Thursday, February 28, 2013

Baby Snakes

You can go for a night walk through the cloud forests of Monteverde with a guide. It's a good idea to have one along. The green serpent above is a juvenile pit viper. They say you can survive its bite if you get the anti-venom serum within four hours. They make it right there in Costa Rica.

Which brings to mind today's theme song.

Night Walk In The Cloud Forest

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tropical Birds

Monteverde Bird 1

Tropical birds in a wildlife sanctuary near Monteverde. Thanks to the scholarship of Mrs. C, the bird in the first and last photos has been identified as a blue-crowned motmot. The second is the hard-to-find resplendent quetzal and the third is a green toucanet.

By the way, the picture of the toucan was taken by our guide, Jorge. on my iPhone through his birder's spotting telescope. It's an ingenious technique.

I've been bombed at work since I got back, way too many hours. Dozing off as I write this. I'll get back to comments

Monteverde Bird 3 (Quetzal)

Monteverde Bird 4 (Green Tucan)

Monteverde Bird 2

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Happy Hour

Monteverde 2013-02-16 13

Yesterday, we looked at our very unusual room at Hidden Canopy Treehouses in Monteverde. This post is about their unusual happy hour tradition.

There is a lounge and large deck on the west side of the building, looking down the hill toward town. In the distance you can see the Gulf of Nicoya and Nicoya Penninsula. From 5 to 6 PM they have an open bar, anything you want. They serve freshly made appetizers. On the theory that dinner portion sizes in Costa Rica are too large to leave room for dessert, they serve that course after the appetizers and before you go to dinner. All at no additional charge.

At this time of year the sun goes down during the hour. Perfect view.         

Monteverde 2013-02-16 14

Monteverde 2013-02-16 15

Monday, February 25, 2013

Home, With Memories

Hidden Canopy Treehouse Monteverde 4

Greetings from American Airlines flight 1665, en route from Miami to St. Louis. Two hour mechanical delay coming out of Costa Rica. We barely made the connection.  I decided to buy some exorbitantly-priced airplane WiFi time to get this posted.

There won't be any new STL material until the weekend. Lots still to show from our trip, though. These are several views of our tree house hotel room in Monteverde, both very special places. Worth the journey if you can find your way to this part of the world.               

Hidden Canopy Treehouse Monteverde 5

Hidden Canopy Treehouse Monteverde 2

Hidden Canopy Treehouse Monteverde 1 

Hidden Canopy Treehouse Monteverde 3

 Hidden Canopy Treehouse Monteverde 6

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Leaving Tamarindo And Flying Home

Tamarindo Beach 4

Time to leave beautiful Costa Rica and return to the reality of St. Louis (is that what it is?). We have a connection in Miami and will be home late tonight. Our transportation should be more comfortable than the ultralight aircraft flying over Playa Langosta, shown below.

The older couple above, in beautiful sunset light, is a good farewell image. However, I guarantee you that Carolyn would never dress like that and street photographers like me don't wear red. I've still got lots of Costa Rica pictures on the hard drive and will run with that until I get more material at home.

We leave you - and here - with a shot of moonrise over Playa Langosta Saturday night. Many additional pictures from Costa Rica on the Flickr set here.

Our sincere thanks once again to Dave Selden of Tamarindo Daily Photo and Julie Pace of Scottsdale Daily Photo for the chance to rent their gorgeous beachfront condo. Go to Dave's blog you can find out how you can stay here, too.

Ultralight Aircraft Over Playa Langosta

Last Night - Moonrise 2

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Dinner And A Show

Folk Dancers At Capitan Suizo 3

We went to dinner last night at a hotel just down the road, Capitan Suizo. The rocky island just offshore is called El Capitan and the owner is Swiss (she bid us guten abend as we left). We ate there last year and thought the restaurant was terrific. Back again last night for their Friday night barbeque and Costa Rican folklore show. Very tasty, lots of fun.

And congratulations to Brittney and Pat from Midland, Texas, in Tamarindo on their honeymoon!

Folk Dancers At Capitan Suizo 2

Folk Dancers At Capitan Suizo 1

Dinner At Capitan Suizo 1

Brittny and Brian

Friday, February 22, 2013

Playa Grande

2013-02-21 Playa Grande 1

We took a ride yesterday to Playa Grande, just up the coast. It is separated from Tamarindo by an estuary but there is no direct way to drive there. You have to go back inland a ways (Note, if you ever visit here: do not follow Google Maps directions through the dirt back roads. You will become lost and, if you don't, one of the roads is washed out. Stay on the paved roads through Villareal, Huacas and Matapalo.)

Playa Grande is a huge swath of pristine beach with very little development. Tamarindo, in the background of the second picture (through a 400 mm lens) is less than a half hour drive away. Hardly any people there but it seemed to be a nice place for families. If you want a perfect beach to have to yourself, this would be a good place to go.

I should note that I am happily married to one of the ladies in the foreground of the third photo. 

2013-02-21 Playa Grande 4

2013-02-21 Playa Grande 3

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Obligatory Beach Shots

Langosta Beach 14

A bit of what was going on at Playa Langosta and Playa Tamarindo beaches yesterday afternoon.

We have three more days here before we return to the freezer on Sunday. Nothing much planned. I don't know what to do with myself. Might as well go take some pictures.

By the way, there is a big set of pix from Monteverde and Tamarindo on Flickr here.      

Langosta Beach 15

Tamarindo Beach 2

Tamarindo Beach !

Langosta Beach 17

Pool at the Horizontes del Mar Condos from Our Balcony

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Playa Langosta

Horizontes del Mar Condo 1

We're down on the coast in Tamarindo, taking it very easy. The condo we're renting is owned by our colleague Dave Selden of Tamarindo Daily Photo. You can rent it, too! Fabulous location, a bit out from the center of town, quiet and right on the beach. The top photo is the view from the patio at sunset.

The neighborhood where the condo is located is known as Playa Langosta, or Lobster Beach, As you can see, it's very uncrowded.

I decided to do a series of black and white shots of the rocky beach. It's all about light and form, shape and texture. B&W seemed like a good medium to bring that out.

Sorry I didn't get a post up at midnight as usual. Uncharacteristically, I'm so laid back here that I fell asleep on the sofa with my laptop across my legs, work unfinished. Not so bad.

Langosta Beach 8

Langosta Beach 6

Langosta Beach 7

Langosta Beach 3

Langosta Beach 1

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Monteverde 2013-02-17 12

Hummingbirds are plentiful in the cool mountain climate of Monteverde. Many places put out feeders containing sugar water to attract them (can hummingbirds become diabetic?). The local population is used to people and is not shy.

I'm told that depending on the species, the birds flap their wings 12 to 80 times a second. Most of these photos were taken at ISO 3200, 85 mm prime lens at f 1.8 and 1/5000 to 1/8000 sec.

We're down on the Pacific now at Tamarindo where it's nearly cloudless, hot and dry. Images on the way soon.       

Monteverde 2013-02-17 13

Monteverde 2013-02-17 16

Monteverde 2013-02-17 11

Monteverde 2013-02-17 10

Monteverde 2013-02-17 14

Monteverde 2013-02-17 17

Monteverde 2013-02-17 15

Monteverde 2013-02-15 18

Monday, February 18, 2013

Cafe San Luis

Victor 1

We spent yesterday afternoon visiting a small, family owned coffee farm near the hamlet of San Luis (how appropriate). Victor, the proprietor, tends his plants with the greatest care. They teach you the proper way to make and drink coffee, Costa Rican style. Buy his stuff at He'll ship it to you and you won't regret it.

And to make it a very special day, it was the fifth birthday of his daughter, Maria Angel!      

San Luis Coffee Farm 5

San Luis Coffee Farm 4

San Luis Coffee Farm 1

Victor 2

Victor and Maria Angel 1

Victor and Maria Angel 2