Costa Rica's Nature Photography
Costa Rica (meaning "rich coast" in Spanish) is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east.Wikipedia.
Photographing Costa Rica's Nature is definitely one adventure a photographer should not miss.
Costa Rica has twelve of the life zones classified by L. Holdridge in 1971. These life zones are defined by the variation of temperature and precipitation in a given area. These variables also change with elevation. The life zones are named according to the latitudinal belt and high in humidity. So taking precautions with your gear, especially electronics is a major concern.
Costa Rica’s rich ecosystem is a naturalist’s dream, ranging from mangrove swamps, tropical rain forests to mountains and coastal beaches. Unlike many destinations, where man has driven the animals into the deepest seclusion, Costa Rica’s wildlife is abundant. Animals and birds are prolific and in a majority of cases, easy to spot.
"Around 25% of the country's land area is in protected national parks and protected areas, the largest percentage of protected areas in the world (developing world average 13%, developed world average 8%). Costa Rica has successfully managed to diminish deforestation from some of the worst rates in the world from 1973 to 1989, to almost zero by 2005. Wikipedia
The Wildlife of Costa Rica comprises all naturally occurring animals and plants that reside in this Central American country. The country supports an enormous variety of wildlife, due in large part to its location between the North and South American continents, and its wide variety of habitats.
Costa Rica is home to more than 500,000 varieties or species, which represents close to 4% of the total species estimated worldwide, making this neighbor to our South one of the top countries with the highest bio-diversification in the world. Especial emphasis is the diversity in its bird inhabitants featuring some of the world's most gorgeous specimens.
One national park, the Corcovado National Park, is internationally renowned among ecologists for its biodiversity (including big cats and tapirs) and is where visitors can expect to see an abundance of wildlife. "Wikipedia
Conducting a photographic tour here should be among the top things that any photographer should do at least once in their lifetime. There are many lodges that surround the Amazon forest, rivers and are within short distances to many of the country's natural wonders.
Some of these accommodations are nestled among the forest itself and it would be uncommon to wake up one morning, open your blinds and see a variety of wildlife sharing the balcony with you.
There is no barrier in Costa Rica to the entry of South American species of plants and animals, and the lowland rain forests have strong affinities with other parts of South America and form a distinctive mixture of species in which the large number of palms, tree ferns, emphasize the constant heat and humidity of the region, which is typical of a rain forest habitat.
The impressive tropical rain-forest of eastern Costa Rica and the Osa Peninsula give way on the central Pacific to a dry evergreen forest at lower elevations and dry deciduous forest farther north. These, too, are of essentially South American composition.
In the Cordillera Talamanca, conifers of South American provenance are joined by North American oaks. Above the treeline hikers familiar with the mid elevation flora of the high Andes of Peru and Ecuador will find many affinities in the shrubby open landscape of Costa Rica's cordillera.
Before venturing on one of these photo/eco tours, one should research the area, the accessibility and especially the lodging. Most offer tours that are designed with a photographer or a nature lover in mind. Prices can range from less than a thousand dollars for a few days stay to a couple of thousand, depending on the type of accommodation that you choose.
"Travel costs are significantly higher here than in most Central American countries, but cheaper than in the USA or Europe" www.lonelyplanet.com. You will also quickly learn and be pleasantly surprised that in many places merchants will gladly accept US currency. However changing some dollars for the local currency ( Colon) is a good idea for tips and other small expenditures.
It is very wise to book a tour that have professional local guides that are familiar with the locations where wildlife is abundant. like most tours if you book one that is not specifically designed for photography you may run into unexpected itineraries which do not feature times that are best for photography (early morning and at dusk).
Also booking a tour with only naturalist minded people, like birdwatchers for example, may get you some discordant nods as most do not enjoy having your camera motor drive and shutter clicking sounds disturb the wildlife, which is a real possibility.
One thing to consider is if you want to concentrate on a nature/eco tour then do so. But if you want to see the city and other tourist sites then it is best to book separate vacations or tour packages. Most eco/nature lodges, at least the more exotic and closer to nature, are found some distance away form the major city centers.
Booking a ten day trip for example may not leave you enough time to fully grasp or photograph the many natural wonders that this beautiful country has to offer.
A special note; if you do get to visit this country and get to stay at one of the many eco lodges close to the rain forest and natural landscape it is wise to take good notes that detail your experiences as well as details about the locations , times, transportation and other facts for each image.
Don't forget to annotate itineraries, rate exchanges, foods, recommendations and anything that you find will be an aid to future travelers.
Contacting your local publication when you get back home might also be a good idea as well as contacting the tourist board of the location as they are quite open to furthering the beauty of their region and first hand knowledge is always good.
These fact along with your images can be very useful is you plan to submit your writing and images to publishers. Images that are accompanied by good details and recount your experiences are more likely to be looked at by editors rather than images by themselves.
- Costa Rica Travel Information and Travel Guide - Lonely Planet
Costa Rica tourism and travel information including facts, maps, history, culture, transport and weather in Costa Rica. Find popular places to visit in Costa Rica - Lonely Planet
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© 2012 Luis E Gonzalez
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