Argentina

An Aerial Sunset On Aconcagua

Aconcagua Sunset, #3. Between Mendoza, Argentina and Santiago, Chile, 2017
Aconcagua Sunset, #3. Between Mendoza, Argentina and Santiago, Chile, 2017

 

If you ever fly from Mendoza, Argentina to Santiago, Chile, do this:

Ask for a window seat on the right side of the plane, near the very front or near the tail (so the wing doesn’t block the view).

Then, hope for the best.

Our plane was a full three hours late in taking off out of Mendoza, but that seemed to work out perfectly for the evening light. The huge thunderstorms were dissipating and the last rays of the sun were kissing the upper slopes of the “Giant of the South” as we cruised by just a few thousand feet higher than its 22,841′ (6,961m) summit.

NOTE: Shooting through a thick airplane window, though, doesn’t yield the best picture quality–especially if you are after a large print. For some tips on shooting through airliner plexiglas, see my post, “Aconcagua and Shooting Through Airplane Windows“, dated April 16, 2014.

American Ire

IRE. Near Mendoza, Argentina, 2017
IRE. Near Mendoza, Argentina, 2017

 

Ire: anger, rage, fury, wrath, hot temper, outrage, spleen, crossness.

 

This pretty much describes the current state of much of the electorate these days.

And rightly so, as we are now witnessing an unprecedented assault on American democracy from within.

Hopefully, our institutions–and the people at large–are up to the challenge.

I am very cautiously optimistic.

Death of a Dancer

Death of a Dancer, Collage. Mendoza, Argentina, 2017
Death of a Dancer, Collage. Mendoza, Argentina, 2017

 

“…Let her finish her dance,

Let her finish her dance.

Ah, dancer, ah, sweet dancer!”

William Butler Yeats, 1865-1939

 

Some image details…

–Pieces of several mannequins were found scattered in front of a clothing store that was under renovation in Mendoza’s busy-bee city center.

–Ideas began to swirl in my brain as I made various captures from different perspectives.

–Some initial basic corrections in Lightroom: contrast, highlights, shadows, clarity, sharpening, etc.

–In Photoshop: slight cropping, some cloning to remove a couple of distractions.

–B&W conversions with Google’s Silver Efex Pro, then back to Photoshop for the layering.

–Layering in PS: Played a lot with the placement of the three images within one another as well as the opacity of each layer.

–Camera: Sony RX100iv. Awesome little street camera–although the files don’t have near the adjustability of my Nikon D800 files (of course!) they are still pretty darn good coming from such a small package.

–To be printed at 18 x 12 inches on 19×13 Exhibition Fiber paper.

Level Your Horizon!!!???

Hmmm, which image do you think is correct?

They do have high winds in the Andes…and they have lots of monstrous landslides due to heavy erosion and high seismic activity.

So, which might be the explanation here?

Example A:

Slip Slidin Away. Los Penitentes, Mendoza, Argentina, 2017
Slip Slidin Away. Los Penitentes, Mendoza, Argentina, 2017

 

Or, Example B:

Slip Slidin Away, #2. Los Penitentes, Mendoza, Argentina, 2017
Blown Away. Los Penitentes, Mendoza, Argentina, 2017

 

Yes, I know that we have little bubble levels in our cameras and tripod heads, but…with single images, I tend to compose based on what I see in the viewfinder rather than whatever the real horizon might be. This can be especially funky in places where the landscape slopes up or downhill across your intended photograph (like our Front Range, for example).

Solution? Try a multitude of compositions with various horizon tilts and see what they look like later on your big screen at home. The LCD may be too tiny to be helpful in this circumstance.

Another idea is to leave extra space around your composition in case you need to tilt it a bit one way or t’other–this way you have room to tilt and crop.

Caveat: If you want to stitch together some images for a panorama, or you are an architectural photographer, then a bubble level might indeed be very useful for you.

Sol y Emilio

Emi y Sol, Boda. Mendoza, Argentina, February 18, 2017
Emi y Sol, Boda. Mendoza, Argentina, February 18, 2017

 

Last Saturday was the grand wedding in Mendoza, Argentina–the principal reason we traveled down under to the southern hemisphere.

Felicitaciones, Emilio y Sol!!!

Above you see the novio and novia in a somewhat atypical pose–a pose that I kind of like. Could it be somewhat symbolic of how we all sort of launch ourselves into long-term relationships and, yes, marriage with our eyes metaphorically closed…our hearts bursting with tremendous joy, hope, and expectations–but not really knowing what might be in store for us?

I have to admit that I have stolen the eyes closed idea directly from Cole Thompson and his With Eyes Shut portfolio. Check out those links to see just how effective such portraits can be–very unique work by Cole.

Atahualpa Yupanqui and “El Arriero”

Pre-Cordillera Sunburst. Mendoza, Argentina, 2017
Pre-Cordillera Sunburst. Mendoza, Argentina, 2017

 

Atahualpa Yupanqui (“ahtah-WALL-pah   you-Pan-key”) was arguably the most important figure in the history of Argentine folklore music. You might think of this genre as Argentine “country music” but is more than that, being a form of yearning poetry when at its finest. On oral tradition, it has its original roots in indigenous and afro-hispanic colonial times, thereafter being filtered through the trials and tragedies of the gaucho experience.

I’m not completely sure why, but it was this late-afternoon cloud and sunburst over the pre-Cordillera above Mendoza that made me think of him and his music…his simple but lyrical refrains so very much tied to the expansive and often harsh landscape of the Argentine desert and pampas.

Atahualpa was of an earlier generation (b.1908 – d.1992), so he might best be considered a sort of “founding father” of this música folclórica argentina–much like Bill Monroe is considered by many to be the patriarch for bluegrass in the U.S. of A.

To animate my cloud-landscape photograph above, here is one Atahualpa example, along with my attempted translation of the essence (not the literal meaning) of the lyrics, and a music video:

El arriero (The gaucho)

En las arenas bailan los remolinos, (In the dry sands the dust devils dance,)
El sol juega en el brillo del pedregal, (The hot sun plays in the shimmer of the rocky ground,)
Y prendido a la magia de los caminos, (And bewitched by the magic of the trails,)
El arriero va, el arriero va. (The gaucho rides, the gaucho rides.)

Es bandera de niebla su poncho al viento, (His poncho is a ghost banner in the wind,)
Lo saludan las flautas del pajonal, (The waving grasses of the prairie greet him,)
Y apurando a la tropa por esos cerros, (And hurrying his herd through the hills,)
El arriero va, el arriero va. (The gaucho rides, the gaucho rides.)

Las penas y las vaquitas, (His sorrows and the little cows,)
Se van por la misma senda, (They travel the same path,)
Las penas y las vaquitas, (His sorrows and the little cows,)
Se van por la misma senda, (They travel the same path,)
Las penas son de nosotros, (The sorrows are for him,)
Las vaquitas son ajenas, (The cows are for others,)
Las penas son de nosotros, (The sorrows are for him,)
Las vaquitas son ajenas… (The cows are for others…)

[NOTE: An “arriero” is often translated as a mule driver or drover, but I think “gaucho” works better in this context and it also hits the ears of the English speaker nicely, thus imbuing the song with the necessary Argentine flavor. This is just one of several liberties I have taken in the translation to try to communicate the spirit of the poem/song rather than a literal, but necessarily cumbersome, translation. Can you find my other major deviations from the purely literal?]

Also, what I have in bold print is a clear example of the author’s socialist tendencies and seems to be an obvious criticism of the political system of the time (1940s). Indeed, the words are still relevant today with extreme inequality in wealth distribution evident in many of the world’s countries, including our own.]

And, finally, the music video so you can hear Don Ata’s guitar and voice:

Ghost Women Appear Again

Three more for the portfolio, all from old, weathered and torn posters hanging on obscure walls…

 

“Disappearing USA Woman Haunted by Her Two Exs”:

Ghost Women, #29. Mendoza, Argentina, 2017
Ghost Women, #40. Mendoza, Argentina, 2017

 

“Torn From A Good Father”:

Ghost Women, #30. Mendoza, Argentina, 2017
Ghost Women, #41. Mendoza, Argentina, 2017

 

“The Scarlet Letters Of Our Times”:

Ghost Women, #31. Mendoza, Argentina, 2017
Ghost Women, #42. Mendoza, Argentina, 2017

Talca Bottling Plant – Lines, Textures, Shapes, Forms

Talca, #3. Mendoza, Argentina, 2017
Talca, #3. Mendoza, Argentina, 2017

 

Today, Valentine’s Day, we were treated to a tour of the Talca “embotelladora”, or bottling plant, in Godoy Cruz, Mendoza, Argentina.

¡Gracias, Anna Clara!

Talca (Oeste Embotelladora, S.A.) takes great pride in producing a “national” product. That is, an Argentine company, with Argentine owners and employees, making soda from Argentine ingredients, all for an Argentine market. (Unlike the giant multi-nationals like Pepsi and Coke.) 

It is quite an operation–and what a wonderful place to discover black and white industrial/abstract compositions!

One of the too cool vehicles belonging to the owner, the “Panda truck”:

Talca, #1. Mendoza, Argentina, 2017
Talca, #1. Mendoza, Argentina, 2017

 

Soda pop has just gotta have gas:

Talca, #5. Mendoza, Argentina, 2017
Talca, #5. Mendoza, Argentina, 2017

 

Un “charco artístico“:

Talca, #8. Mendoza, Argentina, 2017
Talca, #8. Mendoza, Argentina, 2017

 

Stacks and stacks and stacks:

Talca, #9. Mendoza, Argentina, 2017
Talca, #9. Mendoza, Argentina, 2017

 

Bottles and bottles and bottles:

Talca, #12. Mendoza, Argentina, 2017
Talca, #12. Mendoza, Argentina, 2017

 

I liked this particular abstract, formed by towers of plastic-wrapped packing material and the anti-hailstone fabric above:

Talca, #13. Mendoza, Argentina, 2017
Talca, #13. Mendoza, Argentina, 2017

 

The Talca brand…in this region, only Coca Cola gives it much competition:

Talca, #14. Mendoza, Argentina, 2017
Talca, #14. Mendoza, Argentina, 2017

 

Another of my favorite images from this day. It definitely has that industrial look:

Talca, #15. Mendoza, Argentina, 2017
Talca, #15. Mendoza, Argentina, 2017

 

For more images from the “Talca Tour”, please… CLICK HERE!