About the Workshop
Based in the Peruvian Amazon region of Madre de Dios, this 11-day workshop will take you into the world of the mammals of the Amazon Rainforest in one of the most bio-diverse areas on the planet. Working around an Oxbow lake in the heart of the rainforest you will have tutorials on photographing its nature including the very rare Giant river otter. Wake up to their calls as they catch Piranha in the early morning and watch the many Spider monkeys that swing through the canopy of the lush tropical forest. Through the 10 days in the forest you will have the opportunity to photograph the small such as the Mouse Opossum to exciting Jaguar that thrive on the river banks
What's included in the package?
The tour will take in an upmarket hotel in the city on arrival and before departure, but will primarily be based out of a deep jungle lodge that overlooks a wildlife-rich ox-bow lake. Accommodation includes twin rooms with en-suite bathroom facilities. Single rooms are available for a supplement. All meals are prepared by a professional chef, with all dietary requirements catered for. Transport to and from the lodge is undertaken via 4x4 vehicles and roofed river launches. Electricity for charging batteries is provided via a combination of solar panels and generators as back-up.View Lodging
Equipment and software
Cameras and lenses for this workshop are not included, however, tripods are supplied for those unable to bring them due to traveling complications. Laptops are provided and chargers for various battery types are supplied. Camera traps are also provided for capturing the nocturnal wildlife. The image editing software that participants will learn to use, include: Helicon Focus, Lightroom, and Photoshop. Hennessy hammocks are also supplied for those intrepid enough to want to spend a night out under the rainforest canopy. EQUIPMENT LINKED BELOW HOWEVER CAN BE PROVIDED.View Equipment
Workshop Map Routes
Mammals of the Rainforest Photography Workshop
The workshop will start and end in the jungle town of Puerto Maldonado, the capital of the Madre de Dios region in south-eastern Peru. From here the route takes us by 4x4 all-terrain vehicle to the Las Piedras River, where our boat will then take us upriver to the Amazon Rainforest Conservation Center (ARCC) with the Soledad Lake and tree canopy habitats offering great photographic opportunities. We offer an optional trip to a rustic lodge called the Las Piedras Biodiversity Station that offers a different variety of wildlife.
Arrive in Puerto Maldonado (airport code PEM) and transfer by car to our hotel overlooking the Madre de Dios River. Our tour leader will host a welcome talk and orientation session for participants, to help everyone get used to their new surroundings and prepare them for the exciting journey and scheduled activities ahead. We will take a guided walk around the streets of this jungle town, the Biodiversity Capital of Peru no less, with chances to photograph the colourful market area, thousands of tuk-tuk taxis, views across the Tambopata River and Madre de Dios River, and general street life in this energetic town. After a dinner of typical cuisine, we will turn in early - as we’ll need to be up early the next morning to begin our journey into the deep Amazon Rainforest. Night in Puerto Maldonado.
Up early. After breakfast, we will jump into our 4x4 Toyota Landcruiser for the 3-hour journey to the small settlement of Lucerna, located on the banks of the Las Piedras River, the longest river in the Madre de Dios department. Here, a boat will be waiting to whisk us upriver for a further 2 hours to the Amazon Rainforest Conservation Center (ARCC), located on the banks of the Soledad Lake. On route, we will stop off and eat our box lunch watching out for Capybara, Side-neck turtles, and other riverine wildlife. On arrival, we will be shown to our rooms, which overlook the lake, after which we will congregate in the main dining room for an introductory talk about the lodge, the lake, the wildlife, and planned activities including health and safety. We will lunch overlooking the lake, with cameras nearby in case a Hoatzin lands close by or an otter surfaces. After our filling lunch, we will have our first walk into the forest where you will get the opportunity to photograph the Ninjas of the trees such as the Brown capuchins, Black spider monkeys and the sneaky Squirrel monkeys to name a few. As the sun sets down into the vegetation, we will return to the Lodge where our dinner will be awaiting for us. Night at ARCC lodge.
Up very early to breakfast next to the lake with our cameras on standby. Making use of the catamaran and the photographic platform and with telephoto lens attached, you will be paddled into the lake where we will photograph many species of mammals in particular the Giant river otters that inhabit this beautiful region and study its feeding behaviour on Red bellied Parana which live in the water. We will return to the lodge and get some rest where you will be educated on all of the mammal species that the Lowland Peruvian Amazon has to offer. Those who pass a fun test at the end of the workshop will get an Untamed Photography hat! Lunch is either next to the lake or in the lodge followed by another walk into the forest walking the edge of the lake where Black spider monkeys are frequently seen in the tree tops. We will return for a very filling dinner with our jolly chef under the forest moonlight. A night walk in the forest follows dinner, when we will set our camera traps, placing them on the trails. This gives you the opportunity to gather your own footage of mammals such as Jaguar, Puma and Ocelot to name a few. Night at ARCC lodge.
Awake to the sound of the Giant river otters feeding in the lake next to the lodge accompanied by our breakfast start to the day. Again we will spend our morning on the quiet waters of the lake following the Giant river otter and also getting photographs of the river birds that fly by. As always tuition is at hand if needed from our photographers /rainforest guides. After a full exciting morning on the boat, we will return to the lodge and have a spot of lunch near the lake where Macaw are often seen. After you will have a time to relax next to the river and in the lodge where you are free to capture images of the surrounding wildlife. As the sun sets, dinner will be in the lodge with a biological presentation from Dr Chris Kirkby. Night at ARCC lodge.
Up again to the sound of the wild nature of the forest. We will have breakfast at the lake where the comical Hoatzin’s feed in the surrounding undergrowth. From here we make our way down to the port on the Tambopata river to join a boat with our camera equipment. With life jackets on, we will head up stream to photograph its river life and stop off looking for mammal tracks on the beach such as Jaguar, Capybara, Tapir and more. With a bit of extra luck we could spot a Jaguar as it comes down to the river’s edge to drink. After stopping off for drinks on a white-sand river beach we return to the lodge for a late lunch. In the afternoon there is an optional walk into the forest to visit a mammal clay-lick, an area near a stream that has a high concentration of salts that many animals visit to supplement their diet. After dinner back at the lodge, we will review everyone’s images and videos and the tour leader will provide useful feedback to help us improve our techniques. Tuition on editing photos is also possible at this time. Night at ARCC lodge.
Our biologist Dr Chris Kirkby will be educating you every step of the way today with interesting facts about everything that thrives in the forest and we will walk to the mammal clay-lick in search of the famous Red brocket deer and the comical Tapir of the forest. After our long walk we return to the lodge for lunch followed by an informal discussion on those mammals seen and not seen! After dinner there is an optional snake based night walk with our photographer Mark Fernley. Night at ARCC lodge
A day at the Macaw clay-lick. Up early in the morning and with a very early breakfast at the lodge, we take the boat down river with the opportunity to see and photograph Tapir, Jaguar or Capybara to name a few on the way. With the boat moored on the opposite bank to the Clay-lick we will spend the entire day observing and photographing Green and Yellow and Scarlet macaw in action feeding. Lunch and dinner will be provided at the site where we will stay until you’ve had enough!!!. Night at ARCC lodge
After breakfast, we gather our gear and walk around the lake in search of primates. Those brave enough to venture out onto the platform that reaches out into the trees may have the chance to get stunning close images of the monkeys that thrive in the canopy. After our long walk, we have lunch by the lake where there are ample photographic opportunities. Once again Mark will help with photographic guidance and Chis will be there for the biological information of all species we see. Later you will have chance to either relax or swim in the river before dinner. After dinner a boat trip in the dark is an unforgettable experience! Night at ARCC lodge.
There is an optional late start this morning for those who fancy a rest. For those who come out for an early walk, we meet back at the lodge and go out onto the island of the Oxbow lake where we can get close to the river and lake life. We return in the afternoon and have lunch followed by ‘The Mammal Species Test’!!. Can you be an Amazonian mammal expert? Before dinner, an optional last walk with the team is available for those who just can’t get enough and an opportunity for one more great shot! Night at ARCC lodge.
Before breakfast, we get up and collect the camera traps and observe and share the videos captured during your stay. After breakfast we will load up the boat once again, say our goodbyes, and then head down river to our awaiting mini-bus - which will take us back to our hotel in Puerto Maldonado. Here there will be an opportunity for more image editing before the leaders collect up the imagery that participants want to share on the workshop’s Dropbox folder. We will join the leaders at a good restaurant in town for a goodbye meal and prize-giving ceremony. Night in Puerto Maldonado.
Breakfast, followed by goodbyes and transfer to the Puerto Maldonado airport. End of workshop!