Fotografía Profesional en Costa Rica–Professional Photography in Costa Rica

Archivo para mayo, 2012

Prime Produce and Prime Lenses: A Photographic trip to the Heredia Farmers Market

This article of mine originally appeared in The Costa Rica Star, please stop by and have a look around. Thanks, Solson

Feb 2013 EDIT! I’ve Created a video with the pictures from the gallery but also including sounds from the Farmers’ Market that I think helps put the photos and the article in context. Thanks!

Inspired by the The Costa Rica Star’s recent articles, and frustrated by the poor quality of the bell peppers at my local supermarket (you know the one that starts with “W” and ends in “almart”) my girlfriend and I decided to visit the Farmers’ Market in Heredia. I had heard that I should arrive early for the best products, so when we arrived at a leisurely 9:30 am we expected things to have cleared out. Nope. It was packed. About 600 meters worth of packed. Noises smells and bumping elbows everywhere. Good thing I packed my cameras.

Peppers were tops on the list, but of course all the bounty on hand meant we quickly got distracted with the samples of homemade jam, ripe fruit, fresh meat and even a “soda” to grab a late breakfast. The lottery sellers competed with the venders and the cat calls to see who would be heard. I tried my best to keep a low enough profile to get some candid photographs. It didn’t go very well. I blew a number of shots as people looked at me in confusion. I probably gave my girlfriend a similar look when she came back with a pack of garlic: “Honey did you really just buy garlic grown in China at the local farmers’ market?”

As we continued to wander around I got bolder and pulled out my film camera. I also paired it with my one of my favorite lenses. The lens that really helped me grow as a photographer. An 85mm f1.8. For those not versed in photo-speak that is a fixed length lens with a large maximum aperture, which allows it to be used in low-light, as well as to allowing for reduced depth of field. This type of lens is known as a “prime” lens and if you use an SLR camera you should have one. These lenses can be a bit frustrating in the beginning since you are “stuck” with one field of view. Your feet become your zoom. You get over this problem quickly because these lenses let you compose in a whole new way. Not only can you compose withing the four walls of the frame, now you can choose your depth too, like thinking in 3-D.

Being able to selectively blur things helps you emphasize what is important in your shot, it can also be useful to blur out distracting backgrounds or sometimes even distracting foregrounds. And when it the light gets low prime lenses can let you keep shooting before you have to go to a flash. Sometimes—and especially with candid photography, you don’t have time to move your feet to recompose, so you have to use that selective focus to your advantage. It takes some time and practice and a lot of missed shots to get the hang of it. The first few times I used that lens I got tons of shots that weren’t focused in the right place. Once I got a feel for it though, well… I always have a prime lens with me. These days it’s a 50mm f1.4, which is the lens that cameras all used to come with. Newer zoom lenses are more practical, but a prime lens WILL improve your photography in a hurry.

A prime lens will improve your photography, while a trip to the farmers’ market will improve your supper and your appreciation for proper produce. If you don’t live here, it’s still worth a trip since you get a dose of how locals live, shop and interact. You are also likely to encounter a number of fruits and veggies that you won’t find at the supermarket. Also do buy the glorious bell peppers, don’t buy the Chinese garlic. Do get yourself a prime lens, don’t hesitate.

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Boutique Mademoiselle

Boutique Mademoiselle (Plaza Rohrmoser) aprovechó el variado  escenario de Studio Hotel en Santa Ana, además de la participación de Melissa Mora para hacer una sesión para el lanzamiento de su presencia en Internet. También pueden ver un breve video.

Boutique Mademoiselle (in Plaza Rohrmoser) took advantage of the varied scenery at  Studio Hotel in Santa Ana, as well as the presence of Melissa Mora to set up a shoot for their initial web presence.  You can also watch a short video from the shoot.


Beto Pelozo

Beto Pelozo En escenario, en estudio de grabación y ensayando. Un recuento de los últimos años. Vean algunos videos aquí.

Beto Pelozo on stage, in the studio and at band practice. A recap of the last few years. Watch a few videos of Beto here.

 

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Tras Bastidores–Backstage

Tras bastidores en las pasarelas de “Tu Boda” en el Paseo de las Flores. Fueron dos tardes intensas para las modelos de AR Models pero lo sacaron adelante. El primer día también estuvieron presentes mis clientes de Kalos Lash Spa maquillando y poniendo pestañas.

Backstage at the “Tu Boda” events in Paseo de las Flores mall. It was a tough couple of days for the gals (and guys) of AR Models but they pulled it off. The first day also featured my clients Kalos Lash Spa on make-up and eyelash duty.

 

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Kalos Lash Spa

Pestanas con piedritas Jeweled lashes

He hecho varios trabajos con Kalos Lash Spa en Gauchipelín de Escazú para promocionar sus servicios y productos, aquí les presento algunas muestras.

I’ve worked with Kalos Lash Spa several times to help promote their products and services, this is a selection of that work.

 

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Guanacaste Costa Rica: A trip beyond the Beach and Tourist scenes

This article of mine originally appeared in The Costa Rica Star, please stop by and have a look around. Thanks, Solson

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For most people the mention of Guanacaste conjures up visions of ocean, surfing, palms and most anything beach related. That’s because most of us head there on vacation. Locals have a life to live and it usually doesn’t involve sand in their toes.

I took the bus from San Jose to Liberia on a trip to meet my in-laws. Family dynamics aside, taking the bus really changes your perspective on this trip. It’s hot, noisy, and cramped (if you are taller than 1.70 m–5’7”). I think my bus was called the shin-buster 2000. Really. There’s more leg room on local-run buses than on these long-haul ones. But for about $7 each way it’s a whole lot cheaper than a tank of gas, plus these guys have no fear of traffic cops as speed limits and no passing zones apparently do not apply to buses.

The trip runs about 4 to 4.5 hours which is similar to what it takes to drive the 220km in a car. The discomfort is mitigated by a pit-stop near Puntarenas. Bathrooms and snacks are available at the company owned restaurant/convenience store. The nice part of this is that you won’t be left behind since the restaurant has an intercom system that will let you know your bus is leaving, plus after all that bouncing around at the back of the bus you will be ready for a break.

When you reach the terminal in downtown Liberia you will be greeted by both legitimate as well as “pirata” taxis. Pick your poison. Don’t be surprised if the cabbies here don’t use the meter. In three days I don’t think a single one did. Also the first kilometer is not the legal 585 colones it’s 1000, that’s the minimum for any cab run. You are on notice.

Although Liberia really is small enough to walk most places, you’ll be looking for a cab since it’s HOT. It’s so hot that I actually asked an old-timer why the heck anyone would choose to live in such a place. I didn’t get much of an answer on that front but I did become privy to the local rivalries in Guanacaste. Liberians and folks from Santa Cruz don’t care much for each other since their town is clearly the best and the others are just arrogant. I also found out that Liberia is in the “Altura” (highlands) and that west of the Tempisque river is the “Bajura” (lowlands). There is apparently also some dispute over the spurs used during bull rides. I’m still working on figuring that one out.

Having been shown off to aunts, cousins and grandparents and educated on local geography, I set out to photograph a local bull ride. Apparently the heat means that even the most remote bull rides are held at night with basic artificial lighting. These are usually accompanied by “fiestas” which resemble small town fairs with amusement rides, music and local characters. Good fun for everyone except photographers (no light!). Also it rains this time of year. Project pending.

Though I didn’t get shots of locals riding bulls I did get a very insider tour of a large-scale rice farm. Which famous local producer owns this farm and who provided me with a ride on a working rice harvester will remain a secret to protect the guilty as well as my chances of going back. The farm is so big it has its own town of about 45 families complete with two soccer fields and its own school. It’s a very close-knit community where left over bbq can be traded next door for fresh “arroz con leche” and there is more free fruit from the local trees than can possibly be eaten (including cashew fruit which is yummy with a pinch of salt).

Riding in a rice-harvester is a totally unique and eye-opening experience. Our driver (who is also the mechanic) turned out to be a remarkably good impromptu tour guide. He explained all the problems with the harvest and why there were so many birds in the fields, some eat the bugs, some the grain, some each other and some are just pests. If you have never seen a bird calmly pace 30cm in front of a 5 meter machine waiting for bugs, while a crane eats a chick, it’s a very National Geographic type moment.

I had been hoping to stay long enough to catch a sunset in the huge fields at the rice farm but other matters and the promise of air-conditioning pulled me away. I’ll be back for that sunset one day. I had to make due shooting in mid-day sun which isn’t my favorite, but in this case I think it helped reflect the kind of conditions that these guys are working in. Fortunately for some soul the oldest rice harvester wasn’t working that day. That’s the one with no cab, no radio, no air-conditioning. You know the one the rookies get.

Far from the beaches, Gaunacaste moves quietly and at a local pace, with its own little secrets to explore. If you get a chance and can pry your toes out of the sand give local Guanacaste a chance for a change. It’s gritty and sweaty but authentic and very real for a lot of folks who aren’t on vacation.