Thursday, November 3, 2011

More from Brazil

Swimming Brazilian Tapir, Cristalino River
 I've been home from Brazil now for several weeks, largely spent editing the thousands of shots I got over the course of a long trip. I've already posted a couple of my favorites, especially the Giant Armadillo which, although not a particularly creative image, is a groundbreaking picture of a rarely-seen species - one I was frankly thrilled to get.

During the trip, we spent 5 or 6 days at spectacular Cristalino Lodge in the southern Amazon where - despite the crippling heat - we had some wonderful wildlife sightings.  We were lucky enough to see two different Harpy Eagles, the largest new world raptor, the first I had seen in nearly 20 years. Our guide, who had been at Cristalino for almost a year, had never seen one at all until this week.  I didn't get any great pictures of the Harpies, unfortunately, but sometimes seeing is good enough...

I did manage, however, to get pictures of one of the four (!) lowland tapirs we saw in a single day along the shores of the Cristalino River.  This is my favorite shot, a portrait of a handsome adult swimming upstream, with a dangling green vine behind. It is always a pleasure to get a shot of a wild animal in which one senses that the photographer's presence has no effect on the animal's behavior. This guy hardly seemed to notice us, swam easily along the shore, and then disappeared into the forest, apparently unconcerned about us.  Magical.
Hyacinth Macaw emerges from nest, Pantanal
Hardly less magical than the tapir was the discovery of an active, and accessible,  Hyacinth Macaw nest  in the Pantanal.  Often these birds nest so high that a picture like this is impossible, but I was fortunate to have everything go my way: the nest was low, had a clear view from the ground, was in the shade (providing nice soft light) and had birds going in and out.  Our visit coincided with the beginning of the nesting season, and the birds were coming and going every few minutes, which made my job much easier than I had any right to expect!

Meanwhile, I leave this weekend for a two week expedition to Sulawesi in eastern Indonesia where I will be documenting the life history of the Maleo, an endangered megapode found only on this island and nowhere else in the world.  Wish me luck!

Nikon D3 with 300mm f2.8 lens and TC14x

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