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Mazamitla aka Magic Town Jalisco
May 17th, 2010 by Les

 To qualify for mountain rescue work, you have to pass our test. The doctor holds a flashlight to your ear. If he can see light coming out the other one, you qualify. Willy Pfisterer, long-time Jasper Park Warden – Canada – and mountain rescue specialist.

“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.” – Paul Theroux , U.S. writer known for his novels and travel books.

There is an old Chinese Proverb that goes: “Men trip not on mountains they trip on molehills.”  If you are a frequent reader of our blog you know, we trip on anything, particularly cobblestones.  Consequently, when David said “Day Trip” into the mountains you can understand my trepidations.  Then, of course, I thought of Willy Pfisterer’s comment above and relaxed. My mom always told me she could see light coming out of my ears – even a breeze upon occasion. 

We’ve been talking about taking day trips since we reached our home.  Just wanted to get settled in and become comfortable with our current surroundings.  Realizing neither was going to take place soon, we figured what the heck, nothing ventured nothing gained.

The choice for our first day trip was easy – Mazamitla – the Alpine village of Mexico.  Only a couple of hours drive from Ajijic, it seemed like the perfect place to go. Via the Mayan Riviera Route and nestled in the heart of the Sierra del Tigres, this lovely village has its first recorded information dating back to 1165 when the Nahua tribes inhabited the land.

The road leading into the mountains is well paved and easy to travel.  The village is 2200 meters (7218.2 feet) above sea level which explains why our ears began to pop on the way up.  Though David had explained the village had more wood structures, wood doors, wood windows, wood accouterments then other villages in Mexico because of its location, I was amazed to see the chalet-type dwellings cradled in the mountain passes.

The further we headed up the mountain the more it looked like Northern Wisconsin (my home state).  The air was refreshingly cool – considering it was 90 degrees and heading up in our village when we left – and the sun was shining. 

The pictures you will see over the next few posts are of the village.  I decided to start with what I considered its “crown jewel” the church on the plaza.  Almost all Mexican villages have a church on the plaza in the heart of the city.  This church was built in 1940 and interesting in its architectural form.

The gardens surrounding the church and plaza are beautifully kept up and greatly enjoyed by many tourists – both nationals and internationals.  Since we qualified as both tourists and travelers we were comfortable not knowing where we were going….a feeling we have lived with since we transplanted to Mexico!  No matter where we venture, no matter what we do we are always enchanted and delighted with the sights and sounds of Mexico.

After finding a place to park our car, this is the first image of the church we came upon just prior to entering the plaza.

After finding a place to park our car, this is the first image of the church we came upon just prior to entering the plaza.

 

A view of the church.

A view of the church.

 

Close-up view of church.

Close-up view of church.

 

Image of Christ on the Cross.

Image of Christ on the Cross.

 

One of the gardens surrounding the plaza and the church.

One of the gardens surrounding the plaza and the church.

Gorgeous plants within the gardens.

Gorgeous plants within the gardens.

Gardens and gazebo overlooking plaza and church.

Gardens and gazebo overlooking plaza and church.

Time Lapse…Where was I?
May 11th, 2010 by Les

“Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.” – Imogen Cunningham – He began his work in photography in 1901 as a student at the University of Washington chemistry photo. His work was inspired by photographer Gertrude Kasebier.

“They used to photograph Shirley Temple-through gauze. They should photograph me-through linoleum.” Tallulah Bankhead, actress in movies, television and theater.

“An Artist’s Art is assuring himself and others his Art is Art.” David Perry Lawrence, …you know who he is…

Below you will see pictures of David and the “contraption” he invented to accommodate his desire to do some time lapse photography work involving the lilies in our yard and, of course, the stars in the heavens above Ajijic.

It is an interesting process, particularly for someone like me who tends to want to do things quickly and see the results immediately.  David has patience and is very methodical when putting something like this together.  His persistence was exhibited over the last time lapse sequence he did when he checked his camera set-up continuously each day and evening over the 10 days it ran.

I, on the other hand, am like a lot of people I may have somewhat of a photographic memory, but I usually forget the film thereby rendering anything I might capture virtually useless.

Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while knows David and I spontaneously decided to move to Mexico last year…like in April.  Perhaps out of character for both of us…it simply seemed right.

To give some background into David’s art form, when I asked him how he decided on photography as a career path his comment went something like this: I remember seeing this really beautiful sunset when I first moved to Connecticut.   Then I saw travel brochures and thought it would be nice to travel the world taking pictures of all the sights.  And then, of course, I thought pictures of naked women wouldn’t be bad.  My interest in photography began when I was around six or seven years old.  I had a dark room and started with a couple of Brownies (the camera folks) and then didn’t do anything until I began attending Yale.

When I asked him what his favorite quote was he responded by saying it is a quote by Arnold Newman (the master of environmental portrait): “Photography is 1% inspiration and 99% moving furniture”.

David spent endless days on the three projects he’s attempted so far: the stars in the night sky and the lilies in our yard.  After deciding what he wanted to photograph, he then decided where he wanted to place the camera.  That led to placement of the white board and white backgrounds, how to soften the bright sun light, where to place the high definition lights and synchronize them with the camera click each hour, etc.

It was like being at a slow-motion 70’s discothèque each evening as the light went off.  The brightness in that nano-second lite the entire yard, our house and I’m sure the houses of our neighbors.  It’s amazing to me (yes I know I digress yet again – there is no keeping up with my scattered thinking) no one got up, called a few friends, set the band up and started to party.  I love the way they party for any reason here and this surely seemed like a good one to me….we already have the lights!

It was interesting to see our gardener come in.  At first he approached the whole thing with the stealth of a cat.  Circled it.  Looked at the weird tent-like set-up…the lights…the generator thingy on top of rocks to keep it dry and then he backed away.  He watered the plants and the lawn around it.  He cut the grass around it.  He weeded around it.  If I were to guess…he probably thought it was yet more bizarre behavior in Lawrence Land.

Every day we come up with new ideas for our blog…sometimes several in one day.  Ours is not-so-much a chronicle of what to do to live in Mexico.  There are so many great blogs that accomplish just that.  Ours is more to let you see, day-by-day, sometimes minute-by-minute what it is like to actually live here.  Someone said to me just recently, I have to keep reminding myself, when I am struck by yet another happening that is so different from where I grew up and lived, this is still a third world country and, therefore, poles apart from what you would expect in the States, in Canada, in Europe.

I’ve often heard it said…you wonder what a camera is…it is a mirror with memory. There is nothing wrong with sitting in a rocker on the front porch and relaxing as the world goes by.  It too can be cathartic and rejuvenating. 

Nevertheless, for those of us who need a sense of adventure, new sights, new sounds, new tastes and new experiences this Mexico is at our doorstep (for those of us from the US or Canada).  It is filled with passionate and resilient people who revel in the good, have dreams for themselves and their children, and fight with ferocity to keep the beauty that is Mexico alive and welcoming to those who visit or make a choice to live here.  You cannot turn a blind eye toward what is happening in the border towns.  Being watchful and alert, no matter where you travel is always a good thing. That, however, is not a reality in the Lake Chapala area. There is time to take the pictures that portray the beauty that is Mexico as David does…from one minute to the next.  The sights he photographs are the here and now of Mexico. It is what we see and we enjoy.  For us laughter is an instant vacation. Viva Mexico!

It takes quite a bit of stamina and coordination to get this done right.  While he is not moving furniture, set up is very important.

It takes quite a bit of stamina and coordination to get this done right. While he is not moving furniture, set up is very important.

This is a close-up of the coordinations it takes to get the camera set up to take just the right shots.

This is a close-up of the coordinations it takes to get the camera set up to take just the right shots.

This is one picture from the first time lapse sequence David took.  It was posted before but I feel worth repeating.

This is one picture from the first time lapse sequence David took. It was posted before but I feel worth repeating.

This is one of the newest time lapse photographs.  Over 200 photos were taken.  It is part of a very large piece David hopes to do for his show in October.

This is one of the newest time lapse photographs. Over 200 photos were taken. It is part of a very large piece David hopes to do for his show in October.

The photographs taken for Boomerstomexico.com will be available at the online store soon.  We are calling it The J Peterman Catalog of photographs.  Can you feel the excitement building?!
Beam Me Up Scotty!
May 8th, 2010 by Les

“Beam me up, Scotty!” is a catch phrase that made its way into pop culture from the science fiction television series Star Trek. (By the way, this phrase was never actually said during the TV series or the movies….it was “Beam me up, Mr. Scott” from what I’ve read.)

Star light, star bright,

The first star I see tonight,

I wish I may, I wish I might,

Have the wish I wish tonight.

The superstition of hoping for wishes granted when seeing a shooting or falling star may date back to the ancient world. Wishing on the first star seen may also predate this rhyme, which first begins to be recorded in late nineteenth-century America.  The song and tradition seem to have reached Britain by the early twentieth century and have since spread worldwide.

David spent several nights, recently, taking photographs of the night sky over Ajijic.  Set-up for a time lapse sequence, the camera ran all night capturing pictures at calibrated intervals.

Everyone knows…the stars at night are big and bright, da, da, da, da…deep in the heart of Texas.  Ajijic does not take a back seat, however, to Texas or any other place throughout the world, I would imagine, after seeing the luminous sky over the Lake Chapala area.

At over 5,000 feet above sea level, the night time sky is like the conservatory in Chicago I visited often as a youth….you feel like you are sitting among them and, if you make a quick move, you’ll topple because your balance is off center simply looking upward.

I would wager a guess, many of us have experienced an evening of stars memorable in nature.

The mere expanse of brilliantly sparkling stars set in a black billowy sky is awe inspiring. I’m also sure I won’t use the correct syntax in regard to how David explained the arches seen in the pictures below.  No bolt from the blue surprise there!

This will come from my limited view and knowledge of stars.  For instance I know to look for the Big Dipper, also known as the Plough, found in the constellation Ursa Major.  The Ajijician sky holds so many stars.  The stars closest to the horizon are the easiest to see yet, here, it feels like you can see far more then logical without the aid of a telescope.

The reason, as David explained it, for the arch shapes in the photographs below is because the earth is on an axis, moving, while the stars are stationary with the Pole Star or Polaris (also known as the North Star) being the center or brightest star.

Okay, to put it simply….the skies here, the stars in all their glory…are fantastic.  The nights, the stars and music….soft sounds of a Mariachi Band or, in the Jalisco area, the Son Jaliscience sound indigenous to this region….make the night sky light even brighter and the mind soar as if on angel wings.

The beauty of an Ajijician evening is, of course, the night sky enhanced by the gentle breezes off the Sierra Madres, palms swaying the smell of the tropics and a Mojito in hand.  The bridge of the Star Ship Enterprise it isn’t.  Again I say…Viva Mexico….never “beam me up Scotty”.

The planet moves ever-so-slightly throughout the night.

The planet moves ever-so-slightly throughout the night.

Beauty and majesty in one evening.

Beauty and majesty in one evening.

The Ajijician sky in all its brilliance.

The Ajijician sky in all its brilliance.

 

A slightly different view.

A slightly different view.

 

If, at night, sleep dances in the darkness just out of reach you have the stars to entertain you.

If, at night, sleep dances in the darkness just out of reach you have the stars to entertain you.

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