COSTA RICA BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY WEEK
Seven days professional bird and wildlife photography in Costa Rica
using custom-built bird photography hides/blinds
GUIDED BY AWARD-WINNING PHOTOGRAPHER
Start and finish: San José, Costa Rica
Days: 7 (6 nights)
Dates: Jan 11 - 17, 2010
If bird photography is your serious passion, this trip is the perfect choice for you. We are going to spend most of our time in hides/blinds, specifically designed for the best images of Costa Rican rainforest species. We will also be guided by one of the world’s most famous and successful bird photographers: Bence Mate of Hungary. The above facts will ensure that we return home with award-winning photographs of dozens of species.
Our photographic expedition will take place in a private rainforest in the northern part of the country, close to the Nicaraguan border. There are three hides/blinds built in this region, on the properties of a non-luxurious, but comfortable lodge. Each hide caters for 4 photographers, with plenty of personal space and comfortable office chairs. The elusive King Vulture, the Chestnut-mandible Toucan, Black-cheeked Woodpecker, tanagers, honeycreepers, parrots and aracaris are just a few of the many species that frequently land in front of us, just a few meters from our lenses. An incredible experience even if you are just an observer, let alone for those intending to take awe-inspiring images.
A fantastic opportunity to improve your photography skills, learn from a world-class bird photographer, and to expand your bird photo library with hundreds of competitive images.
Day 1 (Jan 26) – San José/Boca Tapada
Our first day is entirely dedicated to traveling between our homes and Laguna del Lagarto Lodge in northern Costa Rica. We can arrive to San Jose, capital of Costa Rica, throughout the entire day, but it is important to make sure that we all arrive before 3 pm. Once we are all successfully checked into the country, we meet our driver and travel 4 hours to the northern regions of the country. Depending on what time everybody arrives by air, we might make it to the lodge just before dark, or just a little bit afterwards. We quickly check into our rooms and gather in the open air restaurant for a welcome briefing by Bence (our tour leader), followed by a simple but fantastic dinner of the lodge’s famous Nicaraguan chef, Adolfo. Our rooms at the lodge are going to be very simple, but comfortable. We will have recently renovated showers with hot water, fans and electricity, and comfortable mattresses. Once we are finished with dinner and with settling in, Bence will set the list of people visiting the different hides the following morning. He will also explain that while our main goal is to spend lots of time in the hides and take great images that way, there will also be plenty of time to do other kind of nature photography throughout the entire week. The great speciality of the area is the Great Green Macaw, which can be photographed at some special locations, and several mind blowing snake, frog and insect species will be encountered and professionally photographed. After Bence’s short briefing, we all retire, so that we can be up tomorrow, before the sun rises over the misty jungles.
Accommodation: Laguna del Lagarto Lodge
Day 2 (Jan 27) – Boca Tapada
The sunrise is going to find us in one of the three hides this morning. Each three are just a few hundred meters from our accommodation, thus all are very conveniently located.One of them is half way in the ground, specially built for attracting vultures and caracaras. The other two are towers – one is deep inside the rainforest,specializing in seldom seen rainforest species, while the third one is out in a semi-open field, with fantastic green backgrounds and the largest variety of visiting species. Based upon the initial list set up by Bence last night, we will settle into either of the three hides. Bence is going to give us instructions about the best possible images, compositions and action shots we need to be aware of, but there will also be a helpful booklet for each of us, inside the hide. Our entire morning is dedicated to shooting images of the different bird species that appear in front of our lenses. At around 11 am, the bird movement will become quite scarce, so we walk back to the lodge for a great siesta break. Lunch will be served at 12:30, and we will also utilize the siesta break for working on any other photo opportunities that rise throughout the day, such as large spiders,interesting insects, snakes etc, which will, for a maximum of 3 hours period, be kept, under the best possible circumstances. At 3 pm in the afternoon, we will walk back to our assigned hides and spend the rest of the day, until dusk,capturing great images of all the colorful species moving around in front of our lenses. Dinner will be served at 7 pm, followed by a short slide show of Bence’s best images, before we retire to our rooms, in order to be fresh for more photography tomorrow.
Accommodation: Laguna del Lagarto Lodge
Day 3 - Day 6 (Jan 28-31) – Boca Tapada
Our day is very similar to the previous one. Bence will assign a hide for us, and will visit us frequently all day long, giving us advises on the best possible compositions,actions, techniques and professional tricks. Most of our morning and evening will be spent in the hides, with various activities and photo opportunities during siesta time, and brief photo lectures and slide shows from Bence in the evenings.
Accommodation: Laguna del Lagarto Lodge
Day 7 (Feb 01) – Boca Tapada/San Jose/departure
In the process of your booking procedure, we will ask you to book your return flight from San Jose for no sooner than 2 pm today. This way all of us will be able to leave Laguna del Lagarto Lodge early in the morning today and be transferred to Alajuela airport on time for our international flights. By now, we all have thousands of professional images from the Costa Rican rainforest, and will hardly be able to wait until we get home and start working on the editing process. Have a great time with that at home, and have a safe homebound journey!
PRICE and OTHER CONDITIONS
Price per person in double rooms:
all accommodation, all meals, unlimited usage of HidePhotography Inc's professional hides, all land transportation, Bence Mate's guiding fees, all government taxes and levies
international flights, visa fees if apply, travel insurance, laundry, telephone and bar at accommodation, departure taxes at airports
you are welcome to arrange your own transportation to/from San Jose (Costa Rica) the way you desire, but please make sure that you arrive to San Jose on Jan 26 no later than 3 pm, and depart from San Jose for no sooner than 2 pm on Feb 01.
this special bird photography trip is designed for max 9 photographers
Deadline for application
30 August, 2009
personal travel insurance required
Your tour leader
Bence (24), with no doubt, is one of the world’s most talented young photographers. At age 17,he has already been winning awards in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest, and had been in the BBC Wildlife Photographers of the Year book in 7 consecutive year. An achievement nobody ever managed, except for him. His unique visions, patience, camera skills and friendly personality make him not only a great photographer, but a perfect choice for you to learn from. The birdphotography hides at Lagarto Lodge are custom designed by Bence, so there is no one else in the world who would be most perfect for leading this trip.
Weather and accommodation
In January, Laguna del Lagarto Lodge is experiencing heavy rains. We must not hide the fact that this will mean a lot of mud on the ground and high humidity in the air. But yet,this is the time when the greens are stunningly bright and the cloud cover and rain creates unparalleled images. So be prepared for rainy, mudy, steamy weather, but lots of great images and excellent photography. Lagarto Lodge is a simple but comfortable lodge at the edge of a large private rainforest. And ideal place for a group of photographers to hide away from the world and focus on wildlife images for an entire week.
What you can expect
You can expect Bence to work with you 24/7, in order to make sure that you are leaving Lagarto Lodge with hundreds of potentially award-winning images. He is going to help you all the time in the hides,while shooting bird species, and when not in the hides, he will be setting up photography scenes, so that you are able to capture images like these:
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