At Iguazu Falls in Argentina, David encountered a coati. The animal was sitting in the rain near a trash bin hoping to get some food. David was nice enough to share his apple. And the coati was very polite until it had its hands upon the fruit. Then it snapped at David causing him to jump back. And off went the coati.
Cusco, Peru. We were there for a day before making the train trip to Machu Picchu. It was a day for a religious festival. There were saints carried around on pallets. All around the square local merchants set up tables of food and goods. I had heard that one of the local specialties is guinea pig. Here I was face to face with a platter. I don’t know how they prepare them, get the hair off, or kill them. I would rather not be faced with the teeth. After all these are the pets I see all the time. My son was more than willing to try this delicacy. And he eventually did so. I will also say that this same child refused to eat pasta with sauce because he had to see the pasta naked lest there be a secret ingredient. Shall we say that I took a pass on eating and just took a picture?
Buenos Aires, Argentina. My son was at work. Lisa was down with dengue fever. I had the park to myself and wandered. I came upon a tree where the parrots were feeding. They would fly to the ground for a minute or so and then take off. While feeding they were content to let me get a little closer so that the big zoom could get some detail. I wonder if the Argentines think I’m as silly as I feel when tourists are taking pictures of the squirrels in Central Park.
Buenos Aires, Argentina. I don’t know if the parrots are native or they are escaped pets. The central park has many nests high in the palm trees. You can see the parents flying to and fro to feed the young. It was pretty hard to get good shots. They flew quickly and were pretty high within the dark canopy of leaves. Here I was able to get the parrot in a panned shot. The background is nicely out of focus and I am happy to have made this shot.
La Boca is a neighborhood in Buenos Aires that is famous for it’s colorfully painted buildings. It is said that the poor did not have money to buy paint so they used paint from the port’s ships. The colorful kaleidoscope is in a dangerous area if you judge from the folks who told me not to have my camera out on my shoulder. On a warm sunny day the color really pops and is all the more garish. Everything says tourist trap. Tango is the national signature dance. Here, you see tango demonstrations everywhere, from street impromptu to formal shows. On the streets of La Boca, many dancers performed exhibitions to lure tourists into sidewalk cafes. The dancers were so serious and stylish. This couple was clearly enjoying the moment.
When we finally visited David in Argentina, it was my second trip to South America. Remember, we visited for the wedding in Peru, where we parted from our favorite son. And yes, he would still be the favorite if there were another son. Fortunately, Julia is our favorite daughter, but she was in Africa, simultaneously, teaching. Lisa set up a trip to see some of the sights in Argentina. In retrospect it was like coming to America and traveling to Washington, Chicago and New York. Argentina is a large country. The plane flights were long and demanding. Iguazu Falls is Argentina’s comparison to Niagara Falls. But, I have never been to Niagara as you know from my rugby post. Iguazu was very large, the largest I have seen. And it was wet! Not just the falls but it was raining when we set off to visit the falls on our day and a half stay. Mostly it rained steadily and in between it poured – as in deluge. I shot this sepia processed image on the Canon G11. I let the camera do the work of converting the image. It’s not sharp because it’s raining. There’s rain everywhere. I’m soaked. We had just returned from a boat ride under the falls. Rain slickers and umbrellas were no match for that. The spray from the falls is mixed in with the steady rain. The hotel towels, which I brought were soaked so there’s rain on the cameras and lenses as well. In fact when we went into the hotel dining room for lunch, my Nikon and our two Canons were so wet, condensation could be seen behind the from lens element glass. Fortunately it was clean water and evaporated as the cameras adjusted to the cool air conditioning. I was still more than a little concerned to see the moisture collecting where I had no chance to disassemble the lenses. Otherwise, neither cameras nor lenses have given any problems since.
This view is from David’s apartment in Buenos Aires. He lived on the sixth floor with a view from the roof overlooking the city. He had a pool and hot tub. All of this was for so little money that I’m not permitted to reveal the truth of it. We were there to relax a bit before dinner. In Argentina no one eats before 9PM. Experimenting with the preset dial on the Canon G11, I dialed up the sunset setting. Alas, Julia discovered that the G12 no longer has this. Pow! A great sunset – saturated, glowing, and wonderful, it just showed up on the preview screen, magically like this. My Nikon D200 would compensate for the low light and color producing a low contrast washed out sky. I have subsequently realized that simply dialing up the saturation in photoshop will increase the effect to get a comparable photo on the Nikon. Still, it was a great trick on the Canon and one that I continue to use. Sunset, sunrise, what nice color you can have with little effort. I finally made use of the presets, which I have always ignored till now.
You know how you mess up words you hear but don’t see. Well, at least it happens to me. Like, ‘I pledge-of-allegiance’ was just a single word to me in elementary school growing up. I was pledging before I could read back then. Argentina has its own custom of serving up hot chocolate. David introduces me to it when we visited. He called it a ‘submariner’. Ok, ok, I laugh, too, now that I checked on the spelling. Submarino is a style of using steamed miilk and then serving a chocolate bar on the side. Actually, it’s customary to serve two bars! They are dipped into the hot milk and quickly melt. It is a highly satisfying drink. We had it everywhere from the airport to the glaciers.
Buenos Aires. We were stranded. One of the flights on Aerolineas Argentinas was canceled and we missed our connection. As a result we were in Buenos Aires for an unexpected layover. The airline gave us accommodations in a ‘flea bag’ hotel. No go. David called and threw out the girl staying over in his apartment and we crashed there for one night. His mother never said a word about the utter mess and chaos in his apartment. Obviously, it was the girl. It was the first evening and my first experimentation with the capabilities of the Canon G11. We got a little silly. There are many street signs, advertising posters, and graffiti displays.
Graffiti is big on the streets of Buenos Aires. You see it everywhere. It is widely accepted as a form of street art. I watched a woman one-day painting an elaborate design in front of a school. In another instance I saw a man return and apply a clear coating to his graffiti artwork to protect it from rain. One shop even sold a book devoted to the graffiti artwork around Buenos Aires. There is a lot of talent and imagination. In this photo the pedestrian adds some extra interest.
It’s Good Friday. Lisa had just recovered from dengue fever symptoms. We still don’t know for sure if that was the diagnosis. There were warning signs for dengue fever all over the airport when we landed in Buenos Aires. Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. David had been ‘under the weather’ – low grade fever, malaise. No one had spoken too much the past two days. But now that they were mending, they decided to visit the large central cemetery, Le Recoleta. Eva Peron, ‘Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,’ is buried there. Her tomb had many visitors and flowers. Wandering the pathways this image just appeared. Many of the mausoleums are in severe disrepair. Others are maintained and have glass enclosures to protect the contents and allow visitors to view the interiors. This stained glass window juxtaposed with the gray tombs and skyline. I credit Lisa with visualizing the image that I captured. By the way, it was warm and humid. The pathways were filled with pursuing mosquitoes. We never tarried long.
Glacier National Park near El Calafate, Perito Moreno glacier. We were far inland. I don’t know why I expected glaciers to be near the coastline. Lago Argentino is large enough to be an ocean if you see it from the ground. The conditions that support glaciers are perfect in this inland area of southern Argentina. We were there two days. A boat cruise took us to see one view of the glaciers. We upgraded without spending too much and sat at the front of the boat with a glass enclosed panoramic view. It was the best first class upgrade we ever made. The second day began with a road trip and short ferry ride to see the glaciers and to climb upon them. This panoramic was stitched together in photoshop. A single frame cannot catch the span and grandeur of the glacier. It makes you feel so small compared to some of nature’s wonders. From this park, one can see the edge of the glacier. Occasionally a large piece will break off and crash to the water breaking the silence. In the background snow falls in the mountains about 300 days per year. The snow pack compresses and eventually makes its journey to the edge. The process is slow – as in glacial. The crevasses that develop make it treacherous to climb among the ice.
We were fortunate to sign up for a glacier trek. In the previous photo you can see the grandeur. Here you are reminded of the size and scale of the glacier. The little dots are groups of tourists at different points among the cravasses. We wore ice crampons to get around and were escorted by several guides who took care to be sure that no one fell into a crevasse. At the end we were served glacier water and typical traditional dulce de leche cookies. Click on the photo to see the people.
On the boat cruise, we passed close to many glaciers that had calved. From afar you don’t realize the scale of the floating pieces. Here you see a boulder trapped in the ice. It probably weighs hundreds of pounds and is just suspended in the ice. This whole piece of ice floating was many times larger than our cruise ship.
We were delayed in arriving in Tierra del Fuego. As a result we made up for a missed cruise by booking a private boat to take us to the Beagle Channel. You only go ‘round once, eh? When you think of it, it’s also because it’s at the end of the earth and you won’t be coming this way soon again. I’m glad we went. The crew was very solicitous and they let David and Lisa drive the boat. They put David in a pirate wig and sunglasses. He loved it. David also sat at the front and let the cold salt spray cover him. Kids! The hot chocolate was very welcome. Many islands in the channel were homes to birds and seals. These are imperial cormorants. Beagle Channel was named after the ship HMS Beagle, which had Charles Darwin among its passengers. It is one of three waterways between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in the southern hemisphere. I very much like the male and female seals posing as king and queen over their domain.
Serendipidty! I shot this on a trip to Argentina to visit my son who had been working in Buenos Aires for nearly a year. His mother missed him very much and I was along for the photo ops. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been allowed to stay in the family. It was an overnight flight from New York to Santiago, Chile. At dawn, the fog was just lifting and I shot this from the window of the jet. For all the fun, my family makes of me just randomly clicking the shutter of my camera, I did in fact get this stunning shot. My wife even said she would hang it. And yes, I shot randomly before digital. So imagine, how wild I’ve been since I got my first Nikon 70. Anyway, there was a bit of cropping to get the window out of the frame. Overall it was a very nice panoramic. By the way, we stayed in transit in the airport lounge and there was ample evidence of damage from the not too recent earthquake.