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June 25,2024


Newsletter # 104


So. American Coati

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks






The Pantanal, Brazil
June 2010 Tour
Part II





My “Recon Tour”

After I bid my clients a fond-farewell and safe trip back home, I began my ten-day “Recon Tour”. I’m always hunting for, searching for & exploring new areas for new adventures, new wildlife & new experiences to take my groups on IF I like what I see & think it is something my groups would enjoy. On my ‘recon tours’ (to Africa, Madagascar, Ecuador, Brazil or even the USA), I rely heavily on the advice of my hand-picked-by-me, trained, experienced guides. This additional Brazilian ‘recon tour’ was totally fabulous thanks to the wisdom, experience, knowledge & expertise of my friend & guide.







I flew in a private Cessna over the vast lands of the Pantanal, which was a breathtakingly beautiful experience. It really gave me a far better understanding of this giant wetland. I spent a few days flying from one private ranch/lodge to another located deep within the center of these thousands and thousands of hectors (acres) of ranchland & wetland. As their guest, I was given the ‘red carpet treatment’ allowing me to see first hand what my groups would experience. Spending time with the owners of these giant, huge, enormous working ranches (most having been in their families for generations) helped me learn & understand ranching, Brazilian-style, raising & the type of cattle (Nelore cow), the Pantaneiro horse, which is a breed found mainly in the Mato Grosso area of the Pantanal.





While driving along out in the middle of one area of a huge ranch, we were taken totally off guard when suddenly hundreds of Black-bellied Whistling ducks launched themselves a few yards from the vehicle! The So. American Coati is abundant in these areas, and I’m sure a fine meal for the many jaguars roaming about. I learned a little bit about deforestation, and the problems associated with that—both economically & politically. From what I could glean, most everyone I talked with (I don’t speak Portuguese—yet—but my guide speaks English beautifully & translated in detail) seemed committed to the wildlife (tracking & protecting jaguars for example and so much more.) Yes, they understand that the wildlife can be economically an advantage to their lives, but I don’t care what motivates people to protect it, as long as they do it!! It isn’t a perfect world, which we all know first hand, especially these days, but I discovered some wonderful places for future tours, and met some outstanding people. I gained a better understanding about the lifestyle of the people living in the Pantanal area of Brazil, and more about Brazil itself. I am so excited about my experiences that I’m flying back for a ‘deeper, more in-depth look-see & recon’ for 16 days in September right after I return from my African excursion August 31 st. That ought to tell you something about the new ‘treasures I found’ in the Pantanal!!


The Search for the perfect “Beija-Flor” Hotspot:

I don’t think I know of any wildlife & nature photographer that doesn’t love hummingbirds (beija-flores) & who hasn’t almost lost their mind trying to get the perfect shot! Before you can get the perfect shot, you have to find the perfect spot (& I’m becoming convinced there is no such thing or that they are few & far between), then you need the perfect angle, the perfect perch, the perfect background, the perfect light & on and on it goes…I, personally, am not interested in all the fancy setups that many of my peers are into (with multiple flashes & lights, fake backgrounds etc.) as I’m just too lazy to lug all that stuff around as well as all my camera gear too. So, I’m in search of the Perfect natural means of photographing the ‘beija-flores’ of Brazil, and I’ll probably go to my grave trying. However, I have had some success (once or twice) so, optimistically, I keep looking.


The latest quest took me to some of the most beautiful scenics & little towns in and around an area called the Atlantic Forest on the East Coast of the country. I am told that the biodiversity of this forest is greater than any other area on this earth! I am also informed that the area has the highest number of species of hummingbirds in the Americas. These images here were photographed with my Canon EOS 1D Mark 11n, 500mm IS lens, on a Gitzo carbon-fiber tripod with the Wimberly ballhead, the 580 flash at -1 1/3 strength.







Just the driving alone is a spectacular experience, as we wind our way through forests of Melaleuca trees, plush green rolling hills of banana & coffee plantations dotted with colorful roofs of the various homes, then on down to the lowlands of miles & miles of sugar cane and corn fields. We continue on in an easterly direction and finally land on the coastal area driving along viewing quaint fishing boats &beautiful beaches. Suddenly a small, colorful little village pops up. Brazilians love color!!

They also love their ‘football’ (or soccer games), as shown by this image of a group of fans riding through their town of Santa Teresa dressed in their yellow & green colors blaring music and cheers. During this year’s World Cup soccer tournament, I learned not to plan on much of anything during the time Brazil is on the field. The whole country comes to a standstill. Banks, businesses, & shops all close down and the ‘party is on’!! I became somewhat alarmed driving through the city of Campo Grande (population approx. 800,000 or more) on the way to drop my clients at the airport for their trip home. The streets were empty, not a vehicle was moving except ours—it felt like I was part of H.G.Wells’ novel “War of the Worlds—or that there had been some disastrous event announced and everyone had fled-except us! I began to wonder if the planes would fly, or if there were any pilots working. Two minutes after the games were over (& Brazil had won), chaos prevailed!!!







This final image is of the view from my room where I stayed in this quaint, quiet (except during football), seaside village. The whole experience has me looking forward to my return “Recon Mission ”. I will be scheduling at least one tour—hopefully two, or maybe even three-- for next year in and around the May & June months (when the weather is the best, the wildlife bountiful, & the tourist season hasn’t begun yet). Destinations will be definitely the Pantanal area, with other areas announced at a later date. As it stands right now, I have four individuals on the ‘definite list’. Keep that in mind if you are even remotely interested.

Safe travels, happy shooting & “Keep Your Aperture Your Priority”!!!





If you are interested in any of my tours, click on their corresponding link below:



Photo Researchers, Editors, and Publishers:

As stated in previous newsletters, at no obligation to you, send me a “want list” of images you are looking for that may coincide with a trip I’m about to take, or have recently taken, and I’ll do my very best to seek out that subject and shoot it with your request in mind. This may save you some expense, give me a specific mission and possibly a sale of that image. It’s a ‘win, win situation’!

A quick reminder that my library of 35mm original slides houses approximately 75,000 images, and my digital library presently holds over 100,000 (and growing-hourly)!

My website holds an in-depth Stock Shop for your quick review: www.joannewilliamsphoto.com



Photographic Accessories

The Better Beamer Flash Extender

For telephoto lenses from 300mm on up only $45.00 each

More Info





Specifications & Functions

  • Reduces battery drain
  • Weighs 2 1/2 ounces
  • Easy to use
  • Fits in your shirt pocket
  • Flash reaches greater distances (about 500 ft.) w/smaller aperture
  • Fresnel lens stays in place with sturdy side-arms

"Keep Your Aperture Your Priority"


Fishing Boat

Santa Theresa on World Cup Day


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