Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘caribbean’

Cayman Brac

Join yours truly on the Caribbean island of Cayman Brac from February 17 to February 21, 2020 for my second land-based photo tour of this rugged tropical paradise.

I was pleased to have world famous bird photographer Arthur Morris attend my first-ever photo tour on Cayman Brac. What did Arthur have to say about the trip;

A friend and I had the pleasure of attending Andrew’s Cayman Brac workshop in February 2018. With his extensive local knowledge and local contacts he was able to put us in great position every morning and afternoon. Andrew was great at helping this old man with his gear. And he was punctual and cordial as well as knowledgeable. We made a zillion great images of Brown Boobies doing all sorts of things from flying to courting to copulating to sitting on eggs to tending and feeding chicks sized from tiny ones to big ones. You can see the Brown Booby images by visiting www.BIRDSASART-Blog.com, typing either “Cayman Brac” of “Brown Booby” in the little white box on the trop right of each blog post page, and then hitting the search icon.

The main objective of this photo tour will be photographing nesting Brown Booby however, epic sunrises looking out over the Caribbean Sea at the base of the 140 foot bluff will not be over-looked, nor will the abstract opportunities inside many of Cayman Brac’s caves. During this time of year it is also possible to photograph numerous species of herons, endangered West Indian Whistling Duck, endangered Cayman Brac Parrot, as well as the critically endangered Cayman Brac Iguana.

During the mid-day hours when conditions are not particularly suitable for land based photography participants can explore the island on their own, grab some rest and relaxation, or accompany me on snorkeling excursions at numerous shore diving sites. These snorkel excursions are a great way to try your hand at underwater photography. I can provide advice on how best to get your gear into the water for those that are interested in this option.

Participants are expected to have a good understanding of their camera system and should be prepared for walking distances at some locations of 1-2 kilometres. While much of the terrain we will be walking over is easy it is important to note that there are other sections where it is uneven due to Cayman Brac’s eroded limestome coast. In some areas the eroded limestone is quite jagged and not for the faint of heart. You are responsible for your own safety at all times. Please do not hesitate to inquire if you have any concerns.

Please note that all fees for this photo tour are indicated in US dollars.

Photo Tour Rate

• $1275.00 US Currency ( a signed waiver of liability form must accompany payment)

Accommodation and meals (aside from the farewell dinner) are not included with this Photo Tour. I will be using the Carib Sands Condominiums as my home base and do recommend that participants book there accommodation there as well, although you are welcome to explore other rental opportunities on the island. With condominium rentals you are also responsible for your own toiletries, etc. Indicated below are the rates for condo rentals through Carib Sands (contact info will be provided to those interested in registering):

• Per night in a one bedroom condo US$200

• Per night in a two bedroom condo US$260

• Per night in a three bedroom condo US$385

Itinerary:

February 17:

6:00 p.m. meet and greet at the Carib Sands Pool

February 18 to 21:

6:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. morning session for sunrise and bird life (various locations depending on weather conditions)

9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. free time or complimentary snorkel excursions

3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. evening session for sunset and bird life (various locations depending on weather conditions)

February 21

Farewell Dinner at 7:00 p.m. (rough time estimate – to be confirmed the day of)

What’s Included:

• In-the-field photographic instruction

• Transportation for photo tour participants during excursions (departing from Carib Sands)

• In-the-field image review

• Farewell dinner on February 21

• Complimentary snorkel excursions for interested attendees

• Free WiFi at Condominium

What’s Not Included:

• All flights to and from Cayman Brac

• Accommodations

• Meals

• Drinks

• Transportation outside of the photo tour excursions (folks attending daily snorkel excursions will be provided transportation based on availability)

• Masks, Fins, and Snorkels

Cayman Brac 2020 is open to a maximum of 4 participants. No minimum number required.

To reserve your spot in this photo tour your payment of $1275.00 USD is due now. At the time of booking a signed waiver form will be required and will be emailed to interested participants so that they can return the signed forms with their cheque made payable to: Andrew McLachlan. Please contact me via email by clicking here to reserve your spot today.

Cancellation Policy (Photo Tour Rate Only):

120 days prior to tour date full refund less cancellation fee of $500 US

Less than 120 days no refund. It is recommended that you purchase trip cancellation insurance.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Brown Booby in flight, Cayman Brac
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 90mm
ISO 500, f6.3 @ 1/5000 sec.

Originally released in August of 2010 the Nikon 28-300mm VR lens has to be one the most versatile lenses available. Often you can find this lens in the used gear department for approximately $700 CDN. Like most folks, before I purchased this lens for my own gear bag I read several on-line reviews. I did not believe that the lens could really be as bad as folks were leading on. Here is a selection of some items that I noted during my internet readings:

  • softness in the center, sharpening up out towards the corners, and the some more corner softness
  • stopped-down results are downright blurry at the telephoto end of 300mm @ ƒ/36)
  • the 28-300 isn’t a really sharp lens and the corners are mush
  • zoom range exhibited shockingly poor off-axis image quality
  • is not a pro level lens nor one I’d use for critical shoots
  • I’m assuming this lens was defective as I couldn’t get a sharp picture no matter how hard I tried

I determined that in order to find out for myself I would need to add this lens to my gear bag. Right before I boarded the plane for my Cayman Brac Photo Tour in February I did just that. It is now one of my most favorite lenses. The lens does have one annoying habit, or at least my copy does. When the lens is pointed downward the zoom creep is very evident. Nonetheless, my honest opinion is that this lens does produce stellar results when good technique and creative vision is applied. Often I can be found in-the-field with my 28-300mm lens attached to one of my Nikons ready to capture those fleeting moments where changing lenses is not an option. The 28-300mm range is perfect for such circumstances.

I have never been one to trust the so-called internet experts. I much prefer to take gear out into the field and put it to the test. A real world review illustrating the quality of the lens with photographic examples.

Having the ability to zoom from 28mm to 300mm is a definite plus. On Cayman Brac I was able to photograph nesting Brown Boobies at close range and then quickly zoom out to 300mm to capture Brown Boobies in flight as they approached the cliff edge on their return to their nests.

Brown Booby pair at the nest, Cayman Brac
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 55mm
ISO 800, f8 @ 1/400 sec.

I also find the lens to be a powerful tool for my landscape work as illustrated in the below image of a winter wheat field at sunset near my rural home in Thornton, Ontario. A Singh Ray 3-stop reverse Graduated Neutral Density Filter was also used in the capture of the sunset scene below.

Winter Wheat at Sunset, Thornton, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 82mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 3 seconds.

Having a minimum focusing distance of a mere 1.6 feet throughout the entire zoom range is also a huge bonus to my frog photography. In the past I would have to switch lenses to create my signature frog-scapes and close-up portraits. With the Nikon 28-300 I can simply zoom the lens from wide to telephoto and create both scenarios in mere seconds, as illustrated in the two Bullfrog images below.

Bullfrog, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 48mm
ISO 500, f8 @ 1/800 sec.

 

Bullfrog, Horseshoe Lake, Parry Sound, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
ISO 500, f8 @ 1/640 sec.

While photographing Wood Ducks in Toronto, Ontario I am also able to create stunning portraits and close-up feather details due to the short, minimum focusing distance. While I was photographing feather details of a Wood Duck hen that had chose to sit beside me on a particular outing I had noticed that a lovely drake Wood Duck had also come into close proximity allowing me to zoom out and create a tight head shot of him. The versatility of the Nikon 28-300mm lens allowed me the opportunity to create both these images without the need to switch lenses , which would likely had caused one of the two birds, or both, to move further away.

Drake Wood Duck, Toronto, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
ISO 2000, f5.6 @ 1/250 sec.

 

Hen Wood Duck Feather Details, Toronto, Ontario
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
ISO 1000, f11 @ 1/80 sec.

While walking along the shoreline of the Caribbean Ocean in Cayman Brac I came upon a dead crab. The shell of the dea crab was beautifully colored with interesting details too. To create the below macro shot of the crab shell details I used my Canon 500D Close-up Filter on the Nikon 28-300mm lens and stopped down to f22. There is some minor softness in the extreme corners of the image but this is due to the curvature of the shell. Ideally I should have used the focus stacking method to gain perfect sharpness in the corners.

Crab Shell Details, Cayman Brac
Nikon D500, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
Canon 500D Close-up Filter
ISO 100, f22 @ 1/40 sec.

For those of us longing for some cooler temperatures in this heat wave, I have included a winter river detail image from my Muskoka Winter Waterfall Spectacular Workshop this past January 🙂

Winter River Details, Muskoka, Ontario
Nikon D800, Nikon 28-300mm VR Lens @ 300mm
ISO 100, f16 @ 1.6 sec.

Read Full Post »

Cayman Brac_743

Sunrise at Pollard Bay on Cayman Brac

Today I begin my journey home. Assuming flights are on time I will arrive in Toronto at 5:40 p.m. and then make the one hour drive north to my home.

It was a great honour to have bird photographer extroadinare Arthur Morris and previous workshop attendee Anita North as participants for Cayman Brac 2018. We had a great time and created tons of Brown Booby nesting season images.

I remained on island for an additional week after the conclusion of the photo tour and was able to create some of my very best underwater imagery to date using a Nikon D500 and Nikkor 18-35mm lens in an Ewa Marine housing.

Yesterday, towards the end of the day, I was rewarded with a sighting of the critically endangered Sister Island Rock Iguana. He was most cooperative allowing me to photograph for about 10 minutes before he disappearred into the think underbrush of the surrounding forest.

Here are a few of my most favorite images created during my two week stay on Cayman Brac. There will be many more images to share in the days to come.

Cayman Brac 2018 Participants_685

Andrew McLachlan, Anita North, & Arthur Morris

Brown Booby_7019

Brown Booby in Flight

Caribbean Reef Squid_1609

Caribbean Reef Squid

Sister Island Curly Tail_229

Sister Island Curly-tailed Lizard

Sister Island Rock Iguana_8461

Sister Island Rock Iguana

Peacock Flounder_3914

Peacock Flounder

Stonefish_6682

Spotted Stonefish

West Indian Whistling Duck_783

West Indian Whistling Duck

Read Full Post »

The Cayman Brac 2018 Photo Tour has just been discounted by $425 US making the tour of this incredible Caribbean island available for only $1275 US plus condominium rental. Cayman Brac is a premier destination for photographing nesting Brown Booby. During this tour we will also be photographing the rugged landscape of the island, numerous species of herons, the endangered Cayman Brac Parrot, the critically endangered Sister Island Rock Iguana, and a host of other species. Please click here to find out more about this remote, safe, tropical paradise in the Caribbean sea.

Read Full Post »

 

Join me on the Caribbean island of Cayman Brac from February 7 to February 12, 2018 for our first-ever, land-based photo tour of this rugged tropical paradise, at a special introductory price.

Our home base for this photo tour will be at the Carib Sands Condominiums.

 

Carib Sands Condominiums, Cayman Brac

 

During my previous trip to Cayman Brac in 2017 many memorable bird images were captured right on the beach at Carib Sands.

Participants are expected to have a good understanding of their camera system and should be prepared for walking distances at some locations of 1-2 kilometres. Some of the terrain we will be walking over is uneven due to Cayman Brac’s iron shore.

The main objective of this photo tour will be to photograph epic sunrise and sunset scenes looking out over the Caribbean Sea, rugged ocean scenics at the base of the 140 foot bluff, The Bat Cave, Brown Booby, Cayman Brac Parrot, Herons, Egrets, and many more. Depending on local knowledge of accessible roosting Barn Owls we may have the opportunity to explore a cave to photograph these as well. We will also include two night sessions (dates to be selected depending on current weather conditions at the time) to photograph starry nightscapes and to seek nocturnal wildlife such as Cuban Tree Frogs and Hurricane Crabs.

During the mid-day hours when conditions are not particularly suitable for land based photography participants can explore the island on their own, grab some rest and relaxation, or accompany me on snorkeling excursions at the numerous shore diving sites. These snorkel excursions are a great way to try your hand at underwater photography. I can provide advice on how best to get your gear into the water for those that are interested.

 

Please note that the fee for Cayman Brac 2018 is broken down into two segments. One part is the condominium rental and second is for the photo tour. Please select the condominium rental that will work best for you and your travel companion, if applicable.

Please note that the fees for this photo tour are in US dollars.

 

Condominium Rental:

  • One bedroom condominium (ideal for one participant /one couple) = US$1,555 (Ocean View Condo = $1,830)
  • Two bedroom condominium (ideal for two participants / two couples) = US$2,010 (Ocean View Condo = $2,140)

Photo Tour Rate

  • US$1695.00
  • Non-participating spouses are welcome for additional US$350 (non-participating spouses are welcome to join the photo sessions if space permits)

Itinerary:

February 7:

6:00 p.m. meet and greet at the Carib Sands Pool

February 8 to 12:

6:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. morning session for sunrise and bird life (various locations depending on weather conditions)

4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. evening session for sunset and bird life (various locations depending on weather conditions)

February 12

Farewell Beach BBQ at 7:00 p.m.

 

What’s Included:

  • In-the-field photographic instruction during each session
  • Transportation for photo tour participants during excursions
  • Image review sessions
  • Beach BBQ on the last day of the photo tour
  • Complimentary snorkel excursions for those interested
  • Free WiFi at Condominium

 

What’s Not Included:

  • Flights to and from Grand Cayman
  • Island hopper flights to and from Cayman Brac
  • Meals
  • Drinks
  • Transportation outside of the photo tour excursions (folks attending daily snorkel excursions will be provided transportation)
  • Masks, Fins, and Snorkels

Cayman Brac 2018 is open to a maximum of 6 participants. To reserve your spot a non-refundable retainer of US$1200.00 is due now to secure the condominium rental and a spot in the photo tour. At the time of booking a signed waiver form will be required. These will be emailed to interested participants so that they can return the signed forms with their cheque made payable to: Andrew McLachlan. The second instalment of US$1200.00 will be due by no later than September 1, 2017 with the final balance owing no later than December 1, 2017. Please contact me via email by clicking here to reserve your spot today.

To view a slide show presentation of imagery that was created during my trip to Cayman Brac in February of 2017 please clicl on the below photo.

 

Read Full Post »

Recently I created a slideshow presentation of my February trip to the Caribbean Island of Cayman Brac using Adobe Spark and shared it on my social media sites. I wanted to share this project with those that follow along here at the blog as well. To view the slideshow simply click on the above picture and scroll down through the project.

Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement in the next week or so about an exclusive opportunity to join me in Febraury 2018 for a guided tour of these stunning vistas on Cayman Brac. Folks that are interested in this photo tour can send a quick email here to have their email address added to my workshop email list to avoid missing out on this incredible opportunity.

Read Full Post »

Sister Islands Rock Iguana (Cyclura nubila caymanensis)
Nikon D500, Nikon 200-500mm Lens @ 500mm (750mm equivalent focal length)
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/500 sec.

 

On previous travels throughout the Caribbean I have had the opportunity to photograph Rock Iguanas in Cuba. I have also photographed them on the island of Little Cayman within the Cayman Islands. On my recent trip to Cayman Brac I encountered a large male Rock Iguana sunning in an open area far off from the main road on the island. I would estimate his length at roughly 3 feet from nose to tail. This was a special moment for me as the Rock Iguanas found on both Little Cayman and Cayman Brac are a unique subspecies known as the Sister Islands Rock Iguanas and they are listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. Please do take a moment to read about this subspecies of the Rock Iguana on the IUCN Red List. When reading the report make note that on Little Cayman these iguanas occupy a range of 18 square kilometres while on Cayman Brac their range of habitat is 20 square kilometres. Several factors are to blame for their decline including; habitat destruction, feral cats, domestic cats and dogs, invasion species such as the Green Iguana and Norway Rat, and road mortality. While the Sister Islands Rock Iguana is a protected species there is little in the way of protected habitat for them.

When photographing wildlife, whether it is a critically endangered species or one of least concern, it is important that the welfare of the animal transcends the photographic opportunity.

Please remeber to click on each of the photos to see the larger, sharper version of this impressive reptile.

 

Sister Islands Rock Iguana (Cyclura nubila caymanensis)
Nikon D500, Nikon 200-500mm Lens @ 420mm (630mm equivalent focal length)
ISO 800
f8 @ 1/250 sec.

 

Sister Islands Rock Iguana (Cyclura nubila caymanensis)
Nikon D500, Nikon 200-500mm Lens @ 310mm (465mm equivalent focal length)
ISO 400
f8 @ 1/640 sec.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: