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I worked hard for this shot. I wanted a wide view of the the open lagoons in Costa Rica's amazing Tortuguero National Park. Scouting by private boat, I found my spot one afternoon but it was a sunrise shot. A quick check of a GPS app on my phone confirmed that sunrise would be in the right direction for the composition I wanted. Nonetheless, I took the opportunity to take some test shots and frame the scene.

The tricky part would be using a tripod. Since I would be shooting at sunrise, the light would be low; handholding would not be an option. But, I was shooting from a boat. How could I use a tripod for what was sure to be a relatively long exposure?

My first thought was to get into the water with my tripod. There are lots of large crocodiles in the area though so that seemed immediately like a bad idea :-)

My second thought was that  I would stay in the boat and lower my tripod into the water. I tried that but the currently was deceptively fast. Even if I weighted down my tripod it wasn't going to stay long, and then I'd have to go retrieve it along with my camera and lens from the crocodile-infested waters -- doubly bad idea!

In the end, my boat driver and I decided we could anchor the boat and tie it in numerous places to some trees and a national park sign on a little spit of land. That worked. So, with a plan in place we headed back, and I hit the sack early because my boat driver Santiago was to pick me up at 3:00 in the morning.

I saw him at the dark boat dock in front of my hotel at 3:00 the next morning, and we headed out, arriving to our spot about 4:00.  That gave us enough time to anchor and tie up just before he sun began to rise.

By a great stroke of luck, the sky contained the absolutely perfect mix of clear blue and interesting linear clouds. I took numerous vertical shots which I would later stitch into a panoramic photo. When the sun lit up the rainforest on the right side of the lagoon, I knew that series would be the winner.

We headed back to town and celebrated with some great Costa Rican coffee and gallo pinto for breakfast. That's a great way to start the day!

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