One of the frequent visitors to our yard.
One of the frequent visitors to our yard.

We have settled in Costa Rica and are enjoying our longest stint yet as house sitters. It is comforting to establish a routine of sorts and have an idea of what you will be doing day to day. You are guaranteed amazing photographic opportunities and be assured that 5 or 6 evenings a week you are going to get a beautiful sunset.  However, the one thing that you cannot reliably predict here is the behaviour and frequency of visits from the animals that call this region home. It is also interesting to be able to come back to the region at a different time of year and notice that there is a change in the variety of animals that show up. The monkeys, squirrels, and grackles are consistent with our time here in November, however there are a selection of others that are new at this time of year. The first one I want to address is the crabs. Good Lord the crabs. These things are everywhere and are the most insane burrowers ever.

These Halloween (Tajalines) crabs are pretty when you first see them. Then you discover that they are the most prevalent burrowers you have ever seen. They can turn your yard into a battle zone overnight.
These Halloween (Tajalines) crabs are pretty when you first see them. Then you discover that they are the most prevalent burrowers you have ever seen. They can turn your yard into a battle zone overnight.
The newest creature to invade us is the  Jesus Christ, apparently they can run on water (Basilisk Lizards). Unfortunately for them, they are the favourite food of everything else around here.
The newest creature to invade us is the Jesus Christ lizard, apparently they can run on water (Basilisk Lizards). Unfortunately for them, they are the favourite food of everything else around here.

I have to mention the Basilisk, or Jesus Christ lizards (apparently they can run on water). We never saw these rather spastic fellows before, but they are very plentiful around the yard now, and in the house if they get the chance. We have seen them anywhere from 12 to 30cm (5 to 12 inches) in length. Unfortunately for them they currently seem to be the food of choice of everything else larger than them. We have seen iguanas, monkeys, grackles, and hawks chowing down on these fellows. In fact, if you look closely at the photos in this post you will notice that the monkeys have a body or a tail of a lizard in nearly every shot.

Mom showing her baby how to consume a lizard.
Mom showing her baby how to consume a lizard.
We thought he was heading for the Cashew tree for an apple, then I looked closely at what was in his hand. Dinner to go.
We thought he was heading for the Cashew tree for an apple, then I looked closely at what was in his hand. Dinner to go.

The blooming of the cashew tree in our front yard also brings the monkeys through to gorge on the cashew apples.

Our cashew tree guarantees a visit from the monkeys.
Our cashew tree guarantees a visit from the monkeys.

In addition to our regular birds like the Tanagers and the Grackles, we also have a lot of hawks flying through and keeping an eye on things.

Tanager enjoying the bird bath.
Female Cherrie Tanager enjoying the bird bath.
Wonderfully coloured Blue-grey Tanager grace our bird bath regularly now.
Wonderfully coloured Blue-grey Tanagers grace our bird bath regularly now.
The national bird of Costa Rica. The Clay-coloured Robin (Yiguirro) on our back gate.
The national bird of Costa Rica. The Clay-coloured Robin (Yiguirro) on our back gate.
A Harris or Red tailed Hawk, I think. Several in the area, frequently foraging on the ground as well.
A Harris or Red tailed Hawk, I think. Several in the area, frequently foraging on the ground as well. This one was watching over things in our back yard. Have had no luck trying to photograph the numerous Roadside Hawks.

Sorry, one more monkey, just because he is kind of cute.

This little fellow seemed a little confused as to where to hide. I am amazed by the time these monkeys spend on the ground.
This little fellow seemed a little confused as to where to hide. I am amazed by the time these monkeys spend on the ground.

Don’t be mislead though. It is not all relaxing and taking pictures. We continue to do yard work to keep the place looking tidy, though it truly amazes me the amount of debris you accumulate in such short periods of time.

One weeks worth of debris from raking the yard. Simply amazing how it accumulates.
One weeks worth of debris from raking the yard. Simply amazing how it accumulates.

What I love is the acceptable method for disposing of it all. The prepping of a good fire pit is hard work, but well worth it when it comes to clean up after the fire is done.

Not wanting to leave a scar, I like to dig a pit for our fires so I can bury the ashes after.
Not wanting to leave a scar, I like to dig a pit for our fires so I can bury the ashes after.

OK, I admit, it is a great opportunity for more photography.

How can you beat this. Burning stuff while enjoying a beautiful sunset. Life is good.
How can you beat this. Burning stuff while enjoying a beautiful sunset. Life is good.
Loving having a tripod to work with. And yes that is rum on the table. A bit of lube is good for the creative juices.
Love having a tripod to work with. And yes that is rum on the table. A bit of lube is good for the creative juices.

One of the other things I have been enjoying immensely is the use of a proper tripod. I don’t know what I was thinking when we initially packed for this adventure, but not bringing a tripod was a mistake. Though I managed to get some great sunset and landscape shots before, with a proper tripod the scope has broadened immensely.

Enjoying the tripod. This was 10 exposures over 50 minutes blended together in Photoshop. Always something to learn.
Enjoying the tripod. This was 10 exposures over 50 minutes blended together in Photoshop. Always something to learn.

The truly wonderful thing about photographing sunsets here is there are lots of chances to do fun things with the photographs after, but the shots all by themselves are usually spectacular enough.

Another epic sunset. We are out every night to enjoy the show.
Another epic sunset. We are out every night to enjoy the beauty.
The amazing thing is that every night is a different show. Maybe 1 in 10 is a dude. Pretty good odds.
The amazing thing is that every night is a different show. Maybe 1 in 10 is a dud. Pretty good odds.

Life is good.

 

 

Welcome to our travel blog. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to say, "I'm out of here?" Well we did, and in 2013 we made it a reality. We sold or gave away all of our possessions other than what fit in our luggage and we set off on an endless adventure. Part of our goal is to share our experiences with others and hopefully provide some information, motivation, or just a moments escape. The general idea was to look for a place that would be ideal to settle down in. However in the meantime it is about experiencing life in different countries amongst different cultures and learning how to understand and appreciate each other. A large part of our time is spent housesitting which provides an excellent opportunity to experience more of the "normal" neighbourhoods as opposed to the tourist locales. Though we make sure to enjoy those as well. So through plenty of photographs and a running commentary come and share with us our life on the road.

4 comments on “Photographic Wonderland

  1. Lawrence Shaw

    Great shots Peter you should include a “couples” selfies

  2. I will work on that Lawrence. Glad you like the shots.

  3. Beautiful scenery and photos!

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