Tag Archives: Nature

The Right to reach for the Sky.

I’ll say it once again! Is anyone capable or with the right to judge someone else as “not normal” or “not worthy”?!

Calakmul, Mexico. Kingdom of the Divine Lords of the Snake.

Amazed by the inmense lushness of the forest surrounding the ancient Maya constructions and more than anything the trees growing on top, a special encounter inspired me the following thoughts:

Sitting, waiting, a turn of the head and there he was, twisted…

Awkwardly extending his trunk and branches upwards and sideways,

A messy and hairy cover that played with the clouds…


Weird he might seem to many, there by himself, with roots deep,

Below what human hands built centuries ago.

For sure I know, for my soul tells me, one of the special ones he is,

Different he is, and wise too, a lot he has been through,

And the right to reach for the Sky he has too.

Color and light among the remains.

Green traces of life emerging from the dead remains on the forest ground, in the like of which my mind and soul come out sometimes from obscurity to shine for a little while.

Finding scenes like this in Nature remind me of Life’s abilities to keep renovating itself one time after another. It also tells me that it’s possible to find light even in darker places, light that allows me to keep on going ahead through the deepest and most light deprived stages of my inward journey.

Looking back at my Nature images from 2016.

Photographing Nature is some of the most rewarding experiences for me. Throughout the year I make a lot of images, some I like, some not so much, some have a special place in my eyes and in my heart. I like to share with you a selection of some of the ones that have that special place.

Untitledemp_20160311_013emp_20161016_012Agave DephtsIgnitedThrough the deepemp_20160702_088A tear among the veins of lifeemp_20161013_060-editemp_20160626_016emp_20161103_035emp_20161125_051emp_20161104_167Trough giantsemp_20160310_011A forest near Jilotzingo, Mexico. November 2016. ©Eduardo Mendoza.

Among trees

A forest near Jilotzingo, Mexico. November 2016. ©Eduardo Mendoza.

Walking among trees, again in the quest to remember the very basic breath of life, looking for the essential and struggling to find again myself and my way back out of darkness, trying to understand the wisdom that lies in the forest, breathing deep the cool and fresh air, walking slowly step after step, camera in hand, sometimes raised to my eye, some attempts to interprete the experience in an image, in deep listening, watching the sunlight pass trough the branches and revealing bits of life on the ground, inhaling the greens and the touches of golden light. Yes, it’s something that touches my soul.

A forest near Jilotzingo, Mexico. November 2016. ©Eduardo Mendoza.

A forest near Jilotzingo, Mexico. November 2016. ©Eduardo Mendoza.

A forest near Jilotzingo, Mexico. November 2016. ©Eduardo Mendoza.

A forest near Jilotzingo, Mexico. November 2016. ©Eduardo Mendoza.

A forest near Jilotzingo, Mexico. November 2016. ©Eduardo Mendoza.

A forest near Jilotzingo, Mexico. November 2016. ©Eduardo Mendoza.

A forest near Jilotzingo, Mexico. November 2016. ©Eduardo Mendoza.

Touches of sunlight and blue sky.

Today the afternoon greeted the eyes and heart with touches of beautiful sunlight and patches of blue in the sky. So many hours and hours of grey tones, rain and inclement weather set me in low power mode, I need light, a light that does not come enough from humans as it would be nicer lately, light that throws away confusion, light that pierces the veils that blur my senses and feelings. Nature is still providing, gifts like these keep me going, reminders that say that hope is still a valid word.

Tiny, connection through the details in Nature.

Tiny

via Photo Challenge: Tiny

Some human beings like myself go through times when we struggle finding the connection with the rest of the people, the rest of the world, the news on the radio, a TV program, reading a magazine, are just confusing echoes of the daily life of the ones free from unveiled chains. The soul burdened with heavy loads looks for the simple closeness to Nature, focusing on the smaller, tiny details help to keep that connection, soothes the spirit, and help to bring some beautiful moments of joy and the feel that life is indeed worth living.

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Fujifilm XT10 y Micro-Nikkor 55mm AIS

Habiendo usado la XT10 de Fujifilm con su lente “de kit” el 18-55mm -un lente con una calidad mucho mejor que esos lentes de kit a los que nos tienen acostumbrados las otras marcas- por ya varios meses, definitivamente sigo asombrado por la calidad de imagen que entrega la combinación del sensor X-Trans y la óptica de Fuji. Sin embargo, una de las razones principales para adquirir una cámara de la serie X de lentes intercambiables, habiendo disfrutado mucho de hacer fotos con la X100S es poder utilizar algunas de mis excelentes ópticas de Nikon en combinación con la calidad de imagen y las simulaciones de película que me da la Fuji.

XT10, Fotodiox y Micro55mm

El mundo de los pequeños detalles, sobre todo los que esconde la naturaleza siempre me inspira para hacer fotos y los lentes para macrofotografía son de mis favoritos para documentar un insecto, o crear imágenes que rayan en lo abstracto a partir de vegetación. Una pequeña joya desde que lo adquirí es mi Micro-Nikkor 55mm F2.8 AIS, y siendo de mis lentes favoritos y que mas uso ha tenido en mi Nikon D200 es el primero que deseaba usar en combinación con la XT10 y el adaptador de Fotodiox. La combinación es excelente, el tamaño y peso reducido del Nikkor lo hace un excelente compañero de la XT10 y en conjunto con el adaptador el kit resultante es muy ligero y compacto, perfecto para una buena jornada de varias horas de hacer fotos.

Ya me he pasado un buen tiempo en 2 jardines botánicos de la Ciudad de México con mi kit macro Fuji-Nikkor, ademas de recorridos por la Sierra Gorda de Querétaro donde los sujetos para el macro son muy variados,  y en algunas locaciones mas con excelentes resultados de los que la mayoría dejaré para próximas entradas al blog, aquí les quiero compartir una corta selección de las imágenes que he logrado desde el inicio y hasta días recientes. Realmente puedo decir que estoy muy contento con este kit, práctico y versátil, cómodo de usar por varias horas sin sentirse fatigado y las imágenes, sea en archivo Raw o los Jpg’s directos con las simulaciones de película, sobre todo el rendimiento del Velvia, tienen un toque especial que es muy de mi agrado. Si bien no se cuenta con autoenfoque, en la macrofotografía es algo que normalmente no es muy útil, y con las asistencias para el enfoque manual de la cámara se facilita mucho lograr el foco donde se requiere.

Usar el Micro_Nikkor 55 es de por sí una delicia, con ese nivel de calidad de construcción ya más que reconocido por muchos fotógrafos y ese toque suave del anillo de enfoque que he disfrutado por años con mis cámaras Nikon DSLR, y que ahora soy afortunado de combinar con mi Fuji. Espero disfruten la galería.

 

Ready for the warm.

The trees, many creatures of nature, and especially myself, are ready for warmer, sunnier days.

I got this image the other day when I was shaking some of the winter from my body, and after a whole week I got locked inside the house for a bad cold that kept me away from exercising. As is often the case, I had the Fuji X100S with me.

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Catching life’s details with the Fuji X100S.

In the areas close to home there are still open spaces that allow life flourish free most of the year. A small park and the surroundings of a basketball field benefit of the proximity of a large property that has only a house isolated in it and a school that has also its backyard left unconstructed. I go there often mostly in the mornings when I don’t go to run and ride my bicycle some other place because I don’t have enough time, or I feel more like being where I can be alone or almost alone since just a few people use to go there early.

Grass grows tall and some kinds of wildflowers flourish in these areas too, allowing bugs, spiders, grasshoppers and even bees and butterflies feed, enjoy the sun and the wind, mate and take shelter at night or when the weather gets rough. Many times I go there to stretch and meditate, and I bring a camera along and enjoy my time there contemplating the morning light from that high terrain in the hill, also appreciating and photographing the beautiful sights of the small details and creatures.

Luckily my Fuji X100S allows me to get as close as 10cm from this kind of scenes so without hauling specific closeup or macro gear I’ve had the chance to make several images there playing with the light, the shapes and textures, in colour or black and white. The morning of this image the grass was especially high after most of the summer and I watched these winged creatures being lit by a spot of sunlight, I did my best getting closer among the grass without spoiling them and shot a few frames. I think the best one is this with nice lighting, colour contrast and the out of focus areas that the X100S lens renders so well, something I surely love!

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Paisajes de una hortaliza

Es increíble cómo puede cambiar el entorno!, en Noviembre del año pasado un costado del garaje gozaba de una vida que hoy no tiene, en estos días las paredes blancas carecen del exuberante verdor que nos compartía una bella y enorme planta de calabazas. Nunca antes había tenido la oportunidad de admirar la belleza que se puede encontrar en las formas y contornos de una planta así.

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El poder mirar con detenimiento, diariamente y a múltiples horas del día las hojas, las flores, que por cierto varias terminaron en quesadillas, las caprichosas formas espirales, y las vellosidades de las ramas de la enredadera, inevitablemente condujeron a que destinara muy buenos ratos a caminar junto a la bella planta cámara en mano. Al correr de los días alterné el uso de mi Fuji X100S y mi Nikon D200 armada de un macro de 55mm, explorando una y otra vez los variados paisajes a pequeña escala que se abrían ante mi vista.

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Realmente disfruté mucho la experiencia de contar con esa compañía en casa, siempre hemos tenido plantas y árboles, pero la manera de extenderse de la planta de calabaza, de llenar todos los huecos por donde pudo, sí que es algo especial, a pesar de ser una especie cultivable en México desde hace muchos siglos no deja de tener su espíritu silvestre, o al menos así fué mi sentir. Finalmente llegaron los fríos de diciembre y enero y la planta se fué secando, hasta que los paisajes que me regaló ya no los pude ver mas.
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Mirrorless closeup, for the joy of Nature.

A few weeks ago I had the chance to take sometime to enjoy myself at UNAM’s botanical garden here in Mexico City. The botanical garden is part of a natural preserve and is in fact a little bit of a much needed wilderness inside this huge metropolis, which holds several flora and fauna species that present very nice photo opportunities. Taking a walk through it gives priceless moments of peace and joy, and since I love photographing Nature there was no excuse for not taking a camera along, so took one that day, actually, two cameras.

J1wMicro55AISandX100S

As you may have noticed the Fujifilm X100S has taken a special place in my image making, so I packed it inside my camera bag along with my recent tool of choice for making macrophotography, a Nikon 1 J1 armed with an FT1 Adapter and a Micro-Nikkor 55mm AIS lens, these kit allowed me to enjoy two different approaches of making closeup images. For several years a heavy DSLR and a macro lens have helped me to approach tiny creatures and natural details, but with mirrorless cameras I’m able to capture the small world (and the big one) almost wherever I go, and even when long runs for training or caving trips are the main deal, there’s a much lighter gear choice that I have at hand so I don’t need to keep myself away from my love of photography, so lately I’ve been practicing closeup photography much more with these setup rather than with my DSLR.

Fuji X100S, Velvia Film Simulation.

Fuji X100S, Velvia Film Simulation.

So, on this occasion after a short running session (really short) I entered the botanical garden where I walked for a while relaxing and recovering my breath and at the same time starting to connect with the place and paying attention to the light, I really wanted to enjoy my time there being by myself so my intentions were to play rather than taking the assignment approach. During the next few hours I switched between the X100S and the J1 combo and since the effective field of view are 35mm and 148.5mm respectively I was able to get a very distinctive feeling with each camera, sure, for getting really close to my subject the J1 was the choice, but with the X100S I had the chance to get as close as 10cm from the subject which in combination with the slightly wide angle field of view, putting the subject into its context and the visual perspective of the images really pleased me.

Nikon 1 J1, FT1 Adapter, Micro-Nikkor 55mm F2.8 AIS

Nikon 1 J1, FT1 Adapter, Micro-Nikkor 55mm F2.8 AIS

What really made this so much more fun was taking advantage of Fuji’s beautiful film simulations, and since my love of B&W imagery has had me preferred the monochrome aesthetics even with nature and closeup images I really wanted to try the Velvia film simulation taking the photos with the RAW+Jpg activated in the image quality settings. All of the images made that day with the X100S were chosen from the jpgs, so no processing the Raw’s in Lightroom this time, only with the Raw’s from the J1 I spent some time fine tuning contrast and colour, and sharpness to some degree. Using the two cameras was really fun, I loved so much the X100S Velvia look and more environmental feel and the J1’s ability to render the subject really large in the image and that I can be farther from it which gives the advantage of not spoiling the bees and other creatures and when it gets harder to get close because the roughness of the terrain, being made of pure volcanic rocks in this case, or the presence of cactus and other “friendly” flora.

Here is a gallery of the X100S images.

And here is the gallery of the Nikon 1 J1 images.

Earth is Home for all creatures.

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Life is all around us, we as humans for centuries have seen Nature as something separated from our existence, something to be conquered. Our planet is still full of beauty and wonder far in exotic locations and right in the places we live, and is the only home for all species including our own. Celebrating Earth’s Day is a great chance to think about new ways of living our lives in tune with the environment.