Photo of the Day, Royal Blue Butterfly of Costa Rica…

It was something I hadn’t really given much thought about in planning for my trip to Costa Rica. Shooting insects that is. However if I really think about it I am not sure why that was such an over sight on my part. There are over 1200 species of butterflies and 8000 species of moths alone known to be found in Costa Rica. I ended up capturing quite a few different species of butterflies on my journey.

The Myscelia Cyaniris or Royal Blue Butterfly can be found in Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Peru.

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Photo Info:
Date Taken –
Camera –
Nikon D800
Lens –
AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
Aperture – f/5.6
Exposure – 1/640

Some of you have been asking about gear. On this particular trip I was backpacking through Costa Rica, so I had to travel light. That doesn’t mean I had to sacrifice gear by any means! Armed with my trust Nikon D800, as always. This body is an absolute workhorse and can withstand the harsh conditions of any environment.

My lens choice was the one and only Nikkor 28-300mm. I absolutely love this lens. It’s wide, its telephoto, it isn’t extremely heavy, and it is not bulky at all. It does well as a macro (case in point), and it is very sharp, even hand held. This photo really shows off the macro capabilities and the beautiful depth at 300mm. With the wider shots I often find myself missing my 14-24mm, however that can’t really be consider a drawback can it? I mean the 14-24mm is the best wide angle lens every manufactured IMO. So that is a little bit unfair, or perhaps I am just spoiled? The only minor complaint I have is the chromatic aberrations this lens tends to suffer with. That being said, as long as I remember to use my lens correction functions in Adobe Lightroom this becomes a non issue also. So I really feel I am just nit picking at this point. The 28-300mm is a must have lens for any Nikon traveller looking to save room in their luggage.

Everything I photographed in Costa Rica was with this body/lens combo. As mentioned in a previous blog, I will have an upcoming exhibition at the Estevan Art Gallery and Museum surrounding my trip in Costa Rica. This exhibition will be an ultimate showcase of the wide range of photography this particular combo is capable of. Also the purpose of the exhibition is to show that you don’t always have to pack your whole camera bag to be a travel photographer!

Poisonous Millipedes of the Costa Rican jungle, and my nightmares!

During one of the jungle excursions I was on in Costa Rica I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye. At a about 4-5 inches long, I immediately thought I had found some funky caterpillar. I was way wrong. On closer inspection it was the stuff of nightmares, at least for me. Millipedes and Centipedes are to me, like snakes are to Indian Jones. They absolutely make my skin crawl. That being said I still had to face my fears and observe this fellow on his journey through the jungle. I would later find out it was actually poisonous also.

When threatened the millipede will curl up into a little ball and secret a liquid which contains hydrogen cyanide and benzaldehyde. It is not potent enough to threaten human health, however I wasn’t going to find out first hand. After a quick photo opportunity the millipede disappeared into a crevice of an old tree stump. I was thankful for the encounter, and just as thankful that it was over as I continued on my way.

The Tampa Bay skyline…

I shot this photo of the Tampa Bay Skyline a few years back. Usually for a night shot like this a tripod would be handy. Just so happened I didn’t have one in tow. Sometimes you need to make the world your tripod. I was able to find a walking bridge with thick cement side walls. I was able to set my camera on it, I had to use my cellphone under the lens to level the shot, set the timer and let the camera do the work. Not the most technical approach but it did the trick in a pinch!

Tampa Bay, Florida Skyline

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Photo of the day, the Best Tacos!

One of the really neat things about Costa Rica is it is kind of like living in a time warp. I am sure it isn’t quite as prolific as Cuba, which I have my eyes on for a photography destination in the very near future. However it is still really interesting. This food truck really caught my attention, I mean when doesn’t a VW Bus catch your attention?

The funny thing is I found this bus in an impound lot while I was walking around the small village of Quepos. I was actually looking for a secret local beach, which turned out to have a view to die for. More on that at a later date though. I had to get a photo of this thing. It was way too awesome with the hand painted art, and the classic VW logo staring me in the face. After a few attempts through the fence, I decided to approach the guard of the impound lot. He chuckled at my request, but was happy to allow me access for the photo.

I am not sure this truck really could boast the best tacos, however it did serve up an amazing shot.

Costa Rican “sodas” and Gallo Pinto….

A “soda” in Costa Rica is a restaurant. They generally serve “typico” or typical Costa Rican food.

A soda in downtown San Jose.

There was a real sense of pride with the service, and quality of food. Also the care and detail that went into the decorating of the sodas, reflected the genuine attention to detail the owners put into making their store unique.

Inside a soda in San Jose.

I really enjoyed the typico food, usually consisting of beans and rice with chicken, pork, shrimp, or occasionally beef. The dish would often be garnished with pico de gallo, guacamole, or fried plantains.

My favourite typico dish was the breakfast dish, also known as Gallo Pinto. Gallo Pinto is a simple beans and rice, served with scrambled or fried eggs. This dish was often served with fried cheese, fresh fruit, and/or fried plantains.

I have been making this dish at home often, and it is fairly simple. The following is my version. Just as a note I don’t really ever measure my food I pretty much just eye ball the measurements.

Gallo Pinto (serving for 1):
1/4 cup of rice
2 Tablespoons of black beans
Pinch of chopped cilantro (optional)
2 Tablespoons of diced onions (optional)
2 Tablespoons of diced sweet peppers (optional)
Dash of sea salt
2 Eggs
Coconut Oil
Try Me Tiger Sauce
Garlic to taste

1) Cook rice normally.

2) While rice is cooking I scramble the two eggs and set them aside on my plate.

3) While rice is continuing to cook, add oil to a pan and sauté onions, peppers, garlic and black beans (reserve the bean juice).

4) Once the rice is cooked add it to the mixture and continue to sauté. Add the black bean juice. Season with sea salt to taste.

One of the little treats in Costa Rica is the condiment which is called “Salsa”. It is actually more of a sweet chilli sauce than it is salsa. The closest thing I have found to it in Canada is Try Me Tiger Sauce. You can add this to the mixture while it sautes, or put it on your beans and rice after cooking.

Costa Rican “salsa” sauce.
Canadian alternative to salsa.

5) Garnish beans and rice with cilantro, and  serve along side the eggs.

There is no real set recipe. I had many different variations of this dish throughout my time in Costa Rica. I usually make mine differently from day to day also. Sometimes garnishing with green onions, instead of sautéing the onions with the peppers and beans. I will also sometimes add mushroom, and sometimes not have peppers or onions at all.