September 5, 2012 ·

Michael Reichmann

Monkeying Around

There are four types of monkeys found in southern Costa Rica; Howlers, Spider Monkeys, White Faced Monkeys and Squirrel Monkeys.  We were fortunate in being able to see all four types within close proximity to Lapa Rios and I was able to capture good photographs of three of the species.

Howler Monkey – Costa Rica, 2001

Photographed with a Canon EOS D30 and 100~400mm f/5.6L lens @ 400mm
1/125 sec @ f/9.5  ISO 400

The jungle is a noisy place. Beside the screeches of the Macaws and Toucans the most arresting sound is that of the Howler Monkeys. A troop in full voice sounds like something from Jurassic Park. Almost scary. 

This fellow was photographed on the first hike, the first morning that we were there, and turned out to be one the best images from the entire trip.

White Faced Monkey #2 – Costa Rica, 2001

Photographed with a Canon EOS D30 and 100~400mm f/5.6L lens @ 260mm
1/30 sec @ f/6.7 – ISO 400 using Canon 550EX flash @ -1.5 with
Better BeamerFlash Extender

White Faced Monkey’s are abundant residents of the Caribbean coast as well as the forest on the Pacific slope. They are usually hard to find, but we were fortunate in encountering a small troop one day that seemed as interested in us as we were in them.

Spider Monkey #1 – Costa Rica, 2001

Photographed with a Canon EOS D30 and 100~400mm f/5.6L lens @ 400mm
1/250 sec @ f/6.7 – ISO 400

Spider Monkeys were ubiquitous, but rarely venture too close to people. The lodge had a roof observation platform which places one right at tree-top level. I would sometimes spend the late afternoon scanning the trees with binoculars looking for monkeys and one afternoon just before sunset found this fellow leaping from tree to tree.

Monkey 1600 – Costa Rica, 2001

Photographed with a Canon EOS D30 and 100~400mm f/5.6L lens @ 400mm
1/90 sec @ f/8 – ISO 1600 

Late one afternoon, after returning from a long hike, I sat on the lodge’s deck overlooking a stretch of forest, relaxing with a well deserved cold beer. I saw rustling in the tree-tops and with my binoculars spotted a small troop of Spider Monkeys working their way though the jungle canopy.

By the time one of them emerged from the dense foliage to find a ripe berry at the end of a branch, the sun had set (which happens very quickly near the equator). The light level was getting quite dim, though there was still some sky glow.

Figuring that I had nothing to loose I set the D30 to ISO 1600, something that I hadn’t tried before. I was very pleased afterward to see that quite a decent image had been produced. Sure, it’s grainy, but without it the shutter speed would have been far to slow for any kind of usable results. (As it was I was hand-holding at 1/90th of a second with a 400mm lens â�� a testament to the Image Stabilization technology).

If you’d like to see an “actual pixels” enlargement of part of the above frame have a look atthis page.

This portfolio consists of 4 sections in addition to this page.

The Rainforest




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Michael Reichmann is the founder of the Luminous Landscape. Michael passed away in May 2016. Since its inception in 1999 LuLa has become the world's largest site devoted to the art, craft, and technology of photography. Each month more than one million people from every country on the globe visit LuLa.

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