Project Description

Tour highlights

  • Some of the world’s doubtlessly best photographic hides, which give excellent opportunities for spectacular images of up to about 40 bird species/strong>
  • A solid bird photography feast with loads of great photo opporunities, with lots of birds and also some mammals at very close range and very natural behaviour, since they don’t know we are sitting there, just meters away
  • Great backgrounds and angles. Many of the more than 20 hides are built so that we photograph from the water surface or ground level
  • We usually manage to photograph species like hoopoe, roller, bee-eater, spoonbill stork, black stork, several species of heron, red-headed pochard and other ducks, Mediterranean gull, little owl, kestrel, buzzard, sparrow hawk and a number of passerine birds
  • Among the mammals, otter, ground squirrel, fox, field hare and roe deer often turn up in front of our cameras. The cute ground squirrels have their breeding colonies in the sandy ground all around the farm houses
  • The hides are situated near the farm, and can be reached very quickly. Some are at walking distance from where we stay (except the bee-eater colony, which is a 30 minute drive away)
  • We spend time in the hides from before sunrise, until after sunset. Also into the night in some cases, for those who want. A couple of hides even have artificial lighting LED panels arranged, which can be controlled from inside the hide
  • The hide sessions typically vary between 3-5 hrs, depending on one’s own ambitions. We have a break mid day, for lunch, workshops and some rest.
  • The tour leader and the local guides are knowledgeable and helpful and give you daily advice and support, in a small group of travellers that share similar passions
  • Transfer Budapest airport – Pusztaszer and return, is included in the price
  • Excellent, comfortable and newly made single rooms can be arranged, at an additional cost

Maybe you have already seen some of the world-famous Hungarian nature photographer Bence Máté’s fantastic photos? Perhaps you have also heard about the joy of photography here, from those who have visited his fantastic hides? We stay on Bence’s “biodiversity farm”, located in a part of the Kiskunsági National Park, just outside the small village of Pusztazer. Most of the species that call the Puszta steppe home live around here. Around Bence’s farm most species also increase in number. Pusztaszer is an hour and a half’s drive south of Budapest airport, a few dozen miles from the border with Serbia.

In May, the weather is usually very pleasant here, often up to 20-25 degrees in the middle of the day. At night it is usually between 8 and 15 degrees. Forests, grass and shrubs are fresh green, all bird species have their finest breeding costume on and their breeding behaviours are in full swing. Here, Bence has built about twenty different photo hides, and they are not just any hides!…

Here you can, for example, sit comfortably warm and dry, down in a couple of ponds and photograph herons, spoon dryers, black storks, otters, various waders and ducks from the water level, while you are “below” the water level. Two of Bence’s hides are called “the Theater” and “the Cinema”, respectively, and here we are talking about super-innovative high-tech solutions to help photography work in the best way. Even those who have spent a lot of time in hides before will probably be amazed. Bence’s so-called “drinking station” hides also mean sitting below the water level, photographing birds that either drink or bathe there, a perfect set-up for spectacular images with reflections and water splashing in all directions. Many of our common birds of the forest come to these hiding places, especially during hot days.
We rotate between the hides according to a well-planned schedule.

There are hides for several of Europe’s most charismatic and colorful birds: the hoopoe, the roller and a new fantastic colony of for bee-eaters. The lawns are crowded with ground squirrels that Bence rescued from Budapest airport (where they caused problems for the flight by attracting birds of prey) and instead reintroduced here. The bee-eater colony haholds almost 50 pairs and from the beginning of May, it is in full swing. A bee-eater catches more than a hundred flying insects, bumble bees, bees, dragonflies, butterflies etc per day.

Bird photography is of course central here, but there are also most often good chances for fine pictures of mammals such as foxes and roe deer coming to drink. One of the hides is focused on otter photography at night with artificial lighting. The hides are equipped with a special glass that reflects less in one direction. Thanks to the fact that the hide is dark, the glass works like a mirror glass through which we can shoot without disturbing the birds, and we can also change the camera and lenses without the birds noticing anything.
Just in case, please wear dark or black dark clothing as not to disturb the wildlife from the hides.

During some hide sessions, it is an advantage to wear a long-sleeved shirt so that our white arms do not scare away our photo objects. Especially those times when we shoot backlit, this is central; then, when the sun is still low, we must also draw a thin but dark curtain in front of us; then we “shoot” through lens holes in the curtain.

Bence’s farm has two different buildings where we are lodged. We eat a hearty dinner together at nine o’clock in the evening, when everyone has returned from the hides. In the morning you arrange your own breakfast inside the main house, and all ingredients are the like a buffet. Homemade food is served for lunch. The guides, who live in Pusztaszer and the neighboring village of O’Pusztaszer, take us to and between the various hides and pick us up at the agreed time, or when we call. At the so-called “drinking stations”, it often happens that a sparrow hawk, goshawk or a buzzard comes down to drink and even swim; then you may have to “reschedule” the pick-up for a later time. We never have time to spend any money outside the farm, on this trip. On the other hand, everything is here. Here we can talk about “all inclusive”, also the animals and birds included. The only costs that might be added comes for alcoholic beverages, beer or wine, and single room supplement.

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Itinerary

Day 1 (14/5) (Dinner)
Arrival at Budapest International Airport during the morning and transfer to Pusztazer. Departure from the airport no later than 12.15 to be in time for the first afternoon session. You can also fly the day before and spend the night in hotel, hotels are usually cheap in Hungary.

Day 2-7 (15–20/5) (Breakfast  – Lunch  Dinner)
During these six days we will photograph from different hides. We will have a morning activity and an afternoon activity. You can often even manage to get some photography done in the middle of the day. Distribution of the hides takes place according to a schedule that gives everyone the same photographic opportunities.

Day 8 (21/5) (Breakfast)
In the morning we have one last photo session before we go to Budapest International Airport for further travel home. Earliest flight home at 4.00 pm.

More information

Staffan Widstrand, born in 1959 is a photographer and writer. Sony Imaging Ambassador.

Staffan is one of Sweden’s internationally most recognized photographers. In 2011, Outdoor Photography Magazine called him ”one of the most influential photographers in the world”. Appointed ”Wildlife photographer of the year” in Sweden and a winner of international photo competitions, such as:

Wildlife Photographer of the Year
European Nature Photographer of the Year
Emirates Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Årets Bild i Sverige
PGB Awards

Staffan has been on the jury of several international photo competitions and was one of the main jury members in World Press Photo 2013.

Published in most of the major magazines in the world, such as National Geographic Magazine, GEO, Stern, Der Spiegel, Le Figaro, La Repubblica, El Mundo, El País, Natur, Terre Sauvage, Animan, Veja Brazil, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, FOCUS, Yomiuri Shimbun och Shanghaibaserade The Bund Pictorial.

Staffan has had international solo or group exhibitions in Toronto, at the Swedish Embassy in Tokyo, at Tromsø Museum, at Bodø Museum, at the Kunst-und Ausstellungshalle in Bonn, Oslo City Hall, Finlandia Hall in Helsinki, the Swedish Embassy in Washington, in Mérida, Mexico, in Mexico City, in Salamanca, Spain, at the National Zoological Museum in Beijing, in Chengdu, Tianjin, Shanghai and Shenzhen, China, at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, the museum of Torino, Italy as well as major outdoor exhibitions in The Hague, Prague, Berlin, Madrid, Copenhagen and Stockholm. In Sweden, he has had exhibits at Kulturhuset in Stockholm, the regional museums in Kristianstad, Luleå and Malmö, at Fotomässan in Gothenburg and in Stockholm, as well as at the Skansen, Kolmården and Borås Zoos, at Hornborgasjöns Konsthall and at Bränneriet Art in Österlen.

Staffan has published 18 books, four of which have been winners of the WWF Panda book award.
A picture editor at Natur & Kultur publishers in Stockholm for 5 years, a nature tour guide and tour production manager all across the world for many years. Appointed as Visiting Professor at the Beijing Ministry of Culture Old University, and he is also one of the founders of a possible ”Wild Wonders of China” initiative.

Staffan is a member of the Swedish Nature Photographers Association (Naturfotograferna/N)

Webpage: www.staffanwidstrand.se

www.wild-wonders.com
www.rewildingeurope.com
www.de5stora.com
www.wildwondersofchina.com

The focus of the trip is on photographing birds. As we will be photographing primarily from specially made hiding places, it is above all telephoto lenses that apply. Most hiding places are built for a maximum focal length of 300 to 400 mm. For small birds at the water baths and smaller waders at the “theater”, 500 mm and 600 mm can be useful.
Telezoom lens, e.g. 70-200 mm or 100-400mm, provides very good conditions for taking various pictures of birds and mammals. Of course, a normal zoom for other types of images should also be included.
To increase the focal length if you have a shorter telephoto or a zoom, you can use a teleconverter.

If you have access to two camera housings, it is good to have these. Tripods should be included, do not have to be the heaviest or most stable.

The temperature in Hungary in May is comfortable. However, the morning and evening can be a bit chilly, and it is good to bring a warm sweater, long trousers and a light jacket. Lightweight hiking shoes are a good choice for the feet.
We will stay on Bence’s farm. The lodge is of middle standard. The accommodation has shared toilets and showers. The food is prepared by a local chef.

Excellent, comfortable and newly builded single rooms can be arranged, at an additional cost.

Excellent, comfortable and newly made single rooms can be arranged, at an additional cost of 4 500 SEK.

The accommodations are reasonably accessible, with a bit of help. The nature of the trip means that the hides and certain environments may be less accessible in case of reduced mobility. If you have any questions or doubts, please contact us first so we can discuss what the possibilities look like.

Shared double room, meals according to itinerary, non-alcoholic drinks served with meals, all hides, local guides, photo lectures, all local transport (minibus and),  transfer from and to Budapest airport.

Return flights to Budapest (NOTE! Please contact us for information on airline tickets before you book your flights), travel insurance, cancellation protection, drinks, eventual gratuities and items of a personal nature.

Budapest Airport. The journey begins and ends here.

The registration fee shall be paid after an invoice from us, right after your booking. The remaining amount shall be paid no later than 60 days before the trip. Payment will be in Swedish crowns (SEK).

If you are an EU citizen travel within the EU or to the Schengen countries Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Lichtenstein, you must always bring your passport or national ID card issued by the police. When checking in for a flight, a passport is required. With reservation for that government decisions because of the somewhat unclear Covid-19 situation may mean various limitations that we do not know of today.

For citizens outside of the EU please check if you need a visa to enter Hungary.

We strongly recommend that you carefully review your travel insurance before the tour. Read the terms and conditions about what may and may not be included. It is important to check that compensation is included for travel home / ambulance transport in the event of an accident or serious illness. Often, for example, the travel cover in a regular home insurance needs to be supplemented.

Contact your doctor for advice.

Our tours are open to all nationalities, which means that the group can be international.
The tour guides on our trips speak Swedish and English.

    Book the tour

    World class hide photography, Hungary 14 – 21 May 2022

    NOTE! When you have made your booking you will immediately get a confirmation e-mail. If you don´t get the confirmation e-mail please check your spam e-mails or contact us by telephone, +46705 89 13 18.

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