- The last area that I visited in Costa Rica was Manuel Antonio. It's a great beachside town, and it's filled with incredible things to shoot. One of those areas is actually a national park, and they limit the number of visitors to this national park to about 600 people a day, sometimes even less. So you're going to want to get there early and buy your ticket. There was times I showed up to shoot that I wasn't allowed in because they already hit their limit for the day. So, make sure you either work with a guide or buy your tickets in advance so you're guaranteed a spot.
But this park is awesome, filled with tons of vegetation. I recommend that you have some flexibility, so bring your zoom lenses so you can get that coverage. I actually took both of my zooms, from my shorter zoom to my longer zoom, so I had a range of coverage. And I saw tons of animals to capture. This is a great opportunity to really get some shots. Of course, it is a beachfront town so a couple things to think about. One, it rains even more at the beach. There's more chances of storms, more quick things that could blow in, so always travel with the appropriate gear.
Go out with a rain jacket. Keep some plastic bags in your camera bag so you can wrap your gear up. Every single day that I shot here it's rained, sometimes multiple times. So you're going to need that option to quickly switch from shooting dry to shooting wet. If you can, go ahead and invest in some dry bags. These are great. What I like about this here is that it's all built-in, easy to seal. I could take that, if it was getting really wet out, just drop the camera in. Don't have to worry about the straps, so, you know, you could take your straps and pop those off.
Most straps have some sort of quick release method. This one uses carabiners, it's a Vulture strap. I've got other straps from companies like Lowe that are just a clip, works fine. But you can drop your camera in. In this case, I just got to take the battery grip off but that's okay. There we go, pops off, and I could slip that into the bag here. There we go, nice and easy, grip will fit as well and now, my investment in equipment's safe.
This conveniently rolls up. This is just a type of bag you can get at a typical camping store like an REI or a Mountain Outfitters, and it's got its own built-in seal there so that's great. Now, this is not truly waterproof. I don't recommend you go diving with this, but if your bag gets wet or you drop it or it slips off and hits a huge puddle nothing is going to get damaged. Additionally, with a beachside town, go ahead and pick up one of those sports cameras. I don't care which type you get. Just make sure you get one, except there's something to realize.
That is that none of these cameras, from the GoPros to any of them, float on their own. So you're going to be out there, you're going to be shooting. Some giant wave is going to come up and crash over you, and you're going to lose the camera and then you're going to see it floating out to sea and you're going to go chasing it and you're probably going to lose it. I've never had this happen to me. Well, I never had it happen to me on this trip because I learned which piece of equipment to get. You can get a strap like this that's designed to attach to the camera and it's a convenient wrist strap, and that's great it gives you that protection but even more importantly it's a bright yellow buoy.
So if you let go of the camera, it's going to float with this above surface. So you still may have to go chasing into the surf after your camera, but at least you can see it and it's going to be floating at the top of the surface rather than tumbling along the bottom of the ocean. It's going to make it that much easier to find your gear. Now, another thing that I'd recommend is consider an ultralightweight tripod. This is a GorillaPod from JOBY. One of the nice things about this is that you can mount the camera in all sorts of positions. You can go around a tree branch to get some stability.
You can go low to the ground. One of the things I love about Costa Rica and places like Costa Rica is that there's just tons of great vegetation and because I can get the camera really low I can do things like shoot insects or I could put the camera in a remote location out of the way and leave it on an interval timer to shoot and not scare the animal off. This is just some great flexibility. Let's go out and explore the town of Manuel Antonio and the surrounding area with the national park and the beaches. There's so many cool things to see here and I'm sure if you come to Costa Rica it's going to be one of your favorite stops.
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