I’ve traveled to Costa Rica three times so far in my life. I hope to make it many more. The first time was in 2008 when I was a student. I was just getting into photography and wasn’t experienced at all. The gear I was using was far from professional, as was my skill set. Needless to say I was disappointed the photos I took home. I felt like I missed so many opportunities that I know I could of successful captured.
I returned in 2013 and 2014 as a mentor to the students who has signed up for this trip. 2013 for me, was about making up for my shortcomings on the pervious trip. It was an amazing experience and I captured some pretty wondering shots including the one of this sloth sitting in a bus near a restaurant in Cahuita.
And this one that we watched climb down from a tree, take a drink of water and swim across a stream, all extremely rare activities. Sloth spend most of their lives in the trees and very seldom come down and are seen by humans. The photo below was also taken in the Cahuita National Park.
I enjoy photographing animals especially these exotic creatures that don’t lay claim to New England. But if you’ve seen 10 sloths, you’ve seen 100. They are pretty predictable. The interesting thing about this last critter is that I met a photojournalist working on a project in the region. Scientists who where studying the affects of dams created in the streams by the indigenous people, this photographer was documenting the streams.
This instance put an idea in my head. I wanted to come back, not for vacation, but to work as a photojournalist. Seek out my own stories and work on my own projects. This trip helped me rediscover the reason why I went to real photo-j school instead of the other instruction schools of the world. I wanted substance behind my work.
I returned to Costa Rica once again in 2013. This trip was different but it was more of the same. The itinerary was very similar to my initial trip in 2008. I again was mentoring the students taking the class for credit which is another activity I enjoy. The students who take this class are very diverse in the sense that many are not Communications students. Some of them come from very demanding majors such as OT/PT and Nursing. This is often their only chance to experience international travel and study abroad. As a result, their skill levels are all over the charts which makes mentoring them very rewarding. For some of these students this was there first time out of the country and their first time with a DSLR camera.
The last day of each trip is spent traveling back the San Jose, which is the capital city of Costa Rica. In San Jose is the, Mercado central, the central market. This is an amazing place to people watch and for street photography. It’s also home to nearly 200 shops, vendors and sodas (small restaurants with inexpensive food). You can find many different things here. It’s typically where I shop for my coffee, souvenirs and cigars before I travel home. If you have ever been to Boston, think of Quincy Market and the Haymarket farmers’ market combined. The Mercado central is nearly 140 years old and occupies an entire city block. They really don’t like people photographing inside, but you just have to be smart an inconspicuous about it. I could spend days photographing this location. You won’t find many animals except for the poultry that’s for sale, but I recommend a trip here to anyone traveling into the country.
My real interest is photographing the indigenous people who live in the regions. I’m fascinated by the way they live and use their resources to survive. I applied for a National Geographic Fulbright Scholarship in 2014 during the time of my not-so-fun-employment in the hopes I come get the funding to return and work on a project. My educational background is in medicine. I studied Nursing for 2 years before I switched into Communications. During school and briefly after I worked as an Emergency Medical Technician and currently hold both Massachusetts and National Certifications. I am still employed in the healthcare industry where I work part-time as a technician in an cardiothoracic surgical intensive care unit. It’s really interesting work but my love is photography. It is my goal to somehow merger my medical knowledge and experience with my photographic eye and skills.
Below you will find a gallery with selected images from my last two trips to Costa RIca.
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