Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hola from Panama

Almost two weeks out of the states and honestly, not missing it very much. Panama is a real gem. Spent 5 days at Rio Mar beach last week, now back in the city. Surfed, hiked the rain forest and stood under a waterfall, eating MUY BIEN. I'm even thriving on the sounds and bustle of the city, which is the most insane that I have ever experienced. My time living in NYC and Miami was somewhat helpful but could never ready me for this kind of congestion and disorganization. Panama city is a narrow strip of land running a short width between the Caribbean Sea, a mountainous/tropical rain forest and the Pacific Ocean. Nothing makes sense here. I think West, Pacific side, California, opposite the Atlantic, okay I could drive here w/ a bit of direction, No! The ocean is South and my home in S FL is up North, weird. And everyone speaks English right? ¡Pero no! I'm finding my self out of the loop w/ my hosts, and every venue we visit. "NO HABLA ESPANOL, SOY UNA GRINGA!" "I need a Rojo dress" doesn't work. Truth be told, I love being dumb. I'm swimming in the idea of finally learning Spanish, hanging my clothes to dry and drinking ice cold liquid out of a coconut w/ a straw cut down 5 minutes ago by a Panamanian w/ a mashedy. The main city park here is close in comparison to Central Park, NYC. It's vast, and green, and the sounds of the city are apparent but so far in the distance that it makes me smile cause...I got away from it. Running streams and tropical birds are the sounds that those over the counter "sleep" cd's are made of and if you live in the gorgeous surrounding neighborhood of "San Francisco" this is the soundtrack of your residence! My other favorite spot is Casco Antiguo (The Old Helmut). I've never been to New Orleans, but I imagine a similar look. Double decker, ornate balcony buildings w/ a bizarre combination of low income residence and high end businesses make up this district. We eat regularly at the American owned deli and ceviche bar and our fav cocktail spot, Relic is host to 20 something travelers from all over. The new city is lined up with swanky hotels and casinos along the Pacific corridor. Heading back to FL this week. Hoping for plenty of waves to catch on the in between. -V

Friday, November 20, 2009

Last weeks swell..better late than never

Many good days of surfing and fewer days of working kept me from uploading my shots from last week's South Florida swell. A cold front came to town and brought with it beauty like I've never seen in my boring beach town of Deerfield Beach. These waves changed everything for me and I'm now 100% addicted to surfing. I'm now due South in Panama to give the Pacific another shot.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Learning to Surf, so I can shoot it

I've never been an athlete but have always been drawn to the ocean. I was pushed on a surfboard a couple months back and now I'm consumed by the idea that maybe I could become good at a "sport" and in turn tap into a whole different realm of shooting...stay tuned. Surfing (and surf photography) seems indeed a "dudes" world. I was energized by the long list of photo contributions in Surfer magazine recently, 99% men..okay, perhaps a few unisex names. Not unusual for my industry in general. Recently while shooting for the Miami Dolphins, an ongoing freelance gig, I found myself opposite the mass of paparazzi, all men. In fairness, I have always been surrounded by talented women in the field but one can't help but notice the numbers on a typical job. Attempting surfing has been much of the same findings. On a recent trip to Panama I found my self being pummeled by Pacific waves repeatedly, extremely painful. Looking around, I was the only chic in the water that day. My first time on a board all I could do is accidentally body surf. As I rode my first wave on my belly I looked around me and there to my surprise were 2 little girls under the age of 10 standing on their boards catching the same wave as me (or I as them). I believe it possible that a girl can surf and I could become strong enough to lug my gear and/or a board, shoot and find a style that's my own. 1st Surf then acquire camera housing...that's the plan. W H A T E V E V E R. I'm just gonna make art with the water.

This is the begining