How did your interest in wildlife arise?
Since I was a child, I felt attracted to nature, I loved watching documentaries about animals around the world and I dreamed of one day being able to have that approach to them.
I remember being very observant with the animals that I could see in my yard, any tiny colorful insect seemed fascinating to me, as well as the farm animals that were in my house, such as ducks, chickens and horses. In addition, I lived a large part of my childhood and adolescence in a rural town with beautiful mountains, so I was surrounded by nature.
I also remember that my dad bought me educational books about animals, both from Costa Rica and from other countries. I could spend hours looking at the photos and illustrations and learning everything about them.
How do you describe your journey as a photographer and a person?
Costa Rica is a country full of wildlife, so when I turned 19 I really started to get to know it. I visited beaches, mountains, volcanoes and everything that Costa Rica offers. The more contact with nature I had, more I wanted to always be there and capture all those beautiful details of our fauna, flora and fungi.
For me, being surrounded by nature is happiness and tranquility, since it makes me feel more in touch with mother earth; the sound of the wind and the birds around me is truly inspiring and even more so when I can capture all those moments with my camera.
The photos that I take are mainly of reptiles and amphibians. This is because in addition of being wonderful and interesting animals, I felt that I had to help take care of them. As we all know, snakes have been killed for a long time due to religious beliefs, myths or fear. However, people should know that like other animals, these reptiles have a very important role in nature and it is up to us to take care of them.
As for amphibians, they are one of the most threatened animals by climate change and human activities such as the alteration and loss of habitat in general, intensified agriculture, grazing and urbanization.
It is interesting, because when you start in the world of wildlife photography you learn more about animals. In my case, mainly snakes, I studied them in a self-taught way to get to know them better, be aware of their habits and even perfectly identify them by knowing the genus, species, the poisonous and non-poisonous. It became a hobby and the more I learned about them, the more I wanted to be closer to them and take pictures to show the great beauty they possess.
Where I currently live, together with my boyfriend, we saw the need to generate environmental education with the photos, since, despite being a much more urbanized area, encounters with wildlife are common, especially snakes and frogs, because we are very close to two important protected areas, which are part of the last remnants of forest in this part of the country.
So, we have held different talks in our communities, mainly about snakes, since our objective is to prevent these reptiles from being killed, due to misinformation or fear. Additionally, spreading awareness about the species that inhabit these forests and teaching people to identify them.
What is your view on Nature Conservation? How can we, as wildlife photographers, help to protect our Mother Nature?
The conservation of nature is something that all human beings should do, we depend on it and it is our responsibility to protect it.
Photography has become one of my greatest passions and part of my goals is for people to know and learn about nature, create awareness and so more and more people join in caring for Mother Earth. I think that photographers not only should focus on taking the best photo, but also, share an important message with it. I faithfully believe that a photo can create many sensations and reach many hearts; photography is one of the key tools for environmental education.
There is a very common phrase that says: “we do not take care of what we do not know”. Many people have no idea of everything that surrounds us and it is extremely important that through our photographs, we make known the importance of maintaining a natural balance.
As I mentioned before, photography is a means to generate environmental education and begin to change the negative visions that many people have about snakes and other animals. Learning to live with them is of the utmost importance.
Currently in Costa Rica it has become more common that people who own farms, want to reforest and regenerate the forest, because thanks to photographs and education they have realized that it is better to have the different species of animals alive and promote ecological tourism, where both photographers and nature lovers visit the place and thus create a positive impact on nature conservation.
Can you give our readers the best wildlife photography tips? Do you have any recommendation on settings or gear for wildlife photography?
When we venture into wildlife photography, we have to keep in mind that the weather conditions are not always going to be perfect for the photo. It may rain, it may be very cold or otherwise it may be very hot and those conditions difficult to take the photo we want. We always have to be prepared for adverse conditions that come our way.
Another important issue is to know the species of animals found in the area that we are going to visit. Studying about them before the trip is an excellent idea since it will help us to know about their habits and thus have a better chance of finding them.
Regarding the configuration, it will always depend if we are taking a day or night photo, and how much light we have available. However, in my opinion, the manual mode should always be used, since we have more control of all the values for our desired photo.
In macro photography, the use of external flash with diffusers is extremely important since it will help us with focus and better photo quality in every way.
What plans do you have in the future related to Wildlife Photography?
One of my dreams is to photograph different animals around the world in their natural habitat, to get to know all the nature that planet earth has, and I would also like to be part of a great environmental education and conservation project.
In addition, of course to continue publicizing the natural wealth of Costa Rica through my photos.
Tell us something about the gears you use.
The equipment I use is a Nikon D5600 camera, mainly with a 105 macro lens. I also use external flashes with diffusers.