Posted by Jon Cornforth on February 3, 2016
Almost a decade ago, I first considered visiting Costa Rica specifically to photograph the incredibly rare resplendent quetzal. This amazing bird was considered divine by Aztec and Mayan civilizations. The male of the species is especially beautiful with its long, iridescent green tail feathers. I did not end up going on that trip, so my research languished on my computer until I finally visited Costa Rica this past November. The first stop on my trip was the San Gerardo de Dota in order to photograph a quetzal. On my first day, I hired a birding guide who showed me an ideal location to observe them as they foraged for wild avocados in the early morning. I visited this same location three mornings in a row during which I observed several females and males feeding. They were very difficult to photograph, because they were mostly obscured by branches as they perched in the tree. Fortunately, they sat perfectly still while digesting the tree’s fruit for upwards of 20 minutes. This allowed me enough time to move around and position my camera in order to photograph an unobstructed portrait of this brilliant male. I created this image using my Canon EOS 7D Mark II camera body and Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM II lens + Canon EF 2X III Tele-Extender. I processed the RAW file using Adobe Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC 2015, and Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.