Choosing what lenses and gear to bring on vacation has always been a challenge for me – especially when travelling in countries known for petty theft. Though most of my gear is insured, I never want to face the hassle of filing claims and replacing it.
With that in mind, I didn’t bring a macro lens with me. My 105 mm is heavy and my pack was already full with a D3s, D800, tripod, charges, filters, and other lenses: fisheye and my all-around [albeit heavy] 28 – 300mm and a standard 50mm / 1.4 (which is my favorite lens to use.)
The first night we were in Manuel Antonio, we took a guided night tour of the property’s forested area. The property has trails that weave around at the edge of a cliffed peninsula, making it a spectacular place to stay since you don’t actually need to leave the property to experience the forest. I had been to Costa Rica several times prior, but this is the first time I’ve ever had the chance to see, let alone shoot, this famous tree frog.
Of course, the very first night I was lamenting my decision to leave my macro at home given all the small reptiles I was taking photos of. Nevertheless, the above is my favorite shot from that night (more of that night in the gallery below.)
Later in the week we took a boat tour through some mangroves. Michele had the 50 and I had the 28-300. The thing about mangroves is that it’s shady, and with the slow, clumsy speed of the 28-300 I had to be very careful about how I shot anything at a distance. Most of the time if this lens is fully extended, I won’t get a clear, crisp shot. Michele and I would trade off throughout the boat tour, but here’s one that I nailed on the fly using the 28-300:
I am making a point this year to use my 50mm more often instead of relying solely on the zoom. Right now, the best benefit of this pseudo-resolution is that the 50 is incredibly lightweight in comparison. Last week, I ruptured my rhomboid muscle (again) on my left shoulder, a condition that’s caused by typing all day and letting your pec muscles atrophy and carrying a pack that’s too heavy for you. Needless to say, I’m working out after this blog post.
The above shot was taken while on a fast-moving boat out to Corcovado for the day from Dominical. Pretty rare to see this, I’d imagine, so I was super stoked when I was able to pull a clean shot while on a bumpy boat. I’m told they stay like this for three days. Hello ladies.
The shot above is of the sleeping long-nosed bat we found in the mangroves. These bats line up like this and jiggle in their sleep to mimic a snake on a tree. The greatest part about this particular group was that there’s an albino that totally gives them away. As I shot this photo, I was humming “One of these kids is not like the other one” quietly.
A gallery with more images is below.