Sunday, May 26, 2013

Costa Rica Travelog | Color Me Late


Finally finished the &$%# photobooks from our Costa Rica trip.  Good news: faster than previous books by orders of magnitude.  Bad news: they still took a freaking long time.  First the "family" version complete with multiple iterations of The Wife and friends posing to show off their choice of evening wear.  Second, my version.  All arty and shit.  Still waiting for that one to arrive (via Blurb).  It not only marks the first such style of book that I've done for myself, but also my first foray into bookmaking with Adobe Lightroom (which acts as a front end into Blurb).  Up until now I've used Apple with good success, but working via Lightroom and Blurb offers other advantages that I'll be using more (hopefully) going forward.  Perhaps even need to pen a tips section.

But I digress.

This has kept me from filling space at Ye 'Ol Blog with some frames from the trip.  I'd like to fire these off at a daily rate over the next week but Life will probably get in the way.  To start I have chosen the subject of color.  Because, that (after the outrageous heat) was what struck me first after I rose from my travel coma on our first full day.

There is color.  Lots of it.  Everywhere.  

Of course there are trees galore, foliage in abundance.  I was amazed to find out we were actually at the peak of the drought season and so the land wasn't even lush yet.  On the other side of the country is where all the rainforest action is.  Along the western shores it's practically a dessert (I kid, I kid).

I am a sucker for backlight.  It offers drama and luminosity.  It glows, and it's also tough to work with so it's easy to see why so many avoid it.  Exposure? Cover the highlights and let everything else fall wherever.  Our hotel included a nice atrium complete with these massive fronds (above).  You could use one as a blanket.  Overlap a pair and stick a blazing hot sun behind and you have a recipe for absolute color vibrance, pattern, texture, and graphic form.  

Same thing works when the sun is out of frame but you still put something between it and you.  These firery red Malinche trees dot the country side.  They pop out as bursts of color amidst a sea of green.  Offset against the blue sky (a polarizer helped) and exposed for those red highlights and pop goes the color.

Not that hard sidelight ain't cool.  While walking into the nearby town of Tamarindo the cacti against the vivid yellow stucco caught my eye.  Simple, graphic element and the hard shadow adds the third line (odd numbers somehow work better).

You really don't have to look far to see it.  Bursts and blasts everwhere.  I like how the red pops against the yellow, along the texture of the rock and wall.

Speaking of walls, I have an unnatural fondness for photographing windows.  And doors for that matter.  I like the graphic nature of it.  Sometimes clean, sometimes not.  The first of the following two photos was taken in the town of Tamarindo.  The window of course is framing the windows and the house beyond.  The trees are repeated as well, and between those and the stained wall add a bit of rough to the clean line of my window.  In contrast are the uber-clean lines of the second photo taken at the Westin Playa Conchal while waiting to depart for ziplining (more on that in the future).  Hard light and hard shadow can play exceedingly well together.  A simple open window creates cool shape, that bit of bluish glass sets off against the yellow stucco, and I like the splash of light in the shadow that separates the frame of the window.  That's what the inside of my brain looks like.  I see this stuff everywhere and camera or not I'm compelled to shoot it.  It's a sickness, really.

Funny thing is, where there's not color people will put some on...

Even the public utilities...

Pick a restaurant - you'll probably get blasted with color there, too...

One last before I sign off - graphics (again), shape, and a vivid red of a painted cart on the grounds of our hotel.  Carts are generally utilitarian things, purpose built tools to get stuff from A to B.  Who says you don't need to look good while doing it?

Next up (and hopefully on schedule), a smattering of local folks living the Pura Vida.

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