IPT Schedule 2012

THE 2012 SW FLA IPT: FEB 8-15, 2012

Slide program on the evening of Tuesday, FEB 7. 6-FULL DAYS: $2899. (Non-refundable deposit: $500; click here and scroll down for full details, terms, deposit requirements, and our cancellation policy). Limit: 10. Co-leaders TBA. Escape winter’s icy grip to enjoy a wide array of Florida’s tame birds including herons, egrets, Wood Stork, ducks including Mottled and Black-bellied Whistling, both pelicans, shorebirds, gulls, terns, skimmers, raptors, and lots more.

JAPAN 2012

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THE JAPAN ONE TRIP ONLY NEEDED PER LIFETIME IPT, FEB/MAR, 2012. Exact dates TBA. Limit twelve photographers; openings: 11). Co-leaders: Arthur Morris & Robert O’Toole. This trip will not confirm until we have 8 deposits in hand. Please see pricing and deposit info below.

Final details for this amazing trip will be sent first to those on the Friends List and then to those on the interested list. If you would like your name placed on the already long Interested List, please e-mail me at samandmayasgrandpa@att.net. If you are a happy camper who has been on an IPT before and would like your name placed on the Friends List, please e-mail me at samandmayasgrandpa@att.net.

The nearly final itinerary includes 3 1/2 days of Snow Monkey (Japanese Macaque) photography, 4 1/2 days of Steller’s Sea Eagle photography (including five morning boat trips ice conditions permitting), 3 days of Whooper Swan photography, (2 full and 2 half days), and 4 1/2 days of photographing Red-crowned (Japanese) Crane. In addition we will get to photograph White-tailed Eagle, Black-eared (Black) Kite, and several other species of birds. We will be asking for $5,000 non- refundable deposits quite soon; trip insurance is of course beyond highly recommended.

Though this trip will not confirm until we have 8 deposits in hand, we are fully expecting it to sell out quickly. We expect to be able to price the trip at $15,999 per person. This will include just about everything but your air fare to and from Tokyo, Japan. All lodging, all meals, all ground transportation (most by luxury bus), and the two great leaders. Robert has photographed in Hokkaido several times.

No other photo trip to Japan offers anywhere near the amount of photo time that our trip does. On all other trips you spend half of the trip days traveling only to spend a day or two at each location. If you are gonna go all that way, why risk having bad weather completely wipe out one of more of the great opportunities? Do consider joining us on this amazing trip.

Galapagos Photo Cruise IPT, July 2012

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The Complete Galapagos Photographic Experience Tentative dates: July 15-August 1, 2012 (July 17- 31, 2012 on the boat): 13 1/2 days of photography plus a last morning panga ride: price: to be determined, but < $12, 999. Limit 11. I am in the final stages of planning the Galapagos 2012 trip. The dates and price are both tentative. The 2011 trip has been sold out for more than a ear. Happy campers only please. If you would like to see the complete itinerary, please e-mail us at birdsasart@att.net. And do see the last Bulletin and the blog for lots of great images and lessons. I am posting my 2010 Galapagos Journal on the blog one landing or one day at a time.

The tentative dates are July 15-August 1, 2012, July 17-31 on the boat. The group will be flying to Quito on their own to arrive on July 15, 2012. There will be a travel insurance day on July 16th. On the morning of July 17 we fly to the Galapagos and board the boat around midday. We leave the boat two weeks later on the morning of July 31 after our last photo session, a short panga ride. We fly back to Quito on that same day, July 31, overnight in Quito, and fly home on the morning of August 1.
Most of you know the main attractions of the two week trips that I have pioneered: a killer itinerary that will visit all the great spots to ensure that you do not miss a thing. The highlights include Tower Island—tons of nesting seabirds at eye and knee level, Punta Espinoza (Marine Iguanas and Flightless Cormorants), Puerto Ayora (tortoises in their natural habitats), Hood Island (Waved Albatross and lots more nesting birds), South Plaza—tropicbirds and Land Iguanas, and North Seymour—nesting frigatebirds and Blue-footed Boobies with chicks in most years. Each of these locations is on a par with Antarctica or East Africa when it comes to spectacular photographic opportunities. And if you make only a one week cruise you will miss at least half of these great locations. With two full weeks we will enjoy a relaxed pace with shorter navigations and lots of time for snorkeling, image sharing, and small group Photoshop instruction. A great photographic leader (that would be me) with 7 years of Galapagos experience teamed with the very best most knowledgeable guide in the entire archipelago. We will be the first group on each island in the morning and the last boat to leave each island each afternoon. If we are blessed with overcast weather we may spend as long as 6 ½ hours on our morning sessions. Jeez, I almost forgot our spectacular and romantic motor sailing ship, the Beagle.

Note: some of the walks are strenuous. Though I will be bringing the 800, great images are possible on all landings with a hand held 70-200mm lens.

Included: three nights in the luxury hotel–the Hilton Quito Colon, round trip airfare to and from the Galapagos, all meals on the boat, a killer buffet lunch with the tortoises!, all park fees and related costs, and all transfers. Not included. Your round trip airfare from your home to and from Quito, beverages, phone calls, the $40 airport exit tax, and the $500/person tip for the guide and the crew.

A $5,000 deposit per person is required to hold a spot pending the announcement of final date and cost. At that time you will have one week to let me know if you are in or out. If I do not have nine deposits within a month or so, I may choose to return all deposits without penalty. Leasing the boat requires a commitment of more than $100,000 by yours truly. You will not be asked to print, sign, and return the two forms here until the final dates and cost are announced, along with the payment schedule. Once the dates are announce do know that travel insurance will of course be highly recommended as none of your payments are refundable. You will need to protect yourself in case of an unexpected illness or accident or other unforeseen developments.

If you opt not to make a deposit at this time but would like your name placed on the seriously interested list, please e-mail us at birdsasart@att.net. Couples are advised to register well in advance, as are females who will be traveling on their own. As are anyone who wants and needs to make this amazing trip.


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I recently got the heads-up on a killer South Georgia/Falklands Expedition that will run October 18 to November 11, 2012. It seems a long way off but if you want a seat on this ride you will need to act soon. So far eight BIRDS AS ART folks (including two couples, my pal George Brunt (eggs-ZACT-lee!), and Paul Mckenzie, an extremely skilled globe-trotting young photographer, are already on board with an equal number threatening to join us very soon. Paul’s web site and his blog are both amazing. Check out his two latest blog posts and you will agree 100%: the guy is talented!

After I returned from my Falklands/South Georgia/Antarctica trip a few years back I knew that I had to return to the Southern Oceans, but not with Zegrahm’s who had most generously had me along; we just had too little time ashore on that trip. Here’s what I wrote in the Antarctica Site Guide soon afterwards:

“By signing up with one of the few photography-only cruises, you will get a lot more bang for you buck. My understanding is that there are two companies that run trips that allow for far more photography time ashore.” I am currently working with the one of those two companies; they offer as much or more time onshore than any other tour company that regularly travels to the Southern Oceans. And they are very well respected.

I am already registered for the trip: October 18 to November 11, 2012 (including the travel days). Many folks who have been to the continent quickly realize that when it comes to wildlife photography, South Georgia is the crown jewel of the Southern Ocean. This trip offer 10-11 days of photography at various South Georgia locations and three additional and equally spectacular days in the Falklands on the way home. On my Zegrahm’s trip we had but a single day on the Falklands; the photography there was so amazing that if I had not hitched a ride down the hill from the spectacular cormorant colony in the afternoon with a farmer the ship would have left without me.

I will not be an official leader on this trip but those of you who have traveled with me know that I cannot help but teach. I will be available on the boat to review images and answer questions and all who sign up as a result of reading this note are invited to tag along with me on the landings. In addition my friends Tom Murphy and Rod and Marlene Plank will be along as photography leaders. Rod’s images inspired me early on and Tom and wife Bonnie offered guidance when I was just getting started in the tour business. It is obvious to me that the folks running this trip have an obvious passion for photography, for their business, and for their clients needs; they remind me a great deal of BIRDS AS ART, just on a larger scale.

When I read through the entire itinerary for the first time the excitement for me was palpable; I practically had a cow! If you can read the whole thing and not dream of making this trip you have me beat by miles. One of the great things about this trip is the timing; we will be early enough in the season that the fur seals will not be established in their rookeries. This will allow us safe access to more than a few locations that are inaccessible from December through February.

It is a far less expensive trip than the expeditions that travel to the continent, it packs far more photographic punch for your dollar than the longer trips that include time on the Antarctic Peninsula, and the wildlife and photography opps will be beyond mind boggling. I cannot even imagine getting the chance to photograph four different species of nesting albatross on a single trip. Not to mention Rockhopper and Macaroni Penguins and more King Penguins than you could ever imagine. If you are seriously interested in this trip feel free to call me with any questions at 863-692-2806 or email at samandmayasgrandpa@att.net for details. I am good to go. And I hope that you can join me. More here …

If you would like your name placed on the seriously interested list for any trip, please e-mail me at birdsasart@att.net.