Thursday, August 7, 2008

Monkey ladder

This is a close up of a vine that is called a "monkey ladder." I took this picture while walking on the trail back from the cave entrance in Barra Honda National Park, which has been the subject of my photos during the past week.

My photos of the caves began with the metal, human ladder used to access the cave. I think nature's "monkey ladder" is a more artful design.

Below is a second photo that shows a more distant view of this same vine to give the perspective of how it leads from the ground up to the higher tree branches.

It is easy to see why it is called a monkey ladder. As is common in Costa Rica, during our hike we could hear the low, gutteral calls of howler monkeys.

I am sorry that I do not know the scientific name for the monkey ladder. I could not find it in my reference books.


Anonymous said...

That is absolutely amazing. The Monkey Ladder and it looks like someone braided two or three vines together. It sure has impressed me and if monkeys actually use it, and I guess they would, then it would be amazing to see on You Tube.

Hilda said...

That's such an interesting vine! Thanks for the info. Cool! said...

I am sure that monkeys do use the monkey ladders, as they climb all over the forest, but I have not actually seen them do so. We regularly see monkeys in the trees, and even walking the length of telephone wires, from pole to pole.

I may post a photo in the future of a howler monkey with her baby clinging to her back while walking on a telephone wire.

The challenge with photographing monkeys in the trees is that usually entails shooting up into the sky, and howler monkeys are very black. The pictures usually make them look like silhouettes. The howler monkey photo that I have posted as one of my favorites in the side bar of this website is an exception.

With respect to your comment about a video, my best experience with that involves my younger son, Stuart. We recently pulled over on the side of the road outside Tamarindo to watch a group of howler monkeys. He followed them as they travelled from tree to tree. He saw the spot where they jumped from one tree to the next tree. He stationed himself underneath and got a video of a monkey flying through the air, with nothing else in the frame.

I know you are a very accomplished photographer of birds in particular. I am sure you have encountered (and conquered) similar challenges.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is hard to photograph looking up towards the sky.

I have to do it a lot here because most of my bird photos, especially those and squirrels, are taken of birds in my oak tree.

I can sometimes get the dark to come out so I can see the feathers or hairs but it would be a real challenge to do it all the time.

If you have a good photo editing program, and shoot in RAW, you can probably get all the detail you need out of the dark colors but it might not be suitable to you.

I spent an hour or two this morning trying to get a photograph of a Progressive Bee Fly. They are mostly dark and this guy was in the sunshine but what I got is not what I had hoped for and I got a lot of shots that I just deleted.

The first thing I do, and I was taught to do this by newspaper photographers, is to open all photos up to 100% and then go through them at that size. If they are sharp and in focus you will see it instantly. Of course, you see those out of focus too and can delete them right away.

RedLan said...

it's unique, a monkey ladder shape vine. you captured it great!

glenda said...

I am curious, how sturdy is this vine? I'm thinking what a great way to climb up into the forest canopy. said...

I'm sorry, but I cannot answer your question because the thought never occurred to me to climb up the vine myself to get to the the forest canopy. After climbing up and down into the cave shown during the past few days, that was enough climbing for me that day.

But, I have a treat in store for you. Beginning Monday, I will post some photos of a much better way to see the cloud forest canopy -- the canopy walk at Monteverde.

Besides the canopy walk, there is another popular way to see the canopy. I am referring to the ZIP lines. I have some ZIP line photos I could show, if people want to see them.
Maybe I'll do that the week after next.

arachesostufo said...

bellissima fotografia, complimenti da venezia

PJ said...

This is amazing. Just amazing. I would love to see the zip line photos.

Ann (MobayDP) said...

As Abe said, this is really amazing. I've never seen or even heard of this "Monkey Ladder" before!

Like Glenda, I wonder how sturdy it is. said...

Responses to several of the above comments:

I will post some photos of ZIP lines next Monday and Tuesday, August 19 and 20.

Arachesostufo -- I am delighted to have a visitor to my site from Venice. I have been to Venice 6 times, as it is my favorite city in Europe.

Abraham -- thank you very much for your long, thoughtful and helpful suggestions regarding photographing monkeys nad birds in trees.

To all who liked the monkey vine photo -- because of your comments, I will post another photo of a monkey vine in about 10 days. I have my photos for this coming week planned (from a trip to Monteverde), then I will show some ZIP line pictures, they I will slip in another monkey vine picture.

My son, Stuart, reminded me of a photo he took of a monkey vine that I admit is better than either of the pictures that I posted. His photo looks up the vine similar to mine, but was shot from the side and reveals an entirely different perspective on the wavy shape of the vine.

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