If you like the idea of having superb opportunities to photograph some of South America’s most spectacular wildlife as well as being taught exactly how to do it, then join me on what I can guarantee to be one of the most memorable experiences of your life.
The Pantanal region of Brazil is a pristine wilderness of marsh, savannah and forest the size of England. It is home to over 600 species of birds and a wealth of terrestrial wildlife such as capybara, jaguar, monkeys, deer and caiman, by the million. During the dry season the wildlife concentrates around ever decreasing water holes meaning we have superb photographic opportunities getting very, very close to the wildlife. It is the perfect place to master wildlife photography because it is open and bright and the wildlife is at a low level, not hidden in the tree canopy as in other areas of South America.
The Pantanal Tour with David Plummer is limited to just six places to guarantee close supervision and an enhanced personal experience.
The tour encompasses two regions of the Pantanal; the south, and the northern Pantanal. The southern region increases our chances of photographing ocelot, giant ant-eater and burrowing owls. The north, encompasses the more typical Pantanal biodiversity including jaguar and giant river otters. Throughout the tour, we shall stay at a number of spectacular Pantanal lodges, each set in a slightly varied habitat and offering different highlights.
This tour also incorporates over three full days searching for Jaguars and staying in the remote Three Brother’s State Park; this area is incredibly dense in jaguars, and, as such is an incredible tour to take if you are desperate to see and photograph the most elusive big cat in the world. In 2014 we spotted and photographed 16 individual jaguars; and, indeed, since 2006 David Plummer has a 100% record in photographing jaguars on these tours. Please not that the remote nature of the jaguar area unfortunately significantly increases the cost of this tour as well as the single supplement.
The aim on this tour is to learn the art and skills of wildlife photography and to become fully proficient and confident with your camera. This is not a normal photographic safari offered by other travel companies involving merely driving to a photographic location and being left to your own devices. I must also stress that this tour is not for those who merely want to photograph a species and then move on and find the next subject. We shall be spending considerable time trying to obtain the best possible images and sometimes even returning to a location to do it all again. Certainly, if we find a jaguar, we shall be waiting with our prize for as long as possible.
All camera skills will be taught, from basic handling to advanced metering and exposure control. We will also concentrate on getting very close to wildlife, sometimes shooting from a vehicle, boat or just lying down in the mud of a waterhole! The subject matter in this location is endless and sometimes things will be happening all around you – no sooner has a kingfisher plunged to catch a fish than an otter will poke his head up through drifting rafts of water hyacinth. This aspect can sometimes feel daunting but the key is to relax and take your time, after all you are on holiday as well!
Most days will usually start early to arrive at a suitable spot to shoot the sunrise followed by fieldwork. Mid-morning will potentially be a time for theory lessons. The middle of the day with its heat and harsh light will allow a little time to relax and recover from the early start, but the afternoon will comprise of an exciting activity such as a boat trip to photograph giant river otters.
Once the sun has gone down, we can opt to go on a night safari in search of owls, ocelots, tapirs and maybe jaguars!
On this tour you will stay four nights in the main Jaguar area. This is set in a remote region of the Pantanal on the confluence of three rivers and their many tributaries. The region is an overlapping area of many jaguar territories and is providing remarkable statistics for sightings; between the months of July to October for the last 8 years an average of 1.5 jaguars have been seen each day by researchers and visitors, this is a phenomenon! You will never have an opportunity like this to see, let alone photograph, this cat.
Accommodation and transport
Accommodation is on the banks of the river in the prime location for jaguars and your days are spent in radio linked aluminium boats travelling the waterways searching for our magnificent quarry. There is less time to observe other wildlife as we must make the most of our search time. If a jaguar is spotted we shoot from the boat and I can guarantee if you see a jaguar you will be left breathless and probably unable to sleep for a couple of nights afterwards!
You will need either a digital SLR camera. I recommend a lens of up to 400 or 500mm. One of the advantages of the Pantanal region is it is very bright and fortunately the lens does not need to be that fast so a zoom lens is suitable. Advice will be given about equipment purchases before the trip.
Who this tour is for:
- If you are eager to develop your skills in true wildlife photography
- If you don’t mind getting up at 5am! (not every day though)
- You are not obsessed with merely finding the rarest creatures; often the best learning experiences are to be had spending time with the more common and obliging species.
- You want to spend prolonged periods of time with some of the most iconic wildlife of South America
Who this tour is NOT for:
- If you merely want to take just a couple of shots of one species and then move on to the next; this is most definitely not a STOP, PHOTOGRAPH and GO tour. This tour is about wildlife photography not about racking up species lists.
Dates and prices
Please contact me to pre-book or for further information Email David Plummer or phone 07957 484 737 or 01273 494 753
- Close ups with caiman
- Giant river otters
- Jaguars – 100% in 9 years!
- Photographing magnificent birds such as hyacinth macaw and toco toucan.
- Group sizes are to be small, around 6 to allow close supervision. The course is for all photographic levels from beginner to advanced.
- Accommodation is at simple working fazendas and eco-lodges. They are extremely clean and the food is fantastic.