The last couple of days have been real slow, I didn’t shoot anything on the 30th. However, all of that changes today, I’m headed out of the office for four days and living with the local Red Cross unit until Sunday.
In Costa Rica, there is universal access to health care, although the state covers most healthcare costs and processes, paramedic work is carried out by the Red Cross then billed to the state insurance provider. In Nosara there is an issue though, many of the locals understand that the Red Cross provides paramedic services, however, when they call sometimes there’s no answer… The reason is because all emergency services are routed through the 911 system here, which is based out of San Jose, the number most people call, is the administrative office of the Red Cross in Nosara.
Really its an issue of popular misconception… why call 911 in San Jose, when the Red Cross is in Nosara? Except the number for the Red Cross is their administrative line… So the idea of this piece will be to dispel some popular myths about the Red Cross and hopefully open up the organization to people here.
For me it’s an opportunity for a hell of a picture story, maybe some multimedia too. The access is pretty incredible, as the Red Cross station is staffed 24 hours, I’ll be with them the entire time and I’ll likely be following them on calls.
In the interim here are some photos for yesterday… I camped out at the edge of the beach, read a lot and shot some random stuff and more sunsets…
Those birds were huge… but they weren’t the only ones.
The moon too is consistently visible in the sky from about 2pm on. Its kinda cool to see them both there as the sun and the moon control the tides and thus in a way, beach life.
Low tide reveals these sea rocks everywhere, worn and shaped by the ocean into weird shapes. In the pools left by the ebb tide there are tiny crabs and minnows. I picked up a seashell thinking it looked nice… it turned out there was a hermit inside.
Then the sun started to set in earnest, so I made my way back…
***The following contains camera talk, follow the hyperlinks to better understand***
I recently watched a PBS documentary on Ansel Adams, perhaps one of the most famous fine art photographers in history. He belonged to an informal group of photographers (painters have ‘movements’ photographers have ‘clubs’) called ‘the f/64 club.’ So named because they would shoot landscapes at f/64, which means the aperture of the lens is super small, which means the depth of field is huge which means the area in focus is huge. Back then too (the 20’s) film (or rather glass plates) had really low light sensitivty, well below what we would call ISO 50… Until now I’ve never had a lens combo that lets me shoot at f/64, they’ve always capped out at f/22. However, the 135 and the 2x extender make this possible. So just after the sun went below the horizon I found a rock, stabled the camera on it, set it to ISO 50 (the lowest I can go), f/64 and a 30 second exposure. The low light sensitivity meant really smooth tones, the slow shutter speed turned the ocean to fluff and the narrow aperture made everything sharp enough.
Then I decide to cast myself in the photo. I set the timer and ran in. The distance from camera to rock was about 75-80m so it took me just a little more than the 10 second timer to run in, however, because of the 30 second exposure I still had time. Looking at this photo though, I think it too should be in black and white…
Well thats it. My boss will be here in about an hour, then I’m off to Nosara. I intend to post this coming Sunday, which I’m sure will be a long night of editing…
It has been almost two months since my last post. While I find that hard to believe, the last little while has been very busy. Although I’m not inundated with photo work right now I am in the final stretch of my undergraduate degree at Carleton. I’ve also been preparing for Costa Rica somewhat. One consideration has been which film camera to bring? At the advice of a friend I’ve decided against bringing a 35mm SLR and opted instead for 6×6 medium format.
I’ve been playing around with a Bronica Medium format. I’ve used it for a few daytime walk arounds but for the most part I have had unstable results with low light exposures. However, last night I performed test using a roll of Ilford HP5+ rated at ISO 1600. I’ve figured out the camera’s operation, mostly and have my first scans. The operation and results have been great thus far and medium format strikes me as a great new medium (hahah) to play with.
Firstly; the frame is square, for someone used to the standard 4×6 ratio of a 35mm frame this is new. Secondly; the camera uses a top down view finder which means rather than hold the camera to your eye you cradle it in your hands and look down to frame, its called a ‘waist-level view finder,’ great for low angles. Also the focusing screen is mirrored so all the framing movements feel backwards.
Here are some low-res uploads regardless the sharpness and level of detail is incredible…
The colour photos were shot on Velvia 100 ISO 120 format film and processed by the good folks at Labworks on Bank St.
The black and white photos were shot on Ilford fp4 ISO 120 format film and processed by myself in my kitchen..
However, the cost of scanning 11 negatives at medium resolution (equivalent to 3 megapixels or so) was $37… Kinda ridiculous, the film is still affordable, especially if you buy in bulk and purchase online; scanning at high resolutions is not. So I think I need to find an affordable high-res medium format film scanner.
Jack Layton’s death was an unwelcome shock. While it is true he looked “cadaverous,” to borrow a phrase from Ms. Blatchford, when he took his leave of absence, I guess I, like many others, never considered the posibility he might die.
As a political science student I can’t help but immediately evaluate the political aftermath; its not good. The Liberals have a minority and much of the NDP’s support in Quebec was due to Jack’s personality, and tireless work to bring them into the federalist fold. Thats why we saw so many, very young, MP’s elected without living in their ridings. They weren’t voted in, Jack was, over and over again. Jack’s guidance will be missed in September and if the NDP can’t organize then Harper will have clear reign for the next few years.
Why does this matter to me? I’ve always been interested in politics, even at my worst cynically I still can’t help but constantly digest and take an interest in politics. This interest began to develop as the US began deploying troops in Iraq. Half a year later an election was called in Canada and the NDP fielded their new candidate, Jack Layton. I was in the back seat of my friend’s dad’s car in Guelph in 2004, we were driving home from a screening of Team America World Police, my friend’s dad saw the campaign bus outside the Woolwhich Arms Pub and pulled up. We got out and for the first time I saw a federal party leader in the flesh. He was invigorating, he spoke honestly it seemed, with fire and passion but there was compassion behind the fire too. In 2006 a friend and I formed the Human Rights Committee at our school, the HRC strived to provide access to students at our high school to fundraising materials and people. One of our first efforts was take a group of ten students to a rally in Toronto which was calling for a UN peacekeeping force to be deployed in Darfur. It was here I first met him.
After that I decided to take a partisan role in my views and I became involved in the riding association in Guelph. I agreed to try and work as a high school ambassador, a difficult task in my Conservative high school.
Over the next few years I grew into my politics, a staunch libertarian socialist (sometimes called collective anarchism). Jack was not those things, he was a social democrat and so we didn’t really see eye to eye, in fact if I’m being honest until 2010 I wanted him ousted as leader. Then Harper decided to prorouge parliament. That winter there was a huge rally on Parliament Hill (one of the larger ones I’ve seen since moving here in 2008) some 6000 people showed up in -40 weather to shout their anger at an empty legislature. Jack, like other opposition leaders was there, demanding Harper bring everyone back to work. Throughout the whole prorougation debacle I fell in love with Jack’s ability to wave a wand and find unification in the patchwork quilt that is Canadian political culture as the coalition was largely the work of Jack and the new democrats.
As the summer came so did the winds of election, also the Ottawa Centre riding association’s 100 km social, an evening with food and beer sourced from within 100 km. Its always a blast and in summer 2010 organizers had both the provincial leader and Jack in attendance. Halfway through the night Jack threw back the rest of his beer and gave one of the most impassioned speeches I’ve ever seen from him…
This is how I will remember Jack, not as a man I always agreed with but as one of the few politicians I hold respect for and I’m not the only who feels this way. A head of state for the leader of the opposition and we have almost a full week of pan-partisan national grieving, Jack Layton clearly meant something to this country.
Well the week finally came to an end and included a beautiful funeral and memorial service in Toronto on Saturday.
On Sunday I found myself walking through Ottawa’s Gay Pride Parade. It wasn’t my intention to go, I had left to walk with my girlfriend to the bus stop. As a result I only had a camera with black an white film on me. Its not that I didn’t want to go, rather I’d actually forgotten Pride was that weekend (stupid I know). Still I enjoyed wandering around following the parade, very colourful… too bad you can’t see that.
Oh and one more which came about quite randomly. I was biking home along the canal on Thursday and I had my camera out. As I Lansdowne Park I saw a guy in a kayak and snapped this.
Thats it for this week, for those curious the colour photos were shot on Fujichrome Sensia 400 and the black and white photos were shot on Ilford Delta 400 pushed to 1600. All photos were taken using a Canon EOS 1n with a 24mm L f/1.4.