Author Archive

Heading back, not paddling this time…

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Heading back during one of the golden hour moments of the day, don’t you find that everything can be photographed?

Retornando a casa al final del día en uno de los momentos de luz dorada, ¿no consideras que todo puede ser fotografiado?

A daily afternoon

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

Is there anything else needed to describe the photo? This was just on this past Friday, and you can tell that there are foreigners and Guatemalans enjoying the afternoon just as you can enjoy it on a very hot day, with very cold beers 🙂

¿Es realmente necesario describir la foto? Esto apenas fue este pasado viernes, y se puede notar que hay tanto extranjeros como guatemaltecos que disfrutan de la tarde, en aquella forma en la que solo se puede disfrutar una muy calurosa tarde, que es con cervezas muy frías 🙂

Heading back home

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Trying to break some rules, attempting to get all the DailyPhoto contributors to write more posts, the whole country is amazing for its colors. There is a “rule” that sunsets are best in November. In Petén, perhaps not all 365 days around, but quite a good deal of times November is truly not the only best time. So, the challenge to our DailyPhoto colleagues is to share those golden hour photographs.

In the mean time, the situation in Petén for tourism is still quite safe regardless the current state of siege. Would you like to join us for some beers while we photograph more sunsets? You can’t deny that such sunsets aren’t inviting for a drink every time you head back home with such heavy traffic when you just have to paddle your way home.

A matter of taste

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

Photography, like any other visual related discipline or art, however you wish to call it, or a simple way of expressing something, capturing a moment, etc. is always a matter of taste. Nonetheless, assuming you remember the other post regarding an HDR image, well, here is one of the eighteen photographs that was part of such result, but in this case you have the two options presented. One in color and the other in black and white.

Out of the three versions on the dining room being lit by the moon with the stars dancing above it, do you happen to have a favorite? It is a fair answer if you don’t like any, because in the end it’s a matter of taste, like Petén, one of those places you either love or simply don’t, some probably hate it… Have you visited Petén to find out? If not, what are you waiting for?

Petén, back on black and white

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Petén has been getting a lot of coverage lately due to of course what happened. There have been comments that almost seem as if all Peteneros should leave Petén for good. You do realize that people live in this huge Department. It is definitely not a small Department and it holds some of the most important protected areas of the country, plus very important Maya archaeological sites. The tourism industry is quite big, and it is one of Petén’s most important ways of commerce.

Anyway, life has moved on even with the overwhelming feelings of what happened a few days ago. It is hard to believe that some businesses closed their activities due to violence. One example is Francis Ford Coppola’s La Lancha. Actually, ironically, there are parts of Capital Cities that are incredibly dangerous, more so if you are involved in any kind of illegal-drug-related activity, which as you know it involves blood, it involves death even in the most indirect of ways. So, just like “blood-diamonds”, it is simply “blood-drugs”.

So, unless you are involved in any illegal drug activity there is nothing to worry about in Petén. Else, there is a possibility you’ll get caught. Keep in mind, illegal drugs imply death even in the most indirect of ways.

In the mean time, the hdr image was composed by 18 long exposure night shots with the moon lighting the top of the thatch roof of the dining room of the Ni’tun Private Reserve. Imagine, life does go on.

Contrasts, Contradictions, Ironies… Simply mixed feelings

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Micaela by Arturo Godoy

Every once in a while Micaela spends some days at a small and beautiful Natural Private Reserve that also is sponsoring this long trip to Petén, Ni’tun. Micaela is not really shy, she is quite friendly, perhaps she escaped from being captive in some house. Nonetheless, Micaela is free, moving around as she pleases, but of course visiting this place with certain regularity. She is the first monkey seen after many years that this property was purchased and it is relatively recent that it was inscribed as Natural Private Reserve.

While being here, and being spoiled, not only Micaela finds a home in this Reserve, but also many other species and of course some people as well, I got a phone call by a very good journalist whose work is incredibly stunning, Moisés Castillo, an Antigueño that has been working for Associated Press for about seventeen years. So, he was curious as to the possibility of driving to the place where the recent massacre had ocurred, and hours of driving and asking around we made it. Coincidentally, the President made it by helicopter, along with other Ministers, and other press, at almost the same time we were arriving. In fact, we saw the helicopters and that’s how we finally knew where exactly the place was.

Getting there, journalists did their job, and everybody was ready to leave. Some shots escaped my camara, but the best job is the Jounalists. The ambience was very heavy, or at least the combination of heat and air was very heavy. How can people massacre people?

It seems that humanity as a species, and through its history doesn’t seem to have enough wiping out habitats and ecosystems, it even has to destroy itself by becoming less human. Atrocities of these kind will damage Guatemala entirely, for years to come, as if the war held wasn’t enough. There shouldn’t be wars, it seems humanity itself is incapable of tolerating peace. When as as species, as humanity will we grow up?

If you are unaware of the recent events in Petén, read the following news articles:

  1. Guatemala: Brutality and Impunity: Over 28 Decapitated in Petén by Renata Ávila, Global Voices
  2. Guatemala: 27 massacred, decapitated in Petén by paramilitary drug gang Los Zetas by Xeni Jardin, BoingBoing

In the meantime, also enjoy some of Petén’s sunsets.

A thatch roof

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Thatch roofs are very nice and in the hottest of days, they do help in providing a very refreshing shelter. The ancient Maya of Petén of the lowlands (Petén, Belize and Southern Mexico) used the Guano palm (Sabal morrisliana) a lot for roofs and possibly for other stuff. It is still used today by plenty of people.

But if you end up living in Petén and if you want your Guano thatch roof make sure that the person/entity you are buying it from has the proper harvest and transportation licenses. These kinds of licenses are only given by CONAP (Consejo Nacional de Áreas Protegidas – National Council for Protected Areas)

And, just fyi, make sure that the people building the thatch roof do know how to build it properly, because there are specific angles to consider as well as some other details. Should you not hire the right people, then the roof can rot in less than a year! You really want such an investment to last as much as possible, right?

Running into a Croc

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Yes, it was a croc. You won’t imagine where it was found. It does look like if it is very close to the water. Sorry to disappoint you. It is a dissected crocodile on the concrete floor of a restaurant very close to Poptún (about 100 kilometers South of Flores).

The reasons on why the crocodile ended up dissected and on display at the restaurant are unknown, or sometimes it is just better not to ask. Anyway, please don’t encourage the killing/sales of any species, particularly when they are in the CITES appendixes.

Yes, Guatemala ratified the CITES and IUCN agreements, do you know what this means? What other international efforts do you know of when it comes to international protection of flora and fauna? (else, just follow the white rabbit CITES and Red list)


Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Waiting in front of a hotel, just by accident grabbing the camera, these kids went right in front on their bikes. Don’t you find that sometimes riding a modified bike can be a bit of an adventure? When was your last time riding a bike in Petén?

Tayasal’s Mirador

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

A lot of people when they read or hear about a Mirador, most usually the first reference is the El Mirador Archaeological Site (keep in mind that Petén holds more than 5,000 officially registered archaeological sites). But in this case it is a watchtower (one of the many translations and interpretations for “Mirador”) located on the Tayasal Peninsula, just a bit north of the Island of Flores. The Tayasal Peninsula holds several places, like the Tayasal Archaeological Site, the Chechenal beach, the towns of Arrozal and San Miguel, as well as the Petencito Zoo and ARCAS (a wildlife rescue center). All of these places can be accessed by land and by boat.

If you give yourself a chance to stay some time in Flores, make some to visit the other nearby places. You won’t regret it. Anyway, the above picture is during sunrise, can you imagine the sunrise/sunsets from this mirador? By the way, what other miradores have you visited?

Welcome to Petén

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

Petén is not just Tikal, it is far more… Here we are at the Eastern most side of Lake Petén Itzá, on the town El Remate. Does anybody remember the event that led to the astronomical view of the moon with the “company” of two planets? What are the names of the planets? 🙂

text and photo by Arturo Godoy

Arturo Godoy PortraitAbout Guest Contributor: Arturo Godoy is married to photography after having divorced biology. He is now living in La Antigua Guatemala. He is starting up his photography business after making the transition from amateur photographer to a paid one, hence now a pro. In the few years he’s been in photography he’s had six expositions, and is working on two photographic books, one about expressions of women (a shared book with his dearest friends) and one about conservation of nature. His love to photography rises from expressing something through whatever kind of natural beauty that crosses him and his camera. You can browse and purchase photos from his portfolio at web site.