Our philosophy to Photo Tours and "Birding With A Camera" (BwC) Tours

 Tours

 

We have been running tours under the Tropical Birding Tours banner  since 2001 and have run trips to over 70 countries. We take great pride in not only the images the clients come away with, but the natural history knowledge of our guides and the vibe of our tours.

 

TB Nature Photo Tours is the photography sister company of Tropical Birding Tours which specializes in nature photography workshops, photography tours and photography journeys around the world. If that confuses you, don't worry, it can be blurred at times, bur read on and you will get a great idea about how we delineate the products.  A photography tour is where we go to take photos of very specific targets and spend a lot of time with them, though occasionaly shoot whatever is around such as the Madagascar Lemur and chameleon tour or the Australia Photo Tour. A Birding with a Camera Tour is where go after target birds and other animals but will shoot anything and try to capture as many great images of a wide variety of subjects as possible. Often you have no idea what you will come home with from the day and these are the Africa type safaris that non-photographer or hard core birding partners really love. A photography workshop is where the majority of the time is spent teaching you techniques for a specific type of photography such as hummingbirds in flight. We do not offer set departure workshops as we prefer to work with other professional photographers and photography clubs 

Small and diverse tour groups

Our group sizes average smaller than those of most of our competitors,  limited to six or fewer participants. This makes a big difference, especially in forest-based tours where the birds and other animals are often very shy. While most of our clients hail from North America, we frequently have an interesting mix of nationalities in our tour groups, including Aussies, South Africans, New Zealanders, Brits, Europeans, and others.

 

Superb itineraries

Our itineraries visit not just the classic ecotourism hotspots, but also a great variety of other destinations you may not have considered before. Check out the various pages on our website, and if you need more information about any location, just email or call us, and we’d be happy to talk to you about them. Itineraries are well-researched and kept up-to-date – we often change them based on feedback from both our guides as well as tour participants. And we are always quick to modify if a great new locality or wildlife attraction becomes available. 

 

Competitive prices

We aim to strike a balance between high quality services and competitive price. We don’t cut corners if it means missing wildlife, but we also feel it is not necessary to have a 5-star luxury hotel when something elegant and clean, but less costly, will do just fine. We like to maximize our time in the outdoors, and would rather not to spend long hours languishing in restaurants in the middle of the day, preferring to have field lunches when they are called for to make the most of our time in the field. The majority of our tours include items like internal flights, tips to local drivers and guides, and airport transfers. When comparing prices, check to see what our competitors include. While we may not be the cheapest, if you take into account the itinerary, superb guide, group size, and what’s included, we offer excellent value.

 

Custom tours

Customized, private tours are big part of our business. We run dozens each year for bird clubs, conservation societies, families, groups of friends, world listers chasing down a last few targets, and even for other tour companies. For larger groups, a custom tour can even end up costing less per person than a scheduled tour, and you get to pick the dates and tweak the itinerary. We provide personalized service when you put together a custom tour, and our expert guides will help you design the perfect trip.

Fun and knowledgeable guides who love what they do

Let’s face it, you can’t have a great trip without a great guide. Our guides are full-time professional tour leaders; they are passionate about their work and take great pleasure in not only sharing their knowledge, but also making sure you get as much joy out of the tour as possible. They all understand that the trip is about getting fantastic shots and having a great time, not to prove how great they are to others. The egos are left elsewhere but the varied personalities and backgrounds combine to form a guiding culture that is as at home virtually anywhere. Our guides can all work in a variety of countries and most are able to lead on two, three, or even more continents. Even when not guiding, they are often in the field, chasing down birds and other animals they want to see, taking photos, writing field guides, searching out new locations we can run trips to, or just enjoying nature. They live all over the world; we have guides based not just in North America, but also the UK, Ecuador, Taiwan, South Africa, Madagascar, and Australia.

 
Nick Athanas
American
Lives in Maryland

Nick Athanas

Nick gave up a lucrative career in geophysics to go watch birds in South America a decade ago and has never looked back. He is one of the founders of Tropical Birding and their most experienced guide in South America. He has a strong passion for both bird photography and sound recording, and when not leading tours, can often be found in odd corners of the world adding to his collection. His blog and almost all of his photos can be found on his personal website, antpitta.com. Nick guides mainly in the Neotropics and occasionally elsewhere, such as in Madagascar and Malaysia. He is the lead author and photographer of Birds of Western Ecuador: A Photographic Guide, published in June 2016.

Keith Barnes
South African
Lives in Taiwan

Keith Barnes

Keith realized that he was no longer a scientist when a significant difference in the tail lengths of larks didn’t make a significant difference in his life! Turning his back on the ivory towers, he helped to found Tropical Birding and Capturing Nature and has never looked back. He lives in quirky Taiwan, but guides birding and photography tours just about everywhere. Asia and Africa are favorite haunts though. Before Keith was able to actually see the birds he wanted to, he sat in an office and wrote about them in various books for BirdLife International. He coauthored Birding Ethiopia and Wild Rwanda published by Lynx Edicions, and Animals of Kruger NP, Birds of Kruger NP, and Wildlife of Madagascar with Princeton University Press. His photos of wildlife appear in dozens of books and articles.

Ken Behrens
American
Lives in Madagascar

Ken Behrens

As a boy, Ken discovered Flickers in the Pennsylvania woods, and has been chasing birds ever since. In his teens, he was the ABA/Leica Young Birder of the Year and the Wildbird Birder of the Year. For parts of 6 years, he worked for Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory in far-flung and usually remote locations between Montana and New Mexico. He spent one fall counting the monumental raptor migration in Veracruz, Mexico. He is the co-author of the Peterson Reference Guide to Seawatching: Eastern Waterbirds in Flight, a ground-breaking field guide published by Houghton-Mifflin, as well as co-authored Birding Ethiopia and Wild Rwanda, and has several other book projects in the works.

Iain Campbell
Australian
Lives in Maryland

Iain Campbell

Iain ended his career as a geochemist in West Africa at 28 when it dawned on him that birding and photography was more valuable than gold. He packed up his G-pick, said goodbye to fufu, and headed to South America, which better suits his style. He is very involved in bird conservation, having created Tandayapa Bird Lodge and Mindo Cloudforest Foundation. Besides being one of the original guides of Tropical Birding, Iain is near fanatical about getting more people into nature, and works with many organizations trying to achieve this main goal. Iain has collaborated on a variety of nature photographic guides in South America and Asia and has co-authored Princeton's Photogaphic field guide to the birds of Australia and A Wildguide's Birds and other animals of Australia's Top End.

ANAIS CAHUENAS
AUSTRALIAN
LIVES IN MARYLAND

Anais Cahuenas

For most of the Tropical Birding photography guides, nature came first and then the desire to photograph it; with Anais the love of photography grew before taking to nature in a big way. It could be because when she was 7, she was forced to sit by wetland at 4am in Australia's Top End, while her father scanned for crocodiles. Anais works for Tropical Birding on our spring projects in Texas and Ohio, as well as co-guiding in Alaska and South America. When not working with us, she is finishing a degree in environmental policy in Baltimore.

CRISTINA CERVANTES
ECUADORIAN
LIVES IN MARYLAND
CRISTINA CERVANTES
ECUADORIAN
LIVES IN MARYLAND

Cristina Cervantes

Cristina is our General Manager. It is through her good work that our tours run so smoothly. An Ecuadorian, she has a thorough understanding of business in South America and is in constant contact with most operators. If there is something to be arranged, whether it’s an intense photography trip in the Amazon or an independent trip to the Galapagos, she is the one to contact. 

PABLO CERVANTES
ECUADORIAN
LIVES IN ECUADOR

Pablo Cervantes Daza

Pablo was a city-loving engineer who became hooked on bird photography and quickly started taking out professional photographers and helping with photography workshops. He now guides trips around Ecuador, Brazil, and Mexico. He is currently working with other TB gudies on several new photo field guides for birds and wildlife of Ecuador. He also manages Tandayapa Bird Lodge, and you can find him tinkering with new techniques for shooting hummers. Pablo was a collaborator on the Birds of Western Ecuador: A Photographic Guide and is co-author on the upcomming Photographic guide to the Wildlife of Ecuador.

LISLE GWYNN
ENGLISH
LIVES ON A BOAT

Lisle Gwynn

A mixture of rugged Celt and English gentleman, Lisle grew up among the heaths of southern England where, as a teenager, he quickly developed a preference for birds and beasts over video games and parties. After graduating from a British University chosen solely for its birding potential, a scholarship from the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology led him to the beautiful Cape of South Africa, a place he now considers a second home. A keen photographer and ‘mammal enthusiast’, Lisle is as comfortable seeking and photographing mammals as he is birds, something he has pursued across 6 continents. 

DESIREE D'SYLVA
ECUADORIAN
LIVES IN ECUADOR

 

Desiree D'Sylva

Desiree was raised in Quito, but her life has taken her on many exciting adventures to the most beautiful places in the world. She lived on merchant ships during her teens, and saw spectacular scenery and culture throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia, and is the only person in the company to have sailed through the Suez and Panama canals. After finishing a degree in history, she developed a farm in NW Ecuador to produce ecofriendly palm oil. Desirée manages our Africa and Asia logistics.

 

Ben-Knoot-Bio-Shot.jpg
BEN KNOOT
AMERICAN
LIVES IN ARIZONA

BEN KNOOT

Ben is a nature photographer originally from the state of California. He has been photographing the natural world since the age of 9, focusing mainly on wildlife. It was through the lens of his father’s camera that he first observed the beautiful green and purple sheen of a Common Raven. Observing the fine hairs at the base of the birds massive bill, Ben became passionate about sharing the beauty of the natural world around him. From then on, Ben’s desire to educate others blossomed. He self-published a children’s book The Color of Birds to help young children learn their colors through bird identifications. He has traveled the United States extensively, especially in the Pacific Northwest where he completed college. While in school, Ben further honed his desire to teach with a degree in Environmental Policy and Education. Ben’s work has been published since 2007 by multiple organizations including: Natures Best Photography, Audubon, Ranger Rick, NANPA, Wildlife Photo Magazine and the BBC. Ben now shoots with Olympus

 

ALEX LUNA

Alex became interested in birds at a very young age when he moved to Mindo, Ecuador. As a boy, he was lucky to have the opportunity to meet great birders who inspired him to have the same passion for birds, and he got well and truly hooked when a friend gifted him a field guide to the birds of Ecuador. Alex started to keep track of the species he had seen, and he started to travel throughout Ecuador searching for more lifers. After graduating from university, Alex decided to follow his dream of becoming a guide, and he has led many trips for both birders and bird photographers. Alex uses a Swarovski spotting scope.

alex-luna-bio-shot.jpg
ALEX LUNA
ECUADORIAN
LIVES IN ECUADOR
Daniel bio shot.jpg
DANIEL ALDANA SCHUMANN
GUATEMALAN
LIVES IN GUATEMALA

 

DANIEL ALDANA SCHUMANN

Daniel was born and raised in Guatemala with an ornithologist for a father; so, he has been birding as long as he can remember. After graduating from high school, he started college but decided to dedicate his life to birds instead. Working as a field tech for researchers from Cornell Lab of Ornithology and American Bird Conservancy. Later, he was elected to be part of the Guatemalan Birding Tourism board of directors, so he started working on birding tourism and started guiding all over this wonderful birding destination. He has also been an avid e-Birder ever since he heard of it and is currently one of the top e-Birders for Guatemala, while also working on the very first field guide dedicated to the birds of Guatemala. Daniel uses Olympus 

YI-FANG WANG
TAIWANESE
LIVES IN TAIWAN

Yi-fang Wang

Yi-fang has been with the company since it’s inception in 2001, concentrating primarily on logistics and communications in Asia, where she is based in Taiwan. Yi-fang spent 18 years in South Africa where she fell in love with the bush…who wouldn’t, and although she loves seeing leopards more than anything else, she always has a look at the colorful barbets and traces. Yi-fang looks after the logistics on many of our tours to China, Taiwan and our tours for Chinese people traveling to other countries.

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CRAMMY WANYAMA
UGANDAN
LIVES IN UGANDA

CRAMMY WANYAMA

Although his full name is Wanyama Jimmy Crammy, he goes by the name Crammy. He started off in IT after getting a diploma in business administration from Kampala International University, but long hours sitting at a desk began to take a toll, and he started dreaming of a life outdoors. At that juncture in life, he met the great doyen of Ugandan birding, Herbert Byurhanga, who completely changed his life. He was quickly hooked on birding and there was no turning back, especially after locking eyes with a scarlet-and-sable Black-headed Gonolek. Soon enough he was interested in the toughest groups in Africa; the weavers, greenbuls, cisticolas, larks, pipits and honeyguides. Crammy loves showing people birds, and over the last five years he has been able to do that while traveling intensively all over East Africa.