Amazon Photographic Expedition Workshop

January 13, 2009 ·

Michael Reichmann

April 14 – 25, 2007

This Workshop is Limited to Just 14 Participants



The Adventure

Join photographic educatorMichael Reichmann, the publisher and primary author of this web site, along with world famous naturalistFiona Reid, Photoshop and colour management guruAndrew Rodney,and world famous photographerJay Maisel, on a two week photographic expedition to the Amazon. We will spend 10 days cruising the Amazon and Rio Negro rivers and their tributaries aboard our private chartered ship, the L.V. Dorinha.

Each day, the 14 expedition members along with the expedition leaders and instructors, will explore river tributaries in small motorized canoes. Highly skilled boatmen take us out early in the morning for wildlife viewing. In the afternoon we may fish for Piranha or visit local villages, which will offer opportunities for cultural photography.

Each day will also allow for onboard seminars, covering a range of shooting, image processing and Photoshop techniques. Portfolio and print review sessions will be held daily, and field technique associated with the types of photography that we’ll be doing will be explored in depth.

Naturalist Fiona Reid will always be available to provide us with insights into the land, people, flora and fauna that we’ll be encountering along the river.

The dining deck and bar

Our ship is comfortable, safe, and well appointed. Each essentially identical cabin has two bunks, and accommodations are shared, two persons to a room. (A single supplement (if available) allows for a private cabin). Note though that this is not a "cruise ship". These are not luxurious accommodations as on theLove Boat. Clean and comfortable – yes, but not luxurious.

The food on board is delicious, featuring local and international cuisine, fresh fish, fruits and vegetables, prepared in a tiny kitchen by our dedicated staff.

Each cabin is air conditioned, though this is only turned on at night for sleeping. Each cabin also has a private bathroom with combined toilet and shower (not heated, rather lukewarm and refreshing).

The top deck is open, and provides for panoramic views of passing river life as we sail up the Amazon.

Electricity is provided (110V and 220V) via a generator, which runs most of the night and on request during the day. This will allow for battery charging and use of laptops during our daily seminar sessions. Michael will have a satellite phone available on a complimentary basis for use by the trip’s members.


Our Itinerary

Please note that the following is a typical itinerary, and subject to change at any time. We will let good light and potential photographic opportunities be our primary guide. Our English speaking captain,Mo, has lived on the river since childhood, and will help us find the best that the Amazon has to offer.

In addition to the itinerary below, each day will also feature portfolio reviews, Photoshop and colour management sessions, as well as other photographic topics.

April 14 – Day 1.We’ll meet in Miami airport in the late afternoon for our TAM flight to Manaus (if you prefer to make alternate flight plans, you can meet the group in Manaus or Sao Paulo). Our Manaus flight arrives very late at night and we will transfer (about 10 minutes drive) to the very comfortableHotel Tropicalfor overnight.

Those not wishing to fly to Manaus via Miami may fly to Sao Paulo, Brazil, overnight there (April 13) , and then continue on April 14 to Manaus.

Fiona Reid will be leading the group from Miami, and Michael Reichmann the group from Sao Paulo.

April 15 – Day 2.After a leisurely breakfast we will walk to the adjacent docks to board our boat. We’ll settle in to theL/V Dorinha, our home for the next 10 days, and set off, traveling past Manaus’ floating harbor. After a tasty lunch on board we will arrive at the wedding of the waters, where the brown water of the Rio Negro meets the blue waters of the Amazon. We will be on the lookout for two species of river dolphin (challenging to photograph!) that are often common at this area of rich upwelling. We take our first excursion by canoe in the late afternoon, exploring narrow waterways in search of water birds and other subjects of interest. We’ll continue on toLake Jutai, a blackwater region that is mosquito-free and a good place to overnight.

April 16 – Day 3.We wake early and board the canoes for a trip up theIgarapé do Ipixunato look for birds and monkeys. There will be time to visit theCaboclos(resident peoples along the river) before heading back to the ship for a hearty breakfast. Later in the day we may choose to fish for pirhana or take a siesta on the upper deck. In the afternoon we will visit the village ofJutaiand then photograph thousands of egrets and cormorants coming to roost at sunset.  After dark we take a night canoe trip to look for sloths, tree rats, tarantulas, and night herons. Many birds can be very closely approached at night for photography, and our guides will no doubt bring a caiman or two on board for close inspection!

April 17 – Day 4.We continue on toward theSolimoes Riveruntil we reachJanauaca Lake. We wake up inFuro do Mamoriand, after coffee and a light snack, set off before dawn in our canoes. This time the boatmen paddle us and do not use the motors, so we can appreciate the sounds of the forest waking at dawn. Drifting through a maze of channels and small lakes we may see Brown Capuchins and Squirrel Monkeys, kingfishers and nunbirds, and many other bird species. We will also be looking out for large Boas in the trees. After breakfast a group may go fishing with drop lines. We travel on at lunchtime following theSolimoes Riverwhere we explore small tributaries by canoe before and after dinner.

April 18 – Day 5.We take an early morning canoe trip toBarroso Island, where we will find numerous Giant Water Lilies. We stop to photograph and examine these plants and learn about their pollinators. After breakfast we walk through a forest of rubber trees, cacao trees and Brazil Nut Trees, where we hope to see a variety of forest birds. Later we travel by canoe toEnchanted Lake, whose waters are covered by floating vegetation including palm trees and an endemic orchid. We may also visit the “Farm of 4 Virgins” (so named by our captain), and one of the more affluent villages, with a variety of fruit trees and charming gardens. We’ll have a late-afternoon cruise by the famous “wedding of the waters”.

April 19 – Day 6.We travel overnight up theRio Negroand in the morning we visit thePagadao River. We explore this small tributary by canoe and on foot, as this area contains tall upland forest with a number of interesting trees and associated fauna. To cool off after our forest hike we swim in the blackwaters of theRio Negro, in an area often frequented by both the Pink River Dolphin and the small Tucuxi Dolphin. We travel on into theCuieiras Riverand enter another Amazonian ecosystem known asCampina, where scrubby trees are festooned with bromeliads and orchids growing at eyelevel. The black waters are set off by pure white sands. Pre-Columbian pottery shards have been found in this area.

April 20 – Day 7.We enter an uninhabited tributary of theCuieiras RivercalledIgarape Cachoeira, where we may see some of the more elusive Amazonian creatures as there is little or no hunting pressure in this region. Horned Screamer, Hoatzin, Toucans and Macaws are possible here. We also search for bats on trees overhanging the water, and look out for Black Caiman. At night we may find the Bamboo Rat or another large Echimyid rodent in trees at waters edge, or a Tree Boa out hunting its prey.

April 21 – Day 8.We wake inTres Bocasto the sound of Blue and Gold Macaws and Amazon parrots, and we enjoy the incredibly reflective blackwaters found in this region. In the afternoon we may fish for Black Piranha, the largest of the three species of piranha found in this region. We will visit caboclo families and learn about their life in the forest and their dependence on the river. 

April 22 – Day 9.Red Howler Monkeys serenade the dawn in this part of theRio Negro, and we set out early in hopes of finding a troupe near the water. We move into the four hundred- island district ofAnavilhanas. This is one of the largest fluvial archipelagos in the world and is known for its abundance of birds such as toucans, parrots and macaws. Later in the day we travel by canoe into a very acidic tributary of theParana Jacaré, ideal for swimming.  Tonight we will look for the Southern Cross and other southern hemisphere constellations.

April 23 – Day 10. We will enjoy a special outing in our canoes, traveling silently through a maze of small channels as the forest awakes around us. Later we will visit a floating store. In the afternoon we visit a small town,Novo Airao, famed for its wooden boat-building and handcrafted furniture. We have a chance to learn about the hardwoods used and village life in this area. Later we take the canoes out on a final nature exploration while a farewell barbecue is prepared on the upper deck.

April 24 – Day 11.We return to Manaus in the morning where we disembark and check in to theTropical Hotel. In the afternoon we will visit the famous Opera House and other buildings of interest. We’ll have time to review our trip before a wonderful buffet dinner at the hotel.

April 25 – Day 12. Today we have an optional early morning trip to the Manaus fish market, or we may choose to relax at our hotel. In the late morning we transfer to the airport for our flight to Miami or Sao Paulo, and onward connections home.


The Instructors

This is combined photographic expedition and workshop. This means that each day will not only be filled with extensive shooting opportunities but also structured workshop sessions. Of course any and all shooting opportunities as well as portfolio reviews and training sessions are optional, and will be based on the trip member’s needs and interests. Shooting opportunities as well as instruction will be available to photographers of all levels, from relative newcomers to working professionals.

Michael Reichmann

Michael is a fine-art landscape and nature photographer with an international reputation as a photographic educator. He is contributing editor toPhoto Techniquesmagazine, a columnist forAmerican Photomagazine, the publisher and primary author ofThe Luminous Landscapeweb site, and of more than 300 published articles, tutorials and essays on photography.

Michael has conducted numerous field workshops in Antarctica, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Bangladesh, Iceland, Namibia, and Tanzania. He is a frequent invited speaker at international conferences and photography seminars. He has been an alpha and beta tester for several software and hardware firms, and is also a consultant on product design to several companies.

His photographs have appeared in numerous books, monographs and portfolios, as well as gallery exhibitions in the U.S. and Canada. Michael’s fine art prints are in both private and public collections worldwide.

Michael’s most recent book isBangladesh – First Impressions.

Fiona Reid

Fiona is an author, naturalist, artist and tour guide. She is widely known and highly regarded among professional zoologists and field naturalists for her expertise in finding, identifying and illustrating birds, mammals, reptiles and plants. Her Central and South American experience is extensive. In all, during 15 years of part-time guiding, she has led ecotours to 15 countries. She knows lots of hidden corners, from bat roosts to great restaurants.

Fiona wrote and illustrated AField Guide to Mammals of Central America and SE Mexico, and has illustrated 9 other books on mammals.  Under a contract with Houghton Mifflin, she recently completed an all-new revision to the PetersonField Guide to the Mammals of North America(available October 2006) — with the companion bird guide, probably the most widely-read book in the entire field of amateur naturalist publications.

Andrew Rodney

Photo by Greg Gorman Andrew is owner ofThe Digital Doga digital imaging training and consulting business located in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Andrew has been a beta tester for Adobe Photoshop since version 2.5. Andrew writes a regular column on color management forProfessional Photographermagazine. Andrew specializes in color management solutions and training and is the author of “Color Management for Photographers, Hands on Techniques for Photoshop Users” published by Focal Press. Andrew is one of the principle partners ofPixel Genius LLC, a company that has created such products as PhotoKit and PhotoKit-Sharpener Andrew’s web site can be found at Aboard ship Andrew will be conducting daily seminars on Photoshop, colour management, and related photographic topics and techniques.

Jay Maisel

Jay Maisel’s career spans 40 years. His name has become synonymous with vibrant color photography that uses light and gesture to create countless unforgettable images for advertising, editorial and corporate communications. In addition, his pictures appear in books and art collections. Included among his many awards for excellence are theArt Directors Club Hall of Fame,American Society of Media Photographers’ Photographer of the Year Awardand theInternational Center of Photography’s Infinity Award. A graduate of Cooper Union and Yale University, Jay continues his education by teaching younger photographers at workshops, seminars and lectures around the world.

Chris Sanderson

A film and television Director for thirty years, Christopher has spent most of his career making television commercials for N. America and Europe. He was awarded a Gold Lion at the Cannes Advertising Film Festival in 1981, and became well-known for multiple award-winning work with children & animals. His work has interrupted regular programming in many countries & languages.

Among his non-commercial directing work, Christopher directed the ’92 EMMY-nominated Alligator Pie, a 50 minute Children’s Special aired on the CBC. The show was also a GEMINI nominee and won the Best Production for Children at the Yorkton Festival in 1992.

Having trained early in his career as a cameraman and editor, Christopher picked up the camera and computer ‘guillotine splicer’ again in 2000 to create, with Michael Reichmann, theLuminous Landscape Video Journal– a quarterly video magazine on photography published on DVD.

In addition to filming our expedition for a future Video Journal segment, Chris will be available to anyone that wishes to shoot video or learn more about Final Cut Pro and video production and editing techniques.


Little in the way of specialized photographic equipment is required for this trip. It is assumed that most participants will be shooting 35mm digital, though the use of film won’t see anyone punished.

For birds and wildlife a stabilized long lens, either fixed focal length or a zoom in the range of 300-400mm will be a must. Otherwise a modest range of focal lengths (prime or zoom) from wide to medium telephoto will do. Because of the low light levels under the canopy, fast lenses will be an asset.

A flash unit is a must. Each participant will be provided with a complimentaryBetter Beamerflash extender, and full instruction on its use and daylight fill flash technique will be provided.

To benefit from the daily seminars a laptop computer will be a real asset. Techniques discussed and demonstrated can be put into practice, and our daily shots can be critiqued. If you wish for Michael, Jay or Andrew to provide you with a critique of your work, consider bringing a small portfolio or selection of your prints. Unmounted, A3 or smaller would be best.


The Cost

The cost for this 12 day expedition is US $8,995 per person. This is an all-inclusive fee. From the moment you land in Manaus, Brazil, until you get on the plane to fly home 13 days later, all of your expenses are included. This includes land transfers, all meals and drinks, and the hotel charges and meals in Manaus at the beginning and end of the trip.

Accommodation is two persons to a cabin or hotel room. A very limited number of singles may be available at an additional cost of $6,000.

You are responsible for your airfare to Manaus, Brazil from wherever you call home. You can join us there, or in Miami, or in Sao Paulo. You will need a visa for this trip. This cost is at your own expense. Visa application information and other requirements will be provided upon registration.

This expedition is open to both photographers and their spouses. While there will be an intensive focus of photography and photographic instruction, the trip will be equally enjoyable by the non-photographer. Fiona Reid will provide extensive commentary and guidance regarding the flora and fauna encountered, and the trip will be an exciting and relaxing experience for anyone interested in the wildlife as well as the inhabitants of this remote jungle region.


Financial Details

Payment of U.S. $5,000 per person is due upon booking. This payment must be made within 10 days of your booking, or your reservation will be forfeit. Personal checks are also welcome, but returned or NSF checks will mean that your reservation will be cancelled. Credit cards will be accepted from overseas applicants (with a completed authorization form).

The balance of your payment (with single supplement, if applicable) will be due on or before January 1, 2007. If you cancel your booking before September 1, 2006, a refund of your payment, less $1,500 per person, will be made. If you cancel at any time after September 1, 2006, a refund of your payment (less $1,500 per person) will be only possible if we are able to resell your berth(s) to someone else. If you cancel after January 15, 2007, no refunds will be made.

If we have to cancel the trip for any reason the full amount of monies paid will be refunded.

Payment and booking details will be provided following registration.

Expedition Costs Include

* All accommodations based on double occupancy from Manaus
* Gratuities for services and meals
* Ground transportation / group airport transfers
* All meals and beverages, including bar drinks
* Entrance fees
* All activities listed in the itinerary
* Services of Fiona Reid, Michael Reichmann and instructors
* Services of captain and crew

Expedition Costs Do Not Include

* Return international airfare from your home to Manaus
* Airport departure taxes and Brazilian visa
* Shopping and items of a personal nature
* Optional activities not stated in the itinerary
* Travel insurance and medical insurance
* Airport transfers if not travelling with group
* Additional transportation required due to any emergency situation


Video Filming

Chris Sandersonwill be filming this workshop / expedition forThe Luminous Landscape Video Journal.

Naturally, we will need your consent to be filmed. Once you have registered for the Workshop we will be sending you a Release Form. This will signify your permission to be included in the filming that will be done during the workshop. We will, of course, be providing you with complimentary copies of whatever video or print material comes out of this. Of course this will provide you with a professional quality video record of this trip, something that no other workshop can provide.

Finally, I want to assure you that the filming of the workshop will in no way interfere with the workshop and the time that we spend together. Chris is an experienced filmmaker and will be shooting in an unobtrusive documentary style. Of course, as an experienced cinematographer and director Chris will be available as another resource person to all Workshop members. If you have problem with being filmed during the workshop please ask me for more information, or consider taking an alternative workshop.


Liability Limitation

The Luminous Landscape Inc., Michael Reichmann, Fiona Reid, our instructors, guides, and cooperating agents aim to provide every participant a safe, educational, and enjoyable experience. We act solely as agents for you regarding accommodations, special activities, and travel, by any means, and assume no liability for any act, error, omission, injury, loss, delay, mishap, or damage to persons or property arising from any cause during the course of the workshop or in transit thereto. We can accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay or changes in the services to be provided. We reserve the right to change our arrangements should conditions necessitate, or to cancel any aspect of the workshop due to exceptional circumstances. In the event that we deem it necessary to cancel the workshop we will provide a full refund which the participant acknowledges as full and final settlement.

As there is always an element of risk in any adventure associated with the outdoors, participants must read this form carefully. This liability release will certify that the participant is physically fit and capable of participating in outdoor photography exercises in field locations, and is fully and completely aware of any associated risks created by field locations and weather.

By joining this workshop I acknowledge that I have read the above information concerning responsibility and release The Luminous Landscape Inc., Michael Reichmann, Fiona Reid their guides, instructors and any cooperating agent from any liability. The Luminous Landscape Inc., Michael Reichmann and Fiona Reid will assume no liability for injury, illness, or loss of personal property or expenses thereof associated with workshop participation

What to Do Next

If this workshop has your name on it; if you’re excited by the thought of becoming a member of this trip, then now is the time to register.

Remember, there are only 14 positions available for this workshop. When they’re spoken for, that’s it.

To register for this workshop / expedition, pleasesend an emailwith the following information. (Cut and paste the items below into your email reply). We will respond with details on how payment and bookings are to be made.







If you wish to add your name to the waitlist, in case there is a cancellation
pleasesend an emailwith the wordsAmazon Waitlistin the title.


Michael Reichmann

Michael Reichmann is the founder of the Luminous Landscape. Michael passed away in May 2016. Since its inception in 1999 LuLa has become the world's largest site devoted to the art, craft, and technology of photography. Each month more than one million people from every country on the globe visit LuLa.

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