Independent Photography

Posts tagged “fire

Fire and Ice – Winter has come

Well here we are in 2014.  I haven’t really been into the blogging much these last few months, however, I have a really good reason: I’ve been insanely busy.

The irony though is I actually have less to show for it than I normally would…  The latter half of this past semester was focused on writing, multimedia and longer form photo pieces.  Meaning while I was busy it was doing things, like calling sources, conducting interviews and video editing as opposed to just taking pictures.

I am feeling a little more refreshed after the winter break and upon my return to Belleville my roommate and I and stumbled onto some news.  This morning after breakfast we noticed a huge plume of smoke rising about eight blocks away and decided to check it out.

BELLEVILLE Ont. (3/1/14) - Fire crews work to douse a fire which sprung up in a two storey home on Grier Street in Belleville Ontario shortly before noon on January 3, 2014. (Photo Adam Dietrich)

BELLEVILLE Ont. (3/1/14) – Fire crews work to douse a fire which sprung up in a two storey home on Grier Street in Belleville Ontario shortly before noon on January 3, 2014. (Photo Adam Dietrich)

Frankly Chris (my roommate) and I hesitated to leave, it was minus 30 today and we’re still on vacation.  However, we ended up trekking out.  By the time we got there the fire department had already cordoned off the block.

BELLEVILLE Ont. (3/1/14) - Fire crews work to douse a fire which sprung up in a two storey home on Grier Street in Belleville Ontario shortly before noon on January 3, 2014. (Photo Adam Dietrich)

BELLEVILLE Ont. (3/1/14) – Fire crews work to douse a fire which sprung up in a two storey home on Grier Street in Belleville Ontario shortly before noon on January 3, 2014. (Photo Adam Dietrich)

I spoke with some neighbors who were huddling in the cold, they speculated on the cause of the fire.  They also told me everyone made it out safe, with the possible exception of one of the neighbors cats.

BELLEVILLE Ont. (3/1/14) - Fire crews work to douse a fire which sprung up in a two storey home on Grier Street in Belleville Ontario shortly before noon on January 3, 2014. (Photo Adam Dietrich)

BELLEVILLE Ont. (3/1/14) – Fire crews work to douse a fire which sprung up in a two storey home on Grier Street in Belleville Ontario shortly before noon on January 3, 2014. (Photo Adam Dietrich)

We didn’t stay long because of the cold.  However, sitting at my kitchen table editing I was able to watch as the smoke plume dwindled over the course of an hour or two from the comfort of my own home.

BELLEVILLE Ont. (3/1/14) - Fire crews work to douse a fire which sprung up in a two storey home on Grier Street in Belleville Ontario shortly before noon on January 3, 2014. (Photo Adam Dietrich)

BELLEVILLE Ont. (3/1/14) – Fire crews work to douse a fire which sprung up in a two storey home on Grier Street in Belleville Ontario shortly before noon on January 3, 2014. (Photo Adam Dietrich)

Now, rolling back the clock a bit to early October, we had a news video assignment due for multimedia class.  We had to find a community event and shoot and edit a short news video about the event.  So I did some research and found a small concert series that was kicking off an eight-month season of monthly shows featuring local musicians.  It was a really fun assignment and good chance to further improve my video skills, which is a medium I am growing to love more and more.

As October wore on I dove into one of our major, and cross-platform, assignments.  It was called Sense of Place and we had to visually connect a Belleville resident with a significant place in their life in town.

I found Lois Foster, a wonderful lady who has become one of the cities best known archivists (which is important in a small town with a big past).  Her home was once a veterinary hospital staffed by her and her husband, they ran the clinic for 40 years before her husband died nine years ago.  She still occupies the house that they shared and worked out of.

At the time I thought it was a really touching story about love, commitment and devotion and their story reminded me of my own maternal grandparents.

BELLEVILLE Ont. (24/10/2013) - Lois Foster is pictured at her home in Belleville Ontario.  For more than 30 years she helped her husband run a veterinary practice out of their home, doing field work with farm animals and small animal sugary in their garage.  Now nine years after his death Lois still lives in the home they shared and has become one of Belleville's most respected archivists having helped author several books on historical properties in town.  (Photo by Adam Dietrich)

BELLEVILLE Ont. (24/10/2013) – Lois Foster is pictured at her home in Belleville Ontario. For more than 30 years she helped her husband run a veterinary practice out of their home, doing field work with farm animals and small animal sugary in their garage. Now nine years after his death Lois still lives in the home they shared and has become one of Belleville’s most respected archivists having helped author several books on historical properties in town. (Photo by Adam Dietrich)

Underscoring this whole term has been a news photo assignment we needed complete.  The spot news assignment requires you to get a photo of an unplanned news event.  Really the only challenge is in finding the event, after you show up just get a good angle/vantage point and wait for the decisive moment.

BELLEVILLE Ont. (21/11/2013) - A man is taken into custody after a three hour standoff with armed members of Belleville's emergency task force on November 21, 2013.  Police arrived at 56 Everett Street in the city's west end around 11am and apprehended a suspect around 2pm.  The man was later released without charge. (Photo by Adam Dietrich)

BELLEVILLE Ont. (21/11/2013) – A man is taken into custody after a three hour standoff with armed members of Belleville’s emergency task force on November 21, 2013. Police arrived at 56 Everett Street in the city’s west end around 11am and apprehended a suspect around 2pm. The man was later released without charge. (Photo by Adam Dietrich)

I had a big telephoto on that, to give you an idea of what I mean here is a photo from my Instagram that I took showing the view I had without a telephoto.

I did have permission from the property owner to be here, they were very helpful.

I did have permission from the property owner to be here, they were very helpful.

In addition to videos and stories, I’ve been working on a documentary project about the issue of gender dysphoria, which in a nutshell, is a disorder where someone is born the wrong sex.  The story is a work in progress and I have more images here.  Below is a portrait of the subject of this story, a trans-man named Martin.

OTTAWA Ont. (12/11/13) - Martin a trans-man sits outside the Loyalist College Residence's in Belleville Ontario on November 12 where he is currently studying journalism.  (Photo Adam Dietrich)

OTTAWA Ont. (12/11/13) – Martin a trans-man sits outside the Loyalist College Residence’s in Belleville Ontario on November 12 where he is currently studying journalism. (Photo Adam Dietrich)

That project sprang from one I started working on last year, also for class, on a drag queen in Ottawa named Savannah Couture.  I have a written profile and photo story here.  However, when it came time for us to do our final video this semester I thought it would be interesting to go and check out one of her performances with my camera, below is the result.

Also please check out this group project I had the pleasure of collaborating on, it’s a sweet story about a former CN brake man who now runs the Belleville model train society.

Finally with the passing of 2013 I feel it’s time to declare a theme, for me, it was the year of the car.  In January 2013 I bought my first ever car, a 1996 Mazda 626 DX.  It was a gutless, featureless, rust-bucket that cost less than most of my lenses.  But she bore me safely across 50 000km (Largely from trips to Ottawa) and through my summer in Toronto.  In October the problems started.  First a leaky tranny line, then the exhaust rusted off then I was told the engine sub-frame was rotten and needed replacing (about $1000…) however, when they took it apart I was informed the rust had spread further than they knew, in short, it was terminal.  We went for a final ride, and then I stripped her of her logos and useful components before dropping her off to be scrapped.

Brea I resting at Silver Lake this past summer, a rest stop on Highway 7 between Tweed and Ottawa, Ontario.

Brea I resting at Silver Lake this past summer, a rest stop on Highway 7 between Tweed and Ottawa, Ontario.

It took a month of concerted effort, but it was worth it, for the same price I paid for my 5D mkII I found a 1996 Acura (Honda) Integra RS, so for you Honda nerds that means there’s no Vtec, although I don’t care because I don’t wanna burn oil, use premium fuel or need to drive at 5500 rpm with any regularity.  That being said, the previous owner added a short ram air intake, heders, custom exhaust and three strut bars.  The car has a lot of power for a 1.8L and literally floats on air around corners and because it’s a hatchback, I still have the same cargo space I had in my 626.  It’s also the first manual transmission I’ve ever driven, and I am hooked, I never want to drive automatic again.

Brea II getting saftied in Waterloo just prior to taking ownership a week ago.

Brea II getting saftied in Waterloo just prior to taking ownership a week ago.

So last semester was a tough one, but standing on the edge of 2014 with a bad ass new car, and a confident set of skills I’m pretty excited for what 2014 has in store.

Paz siempre,

Adam Dietrich


The Red Cross and fire

I spent the last Thursday to Sunday with the Red Cross unit here in Nosara.  Here is some key background about healthcare in Nosara: Healthcare in Costa Rica is universal, provided by the state.  Doctors and hospital services are allocated based on population size and density.  In Nosara, a town with a fluctuating population (due to tourism) health service are few.  The Red Cross (a non-governmental organization) set up to provide basic, essential, paramedic and emergency services.  However, due to the lack of adequate healthcare in the region they have slowly become the main providers of health services in Nosara and surrounding areas.  They cover everything from pregnancy, injuries, illness, even hospice services.  The government only reimburses the Red Cross for emergency services and the organization itself survives on donations and volunteers.  As a result, the Red Cross in Nosara has had to cut back on non-essential services in recent years.  The people of Nosara put the blame on the Red Cross, in reality the government has failed to provide adequate healthcare to the people of Nosara and are content to let the Red Cross shoulder their blame.

 

Victor Hugo, a full-time paramedic, answers the phone, this time its not an emergency but someone with the flu. Due to a lack of proper healthcare services in the Nosara region locals often turn to the Red Cross for minor health concerns. Despite the fact that it costs them money, money the state won't pay back, the Red Cross answers every call as if its an emergency,

 

Thursday: A simple affair, I followed Victor Hugo, a full-time paramedic, as he went about his evening shift.  Thursday’s are typically slow. He dealt with a dog bite and a sick infant then made dinner and relaxed.

 

Victor Hugo, one of three full-time paramedics at the Nosara Red Cross cleans and dresses a dog bite in the Santa Marta neighbourhood of Nosara. Although rabies has been eliminated from Costa Rica, dog bites are a major issue in the country infections can develop after.

 

 

Following the dog bite, Victor Hugo fills out an emergency report in his ambulance. Although the Red Cross operates independent of the Costa Rican state, the state health insurance provider will reimburse the Red Cross for emergency services. This is part of the states national healthcare strategy, these forms are vital for receiving reimbursement from the state and thus maintaining Red Cross operations.

 

 

After a long day Victor hugo eats dinner in the Red Cross office in Nosara. Shifts can be 8-12 hours and the office is open 24 hours a day, staff and volunteers nap in the dormitory's just to the left of Hugo. Further left, volunteers review notes from the days board of directors meeting before sending them to the Red Cross central office in San Jose for processing.

 

Friday: A quiet day for most of it.  In the evening I hoped in the back of a local’s SUV with Hugo.  The Red Cross has limited ambulances and on Friday they were all out (one was in repair, two were making trips to the nearest hospital, 60km away and the fourth was on a call).  The SUV took us to a house in Santa Marta, a neighborhood outside Nosara, inside a family’s matriarch was dying of emphysema.  Hugo told me after she had a week, maybe less.  He hooked her up to an oxygen tank, explained its use to the family and left.  I didn’t shoot a single frame, something about it seemed wrong, as there were 15 members of the family standing around me watching.  Although I had permission to take Hugo’s picture, I did not have the matriarch’s permission, I chose to respect her privacy.

 

Ilse Lopez Juárez, the office administrator takes a break from filing receipts and accounting to clean and dress a wound from a motorcycle accident. The staff at the Red Cross (three full-time paramedics, one administrator and 18 volunteers) is severely over worked due to a lack of political interest in extending healthcare services to Nosara.

 

Saturday: Another slow day, the crew at the office busied themselves with maintenance and cleaning.  At dusk I followed David Perez Montiel, a volunteer paramedic, to the Nosara soccer field.  The Red Cross sponsor’s a kids soccer team as part of a community outreach effort, he brought pop to give out to the kids at the end of the game.   That night the Red Cross had six different calls and had to make two trips to the hospital in Nicoya, 60km away.

 

Gustavo 'Pelon' Díaz, a volunteer driver and mechanic washes down an ambulance. Volunteers have their uniforms paid for and are given free meals while on shift. Despite that, Díaz says he volunteers to give back to the community and because he likes the people he works with.

 

 

Carlos Villalobos Espinoza (in red), president of the red Cross committee in Nosara fills out an emergency report, while volunteer paramedic Gabriel Chavarria Acevedo looks on holding supplies. In the room, volunteer paramedic David Perez Montiel attends to a patient with epilepsy. The patient was later transferred from his home in Nosara to the Nicoya hospital, 60km, away for treatment.

 

Sunday Morning: I was offered breakfast, consisting of fried pork and fried cheese in a tortilla, as well as a trip home to Guiones beach in the ambulance.  On our way back, as we rounded the second to last corner, the road was filled with police and firefighters.  I realized this was the fire my boss had texted me about earlier that morning.  Because there hadn’t been any injuries the Red Cross wasn’t called, I asked them to stop and I hopped out and started shooting.  Unfortunately, I missed the flames, which had been doused by 8-8:30, I arrived at 10:30 and was only able to catch firefighters dousing hotspots.

 

Firefighters from Nicoya work to douse a few remaining hots sports at a fire just outside of Nosara. Volunteer firefighters from Nosara had the blaze 80% under control by the time 'professionals' arrived from Nicoya (60km away). The cause of the fire remains unknown, one volunteer freighter speculated that a power line fell on dry leaves while the property owner blamed arsonists.

 

This one was my favourite because of the faces.

 

Firefighters from Nicoya work to douse a few remaining hots sports at a fire just outside of Nosara. Volunteer firefighters from Nosara had the blaze 80% under control by the time 'professionals' arrived from Nicoya (60km away). The cause of the fire remains unknown, one volunteer freighter speculated that a power line fell on dry leaves while the property owner blamed arsonists.

 

I also saw the paper copy for this month; I have about 90% of the photo credits in it… Now its back to work.

Paz siempre,

Adam Dietrich