Tropical Nature Setups

Costa Rica

Nov. 5 to 16, 2022

Setups are an important skill for the nature photographer, especially so in the tropical rain forest. Greg and Glenn share the photographic and setup techniques that help them capture some of their favorite images.

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Date

Nov. 5 to 16, 2022

$

Price

$TBD

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Difficulty Level

Easy

4

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View the itinerary below, read more about the tour, or sign up now!

About the Workshop

Tropical Nature Setups

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About the Workshop

Tropical Nature Setups

Leaders

Glenn Bartley

Glenn Bartley

Glenn Bartley is a world renowned professional nature photographer from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. He focuses almost all of his efforts on capturing intimate images of birds in their natural habitat. Glenn is especially well-known for his portraits of rare and difficult to photograph birds from the Neotropical Region and his portfolio of hummingbird images.

 

You can see more of Glenn's work at his website.

Greg Basco

Greg Basco

Gregory Basco is a professional nature photographer based in Costa Rica. After completing graduate degrees in political science and tropical ecology (his doctoral dissertation focused on the politics of ecotourism in Costa Rica), Greg worked in conservation before turning to photography full-time in 2006. His images have been awarded in the Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Nature's Best Windland Smith Rice competitions and have appeared in numerous magazines and books around the world.

 

His latest major project is the second edition of the large format printed book National Parks of Costa Rica in conjunction with Zona Tropical and Cornell University Press. His popular e-books include The Guide to Tropical Nature Photography, Lightroom for the Nature Photographer, and the upcoming Flash for the Nature Photographer.

You can see more of Greg's work at his website.

Gallery

Info

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Airport

You should arrive to and depart from Costa Rica's Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO). Our driver will be waiting to provide your private transfer to our capital city hotel.

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Electricity

Electrical outlets are US-style. Those coming from Europe or Asia may need travel adapters. We will send more info after signup.

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Insurance

We strongly recommend you purchase trip insurance that includes trip cancellation and medical coverage while overseas.

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Medical

Costa Rica does not require any vaccionations to enter the country. Please consult with your doctor regarding general travel vaccinations.

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Internet Access

All of our hotels have free WIFI. We will also have cell data coverage for most of the trip.

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Certified

All of our services are conducted by fully licensed travel, lodge, and transport operators. This is part of our commitment to providing a professional travel experience.

Camera Gear

Recommended gear

  • Tele lens 500 mm or longer

  • Teleconverters

  • Camera body or bodies

  • Medium zoom lens, e.g., 70-200 mm, 100-400 mm

  • Macro lens

  • Wide angle lens

  • Cable release

  • Off-camera TTL flash cord

  • Telephoto flash bracket

  • Flash plus Better Beamer for birds and wildlife

  • Rain cover for camera

  • Small softbox or diffuser

  • Small pack or shoulder bag for daily shooting 

View the full Itinerary +

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Day 1, Arrival/San Jose

 

Arrival to Costa Rica. Meet our representative at the Juan Santamaría International Airport and transfer to your hotel near the capital city of San José, where Foto Verde Tours’ Greg Basco will be awaiting your arrival. Those who arrive early can take the afternoon to photograph the beautiful orchids and other tropical flowers in the hotel’s expansive gardens. The hotel has free wireless Internet throughout the grounds and in the rooms.

 

Day 2, Atlantic Rainforest

 

After an early breakfast, we check out and head to our first destination, a rainforest lodge where Greg has worked to set up a feeder that offers unparalleled opportunities to photograph keel-billed toucans, chestnut-mandibled toucans, and brown-hooded parrots among many other birds. We arrive at the lodge for lunch and set in immediately to photograph at the feeders! This evening, Greg and Glenn will give a presentation on fill-flash for bird and wildlife photography.

 

Day 3, Atlantic Rainforest

 

Today we divide our time at the lodge among photographing toucans, parrots, king vultures, honeycreepers, and hummingbirds – tropical bird photography doesn't get any better! Today we will split the group with half using blinds for toucans, oropendolas, and vultures that we've rented for the day and the other half shooting at our restaurant tanager and parrot feeders and visiting the lodge manager's house where we have worked with the lodge manager to set up two blinds – one for honeycreepers and one for a multiple-flash hummingbird setup where you will have the opportunity to photograph lowland hummingbird species including crowned woodnymph, white-necked jacobin, green-breasted mango, scaly-breasted hummingbird, and long-billed hermit.

 

Day 4, Atlantic Rainforest

 

And today we do it all again, with each half of the group visiting the blinds at which they've not yet photographed. And tonight we have a special treat – bat photography!

 

Day 5, Arenal Volcano

 

After an early breakfast, we travel to the Arenal Volcano area. Though currently experiencing a lull in activity, until recently Arenal had been the country's most active volcano, with continuous emissions of lava and incandescent pyroclastic flows since the beginning of the recent active cycle in 1968. On clear nights, the views of incandescent avalanches can be breathtaking. Hopefully it will become more active again soon but that, of course, is beyond our control. En route to Arenal, we stop for lunch at a restaurant that has a large population of wild iguanas. We arrive at our lodge in the afternoon and, after check-in, photograph the sunset over Lake Arenal.

 

Day 6, Arenal Volcano

 

This morning we roam the hotel grounds in search of wildlife to photograph, including monkeys, crested guan, and collared aracaris. We also will take time to photograph the numerous Montezuma oropendolas at the lodge feeders. Later this morning, we depart for a nearby spot with an amazing collection of frogs, snakes, and lizards. This place is run by one of Greg's friends, and the staff there will help us to photograph these colorful animals on natural stages that we will set up on site. This is a great opportunity to photograph a number of species that are very difficult to find in the wild and also to continue our work on creative lighting for pleasing macro images. We will enjoy a delicious home-cooked lunch as well as refreshments and coffee throughout the day. We return to our lodge in late afternoon to photograph the sunset and the Arenal Volcano.

 

Day 7, Cloud Forest

 

After an early breakfast, we travel to the higher cloud forests of the northern Central Volcanic Mountain Range and our last lodge and photography base for the rest of our trip. Our lodge is located in one of the most biodiverse areas of the country, nestled in a picturesque valley at approximately 4,500 feet above sea level. With its rushing mountain streams, cool air, and orchid and moss-festooned trees, the area is akin to a tropical Colorado. En route, we stop at a local farm where Greg has worked to set up photo opportunities of the wild, free-flying great green and scarlet macaws that inhabit the owner's large farm property. Upon arrival to our lodge, we can photograph tanagers and black guan in the new feeder areas that Greg has set up on the lodge grounds or explore the cloud forest for macro and landscape photos. This evening, Greg will do a presentation on the technical and artistic aspects of multiple-flash hummingbird photography.

 

Day 8, Cloud Forest

 

After breakfast today, we set in immediately to begin photographing hummingbirds at our multi-flash setups right on the lodge grounds. We will concentrate on the violet sabrewing (Costa Rica’s largest species), green hermit, purple-throated mountain gem, and green-crowned brilliant. Greg and Glenn will run the setups and provide attractive native flowers to ensure that you capture some fantastic hummingbird images. Greg's company, Foto Verde Tours, is the only company that has permission to do multi-flash hummingbird photography at this lodge. When not on the setups, you can relax and download images, shoot the black guans, tanagers, agouti, and coatimundi, or explore the cloud forest trails for macro and landscape photography.

 

Day 9, Cloud Forest

 

After breakfast, we visit a nearby waterfall, which is 110 meters high and offers beautiful photographic opportunities of the waterfall itself and the surrounding cloud forest. There are some absolutely world-class landscape and lush tropical foliage images to be made here. In addition, we have permission to set up our multiple-flash here to take advantage of some very interesting small hummingbird species such as black-bellied hummingbird, coppery-headed emerald, and green thorntail. We'll shoot throughout the day, alternating our time between the setups, perched hummingbirds, and landscape photography.

 

Day 10, Pacific Coast

 

After breakfast, we check out and head toward the Pacific Coast, arriving to our lodge for lunch. In the afternoon we take a private tour on the Tarcoles River to photograph Tiger Heron, Frigatebirds, Kingfishers, and crocodiles.

 

Day 11, Pacific Coast

 

In the early morning we head out on our private boat again to explore different stretches of the river and different birds. We return to our hotel for lunch and then head out to a nearby tropical dry forest area to search for owls and nightjars.

 

Day 12, Pacific Coast/San Jose

 

After more morning photography around the lodge grounds, we check out and head back toward San Jose. En route, we stop for a delicious traditional Costa Rican lunch at one of the country's most popular restaurants.

 

Day 13, Airport

 

Private transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Itinerary includes

  • Full-time photo instruction and setups by Greg and Glenn

  • Lodging as specified in DBL occupancy

  • Meals as specified

  • Private transfers to and from hotels on first and last days

  • Professional driver/photo/nature guide and private transportation in spacious tour bus

  • Multiple-flash hummingbird and other photography setup equipment

  • Entrance fees for all described activities

  • Taxes on all services listed above

Itinerary does not include

  • Airfare

  • Alcoholic drinks

  • Gratuities

  • Dinner the first night

  • Non-meal time snacks

  • Non-meal time soft drinks and bottled water

  • Single room supplement - $650

Sign-up Form

Name *

Are you registering for one person or more? *

 

Please provide names of additional people signing up with you, and please indicate if the additional people are photographers or not. We offer discounts for non-photographers on some trips.

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1. Register for your tour using the form at the end of each workshop page.

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4. Send us your traveler info form.

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2. Send us your reserve deposit.

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5. We will send you your final invoice.

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3. Book your international air travel.

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