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“Only here do the leaves glow”

In Nicaragua I enjoy traveling in the passenger seat.  Not so much because I don’t like driving – its something I love and hate in Managua – but more because I’m a visual person.  Whether I’m on a road trip to the beach or running errands around town, I don’t talk much as a passenger.  From any seat but the driver’s I am lost staring out of windows, mesmerized by a patch of wildflowers, a street vendor, a heard of cattle crossing the road, a wisp of clouds, or any other illuminated thing.

A man from Masaya once told me that he had traveled the world and seen beautiful places, “But only here, in Nicaragua,” he said, “do the leaves glow.” As a photographer, it hit me as a clever insight that I should have realized before. I wanted to rationalize it and consider the average humidity, latitude, atmospheric diffraction, etc.  But I stopped thinking about why because it ruined the mystique and the fun of looking out of moving windows.

In Nicaragua the light glows. You can see it in the morning when the sun peeks through fluffy clouds, or swallows still summer air like crashing waves. In an instant a rain storm can sweep in, change the midday sky to orange and the countryside becomes a martian-like landscape. Up to the last of it, the changes in light carry on glowing in the trees, the cows and the streams until the sun sets. And as a foreigner looking out a car window, there’s nothing else that you are more aware of.

- Chris

From 2006 on, Chris Sataua has worked as a freelance photographer. The following photographs are from his archives and were taken during road trips and stop offs along his travels in Nicaragua.

Morning rays shine through the forest canopy along the fringe of a farm in San Juan del Sur, Rivas.

Pochote tree in Majagual, Rivas (left), Arial view of Lake Xolotlan, Managua (right).

Path leading away from Masaya Volcano vantage point.

A small farm in Niquinohomo, Masaya.

Cattle herded in San Juan del Sur, Rivas (right), Wild flowers at a nursery in Catarina, Masaya (left).

Boardwalk along the bay of San Juan del Sur.

A fire burns on the far side of Lake Xolotlan, Managua.

Playa el Coco, Rivas (left), Stream running in the foothills of San Juan del Sur, Rivas (right).

The hills that lead to the pacific in El Crucero, Managua.

Sunset over Cuidad Sandino, Managua.

Sunsets on the capital city, Managua.