With the digital technology explosion of the last ten years, many people are now as much interested in photographing birds and other wildlife, as seeing and watching them. Most of our leaders are keen photographers to. We will be introducing some photography departures over time, and these of course will major on photography rather than watching, eg Iceland Bird Photography in June 2014.
Most of our trips present ‘off the shoulder’ opportunities to take photos frequently throughout each day. However, we are not in a position to grant any special requests in respect of photography on any of our tours to any one individual or group of individuals, in the interests of fairness to all participants. Neither do ‘photographers’ have the right to get closer to birds and animals than other participants in group situations. Where the party might be spread out in a local area, you are of course welcome to do ‘your own thing’. Our leaders will not tolerate disturbance to breeding birds and animals under any circumstances however, so please adhere to any guidelines given to you on the spot. Many modern cameras and lens, especially when used with a tripod, can allow one to obtain excellent images at less than ‘point blank’ range in most situations. Please ask the leader before using flash for any wildlife photography.
Voyages and Cruises
All of our programmes afloat offer very good to excellent opportunities throughout for photography. Not just birds and other wildlife but scenery including seascapes and often fantastic skies (and icescapes if a polar voyage). By their very nature, you are welcome to take our voyages at your own pace. If you want to spend most of your time taking pictures, no problem! Our Land Tour guidelines apply onshore however. In polar regions special guidelines apply but these will be supplied in advance. For example it is suggested to get no closer than 5 metres from nesting penguins, but no one has told the penguins, so they may often get closer than that to you! During Zodiac cruises, the drivers will often be very happy to stop or reposition their boat so you can take your shot, please just ask. If you wish to stand up to take your picture, again, ask first.
We really do suggest you do not try and photograph everything you see, all the time. For most people, the best memories in life are in the mind, not your camera. It can be very easy to get carried away and then realize afterwards you saw everything through your camera only.
General Hints and Tips
If you are even half serious about photography, you should take a spare camera body or camera. This is especially applicable to voyages where spray and salt are ever present in the air. At least one or two cameras cease to function without warning during each voyage. In the old days, someone in the engine room could usually fix slide and film cameras but digital devices usually require specialist attention. If you have a camera that does pack up on a vessel, sometimes, having it put in the engine room for a few hours will dry it out and it will start working again. However, if the problem is salt ingression it will have to be sorted out after your trip.
Invariably all our hotels and vessels will have sockets for charging batteries etc. Your pre-trip information will detail what kind of sockets to expect. Where a lower voltage applies, eg USA, UK chargers will work but may take more time to recharge then normal.
Please ensure you take sufficient data cards and batteries with their chargers and make sure you have enough charged batteries for being in the field each day.
Cold conditions can seriously shorten battery life, often quite drastically if temperatures are around freezing and certainly if they drop below.
Always pack your camera equipment in your airline hand luggage, never your hold luggage. The exception would be tripods, which can be wrapped in clothes and put in your main case. Many airlines now allow a ‘small laptop’ to be taken into the cabin along with your main hand luggage. If we have booked your flights, details will be provided. If you have booked your own flights, please check on your airline’s website.
Lithium batteries are not allowed in airline hold luggage.
Argentina does not allow tripods as part of hand baggage.
If you are using a tripod on the deck of any vessel (for a camera or telescope), never leave it unattended for a second, any even small sudden movement of the ship will almost certainly send it crashing down, the consequences of which could be disastrous for you.
Dive shops sell totally waterproof kitbags, which roll up and seal at one end. These are ideal for voyages, especially for Zodiac or skiff cruises. They come in all sorts of sizes so it is quite possible to get one for most DSLRs with their lens extended.
Digital cameras have greatly assisted in seabird and cetacean identification in recent years, by all mean blast away (especially dolphins) and your leader and fellow travellers can help you with the ID after the event.
Whales and dolphins are not easy to photograph at the best of times, dolphins especially. If your camera has a rapid fire mode this is the time to use it. If you can see the shot when you press the shutter you have probably missed it! You need to try to anticipate when the animal is going to break the surface of the water. Polarizing filters can help in these circumstances, allowing you to ‘see through’ the water to some degree.
On many expedition cruises, the team may ask for everyone’s best photos for a post voyage DVD and/or last night slideshow. You may wish to make sure you give only lo-res files or embed your name on the image as copyright cannot always be guaranteed in such circumstances.
We are always very happy to see your best shots, for use in our brochures and on our website. These will always be fully credited and we are also happy to promote your own website if applicable. Alternatively, you are welcome to post them yourself on our Facebook page.