One of several things you are guaranteed to find on the island of Puerto Rico (besides delightfully potent and colorful rum concoctions, fried pockets of meat-stuffed plantains at every turn and the infectious beat of Caribbean rhythms that can force even the gringoest of gringos to break into a Carmen Miranda-like hip shuffle) is an epic sunset. In order to find the best ones, however, you must leave the tourist-mousetrap of San Juan (which does offer up some rather enticing bait) and head towards the western end of the island where the final footprints of day slowly fade away behind the dreamy Pacific. Sunsets on a tropical island always seem more enjoyable than those viewed from anywhere else. They just do. Several theories here: 1) It could be the consistently dramatic island skies, which are typically filled with swirling and color-bending clouds that hover above the ocean like seagulls in search of surface appetizers, reflecting the lovely golden and pastel hues of the “magic hour”. 2) The calmness and serenity of being on a landmass surrounded by water and fringed with photogenic palms, isolated from the rest of the world and so far away from the monotonies of the “normal” life back home, which forced you to buy that ticket in the first place. 3) Feeling like you are in a privileged place at the perfect moment in time while all of your friends back home are sitting at a desk counting the tic-tocs until they can leave behind the office grind and dive into the not-so-flowing stream of rush hour traffic. 4) You’ve just consumed your fourth Piña Colada or Mai Tai, and everything you witness is “the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen!”. Yeah, fruity drinks injected with alcohol do have that effect on me sometimes. The only downside of that is being able to properly focus your camera or iphone as the Earth beneath you begins to spin double-time. Whatever the reason, there’s no denying that Puerto Rico offers up sunsets that can rival those found anywhere around the world. On a stage that has been set to provide much drama, beauty and inspiration to all those who come out to watch…the sunsets of Puerto Rico have played a praiseworthy role.
Posts Tagged With: Nikon
Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season! Cheers to happiness, health and many adventures…Salud!
As promised, I must honor my word and bring you the best of the best from last month’s Puerto Rico adventure! I found so much beauty and diversity all throughout the island, I don’t really know where to start. So I’ll just spin the jog wheel on the mouse and see where the cursor lands. (Spinning…done) This secluded waterfall (near the town of San Sebastián) was found as a result of Doing Your Homework Before You Travel. It’s a bit of an effort to get here, but that’s the whole idea, verdad? I mean, yeah…you can take the easier roads to some of the more accessible falls right off the highway (à la Maui’s Road to Hana, where you don’t even have to leave your vehicle…but good luck getting a decent photo without navigating your lens through the human traffic jam)…or you can get your numb-from-the-car-ride buttocks off the path, trek through a Jurassic Park-like environment, get some mud on the shoes, donate to the local mosquito blood drive and reward yourself with a spectacular slice of nature that can be quietly enjoyed in the company of a very few other lucky travelers, or even alone, if you time it right. The falls were pristine and the dip in the natural pool was a (testicle-shrinkingly) perfect way to spend the afternoon. Did I mention the water was cold?
Hey guys, I’m fresh off a tour of the “Island of Enchantment”…and it is as advertised! You’ll be hearing about and seeing plenty of it soon. 🙂 – GWAGB
I’ve never tried to photograph the night sky, until a few days ago. I’ve always been a fan of astronomy. I have all 12 episodes of Cosmos recorded on my DVR and I watch them religiously. Remember back in the day when textbooks taught us that there were 9 planets in our solar system? Then, in 2005, Pluto gets demoted to a “dwarf planet” and now there’s only 8 planets in our solar system and 4 dwarf planets. Huh? You’re telling me there’s not 9 planets and I actually got that question right on my 3rd grade test when I wrote 8? That’s what science does. It tells us that we don’t have to accept what we’ve always been taught to believe if we have the capability to evolve and discover new things…new ways of thinking.
As I was admiring the night sky this past week while camping up in California’s Golden Trout Wilderness, I couldn’t help but hear the voice of the great Neil deGrasse Tyson (the biggest astrophysicist pimp on the planet), who reminds us that our Earth is a speck of “cosmic dust” among the “billions of stars within billions of galaxies” in the expanding universe. Though I couldn’t see it with the naked eye, my camera was able to capture the Milky Way galaxy rising above the mountain peak (centered). The Milky Way (the galaxy to which Earth belongs) is just one of hundreds of billions in the universe. For every sparkling dot in the sky (within our limited view), there could possibly be a solar system and potential life-supporting planet, with conditions similar to ours. We are special and unique no doubt, because this is our home, and there will never be another Earth and the incredible variety of life that it sustains. (Thank God, can you imagine another alien form of the Kardashian family out there polluting the minds of its fellow life forms? They might actually recognize Bruce Jenner to be one of their own.) One can’t help but wonder, how does the night sky look from any of those other billions of floating rocks out there? The timeless and unanswered question of “Are we alone?” will always find its portal to the minds of the curious and open-minded inhabitants of one fortunate rock that was able to find the perfect path around its star, enabling it to sustain life and breed a (sometimes) civilized society with the capability to exercise an endless imagination.
Oh yeah, there was a “Super Moon” out that night too. In my younger and immature days of old, I probably would have posted a picture of my ass right here. You guys are lucky social media wasn’t around in the late 80’s. 😉
…well, not exactly “fresh” if you’re talking about cleanliness and hygiene. Just got back from Maggie Lakes in California’s Golden Trout Wilderness. 4 days of backpacking, hiking, camping, fishing and drinking boxed wine during a hailstorm. Pics and blog to follow…after a nice warm shower and a pedicure. 🙂
Follow all the adventures (and dinner plates) on Instagram!
I got pretty sick once while I was in Bocas Del Toro, Panama. An “ill”-advised bit of teeth cleaning at the border with some tap water was most likely the culprit. I took one bite of my chicken and rice dish at a local food joint and I had to throw in the towel, as my stomach was the first organ to checkout on whatever schedule I had planned for my weakening body that day. I noticed this little boy who was standing there looking at me with a curious and innocent grin, so I invited him to join me and help me finish my plate (when I say “help me finish”, I really meant “please get this greasy pile of Caribbean grindage away from my face before the waitress is gonna have to call for a mop and some sanitizer at table #12”). Bad shape. This kid eagerly accepted my invitation and kept me great company while I battled fatigue, nausea and frustration with the fact that the only “tropical paradise” I would see for the next 24 hours was a fading logo on his soiled t-shirt. Nonetheless, I made a local friend that day and he got treated to a great meal. That’s all you need sometimes to make your day.
This is a #GringoWithAGreenBag Foto Friday “Film” edition ladies and gents! Ahhhh yes, the nostalgia I get when I remember the days of shooting 35mm Kodak ELITE Chrome 100 with my sexy silver Nikon N50…the beauty and eye-popping color of slide film…waiting anxiously for several days while the lab processed the images…having an entire album of physical prints from every trip or special occasion…and paying $300 for image developing after shooting 35+ rolls on a 2-week vacation (in addition to purchasing the film itself)! That was the turning point right there folks. I would soon enter the “Digital Age” with the purchase of a Nikon D70 and film would inevitably become an honored and beloved art form of the past. (The N50 has since been retired and is now living a life of luxury on my closet shelf.) But while it was in it’s prime, my N50 camera was an international stud! It served as my portal to the world of travel photography, helped to open my eyes to countless unfamiliarities and was the most loyal travel companion one could ever ask for. (Sniff, sniff.) That baby earned it’s badge as my #1 deputy ambassador in the field, with flying colors.
The difference between film and digital is more about economics than image quality (some actually prefer the quality of film). Those of us on a budget had to be economical with our shutter releases. It forced us to get the shot right with a lot less takes, something that nurtured patience and critical attention to composition and detail…qualities that are imperative to any photographer. The economics of digital photography don’t dictate the # of shots people take. The days of thinking about “.20¢ per click” are long gone. The tradeoff is having to spend an incredible # of hours in front of a computer to edit and process our digital images. If you adhere to the ideal of “time is money”, then digital is not really saving you much. But is sure does make our lives easier (especially to a generation of fiends for instant gratification). The irony of it all is that the only way my old film shots ever get viewed nowadays is in digital form (having spent countless hours with a scanner and a dust brush). I’m just glad I can still easily share them with the modern world without having to carry around a bunch of old portfolio binders and coffee-stained albums with the title “Damian’s European Adventures”. I’m also very grateful to have learned the art of photography in the age of film. Though it often depleted my perennially slim wallet at the time, it really helped to make me the best photographer that I can be, and for that I say “Long Live Film”!
Here’s a few images that I dug out from the archives, shot on film and scanned to digital. I hope you have enjoyed this Gringo With A Green Bag “turn back the clock” moment. 🙂