Outside of my family, nature photography is about the best thing life has ever brought my way. Discovering and sharing the mysteries and majesty of this incredible planet is the greatest gift I have ever received. Photographing wildlife in their natural habitat is an exhilarating experience. Lifelong memories are created while sharing time with wildlife in their comfort zone and on their own terms. However, there is invariably a price to be paid….TRAVEL!
A trip to The Pantanal in southwest Brazil ( 65,000 square miles of uninhabited wetlands) typifies my experiences. After enduring an overnight commercial flight, 5 hours of waiting for another 3 hour domestic flight, 2 hour van ride to the edge of the Pantanal, 7 hours on a bench seat anchored onto a 4 wheel drive flat bed truck over dusty gravel roads and muddy paths, a 1 hour small open-top motorboat ride up the Quiaba river basin in the rain, I finally reached my residence for the next two weeks: a barge tied off to the shore line. After dragging my 100+ pounds of gear to my sleeping quarters, I crashed. Hard.
All misery quickly vanished the next morning as my small flat-bottomed aluminum boat cruised the waterways of this mysterious region, and we encountered wildlife I had never seen before. Beautifully colored birds, caimans, giant river otters and capybaras offered terrific photo opportunities, but my greatest quarry remained elusive. Finally, on Day 3 as we nosed our bow into the bank of a small tributary, there was the reason I had traveled all these thousands of miles: a mature male jaguar laid in the camouflage of the jungle floor.
From my bench seat on this small boat, I was eye level with this gorgeous creature as he slowly rose from his resting place on the bank. He was looking directly into my lens as he approached to within 35 feet to inspect us. He stayed quite a while comfortably observing us before retreating just a bit, laid down, yawned indifferently and took a nap. Being at the top of the food chain with an unlimited supply of caimans to eat and protected from hunting, jaguars offer little threat to humans in this region of the world. Later that day, I would observe a far more dramatic scene as a water-loving jaguar stalked and easily took down a 7 foot caiman for its evening meal.
Even though I would ideally like to snap my fingers and be instantly home after one of these journeys, I honestly don’t mind the distance. It always seems shorter on the return as I chose my eyes and relive the unbelievable images nature has provided yet again.
A quick note to let you know my new improved website, steveuptonphotography.com, is up and running.
Couple of things of note:
- By hovering over the i in the upper left corner of each photo in the separate galleries, a brief description will pop up.
- I will be adding to the Travel Journal on a regular basis.
- Purchases may be made by clicking on the shop button in the tool bar of the website. This will allow you to have complete control of how and on what your print is made.
GALLERY OPENING ANNOUNCEMENT
WHEN: SEPT. 29TH AND 30TH 12-5 pm
OCT. 6TH AND 7TH 12-5 pm
Where: 9 Hillcrest Ave
South Deerfield, Mass.
What: Snow Monkeys, Japanese cranes, eagles, fox and sika deer all from Japan
Snowy owls from Ontario Canada
A series of endangered Big Cats of the winter world
I know. It’s been a looong time since my last post. I haven’t been slacking, here’s what’s new!
I’ll be adding more to the new “Travel Journal” soon. It’s a chance for me to keep sharing my experiences, like images from this year’s Winter and Spring travels including:
The North Pole
And Kenya, down the line…
Also will be exhibiting new images in my Steve Upton Gallery in South Deerfield MA on my return from the North Pole (stay tuned – dates to be announced).
I’ve upgraded my photo editing software, in addition to printing and hanging three visiting gallery opportunities. Good stuff.
And, we’ve completely redesigned our website that now galleries my work, and also offers custom prints and personal accessories in a variety of media. Enjoy a browse!
Looking forward to sharing my travels and photography with you.
Cheers, Steve Upton