Costa Rica Rainforest

Location: Crocodile Bay, Costa Rica See 2022 Trip report

Dates Session 1: March 23-30, 2024 Space Available

Dates Session 2: April 1-8, 2024 SOLD OUT.

Cost: $5799 double occupancy, $800 single supplement

Description: Adventure with Tom and Cree Bol to Costa Rica to photograph the colorful mammals, birds and plants of the rain forest. 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 reptiles 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 by van and photograph the abundant larger wildlife including four species of monkeys, sloths, coatimundi and anteaters.  We also take a wildlife cruise down the Sierpe River in a comfortable pontoon boat with local guides. Bring a lot of flash cards, because the wildlife is abundant, including caimen and crocodiles.

Interested in bringing a non-photographer Spouse/Friend/Guest?

Crocodile Bay offers a very appealing rate for non-photographers. If you pay the single supplement rate of $6599, a second guest can join you for $1999. This guest rate includes all meals, hotel stay in San Jose and round trip flight from San Jose to Puerto Jiminez. Non-photographers can sign up to participate on activities through the resort but will not join the photography group for activities.

Our schedule:

Day 1: Arrive San Jose, meet in lobby for orientation meeting at 7:00 pm at the Hilton Garden Inn – La Sabada Hotel.

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 El Perica – a sloth garden near the town of las Palmas.  On our last visit we photographed 7 sloths on the property in the wild, including two and three-toed sloths. 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.

About the Resort

This year we will be staying in the brand new rooms at Botanika, right across from the Crocodile Bay reception area. 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!

denis
Dennis – our local wildlife guide

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 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.  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, their terms and conditions will apply 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 Garden Inn hotel
  • First night lodging at Hilton Garden Inn in San Jose; six nights accommodation at Botanika
  • All meals and non-alcoholic drinks at Botanika
  • All excursions outlined on the schedule and park fees
  • All guide services and photography instruction
  • Copy of Tom’s ebook Create Better Photographs

Participants will provide their own:

  • Roundtrip ticket to San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Gratuities for guide and resort staff
  • Alcohol other than wine

Know Before You Go: Rated Easy. This workshop requires walking up to 1-2 miles per day on trails and beaches. A wildlife lens is recommended.

Payment for this workshop goes directly through Crocodile Bay staff. Their terms and conditions apply rather than those for Tom Bol Photo Workshops. In order to sign up for the Session 2, March 2024 Photo Tour Leave a Message Here

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