Join Peter Llewellyn for 10 days photographing Brazil’s Pantanal, June 2017
$US3999 per person – accommodation in single room
For shared room discount please contact me at [email protected]
The Pantanal, a UNESCO World Heritage site is one of Peter’s favourite places in the world for wildlife and nature photography. It is an immense tropical wetland, the world’s largest, spanning three countries, Bolivia, Paraguay and the largest section, Brazil. It is the home of hundreds of species of birds along with capybara, caiman, tapir, and jaguar to name but a few. This is one of the best places in the world to view wildlife, the wide open marshes allow much easier observation and photography than the dense tree coverage of the Amazonian regions.
The Pantanal is sparsely populated with no towns, so wildlife has little fear of people making close approaches very easy.
The majority of the photography on this trip will be close to vehicle access and from river boats with a few short walks.
We will stay at two different eco lodges. First will be at Araras, situated about half way along the
Tranpantaneira highway, where we will concentrate on bird photography, including egrets, stork, spoonbills, macaws, toucan and the huge jabiru as well as visiting the tree top towers for the vocal howler monkey population. Araras will also give us the opportunity to photograph the Pantaneiro cowboys working their cattle in the region.
The second location will be at Porto Joffre, near the end of the Transpantaneira highway. This raised dirt road, connected by small wooden bridges winds through the heart of the Pantanal. This area is renowned for it’s jaguar population. These cats, the third largest in the world, can often be seen prowling the river banks and laying in branches of the surrounding trees and are best photographed from the river so the majority of the photography in this location will be from river boats. Our boatmen are extremely adept at spotting jaguar have an innate ability to spot these cats in their camouflaged lairs. Evening trips will often see Jaguar stalking capybara and caiman along the river banks. There are also strong chances of photographing giant river otter and of course the huge variety of birds in the region.
I will be using the the same guide as all my previous trips, Roberto. Roberto speaks fluent English and has an amazing knowledge of the local fauna so is always happy to help with identification problems. He is very experienced at working with photographers and understands our needs to get in the right position for making the best possible images.
After dinner each evening we will review images, and I will run short sessions on working in Lightroom and Photoshop.
Unlike some tours which typically will take 15 or more photographers I limit my groups to a maximum 8 photographers plus tour leader (me!) and our guide.
I have chosen our lodges with great care, having built up a strong relationship with the owners over a number of years. Accommodation is in single rooms, (double rooms for couples are available), and are quiet and comfortable. Food is excellent with a variety of dishes to suit every taste – you will not go hungry on these trips!
Day 1 (May 31)
Depart from home on overnight flights to Saõ Paulo and onward to Cuiabá (PRICE OF AIR FARES NOT INCLUDED IN TRIP PRICE) You will be met at Cuiabá airport and transported to hotel for overnight stay. Dinner tonight is on your own.
Day 2 (June 1)
Meet for breakfast and depart for Tranpantaneira Highway and head for Araras in air conditioned van. We will make regular stops along the highway as we search for the abundant bird life and other fauna along the way. Expect to see thousands of wading birds including jabiru, storks and egrets that congregate on huge flocks. Arrive at Porto Joffre for dinner.
Days 3 – 5 (June 2 – 4)
Bird life abounds at Araras along with hundreds of caiman, capybara, marsh deer, coati and, my personal favourite the howler monkeys. Araras has an amazing tree top tower we will visit to get right up into the canopy to photograph these vocal inhabitants, who will often climb right over to the tower to observe us observing them. There are also good opportunities for brown capuchin monkeys and black-tailed marmoset that inhabit the nearby forest.
There is a resident Blue Macaw that lives and nests in a tree right in the middle of the lodge grounds!
We will also have an opportunity to visit a nearby working ranch to observe the Pantaneiro cowboys showing their amazing horse skills as they work their cattle.
Day 5 (pm June 5)
On the afternoon of day 5 we will travel in our air conditioned van right down to the end of the Transpantaneiro highway to our second lodge at Porto Joffre, again stoping along the way at photo opportunities. Our hotel is situated right on the Cuiaba River so expect to be shooting great images from the moment we arrive.
Day 6 – 9 (June 6 – 8)
Days 6 – 9 will be spent mainly on the water giving our best opportunities for spotting Jaguar, often at quite close range and the other abundant wildlife along the rivers. we will work from small nimble boats that can get right up to the river banks. We will also be searching for the endangered giant river otters that inhabit these waters. These are the largest otters in the world reaching lengths in excess of 5 feet and live in family groups of around eight animals. They have been on the endangered species list since 1999 and the Pantanal is the best place in the world to view this amazing animal.
Short walks around the lodge itself also provide abundant photo opportunities.
Day 10 (June 9)
Early morning departure back up the Trans Pantaneiro highway to Cuiaba to connect with afternoon flights to Saõ Paulo and onward journeys home.
What to bring
- This trip is suited to DSLR users and is not suitable to point and shoot cameras. I recommend a minimum of a 300mm telphoto lens. Mirrorless cameras with interchageable lenses are also ideal. A teleconverter (recommended 1.4x) will add to your available opportunities. An ideal lens for these trips is the Canon 100-400 zoom or the Nikon 80-400 zoom. If you would like further advise on camera systems or lenses please don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected]
- In addition to telephoto lenses ensure you also have a wide angle available. There are some amazing sky formations and great landscape opportunities. Doe to the absence of artificial lights we will also spend at least one evening shooting the night sky and possible try our hand at light painting.
- Tripod and possible a monopod
- Flash and spare batteries
- Spare batteries and plenty of memory cards plus don’t forget your charger and card reader
- As we are working a lot near water a polarizing filter is a good accessory
- A laptop computer is good for image critiques and Photoshop/Lightroom sessions. Bring a second portable hard drive if you have one for backup of images
- Multiple plug adaptor for Brazil
- Clothing needs to be light – bring waterproofs for both yourselves and your cameras as we can expect some rain showers during the trip.
- Good footwear for the short walks and light footwear for the boat trips.
Remember we are a long way from any centre for the purchase of anything you have forgotten!