Straddling the border between Argentina and Brazil, Iguazú Falls is one of the world’s most dramatic collections of waterfalls. Comprised of 250 separate cascades, the falls tumble about 200 feet from the Upper to the Lower Iguazú River. The combination of massive waterfalls, lush subtropical vegetation, and varied local fauna makes this UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site a top-tier photo destination.
With a little research and planning, I scheduled a trip to see and photograph the falls with a view towards selling an article and pictures to a magazine afterwards.
Both Argentina and Brazil have national parks on their respective sides of the falls, and both parks feature well-developed facilities such as visitor centers, tours, trails, restaurants, and lodging. There are also plenty of lodging and restaurant choices outside the parks. Having a wide selection of options when preparing for a photo trip means you can always find choices to fit your budget.
My favorite set of waterfalls was the popular Garganta del Diablo (the Devil’s Throat), a massive, U-shaped cataract that can be seen up close and personal from an observation deck. In addition to looking for unique shots, I always make sure I photograph all the popular subjects I visit since these images are good sellers.
During my visit to the Garganta del Diablo I met a young couple from Spain, David and Toni, and we shared our travel experiences while walking to the Garganta. I find that my tripod, though cumbersome at times, not only yields tack-sharp images but also attracts attention.
Most people are curious about the tripod (“No, I don’t work for National Geographic”), and because of it I have made many friends during my travels. One of the locals I met, a bird photographer and guide from Brazil named Osni, happily shared with me his knowledge about bird species over lunch one day.
Because the best light for photography is usually during breakfast and dinner, when I am traveling I try to find local foods that are easy to carry in my pack. That way I can sample some of the local cuisine even if I can’t always enjoy a sit-down meal.
In Argentina my go-to favorites were empanadas (half-moon-shaped pastries filled with meat, chicken, or other ingredients) and alfajores (two soft cookies forming a sandwich of dulce de leche). I was never far from a sandwich or pastry shop where I could grab these items to go and head into the field.
During my three-day visit to Iguazú Falls I was able to photograph both the Argentine and Brazilian sides of the border, get the variety of shots needed to illustrate the article I would be working on, and meet lots of interesting people along the way.
After returning from my trip I put together an article and photo package to submit to various publications. The photo below, along with a few other photos and an article about my trip, got picked up by a photography magazine.
Traveling with my camera is not only fun, it also helps pay for the trip and make it a tax write-off.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]