2019 Costa rica wildlife photography workshops

I’m excited to announce our new 2019 Costa Rica Wildlife Photography Workshop! This once-in-a-lifetime photo workshop will take place on Costa Rica’s beautiful Osa Peninsula, a location National Geographic calls, “The most biologically intense place on Earth.” An impressive claim, but just a few hours on site is enough to make a believer out of any skeptic. In fact, I think the National Geographic statement may not do it justice!

As a full-time wildlife photographer, I’ve been to more than a few incredible locations, but I have to tell you – I’ve never experienced an environment that was so incredibly target rich and diverse as the Osa Peninsula. This is truly a workshop experience that you will always remember! When I went to evaluate the location for a potential workshop, I never dreamt I would end up shooting over 14,000 images in just under a week’s time!

What can you see and photograph? Although there are never any guarantees with wildlife, it’s very likely you’ll see quite a few of the species listed below – heck, you may see them all and then some! In fact, the Osa Peninsula harbors 2.5% of the biodiversity on the planet, even though it only covers less than 1/1000th of 1% of the surface area of the earth! There are over 463 species of birds and 140 species of mammals – think of it as Disneyland for wildlife photographers! For just a small sample of what I captured, check out the Costa Rica gallery here.

As a dedicated wildlife photographer, more than 90% of the images I capture each year are of wildlife. I’m a specialist, and when it comes to getting critters on your memory cards, I have a wealth of tips and tricks up my sleeve that will help you accomplish that goal. Also, and as many of you already know, teaching photography is what I do – just check out my extensive collection of blog posts and videos to get an idea of how I convey myself and my information.

In this workshop, I’ll not only help you get the shot, but I’ll also share tips and tricks you can use to capture the special moments of any wildlife encounter. We’ll look at everything from camera and tech settings to creative techniques – it’s the whole package, and I think you’ll really enjoy it. At each wildlife encounter, I’ll be there to guide you and assist in capturing those wall-hangers! Also, while I may take a shot here and there, during the workshop, I’m NOT there for my own photos, but for YOUR photos. I’ve heard of nightmare workshops where the instructor was more interested in his or her own photos than that of the participants – that is NOT the case here. YOUR images are the priority for everyone involved.

In addition, we’ll also have professional guides along to help locate wildlife – and let me tell you, their ability to find wildlife borders on the supernatural (you’ll see for yourself that last line isn’t just marketing hype). I pride myself on my ability to spot wildlife, but these guys put me to shame. They know the area and can consistently locate and hone in on wildlife of all sorts. Plus, they are super-knowledgeable about every aspect of the rainforest; from fauna to flora, they can tell you all about it. Oh, and they are a blast to hang out with – you’re gonna love ‘em!

Finally, our home base will be Crocodile Bay Resort – and it’s just fantastic! The property itself is beautiful, and the truth is, you can (and do) see just about every animal I mentioned on the list above. Some of my best shots were captured right there at the resort, and some of our shooting will take place there. Heck, on our last morning there I was shooting howler monkeys that were less than 20 feet from my bathroom window. (In fact, I was slightly concerned they might try to join me!) Plus, the staff there is jaw-droppingly outstanding. Everyone is super-friendly and always makes you feel welcome. I wish all resorts were this good!

We’ll meet you at the lobby and get you checked in right away. Once your gear is dropped off, we hit the conference center where I’ll have a presentation that covers how to photograph the wildlife of Costa Rica. Wildlife photography in Costa Rica can be a challenge and I want you to be thoroughly prepared when the action starts unfolding in your viewfinder. When the amazing moments happen, I want you to know EXACTLY what to do to secure the shot. After all, you don’t want to miss an incredible photo because you weren’t fully instructed beforehand!

Today we’ll head out to the countryside first thing in the morning and discover some incredible wildlife with our expert guides. We’ll enjoy traveling in a set of 4WD vehicles that can get us everywhere we need to go. Throughout the day, we’ll be driving through different locations and stopping along the way when we see interesting wildlife (some days, it’s so active we stop every 10 to 15 minutes). There’s no telling what we’ll see on a given day, but the diversity is incredible.

Today we’re up bright and early again and off to one of my favorite locations where we’ll discover even more wildlife! You’ll have the opportunity to photograph a variety of snakes (wild snakes that are in the hands of a professional handler and released when we’re done), various frogs (possibly even poison dart frogs), and a large variety of birds as well.

The morning of this day is set aside for those who want to do their own optional excursions through the resort (not included in the workshop price, but very affordable). We often have participants who want to target a specific species or groups of animals (just birds, just monkeys, etc.) and this allows you to work directly towards that goal – or you can take the morning off if you prefer. I will also use this morning to help anyone who has technical problems with their gear. (Happens more than you think!)

Lunch is at the resort and we’ll spend part of the afternoon doing a group image critique, answering tech questions, and fixing any photography issues. I’ll also use this time to show you some noise reduction techniques using Photoshop and Lightroom. We’re often shooting very high ISO in the rainforest, so this info can be critical to getting the most from your photos. You can also use this time to walk the resort and add to your collection of photos – the resort grounds are one of our best areas and many of my – and our participants – best Costa Rica images come directly from its park-like setting.

This trip is best suited for photographers who have at least some experience with their cameras and have done at least a some wildlife photography. Costa Rica is one of the most challenging locations on the planet and while I can guide you though the tough stuff, keep in mind that we do have 10 participants so it’s important that you have some experience under your belt.

The weather in Costa Rica is hot and humid. Like really hot and humid. Like, Florida in July, only hotter and more humid. And it likes to rain at least once a day. So, I recommend avoiding anything cotton – it just won’t dry and it will feel hot and icky (that’s the technical term BTW). I like dry-fit style shirts (I have some from Eddie Bauer that work well) and shorts (Columbia makes some nice options with their “Omni Wick” and “Quick Dry” water shorts). You can wear long pants if you like, however, make sure they are of the lightweight and fast drying variety.

Keep in mind this is a dedicated wildlife trip, so you’ll definitely want your big glass. Using full frame, you’ll want at least 400mm, however, I HIGHLY recommend 500mm ~ 600mm or more. One of the super zooms is a good choice like the Nikon 200-500, Sigma 150-600, Tamron 150-600, or Canon 100-400. If you happen to have a big prime that’s even better – I use my 600 F/4 all the time and it works out extremely well.