~ Vehicular Preamble ~
No trip to an obscure location is complete without interesting signage and decaying residences, taken from the window of a moving car.
|"WELCOME TO SAINT MICHAEL'S VILLAGE | LAS CUEVAS"|
|A single electronic string connects this isolated shack to the rest of the world.|
~ ~ ~
~ Problems encountered with photographing the Paria Hike ~
It's hard shooting on manual in a jungle. It's a high contrast environment polarized between the deep darkness of the canopy's cover, and the blinding tropical light that pierces through the leaves. Conventional wisdom would have you believe that cameras aren't as well designed as our eyes, and that may be partly true, but the real reason that photographic equipment doesn't handle contrast and colour as well as our eyes do, is that they're not as *smart* as we are. Our brains are equipped with natural contrast adjustment programs - biological photo-editing software that acts like photoshop inside our heads, maximizing our vision for efficiency in the natural world. Cameras need to wait until we hook them up to the computer for that.
So you see, there's nothing wrong with a *little* colour and contrast correction of your images as long as they're faithful to what you actually see. Now that I have science, (the ultimate source of truth and righteousness) on my side, I can high-handedly dismiss any death-threats by hardcore 'manualists' who'd ridicule me for shooting in 'baby mode'.
Apart from bio-philosophical excuses for shooting in auto however, there are also practical ones. The brutality of an all-day hike can seriously rearrange one's priorities. See the formula below for details.
surviving > pictures (most times)
That said, I do apologize for the lack of imagery of the *actual* Paria waterfall. (You know... the point of the entire hike...?) One day when I'm fit enough to balance the [survival - photography equation], so that s ≤ p, I'll get some.
|The occasional mildly overexposed picture is nice, especially when its of a Crested Oropendola,|
The first fauna, Crested Oropendolas apparently come in 4 varieties (subspecies). The one native to Trinidad and Tobago is specifically named Psarocolius decumanus insularis, and apparently exhibits more chestnut colour on its wings and back than its amazonian relatives. And since I know it's on your mind...
No, I couldn't just say "eh look it have a cornbird dey".
|At first glance I thought some jackass mutilated the tree to write "STALKY".|
Then I realized I was wrong- some JACKASS mutilated the tree to write STABBY.
|Looking down from the trail, one can see waves crash against rocky shores below.|
|A lichen-laden fence atop a green hill frames a beautiful vista, sprouting a tree that hosts two charming raptors.|
|A pair of either Common Black Hawks or Great Black Hawks. They're possibly mates.|
"HMM AN I TOUGHT I USE TUH TAKE PICKCHYUHZ UH EVRYTING! A ANT?!"
Yes, that's what I heard a woman say as she passed me while I was shooting the above ant (possibly a
Tac Tac... or Tak Tak).
~ ~ ~
|The spray of the ocean casts a gentle rainbow against this mountain of green, alone on a rock rising out of the coast.|
|A momentary reprieve of the camera's weight shows the photographer, a friend,|
and the unwelcome guest that is their copious sweat.
immersed in green...
and overlooking blue.
In the shallowest parts of the bay however, the ocean is a liquid emerald.
Turtle rock owes its name to its apparent resemblance to a turtle's head poking out of its shell, but this juvenile Green Turtle thinks it's all him.
|"What else can it be."|
|In life is death.|
This is the perfectly legitimate yet completely distressing work of the Corbeau, a.k.a the American Black Vulture, Coragyps atratus. Most baby leatherback turtles never touch the sea, and its been this way since the age of the dinosaurs, but despite the alleged sacredness and the acknowledged importance of the food chain, there is no emotional euphemism for death...
In Death Is Death
We followed the river's trail until we met the freezing basin of the Paria Falls. For previously explained reasons - my physical failure and personal decision to take the time to recover my strength - there are no pictures. In spite of this regret, I consider the true visual crescendo of the trip not to be the powerful cascade of the blue element, but the precious beauty of a tiny blue jewel...
The Click Beetle, Chalcolepidius porcatus, gets its name from the loud clicking sound it makes when flipping itself into the air when overturned. It achieves this by snapping a flexible joint or spine on the underside of its thorax into a groove below the mesothorax. Fortunately for the beetle, we took this knowledge for granted and decided not to interfere with it for demonstrative purposes. I suppose that makes us better amateur naturalists than amateur documentarians.
The last time I saw one of these was in a drain in primary school... in Port Of Spain. In retrospect it was surely lost. Certainly this find was worth the entire trip.
|"Ah wanna big up man like Damir Ali fuh spottin dis an bawlin out AYO across the entire trail so I could take this shot."|