Shot of the Week: Almost Famous (Dolcenero Gallery, Mexico City, México)

Dolcenero Gallery: Milky Way photography by Ian Norman, Mexico City, Mexico

I’m a little behind in posting our shots of the week, so this photo is coming at you a month late, but it represents a pretty exciting milestone for Ian as a photographer. It also proves why booking places through Airbnb is so awesome.

So why is this week’s shot of the week a photo of a photo (actually three photos)? Well, we met some seriously cool people in Mexico City last month. One of them, our new friend Rodrigo (whom we met through Airbnb), organized the printing and display of three of Ian’s Milky Way photos in beautiful light boxes — designed and manufactured by Rodrigo himself — in a lovely little gallery called Dolcenero in Mexico City. It’s the first time Ian’s photography has been on public display! This photo is from the opening day of the exhibit.

Note: The post date has been adjusted to appear in chronological order (by the date the photo was taken) on the blog, but I’m actually writing/posting this on May 10, 2015.

This photo was taken on April 12 with my Nexus 5 smart phone. Continue to view full photo and more photos from the exhibit.  Continue reading

Shot of the Week: Between the Barrier (Mexico City, México)

Shot of the Week: Between the Barriers (Mexico City, Mexico)

I can’t very well blog about travel to Mexico without documenting one of Mexico’s less sun-shiney characteristics. Political protests and street marches are not an uncommon site in Mexico City these days. In fact, there’s a stream of protesters marching down Reforma outside of the Starbucks I’m sitting in now, preventing cars from passing through. The Mexican citizens aren’t happy with their government — more specifically, their president — and they’re speaking up. Though the protests are common and peaceful lately, they do make us feel a little uneasy, so we do our best to avoid them.

When we first saw the barricades a half block down from our apartment building, it was a Thursday, which seemed to be the choice day for a few weekly marches we’ve seen here. At least twice now we’ve witnessed protesters entering the area by the busload (executive tour buses were literally parked back to back on the block around the Secretaría de Gobernación building). And the Federales (the national police) are here, too. You can see one of their trucks parked on the left side of this week’s photo. There are always quite a few police men and women around (we see more of them than regular citizens on our frequent walk between the apartment and Starbucks), but there are a LOT more on the protest days. Though the Federales did come prepared on the day of a particularly large protest with classic clear plastic shields, we’ve yet to see one in use; they sat idly on the ground by the barrier that day.

The photo here was not taken on a Thursday, but there was still protest activity happening in the area. We’d nearly had to alter our route home as a similar barrier that stretched the full width of the street had been set up one block over (it’s been there the whole time we’ve been in Mexico). A large tented structure was (and still is) set up in the street, and as we passed we could hear slightly muffled mic-amplified voices inside. The doorway for the sidewalk that passed through that barrier was closed, but as we approached the policeman let us through.

This photo was taken on Sunday, March 29th with the Sony a7 II and 35mm f/2.8 lensContinue reading

Shot of the Week: Leer es Entender (Historic District, Mexico City, México)

vintage used bookstore in Mexico City, Mexico

Somewhere in the historic district of Mexico City, tucked away from the busy streets, is the perfect place to lose yourself. This particular store was not unique — there were many others just like it speckled about the street outside — but this was the one we’d chosen to enter.

We planned to spend a few minutes searching for an old comic book, something to aid us in our Spanish language studies. Instead we explored for hours, surrounded by history and the dusty smell of aged literature.  In the end we purchased five books: two meant for children, a tourist guide, a Spanish dictionary, and Jack London’s The Call of the Wild, for a grand total of just 130 pesos (less than 10 bucks US).

The layout of the bookshelves in the back of the store begged me to take a picture. I didn’t have my RX-100 with me, so I pulled out what I did have — my LG Nexus 5 cell phone — and took this shot. I think it captured the feeling of this place perfectly. (Continue to view full photo).  Continue reading

Shot of the Week: Arte Verde/Green Art, Museos Del Banco Central (San José, Costa Rica)

art exhibit at Museos del Banco Central (San Jose, Costa Rica)

In downtown San José, underneath the central plaza (Plaza de la Cultura), lie the Central Bank Museums (Museos Del Banco Central) of Costa Rica. Four stories of underground art, money, and historic artifacts make up the collections in the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, Numismatic Museum, and temporary exhibitions inside the Museos Del Banco Central building.

On our first visit to San José — Costa Rica’s capitol city — we stopped here for a couple afternoon hours and had a look at the art and Pre-Columbian history of Costa Rica (the Numismatic Museum was temporarily closed). This week’s photo is an image of me on the second basement level, having a look at one of many colorful art pieces on display. While I’m not particularly big on art museums, I did admire the detail and bright green hues in this particular series of paintings.

This photo was taken with the Sony a7 II and 35mm f/2.8 lens and edited with the “Charm” preset in our free set of Lightroom presets. (Continue to view full photo.)

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Shot of the Week: La Fería Del Agricultor — The Farmers’ Market — (Heredia, Costa Rica)

La Feria Del Agricultor Heredia, farmers market in Heredia

We set our alarms to wake early for this Saturday morning activity. Ben and Josiah, our Airbnb host and his son, were taking us to “la fería,” a local farmers’ market about a 15-minute walk from the house. To ensure we’d get the best selection of produce, we woke just before 6am, threw on some light jackets, grabbed our cameras and our new ultralight backpack and set out for the market. (Our new Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Daypack has really been coming in handy on this trip — keep an eye out for a review!)

Walking up and down the full length of the market took about an hour. We stayed busy keeping an eye out for new fruits and veggies to try and scouting for the best prices. When we were speculating whether or not to try a new-looking dark purple fruit, a friendly Costa Rican insisted we take one he had just bought to try (it was delicious, so we bought 4 more)!

New things we tried as a result of this trip:

  • pejibayes
  • cashew apples (blech!)
  • caimitos/star apples (actually first tried this in Vietnam, but it had been awhile)
  • juice in a bag (sugarcane chia juice)

The above photo was taken with my Sony RX-100 III — my new travel camera! — and edited in Lightroom with the “Photon” preset from our free preset pack on photoncollective.com.  Continue reading

Shot of the Week: The Purple Orchid (El Segundo, USA)

The Purple Orchid, El Segundo, California

El Segundo has got to be one of my favorite LA cities; it’s definitely in my top three. I lived in El Segundo for a year and a half, back in 2012-2014 when I was still working in Santa Monica. I’d moved there after my place in Marina del Rey became a little too pricey, which increased my bike commute from 30 to 60 minutes but cut my rent in half (totally worth it!). I knew almost nothing about the place when I moved there, but I grew quite fond of it over time. It’s a safe LA city near the airport with a small-town feel — and a surprising amount of nightlife for the size of it. It’s got the only beach I know of in LA with fire rings for beach bonfires, the annual Easter Keg Hunt, and plenty of local bars and restaurants in the main part of town.

This past Friday, the day before we left for Costa Rica, Ian and I decided to head out for one last evening in LA. We stopped first at Rock & Brews and got our fill of beer, pizza, rock music and pretzels. (Rock & Brews is a local favorite started by KISS‘s Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley plus 3 friends; read about R&B’s history here). Then we finished the evening off at none other than The Purple Orchid. The Purple Orchid is a ‘tiki lounge,’ but it’s perhaps better described as a dive bar with a Polynesian theme. Here you can (and should) order a volcano bowl to share amongst friends, complete with a flaming shot of 151. Grab as many straws as you need!

The above photo was taken with the Sony a7 II and 35mm f/2.8 lensContinue reading

Shot of the Week: Love and Traffic in Los Angeles (USA)

Shot of the Week: Love and Traffic in Los Angeles

Ian and I have set forth on a new photo challenge for the new year — a 365 project — with the goal of taking one photo each day for a year. And guess what that means for our shot of the week post series… This year it’ll be even better!

Our first choice is actually not one photo, but two. It’s a combination of a long exposure image of the 118 freeway at night in L.A. and a silhouette image of the two of us just before sunset on the Rocky Peak Trail in Simi Valley.

Both photos were taken with the Sony a7s and Sony 55mm f/1.8, and we combined the two using Adobe Photoshop. Want to learn this photo technique? Ian will soon be posting a tutorial on our new creative photography website, The Photon Collective, launching next month! Continue reading

Shot of the Week: Vegas, Baby. Vegas. (Las Vegas, USA)

Shot of the Week: Vegas, Baby. Vegas.

This past weekend I finally celebrated my birthday in a city no one could believe I’ve never been to: Vegas! On November 8, 2014, I soaked up the Sin City views from the top of the Stratosphere and continued to celebrate through my birthday on the 10th.

The above photo was taken with the Sony a7s and Voigtlander 40mm f/1.4 NoktonContinue reading

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy on northtosouth.us

Venice, Italy on northtosouth.us

May 7, 2014

TRAVELING TO VENICE, ITALY

After recently living in Venice, California, Ian and I were excited to see the real Venice! During our stay in Eraclea Mare, we took a one-day trip to Venice.

Venice, Italy Sea View
Above: Gondola dock in Venice, Italy
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