Categories
Events Photography

RMX 212 music festival in Guadalajara

RMX212 concert

As a new resident of Guadalajara, I know very little of the history of the RMX 212 music festival. This is the first time I know about it and assisted. I have to say that it is awesome! They completely shut down Ave. Chapultepec, an avenue known for it’s restaurants, bars and a great place to walk around during the day and have a nice time. Four stages along the avenue with several bands playing simultaneously from 14:00 hrs until 03:00 in the morning! The nice thing was that also most of the bands were not the typical mainstream pop music garbage (although some still sounded like garbage), this was a place for new bands and upcoming bands to have a large audience to promote themselves.

RMX212 by Grupo Imagen

I got my age “reality check” when I saw the lineup for each of the stages. Shocking to see how many new bands are coming up and you know absolutely nothing about them. That’s when you realize you’re becoming “uncool” and are out of touch with current trends.

Fortunately not everyone was new to me. I knew a couple, like Pato Machete, former member of Control Machete, Hello Seahorse and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sussie_4][Sussie 4]]. I knew more bands, but I didn’t necessarily like them. They were my brother’s preferred music, which I don’t consider “cool”, but ohh well…

I could get close enough to take interesting shots at Pato Machete’s presentation.

Pato Machete on stage

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The crowd was going crazy with this guy on stage

Concert crowd

Stand up cheer

Pato Machete on stage at RMX212

I don’t know what was going on, but apparently all my friends were surprised at something when I took this shot.

Everyone surprised here

Then I went with Alesi and Lokotronic to see the happy punk band Division Minuscula. I really hate that crap, all songs sound the same to me and don’t get me started with the lyrics… but I didn’t wanted to go home yet.

Fan girl & Division Minuscula at RMX212

Here is the best image I could take when Sussie 4 was on stage. The place was too crowded to get any closer.

Monument concert with Susie4 at RMX212

A girl in the crowd who smiled at my camera.

The girl who smiled

Taking stage photographs is hard. You have to prepare and adjust all your settings before the concert starts or else you’ll miss good moments, and since ligthing is constantly changing, you might miss some. I was constantly switching from manual to shutter speed priority. It is important to set your metering to spot metering and if you have several focus points, use the ones in the center. There are ways to set dynamic focus following a subject on some cameras, but for a beginner like me, center focus points work fine. Unless you are in a special press booth or reserved area, being in the middle of the crowd during a concert leaves you little time and comfort to adjust settings and experiment.

And I leave you with a music video of Pato Machete for those who don’t know his music and got curious after these pictures:

Categories
Photography

Mexico’s nation-wide protest against presidential elections

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The presidential elections in Mexico had lots of dubious activities mostly from the Revolutionary Party (PRI) and everyone went on the streets to protest against the results that favor that party’s candidate.

Protests like the one photographed in these images took place all over the country in big and medium cities (where the cartels and army counldn’t stop people from going to the streets). These images are only from the one in Guadalajara city, but the same feeling is all around the country.

The media manipulations over the elections and the false statistics have become more and more evident, specially after the advantage numbers resulted in far less difference than what the major statistics publications reported all along.

The march in Guadalajara took several hours and was several kilometers long. I couldn’t reach the end of it, it was really massive.

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Photography wise, I’m happier with the results. I prepared (at least mentally planned) for the images I wanted to capture. I’m still not completely satisfied, I think I can capture more emotions and try different angles of things I see. On the good side, I feel I missed less shots. I still struggle a bit playing with the camera settings on the fly to get the right exposure but I’m getting a hang of it. The article on F8 and be there was a good advice to follow. Also switching lenses while walking in the middle of a protest is very challenging. But in general it is very interesting and fun.

Most photos were shot in RAW this time, which gave me more freedom to play on the editing part. The downside of it is that I took more than 600 pictures and selecting the best shots, then edit the RAW files was a very time consuming and exhausting task. Next time I’ll plan ahead some specific shots I want to get and shoot less “let’s get whatever happens here” pictures. Sometimes I shot because people were expecting me to take their picture when there was really nothing special happening at the scene. I’m sure having the constraint of taking less pictures will make me think better my shots instead of going click-crazy with the shutter button.

As always you can find more photos published on my Flickr set Marcha Anti-Imposicion Guadalajara

Categories
Photography

Sexual Diversity Parade in Guadalajara

Rainbow flags

The LGBT parade/protest took place in Guadalajara and I didn’t miss the opportunity to get my camera and snap some pictures.

For the first time I went to a gay parade in Mexico. Popular culture says that Guadalajara is the city with the biggest gay community, although I would question this, as Mexico city has more population and it is probable that because of this reason only, it always has the biggest community of anything.

The parade was not huge, but it ended up in the Liberation Plaza, a location I found very interesting, as it is right behind the main catholic cathedral. Guadalajara is a city where most of the society is very religious, so having this parade is an interesting contrast.

Sexual diversity parade

There was a big stage set up. The movement’s leaders gave a speech about sexual diversity, the fight for LGBT rights and equality and a protest to polititians asking them to legislate without any religious belief, to keep non-religious education in public schools and to defend the separation of church and state. Afterwards there were several shows to entertain the public.

Everyone gathered in the square to enjoy the shows, take lots of pictures and have a good time.

I took this opportunity to conquer my shyness when taking pictures of people in the streets. This time I talked to them, asked politely if I could take their pictures and got closer than usual sometimes. I’m happy with the results, I got some more interesting pictures like the one below where I asked this guy to hold his flag in front of the statue. I still have more to work in that area but this was a good start.

Gay pride

Gay pride

Macho men

Macho men

Sunset harlequin

Sunset harlequin

Sado teddy

Sado teddy

Manly love

Manly love

Gay metal couple

Gay metal couple

Transexual couple

Transexual couple

Gay couple

Gay couple

Shemale

Shemale

Jackson

The Jackson

Angel smile

Angel smile

Honest priest

An honest priest?

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Some kids celebrating their highschool graduation were passing by and one of them asked a drag queen to share her beer with him.

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Gay Unicorn

Mario bros.

Mario bros.

Rainbow poodle

Rainbow poodle

The last photography I find it very peculiar. Not every day you can take a picture of a drag queen show behind a huge cathedral while a condom is floating in the air.

A drag, a condom and the church

A drag, a condom and the church

Check out more pictures of the event at my Flickr set.

Categories
Photography

I’ve joined Instagram

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After long time avioding the hype, I decided last week to finally join Instagram. I’ve been trying to get more involved with photography and reading several good photographer’s blogs and some recommended to get into that. Also that after reading that it is powered by Django, I had lots of curiosity.

Among the things I like about Instagram are the many preconfigured filters. There’s a lot of them and fast to try out. It would be great if you could fade a bit some of those effects or tune them, just like you can do with Picnic when editing photos on Google Plus. Also the basic color & saturation corrections would be nice to have too. The blur effect is very cool and easy to use, I always used to do that by hand (or tried to) on Gimp or other photo editing software. The Ice Cream Sandwich image editor doesn’t have a way to do it, so having it on Instagram is nice. Sharing on multiple social networks is very comfortable too. I wish one could configure what albums on the phone get synchronized with google plus auto-upload feature. Right now it only syncs the main camera album, and all Instagram edits get saved at the “Instagram” album, so they don’t get synced, but that’s an Android ICS feature waiting to happen, not Instagram’s app fault.

So far I’ve seen, there is no web interface to browse all your and others pictures on Instagram. There’s another web app called Statigr.am and you can use that as your web access to the images. I wonder why that decision was made, a good web interface is always handy, plus you use your larger screen of your desktop or laptop. I’m a bit worried about the license on my uploaded images, but I don’t plan to upload anything important anyway. And if I did, I would republish on Flickr with a Creative Commons license, the way I like it.

As an online photo sharing app, I still prefer Flickr over all the services I’ve tried: Picasa/Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and recently 500px. Even though many criticize it for being outdated or “left behind”, just because it doesn’t have a decent mobile application doesn’t mean they’ve staggered. Recent minor changes have been great usability commodities and it lets me share and blog my pictures easier (when on my computer, not phone/tablet) letting me choose from different sizes to, for example, share them on my blog. Community wise I’m still not sure, since I don’t have lots of followers on Instagram, the activity on my photos is not that big.

Here are some of the pictures I’ve uploaded:

chamaleon

Llama

Chinchilla

Don’t forget to follow me as gabrielsaldana (don’t know if there’s a way to make a link to follow or something, since there’s no web interface to my profile). I still have lots to learn about Instagram. Mind to share with me some tips in the comments?

Categories
Events Photography

#YoSoy132 protest and Mexico’s 2nd presidential debate events

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Last weekend was Mexico’s 2nd presidential debate in Guadalajara. Lucky for me, I’m now living in this city so I had the opportunity to witness several of the events and protests around this event. On Sunday there was the protest against the PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto, the so called anti-EPN protest. Later in the day the second #YoSoy132 protest in Guadalajara took place without regard for the intense sun and heat (well…coming from my hometown and Monterrey city, this was not that bad for me). As always I didn’t miss the opportunity to take my camera and try to get some cool pictures.

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Dogs also joining the cause.

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As in the previous protest, there were lots of signs telling people to get informed and not to vote according to the charismatic television propaganda.

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This sign is asking for an apology from Mexico’s major TV network to the mexican people for publishing information with a bias to a candidate, as The Guardian has published Televisa’s dirty tricks.

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There has been a lot of criticism about the YoSoy132 movement being a left wing supporting movement, but here’s an image that proves that there are also signs against the left wing’s candidate.

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Lastly me and some friends watched the debate in a public space where large screens and speakers were set up by one of the left wing political parties where by the end of the day, that political party’s candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) went on the stage to say a few words on how he felt he won the debate and to encourage his followers to continue supporting him on his campaign.

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It was the first time I attend a political party event and the experience was surprising. I saw it as an opportunity to experience those events, how people get convinced and how euphoric people are about a political view while gathered in masses. One of the things that impressed me the most was that there were two people cheering for the candidate on stage while waiting for him to get to the location. One of them was a young man that cheered the event like any other event host, nothing spectacular. But the other one was a middle aged woman, and she cheered like she was an evangelical priest. The words she shouted and the euphoria with which she shouted reminded me of the chants and shouting prayers of some religions. They were singing the party’s song (where do they learn the song from?!) and they were all very hyped about the fact that they were going to see “their favourite leader”.

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These are a small sample of the pictures I took that day. For more images please visit the photosets Second protest #YoSoy132 and AMLO after debate on my Flickr account.

It always amazes and interests me a lot all these events where people get encouraged to behave in some manner that they normally won’t behave, being a religious event, a musical concert or, as I now learned, a political party event.

It was very difficult for me to get good photographs because it was overcrowded, lots of people getting in my shots and they had lots of signs and flags that also got in my way. I’ll keep trying to get good shots at these events, hopefully someday I’ll master the technique of photography in those circumstances.

Categories
Events Photography

Protest against the media #YoSoy132 in Guadalajara

I haven’t been up to date to what is being published about Mexico in the rest of the world, but at least all mexicans know about this protest gathering. It all started when presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto went to the Ibero university to give a speech to the students. There, the students protested against him, calling him a murderer and questioning him about the killings in the Atenco incident.

Afterwards, national media covered the story and published everywhere that the meeting at the university was a success. The political party published a video (now pulled down) with fake students giving their approval to the candidate. Then the political party leader said that those students were a minority and that they were not students but paid agitators by a rival political party. This was the last drop, after having to stand up for false voters statistics, and other statistics where the totals added over 100%, many covered news and lots of praisals for this candidate from all major news publications in the country.

All this made everyone very pissed off about the matter, and started protests first on video and then the people on the streets. The protests happened on the same day at the same time on all the big cities of Mexico with most of the participants being students. The claim was to expose the media as lyers and that students won’t swallow anymore all their bullshit.

The movement was called 132, because the media said that only 131 students were the ones who protested against the presidential candidate. That being a big fat lie, everyone started protesting stating that we are 132 (actually thousands more) in the same spirit of the occupy movement’s 99%.

Also being fed up with media bullshit since 5 years ago, I joined the protest. Plus it was a perfect opportunity to give my new camera gear a try in the field. The protest started in Chapultepec Ave. and they walked to the Televisa building. There, everyone placed protest banners and signs on the walls. Afterwards, we walked to the Milenio headquarters where one university student was invited to a radio show to talk about the protest going on outside the studios. We listened through a megaphone and people started leaving messages with white chalk on the street. Finally everyone walked back to the starting point.

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It was a very calm protest. There were no agitators or any violence acts.

The funny thing was that that same night, on the daily news, the media minimized the impact and size of the protests. Will they ever get the message?