15114
Costa Rica
Digital Photography in Nature: Capturing the Best of Costa Rica
Learn to get the most out of your digital camera as you join experts to practice exposure, composition and wildlife and landscape techniques in the colorful landscapes of Costa Rica.
Rating (4.67)
Program No. 15114RJ
Length
9 days
Starts at
1,899
Special Offer
Flights start at
455
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9 days
8 nights
23 meals
8 B 7 L 8 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Arrive San José, 6PM Program Orientation
San Jose
D
Hotel Rincon del Valle

Activity note: Participants must book flights that arrive into San José, Costa Rica no later than 4:30 p.m. on this day if they plan on attending the program orientation. Some Road Scholar gateways require the use of overnight flights in order to get participants to San José by the suggested time. Please contact your Road Scholar program provider at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com if you would like to make arrangements to arrive in Costa Rica a day or more before your program.

Afternoon: 6 p.m. Program orientation at the hotel. The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Transfers to and from program activities will be by motorcoach, unless specified otherwise. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, engaging in available activities on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Meals on our program feature local cuisine. In many cases, they will be plated and served set meals; in others, we will have buffets with multiple options. Beverages include coffee, tea, water; other beverages are usually available for purchase. Please note that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: Welcome Dinner at the hotel with your fellow participants.

DAY
2
Session: Get to Know Your Camera, La Paz Waterfall Gardens
Sarapiqui
B,L,D
Selva Verde Lodge

Activity note: The drive from San José to Sarapiqui, in the Caribbean lowlands, takes approximately 2 hours. Elevation in Sarapiqui is approximately 220 ft.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Interactive learning session - "Getting to know your camera and capabilities." - The three main variables: controlling light, setting your digital ISO, aperture and shutter speed. - Using light and color to create pleasing images. - Composition. Checkout & departure for Varablanca area.

Lunch: At La Paz Waterfall Gardens.

Afternoon: Afternoon time for photography at La Paz Waterfall Gardens. La Paz Waterfall Gardens is an ecological park located near the Poás Volcano, in a verdant, misty area where cloud and rain forests meet. The park has five beautiful waterfalls that can be admired from various view points through a network of stairways and viewing platforms. Other attractions include a serpentarium, hummingbird garden, frog exhibit, walking trails, and one of the largest butterfly observatories in the world. A walk inside the over sized butterfly observatory reveals a large flowering garden with thousands of fluttering butterflies belonging to more than 25 different species. Some resident favorites include the Blue Morpho, Monarch, Blue-banded Purplewing, Salome Yellow, and Banded Orange. The hummingbird garden attracts as many as 26 different hummingbird species from around Costa Rica; visitors can view these colorful birds just inches away while they buzz among the tropical plants and feeders. Depart for Sarapiqui. Arrive to lodge and check-in.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: Photo review and feedback with group leader.

DAY
3
Nature Pavilion, Macro Photography, Nocturnal Walk
Sarapiqui
B,L,D
Selva Verde Lodge

Activity note: Optional early morning walk for photographic opportunities around the lodge.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the lodge.

Morning: Visit to Costa Rica Nature Pavillion for the opportunity to photograph tropical birds and other wildlife from the convenience of a covered viewing deck. Costa Rica Nature Pavilion is run by a father-son duo who conceived the center as a way to increase environmental awareness by providing guests enriching experiences with nature. In order to attract birds they created over seven different small ecosystems with specific trees and plants to attract local and migratory birds. More than 230 species of birds have been spotted at the property, half of the total number of species in Sarapiqui region, giving Costa Rica Nature Pavilion one of the highest diversities of bird species in Costa Rica. The Costa Rica Nature Pavilion has been selected as a National Geographic Destination for three consecutive years; 2013-2016, and the photography and sketching opportunities here are raved about by professional bird photographers. Raised, covered platforms provide shade from the sun and sight to the natural perches that surround the deck, providing optimum lighting and background from morning to afternoon for both flash and natural light photography.

Lunch: At the lodge.

Afternoon: Interactive learning session: "Macro photography and Nature" - Composition in macro - Color elements, how to use them - Distracting elements, how to avoid them -Macro flash use This interactive learning session will take place in and around the Selva Verde Rainforest Reserve. Later, attend a lecture on Tropical Rainforest Ecology.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: Interactive learning session – Night walk using flash techniques for nocturnal photography.

DAY
4
Excursion to Macaw Farm, Rainforest Wildlife Photography
Sarapiqui
B,L,D
Selva Verde Lodge

Activity note: Early morning photo opportunities around lodge

Breakfast: Breakfast at the lodge.

Morning: Morning visit to an eco-farm and macaw rescue, for the opportunity to take close-up photos and experience endangered macaws that are semi-wild and free to come and go as they please.

Lunch: At the lodge.

Afternoon: Guided walk in Selva Verde for photography. Interactive learning session - "Photographing Birds and Wildlife." - Use of tripod and telephoto lenses. - Use of fill-flash to add life to your bird photos. - Controlling background to emphasize your subject. - Getting close to wildlife. This interactive learning session will take place in and around the Selva Verde Rainforest Reserve.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: Photo review and feedback with group leader.

DAY
5
To San Gerardo de Dota, Lankester Gardens, Savegre Valley
San Gerardo de Dota
B,L,D
Savegre Hotel Nature Reserve & Spa (formerly Savegre Mountain Hotel)

Activity note: Optional early morning walk for photographic opportunities around lodge. Bus drive from Sarapiqui to San Gerardo de Dota takes approximately 5 hours. Elevation in San Gerardo de Dota is approximately 7,000 ft.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the lodge.

Morning: Depart for San Gerardo de Dota. En route visit to Lankester Botanical Gardens for photography of exotic flowers. The Lankester Botanical Gardens were originally created as a private garden by British orchid enthusiast Charles H. Lankester in the 1940s. After his death, the American Orchid Society and the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust worked to have the gardens preserved, and in 1973, the garden was donated to the University of Costa Rica. The garden sits on 27.2 acres and is home to over 3000 species of plants, principally epiphytes, including orchids and bromeliads.

Lunch: At a local restaurant en route.

Afternoon: Arrive to lodge and settle in. Lecture: History of the Savegre Valley. The few families that inhabit the valley are mostly dedicated to the production of trout, apples and peaches, which grow well in the cool, moist elevations of the Talamanca Range. Pioneers in many aspects, the Chacon family was the first to settle in this area. They built the first hotel in the area and were the first people to set out to conserve the magnificent high elevation and oak forests that covered the entire valley. The patriarch of the family, don Efrain Chacon, transmitted his love for this land to his children and grandchildren. They now share his passion and devotion for the preservation of the pristine forests.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: Photo review and feedback with group leader.

DAY
6
Search for the Resplendent Quetzal, Hummingbird Photography
San Gerardo de Dota
B,L,D
Savegre Hotel Nature Reserve & Spa (formerly Savegre Mountain Hotel)

Activity note: Optional early morning walk for photographic opportunities around lodge

Breakfast: Breakfast at the lodge.

Morning: Walking on lodge trails in search of the Resplendent Quetzal.

Lunch: At the lodge.

Afternoon: Time at leisure to explore the hotel grounds or to rest before your next program activity. Later this afternoon, participate in an Interactive learning session: Hummingbird Photography at a local garden. Every detail of the grounds has been designed to intentionally maximize the observation of birds and create the most spectacular photographs.

Dinner: At the lodge.

Evening: Photo review and feedback with group leader.

DAY
7
San Gerardo de Dota, Photographing Landscapes & Moving Water
San Gerardo de Dota
B,L,D
Savegre Hotel Nature Reserve & Spa (formerly Savegre Mountain Hotel)

Activity note: Optional early morning walk around the lodge grounds.

Breakfast: Breakfast at lodge.

Morning: Depart for Cerro de la Muerte in Los Quetzales National Park. Photographic session around the Cerro de la Muerte area, including sub-alpine paramo habitat, highland peaks, macro plants and flowers. Interactive learning session: "Landscapes" - Depth of Field - Shutter speeds - Use of polarizing filters - Composition: foreground, middle ground and background - Moving objects and water Cerro de la Muerte is the highest point in the Costa Rican section of the Inter-American Highway. Its name means "Mountain of Death," since in the past crossing the mountains from the Valle Central meant a three or four day journey, on foot or on horseback and many ill-prepared travelers succumbed to the cold and rain. However, the peak is now easily accessible since the highway runs close by.

Lunch: At the lodge.

Afternoon: Interactive Session: Moving water photography. Clouds and sunset photo opportunities (weather permitting).

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: Photo review and feedback with group leader.

DAY
8
Birding photography, Transfer to San José,
San Jose
B,L,D
Hotel Buena Vista

Activity note: Bus drive from San Gerardo de Dota to San José takes approximately 3 hours.

Breakfast: Morning bird walk. Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Transfer to a local garden for an interactive session: Birding photography. Visitors to this site have spotted the Spangle-cheeked Tanager, Golden-browed chlorophonia, Sulphur Winged Parakeet, Resplendent Quetzal and more. We will have the opportunity to view and photograph many species of birds. Return to the lodge for lunch before check-out.

Lunch: At the lodge.

Afternoon: We'll depart for San Jose. Arrive at the hotel and check-in. Time to freshen up before meeting with Group Leader for final briefing.

Dinner: Farewell dinner and photographic presentation at the hotel.

Evening: Time at leisure. Spend your last evening in Costa Rica with your new Road Scholar friends, finish your packing, or get a good night's sleep in preparation for international departures tomorrow.

DAY
9
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Transfer to the airport. If you are an independent traveler (POP status), see “Ground Transportation from Last Location. Hotel check-out by 11 a.m.

Breakfast: At the hotel (dependent on flight time). Participants with independent travel arrangements and/or scheduled on later flights can keep their hotel rooms until check-out time on this day. Except for breakfast, all other meals are on your own on this day. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!