Saturday, February 10, 2018

Nicaragua - Corn Islands and Miraflor Reserva

We arrived in the Managua airport on January 30th, and from there took a plane to Big Corn Island in the Caribbean.

Our plane from Managua to Big Corn, a one-hour flight.
We stayed in a room on the second floor of the house, right across from the ocean, and I got out every morning and evening to take photos.

The moon rising on Feb. 2. 

Light trails from cars going by the restaurant we were dining at. 

Fishermen across from our house. 

Snorkelling off the beach from our house. 

Friendly children on the way to town. 
We took a "panga" over to Little Corn Island on Feb. 3.
A rough ride on the way over!

A wet ride too!

There are no motorized vehicles on Little Corn, not even motorcycles!

We did a snorkeling tour out to the nearby reef. 

Lots of beautiful flowers.

The "lawn mowers" keeping the grass down in the baseball diamond. 

The sun setting on Little Corn. 
From Little Corn, we flew back to Managua, and then took a taxi to Esteli, en route to Miraflor.
February 5th was the 100th anniversary of the birthday of Felipe Urrutia, a Nicaraguan composer. 

The Esteli catedral. 

The next day, before we left I walked around town. 

The poor side of town. 

We took a "chicken bus" to Miraflor, which was supposed to be a 2-hour journey, but became longer when the bus broke down. 

Luckily though, we weren't far from town and the replacement u-joint arrived before long. 
The Miraflor Reserva is rich in biodiversity with three different climactic zones: dry at the lower region, humid in the middle zone, and the predominant cloud forest. What makes it unique, though, is the sustainable tourism. It consists of nine communities, all of which make their living from agriculture and the burgeoning tourist industry.

We stayed at La Finca Neblina del Bosque (the farm of the mist forest). 
We enjoyed the exquisite meals, 

the flowers, 
the bird life, 

and the old water pump. 

We went on two tours with Urieo, our amiable and knowledgable guide. We witnessed people living as they have for many years. (This community only received electricity two months ago!)

Heading out for our morning walk in the mist. 
Doing laundry is a labour intensive job, unlike in our culture. 
The people tend to start work at dawn (6 a.m.) and often work 'til dusk. 
Drying clothes seems to be a continual chore, with the mist slowing the process down. 
A Miraflor traffic jam.
Carrying a fence post. 

Who needs Wi-fi when you have Miraflor Reserva?

No shortage of free range chickens!
I appreciated the way the residents dressed up their property with flowers. 

And this house with the flower pots made from recycled bottles. 
Flowers grow everywhere!

We took a walk our second day, well off the beaten path!

The "mist forest" lives up to its name!
We saw several industrious colonies of leaf-cutter ants. 
The ant highway.
The sunset from our cabaƱa. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Looking for Light

Since our upcoming digital competition is on light, today I went out searching for it. Decided to go down to the Nanaimo waterfront, and parked at Swy-A-Lana Lagoon at 4:30,  just as the sun was setting. I took photos as I walked along, but didn't keep any until I reached the Boat Basin, where I took this one, admiring the reflections of the lights in the water. The sky was still nice and blue, too.

I then continued around to Cameron Island, once again taking photos as I went, but not keeping any of them until this one of the two men walking along the boardwalk. I liked the lights leading into the
distance and the two men walking towards me. I was using a tripod now, and at 1/25 sec., but with the men walking straight towards me they are fairly sharp.


Next, I walked past the Gabriola Ferry, and zoomed in (300 mm equivalent) on Harmac Pulp Mill. The sky is still not too dark at this point, 5 p.m.  I like the moodiness of this one.

I then turned around and went back to the Boat Basin, and thought the reflections were more vibrant now. I had an 8 sec. exposure for this one, and I think the light trails must have been from a bus that went by.

Next I noticed the Christmas lights on one of the Cameron Island towers, that hadn't been noticeable a half hour earlier. I like the reflections in the pond in the foreground.

I continued through the Boat Basin and went up Bastion Street to the overpass, and to capture these light trails I kept the shutter open for 25 sec. I had the aperture at f/16; hence the starburst lights. I like the way I was fortunate enough to have a car pull off into the gas station, too, and the way the road curves. It would be nice if the buildings alongside the road were more dramatically lit though. (Maybe our Community Liaison Director could look into that, eh Ron?)

I then returned to the lagoon, and was surprised to see these ducks still awake.

And before heading home I thought I'd see if there was anything interesting on the far side of the parking lot.

By now it was 6 p.m. and the sky was dark, but with the right lights you can still make beautiful images.

What a great way to work up an appetite for dinner!