This year’s trip to Ecuador produced some wonderful photo “opps” despite some unexpected rainy weather. Fortunately, when it did rain, my group was in such a position that they could still get some wonderful images by either being up in the tower shooting the Tamarin monkeys, oropendolas, yellow-rumped caciques or on the veranda-dining room area shooting the tanagers, leaf-ants, exotic bugs & flowers of the Napo Lodge located in the rainforest, or on the covered patio of the Sachatamia Lodge up in the cloud forest photographing booted-racket-tail, rufous-tailed, velvet-purple coronet hummingbirds, or the golden & blue-winged mountain tanagers. Actually having the overcast, cloudy days was a good thing as it filtered out the harsh light & eliminated the mottled light in the rainforest allowing us to shoot all day long.
We had plenty of opportunity to shoot from our canoes, which wasn’t easy, but very ‘do-able’. Months before I had sent the management of the lodge some ‘specs’ & suggestions for a beanbag setup to help photographers in the canoes shoot with the big lenses. Even though my spanish is pretty bad & my knowledge of the local indian dialect absolutely zero they managed to come up with bits and pieces of my suggested ‘specs’. Thanks to our wonderful guide and paddlers we found some wonderful new birds, like the Giant Potoo and her chick,
the Green & Rufous Kingfisher, and also the deadly poisonous viper, Fer-de-lance. None of us could see this snake, even after our guide, Giovanie, pointed it out with his infra-red laser light, pulling away some twigs that blocked the view. If I’d even had a clue what the snake was or how dangerous it was, I would have strongly discouraged his actions. However, even though I couldn’t see a thing through the dark foliage, but not wanting to hurt his feelings after all his efforts to show us his prize, I just picked up my camera with the 500mm lens on, set the flash at zero, pointed in the general direction of his laser beam and shot three frames. I was stunned at what I saw on the laptop that evening, and even more impressed that there was an image that was even somewhat in focus.
There is a lot to be said for the digital capture these days. (Yes, Joanne Williams is ‘coming around’ & liking digital more and more---as it improves---and I improve!) …still like slides better!
The jungles of Ecuador are full of exotic frogs, snakes, insects, birds, mammals & flowers. I became enchanted with the few frogs, leaf ants & insects I’d seen the year before. However Giovani’s brother came to know this tidbit will forever remain a mystery to me, but one day he presented me with a zip-lock bag containing a little water, some leaves and sticks. Upon closer inspection, I discovered six species of the tiniest little frogs I’d ever seen.
The colors of a few were fantastic while the others were almost transparent. In another bag of goodies was a Whip snake,
and a few other critters I can’t identify. My group included an eleven year old budding photographer, Jay, whose grandparents gave him (and themselves) memories he’ll cherish for a lifetime by including him in this tour. (Plus enough data, photos and information to give him straight A’s in numerous school subjects & essays or compositions for years to come!). Only problem having Jay along was he “horned in” on my frogs & snakes probably taking better pictures with his point and shoot…probably because he was able to get closer to the ground than I could. For awhile there I was only eleven too (mentally)!! We surely did have fun that afternoon. Hopefully, I’ll soon have these new images up on my website for you all to enjoy: www.joannewilliamsphoto.com
DISCOVERY COVE :
If you absolutely cannot go on one of my photo tours, and you are visiting or living in the Orlando area, and you want some images of beautiful birds from Africa, The Pantanal in Brazil, Ecuador and many other parts of the world, visiting the Discovery Cove area at Sea World is a must treat for you. My friend and ‘bird mentor’, Sherry Branch, is the head bird curator for Sea World-Orlando, and was more than responsible and/or instrumental in the creation of one of the finest aviaries in this country, if not the world. As a matter of fact, there is no other aviary like this one. Sherry, with help from her trained & skilled staff, spent months and months working with their avian friends creating “people-friendly” subjects. Great care was given to have natural looking perches amongst the foliage minimizing the “cage affect”. Before I left for Ecuador, Sherry invited me to spend the day photographing her special world. I walked in carrying my 500mm lens and tripod, but quickly realized the birds were so tame, I’d be lucky if the 28-135mm lens wasn’t too big!!! For the first fifteen or twenty minutes, I just didn’t know where to point my lens as there were so many opportunities and so many fabulous subjects. A few examples are the Vulturine Guineafowl, Emerald Toucanet, Lady Ross’ Turaco, Racquet-tailed Roller, Bleeding Heart Dove, Gouldian Finch, White-throated Bee-eater, Inca Tern, Jambu Fruit Dove, and too many more to try and mention. All the staff were friendly & helpful, as were the feathery occupants. I was able to use flash & and if I needed to, a tripod. It was a wonderful day!
PANTANAL, BRAZIL PHOTO TOUR 2007:
As stated in my last newsletter, the June 3—16th tour is SOLD OUT! Due to overwhelming interest in photographing & wildlife and nature watching in this area of the world, I’m offering “back to back” tours. This is a great opportunity for those already on tour #1, as they will be saving a lot of money on the airfare, and a great opportunity for those who missed out on tour #1 or that those dates were not good times for them. June 17th thru June 30th are the new dates. Thus far I have four spaces available.
For those of you who haven’t read my newsletters expounding on the incredible photo and/or viewing “opps” this part of the world has to offer, or visited my website’s Pantanal gallery and seen the many wonderful images I was able to make, you really should take the time………..
Go to: www.joannewilliamsphoto.com A few facts: The Pantanal is the largest in-land wetland in the world. It is an unparalleled wildlife sanctuary of spectacular beauty, and an ecological paradise. The biodiversity of the region is extremely rich with 260 species of fish, and 650 species of birds calling this area home, including the endangered & rare hyacinth macaw.
Millions of migratory birds winter in the Pantanal. Mammals, such as the giant anteater, howler and capuchin monkeys, endangered ocelot, jaguar, and giant river otter, capybaras, crab-eating foxes, and tapirs reside in this area. The Pantanal tour takes place in the Brazilian portion of the wetland on a few of the huge, privately owned ranches that encompass 98% of all this inland wetland. Due to the various ecosystems, climate, and geographical makeup, the varied and quantities of species of wildlife and fauna is enormous; so much so that sometimes it’s overwhelming because you aren’t sure which way to point your camera or binoculars! This is the “primo” time of the year, and the best month for seeing and photographing it all. Again, visit my website www.joannewilliamsphoto.com for more specifics. Come Join Us on this wonderful journey into a rarely visited, still relatively pristine, unspoiled part of our world. To reserve your space send a non-refundable $500.00 check to:
Joanne Williams Photography, Inc. 2237 NE 30th St. Lighthouse Point, Florida 33064 Total trip cost is $5,400.00 (single supplement is $1,000.00)
Tour includes: Accommodations and meals Vans & English speaking, knowledgeable driver/guides Photo instruction and/or assistance upon request Airport transfers to & from lodges Park Fees Two Night Drives (may add-on more night drives at your own expense) Tour Does Not Include: Tips for driver, guides, & staff personnel, Airline tickets, Personal items (liquor, drinks, gifts)
“KEEP YOUR APERTURE YOUR PRIORITY”!!!!!!
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 41,000 (and growing-hourly)!