Independent Photography

Posts tagged “rodeo

Closing one door to open another

I didn’t expect to leave Peace River after eight months.

There were several competing circumstances, which eventually led to my decision to change jobs. I have now been in my new home, Whitecourt, Alta. about 300 km southeast of Peace River, or 175 km northwest of Edmonton working at the Whitecourt Star, the weekly newspaper in town, for just over a month.

More to come on Whitecourt, though in another post – for now a wrap up of Peace River.

Below is the text of my final column in the Record-Gazette, it sums up my feelings on leaving the town pretty well. Below that, are a bunch of photos from the summer in Peace River, June – until my departure in early September.

The opening ceremonies of the first day of the Peace River Pow Wow hosted at the fairgrounds in Peace River Alta. on Saturday, June 14, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

The opening ceremonies of the first day of the Peace River Pow Wow hosted at the fairgrounds in Peace River Alta. on Saturday, June 14, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

From the Peace River Record-Gazette Sept. 10, 2014

Well Peace River this is it for us.

This will be my final column in the Peace River Record-Gazette and this is the final issue I will be working on.

Starting this Wednesday I will be taking up a position at the Whitecourt Star.

Peace River will forever hold a special place in my heart. Not just because this was my first full-time job in journalism but because Peace River is a truly special place.

This is a town where a trip to the grocery store can involve seeing the northern lights, deer, or a moose or two.

It’s a place of immense natural beauty coupled with great opportunity. Not every small-town is like that.

One of the indicators I noticed are the number of young professionals in town who are from town. The number of kids who move away for post-secondary then return to pursue a career here must be disproportionate, compared to other similar sized towns.

What it says, is that even after ‘getting out,’ seeing the world, and living in the city, lots of the youth still want to come back.

That really says a lot about this place.

What is stunning is the self-awareness of the people here as well. Many of the people I talk to understand not only what a gift a place like this is but also the responsibility it entails.

You see that in the community groups that spring up and the ability of the community to fundraise for certain projects.

Urban centres would pay untold amounts of money to have this kind of community spirit and Peace River has it in spades.

It’s going to take a while to digest all the things that Peace River has taught me.

However, to everyone in this community I want to say thank you, thank you for reading, thank you for caring and thank you for being you.

For all of us here at the Record-Gazette, you stay classy Peace River.

– Adam Dietrich

Mona Weaver has Botox injected during the opening of Zen Spa in Peace River Alberta, on Thursday June 5, 2014. Botox is one of the new services the spa offered. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Mona Weaver has Botox injected during the opening of Zen Spa in Peace River Alberta, on Thursday June 5, 2014. Botox is one of the new services the spa offered. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Neil Parman, a crane operator and inventor, races one of his inventions called a 'head sled' down 99 Avenue in Peace River Alberta on Thursday June 5, 2014. Parman, who is from Nanaimo British Colombia was in Peace River to help with the maintenance at the DMI pulp mill outside of town. The sled can reach speeds of over 90 km/h.  Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Neil Parman, a crane operator and inventor, races one of his inventions called a ‘head sled’ down 99 Avenue in Peace River Alberta on Thursday June 5, 2014. Parman, who is from Nanaimo British Columbia was in Peace River to help with the maintenance at the DMI pulp mill outside of town. The sled can reach speeds of over 90 km/h. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

From left to right, drag queen Victoria SecRet, Amber Pratt, Mayor Tom Tarpey and Ashley Pratt lead the Peace Regional Pride Parade through downtown Peace River Alberta on Saturday June 7, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

From left to right, drag queen Victoria SecRet, Amber Pratt, Mayor Tom Tarpey and Ashley Pratt lead the Peace Regional Pride Parade through downtown Peace River Alberta on Saturday June 7, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Half marathon runners run down the dyke path at the start of the Heritage Run in Peace River Alta. on Sunday June 8, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Half marathon runners run down the dyke path at the start of the Heritage Run in Peace River Alta. on Sunday June 8, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

 From left, Ali Dalman and Ming Gaunt work to prepare pizza dough in the back of Matt's Pizza prior to opening on Saturday, June 14, 2014 in north-end Peace River, Alberta. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

From left, Ali Dalman and Ming Gaunt work to prepare pizza dough in the back of Matt’s Pizza prior to opening on Saturday, June 14, 2014 in north-end Peace River, Alberta. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Braider Cyrina Bull, a Cree dancer from Red Pheasant, Sask. braids the hair of Ojibway dancer Rolanda Wilson from Fox Lake, Alta. while Cyrina's son, Bradson Crain watches from the trunk of the car, on the second day of a Pow Wow hosted at the fairgrounds in Peace River Alta. on Sunday, June 15, 2014.  Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Braider Cyrina Bull, a Cree dancer from Red Pheasant, Sask. braids the hair of Ojibway dancer Rolanda Wilson from Fox Lake, Alta. while Cyrina’s son, Bradson Crain watches from the trunk of the car, on the second day of a Pow Wow hosted at the fairgrounds in Peace River Alta. on Sunday, June 15, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Elder Stan Testawich from Duncan's First Nation is pictured at his campsite at the Peace River Pow Wow in Peace River Alta. on Sunday, June 15, 2014. The pow-wow included a gathering of elders from all over, Testawich was one of the ones who made the journey. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Elder Stan Testawich from Duncan’s First Nation is pictured at his campsite at the Peace River Pow Wow in Peace River Alta. on Sunday, June 15, 2014. The pow-wow included a gathering of elders from all over, Testawich was one of the ones who made the journey. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

 Muhammad Ashiq, left, prays with fellow Muslims at the Peace River Islamic Centre in Peace River, Alta. on Friday, June 20, 2014. Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, began on June 28, 2014. During Ramada, Muslims fast and abstain from all food and water from sunrise to sunset for 30 days. In Peace River, a small group of Muslims hold weekly prayers, alternating each week who leads the prayer. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Muhammad Ashiq, left, prays with fellow Muslims at the Peace River Islamic Centre in Peace River, Alta. on Friday, June 20, 2014. Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, began on June 28, 2014. During Ramadan, Muslims fast and abstain from all food and water from sunrise to sunset for 30 days. In Peace River, a small group of Muslims hold weekly prayers, alternating each week who leads the prayer. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Luminaries, used as memorials by those who have been affected by cancer, are pictured next to the Glenmary High School track, while walkers from the Relay for Life walk it during the Relay for Life on Friday, June 20, 2014 in Peace River Alta. After taking 2013 off, the relay this in 2014 hoped to raise $25,000 for cancer research and they succeeded by raising $36,666. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Luminaries, used as memorials by those who have been affected by cancer, are pictured next to the Glenmary High School track, while walkers from the Relay for Life walk it during the Relay for Life on Friday, June 20, 2014 in Peace River Alta. After taking 2013 off, the relay this year head hoped to raise $25,000 for cancer research – they succeeded by raising $36,666. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Luminaries, used as memorials by those who have been affected by cancer and bearing personal messages, are pictured next to the Glenmary High School track, during the Relay for Life on Friday, June 20, 2014 in Peace River Alta. The relay raised over $36,000 for cancer research. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Luminaries, used as memorials by those who have been affected by cancer and bearing personal messages, are pictured next to the Glenmary High School track, during the Relay for Life on Friday, June 20, 2014 in Peace River Alta. The relay raised over $36,000 for cancer research. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

From left, Aireen Gorman, her daughter Kimberly and her son Clarke play with bubbles during the Relay for life at the Glenmary High School track in Peace River Alta. on Friday, June 20, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

From left, Aireen Gorman, her daughter Kimberly and her son Clarke play with bubbles during the Relay for life at the Glenmary High School track in Peace River Alta. on Friday, June 20, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

High Level Aurora Boriellas' Kiw'd Up, falls to the ground during the Solstice Slam Jam roller derby at the Baytex Energy Centre in Peace River, Alta. on Saturday, June 21, 2014. Roller Derby, typically popular in urban areas, is starting to gain popularity in Alberta's north. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

High Level Aurora Boriellas’ Kiw’d Up, falls to the ground during the Solstice Slam Jam roller derby at the Baytex Energy Centre in Peace River, Alta. on Saturday, June 21, 2014. Roller Derby, typically popular in urban areas, is starting to gain popularity in Alberta’s north. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Elder Dave Matilpi performs a dance, in front of a crowd of Good Shepherd elementary school students, on the last day of the Sagitawa and DMI living tipi village at Misery Mountain ski hill in Peace River, Alta. on Thursday June 26, 2014. The event was meat to promote reading, literacy and awareness of Aboriginal history. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Elder Dave Matilpi performs a dance, in front of a crowd of Good Shepherd elementary school students, on the last day of the Sagitawa and DMI living tipi village at Misery Mountain ski hill in Peace River, Alta. on Thursday June 26, 2014. The event was meat to promote reading, literacy and awareness of Aboriginal history. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

From left, Tyler Adamson, Brianna Thibault and Lisa Wedderburn participate in an event called 'Run and Scream,' which helps build endurance on the last day of the Sagitawa and DMI living tipi village at Misery Mountain ski hill in Peace River, Alta. on Thursday June 26, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

From left, Tyler Adamson, Brianna Thibault and Lisa Wedderburn participate in an event called ‘Run and Scream,’ which helps build endurance on the last day of the Sagitawa and DMI living tipi village at Misery Mountain ski hill in Peace River, Alta. on Thursday June 26, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

A security guard from Patman Productions is tended to after his leg was broken while trying to remove an unruly person from the Peace Fest beer garden on Saturday, July 12, 2014 in Peace River, Alta Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

A security guard from Patman Productions is tended to after his leg was broken while trying to remove an unruly person from the Peace Fest beer garden on Saturday, July 12, 2014 in Peace River, Alta Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

A Peace River firefighter checks out a RCAF Snowbird on display at the Peace Regional Air Show on Sunday, July 13, 201 in Peace River, Alta. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

A Peace River firefighter checks out a RCAF Snowbird on display at the Peace Regional Air Show on Sunday, July 13, 201 in Peace River, Alta. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Steven Turner, from Cochrane, Alta. tries to wrestle a steer during the second day of the North Peace Rodeo on Saturday August 2, 2014 at Lac Cardinal in Grimshaw, Alta. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Steven Turner, from Cochrane, Alta. tries to wrestle a steer during the second day of the North Peace Rodeo on Saturday August 2, 2014 at Lac Cardinal in Grimshaw, Alta. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Left to right, Nicholas Lavoucan and Bryn Lizotte both 15-years-old from Peace River and Jesse Lawson, also 15, from Grimshaw, watch as Darren Kramer, from the Ottawa Senators, demonstrates a drill during a morning dry land hockey camp at Glenmary high school field in Peace River, Alta. on Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. Kramer, who is originally from Peace River, helped to coach a six-week skills camp for elite Peace Country hockey players by using some of his conditioning knowledge learned in the NHL. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Left to right, Nicholas Lavoucan and Bryn Lizotte both 15-years-old from Peace River and Jesse Lawson, also 15, from Grimshaw, watch as Darren Kramer, from the Ottawa Senators, demonstrates a drill during a morning dry land hockey camp at Glenmary high school field in Peace River, Alta. on Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. Kramer, who is originally from Peace River, helped to coach a six-week skills camp for elite Peace Country hockey players by using some of his conditioning knowledge learned in the NHL. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Dennis Simoneau, one of the co-owner's of Simoneau's Honey Buzziness in St. Isidore, Alta. checks on his bees. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Dennis Simoneau, one of the co-owner’s of Simoneau’s Honey Buzziness in St. Isidore, Alta. checks on his bees. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Dennis Simoneau, one of the co-owner's of Simoneau's Honey Buzziness in St. Isidore, Alta. drives back from his bee field with his dog after checking on his bees. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Dennis Simoneau, one of the co-owner’s of Simoneau’s Honey Buzziness in St. Isidore, Alta. drives back from his bee hives with his dog after checking on his bees. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Jessica Raymond, from Peace River, celebrates completing the Paddle the Peace event in Peace River, Alta. on Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Jessica Raymond, from Peace River, celebrates after completing the Paddle the Peace event in Peace River, Alta. on Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Parmdalip Goais runs through a field outside St. Isidore, Alta. during the Guru Nanak Shahi Langar celebration at Hilltop Auto Wreckers on Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014. The event is a Sikh religious and community event where a member of the community opens a free kitchen to the community. Sikhs from Alberta and B.C. came to celebrate. Non-Sikhs from the region also came out to join in the event, which was organized by Bill Singh Dhaliwal, who owns the auto wreckers. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Parmdalip Goais runs through a field outside St. Isidore, Alta. during the Guru Nanak Shahi Langar celebration at Hilltop Auto Wreckers on Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014. The event is a Sikh religious and community event where a member of the community opens a free kitchen to the community. Sikhs from Alberta and B.C. came to celebrate. Non-Sikhs from the region also came out to join in the event, which was organized by Bill Singh Dhaliwal, who owns the auto wreckers. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Jesse Labatiuk drinks some water before starting the bicycle portion of the TriRiver Triathlon on Peace River, Alta. on Sunday Aug. 24, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Jesse Labatiuk drinks some water before starting the bicycle portion of the TriRiver Triathlon in Peace River, Alta. on Sunday Aug. 24, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

People in a boat fish in the Peace River on Tuesday afternoon in Peace River on Sept. 2, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

People in a boat fish in the Peace River on Tuesday afternoon in Peace River on Sept. 2, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

The Northern Lights are pictured over the Peace River, near the north-end boat launch in the town of Peace River, Alta. early on Thursday morning, Aug. 28, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

The Northern Lights are pictured over the Peace River, near the north-end boat launch in the town of Peace River, Alta. early on Thursday morning, Aug. 28, 2014. Adam Dietrich | Record-Gazette/QMI Agency

Well that’s it.

Next post will be about Whitecourt I guess.

Adam Dietrich

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April

Ok so it’s been a month since my last post.  April was a bit of a slow and weird month, I spent a lot of time working out the details for my return home and my replacement in July.

However, that’s neither here nor there.  I spent most of the month working on a feature about the volunteer firefighters here in Nosara.  Aside from that it was the odd assignment for the web.  There has been some reorganizing of the staff internally and it’s been a somewhat confusing to say the least, but everything is starting to straighten itself out.

So going in chronological order…

Early in April I stopped by the Nosara Yoga Spa for a trippy little concert featuring three very talented guitarists.  One of them, Bill McPhearson, is credited with starting the live music scene, more or less, in Nosara, with a Tuesday night acoustic set at the Gilded Iguana, a popular bar/hotel in town.

Spectatoars watch and listen to a concert featuring three acoustic guitarists at the Yoga Spa in Nosara, Costa Rica. Above on the ceiling 'transvisualizations,' projected visuals used to 'visualize' live music, are projected by a VJ.

Tuesdays at the Iguana have now become an iconic part of Nosara’s nightlife.  McPhearson has also left Nosara to take up a teaching post in California.  However, he is married to a Tico (slang for Costa Rican) so he plans to return once a year at least.

Bill McPhearson, an American who is credited with kickstarting the live music scene in Nosara, Costa Rica performs on April 4 at the Yoga Spa. McPhearson has since left Nosara for a teaching position in California, however, he intends to return and play at least once a year, if not more.

About a week later I went to the animal rescue centre for a web feature on adoptable pets.  It was fun, the animals were cute and the woman who runs it is incredibly dedicated.

Plus I shot all the portraits at f/1.4 it’s the newest coolest thing in photojournalism (I say that somewhat sarcastically).  Basically it means shooting with the shallowest depth of field you possibly can, hence in this photo, literally only one eye is in focus.  More and more photographers are paying big bucks for lenses that open to f/1.4, 1.8, 2, and I guess the logic is, if you’re paying for it why not use it?  This was one of the first times I found it useful for an assignment that wasn’t a portrait.

An adoptable puppy inspects a camera lens. The Nosara Animal Rescue, run by Canadian Sarah Foster, takes in hundreds of neglected animals each year, they are cared for and given access to healthcare then put up for adoption.

I’ve also been getting into shape somewhat.  We’ve been running a blog-style post a week on the web about fitness options in Nosara.  What it means is I get to take a variety of free classes, ask some questions snap some pics then write a brief first person perspective on it.

So far there’s been Crossfit, which defeated me (I’m picking words carefully here), a Zumba/Bootie Fit class and today Tai Chi, my favourite thus far as been Tai Chi. although Crossfit made me feel like the hulk and Zumba/Bootie Fit left me feeling like a back up dancer in a rap video…

Anyway the photos weren’t anything special from any of the classes, but I like this one because I’m visible.  I never ‘see’ myself at work, and after looking at this photo I think that’s a good thing.

Yoga House founder and Zumba instructor, Jodie Buehner, teaches a Zumba/Bootie Fit class on April 20 at the Yoga House in Nosara Costa Rica. The class is a fusion of the fitness regime Zumba, which was designed by a choreographer in the mid 90's, and 'Bootie Camp,' which provides core strengthening, with a focus on 'the bootie.'

So this will mark the third post I have with rodeo pictures.  This time it was in the beach town of Garza, about 10km outside Nosara.  It was pretty cool and it operated the same way as the Nosara fiestas, after two of which, I had a system down.

One of the rodeo games played at the first annual Garza Fiestas, on April 21. The games are a combination of bullfighting and rodeo riding. Safety gear is completely optional.

The big thing at this fiesta was this psychotic bull called ‘Malacrianza,’ which I was specifically asked to get a picture of.  Talk about pressure, the rider lasted 7 seconds.  At three frames per second (5D Mk II) that gives me a max of 14 photos.  I had 8 useable ones, these two are my favorites.  It was crazy though the arena was sparsely lit with these flickering floodlights, every photo the white balance is a little different then the last.  Also Malacrianza was bucking in he part of the arena where my placement counter to floodlights left my pictures washed out.  For those familiar with Adobe Lightroom, these photos have the contrast and black toned tab turned up 100%,  and even still the photo lacks contrast…

Orlando Tellez Aguilar, 28 from Santa Cruz rides the infamous 'Malacrianza' during the second night of Garza's first ever fiesta's. Aguilar lasted for 7 seconds before being tossed by the bull.

I like that he wore a hockey helmet, it’s the second one I saw in Costa Rica, the first one was on a motorcycle driver…

Orlando Tellez Aguilar, 28 from Santa Cruz rides the infamous 'Malacrianza' during the second night of Garza's first ever fiesta's. Aguilar lasted for 7 seconds before being tossed by the bull.

These fiestas are crazy… people in and out of the ring.

Spectators inside and outside the arena wait for the start of the second night of rodeo games at the first annual Garza fiestas on April 21. The rodeo games feature audience participation, in that, after the bull throws his rider spectators get on the field and try to anger him without getting hurt.

Over the course of the month I’ve been meeting with the Nosara firefighters, speaking with their funders and founders, and other towns nearby about their situation for a feature on the underfunded and overworked volunteer department here.  The feature sprang from an idea I pitched in March about a series of portraits of the firefighters with bios and their opinions on what they needed to better do their job.

The idea was based off a project I saw by Canadian Photojournalist Louie Palu, he worked in Afghanistan for a while and shot a really stunning series of portraits of the soldiers he was with.  More pics shot at f/1.4.  Palu’s work is here, check it out, I still don’t have anything on it, but that’s how painters in the renaissance learned, first by painting work done by masters before them, then developing past or outside that.

Kyle Bombard, co-owner of Reef Realty, is one of three brothers who grew up on Santa Catalina Island in California then moved to Nosara. There was no professional fire department in Santa Catalina, so everyone in the town would help to fight fires. Bombard says the biggest issue they face is proper safety equipment, he cites a recent fire at the Nosara dump which had fire fighters breathing in fumes from burning plastic, silicone and other materials for close to 12 hours, with little to protect them except scarves or dust masks. Currently the volunteers supply their own gear and vehicles.

I’ve never been to or photographed an orchestra before, so this past Saturday was cool.  In March I wrote a preview story about a group of parents at the local Montessori school, they were planning to bring an orchestra from Nicoya comprised of high school music students to perform in Nosara.  It was big, more than 400 people turned out to see it.  Most of whom had never seen a show like that before.

Conductor, Juan Luis Guevara Mora leads the violin section during a performance at the Nosara catholic church on April 28. The orchestra, named 25 de Julio, is based out of Nicoya and is the only orchestra in the Guanacaste province.

The conductor was great, he was so emotive I had a hard time filing down pics.

Conductor Juan Luis Guevara Mora conducts the Nicoya youth orchestra during their first ever performance in Nosara. The choir is made up of music students from the area around the city of Nicoya.

I shot a bunch of regular photos of people playing instruments but to be honest, just a straight photo of someone playing a violin is boring, unless they’re really emotive or flamboyant.  So I was looking for something different.  Because they were kids most barely saw over their music stands, I decided to play around with that, this was my favorite.

One of the violinists in the 25 de Julio orchestra watches for the conductors cues during a free concert in Nosara on April 28. The concert was organized by a parent group from the Del Mar Montessori School called the community service committee.

This one falls outside the chronological order of the post as I shot it on the 24th.  I looked outside my window and saw a strangely bright star, I looked it up on Google and it turns out that night Venus was going to rise with the moon and be visible to the naked eye.  I set up a tripod and took a photo, I haven’t done much astrography, but I want to try more.  It’s more accessible than I thought, I mean this was taken at a 270mm focal length, nothing huge, you just have to know when and where to look.

The crescent moon (left) sits almost horizontal with Venus, visible to the naked eye on April 24 from Nosara, Costa Rica.

On the 5th of May there will be what’s called a ‘super moon,’ basically based on the Earth and Lunar orbits this will be the closest the moon comes to the Earth all year, making it look much brighter, bigger and visible.

I think I’ll bust out my medium format, which by the way works.  I had this old 50’s folding 6×6 shipped to me and I processed the first roll of film, some expired TriX a friend gave me.  Camera works great and it felt badass to process film in Central America.  #imanerd

Anyway, that’s it for now.

Paz Siempre,

Adam Dietrich


A busy week

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.

From left to right, Emiliana Garcia (Voice of Nosara editor), Dennis G—mez (one of the producers of 'El Fin'), and Miguel G—mez (director of 'El Fin') set up a projector for the screening of 'El Fin,' a Costa Rican dark comedy bout the end of the world. The screening was hosted at the Nosara rodeo grounds on March 8.

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.

About 400 attendees watch the screening of 'El Fin' under the stars on March 8. Nosara has no theatre so the film was projected onto the side of a white truck.

Some of the scenes were shot at Pelada beach, about 15 minutes walking from my house.

An attendee watches a scene in the film 'El Fin,' which was partially shot in Pelada Beach, one of the beachs of Nosara. The screening, on March 8, was projected onto the side of a truck outdoors to about 400 people, including the films director and of the producers.

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.

A rider is tossed but attempts to maintain his composure as he falls off a bull during the opening night of the second round of the Nosara fiestas on March 9. Audience size was down considerably from the opening night of the first round held on January 28.

There was a doubles ride which seemed like a bad idea…

A rider is tossed from a bull during a doubles ride on the opening night of the second round the Nosara Fiestas on March 9. Although assisted out of the ring the rider did not suffer any severe injuries.

remarkably no serious injuries…

A potentially deadly game ends in bruises and a sore head. The rider was riding doubles on a bucking bull without a helmet and was run over after ring tossed.

However, a decline in attendees was bad news for food vendors and games operators.

Carnival games operators wait for participants to play during the opening night of the second round of the Nosara Fiestas on March 9. The night was tough for vendors at the event which experienced a dramatic decline in attendees compared to the same event hosted a month earlier on January 28.

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.

Stone Van Timmeren, cuts the top of a wave during the first heat of the the Triple Crown surf tournament hosted at Ostional beach near Nosara, on March 10.

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.

Christian Santamaria, carves through a wave during the third heat of the first day of the Triple Crown Surf contest held at Ostional beach on March 10. Points are still being tallied but those who have enough will advance to the second round on March 17.

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.

Selena Moberly rides ahead of huge crashing wave during the third heat of the first day of the Triple Crown Surf contest hosted on March 10 at Ostional Beach near Nosara. The contest had about 55 contestants making it one of the biggest surf contests ever hosted in the area.

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.

Psychedelic lights projected onto a wall at the side of the Tierra Magnifica Hotel in Nosara. The lights were part of a series of elaborate decorations at the 4th annual Caricaco Music festival on March 10.

As I said, the set-up was unreal…

On another much larger wall a live view of the concert is projected onto the side of Tierra Magnifica Hotel. Throughout Caricaco people were in and out of the pool as well.

SKASKASKASKASKASKA!

Nosara's ska band, Calle performs during the 4th annual Caricaco music festival. There were eight bands of varying genres.

Crazy fans…

A fan screams during a performance by the band 'Calle,' a ska band from the Nosara area during the Caricaco music festival at the Tierra Mignifica Hotel on March 10. Alejandro Gutierrez, Calle's lead singer, is also a medical doctor in Nosara.

And some fire dancing…

A fire dancer performs during the fourth annual Caricaco music festival, poolside at the Tierra Magnifica Hotel, held on March 10. You can see the full-moon in the middle of the fire circle.

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.

A couple (name not given) watches a display of fireworks during the 4th annual Caricaco music festival held at the Tierra Magnifica Hotel on March 10.

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.

A firefighter with the Nosara volunteer firefighters dismantles a fire hose by the light of a pick-up truck. At 12:30pm March 11 the firefighters responded to a call at the dump, after fighting the fire for seven and a half hours the Nicoya firefighters arrived. However, flares-ups began again and the fire continued to smoulder under the trash over the next few days. The Nosara fire department, which runs on donations and volunteers, says several of their hoses were damaged by shards of broken glass in the dump.

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.

Victor Ovanado, sits a top a four metre high palm tree on Guiones beach on March 13. using his feet Ovanado kicked down ripe coconuts, which could be cracked by a machete. Once cut open they offer a nectar called, 'coconut water,' which as well as rehydrating a person is highly nutritious.

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.

Caricaco music festival

Triple Crown Surf contest

The Fiestas

The dump fire

The screening of ‘El Fin’

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.

Paz siempre,

Adam


Cowboys and surfers

This week has been a little hectic, compared with the previous one at least.  It’s production week for the paper meaning decisions about cover, content selection and layout need to be made.  I’ve worked production at a paper before, however, the charlatan is a weekly publication, the voice of nosara publishes once a month.  Which means content relevance is perhaps the most challenging aspect, since the issue will sit on stands for a month, the stories and pictures inside need to be relevant for the whole month.

So on Wednesday I was asked to go to a hotel in town to get a photo of liquor for a story on the changing liquor laws here.  Apparently there are a limited number licenses available depending on community size, most of those licenses have already been bought up at prices as low as $6, the owners of those licenses in many cases rent them out for as much as $3000 a month, that’s a hell of business plan.  Most license owners purchased theirs as far back as the 30’s and have held on, clearly some updates to the law are needed.

The folks at the hotel agreed to make me a cocktail so I could photograph it.  I was supposed to keep logos and faces out so as not to implicate the hotel as one of the abusers of the liquor licenses… the photos were kind of boring but the drink was on the house, so I lingered by their pool and sipped it after.  Not too bad.

 

Sometimes its hard to do what I do...

Thursday was an equally quiet day; all I did was work on a few police briefs for the printed copy then hit the beach.  We managed to figure out that the suspected thief captured in Nosara the other week had been released on his own recognizance pending a trial date.  The police seem to have a case against him although the residents are still paranoid.  After that I worked on another brief about a car fire from a week ago, seems a battery shorted and the hood caught on fire, otherwise no major issue.

That evening I decided to go to the beach to read.  I ended spending more time photographing surfers in the fading light, I got a few nice ones…

 

This pretty much defined the evening...

As I said.. less reading more photography…

 

Surf instructors hit the waves at sunset because its after work and they have free time, the birds hit the waves for the fish.

Sunsets here are beautiful, though I think I’ve stated this before.

 

A surfer watches the sun set, they paddle out and sit and wait for waves to come. The light is beautiful...

 

Though it looks like there’s no waves they show up.  One minute the ocean would be calm as can be, then suddenly it would swell and there would be waves.

 

A surfer paddling to catch the front of a wave. The trick is to get just ahead of a wave before it breaks and quickly stand up.

This time I used the 5D, shooting at 6400 ISO gives you a lot more more leeway, just fewer fps for catching peak action.

 

This guy was good, he would ride the wave until it finished then lower himself back onto the board to paddle out again. No crashes, no falls.

Finally the sun hit the horizon and everyone just kind of stopped to watch it.

 

Two seagulls fly low looking for fish while a surfer waiting for a wave watches the sun dip below the horizon...

Friday was the start of two busy days…  First I was given a driving lesson on the quad and access to the keys.  It was maybe the third time in my life I’d driven a quad and the first time I’d driven a manual transmission vehicle.  The driving lesson was mostly my boss groaning every time the quad lurched as I tried to change gears…

 

Me and my new ride. The travel scarf is needed to keep from swallowing a dustball, as are the glasses and the helmet well safety first.

The reason I needed access to the quad was to get to Nosara for the fiestas of Nosara, a three-day rodeo and festival on the edge of town.  The event opened on Friday evening, it was part rodeo, carnival, running with the bulls and community dance.

 

A food vendor adds fuel to his cooking fire at the Nosara rodeo. There were more than 10 different places to eat mostly serving refried meats.

Safety precautions were not quite what they would have been in Canada, spectators are allowed right up to the fence, they can even sit on it.

 

A young rodeo fan watches the introductions before the start of the first rodeo game.

 

There was a big arena set up in a field outside of town; the rodeo games began with an introduction of the rodeo riders, complete with a prayer.  Then they released the first rider, after he was thrown the real games began… Drunk locals and tourists then would taunt the bull until he charged them, then they try to get out of the way…  I personally couldn’t believe it, in Canada the Calgary Stampede takes flack every year for potential animal abuse, in Costa Rica participants take their lives in their hands without even signing a waiver…

 

A festival participant tries to avoid a charging bull. Had I wanted to, I probably could have joined in I won't lie though I was a little nervous.

Although I didn’t get in the ring I did spend most of the time sitting on the fence, at one point a bull charged and in my rush to get back over my sandal caught the edge of the fence and I fell about 5 feet.  I din’t break any equipment or bones and I landed on the right side side of the fence.

 

A rider is tossed from a bull while festival participants rush in to distract and draw the attention of the bull, no one was hurt. To give you an idea of how close you can get to the action, this was shot with a 24mm on a full frame camera with little cropping. A minute later that bull charged the fence I was sitting on.

Of course I might have been overreacting… I mean if drunk, barefoot tourists can get in the ring without spilling their beers, I probably would have been ok.

 

A tourist protects himself and his beer from a charging bull. There were several tourists who participated in the rodeo games most of them were wasted.

Friday was a late affair; the event started at 8pm and went until about 2am.  I left around 12:45, because after 12 the rodeo was finished, the sober people left and the dance began.  I was tired and drove home to edit.  Having never shot a Rodeo before, and having to compete with some truly shitty lighting I somehow shot just over 1200 frames, I have never shot that many in a single night.  I trimmed them to a further 76 then finally down to 15 for use on the voice of nosara’s facebook page, it was about 3am when I finally got to bed.  Apparently they’ve set aside two pages in the paper as well, so some should make it in there as a pictorial story.

Saturday was thus a slow start, however, after lunch it was back on the quad to head to the second event called the Tope (pronounced toe-pay).  The Tope is basically a big lunch and party, complete with some cowboy skills competitions.  Since I’m missing the all-star game in Ottawa, this is the best I could do…

 

Cowboys arrive on horseback to the Tope, a big day of eating, drinking during the fiestas of Nosara on January 28.

 

It was brutally hot, I’m not sure how people could drink beer and whiskey for 3 straight hours in that heat and still ride home…

 

A young boy rests on bags of horse feed. Although the Tope was held in the shade, the day was immensely hot.

 

I tried some shooting from the hip, there’s an old photography adage, “F/8 and be there,” it means closing your aperture enough to increase your depth of field, allowing you to shoot without have to worry too much where your focus is.  In this case it let me catch this without having to be obvious about it.

 

Friends great each other near the beer truck at the Tope. The day was a relaxed feast and social event.

 

And of course there were lots of horses.  I spent some time on a farm in Uruguay in 2007 which cultivated a real appreciation for horses, these were pretty talented riders too.

 

A cowboy regains control of his horse, the horse grew impatient after trotting on the spot and began moving around wildly. Within a minute the rider was able to regain control.

 

This evening is the finale but I don’t think I’ll be there, today is my day off and my boss has the quad so I’d have to bike the 7km.  Instead I’m going to start work on a new project and get some beach time.  There is a hotel, bar and adventure travel company in town called The Gilded Iguana.   The owners are originally from Toronto and have established their business here as a sort of fixture.  Several people have told me that The Gilded Iguana is the place to be in town on a Tuesday night.  I was there this past Tuesday with my boss and the place was packed, we couldn’t find a seat much less a table for most of the evening.  I met with the owner and asked if she’d be interested in an interview, I think this is something that if pitched properly could be freelanced to a Canadian publication.

So I sent the owners an email and received a speedy reply essentially saying drop by whenever, so today I’ll call and hopefully be able to meet with them.  This isn’t a project I intend to rush, I’d like to take time, and build trust, if this is going to work I’ll need photographic access to the entire operation.  So I’d like to start with a very basic introductory interview, and hopefully a tour, I doubt I’ll shoot a single frame today.  After a few months, I’ll hopefully have something marketable.

Paz siempre,

Adam

P.S. My apologies for the break in posting this week and thus the huge post today.  The office internet has been down for the last three days, it started working this morning again, so fingers crossed it keeps working…