Costa Rican Warbler. Photo by Eduardo Libby

Rainforest Photos and the Nikon Z7

Wildlife photos inside the Rain Forest most of the time means subject in deep shadow, background overexposed… well, sometimes the background is in deep shadow too!

We got out to the Cloud Forest on a place near the tiny settlement of Montserrat where trade winds create cold, cloudy and misty weather even during Cost Rica’s dry season. You actually have warm, sunny weather just a few miles away, on the other side of the mountains… while you shiver in 50’s degrees Fahrenheit drizzle (yes, that is 10 to 15 ºC).

Now, down to business, Why is it so nice to live in 2018? The enormous dynamic range of camera sensors! I used to shoot slow, contrasted Slide Film (why are they bringing it back?) where white-overblown cloudy skies were the norm so graduated neutral density filters were a must and not a convenience.

 

Tree Fern in the Costa Rican Rain Forest. Photo by Eduardo Libby
A Tree Fern as tall a Palm Tree. Notice the trunk is covered with epiphytes thanks to the daily watering from the mist or the rain. Although the sky is not overexposed it was completely featureless. It resembles what you would get from slide film.

 

The photos I post here, from my last birding trip of this year, all need either major shadow recovery post process or a 3600+ ISO capture. Looking back at my post-processing I see I kept the feeling of the Cloud Forest in all of them. A good check for not over-processing. In another context e. g. bird portraits I might make them brighter.

If you want to see my Costa Rican Wildlife and Landscape images, please visit my Photoshelter Website eduardolibby.photoshelter.com

 

Costa Rican Warbler. Photo by Eduardo Libby
A tiny Costa Rican Warbler (its name actually) foraging on top of an aroid leaf.

 

Slate-throated Redstart. Photo by Eduardo Libby
Also foraging among the bushes, a Slate-throated Redstart. Cropped to a square. I don’t normally crop my wildlife photos to make my subject look larger. I crop only a little bit for composition (I like 5:7,16:9 and 1:1). I like showing the environment

 

Collared Redstart. Photo by Eduardo Libby
The Collared Redstart is one of my favorite birds. I actually wanted to show it against a darker background but, you get what you can during the split second these tiny birds stand still. This is a before and after photo to show what I mean by heavy-shadow recovery. I like the silhouette though and tried to keep the feeling in the final image.
Collared Redstart photo before shadow recovery. Photo by Eduardo Libby
The original Collared Redstart photo before shadow recovery.

 

Purple-throated Mountain Gem feeding on Ericaeaceous flowers. Photo by Eduardo Libby
The Purple-throated Mountain Gem feeding on Ericaeaceous flowers is a subject I need to go back to photograph, using a flash this time.

 

Red-faced Spinetail and tree fern. Photo by Eduardo Libby
This last picture was a near-screw up. The Red-faced Spinetail hung from a Tree Fern very close to me and I quickly shot before it flew away. Exposure for the shadows created a lot of green flare from the vegetation. Fill Flash would have helped here too. I had to use quite liberally Lightroom’s Dehaze and Clarity sliders to fix the problem. I am so glad they created these adjustments!

 

 

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