This is my favorite photo of my Russia abroad trip, though this photo was taken in Estonia.
It has a story to go with it, a memorable one I should say, well at least for me. So here it goes:
It was about a month before my Study abroad semester would end and we , meaning a friend and I, were determined to leave the country. Our first choice was Finland since it really close to Petersburg. But the only issue was that I had to make sure I could go, since I am a Mexican citizen. URAAAA!! (As the Russians say) I found out that my Mexican Citizenship pulled through and I am able to go to Finland!
But then we had this really random idea of visiting Tallinn, Estonia and again I was legible to go. Keep in mind this planning all happened on a Thursday night. The only issue with all of this was the fact that we did not have our visas at hand, Nevsky, our host institute had them. So our trip depended on whether we could get the visas the next day.
And so the next morning we rushed to the institute to figure out if we can get our visas and luck would have it that we could. So that evening at 5:00pm we purchased our bus tickets for an 11:59pm bus to Tallinn.
Once in Tallinn we were being our touristy selves, cameras in hand snapping away at anything. It was pleasant to be away from the suffocating Petersburgian Architecture and weather. At one point we were walking around the old town fortress walls and as I look up I see a person having some tea outside of a small window on the fortress wall. I NEEDED the photo. I had the wrong lens on, so I thought i would lose the shot by the time I could switch lenses and scope the person out. I thought it would be difficult anyway, because he would notice if I took the photo. I was shy, I didn’t want top enrage this person or be rude.
I was contemplating this all with my friends and they ended up convincing me that I had nothing to lose if I just go and ask for the photo, after all the worst that could happen is a “No!!” and get yelled at in a language I perhaps wouldn’t understand.
After I was convinced to ask, I remembered that I had to ask in a language where I could be understood. We were told to speak English, because the older generation could get defensive with Russian, because it was part of the USSR in the past. Spanish, yeah, who would understand me there! And Estonian, I had no idea!!
And so I was contemplating this as I was walking toward my subject. I looked up at him and asked politely, “May I take a photo of you?” To my surprise he replied in a British and possibly a bit of a Scottish accent, with a, “Yes, of course!” I could not believe it, this made my day. This was what I was waiting for. I pointed my lens upward and adjusted my aperture and shutter and took the shot. It was innate and happened quickly. I was nervous and thus did not look at the photo until I was walking away. Before that I told him thanks and that I was a photography student. I must have sounded stupid…
When I saw the photo, I could not forget that feeling of accomplishment.
This post will be dedicated to the portraits I did during my first photo adventure in my home base: San Antonio, Texas.
It is hard to take nice pictures of people when you are using manual mode, setting shutter speeds and apertures while taking a quick shot of a person hoping they don’t realize it. This activity I call, Scoping. It was fun to do, but again really hard. I grew very fond of it in Russia, and found it much easier to do here at home, maybe because people are much friendlier in general.
And so that brings me to the photos:
These next two photos were taken on the Alamo, where tons of tourists always hang around posing in front of this mission. As tourists focus on their photographer, I can easily sneak these photos using my 55mm-200mm lens.
Enjoy and thanks again for dropping by, please drop a line and critique or add insight!
I was in Portland, Maine in a coffee house reading. I had to snap this photo!
If I back track, the story goes something like this:
I participated in a collection of memoirs at Bates College. These memoirs eventually became part of a book called “They Were Beautiful. Such Things Are.” Memoirs for Change from Dadaab, Kenya and Lewiston, Maine”.
My memoir was chosen for this reading to promote awareness of immigration in Maine from refugee camps in Africa, mainly Kenya and Somalia. The book also contains stories of people who have come to Lewiston, Maine in search of a better education and life.
***100% of the proceeds from the book will go to scholarships for Women of Kenyan refugee camps***
It has been about 3 months or so since I made a trip down to my homeland (It didn’t really count when I came down for a few hours to my grandfather’s funeral after this past Thanksgiving). I planned to spend my time with my father and visit my relatives. Though, somehow my father had met up with an old friend who needed my help with translating English and Spanish for some “gavachos” (as my dad said). I thought this could be interesting, but I really had no idea exactly what I was translating or why I would be an interpreter…
So, I ended up in Dos Countries Ranch (Two countries being the US and Mexico) in Zaragoza, Coahuila, Mexico helping out several church organizations from different parts of the Southern U.S. deliver gifts and food to the poor. I was definitely up for it, first of all I would be doing meaningful for Christmas and God, secondly, I would be able to help the people of my country in some form, thirdly, I knew I would be able to take awesome photos ( I can go on and on)…
There were vast amounts of gifts and food; I still wonder how they managed to receive it. At the same time, there were vast amounts of people to reach out to, and many more that we couldn’t help.
I was proud of myself for being on the other side of the spectrum (in many ways); my absence in Zaragoza has made me an outsider, I was a giver and not a receiver, and my current economic standing isn’t at all great, but I am not necessarily in a terrible state as many of these people we aided.
I knew my Christmas was not gonna be one of material gifts with the current standing family situation, but what I didn’t know was that these people in poverty had a gift in return for me, these photos…
The sincerity in a childs eyes and smile. This again is part of my collection from Panama. This moment can only be described as the decisive one, when nothing is staged, and the shutter closes at the precise moment .
I was trying to find a way to go about photographing the Black Christ Festival in Portobelo, Panama. I was guided by Sandra Eleta, a well known photographer in Panama. As I became more comfortable with my camera and taking pictures of the people around, I began getting closer to my subjects and focusing on capturing the right moment, the one that Sandra described that captures the soul for a split second