Shall I bore you again? Nicaragua 2013/14

Discussion in 'Street, Documentary, and Portrait' started by Robert Watcher, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Yes - we are on our way to Nicaragua to photograph and tell stories about all those we meet on the streets of Nicaragua. For any person who loves photography - Nicaragua would be the experience of a lifetime.

    Our children had us down for a final afternoon, supper and evening before we headed off for the next 8 months. It is going to be brutal being away from them for that long. Thank goodness for Skype.

    Anne requested that while we were all together, that I take an up-to-date portrait of everyone - - - this time including Anne and I as well as the new addition that we came home for this year. I set the scene up in our daughters back yard and placed my camera on self timer - using a small table as a tripod by resting the camera on it.

    Olympus E-PL3 w 14-42 kit lens - - - "watch for the blinking red light"

    This is about as good as it got today - - - arrival at the airport with concern that our check in bags were not over the limit of 50 pounds. Proof that we are experienced travellers (check the scale pictures):



    My daughter Rachel took these iPhone pics

    The rest of the day has been dreadful - thanks to our decision to try a new airline this year - - - DELTA.

    We won't be arriving in Managua tonight as intended, and in fact were almost returned to Canada in Detroit this morning, because we didn't have a visa for staying over 90 days (which we don't need). Arguments didn't change much - - - except that we got on the flight to Atlanta, but had to change the return date to 90 days (Dec 17'th, 2013) and pay an extra $300 to do that.

    We were already bummed, and then our pilots showed up an hour late for the Detroit to Atlanta flight and caused us to miss our flight to Managua Nicaragua. So now our friends who traveled across the country to pick us up, have to drive all the way home tonight and we have to make plans for someone else to pick us up at the airport tomorrow and drive us to Leon.

    The story is that Delta is putting us on a flight to Miami tonight, where we will get there at 12:00 midnight (if it arrives on time) - and then catch an American Airlines flight to Managua, at 7:00 AM tomorrow morning. Suffice it to say that we are not at all impressed with Delta and are not likely to use or recommend them in the future.

    But that is all behind us now. Maybe we've just had it too good in previous years. Tomorrow will be a new day and we will start our journey and I will share some of my photographic stories with you. Hope you enjoy :)
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  2. stw

    stw Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 23, 2013
    That sounds like an amazing trip. I've been to Guatemala and Costa Rica, and would love to visit other countries in Central America. You weren't kidding about the luggage. Nice! I hope that your trip going forward is smooth. I look forward to your pics!

  3. PatrickVA

    PatrickVA Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 31, 2012
    Central Virginia
    Perfect family photo, very nice work.
  4. luiztakei

    luiztakei Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 13, 2012
    Real Name:
    Nice story. Looking forward to reading more and seeing more pictures. Enjoy the trip!

    Btw, i have bought flight tickets from Delta for the holidays. I hope everything goes ok... :p
  5. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    We made it to Leon, Nicaragua safe and sound yesterday evening. We still have issues to work out now we are down here. Mainly our staying longer than the 90 days that we had to change our return flight to (and pay an extra $300) - so that we can enjoy our full planned 8 months.

    Too - it seems like my new Macbook air is struggling this afternoon as I work on some files. Don't know if it is the extreme heat affecting the laptop, or my new external 2 TB hard drive that I will be storing all of the files on - or a combination of both. Lightroom 5 was working decently on this setup during the last couple of weeks - I upgraded to 5.2 just before leaving and processed my family pics fine - - -

    - - - but today things are slow and Lightroom will not display the thumbnail images in either the Library view or Develop view. I can get two or three of them to display as I work on a file, but when I go to a different file they disappear and a couple of other ones show. At least I can work on the files in full view and export them out to the hard drive.

    Pic 1: And so - this is us in our house this morning - well it is Anne working away.

    Pic 2: Then we walked all over the city greeting old friends on the street (everyone is so dependable in being in the exact same place year after year). To rest up and get out of the heat, we dropped in to our fav hangout Pan y Paz (bread and peace) for a refreshment and a quiche. (set the camera on the counter with self timer)

    Pic 3: The final image is this years "first official travel photograph". The movers and shakers of Leon.




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  6. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    Are you working your files on the macbook or from the external hard drive? Is your external hard drive USB3 and does you macbook have USB3 capabilities? USB2 might be a bit slow if you are actually working from the hard drive.
  7. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Thanks for your helpful suggestions. I appreciate that. I am working from an external hard drive. It is a brand new USB 3 drive and my Macbook Air is only weeks old and USB 3 capable. I really had no issues before I came down when I was testing. So it may be the heat - hopefully not a hardware failure of some sort.



    Interesting that when I opened Lightroom this morning (Thursday) - all of the thumbnails are showing up fine. I'm going to chalk it up to heat being the issue before.
  8. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Real Name:
    Interesting post. Thanks for sharing. Look forward to seeing more photos and reading more stories from your trip...
  9. brianb032

    brianb032 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 10, 2011
    Looking forward to future posts. It's not quite Central America, but I am heading down to South America in two weeks for a quick mileage-run. (First time to South America!) I agree with everything you say about Delta though. They're the worst. Skyteam is awful. ATL is a nightmare for tight connections. And their phone agents aren't the brightest. Their only saving grace is their ATL lounge. And if you aren't stuck waiting around, unlimited booze makes their flights a bit more bearable. Anyways, bring on the pics. Should be one hell of an experience.
  10. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Walking the streets of Leon today - it looked like whole blocks of houses were on fire. In fact, there were 2 men walking in to every home and fumigating the houses. People were standing in the doorways with hankies over the faces - while the men being paid to do the fumigating were apparently more concerned with their hearing than their lungs (the main exterminator had white coveralls, big headsets and no mask). I couldn't get a shot of them today - hopefully another day. The streets were lined with adults and children watching the goings on.

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  11. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran


    I have taken thousands of photographs of people where I had to approach them and ask - - - but it is still difficult for me to do. Especially is it a challenge the first few times. I'm not one who likes to intrude into people's spaces and am not aggressive by any means.

    While I was able to take some walk around shots the first few days in Leon - I have been extremely sick and restricted to my bed for the last 5 days - so have not yet had a chance to "Break the Ice". Yesterday afternoon, after I had regained a little bit of energy - Anne and I went for a walk to the grocery story (Pali).

    Part way there, the heavens opened and a torrential rain came down on us. We tucked under the metal overhang of a store and waited it out. Several locals had also joined us. A few photo opportunities were there for pictures, but my comfort level wasn't there.

    A man on a delivery bike, pulled up to the curb in front of us and reached into the front to pull his little boy out from among the bananas. As I was video taping the rain on the streets, I quickly snapped a pic of the boy while his father wasn't in the scene.

    When the rain stopped, I looked to my left and saw a young girl climbing in and out of the store window. I wanted to take a picture so bad, but was afraid to point my camera her way with the others standing around me.

    Just as I was ready to carry on to the grocery store, I turned back and drummed up the courage to ask the girl if I could take her picture. She smiled and then another woman walks out of the store and says "photo photo si" - - - and hops into the shot. Wasn't exactly what I wanted, but I took the shot. I took one more of the girl trying to keep the woman out of the shot - - - but I waited a moment longer and the woman disappeared around the corner. I had my shot.

    They will be excited when I take the print back to them. Also it will open up opportunities in the area for others accepting my request. So here are the first "approach people shots of this journey":




    Olympus E-PL3 w 14-42 kit lens
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  12. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran


    Over and over and over again, I have results like this:

    I am walking in the rural areas a few miles from the city, and I come across a little boy with a pirate mask and a little girl spinning a top. I stop and encourage her to show me how the top works. She was shy and so it look a couple of minutes until she realized that I wanted to see her spin it. She finally did and I got excited for her fun.

    An older woman was working in the yard - hacking at the bushes with a long machete. I approached and asked in Spanish if I could take a photo. She smiled and agreed, and started lining them all up for me. She also wanted the little fellow in the picture - but he wasn't agreeable to it.

    The first 4 shots I took, included the woman attempting to get the little fellow to cooperate - - - then the resulting picture with him showing no interest - - - then she came back in and stood there with her machete (don't worry - there were no threats) . . .

    . . . After taking the shot with the woman in and everyone looking at me, I showed that pic to the kids and specifically tried to engage the little guy. Actually it turned out that I was in a much more interesting position to the children now if you can imagine me being close to them and off to the side as I showed them the back of the camera.

    I quickly grabbed two more shots. The one included here as the fourth in the set (which may be more picture perfect):





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  13. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran

    And my preferred photo that I Split Toned for some character:

    "From zero to success in 5 frames"


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  14. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran


    This morning I noticed this promotion sign for toilet paper, on the outside wall of a Pali grocery store. The "scoot" immediately caught my attention as I have had that privilege recently. After I took the shot, I noticed the "jumbo" to go along with "scoot". I found it comical. BTW - it is Scott toilet paper brand that I believe they are referring to:

  15. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran


    First is this corner property that I pass by a few blocks from my home. The fence is typical poles and barb wire - but apparently the owners prefer privacy - - - and so have all of the spaces filled with tin, plastic and corregated cardboard.

    18) While it is interesting to view, I have not been able to find an angle that would make a great photograph. But I want to have a record of it.

    On my walk home in the rain this afternoon, I decided to use a long focal length and make use of the subtlety produced by the clouds, to take a head on shot - - - and then use the editing features of Lightroom 5.2 (including masking which I hadn't used yet) to give the final print some focus and interest:

    Image #18 - © 2013 Robert Watcher

    19) My initial captures in this area this afternoon, were shooting down a long, narrow, twisty, seldom used street. I noticed far off in the background at the end of the street, a small white car against an orange and white wall. As I approached, the colours and symmetry of the white VW against the curb - backed by a golden adobe wall - - - were clear.

    I sat down on a high curb and used a long focal length to shoot into the end of the street to capture the scene:

    Image #19 - © 2013 Robert Watcher

    (Both images, taken with Olympus E-PL1 and 40-150 kit lens)
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  16. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran


    Image #20 - © 2013 Robert Watcher

    Image #21 - © 2013 Robert Watcher

    Image #22 - © 2013 Robert Watcher

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  17. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran


    Walking around a small costal fishing village today, I began to notice that antennas were on the roofs of many of the simple homes. What was particularly interesting were the many 4 foot florescent bulbs that were either strapped on to an antenna or acted as the antenna arms.

    Apparently, florescent bulbs must boost the signal. I managed this shot of a bulb that was added on - - - as well as another innovative homemade antenna, where pieces of wire were bundled and strapped onto each end of a set of sticks.

    Image #23 - © 2013 Robert Watcher

    Image #24 - © 2013 Robert Watcher

    Many of the nicer homes in Nicaragua, have name plaques embedded into cement around the entrance to the home. This family is apparently, "No Name".

    Image #25 - © 2013 Robert Watcher

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  18. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran


    As the sun begins to set in the city, it is common to walk the streets and find individuals young and old, sitting in their doorways or on the street in front of their home - relaxing, talking or reading. I sat for a few moments tonight on this street and captured these 4 situations with a longer 300mm focal length lens:

    Image #26 - © 2013 Robert Watcher

    Image #27 - © 2013 Robert Watcher

    Image #28 - © 2013 Robert Watcher

    Image #29 - © 2013 Robert Watcher

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  19. Robert Watcher

    Robert Watcher Mu-43 Top Veteran


    One interesting wall producing 3 different views

    Image #30 - © 2013 Robert Watcher

    Image #31 - © 2013 Robert Watcher

    Image #32 - © 2013 Robert Watcher

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  20. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 4, 2010
    ^^^ Nice doors. I think theres a dedicated thread for them somewhere - you should cross-post.