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Costa Rica
Hummingbird and Wildlife Photo Tour
January 2022

Our trip started with a Mottled Owl on the grounds of our hotel, a bird I've
seem but never photographed before. At our second stop, a Black and White Owl perched, at night, in our dining area.


Long-tailed Silky Flycatcher


Golden-browed Chlorophonia


Green hermit

Covid didn't impact our photo tour to Costa Rica, and the trip was wonderful. We visited our usual locations, a tropical low-country lodge in the northeastern section of the country, and several lodges and photo sites in the central highlands and mountainous cloud forests.

A Bronzy Hermit and a Lesser Violetear, at our setups.
Female Purple-throated Mountain Gem and another violetear

Our focus, as usual, was a combination of hummingbird photography, much of which was with our flash setups or those of our wonderful in-country guide. Our flash setups involved four flashes, and our shooters rotated through the sets, with one photographer per setup during that rotation. When not shooting hummingbirds at the sets photographers either photographed the hummingbirds around the gardens or at the feeders, depending upon the location. We photographed the hummingbirds at four different locations, the low jungle species in the northeast, the central valley's surrounding mountains, and the cloud forest, at over 8,000 feet.

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird and Violet-crowned Woodnymph

That last location was our base for photographing Resplendent Quetzals, and we had great luck. To put this in perspectie, we talked with some other photographers that were on a mixed group trip - birders and photographers - generally a very bad mix. That group had Quetzals, but they were in the foliage and, from what I saw with their images, the Quetzal's wonderful tail wasn't visible. Our location was a farm where a wild avocado tree was in seed, which is the favorite food for the Quetzal. Around the tree, scattered about, the owner has perches where the Quetzals, after grabbing an avocado, often fly to and perch. Wonderful shots!

Resplendent Quetzal and Fiery-throated Hummingbird

At this elevation we had Fiery-throated Hummingbirds, aptly named, and at another location we had the same species perched, just a foot or so from our lenses -- it just didn't care.


Pallas Long-tongued Bat and Orange-nectar Bat

Besides hummingbirds, we were lucky to get a good Three-toed Sloth, good Spectacled Caimans, a few monkeys, wonderful flying Macaws, and two species of bats that we did one evening.


White-faced Capuchin Monkey


Keel-billed Toucan

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Collared Aracari and Brown-hooded Parrot


Great Green Macaw and Laughing Falcon

For some of the hummingbird shoots we used flowers that were baited with sugar water, and at others, because the birds were a bit shyer, we used the feeders that were present. Actually, there can be advantages to this, as birds can fly directly towards the camera and more effectively reveal the colors of the gorget.

Below, I have two eBooks on hummingbird photography. One, The Complete Guide, as of this writing is an expanded article that I did recently for Nature Photographer. If you order that book, check the description, as I will be updating and expanding it, but for now, consider this book a primer.

However, if you'd like to customize your images and get creative, my second eBook, Inserting a Flower via Photoshop, is an extremely comprehensive guide that will lead you step-by-step through the entire process. Part 2 of the book covers Layers and Masks, and if you don't understand either, you will.



Click on the book or this link to order!