6 Days in Costa Rica

I didn’t say anything at the time, but I was in Costa Rica a month or so ago for business (again). It was as beautiful, and the people as friendly, as I remembered. Given that it was a work thing, I didn’t have much time for shooting and only made it through 6 rolls and a disposable, plus a septuple handful of shots from the X70, so it wasn’t a complete wash.

Of the… how much is a septuple handful? 35? it was more like 80—shots I took with the X70, I’m only sharing this one, of some of the other cameras shot in Costa Rica, plus the bed and the little office/dining/bonus space and patio beyond.

Note the pretty little XA there… I finished a roll in it, but won’t be sharing any pictures from that roll. The XA is my #atg365 camera. Starting September 1 or so last year, everything I shoot in it, from September  1, 2017 to August 31, 2018 will be sealed up and frozen. I’m on roll five, and really miss shooting the XA. I keep a roll in it all the time, but don’t shoot much at all with it. Just 5 months more, and I can shoot it at will…

Missing, there, is the Fuji Simple Ace, of course. I’m pretty sure it’s just a Japanese version of the Quicksnap cameras available at most pharmacies here in the states.

Anyway. I arrived late on a Sunday night. Monday morning, bright an early, I met my colleague at the breakfast buffet in the hotel (the Country Inn & Suites Cariari, 2 stars, maybe: if given the choice, stay at the Doubletree next door, it’s closer to 4 stars), then we hopped in an Uber and headed to work. We started at 7 and ended at 4 Monday – Thursday, then walked to one of the restaurants nearby for dinner.

In those first four days, I did a bunch of shooting around and out the back of the room, and a few more on the way to or during breakfast.

Yawn.

I also managed a shot while waiting for the Uber, and a shot while accompanying one of my colleagues on his smoke break to discuss some strategy for a later session.

 

So both of those came out of the Super Ace, so let’s make this a mini review. From those, you can see that it’s not bad in daylight. The lens has some rather egregious distortion, but it’s reasonably sharp and the color is what you’d expect from Superia X-TRA 400. But in the wee hours of the morning, in the dark, it’s gives what you’d expect from a fixed shutter, plastic wonder.

Here’s some more of that distortion, without and with flash.

Not bad, not bad at all. And not great, not great at all.

On Friday, a US-based colleague and I took the day off, and took a nice tour out to the Doka Coffee Estate for breakfast and a lesson on Coffee production, then for a stop in Vara Blanca for snacks and souvenirs, then to La Paz Waterfall Gardens for a walk through the animal rescue section, lunch, and a walk through the jungle to see some waterfalls.

So first up, Doka, with three cameras and three films.

How about some a/b: Ektar in the Lomo vs. Pro 400H in the FG; and FG/400H vs. Fuji Simple Ace.

I’m going to say right now, before I go any further, that after two rolls of Ektar, I either need to shoot many more rolls of it until I really figure it out, or never bother with it again… Given the dearth of color 100 options out there, I don’t really know, but I lean toward never shooting it again. I have a bunch of Pro Image in the freezer and Lomography Color 100 isn’t bad at all, so there are options. (I hate Portra 160… but it’s better than Ektar, IMO.)

Granted, the LC-A was acting up. I think the batteries were going, and the spool was cracked, and screws that hold on a little metal bit on the bottom of the spool had fallen out, and so the winding was off. (I sent it off to Poland for repairs, and will provide a full report later.)

So from Doka, we drove on, stopping in a little town called, I think Vara Blanca. I finished the Simple Ace there, and you can see how the LC-A handles a broken spool. :eyeroll:

At La Paz, I continued shooting the LC-A and it kept shooting and winding, shooting and winding… I was afraid I hadn’t loaded the film properly (the rewind crank wasn’t spinning) and so opened the back, thereby wiping out some of the end of the roll. Oh well. Ektar is worth wasting, IMO.

La Paz is part animal rescue center, part waterfall theme park. It’s beautiful. There’s a buffet type restaurant in the middle with a bunch of stuff my Hindu colleague and I couldn’t eat. We managed with Cheese Pizza, garlic bread, and lettuce. Yum. I was there in 2013 too, and had the same food. I was shooting much more digital then, and the LX-7 I took along ran out of batteries partway through and my iPhone battery ran out shortly after… This time, I actually have pictures.

All the decent shots from that part of the walk came out of the FG and 50mm E Series, with Fuji(not)Film’s excellent Pro 400H. What a gorgeous film… SubhanAllah.

After the Ektar, I loaded a roll of Pro Image 100 into the malfunctioning LC-A and a roll of Lomography Color 400 into the FG. Both are excellent films.

After waterfalls and the ride back to San Jose, I was exhausted. My colleague and I went to dinner I called it a night.

My flight home on Saturday wasn’t until 2, so I decided to take a walk around Cariari and see what changed since my 2015 visit. I finished off the roll of Color 400 there, and decided to prematurely rewind the Pro Image and load it into the FG… More on that below.

Cariari is still a swanky little neighborhood, with some beautiful mid-century homes. I didn’t smell the sewage that I remembered from 2015, and not as many homes were for sale, so I suspect something changed in the waste disposal/processing system in the interim.

Then it was off to the airport, onto the plane, and back home I came. I finished what I thought was a partial roll of Pro Image on the flight, and loaded a roll of Ferrania P30 to shoot clouds and whatnot. (I’ll share those at a later date, InshaAllah.)

One of the ground crew looked like a model, and I shot a few frames of her…

Then it was up, up, and away, and home again, home again, jiggity jig.

All in all, it was a good trip, and I hope to one day travel down there with my darling, adorable wife for a real, honest to goodness vacation. It’s a beautiful place.

Allahu Akbar.


If you scroll back up to the shots of the model, you can see the problem with rewinding the LC-A. Since it was malfunctioning and not winding properly, the 15 on the shot counter represented pretty much the whole roll, and so I ended up with a bunch of strange, overlapping shots, from two different cameras.

Good times. I’m quite happy with a couple of these…

Especially this one.

But and especially this one…

Fun times, and I look forward to getting the LC-A back and in working order, now with the GhostMod to make multiple exposures easy! Woo.

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