During our quest to capture the best photos of Costa Rica, we know that we cannot leave off one of Costa Rica’s more colorful inhabitants, frogs! Did you know that more than 150 species of frogs and toads live in Costa Rica? And they are discovering more species all the time!
This, of course, means that you have lots and lots of opportunities to photograph these beautiful amphibians. You will need to bust out your macro lenses and your zoom lenses if you want to capture these magnificent creatures successfully. Throughout this article we will be going over a few tips to help you be successful!
Since you will be photographing, undoubtedly, in the rainforest, you will need to be prepared to shoot in low light situations. And a pro tip – you will need to have a great deal of time and patients when you want to photograph frogs.
This is much like playing hid and seek, but no one has given you a hint as to where you will find the frogs right off the bat. You will need to spend some time searching for your subject matter; when you do, be sure that you move very slowly to ensure you not disturb them before you have had the chance to capture them.
As previously mentioned, you are going to need some good lenses to do the frogs justice. Remember, many species of frogs are TINY. It will be challenging to find them, but you are going to want to make sure that you have a lens that will enhance the subject.
Depending on what kind of camera you have, the excellent macro lenses will differ from one make to another. So, we have searched for a good list of lenses that would be great to add to your camera kit before leaving for Costa Rica with links to Amazon for current pricing.
• Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 Di VC USD Macro
• Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM
• Sigma Macro 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM
• Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM
• Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8 G IF ED VR Micro
• Pentax 100mm f2.8 SMC D-FA WR Macro
• Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS
These are just a few good examples, but it will get you started in the right direction when you want to research these lenses for yourself before investing.
For anyone doing macro photography there are 2 issues will always encounter. You will also want a greater depth of field and you will always want more light to you don’t have to increase the ISO and therfore more grain into a image.
The easiest way to do this is to bring a flash with you. Its a essential piece of macro photography and one you will find yourself consistently using
If you don’t want to pay the extra money for the bells and whistles that come with the external flash made your particular camera model, you can look at manual flashes like a Yongnuo which can be found on Amazon.
Cable Release/Shutter Remote
There are many options available out there for a cable release or shutter release. Highly recommended that you have on in your kit, the slightest jiggle of your camera can ruin your photo with motion or blur. The smallest shake can make the most significant difference, so take our word for it. W
hy do we recommend that you have a cable release or a shutter remote rather than use a timer? If you use a timer, you cannot take as many photos as possible in a short period of time, and you never know how much time you have with your subject before they leap away. Having something that allows you to shoot instantly will make a big difference.
Much of the advice we gave in the previous section will apply here as well. A shutter remote or cable release will not do you any good if you are still holding the camera, better to not have it at all at that point.
Therefore, you will need to bring a tripod with you and keep your camera on it while searching for frogs, so you do not have to set up for every shot.
This tip is imperative for a few reasons, not only are you shooting macro, which means that the slightest bump will ruin your shot. You are also shooting in the rainforest, low light, long exposures, open aperture, all of these play a factor in having the perfect photo captured.
As bulky as tripods can be, you will not have any success photographing frogs or any type of macro photography in Costa Rica, if you don’t bring one. Bringing a tripod with you will make getting clean, crisp images much easier.
For me, one that is good combination of price and quality are tripods from MeFoto.
As we just covered, you will be working in low light; you might think that it is a good idea to have your ISO settings high. Please do not do it. Really crazy-high ISO means you will have a lot of noise in your photo. I like to have my ISO around 400 because then I know my pictures will turn out clear, but it also helps compensate with the lower light scenarios.
If you find that the light is exceptionally low, then feel free to as high as ISO 800 rather than slow your shutter speed down too much. You will have to figure out for yourself where your camera’s ISO level is good at.
Unfortunately, there is no magical setting that will work perfectly in every situation – it is all about knowing your camera and being able to adapt.
Work in Slow Motion
We had touched on this at the beginning of the article, but it is so important we wanted to go over it again. Whether you are photographing frogs in Costa Rica or polar bears in Alaska, it is especially important that you work in slow motion.
Why is this important? You do not want to scare your subject matter! One swift movement and you have startled your wildlife subject, and then you must go searching again, and in Costa Rica’s rainforest, you might be searching for a while. Take our word for it; just take your time.
Where to Focus
Often, when you are photographing wildlife subjects or even doing portraits, you usually focus on the largest part of the subject—giving you peace of mind that your shots will always be in focus.
For photographing frogs of Costa Rica, we recommend that you set your focal focus on the eyes. Your images will end up being sharp focus, especially if you have followed all our previous tips as well.
When photographing the wildlife, more specifically the frogs, in Costa Rica you will have the pleasure to capture some of the world’s brightest colored creatures. This article will help give you your best chance to capture some award-winning and outstanding photos!