Location: Crocodile Bay, Costa Rica
Dates: December 8-15, 2020 3 Spaces Available
Cost: $4499 double occupancy, $700 single supplement, $1500 deposit due upon registration.
Description: After teaching workshops in locations all over Costa Rica, Tom decided that the Crocodile Bay Resort is the most user friendly for photographers. National Geographic called the Osa Peninsula “the most biologically intense place on Earth”. On this deluxe tour you will spend a night in the Hilton-Doubletree in San Jose before taking a domestic flight to the town near our location. We will spend the next 6 days photographing birds, mammals, reptiles and landscapes, without having to change hotels.
Have a spouse of friend who would like to join you but is not a photographer? This location has a terrific deal for you. Your guest can share a room with you and enjoy the resort and meals at only a cost of $1099. In order to qualify for this “Tag a Long” deal the workshop participant signs up for the single supplement price. The resort offers activities like zip-lining, fishing, spa treatments, jungle hikes and more for guests at additional costs. Because of transportation seating, we cannot accommodate Tag a Long guests on photo field excursions.
Why Crocodile Bay?
One of the things that impressed us the most about this resort is how incredible the photography is on the grounds. Expect to wake up each morning listening to scarlet macaws in the almond trees near your room, and howler monkeys ‘howling’ in the distance. The resort grounds include an estuary with breeding snowy egrets, green herons, green kingfishers and boat-billed herons. Other trails lead to the beach and through the forest where you will see toucans and perhaps a sloth hanging in the trees. Golden-headed Caracaras and roadside hawks are common, and you can practice your panning technique as they fly past your room.
Each day we have set up excursions to photograph the spectacular wildlife and rainforests of the Osa Peninsula. One of my favorite things to do in Costa Rica is photograph amphibians like red-eyed tree frogs and tiny, colorful dart frogs. We will work with professional guides who will set up still life scenes with tree frogs and snakes so you can focus on getting the shot in the perfect (safe) setting. This is a great time to work on your macro photography, and experiment with flash. Other days we will travel roads photographing the abundant larger wildlife including four species of monkeys, sloths, coatimundi and anteaters.
On our final day we will take a wildlife cruise down the Sierpe river. Bring a lot of flash cards, because the wildlife is abundant, including caimen and crocodiles. During my scouting trip I photographed flocks of parakeets roosting in palm trees and spider monkeys playing in the river. And I got eye level with a caimen.
Day 1: Arrive San Jose, meet in lobby for orientation meeting at 7:00 pm at the Hilton Doubletree hotel after dinner on your own.
Day 2: San Jose to Puerto Jimenez. We fly down (50 minute flight) to the Osa Peninsula today. We will get settled in our rooms, and take a tour and photograph wildlife at the resort. This afternoon we will have classes in the conference room to get you ready for the amazing photography of the area.
Day 3: After a delicious breakfast, we will spend the full day driving to Carate on the Osa Peninsula. This drive offers fantastic wildlife shooting and stunning views of primary rainforest. Expect to photograph monkeys, sloths and a wide variety of birds.
Day 4: Macro morning! We will head to La Tarde, located on a beautiful hillside looking into Corcovado Natiional Park. Here our guides will arrange a variety of tree frogs, dart frogs and snakes for macro photography. You will be amazed! In the afternoon we will take another drive to photograph wildlife in the evening light.
Day 5: We will visit nearby botanical gardens for more macro photography. In the afternoon we will do more classes, followed by photographing the abundant birdlife on the hotel grounds.
Day 6: Today we visit another reptile and amphibian location, the Osa Interactive Gardens. You will have more chances to photograph the colorful dart frogs and snakes. In the afternoon we drive into the rainforest in search of more monkeys, sloths and anteaters.
Day 7: Sierpe River Boat Tour. This morning we will drive to the Sierpe River for an incredible wildlife cruise along the river. Bring lots of flash cards this day, because your camera shutter won’t stop clicking! Crocodiles, caimen, monkeys, racoons and abundant bird life live along the river.
Day 8: Early return to San Jose to catch your international flight home. We recommend scheduling your flight home after noon.
About the Resort
After a full day of photography, you can return to your air-conditioned room (many eco-lodges in the area do not have AC) to freshen up before dinner. The food is excellent and includes a wide selection from salads, sandwiches and steaks to tasty fresh seafood and pasta. The kitchen can accommodate any special dietary needs. There is a terrific bar too. One thing that impressed me was how friendly the staff are. They really go out of their way to help you with anything.
Our natural history guides during the day are incredible. They are experts at finding animals and birds in the jungle, and know how to get in the right position for photographs. The guides have grown up in the area, so they know exactly where to go for specific species. If you want to relax even more, then take a swim in the pool or schedule a massage at the spa. All meals and wine at dinner are included in the price!
Another fantastic benefit of this location is a large, air-conditioned conference room. Unlike my previous workshops in Costa Rica, we will have class sessions and image reviews during this trip. This will be a great opportunity to learn specific techniques for photographing in the jungle, and get a chance to see everyone’s images from the trip (always a highlight and very educational).
What can you expect to learn? A huge amount!
Wildlife techniques; this is your chance to really improve your wildlife photography. We’ll show you specific tips on camera settings, focus modes, panning and composition. You will have plenty of time to practice; just step outside the conference room and photograph the scarlet-rumped tanager nearby.
Macro photography; We will have excursions to photograph small reptiles including dart frogs, tree frogs and snakes. The reptiles will be handled and positioned by professional guides so you can focus on your macro photography. This is one of my favorite days, and the photography is stunning. The hotel and nearby jungle will have lots of flowering plants in April, so you can continue working on your macro shooting right near your room. We will talk about focus stacking, macro lenses, reflector use and composition.
Landscape photography; while we will focus more on wildlife and macro, we will have opportunity for some great landscapes. We will explore some of the scenic beaches nearby which have nice rocks and great crashing waves for dynamic landscapes. Also, fig trees and abundant palm trees provide numerous choices for landscape compositions. We will teach HDR photography in the jungle, and talk about filter use for creative wave movement.
Flash photography; we know many of you are interested in learning about flash photography, and here is your chance. We will show you how to use your flash in the rainforest. We will discuss tele-flash to fill in shadows, macro flash for reptiles and accent flash for flower photography. Since we have a conference room, we can get everyone set up and ready to go before heading out for the day. We will be bringing some small softboxes and snoots for the group to use.
Processing your images; with a convenient comfortable conference room, we are going to have classes on image processing. We will show you both Lightroom and Photoshop, and will schedule one-on-one sessions so we can help individually with specific questions. You don’t have to worry about your processing knowledge, we can help you take the next steps. We will show you how to bring out shadows and set highlights on high contrast jungle canopy images. You will learn the best way to reduce noise, and how to accurately sharpen an image. Most importantly, we will show you everything you need to know so you can bring your amazing Costa Rica images to the next level!
Don’t be surprised if you shoot thousands of images. I averaged over 1000 images each day I was there, and I was scouting more than shooting. After a week of shooting, you are going to be filling up your hard drive! Bring lots of flash cards and backup space.
We are working in conjunction with Crocodile Bay Resort to create this special photographic trip. Since they are the experts on Costa Rica travel logistics, you will be booking directly with them for this workshop.
What is included in the price?
- Domestic flight from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez (round-trip)
- Transfers from airport in San Jose to Hilton Doubletree hotel
- First night lodging at Doubletree in San Jose; six nights accommodation at Crocodile Bay Resort
- All meals and non-alcoholic drinks at Crocodile Bay Resort. Wine is included with dinner.
- All excursions outlined on the schedule and park fees
- All guide services and photography instruction
- Copy of Tom’s ebook Create Better Photographs
Closest Airport: San Jose, Costa Rica
Participants will provide their own:
Personal expenses, tips for daily guides, alcoholic beverages other than wine at dinner, other meals or services not mentioned in the itinerary description.
- International travel round trip to San Jose, Costa Rica
- Additional activities at Crocodile Bay Resort