My favorite photos of 2010: “best of” animals

I’ve been a writer for, oh, my entire life (at least it feels like it), so my photos are always an afterthought, and I run them pretty small on my blog. For my New Year’s resolution, I’ve vowed to stop doing that. I’ve been pretty (really) lazy about improving the technical side of taking photos, but I still have some favorites that I’m going to roll out over the next few days leading up to the New Year. For Day One, I’m going to start with the cheap shots: animals. Who can resist? The howler monkeys shown here woke me up almost every single morning during my year in Costa Rica, usually before five am. Curious as to how they sound and how loud they really are? Click here! Warning: they don’t sound as cute as they look!

Except for the one Nicaragua monkey photo, all of the photos here were taken in Costa Rica, where I lived for a year.

A crocodile comes a little too close to our boat on the Tempisque River in Palo Verde.


A white-faced monkey during the same river boat tour.

A camouflaged iguana at my neighbor’s house in Coco.

The smallest scorpions sting the worst!

My little Jax is exhausted (and coming down off drugs) after getting fixed. I was so proud of him! For the story, click here.

A hanging monkey on Lake Nicaragua. For more on that trip, click here.

My first tarantula! If you think I handled this calmly (or could stop screaming long enough to take this photo), click here.

While walking alone on a deserted beach near Puerto Viejo, I came across these horses.

My neighbor Steven showing me how to hold an iguana.

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I'm a life-long travel junkie journalist who works hard to find adventure in everyday life after two years of travel and expat living.

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  1. I don’t know why you are so shy I love the lines in the iguana photo, you have a great eye!

    I’ve learned to be good at photography you have to shoot what you love. For me it’s food and people but I’m terrible at landscapes and architecture.

  2. Thanks, Ayngelina! I never thought of that actually — your food pictures are so amazing, something I’ve tried and failed at. You were one of the ones I was embarrassed in front of!!

  3. Okay, was totally digging the post until the spider pick. Ack!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I definitely want you to post your pictures much bigger!

  4. Scorpians and Trantulas!!!!!!!!!!! aaaaaaaaaaahhhh I don’t know if I would be able to stay still enough to take the photos! haha

  5. Cailin!! My neighbor Lisa definitely helped with the scorpion and tarantula. She’s amazing! “GO GET YOUR CAMERA” she’s good at yelling, as I’m frozen in fear. You should’ve seen the big scorpions!!

    Andi — thanks, girl. This is one fear I’m going to try to tackle! Your (award-winning) pics are so fab — thanks so much for commenting!

  6. Photos, photos and more photos. I didn’t feel comfortable with my camera until I’d taken about 5,000 or so. Now I think I’ve progressed to above average, but still a long way to go. And doing a little bit of photo editing is also key. These are good. No need to feel embarrased or not post them. Let’s see more!

  7. hehe I remember some of the times those photos were taken. Now that you have taken on the bugs of Coco, Vegas would be boring for you 🙂

  8. Chris — totally! You were still in Australia then!

    Mike — Yes, you’re absolutely right. That’s why I vowed to get out there more!

  9. LOVE the photos Abby! This is a great photo essay. I was fortunate enough to be introduced this morning to the howler monkeys. It too is now my first goal to get photos and video of them.

  10. I’m not so sure how I feel about those scorpions being so small, but great photos! Love seeing the different perspective on Costa Rica 🙂

  11. I’m with Margo. I’m a little creeped out by how tiny they are. How are you supposed to avoid that?! Good job with the tarantula. I would have avoided the picture altogether.

  12. All amazing, but the croc and the first monkey are my favs. Happy New Year, Abby!

  13. Abbs, you have a solid foundation from our freshman year photo class!!! I am in love with all your animal shots, I want to see more! I can’t even imagine you on a boat that close to crocodile, was it with a zoom lens?!

  14. Great job on the photos and I am looking forward to seeing more in 2011. What great memories you have of the past year. I love animal shots.

  15. Happy New Year, Lauren!!

    Lor — That was AGES ago, and yet I think it changed my life! Both in my travels and at work.

    Ladies, the scorpions were my one thing I never got used to. That was a baby; they grew quite big, believe you me. Gross!

    Dave and Deb — I do have memories. I miss it so much!

  16. iguana and croco are my favorite, better if you can post pics on the blog little bit bigger size.

  17. 1.) Love shots of animals!
    2.) The hands on that iguana are quite disturbing!
    3.) I know your pain about the tarantulas & wildlife- re:
    4.) Can’t wait to see more photo posts 🙂

  18. Well, I’m late to the game on this. But yes, PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT when it comes to taking photographs. And – ZOOM IN.

    That being said, I adore your writing. It is so excellent, I’m not sure photographs need to be the thing you stress about. Write more and keep writing well and people will visit. I know I will.

    LOVE you girl! So excited to have met you in 2010 and glad we’re travel buddies in 2011 … we can hug each other when the spiders come close and scream that much louder (with two of us) for the person who will come to our rescue and make the spiders go away. No spiders or snakes for me. No thank you.

  19. I need a better camera so I can zoom in more. With mine, you can totally tell that the quality diminishes when I do that!

  20. Great pics! Love the little scorpion. I would have screamed my face off. Those things and spiders are my achilles heel of creepie crawlies.

  21. Some great shots here. Happy New Year!

  22. You can take great pis with any camera, s long as the light is good and you are familiar with it! These are great shots that ask for attention!

  23. Great photos, Abby! OMG, I don’t think I could handle being in a place where there are scorpions so small you might not see them before they sting you! And tarantulas???? Gulp. But, wow, what adventures you’ve had.

  24. I do not want to run into that tarantula in the jungle! Though funny enough, when I used to live in the desert in Arizona, we’d catch and race those bad boys. That was 10-Years-Ago Self, though. Today Self wants to remain far from any eight-legged things =)

  25. I’d have run a mile from that spider, I’m not a wimp though……

  26. @Gray It’s funny how so many people were scared of the baby scorpions! Those were literally my achilles heel, but that was the only one I saw that small.

    @Kristin, my mom says we’d see tarantulas in New Mexico, but she must have protected her wimpy daughter, because I certainly never saw one!

    @Poi I DID run!! And scream!!

  27. The photo of the horses by the water in Puerto Viejo is surreal and gorgeous! It looks like it should be in a movie.

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