Mexico - Alden Skeie

Photography in Mexico

Mexico Photography

I recently took a 2 week trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It was a great experience both personally and photographically. I was able to go throughout the surrounding areas and make some real good pictures. I also had access to the rooftop of the place I was staying at, and was able to go up there and capture some real nice landscapes and other pictures of the whole Bahía de Banderas curvature.

I packed my 6d, a 60d, a 70-200mm f/4, a 50mm f/1.4, a 24-105mm f/4, and a 11-16mm f/2.8. These all fit in my photography backpack which was the bag I took on the airline in addition to the main carry-on containing all my personal effects. In my carry-on I also took a couple speedlights, a small tripod, and several batteries. This worked well; my main concern was that I didn't want to check any baggage (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MZqiE3yGlQ). I was able to bring everything needed, and still have room for clothing/etc.

Another big concern was the potential of getting robbed in the surrounding areas. During instances where I thought this might be a concern, I only took the 60d and one lens depending on the location. I left the tripod in the hotel as well. I was only followed once right after the golden hour in downtown, but was able to avoid any conflict by ducking into a big restaurant.

Here are some of the shots I got from the rooftop of the place I stayed at. In these instances I was completely by myself, had all my equipment with me and no distractions. Most of these were shot with a graduated filter, on the tripod, with the 6d, and during a golden hour. I did use the 60d occasionally with the 70-200 in order get a further reach on a couple shots as well. I also leaned way out without the tripod to capture a couple overhead shots of the street leading out to the beach and town.

Here are the rest. Lots of fun experiences with Kelley here as you can see. I even got her to pose with a large snake around her neck! The birds flying photo was a pretty lucky shot. We were on a big boat cruising to Las Caletas, and these guys just swooped down and flew right next to me. I put down my Mojito, quickly got my camera out, dialed in, and spammed a few shots. It's a somewhat unique shot, but I don't think it would have worked if it hadn't been in the morning golden hour giving the background some much-needed contrasting light.

Another one of interest that I noticed in post was the parrot pointed directly at the camera. If you look close you can see I nailed the DOF just at the right spread and plane. It goes perfectly through the eyes, captures the best of the feathers, and ends with grabbing the foot's unique texture. I was pretty close to the subject and shot it at about f/3.5 on the 50mm 1.4. Closing it down that much from f/1.4 not only helped grab the best of the details at that DoF, but also maximized the sharpness.

The rest

Great trip overall, had a lot of interesting experiences and came home with some good photos. Thanks for reading!

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