Monday, December 30, 2013

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico: A City of Light and Sound

San Miguel de Allende in central Mexico is like one of those cities you see only in the movies. You know what I'm talking about, the city where the girl goes to get away from the troubles of her past where she meets the foreign guy that turns out to be the man of her dreams. Yeah, this is that city. Never mind the fact that it's home to American, Canadian and European expatriots, that everyone speaks English, that it's a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and winner of a 2013 Readers' Choice Award for best city to visit in the world by Condé Nast Traveler. Simply put, this place is beautiful!

The best way I can describe San Miguel is that it's a city of light and sound. First, the light. At almost every hour of the day, the sunlight is bounced off of several surfaces of various color giving the effect that the city is glowing. Whether it's early in the morning, mid-day or late in the evening after the sun has already set, this place hums with spectacular light. It's as if it's a tangible thing that you could reach out and touch and feel it dance along on your skin. The Centro District (downtown and the main plaza) is arguably the most attractive (and touristy) part of the city, with old colonial-style buildings, small open-air plazas lined with trees and of course the cobblestone streets that run throughout the city. It's easy to lose yourself in the deep hues of yellows, oranges, reds and browns of the buildings lining the streets. It's almost as if you're stepping back in time, especially if you manage to find a lonely side street devoid of pedestrians and vehicles.

Now, for the sound. It may seem odd to associate a location with the auditory senses, but this is a place that assaults all the senses. Every morning as I awoke just the sound of this city set it apart from anywhere I have ever visited. It begins early in the morning, some time around 5:00 or 6:00am with the low, lonely toll of a cathedral bell off in the distance ringing in the start of a new day. The sound of the bell rolls down the street echoing off the walls of shuttered homes and work places still closed for business. A domino effect quickly ensues as the rhythmic chimes of fellow churches and bell towers join in on the morning song, like a locomotive gaining steam. At their peak, the bells are almost deafening. And, just as quickly as it started, the  melodic overture passes, fading into the distance. The only way you would know that something had happened is the buildings seemed to vibrate as the last low gong rings out.

As you walk around town there are other sounds that separate San Miguel de Allende from other places. The sound of trickling water from the rooftops after an afternoon rain shower, the thumping of a taxi's tires on the cobblestone streets, the tinkling of plates and silverware being arranged on outdoor tables in front of a cafe and the quick bursts of jovial music from the various street musicians milling about the Jardin Principal (the main garden) in the main plaza are sounds you have to pay attention to in order to get the full auditory experience.

I've traveled to Mexico several times over the years, mostly to the coast which is very beautiful in it's own right. But never did I think that the interior states of Mexico could be so gorgeous. The moment I stepped on the bus to head back to Mexico City I was already planning a return trip. This is definitely an area of Mexico I highly recommend every traveler add to their list of places to visit.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico... iPhone Style

Back in November I had the opportunity to travel down to Mexico for an assignment for the Standard-Times. I'll go into more detail about the assignment in a later blog post. The assignment had me spending most of my time in the town of San Miguel de Allende, a city in central Mexico designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And the city was given a 2013 Readers' Choice Award for best city to visit in the world by Condé Nast Traveler. This place is beautiful!

A photographer's bag of tools is loaded with expensive cameras and lenses, but for me one of the most useful and least obtrusive is my iPhone. My phone allows me to do some street photography that I might not otherwise be able to do with other cameras. It's quiet, low profile and nobody thinks twice when they see someone staring at the back of their phone on the street. I mean, lets be honest, we all have a phone and it's the tool that everyone uses to document their own lives.

Here are a few of my street photography favorites from my week in San Miguel de Allende.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

2013 Friday Night Football Week 10: Central vs. Midland Lee

CentralMidland05 So this is a bit late, I know, but in the final week of the high school football regular season I photographed Central High School's District 2-5A game against Midland Lee. This was a big game for Central because if they won they would share the District 2-5A title. And wouldn't you know it, they did win! Here are just a few photos from the game.

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