A Very Brief Tour of Nicaragua

This past year I had the opportunity to briefly tour two communities in Nicaragua: El Viejo and Chinandega. I found the Nicaraguan people to be extremely friendly and welcoming. They smiled and nodded as we "invaded" their space but never once tried to peddle wares or solicit from us.

In El Viejo we toured the central market, Mercado Central, a vibrant marketplace with meats, produce, and clothing. 

Mercado Central, El Viejo. NIkon F2, Ilford HP5+

Mercado Central, El Viejo. NIkon F2, Ilford HP5+

Mercado Central, El Viejo. Nikon F2, Ilford HP5+

Mercado Central, El Viejo. Nikon F2, Ilford HP5+

Mercado Central, El Viejo. Nikon F2, Ilford HP5+

Mercado Central, El Viejo. Nikon F2, Ilford HP5+

The Basilica of Immaculate Concepcion of the Virgin Mary in El Viejo was built in the 17th century. The statue of the Virgin Mary is said to have been rescued during a storm from a sinking sailing vessel that was bound elsewhere. The church was declared a minor basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1996.

Iglesia of Immaculate Concepcion of the Virgin Mary, El Viejo, Nikon F2, Ilford HP5+

Iglesia of Immaculate Concepcion of the Virgin Mary, El Viejo, Nikon F2, Ilford HP5+

Interior, Iglesia of Immaculate Concepcion of the Virgin Mary, El Viejo. Nikon F2, Ilford HP5+

Interior, Iglesia of Immaculate Concepcion of the Virgin Mary, El Viejo. Nikon F2, Ilford HP5+

Statue of the Virgin Mary, Iglesia of Immaculate Concepcion, El Viejo. Nikon F2, Ilford HP5+

Statue of the Virgin Mary, Iglesia of Immaculate Concepcion, El Viejo. Nikon F2, Ilford HP5+

Sugar Cane, El Viejo. Nikon F2, Ilford HP5+

Sugar Cane, El Viejo. Nikon F2, Ilford HP5+

El Viejo. Nikon F2, Ilford HP5+

El Viejo. Nikon F2, Ilford HP5+

After a short bus ride we arrived in Chinandega, the 5th largest town in Nicaragua and the name of the municipality surrounding the area that includes El Viejo. The church of Our Lady of Santa Ana was nearly destroyed in an earthquake in 1885 and has been restored to its original beauty. Unfortunately this is the only photo I took of the church.

Our Lady of Santa Ana Church, Chinandega, Nikon F2, Ilford HP5+

Our Lady of Santa Ana Church, Chinandega, Nikon F2, Ilford HP5+

Float being prepared for an upcoming parade, Chinandega plaza. Surprisingly the entire plaza had free wi-fi available. Nikon F2, Ilford HP5+

Float being prepared for an upcoming parade, Chinandega plaza. Surprisingly the entire plaza had free wi-fi available. Nikon F2, Ilford HP5+

I have one major regret and that is that I didn't take more photos of the people, churches and buildings. At times I get caught up with the "camera" in my brain and lose focus. I do, however, have the memories.

Although I enjoyed the brief time spent in these two cities I would not, as of this writing, return. I was deeply moved by the people and their pride in their community and country yet the overwhelming poverty I saw in this small sample of Nicaragua was truly distressing. 

From Film to Digital and Back Again

Most of my early film work was done using Kodak Kodachrome and Ektachrome slide film. Unfortunately most of those images are lost as I fear I tossed them in a period when I was not shooting at all. Photography had lost it's interest for me and I thought I'd never wish to view those images again; how terribly foolish that was. A few slides remain from carousels and are included on this site. The only thing I can surmise now is that I became bored and tired of shipping off film for development. I no longer developed or printed at home; the darkroom equipment stored in the garage gathered dust.

In the mid 90's I began to dabble in web design and development and thought I needed a camera for site images. I happened upon an early Nikon digital coolpix 300 with it's 0.3MP sensor and began my journey down the digital pathway. Over the years I moved from the 300 to a CP7900 (7.1MP), then a D80 (10.2MP), followed by a D300s (12.3MP),  ending with my current digital camera a D810 (36.3MP). My days chasing megapixels are over. The D810 gives me all I could possibly want or need. I don't do commercial work and am no longer looking to sell large prints. 

In 2014 I bought a few rolls of black and white film and ran them through my F2 (which I purchased new in 1974). Although I didn't process them myself I enjoyed seeing the results. I dusted off my old film cameras (Nikon F, F2, F3, N2000, and purchased a used F100 and a new F6) and went looking for like minded souls and soon discovered a group of film enthusiasts on Twitter and Instagram. It's been interesting interacting with and learning from these photographers, some nearly half my age, and some even young enough to be my grandchildren! 

I still use the D810 on occasion; each time impressed by the quality of the images I obtain but there is just something about film I prefer at this point in my life. Maybe it's because as I get older I find myself looking back to the times when life was simpler and less encumbered by technology, infowars, and Donald J. Trump. 

I can't and won't argue the technical merits of film versus digital; the resolution, the dynamic range, and overall image quality among others. I'll leave that to those who are obsessed by such things. I'll just enjoy my Velvia, Provia, Ektar, Portra, Delta, HP5+, HP4 and Acros one roll at a time as long as they are available.