I am excited to announce that I will be leading a photography workshop in
Costa Rica, October 14 - 20, 2019. The workshop will be based at the Crocodile Bay Resort on the Osa Peninsula. Nearly half of the wildlife in Costa Rica can be found at the Osa Peninsula. The Peninsula is one of the last places to be settled in Costa Rica. It is covered with a vast rainforest extending all the way to the Pacific.
The goal of the workshop will be for you to have the best possible experience in photographing wildlife in Costa Rica. All skill levels are welcome. However, since we will be working on field techniques, a working knowledge of your equipment and a basic understanding of photography is a prerequisite. Our group size is limited to 10 people so each person gets personalized attention. My goal will be to give you instructions in the field as well as classroom instructions. I will share my auto-focus techniques and camera settings for creating perfect exposures with fast moving subjects and ever changing lighting conditions. I will also share my undocumented techniques for creating the sharpest images imaginable.
I will demonstrate post-production Photoshop and Lightroom techniques that will make your images rival others. I will take you through the deepest recesses of Photoshop. If you know Photoshop well enough to get around, but aren’t using many of the advance features, this workshop will prove invaluable in raising your awareness and skill level to new heights. I will teach you how to create and edit images with expert results. You will learn how to apply techniques to real-world situations.
For those folks that are not real familiar with me I will give you a little background. Prior to opening a portrait, wedding and commercial photography studio, in 1988, I taught school 14 years. I began making the transition from medium and large format film to digital, in 1995. I have been published in Birdwatching Magazine, iBird Pro App, Defenders of Wildlife Magazine, Defenders of Wildlife Calendar, Audubon Magazine, Audubon Calendars, Jackson Hole Magazine, National Geographic, National Wildlife Federation, American Bird Conservancy, Wild Planet Photo Magazine, Nature’s Best Yellowstone Forever and Professional Photographers Magazine. I hold the Master of Photography Degree, Photographic Craftsman Degree and Master of Electronic Imaging Degree from Professional Photographers of America. I am also a Fellow of American Society of Photographers (a division of Professional Photographers of America), one of only 125 in the world. Here, you can see more about what I have been doing the last 30 years.
What makes the Osa Peninsula so special:
- The most significant wetland ecosystem and mangrove forests of Central America
- The largest remaining tract of lowland rainforest in Pacific Mesoamerica
- 2-3% of flora found nowhere else in the world
- 323 endemic species of plants and vertebrates
- The largest population of Scarlet Macaws in Central America
- More than 4,000 vascular plants
- More than 10,000 species of insects
- More than 700 species of trees
- 463 species of birds
- 117 species of reptiles and amphibians
- 18% of the world's butterflies pass through Costa Rica
- 140 mammals, including 4 monkey species, 2 sloth species, and anteaters
- 25 species of dolphins and whales
- 4 species of sea turtles
Crocodile Bay Resort is located on 44 acres of manicured grounds. The real fun begins when you step out of your room into nature greeted to the sounds of Scarlet Macaws and Howler Monkeys. The grounds are lined with trails full of hundreds of species of birds, reptiles, flowers, a lagoon full of wading shorebirds, a bird feeder station and too much more to mention. Bring the whole family and be treated to a first class swimming pool, rec room, spa, zip line and more.
All of our destination trips will be in two vehicles driven by the most experienced and knowledgeable guides. We will be traveling in a 4x4 LandCruser and Mercedes Sprinter Van.
Workshop participants will fly to San Jose, Costa Rica. From there you will be met by a Crocodile Bay Resort representative that will take you to the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cariari where you will enjoy your first nights stay. The following morning you will be taken to the Costa Rica regional airport. You will have a short 45 minute flight to Puerto Jimenez on the peninsula where you will be met and taken to the resort.
- Arrive at Crocodile Bay Resort
- 10:30 AM- 11:30 AM
Once everyone has arrived and had time to prepare their equipment we will gather in the conference room. There we will have our initial introductions and brief classroom instruction.
- 11:30 AM - 12:30
Walk the resort property to familiarize you with your surroundings.
12:30 - 1:30 PM
1:30 - 5:00 PM
Travel to Miramar for possible sightings of Monkeys, Sloth and Trogan, stopping along the way for any cooperative species.
Class time in conference room.
Full day - travel to Matapalo, Carate and Piro to look for Macaws, Monkeys, Toucan, Hawks, Kingfishers, Owls, Trogan...
- 6:30 PM
- 8:00 PM
6:45 AM - 2:30
Travel to La Tarde for macro photography, frogs, snakes, lizards, flowers...
3:30 - 4:30 PM
7:00 - 10:00 PM
Property night photography lead by our guides; spiders, frogs, lizards, crabs, moths...
5:45 AM - 2:30 PM
Sierpe River -
pontoon river boat ride; birds, monkeys, crocodile, bats, turtles, lizards, iguanas...
4:00 - 5:00 PM
Free time on the grounds
- 10:00 AM- 12:30 PM
2:00 - 4:30 PM
Osa Gardens macro photography, insects, frogs caterpillars, butterflies, lizards...
5:30 - 6:30 PM
In depth discussion:
- Camera settings for different subjects and lighting conditions
- Tripod techniques
- Exposure techniques
- Flash settings
- Working with flash extenders, flash brackets
- Birds in flight
- Auto Focus techniques
- Lightroom/Photoshop Developing
- Noise reduction
- Tonal adjustments
- Highlight/shadow recovery
- Smart Objects
- $4,688 Single Occupancy
- $4,123 (each) Double Occupancy
- $1,200 (each) Spouse or family members accompaning (not workshop participants). Family member must accompany a workshop participant paying Single Occupancy Rate, and stay in the same room. This rate includes all meals and non-alcoholic drinks on site, round trip domestic air, all ground transfers, and one night in Hilton Double Tree Cariari which includes breakfast. This price does not include tours or activities on site, but client can add them and pay individually once on site.
- $1,500 deposit, full payment within 90 days of workshop
- Ride from San Jose airport to DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cariari (includes breakfast but not evening meal)
- Ride to San Jose regional airport
- Flight to Puerto Jimenez on Osa Peninsula
- First class five star room accommodation at Crocodile Bay Resort
- All meals (wine included, liquor and beer extra)
- All non-alcoholic beverages
- Prepared box lunches, drinks and snacks on full day outings
- Single occupancy private room
What is not included:
- Meals occurred off site other than prepared box lunches
- Beer and liquor
- Overweight baggage fees
What equipment to bring:
- Hoodman HoodLoupe (this is a must have)
- Two camera bodies if possible
- Bring the longest lens you own, minimum 300mm with 1.4x extender, 400mm, 500mm, 600mm, 800mm or 300-800 zoom
- 1.4x extender and/or 2x extender
- Mid range lens 100-400 +extender, 200-400 +extender (lots of hand held photography)
- Wide angle lens
- Macro lens
- Extension tubes for macro photography (if you use them)
- Flash with Better Beamer or MagBeam or Harbor Digital flash extender
- Flash Bracket with off-camera shoe cord. (helpful to bring backup off-camera shoe cord)
- Flash diffuser for macro photography (Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce Diffuser works great)
- Ring light for macro photography (if you own one)
- Laptop, sufficient storage, hard drive or extra CF/SD cards
- Spare camera batteries/charger
- Extra rechargeable AA batteries and charger for extended use of flash photography on all day events
- Headlight for night photography
- Rain covers for cameras and lenses
- Microfiber cloths
- Bird App (Merlin is wonderful, pre-load Costa Rica database)
- Backpack to transport equipment in vans and on the boat
- Camera and flash manuals (best to place a PDF file on your phone, always handy and easier to do a quick search)
Things to know and do before you arrive:
- Basic knowledge of photography and your equipment.
- Know how to attach your Better Beamer, MagBeam or Harbor Digital flash extender.
- Be certain your flash is striking your subject. When using flash extenders the flash bracket may need to be adjusted vertically.
- Know how to set your flash to "high speed sync."
- If using extension tubes - know which lenses work best with which tubes and how best to stack them.
- Knowledge of how to use your flash bracket and off-camera shoe cord.
- Be certain camera and tripod quick releases are compatible.
- If you are renting or borrowing equipment be certain it arrives several days early. You will want to have some experience working with it before the workshop begins.
- On the OSA Peninsula rainfall is from 4 to 7 meters (160 to 280 inches) annually, and falls mainly between the months of April and November, heaviest in October. During this period (referred to by Costa Ricans as winter), it rains every day, though usually as heavy showers in the afternoon and evening. At times, rainfall can be torrential and accompanied by thunder and lightning. These thunderstorms, if they persist, can interrupt schedules as a result of swollen rivers and flooding. Throughout the rainy season forest trails will be muddy and in places slippery.
- The temperatures rarely drop below 80F (27C) during the rainy season and may reach 95F (35C) during the dry season. The Osa Peninsula is 8 degrees north of the equator and the sun is strong.
- Shorts to stay cooler. (I prefer long pants, especially when walking off road through foliage, to protect against scrapes and insect bites)
- Short sleeve shirts unless sun sensitive
- Waterproof hiking shoes or boots (extreme morning dew)
- Light raincoat or poncho (real light, probably too hot and humid for a raincoat at all)
- Favorite hat
- Sunglasses, sunscreen
Important information about your Costa Rica regional flight:
- Local Flight Update – Go Easy Travel drivers will always pre-arrange the next pick-up time with you. They will get you to the Nature Air or Sansa check-in 45 minutes prior to your scheduled departure flight time. Passports will be required. Flights close 20 min. before departure and passengers not checked-in before are not guaranteed boarding. Please be on time meeting your drivers in the hotel lobby.
- Do you have to spend the night in San Jose on the day of arrival into Costa Rica and on the night before departure?
Depending on your time of international arrival and departure into/from Costa Rica, we may be able to eliminate your overnights in San Jose. The last flight to the resort in the high season (Dec 1-April 20) departs at 3:15 PM and in the low season (April 21-Nov 30) departs at 10:45 AM. You would need to arrive at SJO three and a half hours prior to those departure times to make the flight to Crocodile Bay Resort. From Puerto Jimenez back to San Jose the earliest flight departs at 7:00 AM and arrives in San Jose at approximately 8:10 AM year round. If your connecting flight back to the states departs after 11 AM, you will be able to avoid a San Jose hotel and sleepover for your final night. From December 1 to April 20th the last flight back to San Jose is 4:30 PM each day.
- Baggage Weight Restrictions: 30 lbs. for luggage and 10 lbs. for carry-on on NatureAir or Sansa. Pretty certain they charge $1 per lbs. overweight.
- What kind of credit cards and ATM cards are accepted?
Visa, Mastercard and American Express cards are accepted in Costa Rica and at Crocodile Bay Lodge. ATM cash machines are available in San Jose only. Puerto Jimenez has a 24 machine that allows cash advances on most major credit cards if your account offers cash advance via a pin#. Check with the bank that issued your credit card for obtaining a pin.
- Should I bring insect repellent?
I do not find the insects to be bad on the Osa Peninsula. However, I would still recommend two types of repellent. First, before packing, spray all your clothing with Repel Permethrin. It can also be purchased at Walmart and outdoor stores. Do your own research on this. It is good for six weeks and six washing. I have been using it since 2008 and never venture out into the woods without it. Permethrin is more than just an insect repellent - it actually kills ticks, mosquitoes, spiders, chiggers, mites, and more than 55 other kinds of insects. Permethrin is also effective against the Yellow Fever Mosquito, which can transmit the Zika Virus. Sawyer also makes Permethrin clothing spray. Secondly, I recommend using Picaridin Insect Repellent. Picaridin is a substitute for Deet. Deet is the best insect repellent, however, Deet will ruin your equipment. It will eat the rubber off of your cameras and more. Picaridin will in no way damage any of your gear and is equally as effective as Deet. I buy both the 4 oz and the .5 oz sizes of Picaridin. I use the 4 oz size to apply beforehand if I know I will need it. I use the .5 oz size to carry with me on the trail and use it only if I need it.
- Is there laundry service at Crocodile Bay Lodge?
Yes, there is laundry service for a small fee (approx. $0.50-3.00 per item)
- Are there hair dryers in the rooms?
Hair dryers are available at the front desk.
- Are there phones in the rooms?
- Are there TV’s in the rooms?
No. The TV in the bar area does have Direct TV with access to U.S. news and sports programs.
- How much money should I convert to local currency?
Don’t go overboard converting dollars to “colones”. Its difficult and expensive to convert back to dollars. Many establishments in Costa Rica welcome American dollars, and any charges incurred at Crocodile Bay Lodge can be paid with Visa or Mastercard. The front desk at your hotel in San Jose can assist you with currency conversion if you wish to carry colones. The exchange rate is around 570 colones to $1.00. I find it easier just to use US currency.
- Important phone numbers while in Costa Rica! San Jose Logistics – Go Easy Travel – Airport pickup contact Carlos Zuñiga Cell # 011-506 8711-5804, San Jose Hotel DoubleTree Cariari by Hilton 011-506-2-239-0022, Hotel Sleep Inn 011-506-2-521-6500, Phone numbers U.S. Embassy 011-506-2-220-3939, Nights/emergencies: 011-506-2-220-3127 Dial 911 for Police Emergencies in Costa Rica. When calling from within Costa Rica dialing (011) or (506) is not necessary!
- Is there WIFI?
There is WIFI in the resort restaurant. Check with your cell phone provider about international data and phone service. To avoid unnecessary international data and phone charges place your phone in airplane mode. You will still be able to connect to free WIFI.