Welcome to antpitta.com. I use this site to share my photographs of wild birds and other animals. I have uploaded around 6000 photos of more than 3500 bird species. Most photos are from the Neotropics, though I add photos from elsewhere around the world when I get the chance. I have been continually improving my gear and skills over the years. Many of the older shots are not the best quality, but I am always striving to improve them. Photos are hosted on my Flickr site, and a complete index of bird species is here. I am also slowly adding all my photos to Macaulay Library, and have uploaded a number of them to Wikipedia at the request of the volunteer editors.

While I have always been a nature-lover, my obsession for birds did not come until I had the chance to travel in South America. I was working on a geophysical project in Venezuela, and during some time off I headed off to some remote corners of the country. There's something about Neotropical birds that just grabbed hold of me, and before long I had given up my old career with the oil services company and was guiding groups of birders all over South America. Sound recording was an early passion, and armed with digital recorder and small microphone, I amassed several thousand audio recordings. Many of these are available on the terrific website xeno-canto.org. Then I discovered digiscoping, and by using a cheap point-and-shoot camera combined with a top-of-the-line Swarovski scope (which I had to lug around while guiding anyway), I was able to get some surprisingly good photos. It was addictive! Before long, I was getting frustrated with the limitations of digiscoping and finally bought my first DSLR, a Canon 50D, with a 100-400mm lens, in September 2008. This only fed the fire, and I have been steadily upgrading my gear as well as my skills since then. I currently shoot a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon 300mm f/2.8 L II lens, often combined with a 1.4x or 2x teleconverter - this combo is perhaps unbeatable for rainforest bird photography. When I want to travel light, I use the "Mark II" version of the Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 - it's better than the original in every possible way, works well with a 1.4x teleconverter, focuses really fast, and is amazingly versatile. I like getting birds in their natural environments, and prefer to shoot with natural light, only rarely using flash except when absolutely necessary.

In 2021, I have been testing out a loaner Olympus EM1 Mark II with a 300mm f/4 lens. It's a mirrorless micro four-thirds camera that can produce impressive results on distant birds and is amazingly light weight. 

Contact info
I can be reached by email at nick_athanas@hotmail.com. Occasionally I am out of contact and may not be able to respond immediately.

I am:

American (born in New Jersey, raised in Connecticut, currently living in Arizona), though I lived for many years in Ecuador.
A professional bird tour leader for Tropical Birding.
A graduate of Rice University (class of 1995, BA in Physics).
The lead author and photographer of Birds of Western Ecuador: A Photographic Guide, published in June 2016.
Contributor of 500+ species accounts for the Merlin app produced by Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

antpitta.com went online on 17 April 2007.

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