Nature Photography





Professional and amateur photographers looking to enhance and refresh their camera eye through a memorable experience in a comfortable and authentic environment that is the best location for contact with Amazonian nature and involves the special participation of professional photographer and journalist João Marcos Rosa.


The highlands of the southern Amazon are the ideal spot to broaden the creative possibilities of any photographer, whether professional or amateur. This meeting point of the Amazon, Pantanal and Cerrado ecosystems offers a multitude of color variations, extreme contrasts and diverse perspectives for the development of new visual narratives. This will be a unique opportunity to capture outstanding pictures in one of the last preserved areas in the Amazon, while perfecting your photographic skills and techniques, guided by the orientation of the renowned photographer João Marcos Rosa.

From the dense forest, swollen rivers, magnificent rock formations and wild animals to little details like the flowers, frogs and butterflies, this is every nature photographer’s dream. This magical environment also represents a significant challenge for the adventurous photographer. Sun, heat, humidity and the distance covered to encounter many of the species are some of the obstacles to be faced. However, all the effort will be hansomely rewarded with beautiful pictures and a great learning experience for all lovers of photography.


The activities will consist of theoretical and practical lessons. The theoretical side will be conducted in the Cristalino Lodge’s excellent infrastructure, presenting audio and video in a relaxed and engaging atmosphere. The topics range from the photographer's posture within the natural environment to advanced techniques for creative photography, including image editing and processing. On the practical side, you will venture into the wonders of the authentic Amazon jungle, observing the different forest layers as you climb to the top of our two 50-meter observation towers, gliding along a crystal clear black water river and sharing the pride of our guides in every piece of land within our reserve. A variety of nocturnal photography will be tried, obtaining photos of rare mammals, by means of camera traps using professional equipment, and the incredible starlit night of the Amazon, for light painting.

Field trips will take place every day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, with analysis of the day’s photos conducted in the evening. The groups will always be kept small, to maximize the chance of observing the wildlife, and will be accompanied by Cristalino Lodge’s excellent guides, who all have extensive experience and will seek out a variety of Amazon bird species. The Cristalino Reserve is noted for its rich biodiversity. It is also a great opportunity to photograph the scenery, ‘above all’ from the observation towers.

Many species are not always found nearby, so it is recommended that one take lenses of at least 300 mm. There are also excellent conditions for taking landscape photos using wide-angle lenses. A laptop is a good idea too as, at the end of the program, the group’s best pictures will be shown during the final talk. This is the third workshop at the Cristalino Lodge to be given by National Geographic photographer João Marcos Rosa. The end of the dry season, in early November, is great time to see the wildlife. Many trees are in fruit and the scenery is breathtaking. It is the season of renewal and the dense forest is pulsating with life. It is a very enriching experience.


October 22 - 27th 2018 (5 nights)



Transfer from the Alta Floresta airport to the Cristalino Lodge, a 1-hour road trip and 30 minutes by boat. The Cristalino Lodge 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. There will be a welcoming speech and a slideshow.

First venture into the forest
The program begins with an incredible photo shoot on the River Cristalino, where nature reigns in calm supremacy. The sun sets behind the stark silhouette of the forest and there is a broad palette of colors in the sky and reflected upon the water. And, of course, you can go for a dip in the river!


Uirapuru on the Castanheira trail
The castanheira (Brazil nut tree) on this trail is the largest in the forest. It is about 500 years old and six people have to join hands in order to embrace it. This is a good opportunity to use a wide-angle lens. Hopefully, you will hear the beautiful singing of the uirapuru (musician wren) and maybe even get a lovely picture of this forest icon!

Sunset on the River Teles Pires
In the afternoon, gliding over the waters of the River Cristalino towards the River Teles Pires, note the difference in color when the two watercourses intersect. This meeting of the waters takes place in a perfect setting for beautiful photos. On the journey back, the focus is on the local jacaré (caiman) and some special techniques for nocturnal photography.


Sunrise over the forest canopy
The two Cristalino observation towers, located in different parts of the reserve, each have a height of 50 meters. Climbing their 228 steps is literally the high point of the experience. From the top you can enjoy a breathtaking 360 degree view of the forest and take the opportunity to record the magnificent sunrise over the Amazon jungle.

Butterflies on the Saleiro trail
In the afternoon, you will venture along this trail that penetrates deep into the forest, photographing the different butterfly species, the flora of the region and other details using photomacrography techniques.

Photo analysis
At night, in our comfortable auditorium, the photos produced up till now will be analyzed, with tips for editing and image processing. It is a time for detachment and aligning one’s expectations. Photography in the Amazon is a learning experience!


Boat trip and inspiring scenery
In the morning, enjoy a pleasant canoe trip through beautiful scenery in one of the quietest activities on the program. From inside the boat or on dry land, you will be trying to photograph birds and monkeys along the riverbanks, practicing techniques for motion photography and using telephoto lenses.

Sunset from the second observation tower
The setting of the sun in the Amazon is one of those moments that deserves special dedication. There is a much technique to be put into practice, as well as numerous bird species that can be added to your list. Named after Ted Parker, the tower honors this renowned ornithologist who visited the Cristalino Lodge in the 1990s. In addition to the possibility of photographing the fauna, it will provide a moment for contemplation, as well as for recording the forest landscape from a privileged angle.

Photo analysis
Another opportunity to review your photos, blending theory and practice in a relaxed and engaging atmosphere. Viewed from the windows of our auditorium, exuberant nature holds the promise of even more inspired photo editing possibilities.


Viewing point on the Serra trail
Start the day with a boat ride that takes you to this special trail, from which you can photograph the highlands, the flora and the animal species that live there. All the resources of photomacrography will be explored. The return to the hotel can be along the Figueira (fig tree) trail, where you can take a look at the tree’s spectacular roots, or you can go by boat.

Closing event
Put together your own edition of the best images from the program, to be presented in our auditorium during the closing talk. 


Free morning
Take advantage of the rest of the morning to enjoy the comfort of your bungalow or venture into the forest, in perfect harmony with nature, to take your last few pictures of the Cristalino. Departure is at 10:00 am, when we will head off to the Alta Floresta airport.

* The order of the activities may have to change.


  • Camera
  • Lenses of 17mm to 200mm for more open views
  • Telephoto lenses of at least 300mm for photographing fauna
  • Tripod or monopod
  • External flash unit
  • Polarizing filter and graduated filters
  • Cable release or remote release
  • Protective rainproof cover for the equipment
  • Batteries, chargers and memory cards
  • Backpack for carrying the equipment
  • Laptop, external HD and memory card reader
  • Equipment cleaning kit

Field equipment

  • Anorak style jacket
  • Raincoat
  • Light long-sleeved shirts or T-shirts
  • Light trousers that ideally can be converted into bermuda shorts
  • Cap or hat that protects the neck
  • Boots
  • Long thick socks
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Bottle of water


João Marcos Rosa began his career in 1998, portraying Brazilian culture and biodiversity. He graduated in journalism and specialized in illustrating wildlife and conservation issues, which led him to travel the world as he followed up these stories. His work has been published in magazines such as GEO, BBC Wildlife and Terra Mater. Since 2004, João has been a regular contributor to National Geographic Brazil, for whom he has turned out several reports. He is the author of the books Harpia (harpy eagle) and Arara-azul Carajás (Carajás hyacinth macaw), published by Nitro Editorial, and his photographs have appeared in numerous publications, such as Facing Extinction [T&Ad Poiser], Mata Atlântica (Atlantic Forest) [MMA] and Biota [Biodiversitas], among others.

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"At the Cristalino Lodge, the opportunities to photograph the Amazon fauna are amazing, whether on the boat watching giant otters and tapirs, or in the observation towers with its incredible diversity of birds"
João Marcos Rosa