I have to admit that the image today of Grand Central Station was motivated by a photographer with whom I credit getting me back into the saddle after many years off from shooting – the amazing Trey Ratcliff! What a life this guy leads, traveling the world, hanging out with the creators of Google and Facebook, moving his entire family to New Zealand (because he can), and inspiring millions to take up photography and learn about his signature dish – high-dynamic range (HDR) photography! I think he has become somewhat of an internet sensation because he is quite humble, has a funny sense of humor, and is willing to say it like it is. So the image today is dedicated to Trey, because I saw on his site a similar image that he took a few years back.
COSTA RICA DAY 5: CLOUD FOREST AND BUTTERFLY GARDENS
Most of the day was spent at the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, one of Costa Rica’s premier cloud forests. All the trails are well marked, so we elected to go it alone, although for much of the hike we were fortunate to hang with a great guide who was on his day off with his girlfriend. The forest really is lush and green, with towering trees, vines, and over 2,500 species of plants catalogued at the park. While the reserve is home to 400 species of birds, 500 types of butterflies, and 100 different mammals, the operator at the entrance said we would likely not see many animals during the day. This bummed us out, and turned out not to be true!
While we did hike for hours, up and down many steep trails, we were rewarded by seeing: Two-Toed Sloth, Quetzal, White-Nosed Coati, Hummingbirds, Porcupine, Agouti, and many other birds, butterflies, and little critters. Some I managed to photograph, but this is where the big-daddy 500 mm lens would have come in handy! Too bad I don’t own one and likely never will because to use one means I would have to carry one around, and that is just not going to happen. But I am sure those brilliant technicians at Sony will figure out a way to reduce this lens down to something that will fit in the palm of my hand by the time I return with my Sony a7R.
By mid-afternoon we were pretty beat, but stopped at a local bakery for some food-to-go and made our way to the Butterfly Gardens. Founded by a biologist and his wife in 1989, the tour included far more than butterflys! Soon after being introduced to a giant orange-legged tarantula, a clan of White Faced Capuchins (monkeys) showed up in the trees jumping from limb to limb. We did see all kinds of brightly colored butterflies, and many other exciting little creatures that will show up on the blog very soon after I return home. So overall, we both felt today was our best day yet!