Let me introduce this answer with an anecdote from my recent Photo Tour to the northern Pantanal. We were returning to our lodge from an afternoon/evening game drive, late, with almost no light left to see anything, and certainly not for shooting. On the game track ahead of us there was another photo group, and from their posture and movement we figured they were shooting something important. Tapirs and Giant Anteaters are found here, and as we drove closer I was worried that we might spook their subject. We were quite surprised, and rather amused, to find that the photographers were carefully stalking a group of resting Capybaras, an animal that they would see virtually every day, and in good light. To me, this clearly pointed out the value of an experienced guide that can budget your time efficiently, while providing any number of other advantages as well.
Regarding time efficiency, those photographers would have been far better off simply relaxing, or unpacking (they arrived that evening), or downloading, and not wasting their time with images they'd delete later. Mary and I are fully aware that first-timers are incredibly enthusiastic and may wish to photograph everything, as soon as they see it. We appreciate that enthusiasm, but we also believe that those going on a Photo Tour or Safari appreciate guidance, giving them quality rather than leaving an impression that their time was wasted because they had no guidance. On that very tour, as we drove down the Transpantaneria Highway, I repeatedly reassured my eager participants that they would photograph Capybaras and Caimans, Jabiru Storks and other birds, far better in the days ahead than they would from the window of our tour bus, or from the road, looking down upon subjects they'd shoot at subject level later on. We won't waste your time.
We know our subjects, too. Both Mary and I have degrees in Biology, but in truth our expertise was earned through our own reading and study, and, most importantly, from our FIELD EXPERIENCE. We've been leading Photo Tours and Safaris for thirty years, and both of us are life-long naturalists.
In talking with our participants that have traveled with others, we know that we offer guidance and experience not usually seen. While we can be wrong on any given hunch, we're usually not when we are predicting animal behavior and getting you in position for a great shot. We are proactive, not reactive, because we have the experience to get you where you need to be when you need to be there.
Regarding photography, I've been a full-time professional wildlife photographer since 1983, and I've been selling images since 1968 when I was just a kid in high school. We know what we're doing, and we love to share our experience and knowledge with our participants.
Last, we love what we're doing. In today's digital world, it is difficult for professional photographers to make a living selling images or stock photos. Consequently, a lot of pros, and a whole lot of new photographers hoping to make a living photographing nature or wildlife, have turned to leading photo tours as the vehicle to do so. Some do not have the personality, the people skills, or the leadership abilities to do so. These are very important points. In 1990, when Mary and I got together, we chose this path, as we recognized that our skill set, our people skills and interest, was ideal for leading photo tours and safaris. Unlike many of our competitors, we weren't forced into leading tours, we wanted to do so.
Why? Like I said, we love what we're doing, and we love sharing our love of nature and wildlife and our knowledge about the natural world with our participants. This really hit home for me on my recent Southern Pantanal trip, when only two of the eight photographers who joined me on the Northern Pantanal/Jaguar Tour to this great area. My two participants and I lamented this, citing how so and so would have loved what we were getting. I had an epiphanny as we discussed this, as I realized I really wanted to share these experiences with other, like-minded folks, and that's why Mary and I do this.
If this makes sense to you, then come travel with us!