Photographers Odder than Anything Living in the Rain Forest

Solo with the Disposable Cam
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Costa Rica has one of the largest butterfly populations in the world and Lars was in heaven. We decided to split up so I could take some pictures of my own.

There were no actual clouds in the cloud forest while I was there, but the vegetation was amazing. There were plants growing on bushes growing on trees. I began snapping pictures of wildflowers. It wasn't long before I ran into my first fellow photographers. Tom and Susan, from Colorado, wore matching khaki-green fishing vests.

Tom was staring through a lens the size of the Hubble telescope and Susan was holding something that looked like Captain Kirk's phaser. I walked up next to them and, using my one-focus-fits-all disposable, took a picture of the beautiful red flower they were shooting.

I had, according to Tom, just pulled up to the Indy 500 in a Dodge Dart.

He suggested I look through his lens. As it turned out, Tom and Susan weren't even taking a picture of the flower. They were taking a picture of the navel of some micro-bug surfing in a dewdrop inside the flower.

Me: How many pictures are you taking of that bug?
Tom: A few. I'm just bracketing my exposures.
Me: Of course you are.
Susan: We have to account for the neutral density filter.
Me: Naturally.

Tom continued showing off his camera. This knob adjusts the f-stop, he explained. This red button over here is the aperture filament locator, blah, blah, blah. I just kept nodding my head. Susan tried to convince me I was never going to enjoy nature photography until I spent at least $1,000 on equipment.

I walked with them to the next flower. Tom carried the light meter and his bag of equipment. Now it was Susan's turn and she decided to shoot two flowers together. This took a while to set up.

"What's the problem?" I asked after 15 or 20 minutes.

"I'm having trouble focusing," Susan said.

I left them and continued along the trail, taking as many pictures of the other nature photographers as I was of nature. They were all contorting themselves into awkward positions to get the "right" shot. The bugs and birds and frogs were just sitting there, probably watching the photographers with the same curiosity I was.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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