Horse & Cart

Horse-drawn transportation is quite common in Nicaragua. Everywhere we went horses were a common sight on the road. This was not only a feature of more rural areas, even in major cities you will encounter horse powered vehicles.

I found the use of horses for basic transport rather pleasant, though I only had a brief ride at one of the farms. With one or two exceptions, the horses looked well cared for and in excellent shape. The horse is still a practical and cost effective form of transportation in much of the world. I wonder if we in the US, under pressure from rising oil prices, will once again find the horse a practical form of transport as well.

A horsecart in the streets of Grenada, Nicaragua

Let’s Get the Gringo On a Horse!

While the language barrier was usually a bit of a problem, sometimes I got the message quite clearly despite only understanding half the words.

Hanging Out
The younger guys hang out and talk story at Tierra Amarillo
As my mother taught about soil quality and erosion control inside I was free to explore the farms. I used the opportunity to photograph the lives of the residents of Tierra Amarilla, it was a beautiful sunny day and everyone was enjoying the warm afternoon.

Residents from across the valley had gathered, including many who were not attending the class inside, any excuse to gather and socialize. Women gathered around the kitchen at one end of the house, quite a few younger men gathered around a pickup parked under cover at the other end of the house. The kids were everywhere.

Someone apparently had an idea, I will never know who, “Let’s get the gringo on a horse!” I first noticed when everyone was looking at me. “Uh? What do you want? What about the horse?”

With a dozen guys looking on I had to give in to their insistence and to get on the horse. Fortunato, our driver was no help, he was trying to translate for me, telling me to get on the horse and laughing with the rest. Language was of little issue, the jovial comments and laughter were a clear indication of what they thought would happen. The kids in particular were looking on with glee.

On A Horse
Your author riding a horse
The horse in question belonged to one of the farmers present for the training. He had ridden it in just before the event started, it was still saddled up and tied in the shade of a tree near the house. A smaller horse, a very sturdy animal, it appeared to be well used to this sort of life, traveling the steep trails of the surrounding hills. While one of the kids untied the lead rope I got on.

Much to their disappointment, I can ride a horse.

While I am no great horseman, I do know the basics, and generally do not fall off. Actually the horse was a very well trained and a well behaved animal. My mount took directions well and I rode a quick circuit of the yard. I could sense the let down in my spectators, the kids particularly. They were nice enough to take my photo when I handed them the camera.

Street Photography with the Canon EOS-M3

Packing the camera for a trip always presents a set of vexing decisions for a photographer. What do you plan on shooting? What gear will be needed? This particular trip would be to a place I have never been and would present a range of unique photo opportunities. Nicaragua for the first time!

A cobbler practices his trade in the Boaco market

While I had never visited Nicaragua I had been in Mexico many times, I expected the photographic situation to be much the same, an expectation that was not disappointed. Each town in Latin America may be unique, but at at the same time looks much the same as the last. The character of these towns offers varied photo opportunities. Best of all to my thinking… Many towns feature markets, a sampling of the people and goods unique to the region, a condensation of the local culture in one convenient place.

Thus I chose my gear uncompromisingly for street photography. Leaving the big DSLRs and lenses at home I loaded two EOS-M bodies. I have one original model and one of the new M3’s purchased just before the start of the trip. These two cameras would take very little room in the luggage and offer a good range of capability. Traveling with only a single backpack meant space was at a premium. The primary lens would be the 18-55mm to allow a good general purpose walkabout capability.

Continue reading “Street Photography with the Canon EOS-M3”