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Jun 152012
 
For the very best opportunities for great nature photograph in Costa Rica, it’s probably best to join a photo tour. But, a family vacation trip can also yield good results. Recently Joan and I spent ten days in Costa Rica, staying at three different lodges. Although we had been to Costa Rica once before, we were covering new territory on this trip. The first destination was the Peace Lodge, adjacent to the La Paz Waterfalls Gardens.

Scarlet Macaw, La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Costa RicaRed-eyed Treefrog, La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Costa Rica

 

Red-eyed Treefrog, La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Costa Rica

 

As we checked into the Lodge, we were asked if we wanted to do a “frog tour” that evening. Not having a clue what to expect, I said: “sure, why not”. Being the only participants, this turned into an hour and a half of me photographing nine different species of frogs. Luckily, we had headlamps with us that provided the minimum amount of light I needed to focus my camera. Despite being ill-prepared and deleting many blurred images, I managed to get images of nine species of frogs. Wow, that was very cool!

 
 
 

Purple-throated Mountaingem, La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Costa Rica

 

The Waterfall Gardens has an area with many hummingbird feeders and a variety of hummingbirds seem to feed there constantly. I didn’t have the benefit of a multiple high-speed flash setup for flight shots, but I did okay. Six different species at one location seemed pretty good, even if they were perched. Late in the afternoon the staff covers the hanging feeders and passes out feeders to be hand-held by any child, or adult wanting to be a kid again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peleides Blue Morpho, La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Costa Rica

 

At the Gardens there is a butterfly pavilion. That was another challenge for me, not having any experience photographing butterflies. With a little trial and error, I managed to capture images of seven species that I was pleased with.

 

 

 

 

Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Costa Rica

 

There is also an aviary on the property. Although I prefer to photograph uncontrolled subjects, that didn’t stop me from taking advantage of the many birds on display. Photographing from certain angles, the enclosures were not visible. The toucans provided the best photo opportunities and the best laugh of the trip. “Bob”, a Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, was sitting on Joan’s shoulder being hand-fed watermelon when he decided Joan’s earring also looked appetizing. Yep, there went the earring – hope it came out without a problem.

Big cats, native to Costa Rica, are also on display. Given the thick glass, heavy bars, wire mess and terrible light, getting half-way decent photographs was close to impossible. That said, I just acted like a typical tourist and did the best I could.

Jaguar, La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Costa Rica

So what about the waterfalls? Yes, the La Paz Waterfalls Garden has natural waterfalls which are accessible on a network of hiking trails. The terrain was steep and fortunately there was a shuttle bus at the bottom to get us back up to the lodge.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Costa Rica

 For over 100 more photos from this trip go to http://dongettywildlifephotography.com/p445168888

Stay turned for parts 2 and 3 for reports on our next two stops in Costa Rica.

Don Getty

http://www.dongettywildlifephotography.com/

Don Getty

Don Getty

Don Getty has been an avid wildlife photographer for over 20 years. He resides in Wyoming, just 30 miles from Yellowstone Park. He photographs birds, mammals, reptiles and just about any living creature he can get in front of his lens. Wildlife photography has taken him throughout the Rocky Mountain region of the US and Canada, East Africa, South Africa, Costa Rica, Florida and Churchill Manitoba. He has received numerous awards and his images have appeared in many magazines, books and calendars.


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