If you’re a semi-pro or amateur who relies on disposable income to feed the wildlife and landscape photography habit, then you’re probably a lot like me. Every year I try to take two to three photography excursions. These travels vary from the more “pedestrian” road-trip to an international adventure. Regardless of the destination, I always hope to maximize the photo experience while being budget conscious. Twenty years of nature-travel photography has taught me one very valuable lesson, forgo the comfort of four-star accommodations and put your money towards a world-class naturalist/guide.
Every dollar I commit to quality guide services translates into increased photographic opportunities, and real conservation of the places I love to visit. While in Costa Rica this past July, I had the great pleasure to work with my friend and naturalist Michael Sevilla. Having first met Michael in 2011 where he helped me to produce the picture that won the Nature Conservancy’s 6th Annual Photo Contest, I knew that I would hire him again during my next trip to his country. Working with a local guide who knows the terrain and the wildlife is like hedging your bets. When your guide becomes your friend and is willing to share the passion of his home and feeds off the excitement of his guests, then you know that you’re going to have fun and walk away with brilliant memories.
I consider myself fortunate to have worked with many naturalists and guides, and am thankful for the diverse opportunities they have made possible. To those hoping to make the most of their wildlife travel experiences, I suggest that you do your research and find a guide who is willing to listen and knows photography. The dollars you spend on a world class naturalist will pay dividends in the form of quality images that you can bring home.
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