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Thread: A Fresh Start - Guatemala the Culture the People

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    Default A Fresh Start - Guatemala the Culture the People

    Coming to Guatemala a day ago after spending parts of 4 years in Nicaragua - - - is like NIGHT AND DAY. Guatemala is much more like being in a city in the United States.

    We haven't made it to our destination of Xela yet as we wanted to stop on the way and get a taste of the capital Guatemala City and today will be spending time in beautiful Antigua a hour and a half away.

    Walking the streets in the centre of town reminds me of our memorable experiences in San Jose, Costa Rica. The main street heading out from the government buildings, is a long strip of people walking, artisans and performers, and stores and malls with everything the eye desires.

    I have been warned about the dangers of having a camera in many parts of the city such as here - but I my adventure is to take pictures after all - - - also I was told that I wouldn't have the freedom of taking photos of people and that to take any, I would have to pay them.

    At least those were warnings from a few individuals and research on the web prior to coming. But I have heard the same things when we were in Costa Rica and as well Nicaragua - so I will continue to use common sense and photograph the people and the culture as before. I'm only one afternoon into my street shooting, but the experience was amazing and satisfying.

    Here are a few of the 700 photos that I took along this stretch yesterday afternoon. For many of my shots I was able to stop and talk to the people for a while, ask their name and tell them my name and that I am Canadian and have moved to Guatemala - which opened up more discussion about the weather and sports. I then asked if I could take their photo - - - including a policeman - and all but one young boy selling toys with his father closely, agreed and requested nothing for it.

    Photos taken with mirrorless camera Olympus E-PL5 and 14-42 kit lens.
    Last edited by Robert Watcher; 11-20-2015 at 09:14 AM.

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    Default Re: A Fresh Start - Guatemala the Culture the People



    Policeman named Mynor Leonel



    Mayan Woman Sleeping on the Job



    Artist named Luis David

    Last edited by Robert Watcher; 11-20-2015 at 10:53 AM.

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    Default Re: A Fresh Start - Guatemala the Culture the People



    Glass Engraver named Jose Luis



    Jewelry Maker and Metal Engraver named Dionicio



    Man Sitting on Window Ledge named Wilbur


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    Default Re: A Fresh Start - Guatemala the Culture the People

    as always, great stuff from you Robert!
    Looking forward to more.

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    Robert Watcher (11-21-2015)

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    Default Re: A Fresh Start - Guatemala the Culture the People

    Great pictures, and in Guatemala City no less!

    I was there about half a decade ago. In Flores we had arranged a little minibus to take the four of us from Guatemala City airport to Lago Atitlan. We asked the driver to stop in central Guatemala City. At first he refused, but caved in later. It was a bit scary. Bus stops guarded by people with shotguns and bulletproof vests. Guards with big guns everywhere. People walking around with machetes. You could never take the bus, as whole buses got robbed, and you always had to arrange a taxi from someone you knew. You couldn't just take a taxi from the street.

    Once out of the big city it was an entirely different deal. Never felt unsafe in either Antigua, near all the towns of Atitlan or Flores (Tikal).
    Olympus E-M1 Mk II
    7.5mm f/2.0 - 12mm f/2.0 - 17mm f/1.2 - 17mm f/1.8 - 25mm f/1.8 - 45mm f/1.8 - 56mm f/1.4 - 9-18mm - 14-150mm II

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    Robert Watcher (11-21-2015)

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    Default Re: A Fresh Start - Guatemala the Culture the People

    We have quickly gotten settled in Xela in the western highlands of Guatemala. Our altitude is just under 8,000 feet. The days are nicely warm and evening quite cold - even getting to freezing and a bit below on some nights. There is no heat in most homes, so lots of warm clothing and blankets are a requirement.

    Within 1 day of arriving in Xela from Guatemala City, we were able to find a very nice apartment situated in a very convenient location in the large city. Photography will not be in the same order as it was in Nicaragua. There are photo opportunities, but much different and probably not as varied - - - as Xela is a quite modern city and except for the many Maya women, children and families in the streets and markets - I am harder pressed to find such unique subjects and content as I have had the last 3 years in Nica.

    One thing that Anne and I love is that the city is wrapped in mountains and a couple of volcanoes. As I was walking around town I was trying to imagine where I may be able to find a rooftop to gain access to - so that I could have an overview of the city and mountainscapes. Then one recent evening I wondered if I went up the flights of stairs in our 4 floor apartment building - if I could get a more interesting viewpoint out of one of the stairways windows - than from our 2nd floor balcony.

    Well as I nears the top floor, I found that a door was open onto the roof. I walked out onto the cement pad, to find that I was fully exposed to the whole city and surroundings - in all directions - virtually unobstructed. Our building happens to be in one of the highest places in the city. For this alone, our rent was worth it.

    Here are some photos that I have taken over the past week, from our rooftop:
















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    Default Re: A Fresh Start - Guatemala the Culture the People

    Great shots!

    When I was in Guatemala, the best photo ops were in the small towns around Lago Atitlan. Villagers from surrounding villages would come in for the markets in traditional clothing. Its easy to take a boat trip around the lake.
    Olympus E-M1 Mk II
    7.5mm f/2.0 - 12mm f/2.0 - 17mm f/1.2 - 17mm f/1.8 - 25mm f/1.8 - 45mm f/1.8 - 56mm f/1.4 - 9-18mm - 14-150mm II

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    Default Re: A Fresh Start - Guatemala the Culture the People

    Quote Originally Posted by Edmunds View Post
    Great shots!

    When I was in Guatemala, the best photo ops were in the small towns around Lago Atitlan. Villagers from surrounding villages would come in for the markets in traditional clothing. Its easy to take a boat trip around the lake.

    Yes we do plan on going there when my brother comes to visit in January. Good to know you liked that area.

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    Default Re: A Fresh Start - Guatemala the Culture the People

    65% of the population in Xela are Maya. We have a street market just 3 blocks from our home when we pick up fresh radishes, green onions, carrots, beets and fruits almost every day. I snapped a few shots of the women working in the market the other day. As before, I will be taking prints to them. Fortunately there are many photo processing stores in Xela:












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    Default Re: A Fresh Start - Guatemala the Culture the People

    Here is a selection of Street Images that I took around Central Park this afternoon:















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    Default Re: A Fresh Start - Guatemala the Culture the People

    An Interesting Collection of Architectures in Xela - from Modern American to Colonial to Corinthian to European (German, Spanish) - dates going back to the 16th Century. Lots of Character in the streets.














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    People Busy in the Streets













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    Default Re: A Fresh Start - Guatemala the Culture the People

    In the same way that sewing machines are still operated by foot treadle - - - Candy Floss machines prevail and operate by hand crank - generally turned by a son as was the case here last night:





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    Default Re: A Fresh Start - Guatemala the Culture the People

    TEXTURE AND COLOUR












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    Street Vendors












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    Default Re: A Fresh Start - Guatemala the Culture the People

    absolutely fantastic work Rob! You have a great eye, you capture the soul of your subjects, and your processing just makes them all just pop !
    I have been perusing your blog for a while now,(it goes on and on), and I have great admiration for your work, and style of shooting!
    David
    Last edited by dh202; 12-15-2015 at 06:58 PM.

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    Default Re: A Fresh Start - Guatemala the Culture the People

    Quote Originally Posted by dh202 View Post
    absolutely fantastic work Rob! You have a great eye, you capture the soul of your subjects, and your processing just makes them all just pop !
    I have been perusing your blog for a while now,(it goes on and on), and I have great admiration for your work, and style of shooting!
    David
    Thank you so much. I really appreciate your comment

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    Default Re: A Fresh Start - Guatemala the Culture the People

    It's been a bit since I set my Olympus E-PL5 to Grainy Black and White in square format - so that all processing is done in camera. But that is how I went about shooting the streets of Xela, Guatemala this afternoon.

    Two and half hours of exploring narrow streets, twists and turns and dead-ends, produced around 300 shots from which there will be a large selection of prized (by me) images.

    The first image is one I am very proud of. It is definitely my PIC OF THE DAY. I turned a corner and there was this incredible composition and light tonality just waiting for me to take advantage of.



    Image #1



    Image #2



    Image #3




    --------

    I ended up with several very interesting images containing silhouettes of people. Here are 2 of them:




    Image #4




    Image #5


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    Default Re: A Fresh Start - Guatemala the Culture the People

    Some Guatemala Colour - 1




    Colour #1


    Colour #2


    Colour #3


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    Default Re: A Fresh Start - Guatemala the Culture the People

    Some Guatemala Colour - 2 with the human element




    Colour #4


    Colour #5


    Colour #6


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    Default Re: A Fresh Start - Guatemala the Culture the People

    INTERPRETATIONS ::: SOFT COLOURS OF GUATEMALA




    IMAGE #1


    IMAGE #2


    IMAGE #3



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