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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mexican Adventures Part II: Road Travel

This is a part of a photo journal series, documenting my travel and stay in Mexico.

I made a couple rules for my self at my stay there:

1. One lens swap per day (For photos.  For my actual filming I would switch lenses appropriately).  I wanted to minimize exposing the interior of the body to the humid atmosphere.

2. 24-36 pictures a day.  I can take as many pictures as I want at the moment, but I will only keep 24-36 pictures from each day.

See the previous entry and introduction here!

In the photos below I will state a description with the equipment used to take the photos (all were taken the with Canon 7D body). See the previous entry for the introduction and description of the gear.

Day 1:
This is what people wear in Mexico

I had just landed the night before.  This was in Mexico City.  I used the Tamron 17-50mm VC lens for the walk around in the city.  I couldn't take a lot of pictures.  I was told this is what kidnappers do to tag their targets, and people get uncomfortable around cameras.

Only if I knew what kind of weird animals were in Mexico

Yes, Mexico city.  My contact also told not to walk around at night with a camera.  A lot of crime occurs, and it's not safe at night.  And when you take the taxi, call for them, never take the ones in the streets.

 Oscar Moreno

This is my client, Oscar Moreno.  He is the President of Cofarnat, the wilderness conservation group that comissioned me.  He was to be my guide for this trip.

Day 2:

 He will clean your windshields.

We left the city for Coatzalcoalcos by bus, and then to Campeche City by car.  For the car trip, I swapped to the Canon 70-200mm 2.8L IS II.  It's a tourist destination, and I was told this city is pretty safe.  They don't want to scare off their main source of income.

The nights are clear

We stayed the night in Campeche city.  The place is mostly peaceful, and I even spotted foreigners.  Gringos is what they're called.  (Americans).  But Americans carry American Dollars, so they're welcome in the city.  I too carried American dollars on this trip, and it was quite useful.

Day 3:
 Campeche has nice beaches.

Spent a day in Campeche city, gathering supplies. I used the Tamron 17-50mm VC again to get some landscapes.  I still think landscapes are boring, but I guess I needed some practice.  Anyways, there was a loong car ride involved again.

 I have no clue what this is.  Apparently it's shark.

 Definition of boring travel photo

In Constitucion, a rural area.

Travel note:  I was told to avoid drinking water, eating from street vendors, and such from my travel doctor.  And what gets me sick?  Eating from Subway.  Yes, subway made my next few days miserable with intestinal problems.  It was pretty bad.

Day 4:

Another photo of Tita

I had arrived in La Montaña ranch the night before.  It's an established ranch, with a clubhouse and a cabin, solar power for electricity, and running water.  It was previously used by hunters.  When Oscar Moreno took over, he turned it in to a wild life and natural resource conservation.  The point is to prevent poachers and loggers from coming in, and to increase awareness of the wildlife that inhabit the area.

For a walk-around of the ranch, I used the Canon 70-200mm 2.8L IS II.  I didn't really want to get too close to the monkeys.

This is the only cat I saw in Mexico.

This is a cat that lives in the nearby Jungle.  Her name is Ñeñe, and she walked in to the camp as a kitten, and was adopted by the cat that used to live there.  She eats snakes, scorpions, spiders, mice, whatever she can catch.  She comes in to the camp sometimes when people are eating.

He looks nice, but that chain's been broken before.
This is Ramon.  Or Monch is what they call him.  As opposed to Tita, who voluntarily entered to camp to live with the people, he was donated to the foundation by his previous owners.  He hates humans.  His family was killed so that he could be sold as a pet.  For a spider monkey baby to be taken as a pet, the entire family must be killed first, because they will fight to the death to protect their baby.  The point is, don't buy pet monkeys.

He was chained up (as opposed to a rope leash on Tita).  He really hates people (other than the staff at the ranch), and attacks visitors.  So for my safety he was leashed to his house by chain.  I was walking by him once and he tried to trip me by wrapping his tail around my ankle!  They told me that's what he does so he can drag me back to his area and beat me up.  Anyways, he's nice to everyone else there.

And Moncho and Tita... they're just friends.
I felt safe after meeting Angel

Angel is the Manager of the ranch.  He maintains operation of the camp with his wife, two sons, and a couple hired helpers.

There was a lot of chicken and turkey in the camp.

Mid day I swapped to the Tokina 11-16mm 2.8 when we went for a trip in to the jungle.  We were following Jon in his daily inspection of his Turkey traps.

Jon trying to listen to those turkeys

This is Jon McRoberts in his Oscellated Turkey research from Texas Tech University.  He would set up Turkey traps, catch them, tag them, and release them back to study their behavior in the wild.  Researchers and photographers are welcome to come to the Cofarnat Foundation.
Canela, I think she watches the chicken and turkey, but sleeps mostly.

There were two dogs in the camp.  Apparently, two other dogs had just died before I got there, one was eaten by a Jaguar near the camp, and the other died for unknown reasons.  Life is tough in the jungle.  Otherwise there are a lot of wild and stray dogs in Mexico.  There is no animal control, so if anyone wants a dog, they can easily adopt a homeless one.

See the previous entry here!
See the other pictures from this trip at my Flickr site!

Come back later for more entries and photos!

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