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Author Topic: Photography And Video From Costa Rica To Come  (Read 22729 times)
robertwatcher
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« Reply #20 on: February 23, 2008, 06:35:05 PM »
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This fellow came up and started talking and pointing. The only word I recognized was OLYMPUS as he pointed to my camera. After getting nowhere with the conversation, he pulled his Pentax DSLR out of his backpack and tried to tell me more - - - but I didn't understand. Just as I was leaving on the bus, he quickly pulled some cards out of his pack and handed them to me. When I was settled on the bus, I read them and learned that he was a professional photographer in Turrucares - a small town about 6 KM from us.It has his phone number and address, so I'll have to check in to it - - - - and give him a print of this shot  with him proudly holding his Pentax:



This little cutey pie and her handsome brother were enjoying the trip into Alajuela on the bus:

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robertwatcher
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« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2008, 06:36:49 PM »
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In Grecia, we had some wonderful and inexpensive native food in the indoor market. The place was packed so we figured there must be a reason for that. I got this shot of the women working in the kitchen. Most turned their back when I took the shots. OF course when I went around to show them what I got, they all flocked over to me and couldn't miss the moment - - - laughing and giving me a thumbs up:



The owner came over to look too and asked why he wasn't in the shot. I obliged as he pulled a woman close to him, telling me that she was his:



Anne took this shot of me on the way home, sitting on the curb (hauling bags of fresh fruit from the local vendors) with the natives - - - waiting for the bus to arrive:




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robertwatcher
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« Reply #22 on: February 24, 2008, 08:59:21 PM »
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I am sharpening in LightRoom. I have had to learn a new set of skills with this program, but it had to be done eventually anyway. I did not understand the sharpening method at all for the first couple of  weeks as they do not relate to the complex and effective PS Unsharp Mask or my preferred Smart Sharpen tools.  I searched the web and did find a video or two that help me understand. Even though I do now, I do not find the LR sharpen as controllable or effective as that of PS - - - but it is doing the job for me. One tool I have come to rely on is the "Clarity" setting which effectively gives the appearance of sharpening as a result of it's edge contrast enhancement - - - which is really what the "sharpen" tools are doing anyway.

I am so used the standard Radius/Amount/Threshold sharpen settings and they do not directly translate to LR Sharpen. The general settings that I have been using are:

for portraits - "Radius" almost always 1.0 - "Amount" in the 50-75 setting - "Detail" at the default 25 setting

for landscape and textures I will quite often go a little higher with the "Amount" but never over 100 - - - and will sharpen the details by moving the "Detail" slider anywhere between 50 and 100
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robertwatcher
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« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2008, 08:26:51 AM »
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In the small town of Turrucares (sounds like "too - roo - car - res")

We traveled by bus down to this small town where we had heard that a rickedy old train passes through on weekends to pick up passengers between the main city of San Jose and the oceanside beach area of Puntarenas. We just wanted to get familiar with what it looks like as we are thinking that the train would be an interesting way to head across the mountainous terrain in order that we can get to the Pacific side  of the country. We found the tracks and station in a setting almost out of an old broken down movie set - people walking along the tracks, children riding bikes on the tracks, and homes off the distance perched alongside the tracks:







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robertwatcher
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« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2008, 08:27:44 AM »
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Young man cooking his pork product on the street in front of his shop:


A local butcher (on the right) and his friend standing in front of his shop:


Father and daughter team inside their small produce shop:
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robertwatcher
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« Reply #25 on: February 26, 2008, 08:28:38 AM »
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School was out and the students were cramming on the buses to get home. The young girls tended to all gather at the back of the bus. This fellow in charge of making sure all were on the bus safely, got a "charge" out of picking up small pebbles and tossing them in an open window at the back of the bus, from  a position where the girls could not see him. He could hardly contain himself with his giggles of mischief:


Finally a few of the girls clued in to what was going on and poked their heads out a small window in the back of the bus to let him know, and tease him:


This was the view out the bus window on the way back to our home:
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robertwatcher
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« Reply #26 on: February 28, 2008, 04:21:49 PM »
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Anne and I decided to have a local treat for lunch today, and so headed to the food court at the Mall International in Alajuela. TACO BELL - with one of the combos being the "Mexican Pizza" which I used to love before it was taken off the menu in Canada many years ago. I asked the young fellow who took the order if I could take his picture. He turned back toward the kitchen and then proceeded to gather everyone that was working there, so that I could have a group shot of them all (that is our lunch served up in the forground):



A small roadside vendor along the street on the walk back to town:



We bought some fresh beens, cucumbers, cabbage and carrots from this cubby hole on a Calle (street) in Alajuela. When we first arrived we were told that all of the vendors like this were inspected regularly and that you could trust their produce:



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robertwatcher
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« Reply #27 on: February 28, 2008, 04:22:50 PM »
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In front of the indoor central market, this strapping fellow hoisted heavy bags of flour on to his shoulder and delivered them to the vendors in side:





A couple of times I have walked past this motorcycle repair shop and witnessed the man in the wheelchair working on a bike  while a few others hover over him. I kept track of where the shop was located and was prepared to take a picture of that today - however there was no such action going on. Nevertheless, the character of this setting struck my fancy and so I asked if I could take a shot:



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davidg2020
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« Reply #28 on: March 04, 2008, 06:31:27 PM »
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Firstly congratulations on some great shots. I admire your lifestyle (at least what I imagine it to be) and your photographic prowess.
Secondly, I think it's fantastic that the Internet allows people to come together and share images and personal views like this... it's like having friends all over the world. It's also fantastic that you take the time and effort to do this!
Keep up the good work.
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robertwatcher
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« Reply #29 on: March 11, 2008, 09:26:08 PM »
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A fantastic opportunity for me today, being I am a people photographer and far enjoy including humans and their personalities in my shots - to just shooting scenery or static subjects.

I was informed by one of the local merchants, that a school in the area would be having a Snakes of Costa Rica and the Americas - presentation today - - - and I was asked if I wanted to go for some photo opportunities. I accepted even though I had no idea whether there be any real opportunities for great animal pictures or not.

Well it turns out that the snake part was of minimal value to me, but the "kid opportunity" was of much value. Many of the small children were making comments (reported to me through an interpreter) about how they knew me from the bus. One young 6 or 7 year old student came up me and shook my hand firmly as he has done previously - at a bus stop a mile down the mountainside when he came biking up to me from his home - and one evening at a soccer game after I noticed a few young boys huddled up and looking at me and egging or daring the young fellow to approach me and shake my hand.

I love it - - - that is one of the interactions that I regret that I do not have the same freedom to enjoy in Canada and the US. I'm always concerned that parents will have a major problem with my approaching, talking to and taking a picture of their child. I have even been confronted  by officials when my wife and I have taken our grandchildren to a local fair and I was in the distance using a telephoto lens for for a unique perspective of them on some of the rides. I totally dislike losing that freedom to practice my craft in a way that pleases me.

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BACK TO THE SCHOOL

This school has been the home of these children, their parents and grandparents and possibly several generations before that. It is an "old school" I was told. I stood back initially and watched as the "snake guy" educated this class about how to identify dangerous and non-dangerous snakes - and the value of them - - - - being they are being killed off for no reason other than that they are snakes and could be dangerous. So I stood back and grabbed a few setup shots:

1) Entry fee was c500 ($1)

Nikon D40  f3.5 @ 1/60'th 200ISO bounced flash

2) Instruction to one of the classes before entering the Snake Room

Olympus E-510 f6.3 @ 1/200'th 400ISO

3) Love this shot

Olympus E-510 f4 @1/160'th 800ISO
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robertwatcher
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« Reply #30 on: March 11, 2008, 09:27:57 PM »
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4) These boys were proud that they "knew me" - because they had seen me on the bus (I am becoming known as the man with the camera - as virtually noone has one in these parts)

Olympus E-510 f5 @ 1/125'th 400ISO

5) Inside it turned out that the room was dark and boxes holding the snakes were small and uninteresting from a photographic standpoint - but I had the kids

Olympus E-510 f3.1 @ 1/125'th 1600ISO

6) I have come to love the close focusing accuracy of my Olympus 12-60 f2.8/4 lens and so used it as best I could by holding it against the glass and focusing on the eye and skin of a few of the snakes - at least I had the snake shots for the record

Olympus E-510 f4 @ 1/50'th 1600ISO
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robertwatcher
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« Reply #31 on: March 11, 2008, 09:28:47 PM »
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7)

Nikon D40 f3.8 @ 1/60'th 200ISO bounced flash

Cool

Olympus E-510  f4 @ 1/50'th 1600ISO

9)

Olympus E-510 f2.8 @ 1/30'th 1600ISO
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robertwatcher
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« Reply #32 on: March 11, 2008, 09:29:36 PM »
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10)

Olympus E-510 f3.0 @ 1/25'th 1600ISO

11) As we were leaving we came across this open door classroom - where I was invited to quickly take a picture

Nikon D40 f3.5 @ 1/60'th 200ISO
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robertwatcher
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« Reply #33 on: March 11, 2008, 09:58:30 PM »
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Dentistry is of a high quality in Costa Rica - - - and pretty inexpensive (for those who do not have dental plans such as self employed people like me). We had heard stories of how many Americans pay for their vacation to Costa Rica with the savings  - - - some simply fly down just to get their teeth fixed.

Well I went in last week and had a filling done at this recommended dentist (they are on just about every corner of every town). The service was wonderful with a feeling of Old School care and sensitivity - and excellent results, even if I had to pay the same price as back home - - - but I didn't as the filling cost me c15,000 or roughly $30 USD. I will be having a Root Canal and Crown on one of my teeth next year when I come back - - - with the price being $195 USD for the complete service.

Anne went in for a cleaning and checkup today (c15,000 or $30). I asked if he minded that I take a few pictures and he obliged. An opportunity I don't know if I'd get back home, without a bit of paperwork:


Olympus E-510 f2.8 @ 1/30'th 400ISO


Olympus E-510 f3.5 @ 1/50'th 800ISO


Olympus E-510 f4 @ 1/60'th 800ISO
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robertwatcher
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« Reply #34 on: March 12, 2008, 03:34:45 PM »
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MICHAEL'S HOME

This young entrepreneur that I have come to know, wanted to show me his house that he is preparing for himself and his future bride (getting married in a year or two when it is done-he said). It is on the family property in behind his mothers home and those homes of a few of his cousins.

I asked how long he had been working on it - and he stated that it had been a year. He doesn't have much money and so hires workers as he has some available. He was very excited about the potential and when asked about colors, he informed me that the outside would be yellow - but "not a bright yellow" - and the roof would be red.

I took a shot with one of the trademan working on the concrete walls (another was sawing on the roof) - and then asked Michael to lean against a ladder on the wall, and look out the window as the man worked in behind.


Nikon D40 f3.5 @ 1/200'th 200ISO


Olympus E-510  f5 @ 1/125'th 800ISO


Olympus E-510  f5.8 @ 1/100'th 400ISO

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robertwatcher
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« Reply #35 on: March 14, 2008, 11:00:37 PM »
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Headed out to the North West part of the country by bus yesterday. The bus ride on the Auto Pista (Pan American highway) took 6 hours after we bused into  San Jose early in the morning. Santa Cruz was a much different town than we expected with no tourists visible and a poorer road and bus structure than we are used to in the small towns where we are staying in the Central Valley Highlands. We were beat when we arrived and it was hot - so we looked for a place to stay for the might, first off. It was difficult finding hotels and so we pulled out our list of 3 places to stay that are included in an online bus schedule that we purchased. Unfortunately the recommendtaions were based on a fellow who is traveling single - and on the cheap.

We decided on a Hostel from his list - which ended up being a rather unnerving and different experience for Anne and I. Yes it was cheap at c3500 or $7 per person - - -but the room was more like a small prison cell with 2 small bunks (clean sheets though) and dirty walls, as well as the sink and bathroom being outdoors in a nearby building necessitating Anne to wake me up at 1:00 in the morning to follow her to the bathroom. At least we have experienced it - however I doubt that staying in one again will be a conscious choice that we would make in the future, regardless of how cheap it is.

Shortly after escorting Anne to the washroom, I took this setup shot of our sleeping conditions - using the cameras self timer:


This was the yard outside our door with the families outdoor kitchen still lit:





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This was a crazy sight. A bus pulled in to the station and out of the cargo area were unloaded this persons travel gear - including an engine, tank of gas and battery. I took the shot of this while the owner called someone who showed up shortly after with a small pickup truck and a young fellow to lift everything into the truck:



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robertwatcher
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« Reply #36 on: March 15, 2008, 09:24:42 AM »
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Pottery in the traditional of their ancestors

Heading out a long tree covered road into the rural areas of the Guanacaste/Nicoya region of Costa Rica, lies the village of Guaitil (pronounced "way - teal") where artisans carry on the craft of producing their ceramic pottery by hand using the same traditions, tools and materials that have been passed down from generation to generation for 500 years.

Clays and colours are collected from the ground about 4KM from the town. While we were not able to see the firing of the pottery, Elma and Jennifer did create a small dish from start to finish so that  we could see the process:

The pottery is spun by one hand while the other hand molds and shapes - many times using the vertical pole as a guide for measurement and accuracy




One of the essential tools is a corn cob for gouging out the excess clay and forming the shape
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robertwatcher
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« Reply #37 on: March 15, 2008, 09:26:01 AM »
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Unlike the way that we normally see a potter stretch the clay up to extend the shape and thin it out - this method uses sections of a rolled string of clay added to the top at regular intervals, that is then melded in using wet fingers.





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robertwatcher
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« Reply #38 on: March 15, 2008, 09:28:31 AM »
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From start to finish was about 1/2 an hour


The surface is painted with different colours of pulverized local rock and then etched by hand using simple tools - to reveal the colour underneath and create a pattern


Anne looking at a selection available from this artisan



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If you would like to see their work and some of the history and process, Elma Grijalba Grijalba who is the artisan who owns this store, does have a website:

http://tinajistasguaitil.110mb.com/


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robertwatcher
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« Reply #39 on: March 18, 2008, 07:36:18 PM »
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Favourite Bus Driver

While he speaks no English, this bus driver has looked out for us since our first days visiting Alajuela. He guided us to the proper bus depot so that we could get home and when he has seen us around the country side, he has made sure the other bus drivers pick us up so that we can get to our destination. We only run into him a few times a week out the many times each day that we travel on the bus - - - but I wanted a shot of him before we leave next week, and so asked today if I could take his picture, even though he only had seconds to do so before heading off. I gestured for him to place his arm on the window. He gave me his most serious look for the first quick 3 shots in succession - and then I looked out at him from the bottom of my camera and gave him a funny look (same trick I always use to get a smile or laugh), and I got this shot that exemplifies his personality.



Everywhere we go, there are men walking around with large and sometimes heavy loads balanced on their shoulders. They seem comfortable doing so - in order to get their goods to the destination.



Some of the best ice cream we have ever experienced is in just about every venue in Costa Rica. Even their standard ice cream bars are of the caliber if a Hagendas or Ben and Jerrys - they never disappoint. Here we wanted to cool off with a cona in San Jose today - and so paid c600 ($1.20) for 2 scrumptious vanilla cones.



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