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Old 12th August 2013, 03:58   #1
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Default Photologue: Central Brazil. Jaguars, Giant Otters, Macaws & more

Background:

Ever since I took up nature photography as a serious hobby I have had the opportunity of meeting some great photographers and visiting places, which I would have otherwise never even dared to visit. One day over dinner, a professional photographer friend of mine came up with an idea of visiting Brazil for nature photography.


The main attraction for the trip was the Jaguar, which is the largest cat in the Americas. Cats always fascinated me and I had a dream to make images of all the four main species of the Panthera genus from the wild. These included lion, tiger, leopard and the jaguar (the only four cats that can roar). I already have a collection of tiger, lion and leopard images from the wild but getting a chance to see and photograph a jaguar in the wild was too tempting to let go of. Soon enough the plan started materializing and my friend with the help of Dr. Charles Munn from Pantanal, Brazil made all the necessary arrangements for the trip, or should I say the expedition.

Now, I am very bad in expressing my experience in words so I will try to do so through some of the images which I made during the trip.

Camera gear: We had a lot of professional camera gear at our disposal and most of the images in this thread have been shot with Canon pro DSLRS and lenses ranging from 17mm to 600mm. Some of the images are also from a Canon PnS (Poweshot S90) as well as some from an Iphone to maintain the continuity without making the photologue monotonous with just birds and mammals.

Day 1: The long haul flight

We (three guys with loads of camera gear) left Bangalore by Qatar airways and reached Sao Paulo after what seemed like an eternity. Upon our arrival, we checked into a hotel near the airport and after freshening up went out to the city to experience the Brazilian nightlife. There are hardly any photos from Sau Paulo as I didn’t take my camera with me that evening. We were told Sao Paulo is not safe in the night for tourists but I thought it was actually pretty normal like any other metropolitan, especially in the downtown areas.

Images from Day 1

Ready to board the flight
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Picked up snacks in transit
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The long haul flight about to land
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First view of Brazil
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Sao Paolo airport

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Day 2: The actual journey begins

We flew out of Sao Paulo by GOL airlines and reached Campo Grande, capital and the largest city of the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, in the afternoon. One of our guides, Marco received us at the airport and soon we were on our way to the quaint little town of Bonito. After checking in to our beautiful lodge amidst a small forest and grabbing some much needed snacks, we headed out in search of the Giant Ant-eaters. It is one of the four living species of anteater and is actually quite rare to see in the wild.

Images from Day 2


Don't even know most of the places where the flights are heading
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On our way to Bonito
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The Giant Anteater
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A mother with a baby on her back searching for termites
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Head on
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Old 12th August 2013, 04:11   #2
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Default re: Photologue: Central Brazil. Jaguars, Giant Otters, Macaws & more

Day 3: Day of the Macaws

In the morning, we explored a nearby sinkhole (sinkhole is a natural depression in the earth formed by a chemical phenomenon) and spent a lot of time looking for different birds , armadilos etc. The main attraction was the scarlet macaw. We set up our tripods in the wooden platform along the edge of the sinkhole and tried to create different interesting images of the macaws.
Following lunch, we again went out in search of the Giant Ant-eaters and were lucky enough to enjoy some wonderful photographic opportunities with these unique creatures.

Images from Day 3



Up close and personal

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Some full portraits

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In flight shots

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Some vertical compositions


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Old 12th August 2013, 04:38   #3
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Default re: Photologue: Central Brazil. Jaguars, Giant Otters, Macaws & more

Day 4: Snorkeling in Rio da Prata

Early morning we drove down to an area called Rio da Prata for snorkeling downstream in the crystal clear waters of the Prata river and an adjacent fresh water lagoon. We snorkeled for around three kilometers amidst plenty of beautiful fish and other underwater creatures. The water at most parts was very shallow and the view was unbelievable. Shooting images while snorkeling was a bit difficult hence, could not make good images rather shot a lot of videos.

Images from day 4


At the Rio da Prata
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Ready for the snorkeling
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Getting used to the water
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Off we go
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Some amazing sights
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Last edited by robimahanta : 12th August 2013 at 04:40.
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Old 12th August 2013, 04:57   #4
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Default re: Photologue: Central Brazil. Jaguars, Giant Otters, Macaws & more

Day 5: Into Jaguar territory

We took an early morning flight to Cuiabá, the nearest town to Pantanal (worlds largest tropical wetland area) with air connectivity. Upon arrival, we met Dr. Charles, who is extremely experienced and has a wealth of knowledge on reptiles, birds and the coveted Jaguar from Pantanl. He has been doing research in and around Pantanal for nearly 10 years.

After a 3 hour drive we reached the town of Pocone from where the Transpanteneira road starts. We changed our van to an open top SUV and drove along a dirt track for another 3 hours to reach Port Joffre (the end point of the transpanteneira road) by late evening. The Transpanteneira road was teeming with wildlife on either side. We saw numerous birds, caimans, capybaras, foxes etc on our drive to Porto Joffre.

From Porto Joffre, a speedboat transferred us to a floating lodge called the FLOTEL (floating hotel). This was our base for the next two nights.


At the Cuiaba airport
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Beginning of the Transpanteneira road
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Heading out on a boat from Port Joffre
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A darter in late evening light
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Caiman in the water
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Last light of the day
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Finally reaching the FLOTEL
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Old 12th August 2013, 05:12   #5
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Default re: Photologue: Central Brazil. Jaguars, Giant Otters, Macaws & more

Day 6&7: Search for Jaguars

Early morning we headed out on our first boat safari along the Cuiaba river and its multiple rivulets in search of the Jaguars. These small boats are the best way to explore and photograph in the narrow waterways of the Pantanal. Being completely open, they are ideal for photography and has ample room for positioning ourselves in the right angle for a photograph. Apart from the jaguar there were plenty of other species like caiman, cabybara etc to photograph and keep us occupied. We spent the whole day on the boat and returned to our floating lodge after sunset with tons of images.

During the two nights that we spent there, we saw the jaguar some eight times. At times the weather was not that great and the jaguars being very elusive, was quite difficult to create good images.

Another highlight was the giant otters, we saw groups of 6-8 otters playing around next to our boat and catching fish.

Images from day 6 & 7

Jaguar by the river bank
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The huge one eyed male
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Mother and cub
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Out on a hunt
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The Giant otter with a fish
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Fooling around
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Checking us out
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Caiman up close (jaguars love catching them)
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The capybara (largest rodent of the world, favorite jaguar prey)
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Last edited by robimahanta : 12th August 2013 at 05:16.
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Old 12th August 2013, 05:26   #6
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Default re: Photologue: Central Brazil. Jaguars, Giant Otters, Macaws & more

Day 8 : Avian life
After a final morning boat safari, we started on our return journey. We stopped for a night in a farm next to Pocone, famous for its bird life.

Hyacinth Macaw (the largest macaw species in the world),Toucan, Amazon and Giant Kingfisher, Hawks and the Jabiru Stork were some of the attractions around the incredibly located farmland.

Images from Day 8

The beautiful farmhouse
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Hyacinth Macaw
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Toucan
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Red legged Seriema
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Black Vulture
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Burrowing Owl
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Jabiru Stork in flight
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Green Kingfisher
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Stork Silhouette
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Last sunset
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Old 12th August 2013, 05:36   #7
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Default re: Photologue: Central Brazil. Jaguars, Giant Otters, Macaws & more

Day 9&10: The journey back to civilization

After a round of Piranha fishing, we drove back to Cuiabá to board our connecting flights back to Sao Paolo late in the evening. From Sao Paulo, we took an early morning flight to Bangalore via Qatar airways.

So after speed boat ride, SUV drive, a long drive in a van and over 20hrs of flying time we finally landed in Bangalore with gigabytes of memories to cherish for life.

Images from Day 9

The river teeming with Piranhas
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Our first Piranha
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The razor sharp teeth
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A Catfish
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While we were elated at out catch, other pro anglers were having a gala time
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Thanks for viewing. I have many more images, which I will process and upload over the days to come. But I have covered the major species we encountered in the above posts.
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Old 12th August 2013, 06:27   #8
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Default re: Photologue: Central Brazil. Jaguars, Giant Otters, Macaws & more

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) (http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/announ...m-section.html (The "Assembly Line" Forum section)) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 12th August 2013, 06:53   #9
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Very interesting thread. Nice photos. Thank you for sharing.

I ve always longed to go to South America but the air ticket prices put me off completely. My wife has been over a couple of times for her work and she has seen some of the sights Brazil has to offer, like the Iguaci falls etc.
And yes indeed, even her organisation's travel advisory spoke clearly about the horrid crime rates in Sao Paulo along with the propensity for the local robbers and hold up specialists to whack anything one may be carrying or using, so they recommend one should not venture out with scads of cash, cards, expensive watches, shoes, jewellery etc. It is a far cry from the old days and the bandidos and 'gentlemen of the road' - the modern avatar is usually armed and really quite a vicious specimen, more often than not, hyped up on drugs and things.
One day, soon, I hope to be able to achieve these dreams.
Slow but sure, slow but sure!

Last edited by shankar.balan : 12th August 2013 at 06:58.
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Old 12th August 2013, 09:30   #10
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Thumbs up re: Photologue: Central Brazil. Jaguars, Giant Otters, Macaws & more

Excellent is the word. I always followed your photologues, now commenting for the first time.

Love your composition. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 12th August 2013, 11:01   #11
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Default re: Photologue: Central Brazil. Jaguars, Giant Otters, Macaws & more

Robi - what can i say man! Totally out of this world - the location, the pictures - amazing. Like many others I have often watched TV documentaries on the LATAM region in NatGeo, etc and wondered about it - to see a Jaguar and to photograph it in the wild is something really amazing.

Voting a well deserved 5*. Give us more pics!
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Old 12th August 2013, 12:31   #12
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Default re: Photologue: Central Brazil. Jaguars, Giant Otters, Macaws & more

Robi, excellent photologue. Remember your photologue on polar bears
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Old 12th August 2013, 12:45   #13
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Default re: Photologue: Central Brazil. Jaguars, Giant Otters, Macaws & more

Hello Friend,

You call photograhy just a hobby? I think you are a serious professional photographer. The images here seem to be straight our of National Geographic Magazine. They are simply amazing, to say the least.

We will love to see further images & detailed day wise report of this trip. Do you have any video clips? I will also request you to share the cost of the trip & some wildlife photography tips. Further how was the food in Brazil?

Thanks,
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Old 12th August 2013, 12:46   #14
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Default re: Photologue: Central Brazil. Jaguars, Giant Otters, Macaws & more

Excellent photos, Robi. A little insight into your (and your friends') camera gears please? (in case its ok to share)
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Old 12th August 2013, 13:34   #15
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Default re: Photologue: Central Brazil. Jaguars, Giant Otters, Macaws & more

Awesome snaps. I especially liked the avian treasures you have captured.
BTW, how did you manage to get the lens so close to the Scarlet Macaws?
Also, post some more piranha pics if you can.
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