Costa Rica: Cloud Forest Abstract

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I am working my through the images I took in Costa Rica over the last few weeks, and this one has jumped out as probably my favourite.

We were on the “Hanging Bridges” walk in the Selvatura Park, which is in the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve and I saw these trees and knew I could do something with the symmetrical lines. However, on their own I wasn’t happy with that shot, it was too messy, so I added in a bit of movement and as soon as I saw the preview on the back of my camera, I knew I’d be really pleased with the final result.

Wide Angle Pan – From the archives

I was discussing panning motorsport shots with a colleague, which reminded me of this photo which I took at Snetterton a few years ago, before they changed the layout. The Esses is one of the few corners on UK tracks where you are allowed to be positioned quite close to the apex, close enough to be using a wide angle lens anyway. I’d previously shown an image taken slightly tighter, on the blog post for the Ma5da Racing meeting at Snetterton, but I’ve always liked this one more. It breaks a few rules for instance the car has got more space behind than in front, but rules are merely guidelines and I think it works.

The full Ma5da Racing Snetterton 2010 gallery is available in my archive.

Costa Rica Days 14 & 15: Travelling home

Our journey home didn’t start too well, our shuttle to the airport didn’t show up, meaning we had to get a taxi to get to the airport in time to catch our flight. Liberia Airport was suitably chaotic, probably not helped by one of our airline’s flights being cancelled or everyone having to go to a separate queue to pay “departure tax” before they could even check in.

The chaos continued when we got on the plane, as not only was the air conditioning not working (with the outside temperature well over 30c) but the pilot couldn’t get the engines started, which wasn’t exactly confidence inspiring. In the end we took off over an hour late and got to Newark without any problems, we even got a good view of Lake Nicaragua.

In the end the flight was 40 minutes late into Newark, leaving us less than an hour before our flight to Heathrow took off, with us needing to clear US immigration, collect and recheck our bags, pass through security again and get to the furthest gate away from where we started. It was a bit tense, especially in the queue for immigration and we needed to run most the way after that, but we made it onto our flight just before they shut the doors.

Again, the flight was fine and passed quickly, we landed early and even got through passport control without having to queue, but after waiting ages for our bags it became apparent that they hadn’t made the transfer at Newark, which wasn’t too much of an issue as anything important was in our hand luggage. We were met at the airport by my parents and it was good to be driven in a nice executive saloon on smooth motorways after two weeks of minibuses on unpacked roads.

As I type, my first memory card is being imported into Lightroom, so expect a few more posts over the coming days/weeks.

Costa Rica Day 13: Tamarindo

Tamarindo Sunset

Our last full day in Costa Rica started well, with Huevos Rancheros for breakfast, overlooking the beach. We then walked to the estuary end of the beach as we hadn’t explored that end of town yet, it didn’t take long to get there, but as we were walking we were approached my street sellers trying to get us to buy everything from ceramics to cocaine, then when we got to the estuary someone tried to sell us a boat trip. So we decided to walk back along the beach, which was much nicer as that part of the beach was almost empty.

The afternoon was spent chilling on our terrace back at the hostel, before heading out again late afternoon to walk along the other end of the beach and catch the sunset. As there were clouds on the horizon the latter part of the sunset was gorgeous, but too dark to photograph without a tripod, so I enjoyed it with Jen, drinking an Imperial beer and reflecting on a great trip.

Costa Rica Day 12: Santa Teresa to Tamarindo

It felt like a shame to be leaving Santa Teresa, because we’d both really enjoyed our time there. As we weren’t getting picked up until 8:45 we were able to go down to our favourite breakfast place, Don Jon’s, to get pancakes to fuel us through the 5 hour minibus journey.

The journey itself wasn’t too bad, especially the second half which was mainly on paved roads, and we got to Tamarindo at about 14:00. We checked into our hostel, which we were glad to see had air conditioning, and went into town to find some lunch. It turned out that Tamarindo wasn’t quite the thriving metropolis that we were expecting from what we’d heard from other travellers. It actually reminded me a bit of Newquay in the UK, a surf/party town, but obviously with a more Costa Rican flavour.

I had been really looking forward to seeing the leatherback turtles laying their eggs on Playa Grande, just across the estuary from Tamarindo, but it turns out we are a few weeks too late. Rubbish. As Tamarindo is also on the Pacific coast, we went down to the beach to catch the sun setting, it wasn’t quite as beautiful as in Santa Teresa, but with a few boats moored out to sea I should be able to take some interesting photographs.

I neglected to take any photos on my iPhone, so there won’t be a photo on this post until I get back to the UK.

Costa Rica Days 9, 10 and 11: Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa Highstreet

I’ve only done one post for our time in Santa Teresa, as they would get a bit repetitive. We’ve been getting up, grabbing breakfast, going surfing, relaxing during the warmest part of the day, watching the sunset on the beach, getting dinner and then going to sleep.

Our cabin has proved to be surprisingly cool at night and we haven’t managed to get any more bites. The biggest problem is the noise from the local animals, both wild and domestic, around sunrise but we’ve got used to it. We also have plenty of wildlife joining us on our terrace, including a woodpecker and a gecko in our outdoor bathroom.

The surfing is really good, the water is warm, but the sun is a bit on the bright side and we’ve both got burnt, although I consider sore arms and sunburn to be signs of a good surf session. We’re surfing on proper boards (8’6 NSP minimals), rather than the soft foam boards we’ve used before, I actually prefer them and will be hiring one next time I’m in Croyde. I was stoked that on the first day, when we had a lesson, I managed to catch some green (unbroken) waves, which are a lot more powerful and was my aim of the trip. Our lesson was good as we had one instructor for the two of us and we both made progress as he was able to spend time with me when Jen had caught a wave and vica versa. On our third day surfing we noticed quite a few seabirds circling around, then behind us a school of fish near the surface, the sort of thing that we would normally see on BBC’s Planet Earth was happening 25m behind us. Amazing.

Santa Teresa is one of the three villages that make up the Malpais area, Malpais is in the south, about 2km from our hotel, with Playa el Carmen in the middle and Santa Teresa in the north. The area feels less touristy than the other places we’ve visited, with only a handful of tour operators, on the other hand the restaurants are great, with both local and international cuisine covered. The restaurants don’t look like anything special, they’re usually just an open sided hut, but the food amazing, I’m not sure I’ll ever get fish burritos as good as the ones here.

There’s one main road which runs through the villages, parallel to the coast, but it is main road in the loosest sense of the term. The road isn’t paved, so the choice of transport for the locals are quads/ATVs, which seem to outnumber the 4x4s and cars. But the walk down to Malpais isn’t too bad in the evening and it is good to nip down to the beach to catch the sunset. Sunset seems to be the main part of the day, with seemingly the whole town on the beach either surfing or watching the sun dip below the horizon.