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THE AMAZON RAINFOREST WORKSHOP
with Ami Vitale, Joe McNally and Tamara Lackey

Join THREE renowned photographers; Ami Vitale, Joe McNally and Tamara Lackey on the trip of a lifetime to Ecuador where you will experience the abundant wildlife of the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest and the culture of Quito, its historic capital. Ecuador has the highest level of biodiversity per square kilometer anywhere in the world and you will experience much of it while learning from these acclaimed photographers.

 

This all-inclusive 10 day and 9 night adventure is a complete immersion into photography, storytelling and exploration and will focus on landscape, portrait and travel photography. It will also include lectures and daily post-processing lab time, as well as a number of optional add-ons. It is impossible not to be overwhelmed by gorgeous Quito, a UNESCO heritage site and the country’s capital. The magical Old Town is filled with colorful people and culture, panoramic vistas and brilliant historic cathedrals, but the people are what make this destination so special. After two days, you will travel in-country to the Amazon basin where you float by the banks and tributaries of the Amazon River and spot a wide variety of wildlife, surrounded by the sights and sounds of the jungle. The majority of the workshop will be held at the extraordinary 5-star luxury eco-resort La Selva Ecolodge & Spa, located in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest. The Lodge is located off the Napo River, inside of the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve, one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet, home to millions of species of plants, birds, rare animals and stunning scenery. There you will find your accommodations in breezy, stylish cabanas, inspired by native bamboo designs, and sleep where the sounds of the rainforest soothe you to sleep and the singing of birds awaken you in the morning.

 

As an all-inclusive workshop, all freshly-made, deliciously cooked and table-served meals will be included, too.

INSTRUCTORS

Ami Vitale is an Ambassador for Nikon and a contract photographer with National Geographic magazine. She has documented changing climate, wildlife and poaching in Africa, human-wildlife conflict, efforts to save the northern white rhino and reintroduce pandas to the wild. Instyle Magazine named Ami one of fifty Badass Women, a series celebrating women who show up, speak up and get things done. She appeared alongside a group of incredible women including Jane Goodall, Christiane Amanpour and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She has been named Magazine photographer of the year in the International Photographer of the Year prize, received the Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding Reporting and named Magazine Photographer of the Year by the National Press Photographer’s Association, among others. She is a five-time recipient of World Press Photos. She recently published a best-selling book, Panda Love, on the secret lives of pandas. Vitale was the subject of a series on the National Geographic Channel as well as another documentary series featuring Madagascar (Over the Islands of Africa).  She lectures for the National Geographic LIVE series, and she frequently gives workshops throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

She is also a founding member of Ripple Effect Images, a collective of scientists, writers, photographers and filmmakers with a mission of creating powerful stories illustrating the very specific issues women in developing countries face.

After more than a decade covering conflict, photographer and filmmaker Ami Vitale couldn’t help but notice that the less sensational—but equally true—stories were often not getting told: the wedding happening around the corner from the revolution, triumphs amidst seemingly endless devastation. As a result, she re-committed herself to seeking out the stories within and around “the story,” and remaining independent, so that she would have the freedom to shoot what she believed deserved to be shared.  Her belief that “you can’t talk about humanity without talking about nature” led her to chronicle her journey from documenting warzones to telling some of the most compelling wildlife and environmental stories of our time, where individuals are making a profound difference in the future of their communities and this planet.  

Joe McNally is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning photographer whose prolific career includes assignments in 70 countries. McNally won the first Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Journalistic Impact for a LIFE coverage titled, “The Panorama of War.” He has been honored numerous times by Communication Arts, PDN, Graphis, American Photo, POY, and The World Press Photo Foundation. McNally is among the rare breed of photographer who has bridged the world between photojournalism and advertising, amassing an impressive commercial and advertising client list including FedEx, Epson, Sony, Adidas, Land’s End, General Electric, MetLife, USAA, Nikon, ESPN, and the Beijing Cultural Commission. He regularly writes a popular, occasionally irreverent blog (joemcnally.com/blog) about the travails, tribulations, oddities and high moments of being a photographer, and has authored several noteworthy books on photography, two of which, The Moment It Clicks and The Hot Shoe Diaries, cracked Amazon’s Top Ten list of best sellers. While his work notably springs from the time-honored traditions of magazine journalism, McNally has also adapted to the Internet driven media world and is a sought-after social media influencer. His work and his blog are regularly cited in social media surveys as sources of inspiration and industry leadership. 

Tamara Lackey is a renowned professional photographer, speaker, author and program host. Her authentic photography, from portraits to humanitarian photography, is praised within her industry and published internationally. Her work is featured in a myriad of major media outlets, from popular magazines to entertainment sites to talk shows. Tamara is a Nikon USA Ambassador, speaking on behalf of Nikon at a variety of shows and conventions. She was also selected as one of two photographers from around the world to speak on stage, and present her marketing campaign work, as part of the Nikon Global Launch Event, in Tokyo, introducing a new line of ground-breaking mirrorless camera systems. 

Tamara teaches at quite range of programs, seminars, and conventions, from delivering presentations on the Google stage to leading mentor treks to delivering workshops internationally. She is the author of eight photography books, including The Art of Children’s Portrait Photography, which landed in the top five best-selling photography books on Amazon, and Capturing Life Through (Better) Photography, her hybrid book and video program, winning the Booklist Editor’s Choice Award for Media. Tamara is also the grateful recipient of The Rangefinder Humanitarian Award, based on her work as the co-founder of Beautiful Together, a non-profit focused on orphan care, supporting children waiting for families through a combination of photography and social outreach. She has co-produced and hosted multiple live broadcasts, as well as her popular web series, The reDefine Show, since 2011. She is currently filming her new Southeast PBS series, Chasing Frames, a show focused on capturing experiences and adventures through photography. She has the distinction of being recognized as a Legend of Light by Profoto, an ON1 Guru, an Imagely Ambassador and a part of the Think Tank Pro Team.

WORKSHOP SCHEDULE
March 23 - April 1

DAILY ITINERARY:

Monday March 23

Arrive in Quito

 

Day 1: QUITO Tuesday, March 24

All meet together for a kick off group lunch

Meet and greet with instructors and participants. 

Presentation and Q&A with Ami, Joe and Tamara 

 

Excursion Day
Explore downtown area of Quito and areas just outside of Quito.

Group dinner.

 

DAY 2: QUITO Wednesday, March 25


Portrait Photography in Old Town Quito
Group Lunch

Walking Day/Shooting in Quito

7:00pm: Dinner

Optional Night Photography

 

DAY 3: Travel Day QUITO to COCA Thursday, March 26

Breakfast

Group assembles in Hotel to travel on private bus to Quito Airport for departure from Quito and arrival in Coca, Ecuador.

La Selva staff will be at the Quito airport to assist with tickets, documents, luggage transfer and more.

Arrive in Coca Airport and greeted by La Selva staff to begin the transit to the Lodge via Canoes.
Opprotunities to photograph the scenic Amazon Basin, shooting riverscapes and wildlife along the way

Check in to La Selva Lodge, settle in rooms and tour the lodge
Dinner as a group.

DAY 4 – 8 March 27 – 31st 
We will enjoy all meals together as a group
– Presentations given by Ami, Joe and Tamara

– Photography critiques

– Post-processing lab time

– Incredible excursions to include:

  • Motorized canoe ride to the clay licks, one of the most fascinating displays of the wild world. Hundreds of parrots and parakeets gather here to eat the mineral-rich oil and the photography opportunities are incredible.
  • Portraits of the Amazonian Kichuas, who live in a part of the Amazon not found on maps, a unique opportunity to learn about their life and create some striking portraits.
  • Hike the Matapalo Trail, named after the famous Strangler Ficus, which is one of the many remarkable trees found on this short walk, where you will pass Mahogany trees over 400 years old and see both diurnal and nocturnal animals beginning their daily transitional activities.
  • Travel to the edge of the nearby lagoon, where you will see different mammals, monkeys and birds who come close while looking for food.
  • Photograph an Amazonian sunset from a canoe

DAY 9,  April 1
Breakfast Together as a group and final presentations

Check out of La Selva Lodge and travel back to Quito

 

*Luggage weight limit:  1 checked in bag weighing up to 23kg (50 lbs) and 1 carry on for 7kg (15 lbs).

PARTICIPANT RATES:

10 day/9 night stay (includes lodging, meals, all activities) Based on Double Occupancy

Total Cost $8,975.00 

50% deposit due at Registration 

Deposit is due at time of registering to hold your place

Final Payment due January 23, 2020

Final Payment due 2 months in advance

COMPANION RATES:

Total cost for companion, staying in the same room

Total Cost $4,485

50% Companion Deposit

Deposit due at time of workshop participant registering

 

Final Companion Payment due January 23, 2020

Final Payment due 2 months in advance

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

-All Accommodations

-All Meals
-All Photography Instruction

  • -Round trip flights from Quito To Coca 

  • -Travel Assistance at the Quito Airport

  • -Transport by Motorized Canoe from Coca to La Selva

  • -All Guided Excursions 

  • -All Photography Outings

  • -Bilingual English/Spanish speaking Naturalist Guide + Native Guide

  • -Rain Poncho and Rubber Boots

  • WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED:
  • -Personal Expenses & Souvenirs
  • -Extra activities such as spa treatments and massages, Charapa Turtle Adoption Conservation program, private dinners, and sunset cruises.
  • -Tips
  • -Alcoholic Beverages and Soft Drinks
  • -Round trip airfare to Quito

FAQ's

What is the skill level for this workshop?
This workshop is for intermediate and slightly more advanced photographers and photo editors. From a photography perspective, you’ll need to know the basics of your camera and understand how aperture, shutter speed and ISO work. We can help with exact settings and tips and tricks along the way, though. 
 
What gear will I need?
You’ll need a camera capable of changing aperture and shutter speed (most DSLR or mirrorless cameras will do). You’ll want to have a wide angle lens (anything in the 16 – 50mm range will do), and a zoom lens as well (70-300, 70-200, etc.). If you plan on shooting certain landscapes or night photos you’ll need a tripod. And if you’d like to photograph macro shots, you should consider bringing a macro lens, although some zoom lenses can work for this if you don’t already own one.
 

For portrait shooting, it is recommended that you bring a flash or a simple reflector. If bringing a reflector, a 3-in-1 or 5-in-1 reflector would be ideal, although not required.

We are always happy to answer any questions on equipment recommendations!

If you have things you want to keep dry, such as cameras, cell phones, medications and documents; you should take some simple precautions. We suggest using dry bags or Ziploc bags for keeping things dry while out on hikes or on canoe excursions. In each suite La Selva provides dry boxes to keep your electrical devices safe from the humidity. A waterproof backpack will protect camera gear from sudden showers while on excursions.

Along with your camera equipment, La Selva recommends bringing a pair of binoculars! 

 

What type of physical activity will be involved? 
This trip will be a lot of walking and hiking in the jungle.  On a scale of 1-10 (10 being difficult), we’d give this a 6. You should be able to hike for up up to a couple of hours, although this can definitely be optional.
 
We will be walking on some uneven ground. 
 
What will we be mostly photographing?
Everything! This workshop will give you opportunities to stretch your comfort zone and shoot things you may not have photographed before. We’ll be concentrating on landscape and portrait photography, bird photography, excursion-based photography, flash and natural lighting, and technical setting suggestions will always be available. We’re staying in a magnificent location with plentiful photographic opportunities.

But we also want to give you a peek inside of the Amazon’s smaller details and more intimate photo opportunities, so we’ll be photographing various macro and close ups.
 
The best thing about your guides, and our location, is that we are all flexible. Ami, Joe and Tamara have significant photography experience and will be there throughout the entire workshop and all meals, to help make sure you’re getting the type of photos you want from this trip. 
 
Can I bring a family member, spouse, or friend along with me?
Yes! Pricing for a non-workshop participant is $4.485.00. They need to be staying in the same room as the workshop participant. They would not be receiving instruction or joining us for photography sessions, lab time or going on excursions, but they would otherwise be free to attend anything at the lodge, enjoy the spacious grounds, hike through the rainforest, and enjoy the spa and all meals can be with us.  
 
What are the room accommodations?

La Selva Amazon Ecolodge has nineteen spacious suites. The price is based on double occupancy of the room. You can share with another workshop participant unless you are traveling with a companion.  

The design of the suites is inspired by local homes used by the natives for generations: the airy, shady layout keeps things cool even in the hottest hours of the day. In the bathrooms, amenities such as hairdryers and shampoo, conditioner, and soap are included. Hot showers, ceiling fans and electricity are provided in each suite. They do not have air conditioners in the rooms. There are, however, large windows and a ceiling fan which keeps the air in the suites circulating.
 
What should I bring with me?

Check out La Selva Lodge – What to bring

What airport should I fly in to?

You will fly into Quito airport, where we will spend a few days and stay in arranged accommodations. 
 
From Quito we will fly to the city of Coca, a 30-minute flight. Once at Coca, we will be met by one of the La Selva representatives who will take us to the Napo River boat landing. From there, we will board a motorized canoe with the guide and La Selva representatives. They’ll accompany us for the two and a half-hour ride on the river until we reach La Selva’s private boat landing.
 
The travel page on La Selva Lodge has some great information for traveling in Ecuador.
 
What is the cancellation policy?
Due to the nature of the workshop, we’re unable to offer refunds. However, if something comes up, and you need to cancel, we will try to fill your spot. If we’re able to fill your spot, we’re happy to refund your money