Independent Photography

My first days at work

So I suppose I will start with Thursday, since I didn’t post that day…

That morning I wandered down to the beach to shoot more surfing, I got a great sequence of photos of an American kid from Maryland pulling a back flip on his surf board, I was ecstatic.

John Volatile from Bethesda Maryland, pulls a back flip on his surfboard. I know it doesn't look like it, but he lands this. Absolutely amazing.

While I was standing in the surf taking photos I noticed a lot of smoke from the south, I figured it was nothing, turned out to be nothing.  However, with photography the mantra of, “shoot first, ask later,” is sometimes the wise thing to do.

Apparently garbage burning is quite common here...

Thursday was also my first official day of work, so that morning I received an email from my boss asking me to contact the president of the local surfing foundation to follow up on a story written in the summer.

In July Voice of Nosara, wrote a profile piece about an 11 year old girl in the next town over.  She had been born with a rare bone disorder and her mother was unable to afford the treatment she desperately needed.  A neighbor at the time was helping her with some basic physiotherapy, although the neighbor was only a Pilates instructor.  The greatest challenge for the girl it seemed, would be attending the local school, which was in no way accessible nor did the school have the necessary funds to make it accessible.

So the Surfing Federation of Nosara hosted a concert with American singer G-Love, earlier this month and all ticket and beer sales went to help her.  They raised over $4000 and secured promises from a local contractor to help with the construction for free.  Since this only required a few emails be sent I spent most of the afternoon waiting to hear if the ATV had been fixed…  It hadn’t.

That evening I decided to go and shoot more surfing, after the sun had just dipped below the horizon.  It worked kind of, I probably should have used my 5D MK II which has better low light performance, instead I used ‘the beast’ (1D MK II) because of its added crop factor and high frame rate, however, it’s ten years old and sucks in low light… Lesson learned and I’ll go back.

Surfing just after the sun dips below the horizon.

Sunset on the ocean is beautiful…  I can’t wait for my medium format to arrive.

Sunset on the ocean.

This morning also started slowly, I had to run an errand for Voice of Nosara and pick up some documents from a nearby restaurant.  I was expecting a slow day (I’d been told to expect a slow day) however, shortly after I returned to the office I received a call from my boss.  It seems a suspect in a series of robberies and potentially a rape had been arrested, I was about to be smacked in the face by the realities of the Nosara ex-pat community…

When I arrived at the Police station tour source was there, freaking out, claiming the cops were going to let him go, they had no evidence etc.  As it turns out a gardener found the suspect asleep in a hammock covered in leaves behind an ex-pats house, called the nearby private security guard who then called the police.

Apparently there has been a string of robberies going back more than a year in the area of Las Huacas (nicknamed the Beverly Hills of Nosara).  The residents are all ex-pats, rich and were furious.  However, because the suspect had been caught sleeping, not robbing they were worried about him getting off on lack of evidence.

There was also a rape of an ex-pat about a year earlier and there were some who thought he matched the description of the suspect in that crime.  The survivor, who has since returned to the US, was emailed a photo of the man in custody, however, she couldn’t identify him, furthermore there was an issue with the DNA evidence collected after the rape… Apparently the cops had lost it…  So he was effectively cleared of those charges then.

However, an angry mob had gathered nonetheless to make sure he wasn’t released.  The Costa Rican equivalent of the FBI (called the Judicial Police) were called from another town to come and take him away for fingerprinting.  Apparently the police had prints on file from some of the previous robberies and they were going to see if they matched.

The mob gathered outside the police station. I overheard a, white, American guy joke about, "So I hear there's a lynching" I cringed a bit at the insensitivity...

I spent four hours standing around, the cops had no holding cell and we found out he was being held in an ally between the station and the building next to it.  They weren’t pleased with me sneaking a photo.

The cops wouldn't let anyone see the suspect and they were holding him behind a solid metal gate between two buildings, again no holding cells, so I lifted my camera over, stood on my toes and shot blindly. Bad luck though they had him with his back to the gate...

Due to alack of evidence (or perceived) our source was trying to get as many people as possible to ID him.  A security guard took a picture of the suspect on his cell phone shortly after the arrest.

Residents looking at a cellphone with a picture of the suspect on it.

After four hours in the sun, waiting an not knowing what the eff was happening, we were told that the cops felt the had enough evidence to hold him and the Judicial Police were going to take him to Nicoya, where the courts and jail is.  As he left the police station people were screaming threats and ‘son-of –a-bitch’ in Spanish at him.

This is the photo we're running with, direct, sharp and to the point. Too bad he covered his face, the police seem to think they have a very strong case right now so I guess he's hoping for some privacy. In Costa Rica you cannot publish the full name of someone suspected of a crime, even if they're in custody and facing charges, only the last name, although he'd refused to give that too police.

I shot about twenty pictures of the three minutes it took him to walk to the car and for the car to drive off, I do consider myself a ‘frame conscious’ photographer.

Leading the suspect out, not the best 'perp walk' shot but I thought the sun burst added some drama.

So I learned a few things today, the ex-pat community here is EXTREMLY tightly knit, and you do not fuck with their property or they will crucify you.  They were planning on following the police to the next town to ensure arraignment and were threatening to protest in front of the prosecutor’s office if he was let go.

Also in my rush to get to the scene I forgot my water bottle, which was a mistake I will NEVER repeat.  After hanging around for four hours in the sun outside the cop shop I came home and jumped in a cold shower and downed a liter of water.  The article is online already here I’m told this was very fast turnaround for Voice of Nosara, needless to say I’m pretty pleased.

It seems tomorrow I’ll be tagging along with the cops as the comb the hills for clues… should be good times in the forest, hopefully some interesting pictures can be made.

Paz siempre,

Adam Dietrich


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s