Archive for ‘snapshots’

June 7, 2016

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Boca Grande, FL

What’s my favorite time of the year? Beach time of year.

April 13, 2015

that long-lost vacation…

Forever and a day ago (or maybe it was about 6 months ago) I went on vacation. And I didn’t tell you about it! WHAT?! I hinted. I posted a couple pictures. And then I got in a fight with my blog. We stopped talking for awhile after we called each other some unfortunate names. But then my brain started wandering back to those lovely vacation days, and I thought it was quite rude of me to not share those lovely memories here. *ok. can we just be honest? I really want to go back on vacation, so this allows me to re-live these wonderful memories. There. I said it.

For some reason, this vacation induced So. Much. Stress. beforehand. Our last trip was planned incredibly last minute. As in, tickets were bought before I even received my renewed passport. We had little time to plan, which in normal circumstances really should cause my OCD to break out in hives. But no. And then this trip? With plenty of time to plan? I wanted to throw up at times. I stomped my feet a lot. The packing?! Only I can make vacation planning so very….grrrrrrr.

I won’t even try to tell the tale of my arguments with a traffic cop at the airport. Or my attempting, yelling really, to just pay the airport guy for my oversized luggage already. I have never had someone NOT want to take my money! Our start to this trip was not a pretty one. And then there was the little stop at customs upon our arrival. Trying to explain our luggage situation. I am pretty sure if it wasn’t for the man carrying our luggage for us, we would have been short some items. A $20 bill can get you far in a developing country 😉

Really, the only luggage I truly care about on these trips is what is on my back every day…the cameras.

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

Well. that and my motion-sickness medicine 🙂 For a girl that gets carsick *very* easily, these are a must on these trips!

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

One of our biggest concerns while planning this trip was nailing down transportation from the airport to our lodge. After not much luck, we discovered our friend’s coworker’s cousin just so happened to have a tour company. I love Costa Rica! Someone always knows someone who can help you! So we contacted Wilson, and made a new friend. He picked us up at the airport. Happily brought us on some quick errands we needed to do before hitting the road. And made the looooong drive much better by being in his company. He brought us to a local soda for lunch and it was delicious, and we made some furry friends while there as well. He took us on some detours and made the drive fun, instead of a tedious drive from point a to point b.

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

While we were eating lunch Wilson had the owner make us these plantains…these were the most delicious plantains I have ever tasted! Best I could decipher, they are simply boiled. That seems too easy for the amazing flavor. If anyone knows the secret to these plantains, I will be your new best friend!!!

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We finally arrived at our lodge, Arenal Lodge, and made tentative plans to meet up with Wilson, and possibly his friend, the following day, depending on the weather. The weather was cooperative for us, and our first full day in Costa Rica was more than I ever could have asked for…

Just for a taste of the greatness…this was the view from my bed. I mean!

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March 13, 2015

where I go

French Bulldog | Kulik Photography

I’m popping in to make excuses for myself. I have all sorts of photos to post, and I know all of you out there are simply beside yourselves, waiting for me to post said photos. But I haven’t posted any. Anything at all. I know, I know. You are exhausted from all the lost sleep, wondering when in the world I was next going to post.

Excuses. I’ve gone to the dogs! Really, I just work an awful lot, and if I’m not working, my body is probably recovering from all that working an awful lot. But you know what I sometimes do when I am busy working an awful lot? I sneak my camera into the playgroups, and steal images of my slobbery friends. And then poof! I have photos to share.

For our last trip to Costa Rica I decided to replace our dying point and shoot. It was a bit of a difficult pill to swallow, and I wondered how much I would really use a p&s when I have my trusty dslr. But I bought the Canon G1X and I have to say I am in loooove and do not regret the decision one little bit. I actually think the “real” camera is starting to get a touch jealous. I love this thing for making images of my work pups, without then having to go home and do dreaded editing. I love it for snapping pics of our everyday life, but still getting something better than just plain old snapshots. I just love it. And so. I haven’t posted a whole lot. But I have a whole lot to post. Until then…pups!

kulik photography kulik photography kulik photography

February 2, 2015

I will always return

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

I have been met with surprise each time that I tell someone that we will be going to Costa Rica for a vacation.

Again?” they will ask.

Yes. Again.

“But didn’t you just go last year?”

I will always return to Costa Rica. It will always be my go-to vacation. There are so many places on this beautiful planet that I would love to see and explore and experience. But I will always choose to return to Costa Rica. This country has had such a strange hold on me since my first visit. When I first set foot on it’s soil. When I first met the warmth of it’s culture.

On my first visit more than 10 years ago,  I was no more than 5 minutes in my friend’s home when the wife of one of his friends grabbed my hand and whisked me away down the city streets, winding through a maze of walkways and neighborhoods until I found myself in her family’s neighborhood, in the home of her mother, surrounded my a mass of women asking me questions in a language I had absolutely no grasp of. I sat in pure terror. And spoke to them in English. And they spoke to me in Spanish. And I swear we managed to have a conversation. We still somehow managed to understand each other.

I am a person that is forever uncomfortable. In her surroundings. In her own skin. I can always feel the edge of my anxiety, threatening to cut. And somehow, in a country that takes me miles and miles outside of my comfort zone, I feel more at home than I feel anywhere else. Costa Rica is good for me. It does something to my mind. It quiets it. It settles it. It reminds me of what is important and where my focus should be.

Costa Rica let’s me know that I am always welcome, and for that I will always return.

November 5, 2013

day 6 pt.2 {the vacation chronicles}

Upon the return from my first trip to Costa Rica my mind reeled with all that I saw…and all that I did not capture with a camera. My passion for photography was within me at that time, but it was buried far inside of me. It hadn’t been realized yet. It was only after that trip that I started realizing what kind of photographic journey that trip could have been. We had plans to return, and I convinced my father to send me his camera. The camera that I learned photography on. The good old (literally, old) Minolta. And then a hurricane hit our town. And life was interrupted. And our trip back was cancelled. And I sent the Minolta back.

We constantly talked about returning, but life did what it does best and got in the way. Hubby returned a few times for fishing trips, and I stayed home, cursing him the entire time. The further away I got from my introduction to Costa Rica, and the more I embraced photography, the more determined I became that when the day came that I could finally return, I would photograph all the little critters that, up to that point, I had to rely on my iffy memory banks if I wanted to revisit that first trip.

At the top of my list were the leaf cutter ants. I was fascinated by these guys. Somehow, they were the epitome of being somewhere foreign. Somewhere exotic. I mean, they were in National Geographic magazines after all!

And so my mission on this trip was to photograph the leaf cutter ants hard at work. And ummmm, I was about to learn that this was going to be some hard work!

Hubby stole this snap of me scrunched up on the ground trying to get some shots. I think this gives you a good idea of just how small my subjects are- at first glance it just looks like I am shooting the dirt 😉

Behind the Scenes | Macro Photography | Leaf Cutter Ants | Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

I think it would be fair to say that the leaf cutters were some of my hardest subjects on this trip. These boogers are fast. I desperately wanted to get a shot of a line of them coming right at my camera, but that would basically mean I would have to lay in their path, and I just couldn’t quite do that, though I put myself as close as possible. In the end, I didn’t get the shot that I wanted, but I got shots that I didn’t expect to get and couldn’t be happier with. These shots might quite possibly be some of my favorites from the whole trip.

Costa Rica | Macro Photography | Leaf Cutter Ants | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photography Costa Rica | Macro Photography | Leaf Cutter Ants | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photography

Costa Rica | Macro Photography | Leaf Cutter Ants | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photography Costa Rica | Macro Photography | Leaf Cutter Ants | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photography

Costa Rica | Macro Photography | Leaf Cutter Ants | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photography Costa Rica | Macro Photography | Leaf Cutter Ants | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photography Costa Rica | Macro Photography | Leaf Cutter Ants | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photography

October 29, 2013

day 6 pt.1 {the vacation chronicles}

day 6 | Costa Rica Vacation | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer

Were you worried that my disappearance meant that I had sold all of my belongings and ran away to Costa Rica? Sadly, all my belongings still belong to me. I have been busy rearranging my life and making new changes and then making more changes that brought me right back to the old. Confusing, right? Tell me about it! We’ll discuss it over tea one day, I promise. But who wants to hear about boring things like change when there is still Costa Rica shananigans to talk about?! Right? RIGHT!

Ahhhh Day 6. How I adore Day 6. Day 6 was one of those days that felt like it lasted for forever. And for a girl that has a really gross and unhealthy obsession with time, I cannot tell you how glorious Day 6 felt. Our original plan was to do a different excursion, if I remember right, zip lining. But there was some confusion, and a bit of a language barrier, and in all honesty, I saw an easy escape route out of zip lining! After the stress of almost losing our lives on Day 5, we were looking forward to the ease of a quiet, short excursion. On the grounds of the resort they had a horse stable that I was fascinated with from the moment I saw it.

Years and years and years ago at a Dairy Queen I had my first “real” encounter with a horse. Random, I know. I had seen horses at other points in my life. I had had other close encounters. But this was the first time I met one up close and personal. And was able to look into those giant eyes. And pet it’s head and just be in awe. And then I turned into a 6 year-old and became obsessed with the idea of going horseback riding. But I am not so good with follow up, so I never actually went horseback riding. But I talked about it a lot, if that counts for anything?

And so when I saw the horses at the resort, I knew that if we had the time, I really wanted to sign up for that. And so we narrowly escaped zip lining and much to my delight we were going to go horse back riding. How exciting! We started our day with another lovely breakfast at the resort and took in all the critters that joined us.

Costa Rica | Iguana | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Iguana | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer

I will dedicate a post just to the birds later on, but a little peek…

Costa Rica | Bird | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Bird | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer

And then at 7:30 we met our guide, walked over to the stables, and met our horses. And proceeded to realize that we were about to make spectacles out of ourselves 🙂

Let’s just say that we provided some great entertainment for the stable boys as we made our attempts to first just get ON the horses, and then actually get out of the stable. I feel good knowing that I was able to provide some good dinnertime conversation for their families that evening 😉 This is where I think it is important to note something interesting that I learned while on vacation in Costa Rica.

It seems that my husband is absolutely, positively petrified atop a horse. WHO KNEW?! I was as giddy as a little kid in a candy store, and when I looked back, smile beaming ear to ear proclaiming my love for all things horses, I saw a look of total unadulterated fear. Don’t tell him I said this, but it was kind of funny 😉

So we headed out. We slowly made our way out of the stable area and were followed by a sweet old horse that would be waiting for us at the same fence upon our return. We entered a new pasture of tall grass and open fields and I was just in awe. I LOVE HORSES! THIS SADDLE IS SO COOL! LOOK HOW I CAN STEAR MY HORSE! I LOOOOOOOVE HORSES!!!!!!! And then, a rouge horse that was THRILLED to see some sort of activity came galloping our way and tested the strength of my husband’s heart 🙂 Entertainment people. Entertainment.

While we were meandering along, our guide informed us that we would soon be coming along the road, which we would cross, and then carry on through another pasture, and then arrive at the rainforest. “Ummmm, road? Did he just say we are crossing the road?” Came the voice of my husband from behind me. Yup! We are crossing the road….we’re on an adventure!!! Isn’t this exciting??? “DID HE SAY WE ARE CROSSING THE ROAD???? DOES HE UNDERSTAND WE DON’T KNOW WHAT WE ARE DOING? HAVEYOUSEENHOWTHEYDRIVE?????????????”

Don’t worry, we made it across the road just fine. I mean, I think hubby might have grown another grey hair or two, but we made it across 🙂

Aren’t I adorable atop a horse?!

Costa Rica | Horseback Riding | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer

Costa Rica | Bird | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer

*ahem* don’t tell me they are little, ok? THEY WERE GIANT!

Our lovely guide…I loved him. I think he forgot our names (which is ok because, ummm,  I might have forgotten his as well) so he called us “my friend” the entire time, which I adored. “My friend, look at this plant” “My friends, look in that tree, THERE IS A SLOTH!!!” (don’t worry, we’ll get to that)

Costa Rica | Bird | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer

Hubby took this…our guide “my friend” was teaching me about the frogs that I was hearing chirp, and how they attract the venomous snakes that are in the bushes there lining the fence and upcoming tree line. And how that becomes one of the most dangerous jobs, cutting the bushes down, because they are full of the snakes. We later saw a couple men doing just that, and I wanted to throw them onto my horse and get them as far away from those bushes as possible.

Costa Rica | Bird | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer

And I now present to you the GEM of all of our vacation photos. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that my dear husband had the ware withal to take a self portrait to document how much he was enjoying this lovely, glorious Day 6…

Costa Rica | Bird | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer

So we rode. We galloped (I LOVED galloping!!!!) we saw lots of birds of prey. I learned all sorts of fun little tid bits of information. And then we arrived at the mouth of the rainforest. We drenched ourselves in poison *ahem, bug spray* and entered a cloud of mosquitoes. And a beautiful rainforest as well.

But ummm, really. The mosquitoes. At one point our guide stopped and asked “Do you hear that?” And I quickly replied “YES!” Except he was talking about a monkey, and I was talking about the loud roar of mosquitoes buzzing. But it was an awesome trek. He made me eat strange plants that made my tongue go numb, a spider *might* have tried to attack me, resulting in me quite possibly trying to shove our guide to the ground in order to run over his body and make a grand escape (but dammit, I got the shot!). We saw awesome plant life….and was even able to educate our guide on some of the plants, since we actually had them in our yard at home – which, let’s discuss just how freaking cool it is to be in the middle of a rainforest in Costa Rica and be all “ummmm, isn’t that the plant that we have by the back door?”.

Costa Rica | Butterfly| Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Butterfly| Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Poison Dart Frog| Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Catapillar| Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Starngler Fig | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer

This one is kind of hard to decipher, but this is the shed skin of a tarantula (I forget what he actually called it, but it is essentially a tarantula.) You can see him tucked in the back…

Costa Rica | Spider Shedding | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Tree | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Plant | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Plant | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Spider | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Plant | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer

After our hike we returned to our horses, saddled up (did I use that phrase right? Did I?! Did I?!) and took an awesome journey back to the resort that brought us through a couple streams, through a herd of lazy cows, and provided us with some amazing views. OH! And did I mention our horses RAN?! Woohooooooo! It was SO much fun. Well, ummmm, ok, *I* had fun anyways 😉

Costa Rica | Horseback Riding | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Horseback Riding | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Cattle | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Cattle | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Horseback Riding | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Landscape | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Landscape | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer

Hubby’s horse was OBSESSED with the grass, and because he didn’t know how to properly direct him 😉 horse got away with taking lots of snack breaks 🙂

Costa Rica | Horseback Riding | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer

As we made our way back we ventured back to the field with the lonely horse. Apparently in the few hours since he had last seen us, he had grown more ornery and chased us down. Or more precisely, chased hubby down. It provided lots of entertainment for me, lots of fear for him, and we got to watch our guide as he busted out some serious cowboy moves to try to divert the saucy fella! We were greeted by the sweet old girl at the gate, the saucy naughty horse busted his way through as well, and once again we watched all sorts of entertainment as our guide desperately tried to corral this crazy boy. It was all such a whirlwind of excitement that I never even thought to lift my camera, which is a shame because is was one of my favorite memories of the day.

Once things settled down and we got closer to the stables I realized that there were HUGE iguanas all over. It was so crazy to see horses and iguanas in the same place

Costa Rica | Horseback Riding |Iguana | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer Costa Rica | Iguana| Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer

All this, and it wasn’t even noon yet!!! Stay tuned for part 2 of this lovely day!!!!

BUT WAIT!!! Wasn’t there something about a sloth??? Why yes, yes there was!

Costa Rica | Sloth | Kulik Photography | SW FL Photographer

We saw two sloths on this trek…this one was right above us while we were on horseback. I only wish I had a longer lens on me at the time (*ahem* that lens would make it’s way into my hands the following day…nothing like the saying “a day late, a dollar short!”) But I am still thrilled that I got this shot. he was sound asleep, as they usually are. Even with a couple knuckle rasps on the base of the tree, he moved only a smidgen.

See you next time!!!

October 16, 2013

day 5 {the vacation chronicles}

Costa Rica | Vacation Notes | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

My lists from my notebook requested that they make an appearance here. Who am I to tell them no? They are simple lists, sometimes just one word, but these lists were to help remind me of my days, and I have had fun looking back, my memory being jogged by such simple little statements. I find that as I look back at them, they bring back even more memories, and I am able, all this time later, to still add to the list.

Day 5 was one of my most favorite days from the vacation, even though I considered naming this post “Costa Rica, Day 5…the day Louis tried to kill me” But we’ll get to that 😉

This post is not one where I can be frugal with my words. I just loved this day too much. And it was too entertaining. Plus, I suck at telling short stories, remember?!

We woke up early to fill our bellies with strange food to prepare for a busy day. When we signed up for this excursion the night before, the man at the desk looked us up and down, stared at as sternly, and finally said “Do you hike?” “Yes” “Are you healthy?” “Yes” “Ok, we don’t recommend this for everyone. It is very hard.” And he looked….concerned. Which left me feeling slightly concerned. But I was intent on at least getting in one full-day excursion while we were at the resort, and the pamphlet showed gorgeous turquoise water. I am a sucker for packaging 😉

So we we filled our bellies under the gaze of a giant, lazy iguana. We watched as the staff put out fruit to lure in the most incredible looking birds I have ever seen. I snacked on a ridiculous amount of fruit, and super tasty sausage that hubby has me convinced might just have been horse meat :p We stopped at the desk to let them know we would be ready very soon. Once again, we got the once over. There was some serious internal debate going on inside this man’s head. Finally, he simply asked if we were physically fit, and to put good shoes on. Geez people! Now I’m starting to worry!

We get ready. We wait at the desk. An inconspicuous van pulls up, and an even more inconspicuous man hops out. Meet Louis. The man that looks harmless, but that I would later determine was on a mission to kill this girl. But we’ll get to that.

We start our excursion with a long drive. I should warn you, long drives, especially in Costa Rica, where the rule of the road is simply “we’re in Costa Rica, we do what we want!”, can be iffy for my queasy belly. And as it turns out, hubby’s belly too! I cannot even begin to explain the driving situation down there, so I am not even going to try. Just know it is interesting, and fast, and entertaining, and really, there don’t seem to be any rules. So we drive. I inform Louis (the man that wants to kill me) that I have yet to see a sloth, that all I want is to see a sloth. And he gets a sparkle in his eyes. One thing about these guides…you want to see something? You WILL see it. They are amazing. Obviously, they know if they give you what you want, you will reward them. Hell yeah I’ll reward you! Even though he tried to kill me, Louis was rewarded. On our drive he spotted numerous birds for us, including falcons and hawks. Now…when I say he “pointed out” what I mean to say is he brought to the van to a screeching halt, with no regard to traffic, and would not move until he was sure that we were seeing what he was seeing.

Costa Rica | Day 5 | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

As our drive continued on, we came upon a stoppage on an old dirt road, with a tourist van parked in the middle of the road, and numerous people standing, neck craned, all pointing in the same direction. “Get out” Louis said. “Get out, when you see people looking like that, there is a sloth.” We got out. AND THERE WAS A SLOTH!!! Right there, at the side of the road. Half way up a tree and camouflaged behind a leaf.

Would you like to see the picture?

Me too. But I didn’t take one. I know, I know!!! But I have a pretty crappy kit zoom lens, and seriously, he was snug up behind the leaf. For that moment, I was perfectly content with tucking it tightly into my memory banks, knowing that my first sloth sighting, even if not captured on “film”, would always be remembered perfectly.

Annnnnnnnnd, back in the van! Oh, the journey to our destination. It was entertaining all on it’s own. We have traffic jams that consisted of us and a herd of cows. Being chased by dogs. Dodging, amazing well I might add, almost every pot hole known to man. And finally, heading up a “hill” that caused me to subconsciously start rocking back and forth, in hopes it might propel the van forward and prevent us from sliding back.

And we arrive! We sign in, walk down a very boring little trail and enter the mouth of the forest.

And I lose my breath. It is gorgeous. Throughout our trip we were very fortunate to have seen many different types of rainforests, and this one was by far my most favorite. The cool temperature didn’t hurt either 😉 It was dark, and HUGE. Trees towered overhead and I couldn’t help but to think of the movie Jurassic Park. I found myself stopping numerous times, looking up, and just spinning in a slow circle, trying to take it all in. It was just breathtaking. And did I mention dark? It was dark. At the beginning of our hike I didn’t even bother taking my camera out, knowing it was pointless.

The further we hiked, the more precarious some trails became. Some would say I am a wuss…and I would probably agree 🙂 I have an incredible fear of heights…and we were definitely getting higher. You will see in some of the pictures a peculiar look on my face…that is me totally and completely freaked out 🙂 I mean, really…no one told me there would be WIRES that were all that was standing between me and sudden death!

Costa Rica | Day 5 | Kulik  Photography | SW Florida Photographer

(yes, I am WELL aware of that photo there, standing all sideways and whatnot. let’s not talk about it, k? k.)

Ok. So the hike. It is lovely. Really, it is. Sure, there are some scary spots. But it is ok. Hubby comforts me. I ask if he thinks we will have to come back this way, and he reassures me that he thinks it is a loop, so no, we probably won’t have to come back this way. Well sweet jesus THANK YOU!!!! Louis (the man that wants to kill me) then informs us that, no, he knows a quicker way.

*When your guide tells you there is a “quicker way”, be leery.

**When he leads you past a sign that reads PROHIBIDO, be leery. I mean, do I speak Spanish? Technically, no. But I don’t need a translator for this one people. No. I. Do. Not.

But “don’t worry!” Louis (the man that wants to kill me) reassures…”they mean old people. Lots of old people fall here. This is ok for young boys.” Does Louis know I am not a young boy? DOES HE??????????? Sure, my hair is really short. But my voice? It’s as valley girl as it gets. I have a bracelet on. And mascara even! Louis, I AM NOT A YOUNG BOY.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd adventure begins. This is terrible. I have tears in my eyes. Are we really on a trail? No really, are we?

There were times we would come to a spot, and lovely Louis (the man that wants to kill me) would say simply “uh-oh”. And I would see what he was looking at. And I would say, obviously, “do we need to turn back?” *fingers crossed* And Louis (the man that wants to kill me) would say “Nope!” all chipper and happy as he proceeds to lead me closer to my death.

This, my sweet friends, is what Louis (the man that wants to kill me) drove me to…lol, really, I was SO over it at this point. This trek attacked my fear of heights on so many levels, and took my anxiety and shook it all up and then spit it all over the forest floor. And that resulted in this 🙂

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

Did I mention how many times I fell on this hike? Which just reiterated the fact that at any moment, I could plunge to my death off the side of these trails. Oh, because trails that are past the Prohibido sign? They don’t have wires along the paths. BECUASE NO ONE IS SUPPOSED TO BE THERE! Oh Louis….

But really…this was one of my most favorite days of the whole trip. It was so trying for me, but the beauty of it all was just so overwhelming, I couldn’t help but flip a camera off, and then be instantly mesmerized by a gorgeous butterfly. And suuuuure, I am convinced that Louis was trying to kill me, but he was also highly entertaining. When we crossed paths with other hikers (not on the Prohibido path, I can assure you that) he would warn them of jaguars…which just sounds adorable with a Spanish accent- haguar. He spent much of our hike mimicking howler monkeys…which resulted in endless entertainment as we watched fellow hikers suddenly staring into the trees, trying to spot them 🙂

Costa Rica | Day 5 | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

This hike will forever be burned in my memory. It was the hardest hike we did on the trip, but also the most beautiful. And almost dying at the hands of your guide doesn’t hurt for the excitement factor either 😉 The colors of the water, the enormity of the forest, the delicate wings of the butterflies, everything about it was dream-like.

We ended the hike sweaty and muddy. We filled our bellies with a traditional Costa Rican lunch with Louis and took a long, tired ride back home. Where, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaait for it……………………………..we saw another sloth!!!!!

Costa Rica | Sloth | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

So yeah…crappy kit lens, remember? So you just have to trust me that that right there, is a sloth. Really. It is. And I will also point out that this was spotted while going proabably about 70-80 mph. SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEECH. look! look! look! 🙂 Oh Louis, I know you tried to kill me and all, but thank you.

We came to a screeching halt one more time, for a group of howler monkeys….

Costa Rica | Howler Monkeys | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

I wish you could hear what they sound like…it is so amazing how little they actually are after hearing the LOUD, prehistoric noises they make.

So that was day 5. Top of the list day 5. It was so great and there are so many little bits and pieces I wish I could share with you, but they are the types of memories that are somehow impossible to share with others, but are engraved deep into the walls of my memory. I loved day 5.

Oh wait! Do you want real photos too??? Well, ok…

Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer

Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer

Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer

As I neared this tree, I was trying to figure out what I was seeing…..and it turns out, it was a shoe.

Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer

Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer

Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer

Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer

Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer

This Skink was one of my best models from the entire trip! He was incredibly patient, and while he didn’t sit still, he never went too terribly far. I spent some time crawling in the mud, and was able to get some pretty great shots of him…

Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer

This little guy was so itty bitty and was on the other end of the spectrum from the skink in the whole camera love thing. He only let me get about 4 shots in before he was long gone…

Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer

Probably my favorite shot from the day…

Costa Rica | Tenorio Volcano National Park | Kulik Photography | SW Fl Photographer

October 14, 2013

day 4 {the vacation chronicles}

Did you think I forgot?

ok…I kind of forgot. Really, life got busy, this little world of mine has been swirling around a bit, and poof! Forgotten about. But don’t get a complex…I remembered that I forgot and now here I am, with day 4.

And lucky you, the storyteller in me is tapped out for today 🙂 I brought a notebook with me for the trip, to keep track of our days, and of our memories. Day four was a simple list of bullet points that looked a little something like this:

yummy breakfast, played with Stinky, HOT, Hike at Chimmoria Tree Farm, log bridge-yikes!, big spider, dirt and grass roads, oropendola nests, lots of bugs, tiny anole, dragonfly, monkey!, blue jean poison dart frog, bit by ants :(, slaty-tailed trogon, pbj in truck, visited Ethical Forestry, cycle of trees from seed to tree farm, explore by river, release baby boa, check into Tilajari Resort, yummy dinner, cane toads, Loyal & Felicia’s first armadillo.

And THAT was day 4. It was a great day. It was a hot, sweaty day and we saw so much. It was really a great day.

A couple snapshots…

if you paid attention to that list up there, you would see I wrote the words “log bridge- yikes!” We drove over a “bridge” and our friend asked if we would like to see what we just drove over. Against our better judgment we said yes. And THIS is what we were shown. *gulp*

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

a yucky spider I spotted while standing down by the water…

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

hubby with one of those bird’s nests…

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

a little behind the scenes of getting macro shots…

behind the scenes... | Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

playing with a baby snake…

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

And after we put the cell phones down, and the point and shoot down, I *did* pick up the camera and take some “real” photos…

Costa Rica |Oropendola Nests|  Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

Costa Rica | Oropendola Nest| Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

One of the recurring fascinations for me one this trip was the way that nature could trick you into thinking there wasn’t much to it. I would look at the entrance to a trail we would be headed to, and not be overly impressed. It just looks like a wall of trees. But when you step inside, and cross that threshold, it was like being transported into some secret world.

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

It felt like we were driving in a maze through the tree farm…if it was up to my sense of direction, we would probably still be trying to find our way out 😉

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

You can always find the spoils of humanity…even in a rainforest

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer Costa Rica | Kulik Photography | SW Florida Photographer

 

 

September 25, 2013

day 2…the twisty turny road to bliss

Ahhhh, Day Two. The travel is over. We had a lovely evening lounging by the (chilly) pool, just soaking in the fact that Oh. My. God. We are actually in Costa Rica. We took this crazy last minute idea and actually did it and HERE WE ARE.

We enjoyed a yummy breakfast that consisted of mostly unknown foods and AH-mazing fruit. (Have I mentioned that by the end of my trip, I actually had sores covering the inside of my mouth because I ate an excessive amount of pineapple?  The pain was SOOOO worth it!)

And so we enjoyed our breakfast. We listened to the sounds of birds as they sang their foreign songs. We were filled with anticipation for the coming days. We were also filled with nerves…you are a liar if you say that you wouldn’t be nervous in a new country. We do not speak the language. We are unsure of all the customs. It is exciting and nerve-wracking all in one!

Random fact that we learned the night before: In Costa Rica, your waiter will not bring you the check unless you ask for it. I mean, you could throw your napkin on your plate, cross your knife and fork over each other in the middle of the plate, “AHEM” loudly numerous times. No. No check. Here, it would appear rude to ask for a check, but there, well, you will sit for a looooong time if you stay mum. LOL. Lesson one of numerous.

So we kicked back, hung by the pool, and relaxed. I did something I hadn’t done in a year…I. Read. A. Book. And we waited for our friends to come pick us up.

And this is when you are reminded that you are in another country. We received a message that they were on their way. And then we received a message that there was a terrible accident, and so they would be a bit late. Because that accident? It was blocking the only road that would get them from there to here. And so they would have to take a dirt road in the opposite direction in order to bypass the accident. Here? People would be absolutely beside themselves. There? What are you going to do?

So we are picked up. We begin our journey to their home…with one stop. The grocery store in San Jose that has many American treats.

Thirsty?

Yeah, ummmm, Mtn Dew is a SPECIAL treat! 🙂 The one and only place that is seems to reside is in this store. And so, clearly, Mtn Dew needed to be bought. Priorities people, priorities. And then after a jaunt through the city streets (YIKES! Seriously, I should have taken video! Juggling with machetes? Sure, why not?! Driving with your fingers crossed because that seems like the best safety measure there is? Absolutely!) we were off.

And let the motion sickness set IN! To get to our friends home we would take the Pan American Highway(with random goats tied to the side of the road. For. Real.) and then a twisty turny road through the mountains that was absolutely gorgeous. And turny. And so pretty. But twisty. Ummmm, did I mention twisty? Our ride was probably about three hours and we were able to see lots of Costa Rica as it REALLY is, not just the postcard images. And that, I love! It is such a poor country, but so beautiful. People have very little, but it seems so long as they have their family, they have all they need.

Because I had been once before, I already had an image in my head, so it was not all totally new to me. But it still takes a period of time to adjust to this different world with different rules and standards. As a dog lover, Costa Rica is a very difficult country to be in, but I will touch on that in a later post. It is normal to see random dogs at the side of the road. And I mean, AT THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. Why aren’t they scared???? Men adore peeing on the side of the road, and it becomes a kind of game to see what we can peep 😉 A home without bars on it’s windows is, well, not a home you see in Costa Rica. Giant pot holes are the norm, dirt roads are not a nuisance so much as just another road, and the theme is “We’re in Costa Rica…we do what we want!” And so we were overstimulated and over twisty-turned and I was just trying to jam it all in my brain and lock the key so I didn’t lose any of it.

because it is pretty

And so…second day in and I am still busy taking photos with my phone! Oops! I promise day three has real, live PHOTOS *gasp* But no adventure can begin without a start to the journey. So this was our start.

 

September 17, 2013

shall we begin?

I mean, it has been over a month now, right? It only seems right that I should probably begin making some vacation posts, yeah? Because let’s be honest here, I know you having been laying awake at night, staring at the ceiling fretting over the fact that you haven’t gotten to read about my gloriously fabulous trip. It’s ok, don’t be embarrassed, we’re all friends here.

I took soooo many photos. I still have soooo many photos to edit. But if we wait for me to finish before we begin these posts, you may have a few more grey hairs. You might even have grandchildren at that point. So we will begin. But begin where??? Did I mention soooo many photos? How to share them all? I have decided the easiest way will be to post a day-by-day chronicle, with little diversions here and there where we dig a little deeper. Oooooh, sounds exciting doesn’t it?

And so, let’s start with DAY 1.

Costa Rica | Kulik Photography

Ok…so Day 1 isn’t very exciting. And, ok, we’re all friends here, so I’m going to be honest right here. There are Day 2 photos in there too. GAH! I know, I know.

Really, Day 1 was full of travel and settling in. I am a pretty daring girl, so I really wanted to live on the edge and start our trip out right by eating a Floribbean Tuna sandwich. I know how to live!!! So we travelled. We arrived. We amazingly found our driver immediately. SCORE! Communicating with our driver? eeeeeeehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. He deserted us at one point curbside at the airport. WHEREDIDYOUGO????? This might be a good spot to pause and fill you in on one tidbit of information: We don’t speak Spanish. At all. I mean, I can tell you good morning, and thank you. Annnnnd, that is about it. The people of Costa Rica are insanely patient and accommodating and will make every effort to communicate with you and make things easy. And our country could learn a LOT from that. And that is all I am going to say about that 😉

We make it to our hotel, and we settle in. We discover you can watch the city traffic on tv. Say what?! It’s kind of like the food channel. You know you are bored. You know you want to change the channel. But you don’t. I can tell you all about the traffic patterns of San Jose.

We ventured. We grocery shopped. I stumbled upon a pet store a mere one minute walk from our hotel, because clearly I have doggy radar even in other countries. We bought tasty snacks that we bought solely on looks. We froze (damn Floridians!!! Ha! We were even called out by some Midwesterners at the hotel who noticed we were in long-sleeved shirts….”you must be from Florida?!”) We lounged by the pool and for the first time in a year I just sat. I just stared into space and thought of very little. And gasssssp I got to read a book!!!!

And so that was our first day. Is your mind blown? I knew it would be!!!