Red Howlers

Red Howler Monkeys, Tambopata National Reserve, Peru. Canon EOS 7D, Canon 600mm with TC 1.4x extender, 1/100 second at f5.6, ISO 320

As many of you already know from my two previous posts to Earth and Light, I have just returned from Peru where I had the opportunity to sample much of what the country has to offer in terms of natural beauty. One of these places is Tambopata National Reserve, one of the most biologically diverse areas within the Amazonian basin.

I spent a week in Tambopata – in the same set of clothes – while leading a photo tour and workshop with my friend, Ian Plant. Each and every morning the dawn was greeted by the roar of red howler monkeys, one of the loudest animals on the planet. Their howls could be heard from several miles away and are at the same time both awesome and haunting.

Photographing them was usually difficult. Red howlers live high in the tree canopy and rarely come down to the ground – except during times of extreme drought, which is rare in a rainforest. Everything they need is up in the trees – food, water (trapped in the leaves), shelter, and other red howlers. Trying to photography up high into the canopy is as difficult as it sounds. Mixed lighting, bright overcast skies as a backdrop, and awkward body positions behind the camera were all part of a perpetual challenge.

This group of howlers was different. They were hanging out – literally – right in front of our lodge at the Tambopata Reseach Center. Soft, late evening light brought out the bold orange and maroon hues of their fur and the sky behind them was a lazy blue.

We are possibly leading another trip to Peru next year and will offer it as a workshop and tour once again. Cusco, Machu Picchu, and the Sacred Valley could be added to Tambopata for an unforgettable Peru experience. Stay tuned for details.

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One Comment

  1. Posted November 19, 2012 at 9:27 am by LaVonna Betz | Permalink

    Nice commentary on the howlers. I’ve been to Torres del Paine in
    Southern Chile but didn’t see quite what this photographer did; although my trip was amazingly beautiful and diverse.

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