Bird Photography




Professional and amateur photographers who want to take pictures of Amazonian birds, accompanied by professor and photographer João Quental. For this particular workshop, classes will be given in Portuguese. Please check other workshops in English or consider a photography tour.


If you are not familiar with professional or semi-professional cameras, you might feel more comfortable enrolling in our nature tour (ecotourism) or bird watching program. If you wish to have a private photography tour, you might prefer our photography tours. It is also not recommended for people whose mobility is impaired or who have serious health problems. Always consult your doctor before signing up for a trip.


Photographic activities will consist of theoretical classes and practical nature tours conducted by renowned professor João Quental. The theoretical activities have an excellent audio & video structure at Cristalino Lodge, following an pleasant and captivating format.

You will have the chance to do nature tours every day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon to apply theoretical knowledge. The groups will be small to maximize the chances of observing wildlife - and will be accompanied by excellent field guides from Cristalino Lodge . The guides will look for various birds of the Amazon within our private reserve. It is also a great opportunity for landscape photography, especially at the observation towers.

It is important to bear in mind that many species may only be seen from a distance, so it is recommended that you use at least a 300 mm lens. There are also great opportunities for landscape photos with wide-angle lenses. It is also important to take into consideration that observing animals in the Amazon is a more challenging task than in the cerrado or Pantanal regions, because it is easier for species to hide within the forest and move around undetected. Nevertheless, it is a very gratifying experience to photograph species that you will not see anywhere else in the world. This is the fifth workshop held by Professor João Quental at Cristalino Lodge. A unique opportunity!


From 15 to 20th of June, 2018 (5 nights)


Day 1

Transfer from the Alta Floresta airport to Cristalino Lodge, involving a 1-hour road trip and 30 minutes by boat. Cristalino Lodge's staff will welcome you at the hotel and show you to your room. You will meet the photographer and the guides who will accompany the group, to talk about the program. Before dinner, there will be a slide show and some words of welcome from João Quental. He will address the most important topics and techniques for this Amazon adventure and there will be time to raise any initial doubts about this kind of photographic work.

Day 2

The forest awakening
One of the first lessons you will learn in João Quental’s program is that the ones setting the rules are the birds. They are your true "guide" on this adventure! Following their movement in the forest, the program begins with an amazing photo shoot from one of Cristalino Lodge's observation towers. From up above the forest canopy, in addition to beautiful photos of the Amazon dawn, you can capture the birds at eye level, rather than from below, as is usually the case.

Boat trip
In the afternoon, a trip along the dark water of the Cristalino River allows you to get up close to the Amazon fauna and enjoy a privilege offered by very few places in the world. Your camera can follow beautiful wetland birds such as the capped heron, darter and sunbittern. Other riverside dwellers that will probably join your list are the neotropical otter, giant river otter and tapir.

Day 3

Musician wren on the Castanheira trail
The nut tree that gives its name to the trail is the tallest tree in the forest. It is about 500 years old and it takes six people holding outstretched hands to embrace her. This is a good opportunity to use a wide angle lens. Hopefully, you will hear the beautiful singing of the musician wren and may even be able to record this much loved forest icon!

Sunset on the Teles Pires River 
In the afternoon, gliding over the water of the River Cristalino, heading towards the River Teles Pires, you will be able to see the color transformation that occurs when the waters of the two rivers come together. The meeting of the waters takes place in a perfect setting for beautiful photos. On the return trip, take in some caiman spotting and learn special night photography techniques.

Day 4

Ariosto Island
A boat ride will take you to Ilha Ariosto, where you can seek out birds such as the Amazonian umbrellabird, various species of parrots and other highlights of the Cristalino region. Be prepared for some jaw-dropping scenery and many opportunities to learn about nature!

Seeking out ‘that’ light
On your visit to the reserve’s second observation tower, you will have the opportunity to photograph the setting of the sun over the world’s largest tropical rainforest. There is a lot of technique to be put into practice, as well as numerous bird species in activity that might still get onto your list. Named after Ted Parker, this tower honours the renowned ornithologist, who visited Cristalino Lodge in the 1990s.


Prehistoric bird
Live and unforgettable encounter with the hoatzin, a prehistoric bird that can be seen in groups at the river margins after a beautiful two-hour navigation up the Cristalino river.

Closing lecture
At night, in our comfortable auditorium, the photographs taken will be studied and João Quental will provide precious analysis and tips for editing and image processing. It is a moment for detachment and aligning one’s expectations. Photographing in the Amazon is an enriching experience!


Free morning
Spend the morning relaxing in the comfort of your bungalow or enjoy the free time to carry out a final photo shoot at Cristalino. Departure from the hotel is at 10 am, bound for the airport in Alta Floresta.

* The sequence of the activities may be altered.


  • Camera
  • Telephoto lenses (with 300mm lenses it is possible to get excellent images, however telephotos with more than 300 mm will help in the observation towers)
  • Wide-angle lenses (there will be opportunities to shot stunning Amazonian landscapes)
  • Macro lenses: if you enjoy macro photography, Cristalino offers great opportunities to shot insects, butterflies, fungus, etc.
  • Flash
  • Tripod and/or monopod
  • Protection against humidity (rain is a reality in the Amazon. It is good to protect your equipment. If you don’t have sealed bags, regular plastic bags will help protect your apparatus).
  • Batteries, chargers and additional memory cards.
  • Notebook (it's not essential, but it’s great for backup and visualization).
  • Compact camera (for making off and common shots).

About João Quental

One of the best bird photographers in Brazil, João Quental reconciles his teaching career with adventures to the four corners of Brazil in search of birds. He has photographed over a thousand species of the Brazilian birds. In some rare moments of the year, João conducts workshops in special regions such as the Cristalino Lodge, combining teaching and photograph into an amazing experience for the participants.

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Chestnut Woodpecker (Celeus elegans)

"The Workshop was special: Cristalino, an enchanted lodge inside an enchanted forest!"
Ana Leuzinger