- One of the things I like best about this trip to Costa Rica, as well as when I traveled to Panama, is that the countries are incredibly diverse. I love going on photo safaris and capturing great images. But if I'm on day three of shooting the same thing, I tend to get a little bored. And I tend to not really grow that much creatively. For me it's all about the challenge. And Costa Rica was a very challenging place to shoot. You're gonna find great landscapes. Very huge diversity in those landscapes.
Because you're going to be traveling from very low points, all the way down to ocean level. To very high points where you're up in the mountains. This is going to affect how you shoot. And it's gonna be important that you're comfortable with those altitude changes. Additionally, I found that there was tons of people to shoot. Now I found that most people were very willing to let me shoot them and make a portrait. It's a courtesy to ask permission. The country is Spanish-speaking although many people also speak English. Particularly because of the tourism industry.
So it's always a good idea to be polite and ask for permission before you shoot a portrait of an individual. Now this is a country that is all about tourism. Particularly, eco-tourism. If you enjoy sports like ziplining, kyaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, all those and more are in that country. They are used to having tourists, they like tourists, and they are very friendly. I recommend though that you take advantage of using a guide to make it easier. And I'll discuss that more a little bit later.
For me, the urban environments reminded me a lot of most Spanish cities I've been to. There was a lot of clear influence from the countries of Spain and Portugal on the country. But once you got out in the rural environments and the farming and agricultural areas, it was absolutely stunning. Whether you like shooting animals and doing close-up wildlife, plenty of opportunities. Or just beautiful wide vistas and landscapes. Killer sunsets and great time lapse opportunities. As well as lots of opportunities to shoot really compelling HDR.
Costa Rica was a country of incredible diversity. And we spent two solid weeks there. In fact, I probably could've spent two more because there was tons of things we didn't get to see and shoot. But like most of you, a two week vacation is a pretty long vacation. And it might be all that you have. But if you're going to go all the way to the country I would strongly recommend that you do your best to extend it beyond the traditional week. Otherwise, limit the number of places you travel to because your travel days will consume time.
Much of the country has a pretty rough road system. Going just a few miles in parts of the country could take several hours because the van you were in is bouncing up and down continuously, and going about three miles an hour. Or you might find yourself doing water-based transportation in water taxis. Or even small air travel to get from parts of the country to the other. This is a country that as you move from one zone to the other, will often take a bit of time. Now, other parts of the country, perfectly easy to travel to. There are areas that are very tourist friendly.
And some of the national parks that are super easy to get to. Costa Rica is a country with incredible diversity. So make sure you've budgeted enough time to get from one location to another. And consider interacting with some guides to make that process a bit easier.
Rich organizes the lessons by location and activity, so you can dive right into the type of photography that interests you: nature, landscape, macro, underwater, street, or architecture. First he covers packing and planning for a trip to Costa Rica. Then he visits five uniquely beautiful locations, starting with the remote mountain town of Monteverde, where he gets "close up" to wildlife and takes a GoPro along on a zipline tour. At Manuel Antonio, he shows how to shoot at the beach—in and out of the water—and create awe-inspiring time lapses. In Arenal Rich enters the rainforest and shoots with local chocolate and coffee growers, and in Caño Negro, he takes a river-boat tour. The trip ends in San José, the capital of Costa Rica, which offers great opportunities for shooting street photography and architecture.
The course closes with some in-field workflow tips to keep your images safe, and some post-production techniques to develop your photos in Lightroom, Photoshop, and Camera Raw.
- Understanding the geography of Costa Rica
- Packing and planning
- Photographing wildlife
- Taking a GoPro on a zipline ride
- Shooting at the beach and on the river
- Visiting the rainforest
- Enjoying local products: coffee, chocolate, and more
- Managing your data in the field: storage cards and drives