Archive for August, 2018

Join Andrew McLachlan and Mark Pepper (Understory Enterprises) for an exclusive photography retreat within the Cordillera Escalera, near Tarapoto, Peru. This location is situated within the foothills of the Andes Mountains, in Amazonian Rainforest. The dates for this event are October 19 – October 26, 2019 (6 ½ days of photography). Maximum number of participants is 6 / 8 depending on participants attending (if two couples are attending the tour we can extend the capacity to 8). The minimum number of participants for this tour is 3. The photo tour fee is $3800.00 US Currency. We need to arrive in Tarapoto, Peru on October 19, 2019 and we will depart for home on October 26, 2019. Depending on everybody’s departure time on October 26, 2019, we may be able to fit in one additional half day of photography.

The focus of this photo tour will be landscapes and micro fauna of the Cordillera Escalera. There is nothing quite like watching the sun rise over the foothills of the Andes Mountains as each new day awakens, standing in awe at towering waterfalls, photographing dart frogs in their natural habitat, or venturing out to explore the night life of the Amazon rainforest. One highlight of the night-time excursions will be photographing the endangered Cochran Frog, which has a very limited range in the Cordillera Escalera. We will also be photographing many species of insects endemic to this region. The biodiversity of the Cordillera Escalera leaves no shortage of subjects to photograph.

For more info or to register, please contact Andrew via e-mail.

Mark Pepper

We could not ask for a more friendly and knowledgeable guide. Mark Pepper has been exploring this rainforest environment for over 15 years. Mark has even worked with BBC film crews filming in the area. Using his extensive knowledge and keen eye he will locate several species of dart frogs for us to photograph, not to mention some very fascinating insects!

Some locations during this tour will require the ability of being able to walk several kilometres over uneven terrain in a humid environment. If you have any concerns regarding this please do not hesitate to inquire for additional information.

Our accommodations will be at the luxurious Understory House, which is also equipped with a gorgeous infinity pool over-looking the Cordillera Escalera, within the foothills of the Andes Mountains and Amazonian rainforest. There are two rooms with one queen bed each and one room with two sets of adult bunkbeds. Many of our morning sunrise sessions will be conducted on site, as we have an outstanding view of the sun rising over the mountain range.


Daily excursions will be determined based on the current weather conditions.
Image review sessions will be conducted both in the field via LCD and at the Understory House via laptop computers.
Breakfast – at the Understory House
Lunch – at various locations during the tour based on each day’s travel plans
Dinner – in the town of Tarapoto at one of the many fine restaurants

What’s Included:

In-depth Photographic instruction
Accommodation at the Understory House
Transportation to and from Understory House and to all photographic destinations
Pick-up and drop-off at the Tarapoto airport for your arrival and departure
Free Wifi at the Understory House
All meals

What’s Not Included:

Your airfare to and from Tarapoto, Peru (via Lima).

Alcoholic beverages
Travel insurance
Medical insurance

The Details

Photo Tour Fee: $3800.00 US per person.

To secure your spot a non-refundable deposit of $1,200 US is due now. The balance of the fee, $2600.00 US, is due no later than March 31, 2019. A signed Waiver of Liability form must accompany the non-refundable deposit. Waiver of Liability forms will be emailed to those wishing to register.

Travel Insurance: Participants are encouraged to purchase their own medical, travel, and trip cancellation insurance.

The Cancellation Policy:

Full refund less $1200 US non-refundable deposit up to 91 days prior to Photo Tour date.

No refunds 90 days prior to the date.

If fewer than three folks sign up you will receive a complete refund that will include your non-refundable deposit.

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Bullfrog in wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Wide Angle Macro Lens
Ewa Marine Underwater Housing

After spending several additional days on Horseshoe Lake near Parry Sound, Ontario in the provinces Muskoka District I experimented with some additional techniques to creating over/under or split shots of Bullfrogs within their wetland habitat on the lake. During my first attempts at creating these images I was a little frustrated by the amount of time I had to wipe water droplets off the front element of the Ewa Marine housing. This time around I decided to try an old underwater photography trick whereby rubbing a thin film of parafin wax over the element to help repell water droplets. Using an unscented, parafin wax votive candle to rub some wax onto the element and a dedicated micro fibre cleaning cloth that will be reserved for this purpose only I buffed the wax until it was well distributed and no longer visible, however, a very thin film of wax remained. This techinque did help to repell much of the water droplets that I found annoying during my first attempts. I did however, need to perform some minor cleaning of the housing’s element with the micro fibre cleaning cloth to eliminate droplets that would have been problematic for subsequent captures. The best technique still seems to be pre-planning the look of the image and slowly sink the camera below the water’s surface creating images as you to capture that perfect moment. If you raise the camera out of the water to create additional frames, after sinking it, it is most likely that water droplets will become problematic.

As with the previous post each of today’s featured images were created using the Nikon D500 with the Laowa 15mm 1:1 Wide Angle Macro Lens in an Ewa Marine Underwtaer Housing. Utilizing the Nikon D500’s Live View feature was indispensible to composing and focusing each of the scenes.


Bullfrog in wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Wide Angle Macro Lens
Ewa Marine Underwater Housing


Bullfrog in wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Wide Angle Macro Lens
Ewa Marine Underwater Housing


Bullfrog in wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Wide Angle Macro Lens
Ewa Marine Underwater Housing


Bullfrog in wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Wide Angle Macro Lens
Ewa Marine Underwater Housing


Bullfrog in wetland on Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Laowa 15mm 1:1 Wide Angle Macro Lens
Ewa Marine Underwater Housing



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Join Andrew McLachlan and Rick Isaacson on July 9th & 10th, 2019 for an exclusive, breathtaking journey to one of Ontario’s most spectacular waterfalls hidden deep within the remote boreal forest of the Abitibi Canyon. We will travel by freighter canoe, for 21 kilometres, along the same route used by the Coureurs De Bois and Voyageurs in the 1800’s. We will have the opportunity for a short photo session at a Hudson Bay gravesite found along the banks of the Abitibi River that is over 120 years old. This gravesite is only accessible by canoe. We will explore New Post Falls from below and make our way up the side of the gorge to photograph the falls from above too. The timing of this tour has been arranged when water levels are typically lower, which may allow for the opportunity to photograph the waterfall from within the river gorge itself.

This exclusive opportunity is available to only 4 participants!

After a full and exhilarating first day we will camp at the base of New Post Falls. As we gather around the campfire Rick Isaacson will explain the history and tell us stories of life on the river.  Afterwards, if skies are clear we will enjoy a night-scape photo session and perhaps the Aurora Borealis as well. We will rise early the next morning to photograph New Post Falls at sunrise and continue to photograph the surrounding area until it is time to paddle upstream to our take out location at Abitibi Canyon.

Do note this is not a photo tour for the faint of heart. We will be camping over-night in very remote boreal forest. Our guide, Rick Isaacson is a seasoned woodsman, with 35 years of river tripping experience. He has made countless trips down the Abitibi River to New Post Falls and is well experienced in remote wilderness travel, not to mention very knowledgeable in the history of the area. Safety will be a top priority during this trip and we will follow Rick’s direction in that regard.


  • Meet in Smooth Rock Falls on the morning of July 9th 2019 for a hearty breakfast
  • Travel as a group to the Abitibi Canyon to launch the freighter canoe at 8:30 am
  • Travel 21 kilometres to New Post Falls where we will spend the day photographing the area and where we will camp over-night.
  • On the morning of July 10th we will photograph New Post Falls at sunrise and explore other photo opportunities in the surrounding area. The exposed river bed is a great place to find fossils.
  • Launch the freighter canoe to return to Abitibi Canyon at 3:30 pm on July 10th (there may be opportunity to extend our time a couple of hours depending on the current weather conditions at the time.
  • On route, just before we launch there will be opportunities to photograph the very scenic Abitibi Canyon gorge.

What’s Included:

  • Tent
  • In-depth photographic instruction with on-site LCD review to ensure that you are capturing the best possible imagery
  • Breakfast, Snacks, Dinner, & Beverages on Wednesday July 9th
  • Breakfast & Snacks, & Beverages on Wednesday July 10th

What’s Not Included:

  • Dry Bags for camera gear and clothing
  • Sleeping Bag

Maximum Number of Participants:

  • 4

Workshop Fee:

  • $850.00 CDN plus taxes
  • Payment can be made via email transfer or by cheque.
  • A signed Waiver of Liability must accompany your payment. Waiver of Liability forms will be provided via email to those who wish to register for this event.

 To reserve your spot in this once in a life-time opportunity a non-refundale retainer of $400 is due now. The balance of the payment is due on March 1st, 2019. Please contact me by clicking here to arrange payment.

This photo tour will run rain or shine.

Cancellation Policy:

Payment balance refunded 61 days prior to photo tour

No refund 60 days prior to photo tour

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