"Every child is an artist. The challenge is to remain an artist after you grow up."
The somewhat border town of Chetumal was our last stop in Mexico before entering into Belize, and the first stop upon exit. On the drive to Belize we stayed there two nights, to kind of catch our bearings before crossing the border. When we drove back to The States, we also stayed two nights because of the awesome hotel we found on the way down. The above image was taken on our first night in Chetumal, while Natasha and I were walking along the ocean boardwalk.
Hopkins, Belize is a small Garifuna village on the coast of Southern Belize. Natasha and I rented a beach cabana for two nights from Jabbar and Dorothy, the people who run the Lebeha Drumming Center. Unfortunately there was no drumming scheduled on the nights we were there, but we still enjoyed ourselves, spending most of our time lounging on the seaside patio, reading, and walking the village. On our first evening there, this spectacular double rainbow appeared as I was heading to the shore to take some pictures...great timing Mother Nature!
The trip to shoot Butterfly Falls was one of my fondest memories from Belize. I headed out at 4am driving into the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest, planning to shoot Thousand Foot Falls. However when I got there the entry gate was down and the park was closed due to the foggy conditions. I still went over to the viewing area but nothing of the waterfall was visible. After a few moments the on-site park employee came out and we started chatting. He told me about Butterfly Falls, which is located within the property of Hidden Valley Inn. I had actually stopped there earlier since I passed by it, and asked the worker at the front desk if I could go take some pictures of the waterfall. He told me only guests were allowed, and the cheapest room was $300. Ya, right! In comes my new friend...the park ranger. He described how to drive to it, snaking along two-track roads that lead to a path taking you down to Butterfly Falls. I followed his directions, hiked down the steep, fairly difficult path with all my heavy gear, and came out to a small clearing in the rainforest. My eyes followed a tiny stream slightly uphill into a crystal clear pool, then were led straight up into the sky and this 80 foot waterfall. It was magical!
Another one of my favorite spots in Belize, Rio on Pools, not surprisingly lies within the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. I captured this image one day when I travelled alone to the falls to shoot. I spent the day trading time taking pictures and swimming in the pools. Throughout the day groups of people came and went and I chatted with different ones, hearing stories of how they came to be in this extraordinary place. It was nearing dusk and I wasn't particularly excited about having to make the drive home in the dark, and I was deciding if I should leave. Everybody else had left. Man, am I glad I didn't take off, because I got to enjoy this serene sunset all alone, standing amongst a series of cascading waterfalls and pools...in the middle of a forest...in Belize. Dig it!
San Miguel de Allende is known for its well-preserved Colonial and Spanish architecture. The tallest building in the city, with a façade of pink limestone, is the Parroquia de San Miguel Archangel. The gothic façade for this local parish church was inspired by Gaudi's Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. According to legend, its architect, Zeferino Gutierrez used a picture postcard for inspiration.
Shower Falls is just outside of San Ignacio, Belize, on the way to Cristo Rey Village. When the heat got oppressive, Natasha and I would sometimes make the 15 minute drive to this small watering hole to cool off. There she is on the right of the photo, reading on the edge of the pool while I shoot the scene. I am pleased that this image has been published a few times...go here to see how Cahal Pech Resort used it in one of their articles, and here from an article with ninebelize.com.
We visited Placencia twice while we were living in Belize. The first time we only stayed for a couple of nights, and one day booked a snorkel excursion to Laughingbird Caye. This tiny island is a great place to explore some of Belize's pristine reefs, and do some birding, as the Caye was declared a protected area in 1981 under the National Parks Systems Act.
Cholula was second only to the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan (modern Mexico City), possibly with a population of up to 100,000. The great city stood at the foot of what appears to be an earthen hill that is, in fact, the largest pyramid ever built, covering over 46 acres and spanning an incredible 405 meters on each side! In addition to this great construction dedicated to Quetzalcoatl, the city had a reported 365 temples. After taking the city during the Spanish Conquest, Hernan Cortes vowed that it would be rebuilt with a Christian church to replace each of the old pagan temples; less than 50 new churches were actually built, but the Spanish colonial churches are unusually numerous for a city of its size. (source)
The sun was going down, making a stunning scene as this boat taxi was tied to the break wall in Flores, Guatemala.
I shot the below image while wandering the deserted streets of Flores at sunrise. While the town was waking up, this lone boater was making his way out onto Lake Peten Itza in the beautiful morning light, shining on the colorful island buildings, casting rippled reflections onto the lake.
For tips on how to create better architecture images, go to my post 10 Helpful Tips for Striking Architectural Photography.