island of penguins and ice for 10 full days of unparalleled photography. Our dedicated, exclusively chartered, photo cruise visits the island's most prolific wildlife habitats and scenic landscapes. We make shore landings primarily on the island's northeast coast that teems with wildlife and photo opportunities.

Millions of penguins make the island their home and, in some places, complete hillsides are covered with them. There are more photogenic king penguins on South Georgia than on any other island on Earth and we visit several of their enormous colonies throughout our voyage.

A quarter of a million albatrosses return here each year, including the spectacular wandering albatross. With its 10-foot wingspan, the wandering albatross is a truly immense bird, and South Georgia is home to half the world's population. Under the cover of darkness to avoid predators, an estimated 10 million other seabirds—shearwaters, petrels and prions—return each night to the nest. Most of the small offshore islands are honeycombed with their underground burrows. Now, after an innovative rat eradication program, the South Georgia seabird colony is expected to expand by 100 million birds over the next several years!

Rounding out our Southern Ocean odyssey is a visit to 4 of the legendary Falkland Islands. Sea Lion, Saunders, West Point and Carcass Islands feature photographer-pleasing gentoo and rockhopper penguin colonies and, during our voyage, black-browed albatross colonies are courting at the start of their breeding season. Oystercatchers and steamer ducks parade along the beach, while penguins ride the surf along with black-and-white Commerson's dolphins.

Compelling Reasons To Travel With Us In 2019

The Last Of Its Kind—Our Final Epic South Georgia Voyage

Our 2019 Epic South Georgia voyage will be the last time we offer this incredible exclusively chartered journey! Small ships traveling in the Southern Ocean are quickly being phased out and are being replaced at an alarming rate with much larger vessels carrying hundreds of passengers each. The new ships, their itineraries and proposed shore operations restrictions will not be conducive for great photography, but rather they will cater to the whims of the massive general cruise market. In the coming 3 to 4 years, most ships suitable for in-depth photo tours will be a thing of the past.

Incredibly, nature in all its exuberance will also prohibit visiting many of South Georgia's wildlife-rich locations due to the burgeoning population of tens of thousands of aggressive Antarctic fur seals. In October, during our visit, very few fur seals have come ashore. By November, when they start arriving in massive numbers, the people on shore risk serious fur seal confrontations. The liability risk to tour operators and the Government of South Georgia from these increasing human/seal confrontations will prohibit landings at many of the most beautiful landing sites.

Unparalleled Experience

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris has 30 years of experience offering photography tours to the great wildlife destinations in the Southern Ocean—far more than any other photography tour company that now operates trips to the region. Our trip leaders have worked together for years. Some have led extensive camping expeditions and others have been research scientists in the region. Our combined experience leading trips to South Georgia and Antarctica covers hundreds of voyages. Experience matters when exploring the vast Southern Ocean!

Time, Time And More Time

Our Epic South Georgia trip offers more time at South Georgia than virtually any other voyage! As with our near-legendary Ultimate Antarctica photo cruises, our Epic South Georgia 2019 photography odyssey is an exclusive charter— we direct all aspects of the cruise so photography and wildlife observation are second to no other activity aboard ship. Once at South Georgia, travel time from location to location is very short, so we waste little time in transit. We usually reposition at night. We get you exactly where you need to be for the best photo opportunities—each and every day of your trip.

Our trip offers 10 full days of breathtaking photography at South Georgia—with a luxurious amount of time to spend ashore. We also enjoy 3 days in the Falkland Islands—a destination that is amazing in its own right. During our cruise, participants' photography and wildlife interests shape our plans. On many days we stop at only one landing site, and our photography experience at these locations allows for virtually comprehensive coverage of the seasonal wildlife and rugged snowy landscapes. On these full days with only one landing, logistics will not require all participants to leave the shore, and optional bag lunches extend your shore time (weather permitting).

Small Ship, Fewer Passengers, Great Leaders

Now is the time to visit South Georgia with a comparatively small group aboard a comfortable small research-expedition ship that offers an excellent “platform” for photography. Our ship, the Ushuaia, carries only 76 passengers—small enough that you will get to know most of them. She has lots of outside deck space for bird and landscape photography, a friendly crew, and a group of great seasoned tour leaders traveling on our last epic cruise to the island where Shackleton ended his own epic voyage.

We carry a fleet of Jacques Cousteau-designed Zodiac landing craft, allowing us to set foot on very isolated shores. Perfectly suited to expedition cruising, these nimble craft enable passengers to travel in small groups and facilitate visits to some of the most spectacular wildlife concentrations in the world.

Prime Time For Photography

We are at South Georgia when occasional snowfall on the beaches is likely—the sight of tens of thousands of king penguins in the snow with serrate mountain and towering glacier backgrounds is breathtaking. Southern elephant seals are pupping and the gigantic bull beachmaster seals are locked in titanic combat on the beaches—a spectacular event most late season visitors usually miss! In October, aggressive bull Antarctic fur seals are still mostly at sea, which allows us access (usually impossible later) to nesting areas of gray-headed albatrosses and light-mantled sooty albatrosses. Also in October, Prion Island is open to visitation (it closes in November) and we are there at the prime time to photograph wandering albatrosses.

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No other expedition voyage in the world is dedicated to spending as much time traveling amidst the pristine arctic ice floes in search of polar bears and other wildlife photography opportunities as our Spitsbergen—Jewel of the Arctic photo cruise! This is a unique and absolutely incredible chance to visit the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard and its largest island, Spitsbergen—the most spectacularly photogenic arctic destination on Earth—on a cruise that is totally dedicated to the interests of wildlife and nature photographers. FOR MORE INFORMATION AND BOOKING VISIT OR CALL Joesph Van Os Photo Safaris at 206.258.7834.

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April 27-May 9., 2019 and January 27-February 4, 2019 FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT JOSEPH VAN OS PHOTO SAFARIS

Beautiful Croatia is rapidly becoming recognized as a premier photography tour destination, offering an outstanding combination of timeless unspoiled nature coupled with centuries-old medieval villages and a lively contemporary cultural and gastronomic scene. With its photogenically diverse mainland, dreamy offshore Adriatic archipelago, outstanding national parks and picturesque historic terra cotta-roofed villages, it is no wonder that this tiny country is drawing more and more photographers.

Roughly the size of Ireland or West Virginia, the terrain of Croatia is wonderfully varied with fertile plains, extensive lakes, inspiring waterfalls, densely wooded mountains and pristine beaches. In fact, the Croatian coastline is one of the most indented in the world with more than 1200 islands and islets studding its Adriatic shore. The country extends from the furthest eastern edges of the Alps in its northwest to the banks of the Danube in the east while tracing an arc around much of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

As today’s fastest growing Mediterranean travel destination, Croatia’s gaining popularity is due, in part, to its rich canvas of filming possibilities—probably none more prominent than its featured role in HBO’s Game of Thrones series where the medieval city walls and fort in Dubrovnik became King’s Landing. Other Dubrovnik filming locations include its arboretum used as the Red Keep’s gardens, the Fortress of Klis used for exterior shots of the slave city of Meereen and the Church and Monastery of St. Dominic in Trogir, which appears as the walled city of Qarth.

COMBINE THIS TRIPThis trip can be combined with our Slovenia photo tour May 9–20, 2019.

On this productive Croatia photo tour we have wonderful opportunities to shoot the best of Dubrovnik as we explore its narrow streets, image-beckoning architecture, Old Town street performers, and impressive medieval walls. The island of Hvar—the “longest and sunniest island in Croatia”—provides a pleasant Mediterranean climate in which to stroll along fishing village streets packed with photogenic Renaissance architecture and bustling markets and waterfront. Another outstanding feature of this photography trip is the superlative panoramic waterfalls of Krka and Plitvice Lakes National Parks.

Though tiny Croatia—and its many former Roman, Venetian and Austro-Hungarian incarnations—has been part of a long and turbulent history, it can be said that “everything old is new again.” The Republic of Croatia obtained its recent independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991 following several years of intense conflict. Croatia became a member of NATO in April 2009, and joined the European Union in July 2013. Now its prospects seem very bright and travel to “the Mediterranean as it once was” has never been easier.



It’s been said that exploring the storybook landscapes of timeless Slovenia is like discovering “Europe in miniature.” Slightly smaller than New Jersey and often referred to as "the sunny side of the Alps," the number one reason to have a landscape photography adventure in tiny Slovenia is that it is ridiculously pretty!

Surrounded by Austria, Hungary, Italy and Croatia plus a short stretch of Adriatic coastline, it is the place in Central Europe where the Alps meet the Mediterranean. Slovenia lies at the nexus of four major European biomes—Alpine, Mediterranean, Pannonian lowlands and Dinarides mountains. The country has one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the European Union and currently 13 percent of its territory is protected through nature parks, reserves and natural monuments, while almost 60 percent is covered by forests.

As we photograph our way around Slovenia, we encounter a patchwork of spectacular lakes, majestic mountains, striking waterfalls, alpine meadows, vineyards, bucolic farms and architecturally picturesque villages. To top it off, there seems to be a photogenic fairytale castle perched on every available promontory.

Our group photographs Lake Bled and its iconic church on Bled Island. Lake Bled is one of the most popular places to visit in Slovenia and is arguably one of the most beautiful spots in the whole country. If ever there was a picture postcard setting, this is it!

With a photogenic backdrop of the Julian Alps we capture the tranquil beauty of Lake Bohinj—Slovenia's largest lake—with plenty of time to soak in the dramatic alpine surroundings. We shoot creative long exposures to photographically accentuate the water of fast-flowing rivers and waterfalls at Vintgar Gorge, and travel Slovenia's pastoral scenic byways to shoot traditional hayracks—often artistically designed, handcrafted and regarded as a distinctive form of Slovene architecture.

We linger in the Logarska Valley to photograph the wealth of wildflowers that bloom in May, drive the scenic mountain road overlooking the highest peaks of Kamnik-Savinja Alps, explore the Adriatic coast, and shoot the Secovlje saltpan landscape where we witness production of salt harvested in the time-honored way. Finally we visit the historic capital Ljubljana. From Roman ruins to baroque palaces, the pedestrian-only historic city center provides imagery of its past as well as today's café culture, vibrant riverfront and bustling markets.

Join us on this compelling 11-day Slovenia photo tour to capture an impressive overview of the very best of this small country’s rich landscapes, architecture and culture



Unparalleled opportunities to photograph horses thundering through snowy meadows, against dark pine-covered slopes and jagged mountains are just a fraction of the exceptional photographic potential in our winter photo shoot. Though the horses are our main focus, we also have outstanding chances to photograph all aspects of cowboy life in winter—model-released cowboys working herds of horses in snowy landscapes; during hard-charging and snow-flying action; depicting the adversity of ranch life in winter; and straightforward cowboy portrait sessions! The horses and their cowboys keep us busy all day long—it's the equivalent of two shoots in one! Each day there is an extraordinary range of subjects to please beginners and amateurs, as well as stock and fine arts photographers.

Our setting for this incredible shoot is a magnificent 650,000-acre ranch in Shell, Wyoming. The photogenic vistas of this enormous ranch include the craggy Bighorn Mountains, snowy meadows, slickrock cliffs, polychrome-painted hills, aspen groves and a rushing river. The ranch is home to 1,200 head of cattle, a rugged crew of photogenic cowboys, cowgirls and wranglers and some of the finest ranch horses west of the Mississippi.

Our luxurious ranch accommodations, located at the foot of the Bighorn Mountains, consist of a spacious main lodge surrounded by guest cabins . It's a wonderfully appointed guest ranch for this remote Wyoming location and keeps us warm and cozy between shoots. After an exciting day in the field you can relax and unwind in the hot tub adjacent to the main lodge while flying snow may swirl around your head! The lower level of the lodge houses a library with an inviting fireplace, a large TV and billiards room. The main floor hosts the dinning room and wood burning fireplace—plus spectacular views of the mountains. The top floor is home to the cocktail loft, where guests gather to share stories, review daily digital images, and discuss plans for the next day.

Join us on this exclusive winter shoot to capture the power and majesty of horses in snowy landscapes, striking images of Wild West buckaroos, and to chronicle the uniquely American flavor of the "Cowboy Way."

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