Panama Photo Safari – Tranquilo Bay Eco Lodge

Starting this September, Bergen County Camera is embarking on a Panama Photo Safari with award winning nature photographer Franklin Viola.  Here is a great video detailing some of the sights and adventures available around the Tranquilo Bay Eco Lodge. For more information feel free to check out our original blog post or browse our other posts about the trip!

For more information on how to book this photo safari please contact Bergen County Camera.

Panama Photo Safari – About the Trip and Guide

On Sept. 14, I will be escorting and guiding Bergen County Camera’s Panama Photo Safari on a seven night, eight day adventure through Tranquilo Bay, Panama.  I will be accompanied by my longtime friend and BCC owner Tom Gramegna. He will be along to experience firsthand some of the amazing diversity of flora and fauna that Tranquilo Bay offers us. Here is some background on my history and experiences, and some of what you can expect when you join us for this exciting trip.




In 1994, the British Museum of Natural History recognized me as one of the top ten wildlife photographers of the year for an underwater image I captured of a spawning tube sponge off of Little Cayman Island. Unfortunately, I did not get to attend the ceremony in London as I was already committed to leading a photo safari through the Bay Islands of Honduras.




The “skinny” Americas have always been inviting to me, whether it be piloting a ship throughout her islands as a Merchant Marine officer (my first career), or scuba diving her spectacular reefs as a professional nature and travel photographer. My cameras have always discovering wondrous treasures, both natural and man-made, throughout Latin America.




I will be spending 6 months in Panama, staying at the Tranquilo Bay Eco-Adventure Lodge. It is perhaps the finest ‘built’ resort my 25 years of travel have revealed, and I will be spending my time there documenting some of the islands lush tropical vegetation, along with her encyclopedia of exotic animals from poison dart frogs to three-toed sloths.




Days here range from sun drenched and humid (though not stifling like my native Texas) to cool and wet when cumulus clouds nourish the jungle and its inhabitants. We will go birding, hiking, kayaking, beach combing, snorkeling, and sometimes we will just relax to slow down the pace with hanging porch hammocks, Hemingway novels and adult beverages.




Wait. Hear it? There in the mangroves. A white-faced capuchin monkey. Dust off your passport, pack your bags, get your binoculars and camera. We should get a great view on the boardwalk. Hope you may join Bergen County Camera and myself for one of our three Photo Safari Panama!

For more information on how to book this photo safari please contact Bergen County Camera.

See more of Franklin Viola’s “Photo of the Day” Panama at:

Nikon 200-400 VR AF-S lens rental now available

Recently on assignment in Panama, I used my Nikon 200-400 VR AF-S lens and Nikon D300 camera to capture this image of a Female Black-Chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) drinking nectar from a Hibiscus flower.
Black-Chinned Hummingbird
©Franklin Viola

IPTC Data: Nikon D300, Nikon 200-400 VR AF-S f/4 at 400mm (effective 600mm on DX body), ISO 640, f/8 at 1/200sec, iTTL fill-flash with Nikon SB800 (EV-2.0), Tripod

Observing the tiny birds ‘routine flight path’ to specific flowers for over an hour, I pre-set focus in AF, then switched to Manual focus to ‘lock’ my composition. Using a Nikon wired shutter-release, Bogen carbon-fiber tripod and Wimberly gimbal-head, the 200-400mm never flinched even in my excitement as the ‘hummer’ flew into position. iTTL fill-flash from a Nikon SB800 (hand-held via SC17 cable) applied just the right  ‘stop-action’ to complement the gyrating wing-blur. This artificial ‘light’ also added color ‘pop’, an often under-used tool in outdoor photography!

Nikon’s 200-400mm VR f/4 AF-S lens works with all Nikon ‘full-frame’, as well as Nikon APS-size sensor (DX) D-SLRs. You too can ‘reach out’ with this lens through BCC’s rental department. Call 201.664.4113 or come by the Westwood store for more details.
Nikon 200-400 Lens