D-Day for Belize Jaguars

Earlier this year I got to photograph the Belize National Team for Belize Bank.  As an avid player and enthusiast in my younger years I was extremely happy to see them train and set foot on a pitch after a very long time, only this time as a photographer :).  I was also very much looking forward to experimenting with a different type of lighting than I had been recently doing.  The trend in sports photography nowadays is for a grunchier type of look which I was eager to try. Took my studio strobes out into the field and photographed each one individually to then create the composite below.  Good luck to the Belize National Team today!  Big game today against the USA focus is key and trust in a very good caliber goal keeper who I hope has a great day!

Belize Jaguars Photograph

Belize’s Second Highest Mountain

In a country that is predominantly flat, the Maya Mountain range is a sight that invigorates the spirit of this photographer that was born surrounded by mountain ranges and volcanoes.  There is something about mountains that remind you of the greatness of earth, and how much mass is beneath and above us.  Victoria Peak is one of those sights that captivates especially if it is framed on your porch as you wake up :)  Had a wonderful time with family over the weekend and was reminded that the south is still my favorite part of terrestrial Belize.

Victoria Peak Belize

The not so elusive Jaguar

I am so proud that Belize has such great conservation awareness. From young Belizeans champion the importance of preserving our natural habitats.  I truly believe this is one of the reasons that makes Belize so special.  Lately I have been seeing more and more photographs of Jaguars roaming freely in their natural environment which many times, unfortunately, overlap with human expansion.  This protected animal has been seen more frequently crossing highways, on private properties, or on cameras with motion sensors.   Not sure whether this is a good or a bad sign.  Are they thriving?? Are we encroaching??  I am just glad that there is awareness and that there are individuals that devote their time to protecting this amazing animal.  The photograph below was taken at the Belize Zoo for a story in Destination Belize that features such a person, Omar Figueroa.  Click here to read the full story: Tracking the Jaguar

Belize Jaguar

Belize’s future underwater caves?

I was baffled this morning when I saw a photograph on Facebook of an underwater cave beneath Caye Caulker! Although apparently first explored in 1979, it was the first time I have heard of it and I am completely intrigued. It is well known that Belize is riddled with caves, and in fact contains some of the most impressive cave systems in the world. It is also known that Belize’s Great Blue Hole is actually a sinkhole that provides access to a cave that was above water thousands of years ago.  That picture of an underwater cave that had all the characteristics of caves you can visit in Belize today on solid ground made me wonder if caves like the one below are the underwater caves of the future.  One thing is for sure.. underwater photography is in my near future, can’t wait! :)

Belize Caves, Belize Cave Photography

What a difference 3 minutes make…

I think there is a certain amount patience required for landscape photography.  If you are not on assignment and in a hurry to document a lot of things you can actually stay in one place for some time and see things change… and they can change quite a bit and in a hurry.  In this case, I waited about 1/2 an hour at the top of Caana, Caracol  in the Maya heartland of Belize waiting for the sun to rise… and it was worth the wait.  The difference between these 2 shots is a mere 3 minutes.  Even though it might take 24 hours for earth to make a full turn,  it does not take the sun long at all to show itself above the horizon.   Once those warm rays start to hit your subject all hell breaks loose and you better be ready for the spectacle, colors change, shadows change, mood changes… bad news is the show ends just as quickly!   The proverbial “golden hour” for this Belize Photographer is more like 10 minutes :)

DSC_7383DSC_7389

UnBlue Hole – Lunar Landscape on earth

I am a strong believer that if color distracts from your subject matter you should eliminate it.  This takes off one dimension for the brain to process and you can focus on other things such as highlights and shadows, textures, mood. gesture… all those things that are so hard to capture and make a great photograph.  I think that is why black and white photography is so enchanting.

There are times however.. when the color is the subject.  And as such you try to focus the sensations and messages that they bring.

Belize’s Great Blue Hole presents a dilemma… Color is so important even the name has it.  Why would one wish to convert it to black and white? (I convert everything to B&W) But interestingly.. when I took out all the blue.. an amazing amount of detail started to reveal itself.. detail that cannot really be noticed in full color.. Once you take out blue, your brain even starts to question the existence of water.. it started to look a lot more like a lunar landscape than an earthly one. :)  Your thoughts?

BTW: If you haven’t already done so please go vote for the Blue Hole in full color as the 8th Wonder of the world by clicking here

_DSC0004

Lessons in Refraction at Blue Hole National Park

Once in a while there are photographs that are created in my head which I then try to craft in the real world. From the real world they are then captured into photo realm, nowadays a digital one.

Still with me? This is a shot idea that I had a while back and the end result looks nothing like what I envisioned. Sometimes it works.. sometimes it doesn’t.. I guess that is what makes great photographers, the ones that are able to nail their visions consistently. And this is how you learn, although not a complete failure since it is an interesting shot.. the one in my head had clear waters at Belize’s Blue Hole National Park with fishies scattering as the beautiful swimmer plunged into the water.. everything sharp, rich colors, a clear line dividing the surface etc etc.

What got in the way? merky waters, refraction, cheap underwater gear, lack of experience.
Nevertheless grateful to my very patient model and my ever believing assistant.

BHLE97

“Hinges” – A photo essay on Belize Doors & Windows

In the years I have been photographing Belize, and only after going over thousands of images over time, I discovered a pattern.

A photographic pattern or fixation is something that I see over and over in my images.. most of the time they are conscious efforts but sometimes they are subconscious and discovered only after enough photographs with the same subject start to float to the surface.

The latest one I have been able to discover and compile is that of doors & windows.  Belize has an amazing array of these hinged objects and my eye has been called to them over time.  Here is a compilation of some of my favourite photos of “Hinges”. Hope you enjoy.

Belize Weather Photography – Story behind one of my favourite shots

Belize is an amazing place to photograph weather, over the years I have been attracted to tracking approaching storms.  When the weather is bad instead of hiding, I tend to get out there and snap a couple shots.  (Except for today that I am very sick)

Sometimes weather systems sneak up on you, like a time when I was scouting for a cover shot of Destination Belize at Xuantantunich for the 2012 year of the Maya.  I knew it wasn’t the best weather but also I wasn’t after the perfect photo.. I was there to get gather data.. look at possible angles.. see where the sun leaves shadows on those magnificent structures at different times of the day.

Only when I got to the top did I realize how close the storm really was.. and the vantage point was so magnificent that it gave this photographer the gift of a “once in a lifetime” moment.  This I will never be able to replicate again, not even if I tried… Not that I want to…  that was that, and I captured it.  After a couple of shots and realising that I was probably holding the highest metal object, I diligently made my way down.    This is the image that reminds me of that stormy evening at Xunantunich :)

 

XUNANJUN2011245