Art of Biodiversity
Sept. 6 to 18, 2021
We've designed this trip to visit Ecuador's most amazing places. We'll help you take your photography to the next level while giving your whole photographic kit a workout. From wildlife to birds to macro to landscapes, you will up your skills and take home a stunning and diverse portfolio. And, unlike other tours to Ecuador, you have 2 award-winning photographer leaders and a local photographer/naturalist guide with you full-time, making this a fantastic value!
Sept. 6 to 18, 2021
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View the itinerary below, read more about the tour, or sign up now!
About the Workshop
Art of Biodiversity
About the Workshop
Art of Biodiversity
Lucas Bustamante is a passionate biologist and wildlife photographer from Ecuador. For seven years now, he has been dedicated to documenting Ecuador's biodiversity, particularly reptiles and amphibians. He is a co-founder and general coordinator at Tropical Herping. Like Greg, Lucas' images have been honored in both the BBC/Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Nature's Best Windland Smith Rice contests.
In addition to leading photography tours, he also has written several articles and books about conservation and herpetology. Lucas' photographic work has been featured in National Geographic, Ranger Rick Jr., Discovery Channel and many other magazines, books, calendars and articles. He recently won the Macro category in the Nature's Best Windland Smith Rice competition.
Gregory Basco is a professional nature photographer based in Costa Rica. After completing graduate degrees in political science and tropical ecology (his doctoral dissertation focused on the politics of ecotourism in Costa Rica), Greg worked in conservation before turning to photography full-time in 2006. His images have been awarded in the Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Nature's Best Windland Smith Rice competitions and have appeared in numerous magazines and books around the world.
His latest major project is the second edition of the large format printed book National Parks of Costa Rica in conjunction with Zona Tropical and Cornell University Press. His popular e-books include The Guide to Tropical Nature Photography, Lightroom for the Nature Photographer, and the upcoming Flash for the Nature Photographer.
You can see more of Greg's work at his website.
You should arrive to and depart from Ecuador's Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO). Our driver will be waiting to provide your private transfer to our capital city hotel.
Electrical outlets are US-style. Those coming from Europe or Asia may need travel adapters. We will send more info after signup.
We strongly recommend you purchase trip insurance that includes trip cancellation and medical coverage while overseas.
Though Ecuador does not require any vaccinations, we suggest you stay up to date on routine travel shots. Some countries may require that you have proof of yellow fever vaccination upon departing from Ecuador.
All of our hotels have free WIFI. We will also have cell data coverage for most of the trip.
All of our services are conducted by fully licensed travel, lodge, and transport operators. This is part of our commitment to providing a professional travel experience.
Tele lens 400 mm or longer
Camera body or bodies
Medium zoom lens, e.g., 70-200 mm, 100-400 mm
Wide angle lens
Fast wide angle lens for night scenes
Off-camera TTL flash cord
Telephoto flash bracket
Flash plus Better Beamer for birds and wildlife
Rain cover for camera
Small softbox or diffuser
Small pack or shoulder bag for daily shooting
View the full Itinerary +
Day 1, Arrival/Quito
Arrival to Ecuador. Meet our representative at the Mariscal Sucre International Airport and transfer to our hotel in the heart of Quito. If you arrive early this day, make sure to get over to the charming historical section of the city. The architecture and the atmosphere is amazing.
Day 2, Amazon Lowlands
After breakfast, we depart for the airport to fly to the Amazon city of Coca. We transfer from there to the boat that takes us to our amazing luxury lodge in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon. We arrive late afternoon with time to photograph the sunset over the rainforest.
Day 3, Amazon Lowlands
After a great breakfast this morning we head to a nearby clay lick that attracts dozens of parrots and parakeets, as well as the occasional macaw. This is one of our Amazon highlights as the clay licks of the western Amazon are one of the planet's true natural wonders. We photograph all morning and return to our lodge in the afternoon. We then gear up and head out on private boats into the nearby lagoons and jungle canals in search of the ancient hoatzin bird, caimans, and giant river otters. We enjoy a fantastic dinner after this busy day. After dinner, we enjoy a presentation from Lucas on macro photography and another from Greg on how to use flash in nature photography.
Day 4, Amazon Lowlands
Today after breakfast gear up for macro. We'll work with macro setups all day, and our subjects will include colorful poison frogs, amazing tree frogs, snakes, and the super cool caiman iguana. We will teach you our techniques for working with flash for a natural look. We have all meals at the lodge today and are free to explore the grounds for birds and forest photos.
Day 5, Amazon Lowlands
After breakfast, we have a chance to try a really cool technique – wide angle macro photography – that produces amazing images of small subjects in their habitat. Later in the morning we have a second chance at the clay lick. We may encounter some different species, and it's also a great opportunity to try slow shutter speeds or to correct any mistakes you may have made on the first clay lick visit. After lunch, we have the afternoon free to relax, to explore the lagoon in a private boat, or to visit a nearby canopy tower for a bird's-eye view of the rainforest.
Day 6, Pacific Slope Cloud Forest
We depart very early this morning for our boat back to Coca and then our plane back to Quito. Be sure to have a camera handy as the dawn light can be inspiring! We enjoy lunch at a local restaurant right and then arrive to our cloud forest lodge in late afternoon with time to relax and photograph hummingbirds right outside the lodge restaurant.
Day 7, Pacific Slope Cloud Forest
Today we have a full day with the multiple-flash setups for hummingbirds at the lodge. Booted Racket-tail abound, and our highlight is the fantasy-like Violet-tailed Sylph! In addition to hummingbird setups, we will be working our herp setups with subjects such as Executioner Clownfrog, Palm Treefrog, and Babbling Torrenteer, Emerald Glassfrog, Dappled Glassfrog, Gem Anole, Equatorial Anole, and the uber-cool Hippie Anole!
Day 8, Quito Interlude
After an early breakfast this morning, we visit a nearby lodge situated in a higher cloud forest. It's a great place to photograph colorful birds such as the Toucan Barbet, the Plate-billed Mountain Toucan, Blue-winged Mountain Tanager, and Masked Trogon. We check out late morning and head directly to the Quito Botanical Garden for macro photography. We arrive to our city hotel later this afternoon. Dinner is not included this evening as there are a number of great restaurants within very easy walking distance from our hotel, and this gives you a chance to try out a local restaurant, grab some fast food, or order room service if you prefer to stay in. Since we will be visiting higher elevations at our last stop, this will be a good chance to acclimate. But we have a great surprise for you tomorrow on the outskirts of Quito!
Day 9, Quito Interlude
After an early breakfast, we head to the misty highlands above Quito to photograph the famed Sword-billed hummingbird. We will set up custom perches to photograph this iconic species as well as the very cool Giant Sapphirewing, Shining Sunbeam, and Buff-winged Starfrontlet. This will be an amazing day! We return to our city hotel in the late afternoon where you can relax, repack, and edit photos before enjoying dinner at one of the many great local restaurants right near our hotel. Dinner is not included this evening so that you relax and eat as much or as little as you'd like.
Day 10, Cotopaxi Volcano
After breakfast, we check out and head to the Cotopaxi National Park. We arrive to our lodge for lunch and then have the afternoon to photograph the Giant Hummingbird (the world's largest!) right on the grounds. In the evening we head out to photograph the snow-covered peak of the Cotopaxi Volcano with stars.
Day 11, Cotopaxi Volcano
We take the morning for more hummingbird photography. Late morning, we head out into the park in our bus to photograph birds and possibly even the Andean Fox. In late afternoon, we have a special treat. We will photograph the sunset over the Cotopaxi volcano with llamas in the foreground! In the evening we can head out again to photograph the snow-covered peak of the Cotopaxi Volcano with stars.
Day 12, Back to Quito
After breakfast we have a chance to do some image captioning right in our lodge's charming sitting area. Late morning, we check out and head back to Quito, stopping for lunch at a local restaurant famous among Ecuadorians for its great local food. We arrive to our capital city hotel with time to check-in and relax before enjoying a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 13, Airport
Private transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Lodging as specified in DBL occupancy
Meals as specified
Transportation w/private driver in spacious air-conditioned tour bus
Boat transport in Amazon
Private transfers to and from airport
Professional, full-time photo instruction from your leaders Greg and Frank
Multiple-flash setups for hummingbird photography
Entrances and fees for all described activities
Taxes for all specified services
Itinerary does not include
Dinner the following nights – Day 1, 8, 9, 12
Non-mealtime snacks and drinks
SGL room supplement - $672
Booking a tour with us is easy!
1. Register for your tour using the form at the end of each workshop page.
4. Send us your traveler info form.
2. Send us your reserve deposit.
5. We will send you your final invoice.
3. Book your international air travel.
6. We´ll send you everything you need to know before you hop on the plane!