Shooting with wild iguanas

If you followed my blog from the begining, I started with publishing making-of from the photographic series « Nostalgia of the lost paradise ». Here is another making-of.

This photograph took place in the Pantanal, a wildlife natural reserve, where you can still walk freely. It’s a hostile place for men: a wetland replanting mosquitos, flooded half of the year, combined with extreme temperatures.

I arrived by boat and I could still see the rests of the rainy season. As days passed some lakes drought and fully disappeared. The river got smaller and smaller. But as the water drown, animals started gathering in the water springs left, as this river.

The beginning of dry season was the best moment to see these wild iguanas.

Sometimes they are easy to spot as they lie on the ground. But sometimes, they can stand really high on a tree, on tiny branches as if they were about to jump from a cliff.IMG_6150

So as my last days arrive, another volunteer and myself thought, “Let’s take a last shot, and let’s find iguanas to shoot with”. As we were taking the kayak in the water to look for iguanas, we hear a sound of moving leafs. As we looked up, an iguana had just crossed in front of us. I felt blessed for this moment (I would be able to have my photograph!). In fact, there were many iguanas; we were just next of their favorite spot. But of course, as we got closer, they went higher on the trees.

My friend felt like an iguana, climbing higher and higher on the tree, as if weight didn’t existed. Thanks to the make-up, they were barely able to recognize us.


So, I had to follow them and went higher and higher as well. There we were, like kids climbing on trees enjoying the adrenaline. My hands were busy grabbing the camera when a branch just broke under my feet. I started panicking. As I tried to stabilize myself, the tap of my camera felt in the river. So I crawl to a bigger trunk. And then one of the most amazing moments happened, one of the biggest iguanas, the male, just walked towards me as if I was invisible, and then continued climbing my trunk towards the top. I could just touch it.


This whole experience was magic. We got to experience the real nature of the iguana, and its incredible capacity of walking on the tiniest branches of a tree despite their big size. Technically speaking, it was crazy. I had to use manual focus (because of the many branches), while standing on a trunk over a river full of caimans and piranhas.

Oh, and for the story, Danny searching for my tap in the river with the caimans. Sorry, it was too dark to get a decent photograph.



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