Tapir Smile: The Daily Travel Photo


Tapir Smile – Click to enlarge

The Set Up

I remember the first time I saw a Tapir.  I was in a park near Panama City and out of nowhere one of these huge mammals jumped out of the trees in front of my path.  Right behind it was another, possible its mate.  I was terrified.  I had never seen, or even heard of this giant animal with an anteater smile.  As I stood trying to decide whether I should run or play it cool the tapir, which is about the size of a young cow calf stopped looked at me and slowly walked towards me in curiosity.  I didn’t know what to do, so I left in a sprint in the other direction at top speed.  Turns out that tapir’s are actually quite friendly, at least this one was.  As I encountered this tapir in Guyana it wandered over to sniff around at me and pose for some pictures.  I got a couple good ones of this one.  The Tapir has, since the time I ran away from the first I saw, has become one of my favourite animals.

The Shot

One of the biggest mistakes people make when shooting larger animals is that they try to put the entire animal in the frame.  This however makes the shot look pretty normal and flat.  Next time you shoot an animal like an elephant or a tapir try shooting profiles of the animal just like you do with people.  Also, don’t crop the image too tight, be sure to leave some room for the animal to move within the scene.

What did I miss?

Turns out that people like articles about me in danger.  The article I posted yesterday, about being shot at in Nicaragua, already has over 1,000 views.

What’s Next?

On Friday I have an article coming up from Mexico, while on Sunday I have a special Mother’s Day letter being posted; keep your eyes out for both of those.

Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

Share This Post On


  1. You have a special mother’s day letter coming out? LOL Mom’s gonna freak. By the way that is a crazy looking animal, its confusing to look at because I cant figure out which end is up.

    Love and miss you brother bear!

    Post a Reply
    • Haha… oh poor mom

      Post a Reply
  2. wow. that is the weirdest looking animal ever. I like it though – it’s cute in an ugly kinda way. 🙂

    Post a Reply
  3. I wonder what the tapir thought as you high tailed in the other direction?

    Post a Reply
  4. Looks like the tapir is a bout to sneeze!

    Post a Reply
  5. Wow…that tapir is cute you know !!! it’s very unique animal !!! hope I can have one, hahaahhahaa… SMILE!!!

    Post a Reply
  6. They’re also very soft – sort of like a velvet feeling

    Post a Reply
    • Soooo… when did you pet a Tapir? haha

      Post a Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to improve your photography? Subscribe to my Travel Photography YouTube Channel! You will not regret it!