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: Encantada por el Mar, Enchanted by the Sea (Acapulco, México)

Shot of the Week: El Encanto del Mar (Acapulco, Mexico)

“Wait, what?… How did you….?” This is the typical response we hear when someone sees these photos.

Last weekend, we were invited to Acapulco by our new Mexican friends Rodrigo and Lu, and we met Mónica (the one pictured here) along the way. The five of us had an eventful weekend, complete with ocean splashing and wedding crashing, and the last sunset of our visit found us along the shore with bellies full of fish (we had a delicious dinner beforehand) and a plan to make some fun levitation portraits.

We raced the setting sun to capture the perfect shot, with no time to pause to review our results. In the end, we had some great shots to choose from. And let me tell you, that’s impressive — it’s damn hard to look relaxed when you’re floating four feet above the ground. This week’s post wouldn’t be complete without a photo of each of us being “enchanted by the sea,” so continue on to view them all!

This photo was taken on Sunday, March 22nd with the Sony a7 II and 35mm f/2.8 lensContinue reading

Shot of the Week: Sunset Surfer (Playa Espadilla, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica)

Shot of the Week: Sunset Surfer at Playa Espadilla in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Last week we concluded our month-long adventure in Costa Rica and headed onward to Mexico City. But before we left Costa Rica, we paid a visit to Manuel Antonio National Park.

It was the first time we’d ever gone swimming in an ocean at a national park. The sun was shining, the water was warm, and there were tons of monkeys jumping from tree to tree along the shore. We spent three days in the Manuel Atonio/Quepos area (see the place we stayed on our list of preferred accommodations), and we spent time at a different beach each day: the first at a private beach, the second in the park, and the third at Playa Espadilla, just outside the park entrance.

This photo of a surfer heading out into the waves during the last light of the day was taken on that third beach day, at Playa Espadilla, with the Sony a7 II and 35mm f/2.8 lens. (Continue to view full photo).  Continue reading

Shot of the Week: The Sleeping Giant (Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica)

Shot of the Week: The Sleeping Giant -- Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

March 2nd was a big day. We had two anniversaries to celebrate. First, it was Ian’s and my three-year anniversary (yay!), and second, it’d been one year since we launched our traveling life and set off for our first destination (Norway).

To celebrate, we took a 3-day trip to Volcán Arenal, a volcano that’s dormant now, after an active period that ended just 5 years ago. Aside from visiting the national park and taking in the marvelous views, we went ziplining for the first time (which was AWESOME). Ian took this photo on the last day of our trip, when we stumbled upon an entry point to Arenal Lake. We spent about 30 minutes along the shore, taking photos of the volcano and what I like to call the “swimming tree” (keep an eye on our Facebook page for a photo of that thing).

Still experimenting with infrared photography, this is an image captured using an infrared filter, and post-processed in black and white. This photo was taken with the Sony a7 II and 35mm f/2.8 lens. (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: 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