Octavio Salles Photography

Photo Tours in Brazil

Posts Tagged ‘atlantic rainforest’

Tropical colors!

Posted by campossallesfotografia on 19 de October de 2010

When I guide birdwatchers in the Atlantic Rainforest often the most wanted birds are the LBB’s, or the little brown birds. Endemics like the Salvadori’s Antwren, Serra do Mar Tapaculo, Slaty Bristlefront, Brown-breasted Pygmy-Tyrant, etc. However when I guide photographers things are radically different. They all focus on the most attractive species, the colorful ones – not necessarily the most rare ones. Fortunately some of these species often visit fruit feeders at lodges and house yards in the forest, and so they become easier targets for our lenses.

The gorgeous male Violaceous Euphonia below was photographed during a recent tour to Ubatuba, in the Atlantic Rainforest. I love how their back plumage graduates from violet to a deep blue with the right light. And the contrast with the rich yellow from underneath is amazing. When shooting rainforest birds I also find it very important to pick the right background color – green in this case.

Violaceous Euphonia

This was shot with a Nikon D700, Nikkor 600mm f/4 AF-S lens on a banana feeder setup.

Posted in Bird photography | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Wild Atlantic Rainforest

Posted by campossallesfotografia on 2 de August de 2010

I spent entire last week guiding a photographer to my favorite place in the Atlantic Rainforest, the private reserve Parque do Zizo, located in southern São Paulo State, about 3 hours from my home. The region is where the largest piece of Atlantic Rainforest remains. This is many thousands os square miles of intact, primary rainforest habitat. The private reserve borders a state reserve, which in turn borders another state reserve and so forth, so the whole area is well protected. It’s not unusual at all to see many tracks of large mammals on the trails, like tapirs and even jaguars or pumas, a sure sign that the place is helthy.

On previous visits I have seen and photographed some extremelly rare birds here, just behind the lodge, like the Buff-fronted Owl. This time we didn’t see any real rarity (although we did hear a Pavonine Cuckoo, a new bird to the reserve), but we more than compensated it with some great photos. We did see a huge Black Hawk-Eagle attacking something just behind the lodge, a great scene, but just to fast to be photographed.

One of the waterfalls of the reserve, surrounded by lush vegetation.

This pano was made with 4 images taken with my D700 and Nikkor 24mm f/2.8. It was stitched together by Photoshop CS5, which did and amazing job considering I wasn’t using a pano head (a regular ball head instead).

Olive-green Tanagers

The Olive-green Tanager is a bird always seen high up in the trees, in big monospecific groups. This time however they were coming to the feeder and I was able to set up different perches for them.

Yellow-fronted Woodpecker

Not your usual woodpecker! Besides being amazingly colorful, these guys eat mainly fruits instead of the usual insect larvae and such.

White-necked Thrush

These attractive thrushes are forest inhabitants, never venturing far from it. They are also quite wary, more wary and elusive than the common Rufous-bellied Thrush.

I will post more photos during the week.

Posted in Bird photography, Destinations, Trip reports | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Photography workshop in the Atlantic Rainforest

Posted by campossallesfotografia on 22 de July de 2010

I just got back from a 3-day workshop at the Atlantic Rainforest of SE Brazil, near the town of Ubatuba, at the same place where we are going to for the extension tour of our Pantanal tour next September.

This was a post-processing workshop, focused on Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5, but of course we put a lot of photography in-between the classes. The weather was, quite frankly, horrible. It was drizzling constantly and very cold. At night I think temps got down to around 45º F (7º C). I know… that’s almost pleasant for you guys way up north, but for us tropical creatures, it’s nearly freezing.

But, everything has its positive sides. With the cloudy sky the light was just the way I like for rainforest photography: diffuse, even. Plants were nice and wet and even the drizzle made for interesting shots. This time of the year there is also a shortage of fruit in the forest, so several different species were coming to the feeders to feed on banana, papaya or guava. A banana wouldn’t last more than 15 minutes. So I set-up some natural-looking perches near the covered veranda of our lodge and we all had a very good time photographing these birds (and we kept dry!).

I have ventured into video editing just for fun and made this short clip. The footage was done by a client with a Canon 7D through a 300mm f/2.8 lens, while the photos are mine with my trusty Nikon D700 and Nikkor 600mm f/4 AF-S (some with a 1.4x TC).

Golden-winged Cacique

Cinnamon Tanager


This attractive species almost never visits feeders, so getting a good shot of one is difficult. This time however things were different and we all got good shots.

Brassy-breasted Tanager


This gorgeous little guy (a brazilian endemic) is another bird that never visits feeders. I guess food shortage in the forest is pretty bad this winter, because this guy was coming in all the time.

Blue Dacnis


If you live in a rainforest you just gotta get used with rain.

Posted in Bird photography, Destinations, Trip reports | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Pantanal mornings

Posted by campossallesfotografia on 26 de June de 2010

I love mornings, the best time of the day. The air is fresh and clean and birds are super active. In the Pantanal this is specially true. You often wake up well before sunrise with the raucous choruses of Chaco Chachalacas, maybe followed by the lodge’s resident Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl somewhere at the garden and then the elusive Collared Forest-Falcon call echoing in the twilight. With the first sun rays showing in the horizon is time for the parrots and macaws to wake up, hundreds of them flying overhead towards their feeding grounds.

This morning the sunrise was quite nice and we shot a few frames with the wide angle lens. This was with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor 24mm f/2.8.

A few minutes later I found this Rufescent Tiger-Heron hunting for breakfast at the same wetland. I slowly approached it with a 600mm on and took some pics.

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White-eared Puffbird

Posted by campossallesfotografia on 1 de June de 2010

Just one more photo from Guainumbi Reserve this weekend. This is a White-eared Puffbird, a rather common species of open areas or forest edge, as is the case here. I’m not sure if I should clone the out-of-focus branch or not. It feels kinda empty without it, while with it it adds some depth to the image… but I’m not sure yet…

White-eared Puffbird (Nystalus chacuru)

I love puffbirds, they are so photogenic and usually stays at the same place for a while, allowing a good approach for photos. Oh and how can one not like the perches you get at Guainumbi… they are by itself a photo subject with all those mosses and epiphytes.

Posted in Bird photography, Destinations | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Some new photos and a welcome

Posted by campossallesfotografia on 31 de May de 2010

This is my first post, welcome to my blog! Here I will post not only news regarding my nature photo tours through Brazil but also some post-processing tips and videos, last-minute trip offers, new photos and other stuff. For my first post I chose to post some photos I made this weekend at Reserva Guainumbi, a private nature reserve in the Atlantic Rainforest, about 3 hours from my city, Campinas, in São Paulo State, and a place I often take clients to.

Mottled Owl (Strix virgata)


I have been looking for this owl for over 3 years. I often heard it not only in the Atlantic Rainforest but also in the Pantanal, but attracting this large nocturnal predator within photographic range is difficult, as they are often quite wary. This time however luck was on my side. The right playback voice attracted it instantly under the clear, full moon night. It perched on various trees around me and I even made some photos with a cleaner background, but I also liked this one, the look of the owl is just great I think.

Brown Tinamou (Crypturellus obsoletus)


Photographing tinamous is like the ultimate goal in neotropical bird photography. They are the ghosts of the forest floor. You often hear their beautiful whistled songs echoing through the forest, but actually seeying one is a total different matter. These are as wary a bird as a bird can be. You may see one fleeting on a trail, but that’s it. So for this photo I had to be patient. I waited on a hide for several hours and finally got my prize. I intentionally left the image a bit underexposed, as that’s what the forest floor look like.

Brazilian Ruby (Clytolaema rubricauda)


A male Brazilian Ruby visiting a native Fuchsia flower. My multi-flash setup is made with Pocket Wizards, so that my guests may also use it, whatever brand camera they have, as long as it has a hot shoe or a flash sync port.


Are they tame? You bet, not only tame but numerous too.

Violet-capped Woodnymph (Thalurania glaucopis) and Scale-throated Hermit (Phaethornis eurynome)


Two species in the same frame is a constant thing there.

Scale-throated Hermit (Phaethornis eurynome)


I like the bird position in this one.

Sharpbill (Oxyruncus cristatus)


This former cotingid (now in a family of its own) is a difficut bird to photograph, as they are quite uncommon and always at the canopy. This was the best I could get this time and, for this species, I was quite pleased with it.

Now I gotta start packing my stuff for the Pantanal next week. Talk to you later.

Posted in Bird photography, Destinations, Hummingbirds | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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