Award-winning nature photographer Krisztina Scheeff led a free photography workshop at the Sarapiquí Conservation Learning Center tailored especially for naturalist guides to provide them with the opportunity to learn or improve their photography skills. The workshop was open to all skill levels, with a main focus on wildlife and nature photography, as the growing popularity of nature photography in the travel industry has made it a valuable skill for those working in this tourism specialty.
Read about Krisztina Scheeff's experience leading the workshop, and her motivation to partner with the SCLC to share her skills with naturalist guides.
Krisztina, having taught the course for naturalist guides in Costa Rica for the first time, why do you think it was important for the Learning Center to offer something like this for guides? I think it would be important and beneficial for the Learning Center to offer a course to the birding guides. During the week, the course participants learned a great deal about the differences of leading a birding tour vs. a photography tour and also learned great skills regarding photography. We also got great interest from the birding guides attending the Holbrook Conference - talking to them, they would love to do the course next year. I think we got about 20 folks interested.
How was teaching Costa Rican naturalists different from teaching the audiences that you travel with to Scotland, the Galápagos Islands, and beyond? My tours to Scotland, Galápagos, and other places are open to everyone, birders, photographers, nature lovers. Teaching the birding guides had a huge benefit - they already know birds and behaviours! We got to concentrate on photography. With wildlife photography, the more you know about the behaviour of your subject, the better you can anticipate their next move - important to get a great photo and be ready for it! Teaching the birding guides how to think like a photographer, what is important to us, was helpful to them to guide their photographer clients better.
Was the experience fulfilling? Surprising? Challenging? The experience was purely amazing! I really enjoyed the week, so did the workshop participants. It was fulfilling to see the lightbulb go on when we talked how to position clients for best light, where to position the boat on the river, what we, wildlife photographers, look for, and for it to all make sense. They also learned a great deal about photography and each day we processed photos they took. Seeing the progress on their photography skills from Monday to Friday sure put a smile on my face.