Wednesday, January 10, 2024

These are NOT my images from Costa Rica!

I have been leading photo tours to the rain forest of Costa Rica for many years now and always love being there to share this amazing place with other photo enthusiasts. Each time I am there I get a chance to see what my photo tour guests are capturing, and honestly I am blown away! I had an idea to share some of their favorite images in this blog post. You have seen many of mine here on the blog, but I wanted you to see what others are taking home from this awesome trip.

The images that you are about to see were captured with Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus and Fuji cameras and by people with a wide range of experience, from the first time camera user to more experienced shooters.  As the leader of the tour and teacher, I could not be more proud what they captured in their cameras.

With that said...let me share their images with you!

We all love capturing images of the frogs. Cindy did an awesome job with her camera settings, composition and waiting for this perfect pose.

In the same reptile area, Susan was inspired by one of my photos that I showed on the first day (using the frog's shadow) and grabbed this awesome shot. I love the creativity of this photo!

Many of us were photographing these birds, but only Carl caught this awesome moment. I love this pose so much. Good job making the teacher jealous Carl! And with an Olympus camera too. :)

Carl also grabbed this perfect shot of a dolphin jumping high into the air.

You can't go to Costa Rica and not get a photo of the hummingbirds, as difficult as this might be to capture. Jack nailed this shot.

This photo taken by Anthony, is one of my favorites from the last trip. Anthony stood his ground and waited to see if this Howler monkey baby would make an appearance, when many of us had moved on. He was rewarded with this incredible shot with the baby looking up at mom. So good!

This shot, taken on our reptile day, is another favorite of mine. Jack got down low and photographed this Eye-lash viper looking right at him. Perfect timing. with the tongue out!

Jack also grabbed this shot of this Red-eye tree frog climbing to the top of this ginger plant.

Here is a really nice shot of this Three-toed sloth. We had nice diffused light at the time, and Cindy took advantage of that. Even though the sloths move very slowly, they are not easy to photograph, since they are often deep in the tree branches and in darkness. Cindy caught this sloth looking right at her.

This awesome photo of two Spider monkeys was taken by Laura. Prior to going to Costa Rica, Laura has never used anything other than a little point-and-shoot camera or her phone. This time she was using a loaner Canon R6II and a Canon RF100-500mm lens. Not to shabby for a complete novice!

This photo is pure art created by Art. I love the way he took advantage of the light and background to create this image. the tongue was all the way out, and shows just the right amount of movement. I know he is proud of this one.

When we are out photographing toucans, I always remind my guests to look for the nut toss, which they do quite often. Nancy was ready and grabbed this photo at the perfect time. 

Nancy also captured this great shot of a Howler monkey and baby. You will notice that there is catch light in the eyes of both monkeys. Something else I teach people to look for.

Nachiket captured this beautiful photo while eating breakfast one morning. Gotta love that!

He also grabbed this moment with these two Yellow-headed caracara eating on a branch. It wasn't until later that he zoomed in and noticed they were eating a crab.

Speaking of eating, Nachiket grabbed this fun image of a Squirrel monkey eating. I normally look for photos with the eyes open, but this photo works perfectly with the eyes closed.

As you can see, eating in the rain forest is a common occurrence. For all of us too, since the food is so good! 😀  John photographed this Howler monkey who was foraging for tasty leaves. This photo has great composition and great focus on the eyes.

John also captured this nice photo of bats which were perched high above us in the leaves. 

The challenge with photographing snakes is to get them in the right position, and try to get their tongues out. Nachiket was firing his Canon R3 at really fast burst rates to get a great shot like this.

In all my years of traveling to the rain forest and photographing sloths, this is the first time anyone has captured a sloth kiss. Even better that it was between a mother and baby. This is a perfect moment captured by John.

And speaking of perfect timing, John also photographed this heron at the right moment to capture the fish perfectly between the bill of the bird. I love this photo.

Bob did a great job capturing three Squirrel monkeys eating on one branch.

Most of the time we see iguanas on the ground or on tree branches, but Bob caught this portrait of one with blue skies in the background. 

The Scarlet macaws always attract our cameras and lenses! Susan captured these two hanging out together on the property of the resort. Getting a nice shot of these amazing birds is good. Getting numerous posing together makes it even better.

This photo was also taken on the property of the resort. Similar to Anthony's photo, this shot of the Howler monkey and baby is awesome. The two were in perfect late afternoon sunlight and posing for Susan at this moment. 

We all took turns photographing this Eyelash viper, and Susan got it just right. Not only did she take a great photo, but she did an excellent job in the retouching process to make this final image.

We did not see as many White-face monkeys on this last trip, but Anthony managed to grab this shot as one was foraging for food in the trees above us. I really like the pose and the great catch-light in the eyes.

I am not sure if Carl purposely slowed the shutter speed of the camera, or if the butterfly was moving so fast that it created this blur, but I really love the motion in this photo.

This snake is really small, but Art was able to get perfect focus on it's face as it came towards him. This is not easy to do, and he nailed it. I always emphasize the importance of a clean background and Art got that one just right.

Here is something different. When photographing the reptiles, one of the red-eye tree frogs jumped off the leaf and landed on Eduardo (our guide's) face. Jack captured this funny moment.

Emma, one of my guests from Australia, got this really nice photo of a Kingfisher. I really like the complimentary colors, the leading lines and the selective focus of this image.

She also grabbed this photo of a Scarlet macaw coming in for a landing. The timing of this photo is excellent with the talons extended and just about to grab the palm fruit. Emma listened to my advice and increased her shutter speed significantly in order to freeze this beautiful bird in flight.

Here is a third image from Emma, giving us perfect front-on shot of this Squirrel monkey.

Art was directly underneath this Howler monkey (which is fine as long as you watch out for falling branches and the monkey's bathroom break), and took this photo with the monkey's tongue sticking out. I really like the framing of the greenery in the foreground and background.

These next three images were all taken by Laura. Remember, she is the one who had no prior camera experience. She really learned a ton on this trip! I love that she nailed the focus on the butterflies face and got down low to get a nice clean background.

I really like this photo of the Red-eye tree frog for the same reasons. Great focus, clean background, and she waited for a really nice pose of the frog. 

If any of you have tried photographing dolphins jumping in the wild, this is no easy task. You have to anticipate where the dolphins might jump, or quickly focus on one in the air, all while holding a large camera and lens steady. Laura got this beautiful photo of a dolphin mid-air, all while holding a Canon R6II and RF100-500mm lens steady. 

On our days off, many of my guests (and myself) will walk the resort property looking for more great photos. It was during one of those times that Art patiently waited for the hummingbird to feed and captured this awesome photo.

We see both Two-toed and Three-toed sloths in the rain forest. Mike did an amazing job of capturing this Three-toed sloth in the tree, with both feet and both hands in the frame.

Mike was also one of the few people who spotted this colorful crab by the water. 

As you can see, my guests loved photographing the Eye-lash viper from low angles. I love that Art zoomed in so tight for this portrait of the snake. Tongue out and perfect focus on the eye. He chose to shoot this at f/8 to get enough focus on the face and tongue, but also let the background go completely out of focus.

If I sound like a proud teacher, then you are reading this correctly. I really could not be more proud of the work of my guests. 

I always start my Costa Rica photo tour with a presentation showing images I have captured and I explain my thought process for those images. I talk about camera settings, clean backgrounds, catch-light, distractions and so much more. And these images show that that they listen and learn. I love it at the end of the trip when everyone has made new friends and has beautiful photos like these, but more importantly I love the excitement they have as they head home to review and retouch their images. 

If you are interested in joining me for one of my photo tours to Costa Rica, you can check my tour page. The 2024 trips are filling very fast, and may be full by the end of this month, but I am adding new trips for 2025 (which will be added to the tour page soon).


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