After FAQs About Wildlife Photography in the Amazon - Part I, here is the second part where rather than provide an exhaustive list of all my equipment, I will break it down by category. Exhaustive equipment reviews and “tips, tricks and techniques” have been written about, so I’ll just include one or two personal insights I have gleaned from my experience for each category,
|Canon MPE-65mm||Canon MT-24EX twin flash||Canon 12mm Ext. tubes|
|Canon 100mm f/2.8 L||Olympus ST-F8 twin flash||Raynox DCR-250 diopter|
|Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 II L||Canon 600 EX-RT + Yongnuo RT triggers||Tripod + Focusing rail|
Nighttime macro will allow for you to better control the light, and to approach the subject much closer than would otherwise be possible during the day. Diopters, macro couplers, extension tubes, bellows, reverse lens mounts, etc. require just a bit of planning and testing, but are otherwise significantly cheaper than a dedicated macro lens, and can achieve comparable results.
Coralloid fungus outside Puerto Maldonado. Photographed with Canon 100mm f/2.8 lens with single diffused flash and a reflector at night.
A pirate spider (Gelanor sp.) has stalked and killed an araneid in its web. Photographed with Canon Mpe-65mm lens + Olympus ST-F8 twin flash from Posada Amazonas.
Parasitoid wasp (Eupelmidae) laying its eggs in a larva within a tree trunk. Canon Mpe-65mm lens + Olympus ST-F8 twin flash from Posada Amazonas.
Juvenile spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodylus) photographed with Canon 100mm f/2.8 lens + single diffused flash. Photo from the Tambopata Research Centre.
Amazon tree boa (Corallus hortulanus) photographed with Canon 100mm f/2.8 lens + single diffused flash. Photo from the Tambopata Research Centre.
Wildlife Photography : Bird / Mammal
|Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS I||Tripod with Wimberley head|
|Canon 1.4X TC||Binoculars|
|Canon 2X TC||Remote shutter (smartphone App.)|
Telephoto lenses are an expensive investment and an indispensable tool; however, one can still manage relatively well with cheaper, high quality optics and teleconverters. A faster (lower f/ stop lens) is especially useful in the dark rainforest understory, and when combined with teleconverters, this will allow for a certain degree of flexibility and more unique perspectives as well.
This striated heron was photographed with an effective focal length of 600mm (Canon 300mm f/2.8 + 2X TC) from a boat on tres chimbares lake, near Posada Amazonas.
When shooting from a motorized boat, one should bring a zoom lens rather than a prime (fixed focal length), as one has less control over the approach and framing. Make sure that the lens has been kept dry overnight/before the boat trip (otherwise the temp./humidity change between your room and the open boat will fog your lens and potentially ruin the opportunity).
While entering the TRC our group was treated to a Jaguar sighting close to the Chuncho claylick. It was undisturbed by our presence and I was able to get off some “wide angle” shots with a 100mm lens, which better illustrated the jaguar’s environment.
A puma launched itself down the riverbank at a group of capybaras on the way back to Puerto Maldonado. Shot handheld with a Canon 300mm f/2.8 lens from the boat. A 100-400 zoom lens would have provided a better overall picture, including the capybaras.
Capybaras huddled around their mother in the wake of the Puma attack
|Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 L II||Lee 100×100 foundational filter set|
|Zeiss 21mm f/2.8||Circular Polarizer)s)|
|Tripod + ballhead|
I personally find landscapes to be very challenging and I often need to plan ahead or else revisit a site multiple times in order to take advantage of climactic conditions, position of the sun, cloud, fog, etc…
Filters and a steady tripod are a staple in landscape photography and are especially important gear to have in the bag (even as so-called digital filters are becoming increasingly powerful) . One should be prepared to shoot in the rain, and have numerous microfibre cloths to wipe down the front element.
A merged timelapse overnight can create a surreal landscape, and a different perspective from the same area with the same setup (above shot).
After all these, you should be thinking How Paul's photography equipment looks like? Well here is how I pack
A multi-month project often involves a variety of specialty tools. While working in Ecuador, and subsequently with Rainforest Expeditions in Peru, I required several suitcases worth of equipment to accommodate in-situ, studio, camera trapping, and drone photography.
I'm sure you be making your own packing list for your next adventure and I would love to know what you will be bringing to that wildlife photography expedition. So leave me a comment below.
I will leave you guys with my portafolio where you can see part of my work: https://rainforests.smugmug.com/
And remember if you want to do some wildlife photographing and you have the chance to visit Peru, don't hesitate to visit the Amazon of Tambopata, and contact my friend of Rainforest Expeditions.