Personal Journey in Nicaragua-Pittsburgh Photojournalist

One of the hardest parts of being a photojournalist, is the feeling that I hide behind my camera, and dont interact. Sometimes this is true. For a week in Nicaragua, it wasnt. In the past I have taken tons of photos and been primarily focused on telling the story of Daniel Bain and his wife Jessenia, and the kids that they are working with inside their children’s home.

This year, was different. I barely picked up a camera, I barely took any photos, and while I wish that I had more to show, the experience of leading a team of six people, with my wife Kelly, was worth all the missed photos. The memories of working together, and guiding people through personal growth, and physical labor, was totally worth it.

We started out the week celebrating mothers day with the children from the home. Pizza, games, a pinata. It was chaos. And as the kids ran around, and spent time with their families, seeing the joy that was over flowing, was a pretty awesome experience.

Monday we took the team to La Chureca. La Chureca is the Managua city dump, and until two years  ago, nearly 850 people lived there. Today the families live in houses inside a small community built by the Spanish and Nicaraguan governments. Many people now work in the recycling plant that has been built at the dump, but some families still go out to the dump and forage for anything that may have value. Rubber, plastic, metal, copper. Men and women spend hours digging through garbage to find items of value, and then spend even more time back at home, working to salvage the metal out of tires, the copper out of cables, only to go back out and do it again. It was eye opening to say the least, and the team began to understand more clearly, how our hardest days trying to find work, pale in comparison to what many people around the world do.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday we spent time at the childrens home. Tuesday we helped with homework, and Wednesday and Thursday we painted some of the bedrooms.

Friday we traveled around the countryside, and ended the day having lunch and swimming with the kids in a beautiful crater lake, before saying goodbye and leaving Saturday morning.

For me, this trip was about seeing and being a part of the group. No hanging back behind a camera in my own safe world. I played, laughed, chased, splattered pain all over me, led discussions, and spent time making friends, and talking with Kelly in ways we often seem to not have time for.

Till next year Nicaragua, enjoy the photos.


























 

A look back at Uganda: My first time-Documentary Filmmaking

I love Africa. I have traveled there numerous times, and cant wait to go back soon with my wife. Each trip has been incredible, and each trip has helped to shape who I am.

Check this out from 2005. To learn more visit The Uganda Project

 

Be The Change: Uganda from Dan Speicher on Vimeo.

Pelee Island Vacation-Pittsburgh Portrait Photographer

I’ve been going to Pelee Island since before I was born. Litterally. I was carried there while mom was pregnant. I grew up there, was married there, and minus two summers in my early 20’s I have spent at least a week there every summer of my life.

Its my place for relaxation. Its a place with nearly no cell coverage, little entertainment, aside from what you can come up with on your own, and for me, paradise.

This year, because of our trip to India back in January, Kelly only could take two days off work, so we headed up for a long weekend of reading, sunrises, and cigars.

 

One morning I thought it would be good to rouse everyone for an early morning portrait session. Lets just say I was wrong. Light was changing fast, wind was picking up, and no one had had a full cup of coffee yet. I am certainly happier being a portrait photographer behind the camera, than trying to be in the photos, and adjust lights at the same time.

 

Along the way I played with my ND filters and long exposures. Landscapes are something I have never focused on, but i love the way the light, sky, and water changes during long exposures.

a family fishes off the North Dock on Pelee Island. For more information on wedding, portriat, or editorial photography in Pittsburgh visit www.danspeicher.net

A family fishes off the North Dock on Pelee Island.

Roused the family far to early for a portrait, you can see how happy we are








Gateway of India: Bringing India back home with us.

Kelly and I loved being in India. The craziness, the noise, the food. It sounds crazy, but that all is part of the experience that made India so incredible for us.

Kelly had the opportunity to learn to cook some excellent recipes from our friend Ammini, and her granddaughter Jennifer. That means that I have gotten to have two incredible Indian Dinners this week, right in our own home.

While we were in India, we didnt have a whole lot of time to travel. Fortunately we did have a few hours to explore some of the sights in Mumbai. I really wish that we had a week to just get used to the city, meet more people, and walk the streets before and during sunrise and sunset.

This is the Gateway of India. What a site.  Next time I will get here when the sun is low and the light is soft.

The Gateway of India by Pittsburgh documentary photographer Dan Speicher

small fishing boats sit anchored in the bay, next charter boats, under the gaze of the Gateway of India. The Gateway looks out over the Arabian Sea

Here is kelly hard at work putting into practice some of the incredible foods she learned how to make while in India. Just last week she made Chole Puri  and this week we made some great Chicken Curry. Needless to say, I am a happy husband.

Rolling out Chapati flat bread in Mumbai by Pittsburgh Photojournalist Dan Speicher

Homemade Indian Chicken Curry by Pittsburgh photographer Dan Speicher

One of the things that I LOVE about traveling, is the chance to meet new people and try great foods.