best ecuador bird photography workshop

Birds of Ecuador Photography Workshop

The Birds of Ecuador Photography Workshop checks all of the boxes for the beginner as well as experienced bird photographers.

  • Guaranteed Birds Sightings
  • Easy Access
  • Professional Local Guides
  • Hundreds of Bird Species
  • Exotic Birds and Exotic Settings
  • A Zillion Opportunities to Create Images
  • Experienced Group Leaders

The Birds of Ecuador Photography Workshop is super easy for you to manage. You book your flight to Quito, and the rest of this event is already taken care of for you. With few exceptions (notably international airfare), the workshop includes all of your expenses. lodging, all meals, local transportation, guides, and park fees are all included.

The exertion level for the Birds of Ecuador Photography Workshop is mild to moderate. We will never walk long distances, but there will be some steep trails with well worn, but not paved trails. The most important consideration is that one of the lodges is at almost 15,000 feet above sea level. You need to be very hydrated and conscious of the strain that high altitude may have on your body. Call me if you have any questions about the exertion levels and options that you may have.

During this workshop, we will have two local English speaking guides to help us find and photograph as many bird species we can manage. Their eagle eyes will also be alert for any of the specialties in each of the six ecosystems we will explore on this ten-day workshop. You will also have multiple opportunities to use a high-speed flash setup for some exceptional hummingbird photography. While using these setups, you will have control of the light, background, and the perch to create your photographic masterpieces. Using a flash setup is the most fun I have ever had, photographing birds!

I have photographed birds on five continents and trust me when I say, Ecuador is incredible. If you have not been to Ecuador, you must give it a try. Be forewarned Ecuador will ruin you for most other bird photography locations. If you have been to Ecuador, then you know you need to come back, especially if you went without me!

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November 6, 2020 – Day 1

Arrive at Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO)

Your driver will meet you outside the arrivals area for your transfer to the lodge. The lodge will send a vehicle to pick up the group. 

Typical Day Schedule at the Lodges

Wake up and get out to find the early morning birds and explore the area with our local guides.

8:30 AM breakfast

After breakfast, our guides will once again point out new species as we work our way around the property.

11:30 AM lunch

After lunch, you will have the option to photograph on your own or download images and re-charge your body and your batteries! 

Our guides will re-join the group at 3 PM, and we are again hunting for unusual birds and photographs.

7:00 PM – Dinner

November 7, 2020 – Day 2 

Upper Andean Forest and Dry Desert

We will be exploring the grounds at the lodge today. You will find dozens of bird feeders throughout the property. A jungle full of photogenic plants that are beloved by the myriad birds that call this place home.

After a hearty breakfast, we will begin the day photographing hummingbirds, tanagers, and anything else that flies at the myriad bird feeders and gardens at the lodge. Our local guides will be on hand to spot and help identify the birds that we are photographing.

Each photographer will have access to a high-speed flash setup for a limited time. This setup is the best way to get frozen wings and book worthy shots. We will be able to control the background, as well as the perch or perches that we are inducing the birds to use.

Target Birds: Black-tailed Trainbearer, Sword-billed Hummingbird, White-bellied Woodstar, Blue-and-yellow Tanager, Stripe-headed Brush-Finch, and the aptly named Giant Hummingbird (the world’s largest hummingbird).

November 8, 2020 – Day 3

Highland Cloud Forest

We change habitat today and head up into the cloud forest.

Rise and shine for your last birds at the lodge, and then we will drive to a higher elevation after breakfast.

We will have a box lunch along the way to the next lodge. 

Today’s photography will be at feeders and along birding trails with our eagle-eyed guides putting us on the birds.

Target Birds: Collared Inca, Mountain Velvetbreast, Turquoise Jay, Barred Fruiteater, Burrowing Owl, Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant, White-capped Dipper.

November 9, 2020 – Days 4

Western Andean Cloud Forest

Photography locations will include hummingbird and tanager feeders, pristine forest trails, bird huts, gardens, ponds, streams, wild orchids, and rare insects. 

Hopefully, we will find something quite rare, a mammal species discovered in the last decade, the Olinguito. Kinkajous are also a possibility.

Today you will have another chance to use the high-speed flash setup with new perches and new birds.

Target Birds: Violet-tailed Sylph, Booted Raquet-tail, Velvet-purple Coronet, Golden-naped Tanager, Black-capped Tanager, Red-headed Barbet

November 10 – Day 5, 2020

Coco Corridor

Another new ecosystem means we will encounter birds that we have not seen previously. The Coco Corridor is the home of several bird species that only exist in this part of the forest. 

Target Birds: Toucan Barbet, Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan, Rose-faced Parrot, Blue-tailed (Chocó) Trogon, Orange-breasted Fruiteater, Moss-backed, Glistening-green, and Scarlet-and-white Tanagers,

November 11, 2020 – Day 6

Upper Tropical Rain Forest

Our guides will sweep the area for any species that we may have missed and, you will have a chance to re-do any images that you don’t like. 

After lunch, we will drive further into the Andes and our next lodge.

November 12, 2020 – Day 7

A special treat awaits at the next lodge, a 60-foot tall tower for photographing canopy level bird species. The usual photography over feeders, gardens, and trails will be available.

In addition to many new bird species, we may see Wolly Opossum, Aguti, and Tayra foraging around the feeders.

Today is also our last day to photograph with the flash setup.

November 13, 2020 – Day 8

We will be out before dawn for a unique opportunity to photograph elusive Antpitta and a spectacular Cock of the Rock lek.

There will also be more hummingbirds and passerines today, as we make our way back to our original lodge in Quito.

November 14, 2020 – Day 9

Paramo

What bird photography trip in the Andes would be complete with seeing condors. Today we will drive to a reserve to photograph wild Andean Condors.

Target Birds: Andean Condor, Black-faced Ibis, Carunculated Caracara, Andean Lapwing, Giant Hummingbird, Great Sapphirewing, Ecuadorian Hillstar

November 15, 2020 – Day 10

The lodge will transport us back to the airport for our flights home or your next photography experience.

Included in Your Workshop
  • Transfers from Airports to Hotels and returns
  • All Local Accommodations
  • Three High-speed Flash Sessions
  • All entrance fees
  • All ground transfers
  • Guiding fees
  • Classroom Sessions 
  • Photo Critiques
Excluded on Your Workshop
  • International Flights
  • Local Guide Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Alcohol
Trip Upgrades

Larger rooms and rooms with better views and or balconies are available at most of the lodges for a charge of $40-$60 per night. Let me know if you are interested and I can let you know the details.

We will share our photography knowledge with you so that you will leave a better photographer than when you arrived. You will learn about planning shots, reading the light and making the correct camera adjustments as well as bird photography techniques. We’ll review the keys to successful bird photography. We will share our post processing work flow and help you create a workflow that is best suited to your needs.

Our goal is to not merely setup your camera for you, but to give you the knowledge so that you can get the same results at home as when you were with us.

The tour size is limited to 10 photographers so you can count on minimal interruption from too many tripods and with a 3 to 1 client instructor ratio you can get a ton of one on one attention and education.

What Should I Bring?

The most versatile lens for this trip would be a 150-600mm lens. Superzoom lenses give you great flexibility and portability. Some of the photography will be a “Commando” style. In other words, you will be moving along trails or from feeder to feeder to capture some of the fastest birds in the world.

You can successfully use a tripod and prime lenses everywhere.

Here are a few camera gear recommendations to give you some ideas. Please, feel free to write to me to talk about what you have and what you may need.

  • A 150-600 superzoom or a long lens of at least 400mm
  • A mid-level zoom like a 70-200mm
  • A macro if you enjoy insects and flowers
  • A wide-angle lens like the 16-35mm for the occasional waterfall and scenics
  • Tripod, remote release, filters for your landscapes 
  • A flash may be used in some places and with some species. The grounds have been gardened with light in mind, so natural light should be plentiful.

I am sure that I don’t need to mention that you need comfortable walking shoes. 

Mosquito repellent and Anti-itch cream just in case!

It’s almost impossible to list everything that you’ll need, so get in touch, and we can talk about what you have and what you might need.

US Citizens Traveling To Ecuador*

Passport Requirements

Valid for a full six months after your scheduled departure.

Blank Passport Pages

1 page per stamp

Visa Requirements

A Visa is not required for stays of less than 90 days in a 12 month period.

Vaccination Recommendations

None, but please check with your travel physician for your circumstances.

Arrival and Departure Airport

Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) is the ultimate destination airport in Quito’s capital city, Windhoek. Our drivers will meet us at the airport after we clear customs and immigration and re-claimed our luggage.

Early Arrival

Let us know if you need help with accommodations if you plan to arrive early.

Departures

We will drop you off at the airport after our last adventures with the birds!

Lodging & Transportation

The workshop includes all lodging and local transportation, as described in your itinerary. You may be liable for any changes to that itinerary.

Trip Insurance

We always use trip insurance. It’s so much easier and with so many more benefits when you compare it with your insurance. I’ve found the costs to be reasonable, given the benefits. I use Travel Guard when I travel, and even though; I’ve not had a claim, they were helpful and easy to deal with on the phone.

*Information for US citizens travel to Ecuador was obtained from the US Department of State and was valid as of October 2019. If you are going to Ecuador from another country, please check with your embassy for your countries travel requirements.

Click the Green Button at the Bottom the page and that will take you to my payment processor and you can choose your favorite method of payment. In the White Box you can enter the number of places that you would like to book.

About 30 days before departure, you will get a welcome kit with the nuts and bolts of what to expect. Of course, feel free to email me or call me and we can talk about it as much as you like!

Some workshops offer the choice of single occupancy for an additional charge. I am happy to try and find a suitable roommate to help you reduce your expenses. However, if a roommate cannot be found, you will be required to pay the single supplement.

There is a 2.5% convenience fee to pay your balance by credit cards. There are no fees with any of the listed payment methods for your deposit. Be sure to read the Terms and Conditions and or the FAQ to fully understand about deposits, cancellations and other important, but boring stuff.

I’ve been very passively advising my clients to purchase travel insurance for a while, but lately it seems like there have been multiple people having travel issues. Some have lost their deposits and sometimes even the cost of the entire trip!

Based on my client’s experience, I cannot stress more strongly how crucial it is to purchase travel insurance. Like I said before, and here it comes again, there is never a way to predict what is going to happen when you are booking trips months and years into the future.

You can read more about my thoughts about the importance of travel insurance in this blog post.

Or you can go get a free quote and book your vital travel insurance.

https://wildlifeworkshops.link/Travel_Insurance_Quote

Registration Information

Tuition

The tuition for the Ecuador Bird Photography Workshop is $5495 USD single occupancy or $4995 USD if you share the accommodations.

Deposit

The deposit for this workshop is $750 USD. The deposit can be paid by PayPal, Credit Card, Wire Transfer or Check. Actually, if you have another way you would like to pay, I am open to new ideas when it comes to collecting money!

The balance of the workshop tuition will be due August 8, 2020 (90 days prior).

Ready to Go?

I am excited to show you more birds than you can count on this ridiculously fun and highly productive bird photography workshop. My goal is to help you create fabulous images of incredible birds in lush and exotic settings in the majestic Andes Mountains of Ecuador.

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