Natural Costa Rica Photography Workshop

 

 

Photographing Nature's Wonders in Beautiful Costa Rica

Guest Instructor: Greg Basco

June 8-19, 2015

Post-Workshop Extension June 19-23, 2015

Come to beautiful Costa Rica and join award winning nature photographer, Greg Basco, and Jon Fuller of Moab Photo Tours on a photographic tour of the natural beauties of Costa Rica, June 8-19, 2015.  Greg is one of Costa Rica's premier nature photographers and, like Jon, has been published in numerous publications world-wide including National Geographic Magazine. Hone your photographic skills under the tutelage of Greg and Jon as you photograph beautiful Costa Rica, from Caribbean lowland rain forest to highland cloud forest. This workshop is limited to 8 photographers. This workshop is open to photographers of all skill levels. To see Greg Basco's work, go to http://deepgreenphotography.photoshelter.com/portfolio. Some of Jon's images of Costa Rica are in this website Gallery

Costa Rica is a nature photographer's paradise. Typical subjects to photograph include tropical birds like toucans and macaws, colorful frogs, monkeys, sloths, iguanas, spectacular tropical flowers and equally colorful hummingbirds, along with a volcano and gorgeous jungle waterfalls. You will learn how composition, natural light, flash, movement, and color allow you to produce magical images. In addition, you can learn more advanced techniques such as multi-flash hummingbird photography, daylight tele-flash photography, natural-looking daylight fill-flash, macro photography, and landscape HDR, as well as general landscape and wildlife techniques. If you have a non-photographer spouse or traveling companion who would like to come along, they will still have a great time hiking and watching wildlife while we try to photograph them. There are also many non-photographic activities that can be arranged separately while you take photos. The tour cost does not cover these alternate activities, however. These activities could include things such as visiting the fantastic hot mineral water spas near the Arenal Volcano, horse-back riding, hiking, rafting, or zip-lining through the forest canopy.

ITINERARY

 Day 1:  June 8, San José

Arrival in Costa Rica. Meet our representative at the Juan Santamaría International Airport and transfer to our hotel near the capital city of San José, where Foto Verde Tours' Greg Basco will be awaiting your arrival. Those who arrive early can take the afternoon to photograph the beautiful orchids and other tropical flowers in the hotel's expansive tropical gardens. The hotel has free wireless Internet throughout the grounds and in the rooms. No meals included.

Day 2:  June 9, Atlantic Lowland Rainforest

After breakfast, we travel to the beautiful coastal lowland rainforests of Tortuguero. A number of colorful birds, including tanagers, aracaris, and toucans visit the our lodge's feeders, and this destination is also a fantastic place to photograph poison frogs, tree frogs, basilisk lizards, Howler Monkeys (left), caiman, and lots of other wildlife. We arrive after lunch and then spend the afternoon looking for frogs, birds, and monkeys on the lodge grounds. All meals included.

Day 3:  June 10, Atlantic Lowland Rainforest

After breakfast, we will take a morning boat ride in the rainforest-lined estuaries and canals. The afternoon will be spent roaming the lodge grounds, photographing birds, frogs, monkeys, and whatever else presents itself in this magical place.  In the evening, we'll photograph the famed red-eyed tree frog for dramatic images of this iconic amphibian. All meals included.

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Day 4:  June 11, Atlantic Lowland Rainforest

We spend the morning today on the grounds of our lodge, where we will work to capture great photos at the bird feeders and the surprise photo opportunities that always pop up. We will take an afternoon boat ride in the forest-lined estuaries and canals, exploring different areas.  In the evening, we'll look for more nocturnal fauna to photograph.  All meals included.

Day 5:  June 12, Atlantic Slope Mid-elevation Forest

After breakfast, we travel to the Arenal Volcano area. Though currently experiencing a lull in activity, until recently Arenal had been the country's most active volcano, with continuous emissions of lava and incandescent pyroclastic flows since the beginning of the recent active cycle in 1968. On clear nights, the views of incandescent avalanches can be breathtaking. Hopefully it will become more active again soon.  En route to Arenal, we photograph wild green iguanas at eye level in the trees on a riverbank and stop for a bite to eat. We arrive at our lodge in the afternoon and, after check-in, photograph the sunset over Lake Arenal. All meals included. 

Day 6:  June 13, Atlantic Slope Mid-elevation Forest

This morning we roam the hotel grounds in search of wildlife to photograph, including monkeys, crested guan and collared aracaris. We also will take time to photograph the numerous Montezuma oropendolas at the lodge feeders. Later this morning, we depart for a nearby spot with an amazing collection of frogs, snakes, and lizards. This place is run by one of Greg's friends, and the staff there will help us to photograph these colorful animals on natural stages that we will set up on site. This is a great opportunity to photograph a number of species that are very difficult to find in the wild and also to continue our work on creative lighting for pleasing macro images. We will enjoy a delicious home-cooked lunch as well as refreshments and coffee throughout the day. We return to our lodge in late afternoon to photograph the sunset and the Arenal Volcano. All meals included.

Day 7:  June 14, Atlantic Slope Cloud Forest

After an early breakfast, we travel to the higher cloud forests of the northern Central Volcanic Mountain Range and our next lodge, another of Greg's favorites. Our lodge is located in one of the most biodiverse areas of the country, nestled in a picturesque valley at approximately 4,500 feet above sea level between two large national parks. With its rushing mountain streams, cool air, and orchid and moss-festooned trees, the area is akin to a tropical Colorado. On the way, we visit a surprise secret destination - a nearby farm owned by a local family that is a great place for photographing both the Great Green and Scarlet Macaws (left). The macaws are free flying but stay close to the farm to roost and feed. Greg has recently put up a new feeder at the farm that offers great opportunities for beautiful portraits of the macaws. We arrive at our lodge in the afternoon with time for some shooting before a relaxing dinner and time to download images and recharge batteries for the next day's shooting. All meals included.

Day 8:  June 15, Atlantic Slope Cloud Forest

Today we will be working with multi-flash hummingbird set-ups throughout the day on a rotational basis, photographing the vividly irridescent Violet Sabrewing (left) and Green-crowned Brilliants that are abundant around the lodge.  We will have the entire day to explore the mystical cloud forest of our lodge's private reserve for landscape and macro photography when you  are not working at the hummingbird set-ups.   Possibilities abound, with lush rain forest trails, an orchid garden, and beautiful mountain streams to photograph.  You can work on techniques such as HDR, incorporating flash, and working with motion to help you produce dramatic landscape images. All meals included.

Day 9:  June 16, Atlantic Slope Cloud Forest

After breakfast today, we make a day trip to a nearby waterfall which falls 110 meters into an extinct volcanic crater (see image above), offering beautiful photographic opportunities of the waterfall itself and the surrounding cloud forest. In addition, we have secured permission to set up our multiple flashes near the feeders at the restaurant at the waterfall, giving us a great chance to photograph more hummingbird species, such as the Green Hermit, Black-bellied (left), Green Thorntail, Coppery-headed Emerald, and White-bellied Mountain Gem, that are less common at our lodge. There are also some spectacular tropical foliage shots here of palms and ferns on the cliffs surrounding the waterfall. We enjoy a delicious typical lunch at the waterfall and return to our lodge in the evening for a relaxing dinner and time to download our great hummingbird and landscape images. All meals included.

Day 10:  June 17, Back to San Jose

After more morning photography around the lodge grounds and feeders, we'll have lunch and then leave for San José and our hotel there. After a stop in Greg Basco's hometown for some HDR photography of the beautiful church and park, we arrive at our San Jose hotel with a bit of time to unwind before dinner. All meals included.

 Day 11:   June 18, La Paz Waterfall Gardens

After breakfast today we enjoy a fun last day with a trip to the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, a great place to shoot everything from butterflies in their butterfly house to hummingbirds around the feeders to native orchids to captive ocelots in a nice setting to a series of fantastic waterfalls. We also enjoy a nice buffet lunch at La Paz. We return to our hotel in the late afternoon for final packing and our farewell dinner. All meals included.

 

(Blue Morpho Butterfly)

Day 12:  June 19, Airport

Private transfer to the airport for your flight home if you are not participating in the post-workshop extension. Breakfast included.   Post-workshop extension begins for those participating.

Post-workshop Extension Details at bottom of page.

 

MAIN WORKSHOP ITINERARY INCLUDES -

Lodging as specified

Meals as specified

Private transfers to and from hotels on first and last days

Professional driver and private transportation in spacious tour bus

Two professional photo guides

Professional bilingual photo/nature/culture guide

Photo technique presentations by guides and assistance in the field

Multiple-flash setups for hummingbird photography

Assistance with caption and ID info for your images by guides 

Entrance fees for all described activities

Taxes on all services listed above

THE ITINERARY ABOVE DOES NOT INCLUDE

Airfare

Airport departure tax (US $28)

Alcoholic drinks

Gratuities

Non-mealtime snacks

Non-mealtime soft drinks and bottled water

Single room supplement of $598.00 

Extras, including activities for non-photographers

Price for this 12-day, 11-night photography tour is $4595.00 USD per person, based on double occupancy. A single supplement is $598.00. The price for an accompanying non-photographer is $3995.00 USD.  The workshop is limited to only 8 photographers. A minimum of 6 participants will be required, or the workshop may be canceled. Trip insurance is strongly recommended in the event that you have to cancel, or in the unlikely event that the workshop is canceled by Moab Photo Tours, LLC. For further information or a registration form, email moabphototours@gmail.com.

POST-WORKSHOP EXTENSION

June 19-23, 2015

 

 

I have also put together a post-workshop extension to one of my favorite spots in all of Costa Rica, the stunningly beautiful Savegre River Valley.  The extension will be an additional 4 days and would take us to a different biozone than the other places we’re visiting on the main workshop.  Our goal here is to photograph the spectacular, but sometimes elusive, Resplendant Quetzal, the amazingly-colored Fiery-throated Hummingbird, as well as the beautiful landscape.  The itinerary is as follows:

Extension Day 1:  June 19, Highland Cloud Forest

After breakfast, depart from our San Jose hotel and arrive at a remote lodge for lunch and a photography session with what is the most spectacularly-colored hummingbird I've ever seen, the Fiery-throated Hummingbird.  We'll then travel the short remaining distance down into the Rio Savegre Valley to our lodge.  (This is the day every one else has to go home.  Too bad for them!)  All meals included.

 

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(Fiery-throated Hummingbird)

Extension Day 2:  June 20, Savegre   

Savagre is a breath-takingly beautiful high mountain valley, with our lodge at 7200’ elevation, and is the most reliable place in Costa Rica to see the Resplendent Quetzal, the sacred bird of the Mayas and Aztecs.  It is also the Holy Grail of bird watchers in the Western Hemisphere.  As in all wildlife photography, we are always dependent upon the wildlife being cooperative subjects.  All meals included.

 

(Resplendent Quetzal)

Extension Day 3:  June 21, Savegre 

 

We’ll spend all day around Savegre searching for Quetzals and Long-tailed Silky Flycatchers and photographing hummingbirds.  There is also a beautiful river there called the Rio Savegre, oddly enough, of which I’ve made some great images as well.  All meals included.

Extension Day 4:  June 22

We’ll have another morning to quest for Quetzals, Redstarts, Long-tailed Silky Flycatchers, and other birds. After lunch at the hotel, we’ll drive back to San Jose and the Hotel Bougainvillea.  All meals included.

 (Collared Redstart, left)

(Longtailed Silky Flycatcher, right)

 

Extension Day 5:  June 23

 Private transfers to airport for flights home.  Breakfast included.

We need a minimum of 4 participants to run this extension.  Greg Basco will not accompany us on the extension, unless we have a large group who want to go.  If we have a small group, we’ll still have myself and Jose Lopez as guides.   The cost of the extension is $1,595.00 per person, double occupancy. The single supplement will be $325.00 if you don’t have a roommate.  This is a great opportunity to see and photograph some great wildlife and spectacular scenery in addition to what we’ll see on the main workshop.