Capturing wildlife portraits is not just about focusing on a subject and releasing the shutter button. To capture an animal's emotion one must understand their mood, embrace their environment and immerse oneself into their world.
Home to some of the most endangered animal in the world, like the Mountain Gorillas, its delicate ecosystem, and its inhabitants, is fighting for survival in many regions. Iconic birds like the Crested Crane on the right have recently been declared as endangered by the IUCN, despite the fact that it is Uganda's national bird. Chimpanzees and other primates call this beautiful part of Africa home and continue to survive despite the habitat challenges brought on by encroaching famers and their crops.
Truly a wildlife enthusiast's haven, Uganda and Rwanda offer many unique national parks and protected areas where tourists are able to observe these incredible creatures in their natural habitat. The diversity of animals, flora and landscapes are like no other. An African safari or wildlife adventure is truly a unique and humbling experience which anyone who has made the journey will agree with. One cannot help but fall in love with its incredible wildlife, kind, friendly people and breathtaking landscapes.
Uganda and Rwanda, Africa:
By far one of the planet's most diverse and naturally rich continents. The birthplace of mankind, but also where some of man's closest relatives still live today. Uganda is truly the Pearl of Africa, with lush savanna stretching across the entire horizon and some of the most dense tropical rainforests on the continent. Water bodies like the Nile river, lake Victoria lake Edward and many more water bodies, the country provides an ecosystem fit for hundreds of mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, insects and a wide variety of flora.
Fortunately, conservation efforts have helped a great deal and the beautiful Giraffes, Hippos, Leopards, Lions and Buffalo roam freely in the national parks. The locals of East Africa, particularly Uganda, have started to recognize the value of conservation. Fortunately, the national parks, governments and wildlife management staff have done a great job in recent years of protecting the parks and the delicate ecosystems within.
The Pantanal, Brazil:
The Pantanal is the World's largest tropical wetland. Primarily located in southern Brazil, the Pantanal also crosses the borders of Bolivia and Paraguay. During the wet season 80% of the floodplains are deep underwater but during the dry season it become a parched expanse with few rivers and waterholes left which become critical to its inhabitants survival.
The Pantanal ecosystem is estimated to be home to 1000 bird species, 400 species of fish, 300 different mammal species, 480 reptile species and over 9000 varying subspecies of invertebrates.
Within the Leuser Ecosystem exists the Gunung Leuser National Park. The park covers almost 8,000 km2 located in northern Sumatra and is one of the last remaining forests in the world where Sumatran Orangutans, roam free in the treetops amongst hundreds of other mammals, reptiles and bird species. The park is surrounded by palm oil plantations, which used to be part of the rich and lush green jungle. Thanks to strong conservation efforts by non-government organizations (NGOs) working with the Indonesian government, they have been able to preserve a few national parks in Sumatra.
The ecosystem is also home to the Sumatran Tiger, Elephant and Rhino. This is one of the last places in the world where these magnificent creatures all co-exist in the same habitat, as well as the Orangutans.
Please read the full article on my expedition to this incredible rainforest under the "Publications" tab to the left.
Canada and the United States, North America:
The provincial and national parks found in North America are some of the richest and most diverse parks and ecosystems of the world. There are many species of both flora and fauna which are found on no other continent. From the Rocky Mountains to the East coast and down to the southern extremes of the United Sates in the Everglades, there are many unique creatures and forms of life which have adapted to live in these drastically varying environments.
Many of these parks are very accessible for your average day-tripper or those looking for some deep back-country adventure! There are many trails and well developed campsite and which make exploring these wild expanses very accessible. Some of the unique and exciting wildlife which you may encounter are displayed here.
A list of Canadian National Parks can be found at: National Parks of Canada
A list of American National Parks can be found at: American National Parks
Most of these parks have websites with trip planning advice as well as information on their ecosystems and the flora and fauna within them. The preservation and protection of these delicate environments is critical to their survival.
Please see more photos of these magnificent creatures in the Wildlife Catalogue.
South East Asia - Indonesia and Thailand :
South East Asia is truly a land of exotic contrasts. This region of the world most likely has more endemic species than anywhere else on earth. The Indian Ocean contains 60% of the world's reefs while the 25% and 15% are found in the Pacific and Western Atlantic respectively. The Ocean is responsible for producing more than 50% of the oxygen that we breathe, so one can imagine how important the survival of this critical ecosystem in this region is.
Additionally, the rainforests in South East Asia are also responsible for filtering out a large amount of CO2 from our atmosphere while producing equal amounts of oxygen. Unfortunately many of these forests are being cut down and threatening the wildlife which call them home. The rainforests in these countries are home to endangered species such as the Sumatran Oranutans, as described above, Forest Elephants, as well as many bird species that are found nowhere else in the world. The reefs provide supplies of fish for humans, creatures beneath the surface like hairy frog fish, as well as birds of prey such as Osprey and Fish Eagles.
Swiss and Italian Alps, Europe:
The parks in Europe are nearly as vast and numerous as in North America, primarily due to their size, but also because of the challenging terrain to access some of them. There are however many adventurous people who trek and explore these wonderful and wild regions of Europe. Much like many of the parks in North America, they have well established trails and ample information on where and when to explore. With some patience and determination there are also many exciting wild animals such as Ibex, Marmot, Deer, birds and even Wolves in some very remote regions. Because of the dense population of Europe and human development in these areas, many wild animals such as bears moose and wolves are extremely rare these days.
One of the great things about these parks is their accessibility and maintenance. Most of the trails are in fantastic condition for hiking and trekking and are all very accessible from Europe's great network of highways and railways!