Travel

Photography Opportunities at Excellence Punta Cana

This is the 3rd and last post in a blog series about vacationing and photographing at the Excellence Punta Cana resort in the Dominican Republic.  In this post, I discuss the photo opportunities at the Excellence resort.

Excellence Punta Cana Sunrise

Sunrise Excellence Punta Cana

In order to keep the blog posts to a reasonable length, I’ve divided this blog series into 3 posts.

I found plenty of photo opportunities at Excellence Punta Cana.  In fact, I found enough to do and photograph at Excellence that we didn’t leave the resort.  Here are a few of my favorite things to photograph as well as a list of the photo equipment that I found useful on the trip.

Beach

The beach is a great place to photograph sunrises.  If you head down to the beach just before sunrise and walk to the right, there is a point just past the resort property that is a great place to watch and photograph the sunrise.  The sunrise can be different each day depending on the amount and location of the clouds.  Also, try some slow shutter speed photography of the waves at sunrise or sunset.

The sun sets behind the beach and water, so the sea and beach scene will be front lit at sunset.  This can add some nice color to the clouds and water around sunset.

A macro lens is also nice to have as you walk along the beach to photograph shells, seaweed, and other debris that useful as you will also work well on the beach for seaweed, shells and other items that may have washed up on the shore.

I did notice an absence of shore birds along the beach at Excellence Punta Cana.  If you are looking for shore birds to photograph, this doesn’t seem to be the place.

You might also want to try some night photography of the sky with palm trees in the foreground either from the beach or your balcony.

Hispaniolan Woodpecker

Hispaniolan Woodpecker

Ecological Park

The ecological park at Excellence Punta Cana was my favorite spot for photography at the resort.  I found a lot of different birds, butterflies, and dragon flies to photograph in the ecological park.  There are also some nice scenes around the ponds that make nice landscapes photos.

There was a great selection of birds that I saw in the park, many that you do not normally find in the United States.  Here were some of the birds that I saw and photographed at the park: Great Egret, Green Heron, Hummingbird, White-cheeked pintail duck, flamingo, Common Moorhen, Hispaniolan Woodpecker, Palmchat, Yellow-face Grasquit, and several species of warbler.

I would bring along at least a 300-400mm lens if you’re a bird photographer.  I used the Panasonic 100-300mm Micro Four Thirds lens which has a 2X crop factor, essentially making it a 200-600mm lens. Also bring along a macro lens as there are plenty of tropical flowers and orchids in the garden and around the property. 

Perching Palmchat

Palmchat

Excursions

There are also plenty of excursions to go on to provide additional photo opportunities. My favorite excursion for photography was the trip to Santo Domingo. Be prepared for a long day on this excursion.  It leaves at 6:20am and doesn't return until 7:00pm.  We chose not to take an excursion as we only stayed at the resort for 4 nights and we found plenty to do and photograph at the resort itself.

Here is the list of photo gear that I brought on the trip.  I brought my Olympus Micro Four Thirds gear to Punta Cana, so I was able to bring a larger selection of lenses on the trip and easily carry around the resort.

Photo Gear

  • Olympus OM-D E-M1
  • Olympus 12-50mm f3.5-6.3
  • Olympus 12-40mm f2.8
  • Olympus 17mm f1.8
  • Olympus 60mm f2.8 macro
  • Panasonic 100-300mm f4.0 – f5.6

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