Okay so a post every two weeks is pretty good right?
The biggest change so far has been the departure of my editor. She’s been in New York on business (the paper’s owner lives there) for the last two weeks and returns today. The biggest change for me has been that I have mostly been in charge of the breaking news in Nosara. Yes sometimes there is breaking news.
Like the first weekend after she left, which left me exhausted. It was the weekend of St. Patrick’s Day, on Saturday I was supposed to shoot the second round on an ongoing surf contest in the morning then a St. Patrick’s Day event in the evening.
So I drove the 15km to Playa Graza at 6am to meet the boats and waited an hour, no one showed up. Frustrated and confused I left and drove back to Guiones to the Tico Surf school, they’re the ones who organized the contest. I walked into the office and saw all the organizers watching TV on a laptop, turns out the waves that day sucked so they had decided to post-pone. I went home and started to relax.
Then came a call from the Nosara firefighters saying they were dealing with a fire in the nearby town of Esperanza. I drove out there, it turned out that a farmer had tried to clear land by starting a brush fire, then the wind blew it up a hill and it spread out of control. Although there weren’t flames, in dry brush fire travels along the ground, the hill was burnt.
I went back home, wrote a story ate dinner then drove out to cover St. Patrick’s Day. I went to a bar called the Black Sheep, which only opens a few times in the year. It’s an English pub, a legit looking English pub, in the middle of the jungle. It quickly denigrated into a drunk fest… Literally people almost drank the place dry, here are some pictures.
Ok so if the white balance above looks a bit off… it is, I might have turned up the green channel, for ya know, St Patrick.
And then they were drunk.
The next morning started early. I had gotten home the night before around 2am and had to be on the road by 6am to be at Playa Garza in time to catch the boats. As it happened I woke up a little later than I intended to and made it just in time to get on the second last boat. The second round of the surf contest was hosted at an off shore reef. According to one of the organizers it was the largest surf contest, held off shore ever in Costa Rica.
No big deal just some horses racing along the beach for some reason.
Raising the flag at Triple Crown.
That guy later ended up driving me back to shore. When I got in the boat I noticed three empty beer cans on the floor and one in his hand. As the boat pulled away from the judges boat he a) finished the beer he was drinking b) threw that can in the ocean (unlike the others c) opened another, then d) lit a cigarette…
The unfortunate part was that I couldn’t actually see the contest. Even from where the boats were the surfers were on the horizon, it was way too far away for a decent shot. So I focused on the side show of the floating crowd. After about two hours the contest was still going on, I was exhausted and there were no more pictures to take, I figured I would go home and take a nap, so I hoped on a sea taxi and went to shore.
I got home and started making lunch, literally just as I put it in the oven the Nosara firefighters called. It turns out there was a field fire in the neighbourhood of Santa Marta, started by someone burning trash, once again the wind carried it into a field and started a slow burn of a field. I went home filed a story and went to sleep finally.
Since then I worked on a few other smaller things. I covered a police briefing with community members, the arrival of a new police car, a preview for a reggae concert in the nearby town of Samara. In the interim while writing stories I’ve been working on a personal project and trying to make interesting pictures… so here are some sunset and nature pics.
Knee surfing, a new sport?
No budget woes here…
No big deal, endangered animals hang around outside my apartment.
Anyway that’s all for now. For a better look at what I’ve been doing with Voice of Nosara check out www.voiceofnosara.com (although new recent updates mean you have to scroll way down to see my stuff two days ago I dominated the top of the page)
I’ve now been back in Nosara for about two weeks. The First week was a slow ease into things but last week, starting on Thursday, was incredibly busy. There was a movie opening, a concert, a surf tournament and a few articles and multimedia pieces I had to do coupled with a sudden fire that sprang up Sunday night.
I think the easiest way is explain is to go through this chronologically.
On Thursday March 8, the Voice of Nosara had organized an event with a Costa Rican filmmaker. The Movie, ‘El Fin,’ which is a dark comedy about the end of the world caused by a speeding asteroid, was played. We couldn’t find a big enough sheet or a suitable theatre so instead the film was projected on the side of a truck. We had some 350 chairs and 400 people showed up to watch the movie. Personally I enjoyed it; it was really well written, funny and yet dark.
Some of the scenes were shot at Pelada beach, about 15 minutes walking from my house.
The next morning I was up early for an interview. The local Montessori school is bringing a 90-piece symphony orchestra for a free performance in Nosara; it’ll be the first time a show like this is put on. The organizers are all parents of children at the school, so I had to meet them before they went to work for the day. The interview went well, although transcribing it was fun… I hate transcribing interviews anyway and trying to do it in a foreign language is just that much more tedious.
However, there wasn’t much time to work on it, that evening was the opening night of the second round of Nosara’s fiestas. The first round, held January 28, had been one of my first assignments with Voice of Nosara. I’d be lying if I said I was pleased with the pictures I got from the first round, they sucked. Partially that was because I was still figuring everything out then but that’s not really an excuse. In the intervening month and a bit I had sent photos out to different photographers for critiques, people were generous with their time and responded, I took all the advice I received and kept it in mind and came away with what I considered to be a pretty good showing, especially compared to last time.
There was a doubles ride which seemed like a bad idea…
remarkably no serious injuries…
However, a decline in attendees was bad news for food vendors and games operators.
I got home from the fiestas around 11:30 then started editing, I wanted to stay on top of it otherwise I knew it would catch up. Importing my photos, took twice as long as normal because I accidently broke my card reader so I’ve had to use the camera to import. However, I did download a trial version of Adobe Lightroom 4, it has gotta be the most powerful photo editor I’ve ever used. I finished up around 2am and went to sleep.
At 6:30am the next morning I had to get up to meet my ride to the Triple Crown Surf contest, the first of three surf contests. This one was hosted at Playa Ostional, some 15km from my house and because the quad needed repairs I was getting a ride from my bosses friend.
Upon arriving I saw something I haven’t seen in a while… other photographers! There were three of them, all setting up big tri-pods. Curious, I got talking with one guy who told I needed at least a 400mm lens to be able to properly shoot surfing… I hate when people tell me this, “You can’t shoot such and such, because you don’t have such and such.” It happened for years shooting basketball at Carleton, and I more than made it work.
By the numbers here’s the advantage: All the surf photographers were using 7D’s, whose sensor is slightly smaller than my 1D, this meant that a 400 on their cameras had a true focal length of something like 620mm. The longest lens I have is a 135mm, I also have a 2x teleconverter, which doubles the focal length to 270mm. On my 1D its true focal length, because of sensor size, is 320mm giving them twice the reach. My solution was to wade into the water up to my waist further proving that you don’t ‘need’ a 400mm to shoot surfing.
I got home in the early afternoon; exhausted I edited some pictures then fell into a deep sleep. I woke up just in time to get on the shuttle bus headed up the hill to the 4th Annual Caricaco music festival hosted at the hotel Tierra Magnifica. The set up was unreal, it looked like one of those shots of an after party location in Entourage, the OC or the Hills. There were projectors with fancy light patterns, and open pool in front of the stage, sushi bar etc. The eight bands that played were also excellent. My favorite was one of the local acts called ‘Calle.’ They played ska and did a really good job of it. The lead singer, who wore an Alexisonfire t-shirt, also happens to be the general practitioner in Nosara… Small town.
As I said, the set-up was unreal…
And some fire dancing…
It was capped off with fireworks before the last band, although I asked for the names and even offered digital prints they flat out refused and started making-out. Bah.
By the time I got to sleep again it was close to 2am, although this time I wasn’t able to edit before bed, I was too tired. The next morning I wanted to sleep but there is construction across the road from me and they start with power tools at 6am everyday and go until 7pm. I was up so I started editing pictures and working on a video for the Voice of Nosara website, I’ve started doing more multimedia, its not something I’m good at or comfortable with yet, but I need to learn and the practice is good.
Sunday night I was looking forward to being able to relax again. However, literally just after I finished editing photos from the night before and having decided to make dinner I received a text message from my boss saying the dump had caught fire and she was looking for a ride for us to get there.
We got there just as the sun went down, which made pictures fun. I used my flash a bit, but in the pitch darkness it just ended up flooding the scene and destroying the drama in the pictures. The Nosara volunteer fire dept. barely has functioning hoses much less a system of flood lights, however, in one area they were using the light of a pick-up truck to work by, I settled in there to shoot some silhouettes and actually came away with one picture I’m fond of.
Monday was tying up lose ends. I finished captioning pictures and re-edited a few and finished a multimedia piece on the fiestas. Then Tuesday I returned to the article about the symphony, the interview now four days old it took a while to get into writing it, and then I finished a multimedia piece on Caricaco.
Yesterday after finishing everything off I decided to unwind a bit by going to the beach to read. While there I spotted some locals climbing the trees. Snapped a photo then went over to chat, they ended up offering me a coconut fresh off the tree, sooo good.
Today I’m treating like Sunday, as a day off. Then starting tomorrow I wanna get a head start on an article I’m doing freelance, it’s a travel piece I hope to sell to Canadian media. After that I have several events coming up and I’d like to be ahead of the game for once so I think I’ll contact the people involved in organizing them ahead of time.
Below are some links to the stories from the last couple of days including links to the multimedia pieces.
Also the Voice of Nosara has started working with other Costa Rican papers, mostly online stuff. We share stories that are relevant with them and they do likewise. The idea is to create more web traffic. One of my photos was used on elpais.cr and my preview about the Triple Crown Surf contest was just reposted to insidecostarica.com
So that’s it this week, coming up there’s a second round of the triple Crown Surf contest this Saturday. Saturday night is a picture story about St. Patricks at the Black Sheep pub, the only Irish-style pub in Nosara and on the 20th fiestas come to Garza a town 10km away.