Nicaragua Photojournalism Fall 2015

Discussion in 'Street, Documentary, and Portrait' started by Robert Watcher, Aug 13, 2015.

  1. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nicaragua Photojournalism Fall 2015

    Hopefully a few different adventures with this trip.

    After arriving in Leon, Nicaragua on Tuesday morning at 4:00AM on August 4th, 2015 - - - a week of getting settled and we are off on an adventure to the East Coast of Nicaragua - a place we have always wanted to visit.

    Not exactly a straightforward trip of hopping in the car and driving for several hours - this adventure involves catching a van/bus at the Terminal in Leon - - - taking a 2 hour drive to the UCA Terminal in the capital city of Managua - - - a half hour taxi ride to the Terminal with the bus that goes the first leg of the journey east (we arrived in time to get tickets and a 3 hour wait) - - - 6 hour bus ride (old school bus) through the isolated areas of Central Nicaragua arriving at 3:00 AM in El Rama - - - find a place to sit or stand by the dock until sunrise when speed boats would transport us down the river to Bluefields - - - boarded the boat at 6:00AM and arrived in Bluefields just after 8:00AM. Total trip was around 17 hours - tired exhausted and hungry.

    Here are a few shots taken at 8:00PM at the terminal in Managua:

    I wanted a shot of Anne and I sitting in the terminal. It was very dark and so I set my camera (triggered by 12 second self-timer) on the bench across from us beside these two guys. After I took the shot, I showed them on the screen - and they were surprised how bright they were. The exposures were a second or two at 2,000ISO.

    Top: I asked if they wanted me to take a shot of them. They did. I got their Facebook page and sen the files to them.

    Bottom: I set my camera down on different surfaces and took shots in the dark. I was taking an overview of the people in the terminal with the camera set on the wood ledge of the ticket room - noticed this lady with her face in the wicket hole - spun my camera and took this interesting shot.



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  2. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Panga from El Rama to Bluefields

    We worked our way through turning in our tickets, having luggage checked by military police, and boarding the boats at 6:00AM. The rain stared to pour down about that time. Fortunately our boat had a plastic cover. Many did not and the way they resolve that is to lay a large black plastic tarp over everyone and all are responsible for holding it down for the 2 hour ride.

    Top: The fellow in the photo ended up being our driver. We were #5 Panga to leave

    Middle: Little boy waiting on the dock. I shot through the woman selling Rosquitas, and included the bags to help define the location as being Nicaragua.

    Bottom: The boat ride was cold and windy and everyone was dead tired trying to catch some sleep (except for me being wide awake taking it all in). Before approaching the final destination of Bluefields, I noticed this scene where almost everyone was humped over leaning on their bags or other people trying to catch a few winks.




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  3. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    BlueFields - Caribbean Flare

    The east coast of Nicaragua is a different culture than the rest of the country. It has a heavy Caribbean influence - much like we found in Costa Rica. While Spanish is spoken there, English, Creole, and native language called Miskito are more common.

    It snapped these shots in the terminal after getting off the Panga at 8:00AM.




    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
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  4. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran


    Isolated and very friendly small community. Being the prominent language is Creole instead of Spanish like the area we live in - many people on the streets and in the shops are eager to engage in conversation as they also can speak and understand English.

    Top: Great conversation with John, Jeremy and Hans in the central park

    Middle: Filo and Victor have been tire repairmen in their shop for years. We connected because both men spent time in the area that we live in on the Pacific coast.

    Bottom 2: The Pineapple Man - "My name is Franklin like the guy on the American Dollar Bill". He then pointed to Janette - his boss - who's "in a bad mood" grandson was standing in the doorway behind





    And there was this interesting character (Seaweed Seller):

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  5. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    BARBERSHOP - through the front window

    As I walked past the open door, I saw a photo opportunity - - - and when the fellow cutting hair looked at me, I asked if I could take a photo. He nodded affirmatively and carried on working. I took a couple from that angle and then carried on a few feet to catch this preferred photo through the open window. The man getting his hair cut, turned his eyes to me for a second and then back to the mirror so I could get my shots.



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  6. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran


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  7. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran






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  8. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran





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  9. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I love the washed out vibe that I got with these images. All were shooting into the bright light without a lens hood - but not including the light source or any flare. I was going to punch up the contrast and detail in Lightroom - but decided I preferred this for variety:




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  10. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    When I walked around the corner and saw this lady with a pink top, sitting against the pink painted store - I crossed the street and waited until she wasn't looking at me any longer. Olympus E-PL5 w/14-42 kit lens

  11. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    This photo took a lot of waiting to get. Fortunately the location was a busy intersection - so lots of people were going by as well as a lot of traffic to allow for different head positions of the woman inside the store. Olympus E-PL5 w14-42 kit lens

  12. 50orsohours

    50orsohours Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 13, 2013
    Portland Oregon
    Fantastic shots!!!
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  13. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Well Nicaragua is good motivation for photos as well as other interests.

    Thought I'd share this NO-PHOTO creation.

    It turns out that I had a tough week last week - first when in Bluefields on the Caribbean Coast, I moved the fan into the living room and tripped over the power cord landing heavily on some rough ceramic tile. This broke my big toe, strained my foot and skinned my elbows and knees. Same week - just after returning to Leon, I reached out to shake a friends hand and got stung by a 5" long scorpion that was hidden in the dark colour of my shirt. My hand obviously brushed by him and I felt the immediate sting.

    Well when I let friends know - my singing buddy Rick said it was time to write a song about Scorpions. I didn't like the idea at all and thought it was stupid. I happen to be highly motivated with music right now though, after purchasing a guitar at a shop here in Leon yesterday.

    TOO MUCH MOTIVATION I GUESS. So I am trying to have my afternoon sleep and words and phrases and rhyme start circling in my head. Within half an hour the song was written and I was taping it so I wouldn't forget. I uploaded the video recording to Youtube. The rendering isn't perfected - but the words are fun I think. The song is called "Thick Toes and Scorpions":

    These are the lyrics in case you are curious:

    Thick Toes and Scorpions

    Was a bummer of week,
    When all was done and said,
    Things could have gone from bad to worse,
    I coulda ended dead

    With such high hopes so many plans,
    The sun held out a ray,
    Of hope that reached up to the sky,
    But this is all that I can say


    Thick toes and scorpions don't mix well,
    One will make you limp,
    The other makes you swell

    If you come on down to Nicaragua,
    You might as well be 'ware,
    Power cords will trip you up,
    n big bugs don't play fair


    It all started when some idiot,
    Decided he was hot,
    Moved the fan into another room,
    With the cord in the same spot

    I certainly won' t admit it,
    But the idiot was me,
    Hooked my foot and down I went,
    On every other knee

    Well that was only one event,
    The other soon to come,
    When I went to shake a hand,
    The scorpion bit my thumb

    Turns out he'd been hiding,
    Underneath my tie,
    Had I not had quick reaction,
    It might have been bye bye


    Laid out my disappointment
    As well as
    Details that you can't miss
    Just a second
    There's somethin missin
    What you need is the moral of the story,
    And this is what it is


  14. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran


    Cambistas - or money exchangers - are commonplace in Nicaragua. Generally it is the simplest and preferred way to convert your native currency to local cordobas.

    Passing by several yesterday, I noticed this young fellow sitting in the chair normally occupied by a man bellowing out "Dolares Dolares". He was flipping through the stack of cash that his mother had handed him. Schooling was full on as she showed him how to do the folds and stacks. He even had his own calculator for entering numbers necessary to figure out conversion.

    In 4 years touring the streets here, I have never seen this - so had to take a photograph of it.

    Being that I had passed by and had to go back to take the shot - I was now noticed by the participants and so the scene ended up a little more staged than what I had witnessed. But the family were in full agreement to my taking the shot, and the little fellow fist pumped me after I showed his picture on my camera screen.

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  15. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran


    We are a little ways off yet - but it is time for us to start booking rooms and flights for a new short-term adventure in February 2016. Anne has always wanted to explore the cultures of either Equador or Peru - we had that in our plans for the month of February ---- but crazy as it seems to our family and friends, we have made the decision to spend that time in Columbia - specifically the area in and around the infamous city of Medellin. We hope it is exciting, even thrilling, and brings lots of new photo opportunities.


    This stint in Nicaragua, will last until mid-December - after which we go home to Canada, before our foray into Colombia.
  16. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    BEACH VOLLEYBALL ACTION - allowing for the Ebb & Flow of tidal sands :)

    Olympus E-PL5 w/14-42 kit lens

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  17. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran


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  18. paullgj

    paullgj Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 16, 2011
    Brownsville, TX
    These are very exceptional - great candid street, good colors, and compositions. I wandered into this website looking for examples of backcountry ethnographic photography images shot with small cameras. I'm headed to Guatemala for a quick trip in late October for Dia de Todos los Santos, and am contemplating leaving my (very heavy) Nikon gear at home and going with two smaller format cameras - ones that fit in inside denim vest pockets. You've done an excellent job and have given me some motivation and a challenge.
  19. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Thank you. You may just find after using the small cameras - you won't go back - depending on your needs.
  20. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Driving through Honduras today, I had my camera to the window ---- and good thing I did.

    Something you don't see every day is a farmer walking behind two oxen, plowing a single furrow on a dried up field. I had my camera set to Shutter Speed Priority at a fast shutter speed and Auto ISO.

    I got off one shot and the second shot was on the other side of the tree and then the scene was gone. I would have loved to stop and spend time - but the bus was on the move getting me to El Salvador.

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