Buried in lava

Parícutin is a volcano located in the Mexican state of Michoacán that emerged suddenly from a cornfield in 1943. The volcano was active over the following 9 years and the lava from the volcano buried the nearby town of Parícutin, once home to 733 people. All that remains of the town today is the San Juan Parangaricutiro Church, the tower of which can be seen rising above the volcanic rock in the photo below. The volcano, now dormant, and the ruins of the church, have become a tourist attraction which offers guided tours or the option to visit independently and climb the volcano.

Remains of the San Juan Parangaricutiro Church, surrounded by the volcanic rock from Parícutin.

Another Holbox sunrise

I’ve returned to editing photos taken in Holbox, Mexico back in January, and I’m amazed by how good so many of the sunrise photos turned out. It pays off to get up early. This photo, like the previous sunrise photo from Holbox I posted, was taken from Punta Cocos, a beautiful beach which looks across a shallow lagoon. I don’t know if we just got lucky while we were there or if the sunrises are always amazing in Holbox, but they were among the best sunrises I have ever seen.

Sunrise in Holbox, Mexico

If sunset fails you, turn around

This photo was taken on a beach in Cancun a couple months back, shortly after sunset. Unfortunately, it was one of those days with too many clouds on the horizon and the sun was not visible around the time it was supposed to set and the great sunset we were hoping for did not happen. So, we went to walk along the beach and a while after sunset the sky facing away from the direction the sun set in began to light up a brilliant orange color. With the large amount of clouds on the horizon, the water off in the distance was quite dark, giving the scene a rather dramatic look.

Dark clouds with a glowing orange sky over the water off the coast of Cancun.

It’s all in the eyes

The secret to any good animal photo, whether it’s a bird, giraffe, monkey, or dog, is making sure that the eyes are in focus and properly exposed. Since animals usually move around however they want and don’t necessarily pose for the camera, that can be a problem. But, as Rick Sammon says, if the eyes aren’t in focus and properly exposed, you’ve missed the shot. And let me tell you, I’ve missed the shot plenty of times. But it’s our failures that make us appreciate our successes, right? Personally, I also prefer animal photos where the animal’s eyes are focused on something away from the camera. The photo of this big cat was taken at Chapultepec Zoo in Mexico City.

Black and white photo of a spotted leopard with its face partly hidden by a tree branch.

Mexican pelican

Many people think more about beaches than bird-watching when it comes to Mexico but many of the birds that spend the summer in the northern United States spend winters in Mexico, so a winter trip to Mexico can provide a great opportunity to see (and photograph) birds. This pelican was one of dozens hanging out near the port of Chiquilá, from which one can catch the ferry to the beautiful island of Holbox. When not flying around, the pelicans liked to gather in large groups, so trying to get a photo of just a single bird was a bit of a challenge, especially when the time to take photos of these beautiful birds was limited by when our ferry was departing.

Photo of a pelican

Mexican Flower

This photo was taken in Morelia, Mexico. I’m not sure what kind of flower it is. Maybe it’s not at all Mexican, I just know that I liked the flower so I took a photo of it and I like the way the photo came out. The photo has a nice warmth to it, I can almost feel the warm late afternoon sun from this day, which sounds nice on a mid-March day as we slowly make our way from cold winter weather into slightly warmer but still not warm spring weather.

Photo of a flower

El Tortugario

El Tortugario is a sea turtle sanctuary located outside Cuyutlan, Mexico. The sanctuary collects sea turtle eggs to protect them, hatches the eggs, then releases the baby sea turtles into the sea, and if visitors are at El Tortugario on a day when sea turtles are being released, they can participate in the process. In addition to releasing baby sea turtles, there are sea turtles of various ages, educational materials, and a wonderful boat tour through a nearby lagoon filled with all kinds of birds. Cuyutlan is a small, off the beaten path seaside town with a nice beach but not a lot to do. However, for a place to get away from the throngs of tourists and enjoy a slower paced vacation, it is quite nice.

Baby sea turtle being released into the wild

Lonely boat in Puerto Morelos

This photo was taken while walking along the beach in Puerto Morelos, Mexcio. There really isn’t anything that remarkable about the photo. The boat isn’t all that interesting, the sky isn’t very interesting, but the color of the water is nice but nothing special for the Caribbean, and the beach itself is pretty but other than having quite a bit of seaweed, there is not anything that exciting about it. It would be better if there was a little separation between the top of the boat and the horizon. But for some reason I really like this photo. Maybe it is just that it captures the moment of being there really well and brings me back to that day walking along the beach. Whatever the reason, in spite of being a rather unremarkable photo, I really like it.

Boat in the water along the beach in Puerto Morelos, Mexico.

El Castillo

The Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza are the second most popular ruins in Mexico, second only behind Teotihuacan. Chichen Itza is located in the Yucatán peninsula, meaning it can be easily visited as a day trip from Cancun. The Temple of Kukulcan, commonly referred to as El Castillo (the castle), stands out as the most impressive of the many structures located at Chichen Itza. The step pyramid is nearly 100 feet tall and at the spring and autumn equinoxes, if the sun is shining, its light hits the pyramid so that the shadows result in the appearance of a serpent wriggling down the staircase of the pyramid. How cool is that? Chichen Itza is a very impressive site and a great way to add a little culture to a vacation to the Yucatán peninsula. Compared to other ruins in the region, a lot of the jungle around the ruins has been cleared, which can be a positive in that it gives you a better view of the ruins but is also a negative in that it takes away from the feel of the ruins a little. Regardless, Chichen Itza is a great place to visit and a trip to the ruins can easily be combined with a visit to a nearby cenote, like Cenote Ik Kil.

Step pyramid at Chichen Itza in Mexico.

Egret at sunrise

This photo was taken during a recent vacation on the island of Holbox, Mexico, which is a couple hour drive and a ferry ride from Cancun. It is a beautiful, relatively undeveloped island with nice beaches, lots of birds, and great sunrises/sunsets. This photo was taken at sunrise from Punta Cocos. Most of my favorite sunrise photos are taken before the sun actually comes up, but as you can see, this photo was taken shortly after the sun appeared. The way that the sun bathed the clouds and water in golden light made for a very warm friendly scene, and this egret was nice enough to land in front of me just in time to get in the photo.

Warm sunrise on the island of Holbox, Mexico with an egret in the water