Costa Rica Wildlife Workshop
A Unique 11-Day Wildlife
Workshop & Eco-Tour
Jan 31 — Feb 10, 2003
This Workshop is Limited to Just 10 Participants
About The Workshop
The Luminous Landscape is pleased to announce our first workshop for 2003. This is an 11 day trip — from Friday, January 31st through Monday, February 10th, 2003. It will combine an exciting photography workshop in one of the world's most outstanding wildlife locations together with a luxury vacation — in fascinating Costa Rica.
This workshop is open to just 10 participants. Leading the workshop will be Michael Reichmann, the publisher of this site. Michael is a renowned nature and landscape photographer, and teacher. Fiona Reid, a world-recognized naturalist and author will be working closely with Michael in organizing and conducting the trip. Chris Sanderson will be filming the workshop for The Video Journal, and will act as an additional photographic resource.
Incredible Costa Rica
In 2001 I visited the rainforest of Costa Rica for the first time. I was overwhelmed with the natural beauty of the country and the friendliness of the people. Just as importantly I was thrilled with the opportunity to photograph a remarkable variety of wildlife — four different species of monkeys as well as dozens of exotic birds and iguanas. Combine this with luxury accommodations and you have the makings of a superb vacation and a great photographic experience.
Costa Rica is a very safe country with a high literacy rate, high standards of sanitation and health care, and a very friendly population — many of whom speak English. In combination this provides a near perfect venue for a superb winter vacation and a thrilling photographic experience.
I knew immediately after that first trip that I wanted to return to Costa Rica and to share the experience with others. Now, together with leading naturalist Fiona Reid, this has become a reality. By combining Fiona's experience as a naturalist and guide, along with my photographic and workshop expertise, we have created what I believe to be a unique experience.
Most importantly, this particular trip is one of the few I know of that is equally suited to photographers and their spouses. We will be staying in 4-star resort hotels. Our daily outings will be oriented toward exploring the jungles, beaches and forests of Costa Rica and photographing the varied wildlife and landscape. Each of these excursion will be equally suitable for the non-photographer who is interested in the natural world. Fiona will provide in-depth information about the flora and fauna for those that want to better understand the ecology of this beautiful country.
For this reason the cost of the trip is the same whether for a photographer participating in the workshop, or his or her spouse.
Who is This Trip For?
This trip may be just right for you if ...
You love to photograph exotic birds, monkeys, iguanas and other wildlife
You want to learn about the Rainforest and its inhabitants
Explore and learn wildlife photography tools and techniques
Spend 11 days working with a talented photographic teacher, and alongside other like-minded photographers
Spend 11 days with one of the world's leading naturalists
You're looking for a luxury adventure vacation
with your spouse or "significant other"
About The Workshop
This is not a workshop for absolute beginners.
There will be no instruction per-se, unless requested. But, the workshop
leaders will be shooting alongside you at all times. They will provide
discussion and assistance on specialized topics such as, for example, long
lens technique, projection flash usage, action shooting, wildlife
observation and field craft.
Advanced techniques will be constantly discussed, demonstrated and put into
This workshop is about shooting — lots of
shooting. There will be no classroom sessions, no lectures, no slide shows,
and most importantly — no unnecessary egos. Participants and group
leaders will work closely together, sharing their knowledge and experience.
Because of the unique location of this workshop, and the luxury accommodations, this workshop adventure is open to spouses as well as photographers. Even non-photographers will find the locales visited and the wildlife viewing opportunities to be thrilling. The cost for non-photographers is the same as for active participants and the 10 places available include both photographers and non-photographers.
About The Workshop Leaders
Michael Reichmann has been both a professional photographer as well as avid amateur for more than 35 years. He is the author and publisher of this web site — The Luminous Landscape. He is as well Contributing Editor to Photo Techniques magazine, and is publisher of The Video Journal.
In addition to these pursuits Michael conducts several photographic workshops each year in some of the world's leading landscape and wildlife locations. Previous recent workshop locations have included, Monument Valley, The Grand Canyon, Great Smokey National Park, Bosque del Apache and White Sands.
Fiona Reid is an author, naturalist, artist and tour guide.
She is widely known and highly regarded among professional zoologists and
field naturalists for her expertise in finding, identifying and illustrating
birds, mammals, reptiles and plants. Her Central American experience is
extensive: she lived in Costa Rica for two years and has personally led 20+
tours there. In all, during 15 years of part-time guiding, she has led
ecotours to 9 countries. She knows lots of hidden corners, from bat roosts to
Fiona wrote and illustrated a Field Guide to Mammals of Central America and SE Mexico, and has illustrated 9 other books on mammals. Under a contract with Houghton Mifflin, she is now carrying out a complete revision of the Peterson "Field Guide to the Mammals of North America" — with the companion bird guide, probably the most widely-read book in the entire field of amateur naturalist publications.
About Equipment & Extras
Workshop participants will be provided with comprehensive equipment suggestions. You may shoot 35mm, digital or medium format. A long lens in the range of 300-400mm is highly recommended. An external flash unit is also highly recommended. All participants will be provided with a complimentary Better Beamer flash extender (worth $40), and will receive extensive instructions on how to use it. This device is a must for effective wildlife photography in the rainforest and cloudforest.
The use of an Image Stabilized or Vibration Reduction lens is highly recommended if your system has these available. An 80-400mm (Nikon) or 100-400mm (Canon) is ideal.
Tripods are not required, as almost all photography will be performed while hiking. A light weight tripod may be brought along for occasional landscape and macro work.
Members will also be provided with access to a private Discussion Forum, and the opportunity to have their work exhibited on this site after the Workshop.
This adventure wildlife workshop requires 11 days from your normal schedule. Here are the dates, an itinerary, and some details on what we will be able to see and photograph.
Friday January 31, 2003 — Arrive San Jose, Costa Rica. Transfers provided to Hotel Bougainvillea in Santo Domingo. Welcome dinner.
Sat, Feb 1 — Tue Feb 4 — Flight to Tortuguero on the Caribbean coast. Three nights at Turtle Beach Lodge
About Tortuguero: From the small village of Tortuguero we travel by boat to our lodge. We will glide down Caño Palma, named for the magnificent Raphia Palms (with the world’s largest leaves) that reflect into the blackwaters, and enter a private canal that leads to our small, exclusive lodge on the Caribbean coast. We will explore by foot and by boat. We expect to have close-up views of 3 species of monkeys, green iguanas, and basilisk lizards. Neotropical River Otters and river turtles frequent the Caño. Parrots, toucans, sungrebes, and other large tropical birds can be seen and photographed on our boat trips. Tiny Strawberry Poison Dart Frogs, crab spiders, and a profusion of orchids provide excellent opportunities for macro photography. A night walk on the grounds of the hotel may reveal a Kinkajou or Spectacled Caiman, perhaps a Red-eyed Tree Frog, a bright yellow Eyelash Viper, or a Black-and-white Owl. Fiona will introduce us to some amazing bats including sucker-footed bats sleeping in coiled banana leaves. Our hotel is named for its nesting turtles, and although the green turtles nest in the wet season, we may be fortunate enough to see a leatherback emerging to lay her eggs, or watch and photograph young turtles making their way to the water.
Tue, February 4 — Wed, Feb 5 — Air transfer from Tortuguero (a.m.). 1/2 day trip to Poas Volcano. After lunch, transfer to Hotel Villa Caletas where we will spend two nights.
About Poas/Carara: On arrival back in the San Jose area, we take a side trip to Poas Volcano. Weather permitting, we can look into the crater and work on our landscape photography skills. We will hike through elfin forest to a turquoise crater lake nearby. If the day is cloudy we will instead visit one of the prime bird photography locales in the country, where hummingbirds, tanagers, and emerald toucanets can be closely approached. After lunch we continue on to Carara, near the Pacific coast. Here we will spend late afternoon on the Tarcoles Bridge, photographing American crocodiles and water birds. At sunset we will be challenged by flocks of flying parrots and scarlet macaws as they make their way to their night roosts. We will hike in the Carara wildlife refuge, looking for trogons, puffbirds, morpho butterflies, and monkeys. Waiting patiently at a small creek in this seasonally dry forest may reward us with views of a Royal Flycatcher or Golden-collared Manakin and a mammal or two. One afternoon we will visit the nearby mud flats to photograph Roseate Spoonbills and other wading birds.
Thurs, Feb 6 — Sun, Feb 9 — To Monteverde cloud forest. Three nights at Hotel Fonda Vela.
About Monteverde: Monteverde is well known for its cloud forest: trees are laden with ferns and mosses, mists swirl, and mountain views span out. We expect conditions to be relatively dry at this time of year. On our hotel grounds we will see Blue-crowned Motmots, Brown Jays and perhaps a two-toed sloth. We will visit the Ecological Farm, where normally-elusive mammals such as White-nosed Coatis and Central American Agoutis have become habituated to humans and can be easily photographed. Here we may also see the Three-wattled Bellbird giving its distinctive honking call. At the Monteverde reserve we will see and photograph a large variety of hummingbirds as they visit feeders, also likely are Black Guan and Emerald Toucanet. We will hike up to the continental divide where a “ventana” (window) allows us to view both Atlantic and Pacific slopes of the mountains.
Sun, Feb 9 — Return to San Jose. Afternoon and evening at Xandari Plantation. Farewell dinner.
Mon, Feb 10 — Transfers to airport. Fly home.
The cost of this trip is U.S. $4,895 per person. The same rate applies for each participant regardless of whether they are doing photography, and participating in the workshop, or not. This fee includes all in-country ground and air transportation as well as hotel accommodation for 10 nights (double occupancy), all meals and alcoholic beverages, and airport pick up and drop off at San Jose.
Accommodations are two person to a room. If you will be traveling alone and would like a private room there will be a supplementary charge of $650.
You are of course responsible for your own flight arrangement to and from San Jose, Costa Rica.
Get to San Jose, bring lots of film, and we'll take care of the rest.
A deposit of $2,395 (per person) will be required when you register, and the balance of $2,500 will be due no later than November 1, 2002; 90 days before the trip. If you need to cancel before November 1, you’ll get a full refund (less $50). After November 1 if you need to cancel you’ll receive all of your money back except $100, but the refund will be possible only if a replacement for you can be found.
If we have to cancel the trip for any reason you will receive a full refund.
Naturally, we will need your consent to be filmed. Once you have registered for the Workshop we will be sending you a Release Form. This will signify your permission to be included in the filming that will be done during the workshop. We will, of course, be providing you with complimentary copies of whatever video or print material comes out of this. Of course this will provide you with a professional quality video record of this trip, something that no other workshop can provide.
Finally, I want to assure you that the filming of the workshop will in no way interfere with the workshop and the time that we spend together. Chris is an experienced filmmaker and will be shooting in an unobtrusive documentary style. Of course, as an experienced cinematographer and director Chris will be available as another resource person to all Workshop members. If you have problem with being filmed during the workshop please ask me for more information, or consider taking an alternative workshop.
The Luminous Landscape Inc., Michael Reichmann, Fiona Reid, our instructors, guides, and cooperating agents aim to provide every participant a safe, educational, and enjoyable experience. We act solely as agents for you regarding accommodations, special activities, and travel, by any means, and assume no liability for any act, error, omission, injury, loss, delay, mishap, or damage to persons or property arising from any cause during the course of the workshop or in transit thereto. We can accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay or changes in the services to be provided. We reserve the right to change our arrangements should conditions necessitate, or to cancel any aspect of the workshop due to exceptional circumstances. In the event that we deem it necessary to cancel the workshop we will provide a full refund which the participant acknowledges as full and final settlement.
As there is always an element of risk in any adventure associated with the outdoors, participants must read this form carefully. This liability release will certify that the participant is physically fit and capable of participating in outdoor photography exercises in field locations, and is fully and completely aware of any associated risks created by field locations and weather.
By joining this workshop I acknowledge that I have read the above information concerning responsibility and release The Luminous Landscape Inc., Michael Reichmann, Fiona Reid, their guides, instructors and any cooperating agent from any liability. The Luminous Landscape Inc., Michael Reichmann and Fiona Reid will assume no liability for injury, illness, or loss of personal property or expenses thereof associated with workshop participation.
What Do I do Next?
If this workshop has your name on it; if you're excited by the thought of becoming a member of this trip, then now is the time to register.
Remember, there are only 10 positions available for this workshop. When they're spoke for, that's it. To fill out the Registration Form simply click on the registration link below. If you have any questions before registering, click here to send me an e-mail inquiry.
This workshop will be featured in a forthcoming issue of The Luminous Landscape Video Journal.