Fundación ProAves – por la conservación en el país de las aves

Nature and Photography of unique species in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

22 August, 2014


From June 27 to 30, the second theoretical-practical nature photo workshop was conducted by Foundación ProAves and Ecoturs called “Nature and Photography of unique species”. The event was held at El Dorado Bird Reserve, located in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, village of Minca 2 hours from Santa Marta.

The place where the reserve is located is a strategic and ecological landscape because it has an incredible view of the sea and the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta with its snowy peaks, all from the same place.


El Dorado Bird Reserve

El Dorado  Bird Reserve was created in 2006, based on the urgency of conserving one of the most fragile and important sites of Colombia, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, home to many unique plant and animal species. The insulation effect is a high degree of endemism of flora and fauna, this means that most of the species observed in the reserve cannot be seen anywhere else.

Importantly the Reserve counts on species like the Glass Frog (Centrolene tayrona) and two Harlequin frogs (Atelopus), which are undergoing a constant monitoring as part of one of conservation projects in the reserve. These amphibians are endemic and of great ecological importance, their monitoring is to verify the presence of the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis that threatens the world’s amphibian population.

Photos: Daniel Múnera and Heidy Bello

During this excursion several workshops were held with different photography techniques one of which was fast shutter photography in which different species of hummingbirds were of great help in using the troughs located in the reserve, this was achieved by capturing some species in frozen and sweeps.

Cesar Devia and Javier Roa

Another workshop was that of long exposure photography, this was done with the aim that the participants learn the basic techniques for photographing moonlight, long exposure and physiograms (light painting). In this activity the participants were able take advantage of outdoor spaces and landscapes.

Access was made in 4×4 vehicles to the top of the Cuchilla de San Lorenzo, leaving the reserve at 4:30 am., in order to photograph the best planes of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta between 5:30 am and 6:00 am, before the haze increases and mist appear, the so called “blue hour” for landscape photographers.

Mauricio Múnera and Alejandro Grajales


Mauricio Múnera

A photography workshop in heights was also performed, to photograph artificial nests installed for endangered bird species found in the reserve (Santa Marta parakeet). Similarly, a workshop building HiDE was held for photographing the foxes visiting the areas surrounding the reserve, also a night excursion to photograph birds and nocturnal primates took place because in the Reserve there are several species of interest.

The journalists accompanying Telecaribe made a photographic and video record of the activities.


To end the activities, a photo contest was held in which participants showed their three best photos and explained their techniques and experiences in making them; the winner was rewarded with accommodation for two people in any of the ProAves reserves.

We hope this has been a great excursion for sharing time with nature, photography and unique landscapes.  This was one of the events that are accessible to members of ProAves. Join in and support us in conservation in the Country of Birds!

Flickr album