So why should you choose Wild Images for your photographic holiday, and what should you expect? Here is a simple summary of the features that make us stand out from the crowd:
The Wild Images Philosophy
Wild Images photographic tours are exciting, friendly, small-group photographic holidays designed and guided by a team of guides and office staff whose professionalism, experience and knowledge are unsurpassed. We aim to cater for all levels of keen photographers, from beginners to professionals. Quality is our watchword and profoundly influences everything that we do. Our guiding philosophy at Wild Images is quite simple: it is to give you, our clients and friends, the very best, most rewarding and most enjoyable photographic holidays possible.
Our tours emphasize quality of bird and wildlife photography: our primary aim is to guide you to those subjects which are the dreams of most photographers. The remarkable expertise of the Wild Image leaders makes them particularly well equipped to guide our groups to remote parts of the world, to find the photographic subjects and to offer photographic advice and help. Our carefully planned itineraries and our leaders' special skills, give us every opportunity to deliver the photographic holiday that you have longed for.
What equipment will I need?
This is very much a matter of personal choice, and we aim to cater for all keen photographers. Most of our clients use DSLR cameras and a variety of lenses of their preference. We have decided not to offer specific advice on lenses suitable for each tour as we feel this is just too subjective. On every tour there will be opportunities to use lenses from very wide angle to extreme telephoto, so what you bring will very much depend upon what pictures you hope to achieve. If you want specific advice, please do not hesitate to call us.
We also recognize that other forms of digital photography are becoming more and more popular. Many of the modern compact ‘super-zooms’ offer excellent results these days, as does digiscoping in some situations. We are happy to cater for any serious photographer, whatever their equipment, and we will always do our best to ensure that everyone has a chance to get some great results.
Some of our tours may also be suitable for videography too. However, one thing we will never be able to provide (unless on a specific tailor-made tour) is a noise-free background. You are welcome to join us with a video set-up as long as you are happy to accept that you will need to edit the soundtrack to eliminate talking, shutter sounds and the like.
For information, all photographs on this website have been taken at the sites we will visit using DSLR cameras and lenses between 35 and 400mm.
The Nature of our Photographic Tours
Wild Images Photographic Tours are designed specifically for people who want to spend their entire holiday (or a large part of it!) photographing birds, other wildlife and scenery while exploring some of the world's wild and remarkable places.
Wild Images Photographic Tours are arranged and guided with a professional touch and with great attention to quality, yet they are decidedly informal, with a friendly atmosphere. A common purpose and a pleasant mix of people gives our groups a special camaraderie. We consider those who travel with us as our friends as well as our clients, and we always do our utmost to make your holiday an unforgettable and highly rewarding experience.
Our tours are generally moderate-paced and comfortable trips, staying in good accommodation and using excellent road transportation. They generally do not entail much, if any, strenuous hiking. The first hours of daylight are often the most productive and interesting time for photographing birds and mammals, so early starts are offered whenever it will give us greater photographic opportunities.
As well as being a thoroughly enjoyable holiday that gets one away from the routine back home, Wild Images tours also provide a great opportunity to improve one's photographic skills and overall knowledge of birds and other wildlife.
Wild Images tours aim to give us plenty of time at each destination, since we know that the key to a truly successful photographic holiday is having enough time to get the shots everyone is after: there is nothing worse than missing key photographic opportunities due to having insufficient time in the crucial areas! We also like to keep the proportion of the holiday devoted to travelling as low as is practicable so that you can have more time for photography.
Most Wild Images tours are suitable for non-photographer partners provided they have an interest in experiencing the amazing places and wildlife that we will be focusing on (no pun intended!). If you are new to Wild Images and are unsure whether you or your partner would enjoy one of our tours, give our office a call. We will be happy to have a chat with you and offer advice.
Wild Images tours feature comfortable (or very comfortable) accommodations with en-suite bathrooms wherever possible, but on rare occasions where such accommodations are not universally available, we have to put up with the best available. (Any such nights are always clearly indicated in the relevant tour description.) We naturally always give priority to the photographic potential when selecting our accommodations, but within this constraint we try, wherever there is a real choice, to choose hotels and lodges that are memorable and enjoyable places to stay in their own right. On the rare occasion where electricity is not readily available (for re-charging, downloading etc) we will let you know.
Road travel in most countries is in 4WD or minibuses. Lunches on full days in the field tend to be picnics, but we often return to our accommodation to eat lunch or use a local restaurant.
By their nature most of our tours visit regions far from areas of significant cultural interest. On the other hand there are a number of wonderful places which are conveniently visited without detouring significantly from our photographic itineraries and which add greatly to the rich tapestry of experiences that the holiday provides. While we like to include opportunities to see something of these evocative reminders of a bygone age during appropriate tours, visits are inevitably of fairly short duration.
The guide is an important feature of any photographic tour. All Wild Images tours are accompanied by one or more professional guides with the knowledge and experience to make the tour wholly successful. Wild Images leaders know their areas thoroughly and take pride in sharing their knowledge with those who travel with them. Our constant aim is to try and ensure that every participant on our holidays has a great time.
Not only are Wild Images guides highly skilled photographers, they are also friendly, competent and approachable individuals who are experts at dealing with the day to day running of the tour, confidently coping with any problems that may arise and so greatly increasing the chance that everything will run smoothly. Leading a photographic tour in Europe or North America is one thing, leading one in a developing country where logistical problems are a fact of life is quite another! We can justifiably claim unrivalled experience in many parts of the world.
Our Office Staff
The travel organizing skills of our office staff and their caring commitment to our clients and friends are second to none. Having such a dedicated and efficient team behind you makes all the difference when it comes to having an enjoyable tour, both before, during and after the holiday.
You can call or email our office at any time and ask us any question you would like to. You are going to find helpful and courteous service, and we always enjoy chatting with actual or potential customers, so if you have any questions at all about any of our tours then please get in touch. We want to hear from you!
Our Clients and Friends
Wild Images participants range from beginners to expert photographers,
but the majority would qualify as enthusiastic and somewhere in between in ability! You need have no fear that you will always be the only inexperienced or novice photographer amongst a clique of experts! Level of knowledge is unimportant when it comes to enjoyment a as our guides are well able to cater for the needs of all group members and indeed enjoy passing on their knowledge and enthusiasm to those who have only recently been bitten by the photography bug. Age is also immaterial provided you are in good health and can walk reasonable distances with your gear. Indeed, for most of tours the walking effort involved is mostly or wholly easy. The age range of the great majority of Wild Image clients is from the early 40s to the mid-70s.
The only requirements for enjoying the great majority of Wild Images tours are a desire to devote one's entire holiday to photography (and enjoying whatever wildlife we encounter), a love of the outdoors, a sense of adventure and an ability to get on reasonably well with others.
Many Wild Images groups have a distinctly international flavour, and we welcome clients from anywhere in the world.
Group Size Limits
We believe that the size of the group will strongly influence your enjoyment of the trip, and as a result, our group sizes, and importantly, vehicle loadings, are low. The exception to this is on our ship-based holidays, where the size of the group does not have a bearing on the enjoyment.
Our tour descriptions and itineraries, pre-tour information documents and post-tour reports are highly detailed, accurate and informative.
Preparation is an essential part of any holiday and, indeed, most people find great enjoyment in looking up the wildlife and places they are going to see, and in savouring the delights to come. Wild Images tour descriptions and itineraries are more comprehensive than those of other photographic tour companies, something in which we take considerable pride. Our leaders' knowledge of their favourite countries is generally unsurpassed and we enjoy giving a detailed description of the areas our tours are going to visit and the photographic opportunities our extensive experience has taught us to expect.
We also provide all participants with comprehensive pre-tour documentation, with detailed information about such matters as visas, customs, currency, health, insurance, luggage, clothing, climate, bird and mammal books, maps, joining and leaving the tour, flight times and tour routine. In addition, a tour report is sent out to everyone after the end of each tour.
It is extremely disappointing, after months of looking forward to a well-earned holiday, to find that it has been cancelled due to insufficient interest. We have an outstanding record for reliability, since the great majority of our tours operate as planned. We have achieved this reputation not just because our tours are popular but also because they are carefully costed so that they can still be operated when there are relatively few participants.
What do Wild Images Tour Prices include?
Our aim is to provide birding tours that are unsurpassed in quality. Our tours feature low group size limits, low vehicle loadings, professional leaders of great ability, superior itineraries that often spend more time in key areas, and good quality accommodations and transportation wherever these are available. Our tour prices also generally include all field excursions and meals.
We also include tips for local drivers (except where you have opted to rent your own vehicle), local guides, boatmen, porters, restaurant staff and others who provide services for our groups. We also provide generous amounts of bottled still water in countries or locations where water supplies are known to be unsafe or are suspect. We also include, wherever possible, soft drinks and/or coffee/tea with breakfasts, picnic lunches and lunches taken at sandwich bars, self-service cafeterias, convenience stores etc. These additional inclusions, which many companies exclude entirely or in part, often amount to a considerable sum (which you would otherwise have to take in cash on the tour yourself, to pay at the time), so it is important to consider this issue, as well as other important factors such as quality of leadership, group size limit, quality of accommodation and financial security, when comparing holiday prices.
Obviously such a fully-inclusive, high-quality tour philosophy does not make for temptingly low tour prices, but we firmly believe that quality and convenience for our clients is of greater importance.
Financial security is a vital part of any holiday arrangements. It is a legal requirement that all tour operators based in the United Kingdom and the rest of the European Union protect their clients' money in full. This protection is in the form of a financial bond.
Unfortunately many tour companies, including most tour companies based outside the European Union, fail to provide such financial protection! This saves a lot of cost for them, allowing them to cut prices, but leaves you very vulnerable if anything goes wrong!
We hold an ATOL (Air Travel Organisers' Licence), No. 2937, issued by the Civil Aviation Authority of the United Kingdom. This means that we are fully bonded against financial insolvency through this government licensing and bonding scheme and anyone booking an air holiday with us that originates in the United Kingdom can do so with complete financial security.
Around 95% of those travelling with Birdquest are non-smokers and in consequence we ask smokers to refrain from smoking in vehicles and during meals. We also ask them to take care that, when smoking in the field or at other times, they do not inconvenience other group members.
Our commitment to Conservation
We are strongly committed to bird and wildlife protection and to conservation in general. As well as being corporate sponsors of such organizations as BirdLife International, the Oriental Bird Club, the African Bird Club and the Neotropical Bird Club, we have raised funds directly for bird-orientated conservation projects in Cambodia, China, Ecuador, Hungary, India, Madagascar, Malta, Mauritius, Peru, Poland, Russia, Thailand and elsewhere. In some cases the entire funding has come from us. In other cases we have matched in full the many contributions that we have received from generous clients who wish to help.
Operators of bird or wildlife holidays are particularly well placed to influence governments when decisions are to be made concerning the future of important areas for birds and other wildlife, since the potential income from developing special interest tourism can, in the long term, partly or even wholly offset the potential short-term gain from destroying an area. We keep a close watch on environmental issues in the countries we visit and frequently do whatever we can to support local or international conservation initiatives.
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