What to Expect
We arranged this trip with photography in mind and will be visiting places in which we have had the greatest photographic success in the past. Our goal is to make sure that you come home with photos that you are proud of and that you have fun while taking them. We will do whatever we can to help you build your skills and are always eager to hear your questions and to learn from everyone.
To ensure that our guests have the best chance for success we will limit the number of participants to six. This trip will be led by Greg Lavaty along with our local guide who we have worked with for many years. We are knowledgeable about the birds and experienced photographers. We will use this knowledge not only to locate interesting species but to get you into good position to obtain great photos. Our goal is not to list the largest number of species but to obtain quality photos of those species that we do encounter. This means that we are happy to spend more time with an accommodating bird in order to maximize photographic opportunities even though it means we may not see all of the birds possible. Of course we do all we can to make sure we don’t miss the really fancy species.
This trip is not intended to be strenuous though to get the most of it you should be able to tolerate moderate exertion. We will do some walks into the habitats we visit but the pace will be slow and we don’t typically cover much distance. Much of this trip will be conducted very near our van or by boat.
The climate in the Pantanal in August is typically hot and dry with temperatures during the middle of the day reaching 100F. Our vehicle will have air conditioning so if you get hot you will be welcome to cool off as needed though most of our photography will take place in the mornings and evenings when temperatures are more comfortable. We have chosen comfortable accommodations with air conditioning and good food. Typically we take a little siesta after lunch so we can be comfortable during the hottest hours.
Though rain is unusual during this time of year it is always a good idea to pack your rain gear and as crazy as it sounds some warm clothes. During one visit we encountered some freak cool, wet weather and definitely needed both a jacket and rain gear.
Insects (mosquitoes and such) are typically not a problem though they may be encountered. Clothes treated with insecticide/repellent are not a bad idea; (especially with the potential of Zika) I haven’t regretted bringing along a bottle of insect repellant along yet.
As far as gear is concerned I find that a long telephoto lens is usually a good idea. I prefer to use a 500mm f/4 lens as it lets in enough light to get reasonable shutter speeds in the wooded areas without requiring excessively high ISO settings. It also gives enough magnification that a reasonable amount of detail can be captured of even the small birds. Since our pace is generally pretty slow it isn’t a problem to work from a tripod. I have found that a telephoto zoom lens such as a 70-300mm, 100-400mm or 150-600mm lens is quite useful on this trip as much of the wildlife is big and approachable and the ability to zoom out can be quite useful. The scenery in the Pantanal isn’t the most impressive that I have seen but I still find it useful to carry a wider angle lens like a 16-35mm or 24-70mm lens to take advantage of the landscapes and people photography opportunities. On one visit the Pink Trumpet Trees were all in bloom and I was happy that I had a wider lens to capture some of the beauty.
We do usually try to offer the opportunity to do a few after dark excursions. We do carry a spotlight but it is probably a good idea for you to bring a small flash light so you can see where you are going if you decide to join us at night.