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Dale Morris was my guide on my first Brazil and ORYX Photo Tours adventure for jaguars, caiman and lots of colorful birds of Pantanal. He’s a down to earth guy, which I really liked and is also fantastic. He help us a lot with the composition, light, helped us process pictures in Photoshop, and was always cheerful and professional.
In August 2022 I joined ORYX Photo Tours's Brazil Pantanal Photo Tour. Our photo tour leader was Dale Morris, who I have taken several trips with, and he always does a top-notch job. He is constantly in the background making sure of every detail, so guests have the best time and safest trip. I enjoy his imagination. He frequently thinks of ways to take a photo, so an ordinary image becomes something really unique. This trip was great and so was the guide.
Several of the recent testimonials have detailed the trip activities so I will talk about our wildlife experience. We saw and photographed many different birds, Caiman and Capybaras but our time with the Giant Otters and Jaguars was very special. We had several encounters with a Giant Otter family. There were five members of the family led by the female matriarch. They would cruise near the riverbank hunting for food and constantly play fighting with each other. They are voracious eaters eating up to 10% of their body weight a day and with a male reaching 6ft and 70 lbs. that is a lot of fish. They are powerful swimmers, and it was amazing how fast they could swim even against the river current. We watched their antics for several hours and enjoyed getting a view of their family interactions and daily life.
When we were on the houseboat, we spent our days in a small boat searching for Jaguars. We were rewarded with seeing 14 different Jaguars watching and photographing them in several different activities. Some of the Jaguars were resting in the shade on the riverbank and one was lying on a dead tree branch that extended out over the river. This young juvenile was no more than 30 feet from our boat. We observed two young males interacting with each other showing a special bond they shared. We watched several as they patrolled their territory. We spent over a half hour observing one Jaguar as he hunted along the riverbank. He moved so quietly through thick vegetation and over dead tree branches finally pouncing into the river catching a Caiman. Jaguars bite down at the base of the Caimans skull crushing the skull paralyzing and killing the Caiman. He then carried the 60-70 lb. Caiman along the bank and with a powerful move climbed up the steep bank. Photographing the Jaguars was fantastic but getting a view into their lives was indeed very special.
This ORYX photo tour was more than I could have expected and has given me memories I will cherish forever.
My first trip to the Pantanal with ORYX Photo Tours and Dale Morris was terrific. Dale and the wonderful local guide Sergio Freitas knew nearly everything I asked about the local wildlife, and if they didn't, they found out. Dale and Sergio went out of their way to find reclusive and camouflaged animals, able to do so through knowing the animals' behavior and the Pantanal itself so thoroughly. The tour was well-planned -- except for the weather, which dropped fifty degrees F one night and brought torrential rain. (We dried out in a few days.) Food was plentiful and delicious, the lodges and the boat hotel were comfortable, and the group of photographers were companionable and pleasant. I was using a new camera and shooting in manual for the first time. Every now and then, as I aimed at a potoo or a coiled anaconda, Dale would whisper, "If you use this ISO and that shutter speed, and stand exactly where I am standing now, Alison, you will get an excellent shot." And lo! he was exactly right: I'd get a sharp photo with open eyes and no stick coming out of the animal's head! I enjoyed the trip to the Pantanal very much, and would urge anyone to travel with Dale Morris.
I very much enjoyed my time on the 2022 Pantanal photo tour as I had when I was on the one in 2017. Both times Dale Morris was our the guide and photo expert. As always, Dale was a gem, and he was clearly happy and enthusiastic to be leading a tour after many months of COVID lockdown. I must add that the tour was made particularly enjoyable and educational with the participation of Sergio Freitas, PhD who served a most excellent and affable Brazilian language/logistics facilitator and fauna biology expert. This year (2022) was much drier than 2017 with vastly less water along the Pantanal highway, but even so, we had plenty of wildlife photo opportunities. All the lodge accommodations were very good, and the Brazilian food was plentiful. Our first lodge was particularly comfortable and provided twice per day drives in open safari-like vehicles that provided wonderful transits of the varied environment of the lodge's vast property. On the first day at this lodge - to everyone's surprise, we came upon a jaguar resting next to the dirt track. This was the first of more than a dozen (17?) different jaguars seen on the tour. All but the first of jaguars were seen and photographed on the Rio Sao Lorenco river and several of its tributaries during the last five days of the tour. Our time on the Jacare - our boat hotel - was very pleasant in spite of the extremely atypical weather. Instead of 100F and bright sun on the river, we experienced several days of 50F with driving rain! It was certainly a macho/macha test to have rain pelting our bodies as we hunkered down in our open 4 meter uncovered boat as it sped at more than 30 mph along the river to get to our next jaguar photography opportunity. All in all, the outboard boats we rode in were very comfortable, stable and astonishingly fast. Our boat driver was highly skilled both on our sprints and in holding steady while maximizing our photographic opportunities. To sum up, my friend Alison and I very much enjoyed the 2022 Pantanal tour. It was well planned and conducted with successful innovations adapted to the weather. The other participants were very friendly, courteous, and interesting to talk to. I have not counted up the number of separate species that I photographed and videoed, but there were a lot. I did get lots of good shots and video clips of my favorites - giant otters, a loping giant anteater, jaguars, and even two pairs of long-legged seriemas in a loud, pre-dawn territorial battle.
Dale Morris was our ORYX photo tour leader on a recent tour to the Pantanal in Brazil. This was either my 5th or 6th trip with Dale, and I have 3 more with him in the works. It is hard to imagine there could be a better guide than Dale. He is extremely knowledgeable about the wildlife, a miracle worker with his camera and advice, and he can do some great animal impressions. You will be in excellent hands should you decide to travel with ORYX and Dale. I highly recommend him regardless of your level of photographic expertise.
We had an excellent Pantanal photo safari! We liked the itinerary and felt it was paced well. Dale Morris was a fantastic guide again (as we had him on our Madagascar photo tour). A big part of why we chose a Pantanal photo tour this time was because of how much we enjoyed touring with Dale. If we didn't live on other ends of the earth, I think Dale would be a great friend of mine. He's adept at photography, provides constant feedback on whatever we are shooting, and is knowledgeable about so much wildlife and ecology matters. He cares very much about the experience of the group and is always working for "the tribe" while traveling.
I want to reiterate Sue’s comments about the extraordinary quality of our Pantanal photo safari. Having Dale and Giuliano as our mentors on this trip made it just outstanding. Accommodations were also excellent, especially the houseboat. Just to reemphasize: Dale’s photographic expertise and teaching skills were outstanding, matched by Giuliano’s naturalist’s skills and rapport with all of the personnel and staff we encountered at the various venues. Our friends and co-tourists on the trip were equally impressed, and we are still drinking caiparinhas and savouring wonderful memories.
First I want to thank you for all the quick responses to our questions and for your help in getting us organized. This was one of the greatest photo tours we have taken. The wildlife was spectacular and I got better pictures than I ever have before, due to Dale’s teaching. I admit to being lazy and intimidated in the past and though I have excellent equipment, I never went beyond the programmed and automatic functions. Dale convinced me to start using other functions and to consider the subject from other angles and completely changed the way I will do things in the future. I learned a lot. Everything was well done and the house boat was especially wonderful; it was a 5-star experience with friendly people, wonderful food and skilled boat drivers. We will certainly recommend ORYX Photo Tours to all our friends.
Dale is an excellent travelling companion and teacher, and we had a lot of fun on our Pantanal photo tour. Giulliano was a great host, and very patient with us all.
We had a wonderful time on our Pantanal photo safari with Dale and Guiliano. They were a really good match; flexible, thoughtful, understood all our interests and needs. The Pantanal and both young men exceeded our expectations. Dale was tremendously helpful and so enthusiastic. He is also just a terrifically interesting person with a wide variety of life experiences for one so young. He is a pleasure to be with. We found him to be a very good teacher, seeming to know what level of information each participant might need. I think he found the right balance of teaching and just being there and soaking it all in. He helped me be much less intimidated by my camera. The whole experience was first rate, thank you very much!
Dale was tour leader on our recent ORYX photography tour to the Pantanal of Brazil. His love of nature and passion for photography were obvious and the knowledge and experience he shared with us were a huge part of making this an outstanding and unforgettable trip. His photography lessons and advice nudged us into new ways of taking and composing photos and led to the best collection of photographs we have ever taken on any trip. He was a real asset to this Pantanal photo tour and his lessons will be remembered and applied. And he also tells great stories.”
Dale was an excellent guide. His enthusiasm is infectious and knowledge of the wildlife and environment is outstanding. He was a pleasure to be with and we all gained from his photographic expertise. We would travel with Dale on another ORYX photo tour without hesitation.
The Pantanal photo safari was excellent. The wildlife sightings every day were amazing, beyond my expectations. Other arrangements such as for food and accommodation were all good quality, for a very comfortable trip. Dale was great as the photo tour leader, he made sure everyone knew how to use their equipment for every situation, and made sure we were in the right place for best photo opportunities. Giuliano was also terrific, not only for his local knowledge in finding the wildlife, but also with his understanding of best photo opportunities.
We want to thank the entire ORYX Photo Tours team for providing an absolutely fabulous photo safari. We would particularly like to credit Dale and Giuliano for their care and attention in making this such a memorable holiday. We are especially pleased that they managed to convince the jaguars to show up for us on six of the nine outings on the river portion of the trip. You can rest assured that we will be recommending the ORYX Photo Tours to all of our travel and nature photography friends.
The wildlife of the Pantanal photo tour, as well as my tour extensions provided fabulous wildlife spectacles and photographic opportunities!
In particular I would like to thank Dale Morris for his contribution in the Northern Pantanal. He was most constructive in terms of his helping with my photography. I had been impervious to advice in the past but Dale was truly able to guide me and it shows in my images of our time together. He made himself really available to all of us; he had designed the program so we went from highlight to highlight; he was always wryly self-effacing, considerate and courteous. I’m not sure whether the wildlife behaving so well was also a credit to Dale!
My thanks to the ORYX Photo Tours!
We had an absolutely wonderful time on Pantanal photo tour in Brazil, with great service and a truly amazing time.
Dale was great and I would like to commend him in particular as he taught Clarissa and I so much on that trip and enabled us to take some good shots despite our cameras.
We loved the accommodation and the best food was on the boat and the first stop where the accommodation was fair but situated in the best spot with excellent food!