I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. February’s calendar is available for download. Today's shot is looking over the Gulf of Mexico from the beaches of Tulum. For the 1280X800 click HERE, 1600X1200 click HERE, 1920×1200 HERE and iPhone HERE. Tomorrow I plan to announce February’s new photo contest – so make sure to check back tomorrow. That’s it…just a short one for today. Happy Feb. Catch you guys tomorrow. John
Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula is well known for its many Mayan ruins and thousands of tourists flock there each year. I visited Tulum’s ruins overlooking the Gulf of Mexico as well as Coba’s ruins which are located slightly inland. Both ruins were heavily populated with visitors, although the ruins at Cobá were spread out in a dense forest, so it didn’t seem nearly as busy. Whenever I visit an area with a ton of tourists I try to step back from the crowd and just observe. I think we miss a lot of photographic opportunities when we just follow along and get lost in the herd. I think stepping back and taking note and looking for those opportunities is every bit as important as photographing the attraction itself. Today’s photos are of the many bicycle taxis that were waiting to cart tourists around the ruins. Many people chose to use their services, while some chose to walk. I imagine it must have been a very different experience for those who zipped by on a bicycle taxi, compared to those who walked the 1-2 kilometers to see the ruins. A process I think I would have failed to document if I hadn’t stepped back and simply observed.
Two comments from fellow tourists:
The wife says, “Honey, I want to take a photo of you over here.” Her husband’s response, “But, I’m not over there!”
A gentleman commenting on the ruins, “These weren’t built very well.”
Both comments put a smile on my face.
I would like to tell you that while I was in Mexico I was taking photographs 100% of the time. But truth is I could be found on occasion enjoying my killer view of the Gulf of Mexico with my Kindle and a strong cup of coffee. I’m really starting to fall in love with my Kindle. The device is crazy slick. I’m not sure why I waited so long to get one, but I really enjoyed reading all my newspapers, books and even my own blog while abroad. I even created a protective photo skin for it using Uniqueskin.com… so you know it’s true love. The really nice thing about an e-reader is it’s small and portable. It was very convenient having some of my favorite e-books available for reference without having to haul around my bulky laptop. It’s always nice to have access to such titles as “The essential guide to Portrait Photography,”by DPS “Understanding Post Processing” by Mitchell Kanashkevich, “Digital Photography Book” by Scott Kelby, plus all of David duChemin’s e-books with just the click of a button. Tomorrow I’m hoping to have a few photos of some crazy little spider monkeys that I photographed on a Mayan Reserve so stayed tuned.
Side note: If you have a Kindle and you’re interested in reading my blog then click HERE (Amazon charges .99 a month for delivery and if I could I would make it free but Amazon drives the bus on this one. I have no control over the rate or I would make it free.)
I’m back in Chicago after a wonderful week in Tulum, Mexico. It was my hope to be able to post while I was there, but it ended up being a bit of a hassle so I decided to postpone it until I returned. Whenever I travel the first day out with the camera can be the worst. I’m not sure why, but I’m sure it has something to do with being a tourist and feeling slightly out of place. It’s not uncommon for me to take a few days to warm up to my surroundings. To unthaw I typically try to focus my first day of shooting at public events or parks. In Tulum, near the center of town, there’s a central park with a large gazebo and as luck would have it there were some folks practicing a local dance routine. I watched for a while as I prepared my gear and slowly approached the gazebo stairs. I found a good place where I would be out of the way but still able to get a few shots. The gazebo wasn’t my favorite in terms of aesthetics, but this was where the action was and the people didn’t seem to be annoyed by my presence – so I sat back and relaxed for the next hour taking a few shots here and there. I wouldn’t say I was blown away by any of these shots, but that wasn’t the point either. The point was to get a feel for the area, relax and get into the groove of things. I think all too often as photographers, and especially when we are traveling to new places, we put way too much pressure on ourselves to get “the shot”. Well, I don’t know about you folks, but it’s never really worked out that way for me. The killer shot usually happens when I’m least expecting it and without a doubt when I’m relaxed. I’ve never nailed a good shot when I was uptight. So day one worked for me…I felt good, enjoyed a really cool local dance and met some very interesting people.
I’ve been in Mexico for a couple of days now, and it’s taken me a bit to get in the groove of things, but I’m starting to relax and enjoy myself. One of the things I love about Mexico, besides the people (awesome) and the food (spectacular), is the colorful architecture. Today’s photo is of a hostel in Playa del Carmen. The colors literally looked like someone painted them on with jumbo crayons. Speaking of painting with jumbo crayons, I’ve been doing a bit of driving around the Yucatan and I have one word of advice to the Mexican department of transportation; “More yellow paint on the TOPES please!!” For my Mexican fans, and those who have traveled here, you’ll know what I mean. For the rest of you, a TOPE is a giant speed bump of one form or another (possibly a ship rope lying across the road), and they are meant to either slow you down (when you see them, which you don’t, hence the yellow paint issue), or annihilate your rental car’s shocks. But that’s my only gripe! I swear… the guacamole totally makes up for it!
I forgot to mention last week’s winners to the travel post. The winners of the super cool lens cloths are Laurie Ferri and the workinprogress101. Thank you to everyone for your useful tips! Winners, please don't forget to send your addresses to firstname.lastname@example.org so I can send you your prize.
It’s no secret that Adobe’s Lightroom and CS4 are my first choices when it comes to image editing software. However, with that said, I realize not everyone wants/nor can afford to shell out $300.00 plus for imaging software. For those of you who are just dabbling in photography or don’t need the robust features of CS4 or Lightroom, then you should check out GIMP. GIMP is a free distribution image manipulation software that has a very Photoshop feel to it. I wouldn’t say GIMP is an Adobe Photoshop killer by a long shot, but it’s definitely an alternative for those looking to do more than just crop their images. Not to mention you can’t beat the price – FREE. GIMP will install on Mac OS X , Linux, Windows XP, Vista and I installed it on Windows 7. It supports TIFF, JPEG, GIF, PNG and PSD files. Plus, you can download several plug-ins that work with GIMP. GIMP isn’t for everyone but it’s a nice alternative to other free programs such as Picasa. If you’re interested in learning more about GIMP then click HERE. To read a CNET review click HERE.
More Free Stuff:
Stay tuned for this weekend’s blog because we’re going to be giving away a few free goodies, so mark your calendar!
I’ll be traveling to Tulum, Mexico in the coming weeks with hopes of getting some good shots of the Mayan ruins. I’m currently building a shot list so if anyone has any suggested locations near Tulum please drop me a line.
Canon has released its new 70-200mm lens. I have the previous model in my arsenal and I must say it’s an all time favorite and probably one of Canon’s most popular lenses. Click HERE to read a solid review on the lens.
Canon begins shipping its new EOS-1D Mark IV body this January. This camera is just sick (that means good 🙂 ) but $5,000 just isn’t in the budget right now. You can read more about it HERE and read a comparison to Nikon’s D3S HERE.
Ok, that’s it folks. It’s cold as heck here in Chicago but I promise to send some warm images from Mexico in coming weeks..;)