Tropical Bird Photography
Feb. 5 to 17, 2023
We've designed this trip to visit Ecuador's most amazing places for bird photography. We'll help you take your bird photography to the next level so that you bring home a stunning and diverse portfolio. In addition to amazing birds, we'll do some fantastic macro work as well. And, unlike other tours to Ecuador, you have 2 award-winning photographer leaders with you full-time plus our local guide, a naturalist and pro photographer himself, making this a fantastic value!
Feb. 5 to 17, 2023
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View the itinerary below, read more about the tour, or sign up now!
About the Workshop
Tropical Bird Photography
About the Workshop
Tropical Bird Photography
Frank Pichardo is a Peruvian wildlife photographer and tour leader with a strong passion for nature, most of his experience in the field comes from his seven-year work as a naturalist guide for the prestigious lodges of Rainforest Expeditions leading people and teaching about the flora and fauna since 2009. Frank obtained his degree from the Tourism School in Lima, where he also became fluent in English and German. This was the beginning of a long term work in the ecotourism industry.
At the moment, he is part of Tropical Herping, contributing for the “Reptiles of Ecuador”, “Reptiles of Galapagos” and “Amphibians if Ecuador” books, joining also scientific expeditions into remote areas to understand better this group of animals, leading workshops and photo tours. Frank’s work has been featured in National Geographic and BBC Wildlife Magazine.
Follow Frank on Instagram -- @frank_pichardo
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, the mega e-book Flash for the Nature Photographer, and the new Complete Video Guide to Lightroom 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 besides Covid-19, 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 500 mm or longer
Camera body or bodies
Medium zoom lens, e.g., 70-200 mm, 100-400 mm
Wide angle lens
A flash with TTL functionality
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's vibrant business district. For those who have arrived a day early, we may have an optional afternoon jaunt to explore the city.
Day 2, Quito/Elfin Forest
We leave early this morning for a fantastic day trip – a visit to the highland home of the iconic sword-billed hummingbird and black-tailed trainbearer. This new spot is amazing! We return to Quito in the early evening to rest up after this busy day. Dinner will be on your own this evening. There are a number of fast-food and finer casual dining options immediately surrounding our hotel.
Day 3, 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 birds on the ground and the sunset over the rainforest. During our boat ride, we may be able to photograph the prehistoric hoatzin.
Day 4, 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.
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, 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 and then arrive to our lowland forest lodge in late afternoon with time to relax and photograph hummingbirds right outside the lodge restaurant.
Day 7, Cloud Forest
Today we spend all day photographing great hummingbirds such as the green thorntail and crowned woodnymph plus motmots and aracaris. And as a special treat, we will be working with macro setups for cool frogs, lizards, and insects.
Day 8, Cloud Forest
We travel higher in elevation today to the enchanting cloud forests of the Mindo and our charming country-style lodge, which will be our home for the next few days. En route we visit some great feeders run by a local community association to photograph glistening green tanagers, red-headed barbet, and, if we're lucky, an endangered and beautiful parrot species.
Day 9, Cloud Forest
We leave early this morning for a fantastic opportunity to photograph the beautiful plate-billed mountain toucan! This will be an unforgettable experience. After lunch back at our lodge, we visit a local farm to photograph the amazing Andean cock of the rock. We return to our lodge for a relaxing dinner after this busy day.
Day 10, Cloud Forest
Today we work all day with our multiple-flash stations to photograph hummingbirds such as the amazing violet-tailed sylph and booted racket-tail among many others. Our lighting, backgrounds, and flowers are second to none, and you will take home some fantastic images. As a bonus, when you're not on the multiple-flash setup, you'll be photographing cool macro subjects such as frogs, snakes, lizards, and insects.
Day 11, Cloud Forest
After an early breakfast we visit a nearby home where we have set up perches for colorful tanagers including, golden, golden-naped, beryl-spangled, and many others. We'll also be on the lookout for red-headed barbets and crimson-rumped toucanets. And we'll even set up our multiple-flash stations at this family's new hummingbird area. After a lunch break back at our lodge, we spend the rest of our time photographing more macro subjects. We visit our favorite wood-oven pizzeria in the town of Mindo for a special dinner. What a way to end a day of great tropical bird photography!
Day 12, Cloud Forest/Quito
We take this morning to work on post-processing and then check out to head back to Quito. En route we enjoy a fantastic lunch and then a visit to a vibrant artisan market where we can pick up some chocolate and souvenirs. We arrive to our capital city hotel around 3:00 for check-in and then a free afternoon and evening for you to enjoy the hotel's fantastic amenities or simply to relax and enjoy the fast Wi-Fi. Dinner is on your own this evening so that people with early transfer times the next morning can pack and rest. The hotel offers room service, and there are a large number of nice restaurants right outside the hotel if you'd like to go out to eat.
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 Doug
Full-time guide services from local guide Frank Pichardo
Multiple-flash setups for hummingbird photography
Entrances and fees for all described activities
Taxes for all specified services
Itinerary does not include
Dinner the first 2 nights and the last night
Non-mealtime snacks and drinks
Single room supplement - $1372
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!