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I spent a week in Costa Rica's Corcovado National Park hoping to get a good picture of an endangered Baird's Tapir which, along with the jaguar, is the emblematic animal of this world famous park. Indeed, the tapirs are all over the place but you basically see them lying in mud puddles during the heat of the day or crossing a river mouth before dawn. Neither of those scenarios was going to net me a great picture.

While out hiking in the forest one day with my local guide Jorge, we stopped to photograph a little meandering stream. While I was shooting, we heard a crash in the undergrowth, and two full-grown tapirs charged across the stream. I was stunned, but luckily Jorge told me to grab my camera, leave the tripod, and sprint behind him.

I did just that (not easy in rubber boots) and about 300 yards later we came to a small light gap in the forest. Jorge told me he thought they would come through here before continuing on into the deep woods. I quickly framed and took a couple of test shots while bracing myself against a tree. I used a wide angle lens to include the forest scene.

Not more than a minute later, one of the tapirs emerged from the forest, stood ten feet away from me, and sniffed the ground for a few seconds before moving on into the forest. I stayed still and got off three shots.

I loved this one! I still can't figure out how Jorge knew this would happen but I do know I never would have gotten this shot without his knowledge. What an experience!

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