Ever wondered what it’s like to shoot in the Amazon jungle? Jeff Cremer tells the tale.

by Gannon Burgett

posted Thursday, December 11, 2014 at 6:01 PM EDT


Wildlife photographer Jeff Cremer has been working in the Peruvian Amazon jungle for the past four years. During his time there, his work has appeared on Discovery Channel, National Geographic, Wired, Animal Planet and more.

To help share his story, he participated in a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) thread, where he shared some honest, funny and downright scary answers to inquiring minds. Whether it’s his all-or-nothing gear setup or risking his well-being to capture the perfect shot of a jaguar, he bares it all to give us a behind-the-scenes look at life in the jungle.

Below are a few of our favorite questions and answers from the thread...

On gear selection:

-Beardface-: What's your go to setup, and would you have any advice for getting that perfect macro shot?
Cremer: For good wildlife photos in that amazon I recommend two lenses:
1. Canon 800mm f/5.6
2. Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8
You can photograph anything with these two lenses. I use them with a Canon 7D body I also use a twin flash on the MP-E for macro shots.

DownRUpLYB: You are travelling around the world and allowed to take only 1 camera and 2 lenses, what do you choose?
Cremer: If I were traveling around the world I would take a 5DMKIII a 100–400mm for general wildlife and a 24–70mm for people and landscape shots.

On the other businesses operating in the area:

hciofrdm: How often do you come across coca / weed fields?
Cremer: Never came across any coca or weed fields. But….I was on a trip to a remote part of Manu and we were driving down a remote jungle road at night. There were tons of huge dump trucks carrying huge loads of bamboo. There were about 10 or 20 people sitting on top of the load of bamboo. Buried below the bamboo was cocaine and the people on top were protecting it. One guy stopped our car and asked where the police were. We told him that we saw a checkpoint a few miles up the road. They said thanks and disappeared into the night.
I also hear drug planes flying overhead at night and in the early morning.

On remote power:

illfatedpupulon: How do you manage to power your equipment and deal with memory cards while away from civilization?
Cremer: We usually bring gas generators or big solar panels on the trips. I download the memory cards to my laptop each day and back them up onto an external hard drive.

On career:

CalciteSnapper: What has been the most surprising part about your career to date?
Cremer: The most surprising part about my career is that I have actually been successful. I wasn’t sure that I would make it when I started but I just took the risk and it worked out. I was already into photography and living in Peru when I decided to go pro so that made things easier. Finding Tambopata really helped too!

To take a look at the dozens of other questions and replies in the thread, can head on over to the AMA, here.