David McCarthy, New Haven, CT

Monteverde, Costa Rica

Population: 7.202 (@ 1997)

Costa Rica:
Costa Rica is in a tropical zone, very close to the equator. Because of this the temperature and average amount of sunlight each day varies very little throughout the year. However, the country does consider itself to have two seasons: summer and winter. The summer in Costa Rica is its dry season, with little or no rain. Costa Rica ’s summer is the opposite of what is generally found in the rest of the Northern Hemisphere as it lasts from December through May. Winter in Costa Rica, also known as its green season, sees a great deal of rainfall and lasts from June though November. The only exceptions to this summer/winter pattern are in the country’s mountain regions which tend to get more

Location: 80 miles northwest of San Jose

History and Information:

Monteverde, Costa Rica (Spanish for green mountain) is a small town in Puntarenas, Costa Rica. It is about a four-hour drive up into the Cordillera de Tilarán mountain range from the SJO (Juan Santamaria International Airport) airport. It is often considered a major tourist destination in Costa Rica, primarily frequented by ecotourists drawn by the high biodiversity of its numerous reserves, the most famous of which is the Reserva Biológica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde. The area is also frequented by researchers and naturalists who come to study specialized areas of mountain and tropical biodiversity. The Monteverde area has been christened number 14 of the Americas in Newsweek’s 100 Places to Remember Before They Disappear, has been deemed one of the Seven Wonders of Costa Rica by popular vote, and has been called by National Geographic “the jewel in the crown of cloud forest reserves”.

Various indigenous artifacts, such as pots, containers, ceramics and grinders suggest a small population of Clovis Native Americans once farmed in villages in the Monteverde area, around 3000 BC. Intense deforestation accompanied horticulture, and stone foundations dating to this period can be found. Jade objects became prominent characteristics of these villages. From AD 300 to 800, complex chiefdoms supplanted simpler chiefdoms and more intricate villages appear, with cemeteries, public squares, gold-work and inter-tribal trade and conflict. Around 1300, a general decline in population occurred, possibly due to Arenal Volcano’s increased activity.

Elevation: 1400 meters above sea level
Temperature: Annual mean 64.4 Fahrenheit
Annual Rain Average: Annual rainfall averages around 3,000 millimetres / (18 ft) of precipitation per year.

Internet Videos:

Internet Links:

The Vibe:

Coming soon…

Going nowhere – photo# 21
On a clear night in Montaverde I was able to see the stars above me in numbers I’ve never seen before. Traveling with a heavy duty tripod and remote trigger, I decided to take advantage of the luminescence above. I collected my gear and headed for the taxi corner. When asked for my destination I said “en ninguna parte,” nowhere. I explained that I needed no city lights, “buenos vistas y mucho estrellas,” good views and lots of stars.  He thought of just the place and drove me about 20 minutes out of town where nowhere literally existed. He asked me if I needed him to return and I told him sure. “En una hora o dos horas por favor,” one or two hours please. Stepping out in excitement, my remote trigger/aperture lock fell out of my cargo-pocket and was left in the cab. The driver unknowingly took off with the one tool necessary for me to capture the stars. I was now draped in darkness in the middle of nowhere unable to take photos for one to two hours. I decided to make the best of it so I climbed up about a 6 foot dirt embankment to be out of the way in case a car did come by. I set up my gear and shot my my first exposure which revealed nothing because my lens cap was still on. It was so dark that I could not tell. Remaining optimistic about my circumstances and first exposure, I decided to try again. I physically held my pointer finger on the shutter button for a bit over ten minutes again. For ten minutes I had to control my breathing and body movements to move the camera as little as possible. During that second exposure a two cars drove by, casting enough light to expose the shot to the environment around me. Fear rushed through my heart when the cars came. Will they see me? Were they looking for me? Did the cab driver send them so come rob me? Being on the embankment and a few steps into the brush might have been the best decision I made that night. Ether way, the shot eventually revealed itself to me in the camera and I was happy with the results given the circumstances (photo# 21).

Crime is an imminent risk, especially to travelers with large cameras around their neck in the middle of nowhere. I was told that this city was on the low side of crime, but its hard to ever be sure. Being a traveling photojournalist entails a lot of risk taking and possible life endangering. I weighed the possible risks at hand when I got in the taxi cab and was driven nowhere, my passions out weighed the risks. I encourage you to be safe while traveling. You equipment is never worth your life, that’s what travelers insurance is for.

more coming soon…

This entry was posted on Sunday, March 21st, 2010 at 11:14 pm and is filed under Photography, Travel Photography. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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