Charles Haspels photography used to mostly consist of taking X-rays of teeth in his Cortez dental office. Now retired, Haspels is able to pursue his hobby full-time, traveling the world to capture the perfect shot.
Ive been an addict for a long time, Haspels said about his camera work.
After his retirement in 2008, he and his wife went on a trip sponsored by the Cortez Cultural Center. Haspels saw Belize and Guatemala through the lenses of his Nikon D200 and Canon G6 digital cameras. Haspels said he has been interested in photography for 40 years and likes the fact that he can digitally take as many shots as he wants now.
You dont feel like youre wasting film you just shoot away so thats kind of nice, Haspels said.
Some photos from his trip to the jungles of Central America are now on display at the Cortez Recreation Center. As members walk through the entry hallway on their way to the pool or gym, a look to the photos on their right could transport them to the brightly colored buildings of Caye Caulker, Belize or the ancient Mayan civilizations of Guatemala instead. A spider monkey is caught in mid-air as it leaps from tree to tree, a keel-billed toucan puffs out his vivid yellow chest with a freshly plucked berry in its beak, and a close-up of marching leaf cutter ants are some examples of the photos hanging on the wall.
The beauty of the lands and its inhabitants are shown, along with one photo that shows a toilet sitting on the second floor of a building to outline the dangers as well. The caption underneath explains there was once a wall there until a hurricane ripped it away.
While some photographers might like to capture faces of people indigenous to the area, Haspels said he concentrated his photography more on plants, animals and bugs during the trip instead of people to avoid the awkwardness of asking permission.
I didnt feel comfortable going right up to someones face and taking their picture without making some sort of connection ahead of time. With a bug or bird or something you can just shoot away, he said.
There is one photo of a boat captain, but his eyes are hidden beneath reflective sunglasses.
Haspels said he has taken a few workshops on photography, mostly on using digital software to manipulate photos. He is not a fan of the popular Adobe Photoshop.
Photoshop is way smarter than I am, he said.
Im doing most of my manipulation, enhancing and sharpening in Light Room (Adobe software that allows for quicker editing with less tools). I can understand that, but almost nothing in Photoshop, Haspels said.
The photos on display at the rec center were edited using Picasa a free download from Google that also allows photo albums to be shared with others online.
His amateur photography has caught the eyes of ARAMARK officials at Mesa Verde National Park. Haspels spent some time with the parks managers last week showing them his photos of Cliff Palace, pit houses and kivas. ARAMARK is interested in using his photography in their new guide tour books.
Meanwhile, the photos at the rec center will hang until the end of March and Haspels memories of the trip will remain frozen in time. When his wife suggested the last-minute adventure trip to celebrate his retirement from 23 years in the dental practice, he made sure his equipment was packed.
It wouldnt be any fun going without a camera, Haspels said.
Reach Paula Bostrom at firstname.lastname@example.org.