Need advice: Shooting in Costa Rica

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Lintaho, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. Lintaho

    Lintaho TPF Noob!

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    Hey guys- I'll be spending a month in Costa Rica this summer, and I would like some advice.

    I'll be going all over the place- San Jose, the jungles, and research field stations.

    Currently, I shoot with a Nikon d80, and normally use a 50mm. I've been saving for the 18-200mm VR, for I think it would be the most versatile in a travel situation like mine.

    Also, should I invest in a flash, like sb-600 or so?



    Also, tips about shooting in Costa Rica (forest or otherwise) would be greatly appreciated.



    Thank you guys so much!

    (first post!)
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    I spent a couple weeks in Costa Rica for my honeymoon, we had a great time.
    We went in late October, which was in the rainy season, so we got a lot of rain. That might not be the case when you go, but you should still be prepared for it. They don't call it a 'Rain Forest' for nothing :lol:

    If you are looking to photograph some wildlife, you will likely need a fast lens (large aperture) or a flash. It's very dark under the canopy of those trees. I read an article from a photographer who did some shooting there and for shooting wildlife he used a telephoto lens with flash and he also had a Better Beamer on the flash, to give it more reach.

    We traveled around the country. One day we went to a National Park or wildlife preserve up near the norther border. We spent some time on the peninsula that is on the western coast. We did a zip-line tour of the forest canopy.

    To get around, we hired tour bus drivers. Well, not really 'bus' drivers...they were just vans...but because it was a slow season, we always had the van to ourselves. It was great because we could relax and take in the scenery as we traveled around the country. Well, it wasn't always relaxing...sometimes it was downright scary on those roads but it made for great memories.

    Here are some of the photos
    Costa Rica pictures by Oilfan94 - Photobucket
     
  3. rasheemo

    rasheemo TPF Noob!

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    I don't think the flash will be absolutely necessary, but it will of course make certain situations easier. That is assuming that you'll be outside during the day most of your time. VR will help otherwise. Good luck!
     
  4. Lintaho

    Lintaho TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the great advice you two.

    Also- will there be a problem with humidity/ temperature?

    How well will my d80 stand up to the weather there?
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It should be OK...people who living in humid climates have cameras too, don't they? ;)

    It would be prudent to take some precautions though. For example, you may want to have a rain cover for your camera...otherwise, you may be afraid to take it out of the bag when a good photo opportunity comes up. Also, you may want a bag that can keep your gear dry when you can't get under cover. The bag I took was a Lowepro Computrekker AW (AW meaning All Weather). It has a rain cover that pulls out and covers the bag...it came in very handy.

    Still, I did find myself in a situation where I couldn't take my camera bag and had to choose between leaving the camera behind and taking it with me unprotected. It wasn't raining at the base camp, so I took the camera. 30 minutes later, I'm in a torrential downpour while zipping from tree to tree where I couldn't even protect the camera with my hands/body. It got absolutely soaked and it's a Canon 20D with no appreciable weather sealing.
    The LCD screen was fogged up...from the inside, and that lasted a couple days. The camera however, never missed a beat and kept working. Still works to this day, and that was 4 years ago.

    Another issue was condensation. When you are in a cool/dry air conditioned space like a hotel room, and you walk out into the hot/humid environment, condensation will form on any cold surfaces like your camera gear. You have to let the gear warm up before taking it out of the bag.
    Also, I keep desiccant (silica gel) pack in my camera bag to absorb moisture.
     

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