Canon 7D Mark II – Review and Setup Guide

FULL REVIEW

To see my full review – CLICK HERE

TOP 10 NEW FEATURES

#1 – Improved ISO capabilities in an APS-C camera. The Canon 7D mark II delivers the best in class image quality and is the best APS-C camera on the market today. This makes it the #1 choice for bird photographers.

#2 – So many autofocus points! 65 in all. And they are all cross type too! Plus enhanced low light focus performance.

#3 – 10 fps

#4 – AF at f/8. I am very interested to see how well my 600mm + 2x performs (effective focal length of 1920mm)

#5 – Battery grip with vertical joystick. This will be great for moving the focus point around all of those 65 points while shooting vertically.

#6 – Dual card slots and built in GPS. Definitely nice hardware upgrades.

#7 – New live view/video AF capabilities. Can now track moving subjects while shooting videos. This should be fun!

#8 – Incredible new intelligent viewfinder. So much info available and completely customizable.

#9 – Ability to customize AF settings to several buttons based on how you shoot.

#10 – Better weather sealing, shutter durability and LCD screen

SETUP GUIDE

To check out my review of this new camera and a setup guide I have made – CLICK HERE

7D II Setup Guide Cover

Check out the setup guide for this new camera!

Churchill Trip Report 2014

Red-necked Tanager
Smith’s Longspur in the sweet Churchill evening light… 

CHURCHILL TRIP REPORT 2014 

I’ve just returned this past weekend from leading a photo workshop up in the wonderful destination of Churchill, Manitoba. What a trip we had! The weather could not possibly have been any better. The birds were cooperative and numerous. Plus we had a fantastic crew of photographers to spend the week with. It was perfect!


Willow Ptarmigans are always fun to shoot


We had perfect conditions for this Horned Grebe!


This male Long-tailed Duck put on a show!

I will say that the weather was most certainly NOT perfect when I arrived in Churchill a few days prior to the trip to scout. In fact, just 3 days before I got there they had 6 inches of snow. Yes that’s right – 6 inches of snow in June!!! I arrived in Churchill to temperatures hovering around freezing and a chilly wind off of the bay. Not ideal at all. Especially since I forgot to pack my long john’s!

In any case as I mentioned the weather improved significantly the next day and we had perfect weather for a pre-workshop evening shoot.


Does light get better??


Red-necked Phalarope


Bonaparte’s Gull

One of my favourite places to be in Churchill is right down at the mouth of the river where it meets the Hudson’s Bay. This is such a dynamic area and there is always something going on. It is an incredible place to practise flight photography of all kinds of birds that are zipping by. Eiders are always numerous as are all three Scoters, Pacific Loons, Red-breasted Mergansers, Gulls, Terns and Jaegers. Not to mention the Beluga whales that migrate back and forth up and down the river each day. It really is a phenomenal place to be!


Common Eider flying by and out into the Hudson’s Bay. 


There is still quite a bit of ice at this time of year.


Arctic Tern with the days catch


Common Eider


Parasitic Jaeger


Black Scoter


White-winged Scoter


Surf Scoter

During the 6 day workshop we had such fantastic luck with the specialty birds up in Churchill. We just slowly picked them all off one by one each morning and evening shoot. From Red-necked Phalaropes, Hudsonian Godwits and Arctic Terns in small ponds to Willow Ptarmigans, Whimbrels and American Golden Plovers out on the tundra the birds were literally posing for us. We also picked off some of the boreal forest birds like Blackpoll Warbler, Spruce Grouse, Common Redpoll and American Tree Sparrow.


Whimbrel


Ruddy Turnstone


American Bittern coming to playback was a surprise!


Common Redpoll


Blackpoll Warbler


Spruce Grouse

I have a list of about 25 birds that I hope my groups will photograph in Churchill. We’ve always done pretty well on this list but I have never had quite so much luck as on this trip. I think the only bird we missed was the Sabine’s Gull. Otherwise we pretty much nailed ‘em all!


Pacific Loon


Parasitic Jaeger


American Golden Plover


Willow Ptarmigan female. Perhaps even nicer than the male!


Parasitic Jaeger


HUGO up in a tree

The highlight of this trip for me was without a doubt the time we spent with the Smith’s Longspur. Prior to this trip I had searched several times for them in Churchill but never had any luck at all. I had never even heard one before this trip. One afternoon we were heading out to a site I knew for American Golden Plovers and from the van window I thought I heard one off in the distance calling. I wasn’t 100% sure so I got the group set up on the plovers and then walked back to investigate. Sure enough my ears had not lied and there was a fantastic male Smith’s Longspur calling away. He seemed to be sticking around the area (breeding?) so there was no huge rush. Once the group was done with the plover we had a great photo shoot with this bird. On the final night of the trip we had basically finished with all of our target species so we went back to see if we could relocate the bird. Sure enough he was still there and we were able to do a sweet tundra setup and get even better images in the soft golden light. It was a perfect way to end an incredible trip!


What a setting for this lifer!

I’ll be leading this trip next in 2016 and it is limited to 6 participants. Be sure to send me an email if you would like to be placed on the wish list for this workshop or are ready to send in a deposit and reserve your seat.

This guy will be waiting for you in Churchill…


The group out in the tundra working hard and having fun…

***SPECIAL NOTE – I PUT MY CLIENTS NEEDS FIRST ON MY WORKSHOPS AND I SHOOT VERY LITTLE MYSELF. AS A RESULT MANY OF THE IMAGES ABOVE ARE FROM PREVIOUS TRIPS***

WASHINGTON STATE ROAD TRIP

Earlier in May I took a short road trip down to Washington State to pick off a few targets that are a lot tougher up here in BC. It was a short but great trip! Here are a few of my faves…

American Avocet


Sage Thrasher


Black-necked Stilt


Black-necked Stilt


White-headed Woodpecker


Western Meadowlark


Sagebrush Sparrow

This E-book is designed to share the strategies and techniques that I have developed over the years to improve and simplify Post Processing. In my own processing I use primarily two software platforms (Breezebrowser and Adobe Photoshop). As such, this book is aimed primarily at photographers hoping to learn to use Adobe Photoshop. However, many of the skills and techniques in this book could also be transferable to other software platforms.

This guide is for you if you want to:

  • Spend less time at the computer
  • Learn to use Adobe Photoshop
  • Streamline your processing workflow
  • Take your best images and take them to a whole new level
  • Display your images to family and friends
To learn more or to order your copy today – CLICK HERE
Why not spend $25 to save yourself hours of time editing your images?

Isn’t it worth $25 to learn how to make your images all that they can be?

2015 WORKSHOPS
Be sure to email me to join the wish list for any trips that you are interested in for the 2015 season.

Limited edition hats are now in! The only way to get one is to join me on a workshop :-)
Churchill marks the end of my busy workshop season. I’ll be taking most of the summer off to get caught up on some writing projects and hopefully some more new web content. This summer I’ll also be doing a lot of processing. If you will be too then you might want to pick up a copy of my Guide to Post Processing – HERE
All summer long I am running weekly giveaways on Facebook for some great prizes from Lowepro, Wimberly, Cotton Carrier and Vistek. To be eligible you must like my Facebook page and stay tuned for each of the weekly contests.

I’m also going to be adding some new videos to Youtube so be sure to subscribe to my channel to check them out.

All the best!

Glenn


The tundra is a beautiful place to be in June :-)


Teaching in the boreal forest…


Dusty van window art…


Flight shooting at the river…


It’s a tough job…but someone’s gotta do it ;-)

Check out my latest newsletter…

 

  • COSTA RICA 2014 TRIP REPORT AND PHOTOS
  • VANCOUVER ISLAND 2014 TRIP REPORT AND PHOTOS
  • E-BOOKS
  • PHOTO WORKSHOPS 2014
  • PHOTO TIP – HOW MUCH FLASH??
  • WHAT’S COMING UP…
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Emerald Basilisk Lizard in Costa Rica… 

COSTA RICA TRIP REPORT 2014 

I’ve just returned from a wonderful 11 day trip to some of the best and most photogenic places in Costa Rica. We had a fantastic crew of people on board for this trip and everyone had a great time and got some really stellar images. There is always so much to shoot in the tropics that you can only get so much done in 10 or 11 days. I try to plan this trip for the maximum amount of diversity in the shortest period of time. On this tour we visit three very different habitat types – lowland rainforest, foothills and highland montane forests. Each stop brings new and exciting things for us to point our lenses at!

We began this trip in the lowlands where we got our first looks at some really cool birds like Chestnut-mandibled Toucans and Montezuma’s Oropendola’s. We had a ridiculously cooperative Sunbittern down by the river and a group of Collared Aracari’s stopped in to have their pictures taken too.


Montezuma’s Oropendola


Chestnut-mandibled Toucan


Sunbittern


Barred Woodcreeper

From our first stop on this tour we also made two side-trips. The first was to a higher elevation site that has loads of hummingbirds. We spent the entire day taking pictures of these little flying jewels using my patented multi-flash techniques. The results were spectacular and left everyone with big smiles on their faces.  The second side-trip was to a local site where we had incredible opportunities to photograph wild Scarlet Macaws.


Violet Sabrewings


Scarlet Macaw


Green Hermit by one of my participants.

Once back at our lodge for our final day in the lowlands we focussed on some of the plentiful macro opportunities with three species of really colourful frogs. It had rained the night before and these little amphibians were EVERYWHERE!


Green and Black Poison Dart Frog


Red Eyed Tree Frog


Blue Jeans Poison Dart Frog


Red Eyed Tree Frog by a workshop participant.

Our second stop on this tour was up in the Caribbean foothills. At this location I set up a fairly productive fruit feeder for some tanagers and Oropendola’s that we all enjoyed shooting at. We also did two more afternoons of multi-flash hummingbirds and spent a morning at a nearby wetland area. All in all we had lots to keep us busy!


Purple-crowned Woodnymph


Green-breasted Mango


Northern Jacana


Boat-billed Heron

After three nights in the foothills we moved on up the slope and into the highlands. At our lunch stop we had a tonne of fun photographing the extremely abundant Fiery-throated Hummingbirds that were buzzing around the feeders.


Fiery-throated Hummingbird

Our final stop in the highlands brought us so many great photo opps. We had an unbelievable encounter with the male and female Resplendent Quetzal. It was so cooperative and everyone git amazing images of this most spectacular bird.

Other targets up in the highlands included Spangled-cheeked Tanagers, Emerald Toucanets, Acorn Woodpeckers, Flame-coloured Tanagers and Long-tailed Silky Flycatchers.

In our last hour of the trip one of the participants showed me an image on his LCD screen to ask me what it was. Holy smokes! A Spotted Wood Quail! Where!!! We shot back over to where he had found them and managed to get some really fun images. This was the most exciting bird of the trip for me personally as I had never seen them. Awesome!


Resplendent Quetzal


Resplendent Quetzal by one of the participants…


Click the image above to watch a video I captured of the male Quetzal…

Spangled-cheeked Tanager


Long-tailed Silky Flycatcher


Acorn Woodpecker


Emerald Toucanet


Emerald Toucanet


Long-tailed Silky Flycatcher


Spotted Wood Quail


Click the image above to watch a video I captured of these Spotted Wood Quails…

Eventually all good things must come to an end and we had to head back to San Jose to catch our flights home. It really was a great trip though and I know we were all sad that it had come to an end. Some great images were captured on this one and also some wonderful memories.

I will definitely be leading this trip again next April. So be sure to send me an email if you want to be put on the wish list.


The group at our final lodge in the mountains…

***SPECIAL NOTE – I PUT MY CLIENTS NEEDS FIRST ON MY WORKSHOPS AND I SHOOT VERY LITTLE MYSELF. AS A RESULT MANY OF THE IMAGES ABOVE ARE FROM PREVIOUS TRIPS***

VANCOUVER ISLAND TRIP REPORT 2014 

Earlier in March I ran 3 back to back to back Vancouver Island workshops with small 4 person groups. On these workshops we focussed our efforts each day on learning new skills and capturing beautiful images. Since the trips are in my home city I try to show off the beautiful place that I live to the best of my ability.

On each of the trips we spent a day out in the rainforest working on landscape images and also trying to get some cool images of the American Dippers, Red-breasted Sapsuckers, Pacific Wrens and Varied Thrushes that call the rainforest home.


American Dipper


A Rainforest Scene


Red-breasted Sapsucker


Pacific Wren

Making stops along the waterfront gave us all some excellent opportunities for Harlequin Ducks, Black Oystercatchers and Black Turnstones. One one of my trips I actually had all three species plus a Brant Goose on one rock all together. Amazing!


Harlequin Duck


Harlequin Duck


Black Oystercatcher


Black Oystercatcher

No trip to Vancouver Island would be complete without photographing some of the amazing species of ducks that over-winter here. I took my groups to all of my favourite spots for Wood Ducks, Buffleheads, Common Goldeneye, Northern Pintail, Lesser Scaup, American Wigeon, etc, etc. We photographed a lot of ducks!!

Perhaps the best learning opportunity on this trip is the chance to really master bird-in-flight photography. I have a spot that is out of this world for ducks in flight and I can get them to fly by right in front of the group over and over again. People filled cards left right and center and by the end of the workshop I know everyone was feeling pretty accomplished at flight shooting. If you want to work on your flight shooting skills I HIGHLY recommend this trip.


Common Goldeneye


American Wigeon


Lesser Scaup


Wood Duck


Hooded Merganser


Northern Pintail


Bufflehead

Other opportunities during the week included some feeder setups for Red-breasted Nuthatches and Chestnut-backed Chickadees as well as a few others. We also worked a bit with call playback to get some nice images of Brown Creepers. Finally we worked on capturing some pleasing portraits of Anna’s Hummingbirds. On this trip we really used a lot of different techniques to create a nice well rounded portfolio.


Anna’s Hummingbird


Brown Creeper


Chestnut-backed Chickadee


Red-breasted Nuthatch

I will be leading these trips again next year and have a few openings still. Send me an email today to reserve your seat before they are all sold out!

If you would like to see a video from this workshop please – CLICK HERE

Below are a few images of the great people I met this year and got to show around Vancouver Island :-)


Group #1

Group # 2

Group #3

This E-book is designed to share the strategies and techniques that I have developed over the years to improve and simplify Post Processing. In my own processing I use primarily two software platforms (Breezebrowser and Adobe Photoshop). As such, this book is aimed primarily at photographers hoping to learn to use Adobe Photoshop. However, many of the skills and techniques in this book could also be transferable to other software platforms.This guide is for you if you want to:

  • Spend less time at the computer
  • Learn to use Adobe Photoshop
  • Streamline your processing workflow
  • Take your best images and take them to a whole new level
  • Display your images to family and friends
To learn more or to order your copy today – CLICK HERE
Why not spend $25 to save yourself hours of time editing your images?

Isn’t it worth $25 to learn how to make your images all that they can be?

2015 WORKSHOPS
Be sure to email me to join the wish list for any trips that you are interested in for the 2015 season.

 

Limited edition hats are now in! The only way to get one is to join me on a workshop :-)

HOW MUCH FILL-FLASH IS ENOUGH??
Using flash well seems to be one of the most challenging aspects of nature photography and is a topic that seems to require the most attention when I lead my photo workshops. Learning to use flash properly can open up so many new opportunities in nature. This is especially true when shooting in challenging environments like tropical rainforests.For the most part when we use flash in nature photography we are using what is called “fill flash”. This means that flash is not the primary source of light but rather is providing some additional “fill’ light.

I am going to cover the use of flash in a lot more detail in a forthcoming e-book that I hope folks will find useful. But for now lets simplify things down to two easy steps that will improve your use of fill flash.

#1 – When deciding how much flash to blast out there a good method is to look at your image on your LCD and assess whether you still have some natural shadow or gradient to the light on the subject. The light should still appear brighter on the top of the subject than below. This makes sense as the primary source of light is still the sun which is coming from above.

#2 – Make sure that you know how to control the amount of flash you are throwing out there. The best way to do this is to get very familiar with using TTL flash and flash exposure compensation. In most cases you will want to dial the power of the flash down. I usually start with my flash at about – 2 stops and then adjust as necessary from there.


Notice that the under-belly and thigh of the bird are still darker than the birds flank. Just the right amount of flash!
Spring is here and that means it’s time to get out shooting. I’m going to do a short road trip down to Washington State to try to pick off a few birds that I need better images of. Then in early June I’m zipping back to Ontario for a family visit and hope to get a chance to use my camera some. Immediately afterwards I’ll fly up to Churchill to lead my workshop up there. Hopefully the birds will be cooperative!I’m working on some new videos and Youtube content. Be sure to subscribe to my channel to get all the latest and greatest.

This summer I’ll be doing a lot of processing. If you will be too then you might want to pick up a copy of my Guide to Post Processing – HERE

I’ll do my best to keep adding fun new content, news and updates to Facebook as well.All the best!

Glenn

 

A QUICK SIDE NOTE
If you haven’t already done so I would really appreciate it if you can do two quick things for me:#1 – “like” my Facebook page by clicking here – Like http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Glenn-Bartley-Nature-Photography/149419198425813 on Facebook and share my page with your friends.
#2 – Visit me on Youtube and subscribe to my channel – 
Click Here 

Thank you so much for helping me out with these two quick goals :-)


Capturing the essence of the rainforest on Vancouver Island…


Nailing shots and having a blast in Costa Rica…


Teamwork in the highlands to get the best possible shot.


A special friend visiting us while we photograph flying macaws.

Ecuador 2014 Trip Report

I’ve been home from Ecuador for a few weeks now and thought it was time to reminisce about the wonderful month that my groups and I got to spend in the incredibly bird-rich nation of Ecuador. This was my fifth visit to Ecuador and despite the fact that I have now spent more than 12 months in the beautiful Andean nation the bird life continues to amaze me.

One exciting aspect of this year’s tours was that I was able to bring down my friend and very talented nature photographer Jess Findlay to help me lead the trips. Jess brings a fresh new perspective to bird photography and his images are extremely creative and are executed with technical perfection. I’m sure that you will all enjoy seeing Jess’ images in this newsletter and you can read more about him in his biography below.


A Carunculated Caracara in the spectacular Antisana reserve.

After meeting in Quito, each tour started in the northwest part of the country where we focused our efforts on the amazing diversity of hummingbirds. Our first stop was a high elevation cloud forest reserve where we found some beautiful hummingbirds to start the trip including the Great Sapphirewing and Sapphire-vented Puffleg.

By the time the trip was over most of the participants had photographed over 30 species of the tiny flying jewels known as hummingbirds (including Booted Rackettail’s, Buff-tailed Coronet’s and Violet-tailed Sylph’s as seen below).


A Buff-tailed Coronet in northwestern Ecuador. Multi-flash is an amazing technique!


A male Red-headed Barbet at a feeder setup.


Always a favourite – the male Booted Racket-tail.


Violet-tailed Sylph

From our base in the Tandayapa Valley we made a few day trips to visit nearby photography hot-spots. We even managed photos of some really cool species like the Strong-billed Woodcreeper, Toucan Barbet and Blue-winged Mountain tanager. Everyone also got fantastic shots of the gorgeous Masked Trogon.  But above all else we focused on photographing hummingbirds using my patented multi-flash techniques.


Strong-billed Woodcreeper.


A male Masked Trogon with his breakfast.


Blue-winged Mountain Tanagers are “gratifyingly numerous”.

One of our morning excursions was spent visiting the famous Mindo area where we spent some time photographing a few different species of hummingbirds that are present at this lower elevation. Among the new birds that we found and photographed were Green-crowned Brilliants, Green-crowned Woodnymphs and one of my favourite Ecuadorian Hummingbirds – the Velvet-purple Coronet. We also got some great looks at a few beautiful Tanagers and had an incredible encounter with a group of lekking Club-winged Manakins.


Club-winged Manakin


Velvet-purple Coronet

After three days in the northwest we moved on through the central valley to our stopover for the night. Our afternoon shoot produced some great images of Sparkling Violetears and some even managed to nail the Black-tailed Trainbearer. Bright and early the next morning we traveled up to the incredible Antisana reserve. At this amazing high elevation site we spotted Andean Condors soaring from their cliffs, Carunculated Caracaras loafing in the grasslands, Black-faced Ibis, and a variety of other birds. The scenery may have stolen the show however as the views and setting was spectacular.


Carunculated Caracara’s were easy targets at Antisana.


What a site to see a male Andean Condor soaring around his cliff.


We had spectacular views up at Antisana.

After a great morning up at Antisana we drove across and over the Papallacta Pass (where on one of the trips we had spectacular views of the Antisana Volcano) to eventually arrive at our third lodge of the trip. From Sword-billed Hummingbirds to Torrent Ducks and from Rufous-bellied Seedsnipes to Turquoise Jays it was hard to know where to point our lenses!


Spectacled Whitestart.


The Torrent Duck family.


Tourmaline Sunangel


Long-tailed Sylph


Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe

Our final stop on the regular portion of the tour was a little bit further down the eastern slope. Here we were in for a real treat – the Black-banded Owl (see below). We also got great photo opportunities for Montane Woodcreepers, Inca Jays and the cute little White-bellied Antpitta.


Gray-breasted Wood Wren


White-bellied Antpitta


A mysterious looking Black-banded Owl.


Montane Woodcreeper


Inca Jay

After 6 spectacular days on the East Slope we traveled further down the slope into the Ecuadorian lowlands and prepared to travel into the Amazon Rainforest. We then took a boat nearly 100km down river deep into the jungle. After a few hours we arrived at our wonderful jungle lodge where we would spend the next 4 days.

During our stay in the Amazon we had incredible opportunities to photograph 4 species of Kingfishers as well as crazy birds like Hoatzin’s, Donocobius, Macaws, Woodpeckers, Toucans and Aracaris, Owls and even Parrots that were coming to a local site to eat clay. It really was an amazing experience for us all.


What a weirdo! The Hoatzin.


Peek-a-Boo!


Tropical Screech Owl


We had incredible looks at the gorgeous Agami Heron.


American Pygmy Kingfisher


Many-banded Aracari


Cormorants at sunset


Squirrel Cuckoo


Pied Plover


Our two amazing Amazon guides. What a team!

Eventually all good things must come to an end and we had to return to Quito to catch our flights home. It truly was a fantastic trip. But don’t take my word for it. Here are some of the things that a few of the participants had to say below.

I will definitely be running this trip again in Jan/Feb of 2015. I will have dates available and will be taking deposits in the upcoming few weeks. If you are interested in reserving a space on the trip make sure to get in touch soon as I am certain that the 12 spaces available (2 tours) will sell out fast. Send me an email if you want to be put on the trips wish list.

TO JOIN THE WISH LIST FOR ECUADOR 2015 CLICK HERE

“The great thing about going with Glenn is that the trip size is small and you are going with the master himself. I was pleased that Glenn was focused on his guests and not intent on getting his own photos. I was also amazed at how hard he worked to get us the right setups and the time he took placing the props for our pictures. Most of all, I appreciate the new photo techniques I learned from Glenn. When I sent my pictures back in emails, my friends could instantly see the impact that just a few hours with Glenn had on my photos. Glenn is a real people person and you will not retreat a trip with him. And, oh yes, the places we stayed were all first rate and the food was terrific.  As a couple who have spent the last 12 years doing several first rate international trips a year, I can tell you that Glenn ranks in the top five percent of tours we have taken.”
E.H. (Ecuador, 2014)

“Glenn Bartley is a great bird photographer, a really good birder, he knows Neotropical birds, he speaks Spanish, he’s strong, and in case that’s not enough, he’s a nice guy.  If you want to photograph birds in Latin America as Keith does (or if you just want to see Neotrops really well as I do), there is no better person to travel with than Glenn.”
S.K.
 (Ecuador, 2014)

“I want to thank you again for a wonderful trip, we learned so much and had so many opportunities to see different areas of Ecuador. It is a beautiful country and even in the walks where we did not see many birds we saw amazing scenery. I have a hard time describing to everyone how diverse and gorgeous Ecuador is, and we did not see but a small part of the country. Steve and I both learned a lot from you and Jess, now we just have to use those skills. Thank you again for your time and patience, and we look forward to joining you again.” 
E.L. (Ecuador, 2014)

“Glenn Bartley gets you to the best locations for bird photography and then helps you to get the best shots. This is what counts if you really want the experience. The Ecuador trip is highly recommended as one of the most comprehensive trips that one can expect.”
D.O. (Ecuador, 2014)


Group #1 in the Amazon


Group #2 at Antisana

***SPECIAL NOTE – I PUT MY CLIENTS NEEDS FIRST ON MY WORKSHOPS AND I SHOOT VERY LITTLE MYSELF. AS A RESULT MANY OF THE IMAGES ABOVE ARE FROM PREVIOUS TRIPS***

BRAZIL TRIP REPORT 2013

Bright and early on the morning of Halloween I boarded a flight from Victoria on its way to the south-eastern part of Brazil. My targets were the many beautiful birds that reside in the Atlantic rainforest.

Because most of the time I have spent in South America has been in the Andes this trip opened up a whole world of exciting new possibilities for bird photography. I was definitely excited to get down there and see what I could accomplish.


Red-breasted Toucan

Arriving in Sao Paulo early the next day I immediately picked up my rental car and drove south to Intervales State Park. What an incredible place to spend the first 5 days of the trip!

Arriving in the park right at dusk there was no time for day-time shooting. After dinner though, I decided to try my luck at a bit of owling. What an amazing surprise to find a stunning (and very cooperative) Stygian Owl on the very first night. Not a bad way to start the trip at all!


Stygian Owl

Over the next 4 days I wandered all over Intervales looking for some of the key birds that live there and trying to nail down a few good species. To my surprise there were actually a few tanagers hanging around the lodge that took very quickly to a rudimentary fruit feeder setup as well. I even managed to get some good shots of a Yellow-fronted Woodpecker at my setup.


Chestnut-backed Tanager


Yellow-fronted Woodpecker

 
Gray-throated Warbling Finch


Green-headed Tanager

After a great first few days of the trip I moved back north through Sao Paulo and on to the coastal town of Ubatuba. I split my time between two sites here. Both sites were excellent for hummingbirds and I tried to take full advantage with a mix of multi-flash and standard techniques. My favourite bird was definitely the tiny Festive Coquette that eventually perched for a few nice images.


Black Jacobin


White-throated Tanager


Swallow-tailed Hummingbird


Festive Coquette

Another surprise in the Ubatuba region was finding a few sites to set up some fruit feeders for tanagers. Neither location was ideal (to say the least). With a bit of finesse though both setups yielded some really nice images.


Plain Parakeet


Burnished-buff Tanager


Red-necked Tanager

From Ubatuba I continued further north to Itatiaia National Park. This involved a few days in the lower part of the park and then a full day at the top. Both sites were excellent and produced some great birds such as the Saffron Toucanet, Frilled Coquette, Plovercrest and Diademed Tanager. Night time missions turned up Tawny-browed and Rusty-barred Owls.


Saffron Toucanet


Frilled Coquette


Red-breasted Toucan


Rusty-barred Owl


Tawny-browed Owl


Plovercrest

Continuing on up the coast past Rio De Janeiro I visited another fantastic lodge that had some real gems hanging around in the garden and nearby trails. Highlights included the Black-cheeked Gnateater, Rufous-capped Antthrush, Spot-billed Toucanet and Giant Antshrike. Great birds and an exceptional few days of photography.


Giant Antshrike


Blue Manakin


Violaceous Euphonia


Spot-billed Toucanet


Black-cheeked Gnateater

My next stop was just a few kilometers down the road. Despite the close proximity the drop in elevation made for a very different ecosystem and set of shooting conditions. This area was hot and sunny. Definitely not ideal weather for bird photography. I tried to make the best of it though and did manage to pick off a few good birds around a local wetland. I also picked up Striped Owl on one of the nights. 3 days seemed like a long time though with this sunny weather and by the end of my stay I was definitely ready to move on.


Chestnut-capped Blackbird


Brazilian Teal


Striped Owl

In order to get in to some new ecosystems I had to make a serious drive the next day to a site some 700km away. I had only a day and a half at this site and only one main target here which was the Hyacinth Visorbearer. On my first morning up in the appropriate habitat I found a cooperative Blue Finch and was doing a setup for him when a Visorbearer landed right where my lens was pointed and started calling. What luck!


Blue Finch


Hyacinth Visorbearer

After a successful mission to this site I moved on to what would be the final site of the trip – Canastra National Park. This area is famous as the best site to see the critically endangered Brazilian Merganser (of which perhaps only 100-200 individuals exist). I didn’t have super high hopes of seeing or photographing this bird though. Instead I just wanted to focus on some of the different birds that live up on this grassland plateau.

Immediately upon reaching the closest town to Canastra I knew I was in trouble. I was informed that the road to the upper part of the park was in TERRIBLE condition. To make matters worse it was pouring rain and the forecast looked dreadful. I basically spent the next two days surfing the net from my hotel room.

Finally on my last day at this site the rain stopped and I was able to hire a massive 4×4 vehicle to take me up to the park. It was a beautiful place to spend a day and I managed to get some images of a few of the cool species that live up there like the Cock-tailed Tyrant and Sharp-tailed Tyrant. I even found and photographed a pair of Brazilian Megansers!! I was definitely happy to end the trip taking images and NOT surfing the internet!


Red-legged Seriema


Stripe-breasted Starthroat


Cock-tailed Tyrant


Sharp-tailed Tyrant


Brazilian Merganser

The month came and went in a flash. I really enjoyed travelling around Brazil and found the country and people very beautiful. I’m already looking forward to my next visit and will almost certainly be setting up a photo workshop for this destination in the years to come.

To see a small gallery of the Brazil images that I have processed so far – CLICK HERE

To watch my video blog from the month – CLICK HERE

MY NEW E-BOOK – A GUIDE TO POST PROCESSING

Take your images to the next level!

Save time at the computer!

POST PROCESSING:A GUIDE FOR NATURE PHOTOGRAPHERS

The era of digital photography has brought tremendous advantages to bird and wildlife photographers. The ability to take hundreds or thousands of photos in one day allows us to continually raise the bar and strive for excellence in the images that we create.Many aspiring wildlife photographers that I meet, however, are bogged down by digital issues of file management and having an efficient workflow. It is common for photographers to waste a significant amount of time at the computer and as a result, many good images that could become great images remain untouched and unshared on hard drives. These images simply never live up to their potential.

This E-book is designed to share the strategies and techniques that I have developed over the years to improve and simplify Post Processing. In my own processing I use primarily two software platforms (Breezebrowser and Adobe Photoshop). As such, this book is aimed primarily at photographers hoping to learn to use Adobe Photoshop. However, many of the skills and techniques in this book could also be transferable to other software platforms.

The chapters of this book are organized in a logical way to work through the following steps:

  • Creating a logical and efficient file management system
  • Culling images effectively and selecting your best work
  • Converting RAW files
  • Processing images in Adobe Photoshop (many skills transferable to Adobe Lightroom)

This guide is for you if you want to:

  • Spend less time at the computer
  • Learn to use Adobe Photoshop
  • Streamline your processing workflow
  • Take your best images and take them to a whole new level
  • Display your images to family and friends

Included with this ebook are:

  • Downloadable Photoshop Actions designed to save you time.
  • Sample Images to work on (cloning, layer mask, noise reduction)
  • Links to over 1 hour of online video tutorials

To place an order simply click on the link below (or at the top of the page). The price is $25. Once you make payment by Paypal you will receive a confirmation email and download link.

To order your copy today – CLICK HERE
 
Why not spend $25 to save yourself hours of time editing your images?

Isn’t it worth $25 to learn how to make your images all that they can be?

Peru Photo Trip Report

At the end of August I headed down to Peru to lead two photo workshops into Manu National Park. Manu is one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet and is home to more than 1000 species of birds. There are some truly spectacular species in this park and we saw and photographed many of them. In between the two wildlife tours I led a cultural extension through the Sacred Valley of the Incas which culminated with a very memorable visit to the incredible site of Machu Picchu.

Red and Green Macaw at the clay lick in Manu.

Our trip started in the former Inca capital of Cuzco. The city makes for an ideal base to set out into the jungle and towards the sacred valley. There is so much to see and do around Cuzco that it is well worth spending a day or two roaming around and learning about the history and culture.

Once our group was assembled we travelled off in the direction of the Manu. A few hours later we arrived at the entrance to the park – eager and ready to start finding some birds.


Group #1 heading in to the park.

I designed this tour to take full advantage of the elevation gradient that the Manu road offers. The road works its way from around 3400 metres above sea level all the way down to 500m above sea level. As a result it offers access to numerous different habitat types and therefore a huge variety of different species.


The mystical cloud forests of Peru.

Our first stop on the tour was in the high elevation cloud forests. We only spent one night at this elevation (approximately 3000m) so had to work quickly to try to make the most of our time up there and some of the very special cloud forest species. Diversity at this elevation is much lower than it is in sites further down. Nevertheless, there are some absolutely stunning species to be found in the cloud forests of Manu. Among my favourite include the Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager, Hooded Mountain Tanager, Grass Green Tanager and Golden-collared Tanager. These high elevation tanagers are such stunning birds and are well worth a solid effort to try to photograph them.


Scarlet-bellied Mountain Tanager


Grass Green Tanager


Hooded Mountain Tanager

Before long it was time to continue on down the road to our next site at a considerably lower elevation (1500m). It was here where we would experience what I am certain was the highlight of the trip for many of the participants – The Andean Cock of the Rock. On both tours we had fantastic success with this species having between 10-15 male birds flamboyantly displaying at their lek site. These incredible birds (the national bird of Peru) group together to display for females in the hopes of finding a mate. It is an absolutely amazing spectacle and is not to be missed for any bird lover. We had lots of time to work and everyone came away with some fantastic images!


Andean Cock-of-the-Rock


Andean Cock-of-the-Rock

After photographing the Cock of the Rock’s we continued on to our next lodge for some celebratory drinks and a good nights sleep. We would spend two nights at this elevation to hunt for a variety of great birds including motmots, hummingbirds, and a huge variety of tanagers. We were fortunate enough to have a few fruiting shrubs on the grounds and these provided some great opportunities for a great selection of fruit eating birds.


Orange-eared Tanager


Spotted Tanager


Blue-naped Chlorophonia


Blue-necked Tanager


Wire-crested Thorntail


Highland Motmot

Soon enough it was time to roll on down the hill again. We made our way to the end of the Manu road and crossed the river to our next lodge. At this fantastic site we really had our hands full! Between the hummingbirds at the flowering bushes, fruit eating birds at the fruit feeders, skulking birds on the trails, Hoatzins by the river and even a few attempts at nocturnal birds, it was hard to know how to prioritize what birds to chase. It was definitely a site well worth three days. One of my favourite encounters was with a fairly cooperative Gray-necked Wood-Rail that I was able to get up on to a set up perch by luring it in with some cooked rice. This was a real treat for me as this species is normally quite shy and hard to photograph.


Rufous-crested Coquette


Masked Crimson Tanager (at a setup)


Buff-throated Saltator (at a setup)


Southern Chestnut-tailed Antbird


Red-capped Cardinal (at a setup)


Common Potoo


Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl


Hoatzin


Gray-necked Wood-Rail (at a setup – I hid rice in the log)

We had one final stop of the main tour and to get there we would have to travel down river. It is always an interesting experience taking to the river and seeing how people of Amazonia truly live. Eventually we arrived at our final lodge in time for a short hike and paddle in one of the pristine oxbow lakes. Over the next three days we would visit several more of these oxbow lakes and photograph birds from catamaran style boats. After trekking around in the jungle at the previous site it is quite luxurious and relaxing to shoot from the boats!


Photography from the Catamaran…life is good!


Turtle and Butterfly


Wattled Jacana


Muscovy Duck


Sunbittern


Squirrel Monkey


Purus Jacamar


Giant River Otter


Black-collared Hawk


Horned Screamer


Group #2 in the jungle. What a massive tree!!

The highlight of our stay in the deep jungle was our visit to a clay lick where hundreds and hundreds of parrots, parakeets and macaws come down each day to eat the mineral rich clay. These birds must visit such sites on a daily basis to help neutralize the toxins in the fruits and seeds that they digest. It is such a fantastic way to spend a morning in the observation blind and watch as the different species come down to visit the clay. Usually the smaller species visit first and then depart as the macaws start to descend. Seeing 100 or more wild Red and Green Macaws all at once is a pretty amazing sight to behold (and a very fun photographic challenge). On the first visit I set my sights on trying to photograph the smaller species and was very happy to nail a Blue-headed Parrot in flight. On my second tour I decided to try something a little different and attempt to get a nice pan-blur of the Macaws. That is one of the best things about photography. Even at the same site you can always try something a bit different and see the world through a slightly different lens.


Red and Green Macaw – standard approach


Red and Green Macaw – Pan/Blur approach – slow shutter speed


Blue-headed Parrot

Eventually our time in the jungle came to an end and we made the long journey back to Cuzco. We all had lots of great memories and fantastic images to show for our efforts!

After a rest day in Cuzco we started the cultural extension portion of the trip. This was a total change of pace and, in my opinion, an incredibly rewarding way to round out a photo vacation to this part of the world. Being in Cuzco and not visiting some of the cultural treasures of the region is like going to New York City and not visiting Times Square. It would be like going to Egypt and not visiting the pyramids. The cultural sites around Cuzco are an absolutely fascinating part of our collective human civilization.

For the Cultural extension we began in Cuzco itself and paid a visit to the nearby Sacsayhuaman ruins. This was a great way to start our immersion into the land and culture of the Incas. That afternoon we visited two other sites in Cuzco to get an even further appreciation of the history of this ancient city.


Inca ladies in traditional dress


Sacsayhuaman ruins


Interesting details in Cuzco


I present to you the Sacsayhuaman ruins…


Incredible stonework!

The next day we ventured off into the Sacred Valley and towards the city of Ollantaytambo. En route we made a stop at an animal rescue center and had a pretty spectacular and close up experience with an Andean Condor. Definitely a “WOW” moment!! We also stopped at a local pottery studio to learn about some of the techniques that they use and pick up some beautiful and unique souveneirs. In the afternoon we paid a visit to the stunning ruins at Ollantaytambo and learned all about their unique history.


Painting the pottery


Making the pottery

The next morning I took the group up to another set of ruins that are about an hour above Ollantaytambo. The scenery up there is stunning and it is really nice to get away from everything for a morning. The other key reason to visit this site was to try to get a look and a photo of the endemic White-tufted Sunbeam Hummingbird – a real stunner!


View from the countryside


White-tufted Sunbeam

In the afternoon we boarded our train and made our way to the town of Aguas Calientes in preparation of our visit to the breathtaking site of Machu Picchu. The next morning we boarded our bus up to the entrance gates of this great wonder of the world.

I would say that Machu Picchu is one of those places where no matter how many pictures you have seen of the site you can never be prepared for just how unbelievable the place truly is. Words, images or videos simply cannot do the site justice. Only by visiting this sacred site first hand and standing on the same ground as Inca royalty once did can you begin to appreciate its magnificence. Even then you are left with a sense of awe and wonder.

Arriving early at the site we had lots of time to take pictures and explore. Our private guide then took us all on a tour and explained the hidden meaning behind many of the features of the site. Once we had all had enough we took our bus back down to Aguas Calientes for one final night before traveling back to Cuzco.


Machu Picchu


Machu Picchu


Yoga at Machu Picchu…How does my tree pose look?


Machu Picchu Llama

I am very excited to have added this Peru photo workshop to my line up. The combination of fantastic birds, breathtaking scenery and fascinating cultural treasures makes it quite a tour!

I will certainly be leading this trip again in 2014. At this point I am planning to only lead one tour in 2014 and it is certain to sell out quickly. So if you are interested be sure to send me an email. I will be announcing the dates for this trip and taking deposits very soon.

CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE WISH LIST

Very Cool Photography Graphic

It is amazing how much info they packed into this graphic. If you are new to photography this is an amazing resource!

A great resource for newbies!

A great resource for newbies!

 

“Created by: PhotographyDegree.com

Ecuador Trip Report 2013

I have just returned from a wonderful month leading two photo workshops in the incredibly bird-rich nation of Ecuador. This was my fourth visit to Ecuador and despite the fact that I have now spent more than 9 months in the beautiful Andean nation the bird life continues to amaze me. I keep expecting that at some point I will stop seeing new and exciting birds and yet each year is a new adventure and brings new photo opportunities. 2013 was no exception!
The following is a combined summary of the two tours that I led this year…

After meeting in Quito, each tour started in the northwest part of the country where we focused our efforts on the amazing diversity of hummingbirds. Our first stop was a high elevation cloud forest reserve where we found some beautiful hummingbirds to start the trip including the Great Sapphirewing and Sapphire-vented Puffleg. The reserve was even feeding Tawny and Rufous Antpittas.

 
Great Sapphirewing


Sapphire-vented Puffleg

Rufous Antpitta

 

This tour focuses a lot of effort on photographing hummingbirds. We were well rewarded this year (as always) and by the time the trip was over most of the participants had photographed over 30 species of the tiny flying jewels (including Booted Rackettail’s, Buff-tailed Coronet’s and Violet-tailed Sylph’s as seen below).

Booted Rackettail


Buff-tailed Coronet

 


Violet-tailed Sylph

 

From our base in the Tandayapa Valley we made a few day trips to visit nearby photography hot-spots for a variety of tanagers, manakins and other goodies. Everyone also got fantastic shots of the gorgeous Masked Trogon.  But above all else we focused on photographing hummingbirds using my patented multi-flash techniques (including the beautiful Andean Emerald and Purple-bibbed White-Tip seen below).
Crimson-rumped Toucanet

Masked Trogon


Andean Emerald

 


Purple-bibbed White-Tip

 

After a brief stopover in the inter-Andean valley for the night our next stop took us up to the Antisana reserve and in to a totally different environment. Highlight birds up in this unique reserve included Carunculated Caracara and Black-faced Ibis.

Carunculated Caracara


Black-faced Ibis

After our visit to the highlands we traveled up and over the Papallacta Pass and eventually we arrived at our third lodge of the trip. From Sword-billed Hummingbirds to Torrent Ducks and from Mountain Tanagers to Turquoise Jays it was hard to know where to point our lenses. I have to say though that, for me anyways, the highlight was seeing and photographing the spectacular Gray-breasted Mountain Toucan (a bird I had never seen before).

Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan

Hooded Mountain-Tanager

Sword-billed Hummingbird


Torrent Duck


Rufous-bellied Seedsnipe


Turquoise Jays

Other highlight birds during our time on the East slope Pearled Treerunners, Blue-backed Conebills and loads of other birds in the mixed species flocks that were traveling around the area. We also had a lot more time to focus on multi-flash hummingbird photography and nailed a few more great species like the Tourmaline Sunangel.

Blue-backed Conebill


Long-tailed Sylph

 

Tourmaline Sunangel

Our final stop on the regular portion of the tour was a little bit further down the eastern slope. Here we were in for a real treat of photographing the Black-banded Owl (see below). One night there was also a Rufous-banded Owl that made a brief but excellent appearance. We also got great photo opportunities for Inca Jays, Golden-headed Quetzals and the cute little White-bellied Antpitta.

Black-banded Owl


Rufous-banded Owl

 

Inca Jay


White-bellied Antpitta

After 5 spectacular days on the East Slope we traveled further east into the Ecuadorian lowlands and prepared to travel into the Amazon Rainforest. We had an enjoyable boat ride that took us nearly 100km down river deep into the jungle. After a few hours we arrived at our wonderful jungle lodge where we would spend the next 4 days.

During our stay in the Amazon we had incredible opportunities to photograph 4 species of Kingfishers as well as crazy birds like Hoatzin’s, Donocobius, Macaws, Woodpeckers, Toucans and Aracaris, and even Parrots that were coming to a local site to eat clay. It really was an amazing experience for us all.

 


Masked Crimson Tanager


Scale-breasted Woodpecker


Green and Rufous Kingfisher


Many-banded Aracari


Crimson-crested Woodpecker

 


Mealy Amazon Parrot

Eventually all good things must come to an end and we had to return to Quito to catch our flights home. It truly was a fantastic trip. But don’t take my word for it. Here are some of the things that a few of the participants had to say:
TESTIMONIALS – ECUADOR 2013
Another excellent workshop, in Ecuador this time. Great lodges and food, but above all excellent photo opportunities, and the usual first class advice from Glenn. There was no excuse for not returning with a collection of great photos, as well as increased knowledge, and some marvelous experiences. Once again, many thanks, Glenn, and hopefully not the last time I will join you. (Steve C, 2013)
  
As a repeat workshop participant, I would like to say that Glenn Bartley delivers again and again.  Glenn’s photography skills, birding knowledge, attention to detail, and familiarity with Ecuador have all come together, creating an extraordinary workshop with unbeatable photographic opportunities. Glenn’s carefully selected locations provided excellent opportunities with a vast array of species.  Without your knowledge and help, I wouldn’t have been able to come home with so many fantastic images.  Thanks Glenn! (James F, 2013)

The Ecuador Workshop exceeded my expectations.  Glenn had every aspect of the trip very well organized, but he also had sufficient flexibility incorporated in the plan so that the members of the group could have the best possible opportunity to learn, encounter interesting subjects and capture good photographs.  I gained valuable experience that resulted in some very satisfying images.  I not only learned from Glenn, but also got many good ideas and suggestions from other participants. I have already committed to attend another tropical birding workshop with Glenn (Costa Rica), and I expect to continue improving my photographs with his guidance.  I would love to return to Ecuador with Glenn at some time in the future. Highly recommended! (Scott H, 2013)

 

The Ecuador workshop was excellent and I could highly recommend it to photographers of all levels of expertise.  Glenn is a very capable and patient leader and teacher who is committed to making sure that all the participants get the best results possible from the photographic opportunities presented during the trip. (Ray W, 2013)

I will definitely be running this trip again in Jan/Feb of 2014. I will have dates available and will be taking deposits in the upcoming few weeks. If you are interested in reserving a space on the trip make sure to get in touch soon as I am certain that the 12 spaces available (2 tours) will sell out fast. Send me an email if you want to be put on the trips wish list.
TO JOIN THE WISH LIST FOR ECUADOR 2014 – CLICK HERE

The Guide to Tropical Nature Photography

I am very happy to announce that my latest E-book – The Guide to Tropical Nature Photography is now available!

This is a joint project between Costa Rican wildlife photographer Greg Basco and I. We have been working hard over the past year to come up with a resource that provides a tonne of useful information to anyone heading to the tropics for photography.

Why did we decide to write a book specific to nature photography in the world’s tropical regions? Isn’t nature photography the same anywhere in the world? The answer is a resounding no. Every area of the world offers a fresh challenge to the nature photographer, from weather to logistics to subjects. Tropical nature photography, however, is characterized by an amazingly high degree of difficulty. Simply producing a sharp, well-exposed, well-composed picture is an achievement.

Successful tropical nature photography is all about having a diverse photographic toolkit to ensure that you’re ready to deal with the technical challenges of each shot, freeing your mind to work on the artistic side of your photography. We’ll be taking you through the equipment you’ll need, and we’ll also teach you how to use that equipment in a variety of ways. And we’ll give you tips on finding your subjects and “seeing” images in the field so that you can produce a beautiful and colorful tropical portfolio.

Tropical nature photography is indeed a challenge but after reading this e-book, you’ll be ready to tackle it head on. What’s more, the techniques you learn here will open up whole new worlds for your photography back home and on future travels. We believe strongly that if you can capture great images in the tropics, you’ll be well-equipped to capture great images anywhere in the world!

Specific Chapters Include:

  • Using Natural light
  • Using Flash
  • Telephoto Wildlife
  • Knowing Your Subjects
  • Outside the Box
  • Tropical Habitats
  • Equipment
  • Post Processing

The E-book is available for download from our website at a cost of just $40.

For more information or to purchase the book visit – www.theguidetotropicalnaturephotography.com