Guyana wildlife photography beautiful bird in nature

Why Guyana Should Be Your Next Wildlife Photography Destination: Interview with a Guyanese Bird Photographer

Why Guyana Should Be Your Next Wildlife Photography Destination: Interview with a Guyanese Bird Photographer

Dwight Rodney is a 20-year-old amateur wildlife and bird photographer who is currently pursuing a degree in industrial engineering. His dream is to create media that promotes Guyana’s wildlife and conservation both domestically and internationally. We sat down to ask him some questions about rainforest wildlife photography, Guyana’s tourism, and why everyone should visit Guyana! 

photo of Dwight Rodney, wildlife photographer
photo of Dwight Rodney, wildlife photographer

What inspired you to become a rainforest wildlife photographer?

I grew up watching National Geographic for hours and being fascinated by their programs and depictions of the natural world. It inspired me to take an interest in nature. Though growing up I never had fancy equipment, I still wanted to practice taking pictures of the wildlife in my community. I took my binoculars and my cell phone and found a beautiful heron over the river. I posted the picture in an international Facebook group and it blew up with almost 3,000 likes and hundreds of comments. I was amazed at how many reactions the photo got. Everyone had questions about this rare bird and where I found it. It made me realize the value of the animals in my own country and how unique the wildlife around me is. 

It also made me realize that people around the world assume we are a poor country, but the reality is that our natural landscapes are full of so much life. We are rich in many aspects. It has inspired me to share more of that with the world. 

Why is Guyana a great destination for wildlife photographers? 

Taking photos in Guyana is an endless adventure. You never know what to expect with the landscape and animals. Animals are always unpredictable. Every single outing is a different experience, where you see wild animals in their completely natural habitat. Every tree is different, and the undergrowth provides an unexpected challenge. There is also always something more to see and check off your bucket list. I have lived in Guyana my whole life, and every day I see a new bird that I haven’t seen before. It blows my mind. And with so many different species, you can see them in a variety of habitats. In fact, I spent two months following one specific bird because it was always changing its habitats. 

It is a photographer’s dreamland with different landscapes, lighting, and animals. For photographers after a unique experience, I challenge you to venture into the jungle and attempt to master the thick jungle lighting that is endemic to our rainforests. It is an energizing task for the truly adventurous spirit. There are so many ways to experiment with photography!

rainforest landscape in Guyana with thick, green trees

What Guyanese animals are the most fun to shoot?

As we have some of the greatest bird diversity in the world, birds are my favorite to shoot. Imagine birds of every size, shape, color, and pattern! Each bird species also has a different personality. Once while visiting an indigenous village, a mystical cuckoo with colorful tufts of hair flew up to me to say hello. 

My favorite bird at any given moment is the one that gives me the biggest challenge. My current target is an owl species. Even though birding requires a lot of time and patience, I never mind the wait; I always see it as an adventure as this allows me to have a better observation of how these beautiful creatures interact with each other and the environment. 

Beautiful Guyanese owl species at sunset

How do you think photography can help promote conservation?  

A picture is worth a thousand words. Whether hobbyists or professionals, our social platforms have given us a channel through which to share stories and facts about Guyana, so global appreciation of wildlife increases. When you see the beautiful colors of a wild bird or the dense rainforests, you feel more emotionally connected to their wellbeing. Photography is a key instrument in wildlife conservation and a part of the drive I have to take photos. We need to protect the habitats for these animals so they continue to flourish in the wild. 

Beautiful Guyanese bird sits in tree

What advice do you have for photographers traveling to Guyana? 

Guyana is going to be a mind-blowing adventure for you. It is entirely worth every second of time and money to visit here. This is not a normal destination – expect to be confronted with very wild creatures, whether it’s a jaguar or an anaconda. This is the true wilderness. Bring proper clothes. Have patience and prepare for the trip of your life. 

 

What do you want people to know about your country? 

We have way more to offer than people assume. We have one of the best tourist sights that anyone could dream of, we have so many different landscapes, we have indigenous communities where our culture is rich and diverse. We have traditional food. We are a diverse country filled with Africans, South Asians, and indigenous groups. We are very hospitable to foreigners and love to take care of visitors. I’ve never heard of a foreigner coming in and being mistreated by the locals. Come try our famous pepper pot, a delicious Amerindian dish served perfectly alongside our homemade cassava bread!

What was your most fascinating photography expedition? 

My favorite Guyanese photo expedition was visiting an indigenous community 30 minutes in a boat up river from where I live. I have always been scared of boats, but that day with the prospect of this adventure, I felt extremely confident. I enjoyed the thrill of the journey from the second we left to the time we arrived. I felt so empowered that I was able to stand and take photos. It was such an incredible experience. It completely eliminated my fear of boats and made me eager to do it again.

Even though their village is 30 minutes away from where I live, the culture was different from my own. While I was there, a village leader assisted me to find the best bird life using her local knowledge. With her help, I was able to find and capture so many species. 

The village is peaceful, quiet, relaxed, hospitable, and a chance to experience a different way of life. A group of American tourists was there as well, having an incredible experience. To local people and foreigners alike, I highly recommend everyone seek out the opportunity to visit a Guyanese indigenous community. It speaks highly of the massive potential tourism has in my country. 

Any other takeaways? 

Any time I publicly post my photos in an international group, people have many questions about where the photo was taken and how they can come and visit for themselves. My shots are always surprising to people, because they are amazed to see the vast offerings of our little nation. I hope they come, see, and share the wonderful parts of Guyana. 

Guyana wildlife photography beautiful bird in the rainforest nature in Guyana

Check out Rodney’s incredible Instagram page and join our email list to learn about how you can undertake an adventure to Warapoka, an indigenous village in rural Guyana.

2 thoughts on “Why Guyana Should Be Your Next Wildlife Photography Destination: Interview with a Guyanese Bird Photographer

  1. Fiona
    December 17, 2021
    Reply

    Very good well said . Love the forest and how you capture nature .

  2. Daniel Fraser
    December 17, 2021
    Reply

    Dwight is an exceptional enthusiast who has show grit wit and brawn because he is curious.
    Guyana gas the most amazing population of animal life you can possibly think of. Capturing them on camera and showcasing them through the right media excites and stimulates the community of likeminded curious people the world over. Thus making Guyana the ideal natural tourism destination.
    I thoroughly appreciate Dwight’s insights and sense of adventure. With the right grooming and equipment, Guyana may very well see a mark impact from the eyes of young Dwight S Rodney.

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