Come on, stay still just one second longer!

My photos definitely could use some improvement, first through the use of better equipment (a telephoto lens would be nice) and secondly through my timing. Many times a great photograph has gone past, and then I’ve had to dig out my camera or my phone, only to have the moment pass me by. When it comes to nature, there aren’t many second chances. Like this morning, when I saw a Neotropical river otter (Lontra longicaudis) out on the riverbank. By the time I finally had my phone unlocked and the camera ready, it had already dove back into the water.

Same animal, but not my picture. Image credit: Carla Antonini
Same animal, but not my picture. Image credit: Carla Antonini

The same has happened with several species of bird, where someone has had better reflexes than I:

Gray-headed Chachalaca (I put it here because the name is so fun to say). Image credit: Joseph C Boone
Gray-headed Chachalaca (I put it here because the name is so fun to say). Image credit: Joseph C Boone
A whole flock of chestnut-billed toucans passed in the trees in front of me, but too many leaves blocked me from getting a good shot. Image credit: chuck624
A whole flock of chestnut-billed toucans (Ramphastos ambiguus) passed in the trees in front of me yesterday, but too many leaves blocked me from getting a good shot. Image credit: chuck624
A male Passerini's tanager (Ramphocelus passerini). Image credit: Hans Hillewaert
A male Passerini’s tanager (Ramphocelus passerini). Image credit: Hans Hillewaert

It also happened yesterday with a group of spider monkeys, which were foraging high in the trees.

Spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi). Image credit: anywherecostarica.com
Spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi). Image credit: anywherecostarica.com

I’ll post a picture of some cute babies with their mother as well…

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Image credit: Andrés Hernández

The monkeys made no secret of where they were foraging, I first noticed that they were around because I kept hearing things falling from the trees. Most of them were probably seeds from the fruits they were eating, although I did see a liquid spray down more than once (no surprise what that probably way), and they don’t really give much thought to where they poop. This is one of the many, many reasons that monkeys make TERRIBLE pets. No matter how cute they might seem, they will pee and poop everywhere (not to mention that they have nearly the same emotions as people and hate being in cages).

Spider monkeys are among the most intelligent of all the primates, possibly rivaling the chimpanzee, and I am always struck by the fact that their hands don’t have thumbs. It’s probably an adaptation to swinging through the trees, where thumbs might get in the way. That’s not 100% certain, however, because there are plenty of branch-swingers (gibbons, for example), who still have thumbs. Regardless of the reason, here is an image of the spider monkey hand:

Image credit: rowanm3971. The hand almost looks alien to me!
Image credit: rowanm3971. The hand almost looks alien to me!

Here’s another cute baby spider monkey (just because):

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I have no answer to the challenge of photographing wildlife, aside from viewing everything through my iPhone or the viewscreen of my camera. But to do that would be to completely narrow my senses to the tiny piece of technology in front of me, which kind of defeats the purpose of a rainforest experience. Maybe I’ll just have to work harder on committing everything to memory and spending less time worrying about the next picture… words to live by, I guess.

 

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