How to Capture Fantastic Photos in Costa Rica & Panama
I’m completely enamored by the many photographic possibilities of Costa Rica and Panama, especially along the Unveiled Wonders: Costa Rica & Panama itinerary.
Because we’re traveling by small ship, prepare to visit places that most visitors never get to. We’ll find ourselves on empty beaches, quiet jungle trails, and rugged coastlines unmarred by resorts and crowds.
Each location brings new photo possibilities. The vibrant tropical colors, the early morning and late afternoon tropical light, and the diverse wildlife never fail to delight me and inspire my photographic eye. I hope they will do the same for you.
I bring two camera bodies so I have a back-up in case one of them malfunctions (as happened in Costa Rica last year on a jungle hike when perspiration dripped into a plug socket and fried the electronics!).
My lenses include a 16-35 mm wide angle, 24-105 mm medium telephoto, and 100-400 mm for wildlife.
If you like animals and birds and you have a long telephoto lens, I recommend bringing it. If you don’t have one, don’t worry; you’ll find plenty of things to photograph. Bring whatever camera you have and plan on making the most of it.
I always pack extra batteries and memory cards. You may shoot more than planned, and you don’t want to run out of memory partway through the trip. Don’t forget your battery charger. I use lens hoods to reduce lens flare on my photos.
Here are some other things to consider:
- Bring your camera manual if you have one so we can figure out buttons or problems if needed. If possible, reread the manual before you travel. Many of us use only a fraction of the controls that advanced cameras offer. There are many useful features that you may want to try during the trip.
- Polarizing filters are useful, although not necessary, for reducing haze and reflection while shooting midday on beaches and water.
- Small plastic trash bag will help protect your camera bag from salt water and sand during panga (zodiac) rides and on the beach. Sand and digital cameras do not mix well.
- I carry small microfiber lens cloths for cleaning lens filters. A small microfiber hand towel or handkerchief is handy for wiping off moisture from your gear and hands. It will be hot and humid in April, and there’s a good chance you’ll perspire from time to time.
- Many photographers back up their photos to a hard drive or other device so they have two copies of all their photos in case one set is lost or damaged.
- If you use a laptop and editing program such as Lightroom, feel free to bring it. The ship lounge is a great place to relax and share photos during our transits between locations. And if you don’t use a laptop, join us in the lounge to look at photos!
I look forward to seeing all the amazing pictures you capture. Use #Uncruise when posting!