What if I am not a photographer?
We are glad you asked because we get asked this question often. Many of our travelers don’t consider themselves photographers. You may be traveling alone or with a photographer friend and wonder if you will get bored. Because our trips are experientially intense, non-photographers enjoy them as much if not more than do our shutter clicking friends. As photographers, we readily admit to having missed out on some brilliant sightings due to having a camera viewfinder (permanently) attached to our head. Also, our trips are educational as well as informative. We always strive to send you home with a lot of cultural and natural history knowledge and information. Even if you don’t photograph, you will enjoy our expeditions.
Can I join the expedition late or leave early?
This is possible on many of our trips if you have arranged with us ahead of time. Of course we do not encourage late arrivals or early departures due to difficulties with transportation and logistics. We may be able to arrange exceptions IF we are given plenty of advance notice, and if it’s logistically feasible. Any additional costs associated with changes and exceptions will be the responsibility of you, the client. Please keep in mind that on our ship-based expeditions, the likelihood of joining late and leaving early is not only costly but may be logistically impossible. This would best apply to most of our polar expeditions.
Booking an expedition with Wild Focus
You can book your expedition by visiting our website and navigating to the expedition of your choice. When you arrive at the expedition, book directly on the right hand side of the expedition page with your credit card or other means of payment. You may also reserve an expedition by contacting us directly at 505-216-1188 or by emailing us at email@example.com. We accept personal cheques, bank wire transfers and all credit cards.
How do I submit a review about my expedition?
There is a review link at the top of our website. Click on this link to enter our “reviews” section. Choose the expedition that you were on and fill in your review. We welcome reviews when we return from our trips. They let us know if we are meeting your needs and if we are doing a good job. Thank you in advance for taking your time to write your review. We appreciate this very much!!!!
Charging camera batteries and laptops
For the majority of our expeditions, there will be an available power source to charge camera batteries and laptops. It would be unusual to not have this available. However, if this is not the case we will have a generator, solar power charger or power inverter in our land vehicles. We recommend that you bring extra batteries for your cameras and keep them charged.
What to bring on a Wild Focus adventure
Wild Focus will provide you with a trip Handbook containing a checklist prior to each trip. These checklists are made by our Wild Focus leaders, who know and have years of experience traveling in these areas. The expedition/safari checklists cover everything you might need. If you have any questions that are not answered in your Handbook, please contact us and we will do our best to provide you with answers.
Maximum / minimum group size
Because Wild Focus Expeditions specialize in small group travel, we typically keep our group sizes to 8 people or below unless the expedition is ship-based. On most of our ship charters, our group size varies between 12 and 16 people. Our Antartica charters will be the only exception whereby we may have as many as 80 people on our trip.
Wild Focus works with many private groups and families. For private groups and families, we can customize the trip by personal request. As an example, if we have a trip request for a family of 20 people, Wild Focus will make an exception in this case (if feasible for the location). Please contact your Wild Focus Team for private group/ family trip requests. These requests are customized per client.
Family friendly adventures
Many Wild Focus expeditions are perfect for families with children, while others are not as suitable. Please email the Wild Focus team for more information about our trips for families with small children. We are very happy to plan a customized family expedition for you and your family and friends at no additional cost.
Contact us by phone at 505-216-1188 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
A single supplement is a travel industry premium charged to solo travelers when they book a room or a trip alone. Additional single supplement costs are different from trip to trip. If you would like to avoid this additional cost and cannot find someone to travel with you, please let us know. We will do our best to find another person of the same sex to share with you. If this is not possible you will need to pay the single supplement to join the expedition.
Payment and Pay Schedule
Wild Focus Expeditions requires a 25% non-refundable deposit which may be paid using credit card, personal cheque or bank wire transfer. Another 25% of the expedition cost is due 180 days before expedition start date, and the remaining 50% is due 120 days prior to the expedition start date. You will receive an email with a payment due notification when each installment is due (Please refer to our ‘Terms and Conditions’ on the website).
If at the time of booking you are already within 180 or 120 days of the trip departure, we will require the appropriate payment according to the trip payment schedule at that time. You may also pay for the entire expedition at once using credit card, bank wire transfer or cheque. All payments can be made through www.wildfocusexpeditions.com.
Currency and Money
We often get asked, “how much money should we bring on our trip?”. This question is difficult to answer. Most of your expenses are paid unless otherwise notated in your itineraries. If you like to shop, then we suggest bringing USD. US dollars are the most widely accepted currency on our trips. Small kiosks and people in villages will accept either USD or their local currency. But most of the larger shops accept credit cards. We will be able to tell you about your shopping opportunities and can then change your dollars into local currency if you bring USD. If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at : email@example.com prior to the trip.
Renting Camera Equipment
If you are new to photography, you may want to consider renting equipment for your first trip. Many of our new photographers do this, and it works out very well. We recommend renting equipment from these reputable third party providers listed below. Some providers may require insurance on rental equipment. Shipping equipment in the US before and after your trip is fast and very convenient.
Be warned that after their first trip with us, most of our new photographers typically take the plunge and purchase their own gear. We are always happy to help you well AFTER your trip with us is over with recommendations on camera equipment. Our service doesn’t stop when our trip comes to an end!
We recommend renting equipment from these reputable third party providers. Some providers may require insurance on rental equipment. Shipping equipment in the US before and after your trip is fast and easy.
Equipment insurance can be arranged through www.buymyinsurance.now
UK renters: www.lensesforhire.co.uk
Camera and Equipment Breakage
Because we shoot in remote locations that are not close to camera stores, it is important that you bring everything you need for your trip. We will not be able to replace any damaged camera gear or items that have been forgotten. We suggest bringing an extra camera body incase your primary camera body gets damaged. Bring spare batteries, a set of jeweler’s screwdrivers and manuals to your camera. Don’t forget the manuals for your camera!!
How much camera equipment can I bring?
Pack the minimum amount of equipment necessary to photograph the subject matter specific to the trip. This sounds very contradictory to a few of our other FAQs relating to camera equipment. But keep in mind that you need to be able to carry your camera gear between airports, lodges, tents and vehicles. On most of our trips, we will be transporting your luggage with porters and staff, but this is not true in all cases. On some trips we will be using small aircraft, bush planes and small boats. These planes have strict weight restrictions that are strictly adhered to for our safety. We will inform you with the weight restriction of these bush flights in the trip Handbook. Just remember, that you need to be comfortable with carrying the camera gear that you bring.
Previous Photography Experience
You do not have to have any prior photography experience to join one of our expeditions. Wild Focus Expeditions welcomes all photo enthusiasts regardless of your photographic skill level! Your expedition leaders are experienced photographers and will help you with your photography (should you so choose), beginner or expert. Non-photographers will have an equally enjoyable experience. Our trips are designed to allow for intensely unique wildlife interactions and so our trip participants will enjoy their surroundings while practicing their own photography skills. Serious photographers and non-photographers alike enjoy our expeditions together. We have been highly successful in blending experiences that make for life-changing adventures.
Tips for packing camera gear
Recent airline changes have introduced strictly enforced restrictions for passengers with respect to carry-on luggage. As a result, more photographers are checking in their cameras as opposed to carrying them on board. We recommend a foam padded camera case such as a PELICAN brand case (http://www.pelican.com/). This is what we have been using for years. So far, we have not had any equipment damaged or stolen – knock on wood. Some airlines allow the transport of larger or overweight luggage by paying excess baggage charges. This may affect your packing strategy for carry-on luggage. Be sure to check luggage restrictions and policies with your airline.
Using a camera backpack as a carry-on is the best way to transport the necessary camera gear that will allow you to start photographing upon arrival. It also helps in preventing theft and improper handling as you will have it with you at all times. We strongly suggest that you lock your camera cases and other luggage with a US approved TSA lock. US Federal regulations prohibit the use of non-TSA locks on checked baggage. TSA will cut off a non-TSA approved lock and your baggage will not be protected. We also recommend a nylon strap around you bags. This will prevent theft and the bag’s accidental opening. Contact your Wild Focus leaders with any specific questions regarding your camera gear.
What camera gear is in Jami and Theo’s bag?
Camera and Lenses:
- 2 camera bodies – by the same company so that lenses are interchangeable
- 500mm (Jami) and 600mm (Theo)
- Canon EF f/4.5-5.6 100mm – 400mm IS lens
- Several wide angle lenses – (20mm, 24mm and 35mm)
- Canon EF F/4.0 24mm – 105mm IS lens
- Macro lens – 100mm
- 1.4x or 2x teleconverters
- 6 – 8 flash cards / SD memory cards
- Camera battery charger with cords and international outlet adapters
- Extra batteries (lots of them) – visit tsa.gov for current flying restrictions on lithium ion batteries
- Laptop computer, AC adaptor and cord, with international outlet adapter
- Photoshop or Lightroom for your laptop
- External hard drive used for backing up flash cards – powered by your laptop via USB/Firewire
- Camera manuals – we never leave home without these!!!!
- Cable or remote release for long exposures
- Extension tubes for macro
- Tripod and ballhead
- Flash – strobe with automatic TTL/ETTL / Flash extender
- Photo gear backpack
- Lens tissue and cleaning fluid
- Hand blower for dust
- Microfiber cloth
- Circular polarizer filter
- Jewelers’ screwdrivers – in checked bag only
- Swiss army knife and/or a multi-tool – pliers are very handy. In checked bag only
- Plastic trash bags as rain cover – trash compactor or construction site bags are more durable for repeated use
Recommended Camera Equipment
Our expeditions’ focus is primarily on wildlife and so we recommend a telephoto lens with a range of 200mm – 500mm plus a 1.4x teleconverter. Our trips can include some landscape photography, and/or cultural photography (portraits, villages), where a wide angle lens is important. A photographer’s bag will typically hold the following range of lenses:
- DSLR Camera (two bodies)
- 17-35mm zoom
- f/2.8 or f/4.0 28mm – 70mm /105mm, and f/2.8 70 – 200mm zoom
- f/4.5 – 5.6 100-400mm zoom or a fixed 300mm
- We have had great results using the Canon 100-400 IS zoom lens or Nikon 200-400 VR zoom lens.
- 1.4x extender (to increase focal length)
- Camera cleaning lens tissue, cleaning fluid, microfiber cloth, hand blower for dust
- Extra batteries, and memory cards specific to your camera
- External hard drives to back up your images
- Laptop computer with Lightroom or Photoshop installed , AC adaptor and cord, with international outlet adapter
- Camera battery charger with cords and international outlet adapters
How to Cancel an Expedition
If you need to cancel your expedition please contact us as soon as possible. All cancellations must be made in writing and sent to our office at 7 Avenida Vista Grande B-7, PMB #436, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, 87508-9207. If you cancel your expedition via email, it is your responsibility to follow up and confirm that we have received your cancellation request. You must receive written confirmation of cancellation from Wild Focus.
According to our company Terms and Conditions (listed on this website), the initial 25% deposit is non refundable, except in extreme circumstances (such as death). Please refer to our ‘Terms and Conditions’ section on our website for more details on our cancellation policy.
If you need to cancel your expedition, we will send you a cancellation statement for your insurance purposes. We cannot be held liable for non-receipt of email if you choose to send us an email cancellation notice. Please verify that you receive confirmation of cancellation from Wild Focus before assuming successful cancellation.
Is travel insurance required?
It is mandatory to have travel insurance on some destinations and we will make this clear in these instances. Otherwise no, it is not mandatory, but because the initial deposit is non-refundable, it is highly recommended. At minimum, Wild Focus Expeditions recommends that you have emergency medical coverage, and additional benefits like trip cancellation and interruption.
Please be assured that we constantly monitor our travel destinations in order to assure the safety of our clients . We will cancel an expedition if there is any evidence of political unrest, environmental or health risks. Please contact us if you have any specific concerns regarding your trip safety. We also suggest you consult your government website to see if there are any travel advisories and then contact us to discuss. Please know that we are very cautious when it comes to your safety.
Our Expeditions and Physical Disabilities
We are happy to talk to you about this directly. Please email or phone us to the discuss specifics of your concerns.
Do I need Visas and Vaccines?
We are happy to talk to you about this directly. Please email or phone us to the discuss specifics of your concerns.The short answer is: it depends. Visa requirements differ from country to country. Not every country that we visit requires a visa. We will send out a pre-trip handbook with updated visa information for your convenience. The same applies to vaccines therefore we suggest that you make an appointment with your physician or travel doctor. We suggest that you discuss the places that you will visit on your Wild Focus expeditions with your physician. This information will be outlined in detail in your trip itinerary and your trip Handbook. In addition, if you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is smoking prohibited while on expedition?
You may smoke in specific and designated areas but please ask your Wild Focus guides if you are unsure. We ask you to keep in mind that we travel in wild and pristine environments. We, at Wild Focus are very strict about preserving these areas. It is important that we protect and maintain them so that when we depart, they are still natural and pristine. If you should choose to smoke, please consider other clients on the trip and make sure that you dispose of your trash as prudently as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
Some of our expeditions are on ships where seasickness can become an issue for some of our travelers. Seasickness is not fun and unfortunately it cannot be predicted from individual to individual. While not all trips experience rough water, seasickness can affect any seafarer even while the seas are calm. It usually passes within a day or two. However, we suggest that you see your physician prior to the trip to discuss whether a medication called Scopolamine Transdermal patch would be right for you. It has been extremely effective and does not cause drowsiness, but it may not be recommended for you. Again, please see your physician to discuss various options of medication to ease the symptoms of seasickness should it be a problem for you. If you have questions, please contact us for more details.
Food and Dietary Restrictions
Wild Focus wants you to have an experience of a lifetime. We know that food during our expeditions can compliment or detract from your trip experience. In addition, we care about your dietary needs. Please advise us of any dietary restrictions, preferences, or food allergies when you fill out your Trip Registration Form. Please know that we will do our best to meet your needs. In saying this, do take into consideration that we may not be able to accommodate your needs in various remote locations. However, we want you to know that we will do our very best to accommodate you. Thank you for your understanding.
Physical condition and health
Generally speaking, our itineraries are designed for people with a moderate level of fitness. However, some of our expeditions will require a higher level of fitness as they may involve more strenuous activities ((hiking, camping, lower temperatures, uneven terrain, snorkeling, higher altitude, etc.). Wild Focus reserves the right to require any trip participant to fill out a Medical Form outlining detailed medical history and conditions. The information on this form is confidential and will be held in the strictest confidence. Travelers indicating on the required Trip Registration Form that they have a pre-existing medical condition, will be required to complete a Confidential Medical Form. If you have any doubt about a expedition’s suitability, please contact us at email@example.com .
If you have any serious medical conditions, please consult with your physician and discuss whether the expedition of your choice is in your best physical interest. Make sure that you bring an ample supply of personal medications. We will be unable to replace personal medications during our expedition if you run out or lose them while traveling.
When you book a trip with us, it is required that you complete the section outlining your current physical condition. Please disclose this information in detail as best as you can. We will then contact you if we have any questions. Again, please feel free to contact us.