We had the good fortune of connecting with Juan Carlos Vindas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Juan Carlos, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I have always loved to share knowledge, experiences and share my own country. Based on that, I decided to start offering my services first as a birding guide and eventually bird and wildlife photography.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have always loved art, many kinds of art. For me photography is what helps me express myself through pictures. I have seen the work of so many talented photographers but always want to present my own version and hopefully with a little twist. I believe that´s what keeps me going and trying to come home with something unique and inspiring. I want the world to see the world the way I see it, bold, simple, yet beautiful. Not an easy task as it is not just about gear or knowledge, you need to have some sort of vision, get to know your subject, understand it and try to present it in a faithful representation, that is wildlife photography for me. Taking nice photos of birds or other animals is not hard to do these days, just travel to an exotic destination, hire a guide and find your subjects. But, getting and image that moves your soul, and image that tells a story, that´s a different game! When I lead my photo tours, they are not just about nice birds or other animals. I make sure my guests understand the natural history behind them, I try to show them what makes this or that subject so interesting even though it does not seem to be at first glance. I work hard so that when my guests are back at home culling their images, they bring them back to the moment when the released the shutter and I created a special moment in time. Then I know I have succeed.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Costa Rica, being a tiny country has so much to offer that it would be hard to do a lot in just a week long trip, but let´s supposed that my best friend can´t make it longer than that. In this case, I would like to start my tour in the Caribbean lowlands as they are so rich, full of nature, beautiful landscapes and animals everywhere. The food in the area is as varied as the place itself, so much flavor that your tongue could go crazy! coconuts, hot peppers, ginger, beans, pineapple (the best in the world) fruit juice, the list could go on an on but I don´t pretend to make you hungry, you would need to join me on any of my photo tours to understand what I mean! Then I would take my friend to the Central Cordillera where 50% of the species found in the country can be found here, the level of endemism is very high and it´s also here where you can find the most beautiful and sacred bird on the western hemisphere, the Resplendent Quetzal. From here, I could take my friend to the Central Pacific coast for a completely different life zone, with a myriad of mammals including the comical Three-toed Sloth, White-faced Monkeys and several bird species found only on this side of the country. We would start every day with the first light as it does not last for many hours in the tropics. After a healthy breakfast we would explore the forest where some species live and would try our flash photography skills, very important when photographing in the Neotropics. At night, we could go our searching for owls and nightjars as they are strictly nocturnal. And then it would be time to go back to the airport! Hopefully my friend will be coming back soon, I still have so much to show him! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First I must say that I am a self-taugh wildlife photographer but there had been several photographers who have inspired me during the years. Very early on my career, I knew I wanted to photograph birds and mammals mostly as they are so varied, interesting and in some cases colorful. I tried to learn other branches of photography such as portrait, landscape and macro and although I enjoy it, nothing beats taking pictures of birds and mammals. There´s just so much they have to offer and living in a country like Costa Rica, it´s not hard to find my subjects every where I go. I have always been very perfectionist and when I first saw the work of Arthur Morris I was immediately hooked and found myself saying “man, I need to learn to take pictures like that” I kept growing as a photographer and found John Shaw´s work. His eye for composing his landscape images and the pure and simplistic yet powerful graphic style is what I loved the most of his work. Another photographer I respect very much is Glenn Bartley, as he is probably the photographer who has travel to most in the Neotropics looking for a wide variety of birds, some of them true unicorns and super rare.