2012-05-1 to 11 Costa Rica Greg Basco Photo Tour
May 1-11, 2012 Costa Rica Greg Basco Photo Tour.
Mike B and Steve C., Howard and Barb I., Cheryl S, Pat B., Liz H., Judy B.
Visited Tarcoles, Villas Lapas, Bosque del Paz.

Note: Includes some "junk" iPhone snaps to establish GPS locations.

Costa Rica Itinerary as of 3/14/2011 (and more-or-less as executed)

Hola, everyone. Ok, I’ve given some thought to next year’s trip. I think that what I’ve come up with will be a really good mix of wildlife, macro, and landscape photography. Plus the route minimizes travel time while maximizing photography time (the longest drive would be 4 hours on May 2; travel time on May 5 and May 7 will about 3.5 hours, and from Bosque de Paz back to the Bougainvillea on May 10 will be about 2.5 hours). I will be your leader, and my good friend Jose Lopez (whom Cheryl and Liz know from our latest trip) will be our driver, unparalleled wildlife spotter, and second photo leader. The dates would be May 1 through 11, and here is how the itinerary will look in rough form:

May 1 Arrival to airport, private transfer to the Hotel Bougainvillea

May 2 After breakfast, travel to the Rio Celeste area, overnight at Tenorio Lodge. On arrival, we’ll settle in and do a bit of photography around the lodge grounds while at the same time going over a number of photographic techniques for rainforest shooting.

May 3 After an early breakfast, we head to the nearby Tenorio Volcano National Park, where we will spend all day in the forest photographing a beautiful waterfall and the amazing colors of the Rio Celeste.

May 4 After breakfast, we head again to the Tenorio National Park for the morning. I think there’s so much to shoot here that it will be good to go back twice. We can play it by ear, spending all day in the park or just the morning. I’m also thinking of another option this day that would involve a day trip to a nearby reserve to try to photograph monkeys.

May 5 After breakfast, we travel to the Central Pacific Coast, arriving to our hotel, the Hotel Villa Lapas, for a late lunch. After lunch, we have a chance to relax and photograph the abundant ctenosaurs (spiny iguana) and basilisk lizards on the lodge grounds. We’ll also be on the lookout for birds such as chestnut-mandible toucans and turquoise-browed motmot. As evening draws near, we have a great session photographing a number of tree frog species (included the famed red-eyed tree frog) that will be out calling and looking for mates in accessible ponds right on the lodge grounds.

May 6 We start the day at dawn with a private boat tour on the Tarcoles River to photograph American crocodiles and a number of aquatic birds such as herons and whistling ducks. We return to the hotel for a late breakfast and then some time to relax. After lunch we have free time for you to relax or to work with me on honing some of the newfound skills on which we’ve been focusing. In the late afternoon, we will visit a great little seaside bar/restaurant for a snack and a cold drink while photographing pelicans and the local fisherman as sunset approaches. In the evening, we have more time for frog photography.

May 7 This morning we head toward the cloud forest and one of my favorite lodges, Bosque de Paz. We’ll settle in after lunch for some photography of the interesting birds and mammals (coatimundis, agoutis) that visit the feeding stations outside the restaurant. This evening, we’ll have a little photo review in the lodge’s cozy conference room.

May 8 Today we spend all day photographing hummingbirds with multiple flash setups that I will provide. This is the best way to get incredibly sharp, detailed images of these amazing little flying jewels. We’ll set up right near the feeders outside the lodge’s dining hall. A highlight will be the amazing violet sabrewing hummingbird.

May 9 Today we also dedicate the day to multiple-flash hummingbird photography but this time at a nearby restaurant whose feeders attract a few species different from those back at the lodge. When in between turns at the setups, you can photograph a beautiful 330 foot high waterfall nestled in the cloud forest right down the path from where we’ll be doing our hummingbird photography. We return to Bosque de Paz this evening for dinner.

May 10 After breakfast, we check out and head back to the Hotel Bougainvillea, where we’ll spend the afternoon photographing orchids in the hotel’s fantastic gardens. We enjoy a farewell dinner in the hotel restaurant this evening.

May 11 Private transfers to the airport for your flights home.

I’ll be interested to read your thoughts on the dates and the itinerary.

Best regards,
Greg Basco
tours {at] fotoverdetours d o t com <M= use 1st
greg {at] deepgreenphotography d o t com

Foto Verde Tours

Deep Green Photography

***** Q:
"How were these hummingbird shots taken?" is a common question/comment in this series. I'm known as "Mister Creative Commons opensource," for my work, but in this case, Greg Basco deepgreenphotography.com, our experienced Costa Rica photographer & guide, makes a living helping photographers achieve such beautiful and unique images in his country. Because his setup is proprietary and his style and results have received worldwide recognition, we are asked to respect the privacy of the details of his formula. I can say presently is that it is much like any studio portrait setup, with multiple flashes (think a couple of overheads, a front fill, a background source, rim if you like, etc., set to low manual power to enable rapid shooting. Because we are talking tiny birds and not big people, large soft-boxes and high-power strobes are not required, and flash placement can be as close as possible without being in the scene, as in any studio setup. Much of the magic is really just the the location, where we had hundreds of candidate shots, and hummingbirds buzzed in and out constantly. Providing fresh nectar or sugar water helps. The uniform backgrounds you see are mostly but not exclusively the result of the use colored boards on stands in the background which can be separately illuminated if you wish with a flash. Balancing the ambient light via shutter speed allowed us to make the backgrounds as dark or bright as we liked, once we had the flash power, and desired aperture, tuned to our liking for flash exposure of the birds. If you mess around yourself you will find an equally effective setup and balance of power settings, gels, etc. that will yield an effective and unique style for you too."

**** Here is some location geotag info from Pat Brown:
If you want to play around with Google Earth and see some of the photos posted on the map of the Cortes waterfall and the road in to it, copy this latitute and longitude into the "Fly To" box of Google Earth. Someone has even posted a photo of the coconut concession stand. Llanos de Cortés

10 31’28.80”N, 85 17’54.69”W

These are the coordinates for Villa Lapas:

9 45’24.60N, 84 36’42.40”W

These are the coordinates for Hotel Bougainvillea (the pin on the map labeled Hotel Bougainvillea is in the wrong location):

9 58’48.46”N, 84 04’43.78”W

Unfortunately the quality of the photos and heavy cloud cover don't allow for good views of some of the other locations that we visited.

Pat Brown
175 photos · 1,069 views