Wildlife Photography Tips from the Pros
Opportunities for amazing nature photography abound in Costa Rica – whether you’re trekking through Manuel Antonio National Park or meandering the dark river canals of Tortuguero. Follow these tips and tricks to ensure plenty of captivating wildlife shots during your next foray into the mountains, rainforests and scenic landscapes of this bio-diverse nation.
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1) Lighting Conditions in Costa Rica – Costa Rica lies practically on the equator, so, for most of the day and throughout the entire year, the sun is perpendicular to the earth’s surface. If the day is cloudy that is not an issue, but being a tropical country, you will have sunlight most of the time. This creates a condition where you will have extreme light and shade – a very challenging situation for any photographer, as you will always be dealing with harsh shadows. The best way to manage this is to take photos in the early morning as the sun is rising or late afternoon as it is setting. Of course, this shouldn’t stop you from taking photos during the remainder of the day. One trick of the pros is to expose for the highlights and then bring out detail in the shadow using your image editing software.
2) Play it Safe – If traveling on your own, keep your camera gear as inconspicuous as possible in order not to make it tempting for someone to try to snatch it from you. This is a good practice with all valuables.
3) Focus on the eyes – Whenever possible, try to photograph animal subjects from eye level, which helps diminish feature distortion. And for the best chances of capturing a superlative image of that frolicking capuchin monkey or brilliant morpho butterfly, remember to shoot continuously.
4) Importance of timing – To make a wildlife photo truly interesting, the experts recommend observing the animal’s behavior and waiting for the right moment when the animal looks up, opens its wings, makes a turn, or catches the light. Luckily, most nature tours in Costa Rica afford plenty of time for lengthy interactions with exotic and interesting tree-dwelling and marine creatures.