Last updated on January 30th, 2021 at 09:08 pm EST
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Costa Rica Wildlife Photos
Though spotting a particular species of wildlife at a specific locale in Costa Rica is tough to guarantee, one thing you can count on is that you’ll see something no matter where you wander. Opportunities for fantastic Costa Rica wildlife photography are everywhere you turn in this tiny corner of the world. If you keep your eyes open, trek quietly, and look to the forest canopy above your head, the forest floor below your feet, and every inch of tree trunks, flowers, and leaves in between, you’ll find there’s plenty of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and insects to fill your lens’ field of view.
Quick tips for taking photos of Costa Rica Wildlife
- Do not use flash photography. This is to avoid harming or scaring Costa Rica wildlife.
- Keep your distance. Wildlife can be unpredictable, and no photo is worth getting bitten, scratched, or stung.
- Approach photo subjects slowly and quietly. Several species of Costa Rica wildlife, especially species of birds and mammals, spook easily.
- Beware of your surroundings. Wildlife is everywhere in Costa Rica, and while this is great for capturing beautiful photos, it can also be a danger. Always scout out your photography vantage point in search of potential dangers. Don’t crawl around on the ground to snap a photo of leaf cutter ants if there’s a snake snoozing nearby. Don’t linger around estuaries to take photos of monkeys playing in trees overhead if there are crocodiles in the water. And so on. Stop and set-up shop to take photos only if you determine that you’re safe in your surroundings.
- If you have a zoom (telephoto) lens, use it. Wildlife is often spotted at a distance and a zoom lens makes a world of difference. If your budget permits, a good macro lens is another great investment. It will help you snap incredible shots of photo subjects at close range.
- Bring a good quality tripod (if you have one) to help steady your shots. We use a tripod with retractable legs so it can easily be stored in our backpack during hikes and nature tours.
- Learn how to use the various settings on your camera! Most digital cameras nowadays come with automatic settings that can help you take photos of moving objects, objects at close range, objects at a distance, objects at night, etc. These settings are useless if you don’t teach yourself what they mean and how they can impact your photography. Better yet, do away with the automatic settings, watch some introductory photography videos on YouTube, and learn how to best manipulate your camera using manual settings. If you’re not sure what ISO and shutter speeds are, it’s best to stick to automatic settings.
- Come prepared for the elements. Depending on where you plan to travel in Costa Rica, you may be exposed to elements that affect your photography, including rain, fog/clouds, and humidity. Learning what conditions you’re likely to encounter while here can help you determine what camera equipment (as well as what types of clothing and equipment carriers) you’ll need to pack.
- Come prepared for day photography. Here in the tropics, the daytime can be bright and sunny. You may want to bring camera accessories that help minimize the effect of direct sunlight on photography.
- Come prepared for night photography. Costa Rica’s varied ecosystems come alive after dark. Night tours offer a chance to photograph nocturnal species that become active after dark, but you’ll need to bring (or check that your tour guide will provide) a light source that won’t harm wildlife but will aid in your photography.
- Take far more photos than you think you’ll ever need. Unless you’re a professional photographer with experience snapping Costa Rica wildlife photography, you probably won’t get the money shot with your first click. Take several photos while you have the chance; you can delete copies or out-of-focus outputs later if you don’t want or need them. If your photo subject is stationary, at least temporarily, take photos with a few different settings on your camera to get accustomed to using each. The old adage applies to Costa Rica wildlife photography: practice makes perfect!
Our personal collection of Costa Rica Wildlife Photography
We recently compiled some of our favorite photographs of Costa Rica wildlife, each taken by us during our Costa Rica travels (click here to learn more about us and to see photos of our travels). If you’re interested in viewing our Costa Rica wildlife photography, simply click on a photo below and scroll through the photo gallery. Photo captions will be added shortly!
If you’re active on Pinterest (follow us here), simply scroll over a photo below and click on the red “SAVE” button to add the image to your personal Pinterest board.
QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: Which photo above is your favorite?