Generation Gap; Film For Dad, Digital For Son, On A Costa Rican Excursion

The brilliant, ever-elusive emerald green and red quetzal. Mist enshrouded cloud forests that evoke a mysterious and eerie beauty. The melodic song of the bellbird. Howler monkeys calling to each other in their distinctive, bellowing way. These are just some of the images that describe the lovely Central American country of Costa Rica.

Manuel Antonio National Park—Something magical happens when good light, color, and composition all come together in harmony at a given time—the trick is to know when to click the shutter on your camera.
© 2008, Daryl Hawk, All Rights Reserved

For over 25 years I have explored the back roads of the world, seeking out some of the more remote locations on our planet to photograph. Now I knew it was time to finally take my family on an adventurous trip and share this amazing world of exotic landscapes and powerful nature with my two sons. I wanted a place that would excite us but was safe and manageable and I knew that Costa Rica would fit the bill perfectly.

A nature lover’s paradise, Costa Rica is a peaceful world filled with birds, wildlife, and marvelous people. I was excited to photograph on film what I would be seeing and experiencing with my old, reliable Nikon manual SLR. The mechanics have become so second nature that I can really focus my vision on seeing things in new ways. The camera has always been an extension of both my mind and heart.

This plant shot was taken on a dirt road in the Poas Volcano area. It was the morning after a rainy day and the puddle in the middle of the vegetation caught my eye.
© 2008, Justin Hawk, All Rights Reserved

A new twist was that my 13-year-old son Justin was also going to document our trip using his digital camera. So began a two-week debate as to which format was best. I am a purist at heart and don’t ever want to be tempted to manipulate an image. Realism is essential to me. Justin, on the other hand, knew right away that he wanted his first camera to be digital. He likes seeing his results immediately and the convenience of e-mailing friends and family members his favorite photos. I like the anticipation of seeing my results at a later date after the lab has finished their work.

Getting through airport security with my 40 rolls of Fujichrome Velvia slide film proved to be relatively easy, although I requested a hand check which did slow me down a bit. Justin, however, breezed through the security check without going through this extra step. Advantage: Justin.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Central Highlands—A nature park and wildlife refuge with 2 miles of self-guiding trails that wind through forests to five waterfalls, with viewing platforms along the Rio Paz.
© 2008, Daryl Hawk, All Rights Reserved
We hiked for several hours before we came upon this magical waterfall. The spray showered my face as I got off a few images.
© 2008, Justin Hawk, All Rights Reserved

Our first destination was volcano country. We started with Poas Volcano, which is a mere two-hour drive from the capital San Jose. The Poas area is in the heart of a cloud forest so dense we were told that we might only have a 50-50 chance of even seeing the volcano. There are few places in the world where you can peer into an active volcano unless you take an extensive expedition up to the top. After two days of taking some fabulous hikes in this area, seeing dramatic waterfalls and gorgeous landscapes, our luck prevailed and with strong winds lifting the prevailing clouds we finally saw the Poas geyser erupt. It was late afternoon so the lighting was soft and dramatic.

While I was very excited to be getting my sought-after photos of the volcano, I did lose a minute or two changing rolls of film. In situations like this every second is crucial due to fast-changing weather patterns. I was a bit envious as Justin just kept clicking away without missing a beat. Advantage: Justin.

The colors you photograph, whether they are soft pastels or bright, saturated hues, have the power to inspire your reactions. Spring is the perfect time to be in Costa Rica when the flowers are blooming in full glory.
© 2008, Daryl Hawk, All Rights Reserved

shrihari's picture

This is really the amazing pictures shared with us which attracts many peoples to visit this destinations.Also the A nature lover’s paradise, Costa Rica is a peaceful world filled with birds, wildlife, and marvelous people. Thanks for the sharing.

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