What to Expect

Red-legged Honeycreeper

We arranged this trip with photography in mind and will be visiting places in which we have had the greatest photographic success in the past.  Our goal is to make sure that you come home with photos that you are proud of and that you have fun while taking them.  We will do whatever we can to help you build your skills and are always eager to hear your questions and to learn from everyone.


To ensure that our guests have the best chance for success we will limit the number of participants to six.  This trip will be led by Greg Lavaty along with our local guide who we have worked with for many years.  We are knowledgeable about the birds and experienced photographers.  We will use this knowledge not only to locate interesting species but to get you into good position to obtain great photos.  Our goal is not to list the largest number of species but to obtain quality photos of those species that we do encounter.  This means that we are happy to spend more time with an accommodating bird in order to maximize photographic opportunities even though it means we may not see all of the birds possible.  Of course we do all we can to make sure we don’t miss the really fancy species.


This trip is not intended to be strenuous though to get the most of it you should be able to tolerate moderate exertion.  We will do some walks into the habitats we visit but the pace will be slow and we don’t typically cover much distance.


As we will be covering a variety of habitats participants should expect to encounter temperatures ranging from damp weather in the low 50’s in the cloud forest to the high 80’s down in the rain forest.  We will be visiting at the “dry” season so we will hopefully not experience too much rain but we will be spending a healthy portion of our time in areas with rain in their name so rain gear will likely be necessary. 


Insects (mosquitoes and such) are typically not a problem though they may be encountered.  Clothes treated with insecticide/repellent are not a bad idea and I haven’t regretted bringing along a bottle of insect repellant along yet.


As far as gear is concerned I find that a long telephoto lens is usually a good idea.  I prefer to use a 500mm f/4 lens as it lets in enough light to get reasonable shutter speeds under the canopy without requiring excessively high ISO settings.  It also gives enough magnification that a reasonable amount of detail can be captured of even the small birds.  Since our pace is generally pretty slow it isn’t a problem to work from a tripod.  I don’t personally use a flash but some guests in the past have found them useful.  We will be visiting some hummingbirds feeders during the trip and for them I often find that I like to have a telephoto zoom lens such as a 70-300mm, 100-400mm or 150-600mm lens.  The scenery in Costa Rica can be breathtaking so many of our guests find it useful to carry a wider angle lens like a 16-35mm or 24-70mm lens to take advantage of the landscapes and people photography opportunities.  Finally, there is a good chance we will encounter interesting insects, beautiful orchids and hopefully even some colorful frogs.  For these types of situations I typically like to use my 100-400mm lens with its close up capabilities but sometimes people prefer to bring a dedicated macro lens.


We do usually try to offer the opportunity to do a few after dark excursions.  We do carry a spotlight but it is probably a good idea for you to bring a small flash light so you can see where you are going if you decide to join us at night.

Resplendent Quetzal