Archive for Mexico

Sep
24

Photo Challenge Winner on Viewbug

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There are numerous websites and online communities where members are able to share photos and sell images.

Viewbug is one of such sites I’m a member of where I share images and enter them into various competitions run by the site or contests run by other members. While the chances of winning are slim (due to the thousands of excellent entries), it does help give you feedback on your images and it is sometimes surprising to find that images you really love are not always as popular as you may think they would be. Similarly, some images you may believe aren’t anything special, receive excellent feedback.

gp-lobster2

Recently, I entered the above image of a Caribbean Spiny Lobster into a user contest called “Sea Life Photo Challenge”. When the winner was announced I was surprised to find that my image had been voted as the Peoples’ Choice winner. Naturally, I was pretty pleased with this news so I thought I’d just share a little bit about this image.

I took it at the very start of a night dive in Cozumel, Mexico in June 2015. My main camera for underwater photography is a Fujifilmn XQ-1. I also have a GoPro Hero4 Black mounted on top of the XQ-1 underwater housing. The housing has twin handles with a Inon D2000 strobe mounted on one side for use with the XQ-1 and a small video strobe mounted on the other side.

I only shoot video on the GoPro which offers a wider angle view than the XQ-1. Typically, I’ll shoot a few seconds video and then select the best image to work on in post production. The wider angle offer by the GoPro means I can get closer to the main subject (in this case the head and body of the lobster) while still keeping more of the image in frame. In this case, I could show more of the lobster’s long antennae in the frame.

Lobsters are a lot easier to photography than some marine creatures. They tend to hide away under rocks during the day (you can still see them) and tend to emerge at night. As they don’t swim off, you can get close to them and take the time to frame your shot. This allowed me to get this one head one which is a type of image I try to look for.

There is a problem is post production as I can only extract JPG images from the GoPro video and not RAW files which would give me more flexibility in editing. Fortunately, the GoPro’s auto settings are pretty good so there isn’t usually too much work to do in order to complete the image.

A couple of tweaks in Photoshop along with using some of the excellent GoogleNik Color Efex Pro filters give me the finished image.

My Viewbug profile can be found here: https://www.viewbug.com/member/ratherton

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Sep
18

Blog update

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Well, it been a while since I’ve updated the site and I’ve been thinking about the type of articles to publish.

Personally, one of the biggest pleasures I get when travelling is photography and trying to capture images of the places I’ve visited. While there are no shortage of excellent photographers out there to learn from, I’d like to be able to pass on little hints here and there about certain places.

Sunset in Mexico

Sunset in Mexico

Sometimes images are planned, others are taking an opportunity. The image above was taken at Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres in Mexico just over a month ago. There were some fabulous sunsets while I was there.

As well as taking photos, I always enhance them or what is known as “post production”. I do this to improve the overall quality of the final image and use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. These are subscription software packages and there are other free options available. The important thing is to understand a few key controls that will help enhance colours, improve the contrasts and balance the lighting of an image.

I’ve got plenty of images to write about from various countries, so I will be posting more regularly going forward.

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Aug
12

Thoughts on Holidaying in Cancun

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The coastal city of Cancun is located on the Yucatan Peninsula in eastern Mexico, in a region referred to as the “Mexican Caribbean.” The city centre is located on the mainland, whilst the most modern hotels are located on a narrow, 7-shaped, 17-mile island across the Nichupté lagoon, connected by a small bridge. Cancun is an extremely popular destination for worldwide holidaymakers. The region has a tropical “wet and dry” climate, with little temperature variation, but distinct rainy seasons. The city is hottest from May to September, although unlike nearby inland areas, sea breezes keep temperatures at a comfortable average of 27 °C (80°F). This well-liked tourist resort is easy to reach, with Cancun International Airport, Mexico`s busiest for international travellers, just 12 miles and a mere 20-minute car trip away. The airport is well served by regular flights from Europe and Asia, along with North, South and Central America, with some 10 million passengers passing through every year.

Cancun offers superb beaches, with powdery white sand complemented by the exquisite blue waters of the Caribbean. The Caribbean side of Cancun “Island” is essentially a continuous stretch of beach featuring Playa Caracol, Playa Las Perlas, Playa Linda, Playa Langosta and Playa Tortugas, while the east offers Playa Choc Mool, Playa Delfines, Playa Del Ray and Playa Marlin. All have received excellent reviews from visitors, some of whom rated them among “the most beautiful in the world.” The main beaches are very safe, with lifeguards continually monitoring the water and weather conditions, with many opportunities for sailing, fishing water sports, snorkelling and scuba diving. “Aquaworld,” in Cancun`s “Hotel Zone” offers a jungle tour, giving participants the chance to drive a sports boat through mangrove swamps. For those seeking seclusion, a short westward drive towards Playa Del Carmen leads to many unnamed, virtually undiscovered coves and beaches.

Away from the beaches, other attractions in the Cancun region include the world-famous Mayan archaeological site of Chichen Itza, featuring the impressive Temple of Warriors and El Caracol, an ancient astronomic observatory. An hour`s drive from the city of Cancun, Xcaret Park brings together the culture, ecology and wildlife of Mexico. This “magical paradise” has underground rivers and a butterfly pavilion, along with inlets where visitors can enjoy swimming with dolphins.

Cancun hotels offer a wide range of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets. This ranges from the relatively inexpensive, simple but comfortable, motel-style facilities in the older part of the city, nearest the mainland, to 5-star luxury in the more recently developed areas.

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