Horses & Icons of the Wild West in Winter

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The cowboy life affirms the words of Winston Churchill: "There's something about the outside of a horse that's good for the inside of a man." From the moment humans first encountered horses, they have been respected and revered as symbols of freedom and power. Indeed, the relationship of man to these noble beasts has done more to change human history than any other domestic animal. And in America, it is the image of the cowboy, along with his gallant horse, that is the foremost icon of the Wild West.
"We enjoyed this great trip: lovely surroundings, top notch accommodations, skilled wranglers, terrific food and staff. There were excellent photographic opportunities daily and it will take weeks to sort through all the great photos we captured. "
- C. Grenier
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.
Cowboy hat and bootsOur 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 dining room and a 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."


Check out Jeff Vanuga's trip report from our 2019 tour.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 (Feb 16)
Fly to Cody, Wyoming. A 1-hour shuttle transfer from Cody to The Hideout in Shell departs at approximately 1 PM and is included in the tour fee. We meet for orientation and dinner. (D)

Days 2–6
We've scheduled two incredible horse drives each day of our shoot—utilizing the best light of the morning and evening (overcast conditions may prevail during winter—and snow is never a guarantee). Depending on snow conditions, each drive is in a different area of the ranch. We photograph extensive action as horses hurtle through flying snow. We won't forget the human element as we include our cowboys during the horse drives. The cowboys work the horses in groups and individually, and we illustrate the harsh conditions associated with a cowboy's life in winter. Between the action, we offer portrait sessions with the cowboys in their winter gear. The tack and saddle room are opened up and we have our pick of a variety of photogenic props for detail work, too. This is a chance to photograph a wide variety of still-life symbols of the American West. There are plenty of opportunities to shoot tight on hard-charging cowboys as well as to shoot loose, getting the classic shot of the lonely cowboy riding homeward on an endless snowbound plain. (BLD)

Day 7 (Feb 22)
Transfer by ranch shuttle to Cody Airport in time for flights home. (B)

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Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris Enrollment Information

Horses & Icons of the Wild West in Winter

Feb 16, 2020 - Feb 22, 2020

A deposit and completed and signed Registration Form are required to reserve a place for you on a Joseph Van Os Photo Safari.


All prices are quoted in US dollars and all payments must be paid in US dollars. For deposits only, we accept Visa, MasterCard or American Express. Final payment of the trip fee is due 120 days priors to departure and must be paid by check or bank transfer. Trip deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable.

We must receive written notice of your cancellation, at which time cancellation fees in the following amounts apply:

If Written Cancellation is Received:
90 days or prior:
89 to 61 days prior:
60 or fewer days:
Cancellation Fee:
100% of deposit
50% of trip fee
100% of trip fee

No partial refunds are made for unused portions or services of a trip for any reason whatsoever. Trips are sold as a package only. This policy also applies to tour extensions and independent travel arrangements. Cancellation fees are not transferable.

Protect your travel investment and purchase a trip insurance policy that includes emergency evacuation coverage. A trip insurance brochure will be sent with your enrollment confirmation.

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris are within the capabilities of average people in good health. Some of these trips require the capability of walking for several miles over uneven trails, stepping from a small boat to a wave-washed rocky beach, flying in small planes and helicopters, and occasionally hiking at high elevations—all while carrying an assortment of camera equipment. If you have concerns about your own capabilities and/or fitness as it relates to a trip, please inquire with our office before reserving a space. By forwarding a signed Registration Form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other trip participants and you agree to inform our office in writing if changes in your health occur any time prior to the tour. We reserve the right to request a doctor's statement of good health. The company's or trip leader's judgment shall provide the ultimate determination of an individual's ability to embark upon or to continue a trip. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements. “Meatless” meals are normally available at most locations. Due to the remote nature of many photo locations, and the growing diversity of today’s dietary trends, participants requiring special food items are encouraged to bring their own.

Tour members are asked to refrain from smoking with or near the group.

Participants will receive three emails before the trip departs: 1. Initial Tour Information sheet confirms the deposit and provides pre-departure information. 2. Invoice/Practical Information provides clothing and photo gear recommendations, climate data, applicable health advisories and reading list. Visa information will also be included (if applicable). 3. Final Tour Information includes arrival instructions, itinerary revisions (if any), hotel addresses, trip telephone contact information and participant list. We provide the trip leader's telephone number(s) and/or e-mail address with final documents so you can inquire about special photographic questions you may have regarding your trip. We welcome your calls or e-mail messages to

Information supplied upon enrollment describes the specific costs that are included in your trip fee. Generally these costs include lodging in double room occupancy, all meals (specified in the itinerary as BLD denoting breakfast, lunch or dinner), ground transportation during the trip in vans or small busses, air transportation as specified, meal and baggage tipping, and guide services provided by the trip leaders. Not included are airfare or other transportation from your home to the trip staging location, airport departure taxes, insurance, alcoholic beverages and bar expenses (plus bottled water and soft drink expenses on international tours outside of North America), tips and gratuities to local guides abroad, phone calls, passport or visa expenses, laundry or items of a personal nature. Gratuities to Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris trip leaders are optional and always appreciated. Rates are based on group tariffs; if the trip does not have sufficient registration, a small party supplement may be charged.

Single accommodations are available for a supplemental cost in many locations; see the pre-departure trip information or call our office for details. You will be charged the single supplement fee if you desire single accommodations or if you wish to have a roommate, but one is not available. In some remote locations, clients with single rooms are infrequently compelled to share a room due to circumstances beyond our control. In such cases, appropriate per diem refunds will be made reflecting the direct cost of the single room at the facility where clients are required to share. There is no additional single supplement fee on ship-based cruises, if you request a roommate and one is not available.

Cost increases may occur unexpectedly due to rising costs of airfares, ground transport, fuel surcharges, accommodations and currency fluctuations, among others. Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. may be compelled to amend prices, and we reserve the right to do so without prior notice. An increase in trip prices shall not be sufficient grounds for any refund of funds paid for the trip other than as determined by the terms of our cancellation policy.

Whenever possible, our trip participants are lodged in comfortable, modern hotels. We select among the best available accommodations, but refrain from extravagance. Some interesting photographic destinations are far removed from modern amenities, however, and where necessary we will be accommodated in rustic country inns, cabins or tented camps.

Meals are always a special part of our trips for the camaraderie they engender and the opportunity they provide to try new foods from different areas. Depending on the trip and specific locale, participants order restaurant meals from the full menu or, less frequently, table d'hôte. Some trips include picnic lunches in the field. Fruit juice for breakfast and coffee or tea are included with the meals. Soft drinks are included with meals on tours within North America. Participants are responsible for their own bar tab (including bottled water, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages on tours outside of North America) at restaurant lunches and dinners.

Our itineraries are intended as examples only. Participants should allow for flexibility due to changes in weather, natural history or cultural events, or other logistical arrangements deemed necessary by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. or our leaders.

The second tour leader (and any subsequent additional leaders) listed for each trip on the website will be added as the group size warrants. If only one space remains on a trip, and logistics permit, we accept two persons traveling together, even if it exceeds the trip maximum.

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. and/or their Agents act only as agents for the passenger in regard to travel including, but not limited to, sightseeing, meals, lodging, transportation, and all other services whether by railroad, motorcar, motor coach, boat, ship or aircraft and they assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity which may be occasioned either by reason of defect in any vehicle or for any reason whatsoever, or through the acts or default of any company or person engaged in conveying the passenger or in carrying out the arrangements of the trip.

They can accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay or changes in air or other services, sickness, weather, strike, war, volcanic eruption, terrorist acts, political unrest, quarantine or other causes. All such losses or expenses will have to be borne by the passenger, as trip fees provide for arrangements only for the times and locations stated. Baggage is at the owner's risk entirely.

The right is reserved to 1) substitute hotels of similar category for those indicated and to make any changes in the itinerary or transport where deemed necessary, or caused by changes in air schedules or equipment substitution; 2) cancel any trip prior to departure, in which case full refund of the paid trip funds will be given, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. is not responsible for any other trip preparation expenses such as penalized or non-refundable air tickets, visa fees and medical related expenses; 3) substitute trip leader(s) for the leader(s) originally specified, in which case the substitution is not a basis for participant cancellation or refund other than provided by our normal cancellation policy; or 4) accept or retain any person as a member of any trip.

Trip prices are based on tariffs and exchange rates in effect at the time of publication and are subject to adjustment in the event of any change therein.

A Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section must be signed by each participant prior to the commencement of the trip. Participation by any trip member will be declined in the absence of the signed Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section, with no trip fee refund. No modification to the Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section will be accepted.

Should Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., or anyone acting on their behalf be required to incur attorney's fees and costs to enforce this agreement, the enrolling trip participant(s) agree(s) to indemnify and hold them harmless for all such fees and costs. In the event a lawsuit is filed, the enrolling participant(s) agree(s) to do so solely in the County of Lewis in the State of Washington. Certain ship owners require the use of pre-printed ticket forms that limit the ship owner's and operator's liability. When such tickets are used, the passenger is bound by the terms of these tickets with respect to the passenger's legal relationship to the owners and operators of the ship, their agents (Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc.), and the ship's crew.

Horses & Icons of the Wild West in Winter: Easy Activity Level

Trip Details
Feb 16 - Feb 22, 2020
Fee: $4,695 from Cody, Wyoming
Deposit: $500
Limit: 12 participants
Activity Level: Easy
  • Photograph model-released cowboys as they carry out duties of the ranch life in winter
  • Focus on stampeding horses with dramatic red rock and snow-covered mountain backgrounds
  • Create cowboy portraits and iconic still-life images
  • Upscale accommodations at a Wyoming guest ranch reserved for our exclusive use
Tour Leaders
Eric Rock

Eric Rock

"This was an amazing photography experience, Great location with a staff that really worked to make food and lodging excellent. The wranglers went far beyond expectations providing many opportunities shoot horses running, horses running without riders, horse and people portraits, still life in the tac room, dogs running with the horses, etc. Our leader worked as hard as the staff and the wranglers. He was always teaching and putting us in just the right place."
—R. Hasty
"I would highly recommend this trip for anyone interested in photography! I had a blast on this trip - everyone on the staff went out of their way to make sure we were all having a fabulous time. The accommodations were great - the lodge has everything you could want (including a hot tub). The meals were some of the best I have had. And the instructor would check throughout the time that we were shooting to make sure you didn't have any questions. I learned a lot, had a wonderful time, and made some friends! "
—A. Pearce