Whenever possible, I like to go out for walks in whatever city I'm either visiting or working in. It's a combination of both wanting a break from whatever it is that I may be doing and my fascination of looking at things through a lens. I like architecture as well, so I like checking out designs and architectural lines in buildings & such. All that comes together for me in making these walks truly enjoyable.
While I enjoy full color images a great deal, sometimes B&W seems to be the only way in which a scene speaks to me. I shoot everything manual so I tend to go in with that specific plan of action on certain images and process them that way once back home.
I hope you enjoy these images and that you too can enjoy walking the streets with camera in-hand from time to time.
See you next time!
One of my favorite things about living in this part of our country, is having all 4 seasons and watching how the world changes its look just as I'm starting to get comfortable with whatever is going on at the moment.
As summer winds down and the cool north winds start making their presence known, animals, people and the earth itself start getting prepared for the upcoming winter. It's interesting to see the changes happen and the different activities that mark said change.
I was traveling out west, around Iowa, and couldn't help but notice some of those activities, landscapes and simply had to capture some of that as I went along.
Below are some of those images for you to check them out.
I encourage you to also get out when you have an opportunity and capture those interesting changes and things that happen all around us. It doesn't matter if you have a fancy camera or just a point-and-shoot or a camera-phone. The point is to be outside, walking and getting some fresh air while admiring the beauty of our planet.
Enjoy the images and see you next time!
This weekend (well, ...yesterday) was a World Photowalk day. It was an event organized by a well-known US photographer / instructor by the name of Scott Kelby. The purpose of it, is to encourage people to go out and shoot things they see in their communities around the world and interact with other photographers / enthusiasts while doing so.
There were a few groups set up in the Chicagoland area for this purpose. I ended up going with a group out of Geneva, IL which is located W/SW of Chicago.
Geneva is a picturesque town, with a busy downtown area lined with cute little shops and a very "small-town-USA" type of atmosphere. Our group was quite diverse with a wide range of ages and skill levels. It was an interesting experience and aside from the photographic aspect of the event itself, provided a great opportunity to network and make new friends.
World Photowalk day has been an annual event for about 5 years now. 2014 was my first year of attendance and I definitely plan to join a group for the 2015 event.
If you're into photography, I strongly recommend you check it out and consider attending (or organizing) one in your corner of the world.
Below, are some images I shot during the walk.
Enjoy and see you next time!
As I was reading the news feed in one of my social media sites, I noticed a couple of memes relating to the so-called "super moon" and the fact that this current phase will be the last of it until the year 2034. I hadn't made any plans to shoot it but as I have been getting more interested in night and astro photography as of lately, thought it would be cool to try and see if I could make some cool photographs of the event.
It had been relatively clear most of the day, so getting a clear shot of it shouldn't have been too much of a problem, ...or so I thought.
As I took position at a higher vantage point in my home, there were a few fast moving clouds but the moon was still fairly visible. I took a couple of shots with a telephoto lens and then decided to switch to a wide lens to get more of a bigger picture as it was starting to look quite interesting.
In that very moment, the clouds went into high gear and in an instant there was no moon to be seen. Ughh!
After several minutes I realized [that] wasn't going to change anytime soon so I called it a night and went downstairs to do something else.
Many hours later, I decided to peek outside and see what -if anything- had changed in the scenery. To my surprise, the moon was as clear as I had ever seen it. I then grabbed my camera, switched on to a telephoto lens and snapped a few shots of it with a beautifully starlit sky as background.
I didn't realize how good or clear any of these shots were until this morning when I processed and viewed them on my big monitor.
I'll have to keep my ears peeled for any other upcoming night events that may provide opportunities to practice new techniques and yield great photographs.
In the meantime, hope you like these few photographs I managed to create last night.
ABOVE ↑ - Fast-moving clouds with a still visible moon.
BELOW↓ - View of the clouds as they passed in front of the moon
over a period of 30 seconds.
ABOVE ↑ - Moon peeking through the clouds. I love the color
and vibe of this one.
BELOW ↓ - Shortly after, this is all that was visible.
This was a 10-second exposure.
ABOVE ↑ - "Super Moon" on September 9, 2014
All photos © Mario Salazar Photography
I had an opportunity once again this past week, to set out on a night trip to try and capture images of meteorites as they would fly across the night sky.
As I had mentioned on a previous blog entry, the cosmic event taking place on this occasion was the Perseids meteor shower. The Perseids, are particles released from comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle during its numerous returns to the inner solar system. They are called Perseids since the radiant (the area of the sky where the metors seem to originate) is located near the prominent constellation of Perseus the hero, when at maximum activity. They are believed to be active from July 13th to August 26th with peak dates around August 12 or 13 depending on the year.
Our biggest challenge for this event was the massively bright moon that we had on those days. With that in mind, we set to shoot in a way that would somehow counter the brightness of it, but it was still very difficult to see, let alone capture images of the meteorites. We figured it was going to be a long night as we had driven a couple hours to the west of where we live, to a State Park location, far away from towns and other sources of "light pollution".
I'm fairly new to cosmic or "astro photography" but knew that just like with other areas of photography, this requires patience and time, so we made ourselves comfortable with munchies and enough caffeine to keep us alert for a while.
I caught my first glimpse of a meteor as I was getting my gear out and ready. It was very bright and amazingly fast as it flew across the NW sky. I didn't see as many as I expected, but did notice a few others as the night went on. Thing is, I always seemed to miss them as my camera was pointed in a different direction. As I would then shift my direction, then I would notice them in the 1st area that I was. Ugghh!
As the minutes became hours, a rather dense and patchy fog started setting in. This made things a bit more challenging as it wasn't only highly visible, but the moisture and mist that it carried, started setting into our lenses and cameras making it very difficult to get a clear image of the skies.
We decided then, to just shoot and practice other night photo techniques and make the best out of the situation, all while hoping that as the fog passed, we'd have better luck with the meteors.
Not much changed as time went on. The fog did pass but our luck didn't improve much and we called it a night around 2:45- 3:00 AM.
In spite of that, we had a good time, exchanged stories, laughs and practiced our night photography. I did not come home with the bounty of great images I would have wanted or expected, but I have learned that with photography, like many other things in life, it sometimes is about the journey and not the destination. I will keep going back out and I will end up with amazing cosmic images one of these days.
In the meantime, I will keep having fun shooting and learning more about it.
Enjoy the photos!
Managed to get a couple of meteors photographed. I got lucky on the top ↑ image as I was making a photograph of my friend Keith as he stared at the moon and a meteor flashed through the sky in that very moment.
On the image below ↓ I'm not 100% sure if it indeed is a meteorite, but in the lower right just above the treeline, it sure looks like one.
Our camp below.
Notice how bright the moon was that night. It almost looked like daytime.
I was reading an article about a proposed new technology for aircrafts that would take away a very coveted amenity for many people, particularly the visual-type, photographer/media professional like myself, and that is the window seat. Well, let me re-phrase that, ...the seat stays, the window goes. Wait, ...what?!?
A company by the name of IXION has come up with a concept in which an airplane has no windows, or better yet, it has ALL the windows.
I couldn't quite wrap my head around this so as I further read the piece, it said that:
"... cameras on the exterior of this as-yet-unbuilt jet would provide jaw-dropping 360-degree views of what you would be seeing if your airplane were a transparent glass tube shuttling through the sky."
Hmm...., I thought, -so kinda like Wonder Woman's plane? Not exactly.
The walls would basically be floor-to-ceiling video monitors in which they could display anything from aerial landscapes, to flying over Paris or flying in space. I suppose that could be cool for a quick ride or two, but I don't think I would want to give that much control over what I see to a pre-programmed in-flight scenery menu. I still enjoy looking out the window and as many times as I have flown in my life for both personal and business purposes, I never grow tired of watching the sun either rise or set from my window seat. The immensity of the ocean on a clear day mesmerizes me as much as it did the first time I saw it. As difficult as it may be sometimes to take clear photos through the often unclear window glass, I get a kick out of it as it reminds me of the beautiful sights on earth I don't get to see, unless I'm at 30,000 feet in the air while looking down at it.
I've read about other companies working on similar projects to improve drag and other weight issues on aircrafts thus making them more efficient, but again, I'm not sure I personally would be willing to give up windows. I'm not claustrophobic but the thought of it just seems very unnatural to me and besides, I would not be able to snap a photo of something if I wanted to do so.
I wonder what other people think about this. What do YOU think?
Is this part of that inevitable future that we just have adapt ourselves to and accept?
I guess only time will tell.
On a recent shooting trip, I had the opportunity to see and photograph the interaction between a female gorilla and her new baby. I don't know how old the baby was, but I can't imagine it being more than a week or so.
Gorillas have always struck me as one of those animals that while not typically violent in temperament, is one of those that probably doesn't let anyone or anything mess with them. They just look "badass", to put it in everyday terms.
The interaction between this mother and her infant, was so incredibly humanlike, I was quite astounded as I had never seen anything quite like it in person.
The males or "silverbacks" on the other hand, are not really into taking care of the kids, and are said to be there mainly for protection and to help youngsters socialize as they mature. I had to chuckle because once again, -in my mind-, I was making the correlation between them and some of us humans. I'm not saying that human males do not take part in parenting or help with the kids, but it is common knowledge that there are many amongst us that really don't do much of anything other than being a "sperm donor".
Below are a couple of images from that day. Hope you get the opportunity to check out and learn about these magnificent animals at your local zoo, an animal sanctuary or if you get the opportunity to see them in the wild.
Above ↑ - Mama Gorilla and her baby, bonding.
Below ↓ - Gorilla Daddy-o lounging and looking up at them as if saying "Yo babee, ...you're welcome!"
Even in the most undesirable of situations,
the harshest of conditions,
the least hopeful of scenarios,
it always finds a way to get back up
and fight back.
As it delicately masters the art of re-birth,
it rises up and screams at the heavens,
"...I am still here, and I will prevail."
Due to the passing of Comet 209P/LINEAR's past orbits and dust created by it, a meteorite shower was predicted by astronomers for this past weekend (May 23-25/2014). It was stated that it could go beyond "showers" and that we could potentially see a "meteor storm" with view of meteorites in the 100s, if not 1000s. per hour.
I've seen meteors and shooting stars in the past. They're incredibly interesting and can be difficult to photograph because you just don't know at what point in time they will appear. This potential storm I thought, would be a good opportunity and a safer "bet" at getting a cool meteorite flashing through the night sky. So I made plans with my photographer friend Keith and a few others to go to a somewhat remote location and try our luck with that.
I saw my first "flash in the sky" not long after arriving to the selected location. Of course, none of us were ready just yet but figured that it would get better and we'd see more the later into the night we got. This was around midnight.
It was getting late and we were still not seeing much, if anything. At around 2-2:30 A.M. we figured predictions were off and we were not going to get much. I think in the hours I sat there, the maximum I saw was about 5. A far cry from the 100s per hour we were expecting.
The meteorite thing ended up being a bust, but we still had a good time, shared some laughs and practiced other types of night time photography, making tasty lemonade out of the "lemon night" we had been given.
I definitely plan to do this again and hopefully have a bit more luck with what we see. The next opportunity to see meteors in my area of the country will be in late July into August. This shower is called the Perseids and are said to be active from July 13th to August 26th and peak on August 12 or 13 depending on the year. The rate of meteors ranges from 50-75 meteors per hour at maximum. The Perseids, are particles released from comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle during its numerous returns to the inner solar system. They are called Perseids since the radiant (the area of the sky where the metors seem to originate) is located near the prominent constellation of Perseus the hero, when at maximum activity.
Here are a few images I shot that night from a couple different cameras. Enjoy!
Above ↑ - Here we are with our cameras pointed to the skies waiting for some "action".
Below ↓ - Since nothing was happening, I pointed one camera to a barn and an old 1950s Cadillac that were in the property. Lights from a few passing vehicles helped to light up the scene a bit and still keeping a "natural", real look to it.
Above ↑ - Another shot of us photographers as we wait while gazing into the night sky. Notice a bit of the Milky Way starting to appear in the lower 2/3 of the frame.
Below ↓ - Another shot of the barn/Cadi combo as we wrap things up.
Things did start to get on a warming trend, or so it seemed for a bit, until a new cold front would change things. From a photography standpoint, it was interesting to see the contrast of colors as certain plants would "green up" early due to the increased sunshine and then be covered in snow days later, as the above photo.
As I write this, we are in the second half of May. Some flowers have already bloomed and there's considerably more color in the landscape. Yesterday however, we awoke to more snowfall and cold temperatures again.
Although I'm enjoying the mix of colors and the clash of the seasons (as opposed to 'change' of the seasons) , I hope this is the last of it as I'm ready for spring.
Hope that those of you that enjoy photography and the outdoors, get the opportunity to enjoy some of the odd scenery we're currently having.
Spring is on its way!