Ultimate Rainforest Photography
June 19 to 30, 2023
Rainforest photography is all about knowing your subject and having a diverse photographic skill set. Greg and Paulo share the techniques they use to capture some of their favorite rainforest bird, wildlife, macro, and landscape images.
June 19 to 30, 2023
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View the itinerary below, read more about the tour, or sign up now!
About the Workshop
Ultimate Rainforest Photography
About the Workshop
Ultimate Rainforest Photography
Costa Rican born and raised, Paulo Valerio is an ecologist, tourism entrepreneur, and nature photographer. Paulo graduated as a tropical ecologist from the Biology School of the National University. During his graduate studies, he specialized in the development of sampling and research methods for high-flying bats in the rainforest canopy.
Involved with ecotourism since 1992, Paulo has worked as a naturalist guide and field instructor for several companies, has developed and directed field study programs and taught tropical ecology at various universities in Costa Rica and the US.. He is also a nature photographer and birdwatcher. Paulo recently also decided to pursue a long time interest and passion and obtained his PhD in traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture.
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, the mega e-book Flash for the Nature Photographer, and the new Complete Video Guide to Lightroom for the Nature Photographer.
You can see more of Greg's work at his website.
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.
Electrical outlets are US-style. Those coming from Europe or Asia may need travel adapters. We will send more info after signup.
We strongly recommend you purchase trip insurance that includes trip cancellation and medical coverage while overseas.
Costa Rica does not require any vaccinations to enter the country. Please consult with your doctor regarding general travel vaccinations.
All of our hotels have free WIFI. We will also have cell data coverage for most of the trip.
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.
Tele lens 500 mm or longer
Camera body or bodies
Medium zoom lens, e.g., 70-200 mm, 100-400 mm
Radio flash transmitter and receiver
Wide angle lens
Off-camera TTL flash cord
A flash with TTL functionality
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 +
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 Foto Verde Tours has worked to set up a feeder that offers unparalleled opportunities to photograph keel-billed toucans, chestnut-mandibled toucans, and brown-hooded parrots, hummingbirds, and bats. We arrive at the lodge for lunch and set in immediately to photograph at the feeders!
Day 3, Atlantic Rainforest
Today we concentrate on photographing the amazing king vulture at a private blind. We'll also photograph toucans, oropendolas, parrots, and tanagers throughout the day. And this evening we have a special treat – bat photography!
Day 4, Atlantic Rainforest
This day we'll split the group into two. In the morning, half of us will head to a nearby house for hummingbird and macro photography. The other half of the group will visit another local house to photograph honeycreepers. After lunch back at our lodge, we'll switch it up. At the end of the day we'll enjoy a well-earned cold drink after this busy day of 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. 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
Today we travel to a nearby spot with an amazing collection of frogs, snakes, and lizards. This place is run by good friends of Foto Verde Tours, 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 to begin working 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
This day we have a chance to do some very special photography. We will spend all day and even the early evening photographing frogs, reptiles, and snakes out in the forest with wide angle lenses and flashes. We'll learn Greg's flash techniques for seamlessly blending flash and natural light. We enjoy a late dinner and then a well-deserved rest after we finish.
Day 8, Cloud Forest
After 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 Foto Verde Tours 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 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 9, 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 Paulo will run the setups and provide attractive native flowers to ensure that you capture some fantastic hummingbird images. 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 10, Cloud Forest
We visit a nearby waterfall that 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 11, Back to San Jose
After breakfast, we check out and head back toward San Jose. 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. We arrive to our capital city hotel in the afternoon with time to relax and then enjoy a farewell dinner in the evening at the hotel restaurant.
Day 12, Airport
Private transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Full-time photo instruction and setups by Greg and Paulo
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
Dinner the first night
Non-meal time snacks
Non-meal time soft drinks and bottled water
Single room supplement - $606
Booking a tour with us is easy!
1. Register for your tour using the form at the end of each workshop page.
4. Send us your traveler info form.
2. Send us your reserve deposit.
5. We will send you your final invoice.
3. Book your international air travel.
6. We´ll send you everything you need to know before you hop on the plane!