There is still time and there are still a few spots left on this incredible adventure, as shown in my TV series Travels to the Edge.
The Pantanal offers a wetland environment like no other on the planet. At 54,000 square miles you could hide the whole of the Florida Everglades in the center and never find them. It’s no secret that I love photographing wildlife and the Pantanal offers some of the best avian photography anywhere. While the Amazon rain forest may be larger, the Pantanal has a concentration of wildlife that allows you to see (and photograph) 100 times more birds and animals than you ever would in the Amazon. I chose the Pantanal for my TV show for this very reason.
You will have the chance to photograph capybaras and caimans and many of the 400 species of birds that live in the Pantanal. Nearly a quarter of these birds weighing in at over a pound (1.6kg) – which is a pretty big bird when you stop to think about it. We may even get to see Giant Otters (big as a grown man) and Giant Anteaters. If you’ve seen the episode of “Travels to the Edge” from this region you have some idea of what you’ll be in store for. But don’t worry, when it comes to the caimans, we’ll keep a respectful distance (this time).
Through traveling to photograph wildlife, I have been blessed with getting to know some of the most interesting and diverse cultures around the world. For this tour, I have scheduled visits to two working Brazilian ranches so we can get a taste of what it is like to pull a living from this land and call it home. To visit a country without getting to know the people is an incomplete story for me. There is so much to be learned from others who share this earth with us but have different perspectives and unique viewpoints. Seeing the challenges they face can bring a new perspective to our own lives.
And if you’re not hooked yet… on my previous trips I have stumbled across a very remote corner of the Pantanal where there is an incredible opportunity to see Jaguars in the wild. This particular group has become habituated to seeing people much like some of the lion troops you would see on safari in Africa and they no longer instinctively retreat and hide in the dense forest. It may take a while to swallow your heart back down from the middle of your throat, but seeing a Jaguar in the wild is a experience you will never forget.
Early May is a great time to catch the migrating shorebirds as they fly up the coast from California, or the Pacific Flyway as it is called. Sanderlings, dunlins, and other assorted shorebirds pause for a couple of weeks at Bowerman Basin in Grays Harbor on the Olympic Peninsula. Boardwalks provide great access. When the tides are high, and there are no exposed mud flats, all the birds are densely packed together. It is quite the spectacle to see a million birds in a tight area. Also, if there happens to be a bird of prey near, they fly around in tight bundles turning in all directions with great precision. It looks like many bodies, but one brain operating them all. It is definitely worth a trip out to the coast if you are in the Pacific Northwest in those two weeks.
The Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival is May 4-6 this year:
I just finished my weekend workshop called “Composing Effective Images – Field Edition”. I love teaching and inspiring others. In the process of the workshop, I get inspired, too.
I just had to make one more trek up to the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary in British Columbia yesterday.
I know I am indulging a bit with the Snowy Owls, but in all fairness, they are magnificent creatures and this event happens so infrequently, that I just can’t resist.
Thank you to all the students this weekend for your participation, enthusiasm and inspiration. Enjoy this days shooting.