Workshops - Max Ortiz Aguilar

From December 3th to 15th of 2019, I will be conducting a Bird Photography Workshop in Costa Rica for only 3 participants. For more information please visit Workshops. Thanks!

Costa Rica Bird Photography Workshop, December 2019

In December 2019 I will be conducting a Bird Photography Workshop in Costa Rica. You should plan to arrive to Costa Rica on December 3th and departure will be on December 15th. To give you the best customer service and to guarantee the best experience I will be offering only 3 spots. In this way I will be able to give you my full attention and this will make things easier for everyone when we are in the field.

Photographers of all levels are welcome to join. If you are just a beginner, I will explain the basics of photography and some key techniques that will help you progress your skills faster. Photographers with an intermediate level of expertise will benefit from tips and tricks in the field as well as on post processing techniques that will boost the quality of your final images to achieve a professional look. If you are a professional photographer, I will share my workflow and can critique your images; also you will be able to add to your portfolio some amazing bird images from Costa Rica.

Resplendent Quetzal

Resplendent Quetzal

I lived in Costa Rica for 32 years of my life and never saw a Quetzal because I never went looking for one. After moving to Canada and starting with photography, I realized how I missed many amazing opportunities and experiences because you take things for granted. This is my first official Resplendent Quetzal image taken in San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica. This male was feeding and perching on an "aguacatillo" tree which is a a fruit of the avocado family. Males have four extended uppertail coverts up to 76cm long. In this image its tail was hiding behind some branches so I decided to compose focusing on its amazing red and green feathers that cover its body. Don't take things for granted and go enjoy the things that surround you wherever you live.


December 3th, Arrival to San José, Costa Rica

I will pick you up at the Juan Santa María International Airport (SJO) and we will stay at a hotel close by where we will have dinner and an overview of our trip.

December 4th to 6th, Caribbean Lowlands Rainforest

After breakfast we will drive North to the Caribbean Lowlands in Boca Tapada, where we will be visiting multiple hot spots and going on different tours. Some of the potential main species we will photograph here are: Keel-billed Toucan, Yellow-throated Toucan, King Vulture, Mealy Parrot, Orange-chinned Parakeet, Red-lored Parrot, Brown-hooded Parrot, Golden-hooded Tanager, Summer Tanager, Gray-headed Chachalaca, White-collared Manakin, Red-capped Manakin, Baltimore Oriole, Green-breasted Mango Hummingbird, Crowned Woodnymph Hummingbird. 

December 7th to 8th, Caribbean Lowlands and Foothills Rainforest

On the 7th we will drive Southeast where we will be spending time between the Caribbean Lowlands and the Caribbean Foothills in Sarapiquí. Besides visiting key locations for bird photography, we will do some field photography too. Some of the species we may see are: Scarlet Macaw, Montezuma and Chestnut-headed Oropendola, Red-headed Barbet, Prong-billed Barbet, Emeral Toucantet, Keel-billed and Yellow-throated Toucan, Spectacled Owl, Collared Aracari, White-necked Jacobin Hummingbird, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Scaly-breasted Hummingbird,  Lineated Woodpecker,  Blue-gray Tanager.

December 9th to 11th, Central Highlands Cloud Forest

On the 9th we will change settings and drive Northwest to an area known as "Cerro de la Muerte", these are the Costarrican Highlands. In this area we will spend some time photographing different species such as Ruby-throated Hummingbird,  Volcano Hummingbird, Silver Throated Tanager, and potentially the amazing Resplendent Quetzal.

December 12th to 14th, Central Highlands Cloud Forest

Before heading back to San José, we will close the trip by spending the last couple of days in San Gerardo de Dota. A magical place surrounded by mountains where we will see different species such as Flame-colored Tanager, Long-tailed Silky-flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Siskin, Hummingbirds, Acorn Woodpecker and we may have one last opportunity to photograph the Resplendent Quetzal.

December 15th, Departure from San José, Costa Rica

Transportation to the airport will be arranged for you; which is also included in the cost of the Workshop. 

Yellow-throated Toucan

Yellow-throated Toucan

The Yellow-throated Toucan is the largest toucan species in Costa Rica. This bird used to be called "Black-mandidbled Toucan". Very easy to distinguish from Keel-billed Toucan by its yellow and brown bill. For this image the Toucan was perching under the rain, very peacefully, almost like enjoying a shower. The effect of the rain on the background and the wet feathers of the Toucan give this image some sort of nostalgic feeling that I like. Boca Tapada, Costa Rica.

What's Included and What's the Cost?


+Photography mentoring by Max (in the field and post processing)

+Online working sessions before and after the workshop

+Multi-flash photography setup for hummingbirds

+Single accommodation at all locations

+All meals, including morning and afternoon snacks

+Tours and park fees

+Fees for local guides

+Transportation (including to and from the Juan Santa María airport in Costa Rica)

Not Included


-Macro photography sessions

-Alcoholic drinks



-Other Miscellaneous Items


Total cost per participant is $5,000 USD (all taxes included).

To book, a 50% deposit is required. This deposit is non-refundable but it is transferable. The other 50% must be paid by September 15th, 2019. Please send an email to or for details on how to pay. You can also contact me at +1 (587) 834 0662. 

If you have any questions I will be more than happy to answer them over the phone, text, video call, etc. :-)

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