On my second day in Sierra Llorona another guest arrived at the lodge, bringing the total to two. Even with the distraction of another guest, I found the time to sit in a hammock and watch the wildlife, which mostly consisted of birds — toucans, falcons, hummingbirds, vultures, and motmots.
Sergio was an Italian photographer whose only other language was Spanish, which made it difficult to communicate. However, he was friendly and patient, so we conversed using a combination of hand gestures and my rudimentary Spanish. Occasionally, Ida was around to translate between us.
Even though we couldn’t communicate clearly, Sergio taught me a few things in that rainforest. His purpose in Sierra Llorona was to photograph the smallest creatures he could find. He mostly hunted down spiders because they tended to stay in place longer than the native insects.
I was fascinated by Sergio’s camera — the power of the lenses to capture the most minute details was amazing. He zoomed in after taking the pictures to reveal what we couldn’t see without the assistance of a magnifying glass. There was beauty in the details of the spiders that I wouldn’t have ever noticed nor cared to notice.
This little insect is simply called a leaf-footed bug (at least that’s what the biologists in Gamboa told me). There were two varieties that covered one plant outside the lodge.The patience Sergio showed in his art was impressive as well. He could spend a half hour carefully moving branches and leaves to set up his shots. He had a few wires and clamps to help move things around as he waited for the light breezes to settle his subjects. He would occasionally pick up an insect on a leaf or in a specimen box and move it to a brighter area for a better picture. He even scooped up the tail-less whip scorpion from my bathroom to photograph later.
While most of the wildlife Sergio found was quite small, he did find this rather large spider carrying its eggs. While attempting to coax it out of its nest, the spider tried to fight off Sergio’s hands.