Revisiting Costa Rica

Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal, Costa Rica

Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal, Costa Rica

I had the opportunity to revisit the wonderful country of Costa Rica a few weeks ago not as a tourist, but as a photo editor. I’ve written about this before, the experience of looking at one’s photographs months or even years after the initial shooting and the joy that comes form the revisit. Great memories, a fresh outlook on the imagery and for myself, a trip that I can relive virtually. This trip back in time got me thinking about the way I work while on the road.

Often when I travel I wonder why I carry a camera with me at all. In many ways it takes away from the travel experience with my vision always being in “photography” mode for weeks on end. I will admit, I can get awfully lazy when I’m travelling and while I have the best of intentions for documenting what I’m experiencing the idea of being up at 5:00AM every morning is only an unfulfilled dream. I don’t use tripods when I should and when I revisit my photographs at a later date I’m somewhat disappointed at the sharpness or lack of creativity caused by this apparent lack of dedication to my craft. There are few images shot in the early mornings, even fewer after sunset when I prefer to sit around and have one of those “cool” brews with recently met friends.

Cattle in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Cattle in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Riding Horses, Samara, Costa Rica

Riding Horses, Samara, Costa Rica

This is one advantage I suppose in taking a real vacation without a photography assignment and deadlines lurking in the close future. There’s a more free flow style to the shooting that I actually do, no deadlines, no particular subjects, more of a journalistic approach. What does this really have to do with Costa Rica? Costa Rica was the last overseas trip I took where I purely went on a trip to get away for a vacation. I was burned out after to many 70 hour weeks and endless road trips. I had many plans for photography when I left, took my tripod, did my research and…. spent much of my life sitting on a beach, crawling through holes in the ground and getting a kick out of driving in a country where driving is an art form. In a full 4 weeks I managed too shoot about 4,000 images and while this sounds like a huge number often I’ll shoot this many photos within 3 days when I’m working seriously. There were the occasional thrills of getting the “good photo”; the thrill that keeps photographers going. More often there were times when I took a somewhat lazy attitude with the idea that some day I “will go back”. Whether I do ever get back to Costa Rica is hard to know, I certainly would like to. My snapshots of Costa Rica really aren’t that bad in fact I shot many images that I’m very proud of! I could have shot more but, it wasn’t the right time.

I’ve had the thought a few times recently that it would be interesting to head out with a $98 point and shoot camera and see what comes from it. I could call it art I suppose, the chromatic aberrations and lack of sharpness giving an old photo feel. Perhaps I could even set the camera on black and white and pretend I was back in Australia in the sixties. Would I be happy when I returned? I’m not sure, maybe I’ll try some day as an experiment.
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Coca-Cola, Samara, Costra Rica

Coca-Cola, Samara, Costra Rica

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