Riviera Maya Caves And Cenotes Worth Returning To

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The place was called Indiana Joe’s and yes, they used the same font at the Indiana Jones franchise, so I knew there was a good chance of cheesiness involved. Joe’s was made up around two central, natural features, a pretty cool cave system and a cenote, which is a naturally occurring underground pool.

My daughter and I were visiting Indiana Joe’s along the Riviera Maya coast of Mexico on a press trip and dang it was hot. Melting-my-brain hot. Or at least, frying-my-patience-for-a-heat-weary-kid hot. We were luxuriated with an air conditioned van, a driver and a local guide, so it seems odd to complain, but we’re from the Pacific Northwest and this kind of heat saps our strength.

Once outside of the van at Joe’s the temperature could be felt and we were eager for the caves, knowing they would be naturally air conditioned. Later we would find the cenote to be frigid, but in a good way. I have no pictures of the cenote and that is a shame, because it is a cool swim-around cave.

The funny thing about tourist attractions in this part of Mexico is they often have to make stuff up to gain tourists and Indiana Joe’s is no different. We not only visited the cave and cenote, but also the ‘zoo’ they have there. We passed on the ziplines, opting to do those another day at another place. It’s a little cheesy, but understandable since most tourists in this area want to sit on the beach and maybe see some Mayan ruins at Tulum. Maybe.

The cave system was a leisurely 50 minute walk as I remember it and quite fascinating. In places they have to chisel new paths, but 80% of the cave is natural formations and passages. It’s not a ‘true’ caving experience as there are lights-a-plenty, but it is pretty cool to look at all the same. Kids will love it and if they don’t, just mention, “Where do you think the dragons sleep?” and you will have them hooked. It’s that kind of awesome.

I love places like this, honestly. The fact that thousands of people have been through the caves and they have been blasted in places to make passage does not take away from the awe and childish wonder in me. I love the formations and marveling at what time and water can do.

Take a look for yourself at the images above. (If you can’t see the images, click here to see the post online)

Oh wait! Obligatory, but useful, links to our hosts: Indiana Joe’s & Riviera Maya.

This is one place I would visit again on my own. It was cool (and refreshing!) and I love caves. If anyone else wants me to take pictures of their caves, drop me a line.

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An Easy Path To Great Landscape Photos – Visit A National Park

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Time after time when I view my own photos and gravitate to what I enjoy the most, 70% of those images are shot in a national park some place on this planet (with UNESCO World Heritage Sites coming in a near the top as well). It’s no coincidence that they are also one of the places I like most to visit.

If you are starting out in landscape photography and struggling to find subject matter, consider finding a nearby national park. And this goes for those of you outside the USA as well. In Australia they are all over the place while other countries might have a scarcity, but they are almost always worth the travel.

Sure, ‘everyone’ has been there before you, but if you are looking for experience and almost surefire shooting material, what better place to practice. After all, for all of us, every shot is practice for the future. Every shot hopefully teaches us something or helps us appreciate light and nature in some way. National parks will help you soak up that experience while helping you improve you skills.

How To View The Slideshow

To view the full screen slideshow, simply look to the lower left hand corner for a big X. When you click that, these words will hide away and you can see the full background slideshow of National Parks. Click the spot where the X was again to make the words come back. Hovering your mouse over an image will temporarily stop the slideshow.

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Mount Rainier And Reflection Lakes At Sunrise, Mt. Rainier Natio

 

The Local Market In Punakha, Bhutan

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Markets like this one are still very much the typical way locals find their fresh groceries in rural Bhutan. Most anything for the home can be found, from the just-picked fruits and roots to clothes and kids toys.

If you are reading this in a RSS viewer or on email, I suggest you click on over to a web browser (Here’s a link to make it easier for you). It works on your phone (probably), tablet or computer and the bigger the screen the better the images.

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How To Use This Slideshow For Best Effect

Now do you see that x in the upper right corner above this text? Once you click that, you’ll have a full browser view of the images. You can then use the control arrows at the bottom of the image or your mouse’s scroll wheel. Or just flick them aside on your tablet like you would other pictures.

Faces Of Amritsar

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I found Amritsar to be one of the more friendly areas I have visited in India. Most of these images are taken around the Golden Temple and include some ‘behind the scenes’ shots in the kitchens during Baisakhi.

If you are reading this in a RSS viewer or on email, I suggest you click on over to a web browser (Here’s a link to make it easier for you). It works on your phone (probably), tablet or computer and the bigger the screen the better the images.

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How To Use This Slideshow For Best Effect

Now do you see that x in the upper right corner above this text? Once you click that, you’ll have a full browser view of the images. You can then use the control arrows at the bottom of the image or your mouse’s scroll wheel. Or just flick them aside on your tablet like you would other pictures.

 

My Favorite And Odd Photos From 2013

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I am presenting these images from 2013 in the hopes that you find something you like. That being said, there are some images here only I might like, and I’m good with that. I started taking more “odd” photos in 2013, experimenting with blue and playing with colored tonic water poured over fruit and vegetables. While I love the mountains and travel, there are a lot of subject matter that interest me that will never get the “oooohhh” and “ahhhhh”s that those picture garner. But that’s what photography is for me, endless exploration and experimentation to present a view of what is in front of me.

Some of these images made the cut because they are stand-alone pretty. Some made the cut because they hold memories for me and my family (and I know my wife will be reading this post so I want to help jog her memory of the happy times we have shared). And then some….well, I’ll group these images by style to make it easier. Let’s start with the pretty stuff and then move into family memories (there were too many to show them all) and then the odd stuff you might not know me for.

This post will be gathered in a compilation my friend Jim Goldstein puts together of various photographers’ “Best of 2013” lists. If you would like to join in, check out this link. I’m wondering if this list will be included as Jim suggests (rightly so) narrowing your list to five or ten images. I have 32 in this list. I don’t follow direction well.

How To Use This Slideshow For Best Effect

If you are reading this in a RSS viewer or on email, I suggest you click on over to a web browser (Here’s a link to make it easier for you). It works on your phone (probably), tablet or computer and the bigger the screen the better the images.

Now do you see that x in the upper right corner above this text? Once you click that, you’ll have a full browser view of the images. You can then use the control arrows at the bottom of the image or your mouse’s scroll wheel. Or just flick them aside on your tablet like you would other pictures.

Image Descriptions

1. Cho Oyu and Photographers, Nepal

2. Sunset from 39,000′, somewhere over California, USA

3. Machermo Range And Dudh Pokhari, Gokyo, Nepal

4. Himalayas and stars through a windows, Machermo, Nepal

5. Yak and Kangtega, Nepal

6. Mt. Rainier and Reflection Lakes, Washington, USA

7. Mt. Baker at sunset, Washington, USA

8. Mt. Hood and Trillium Lake, Oregon, USA

9. Photographer and the Moon, near Mt. Baker, Washington, USA

10. Sun through the trees, Mt. Baker, Washington, USA

11. Moonrise over the Cascade Mountains from Whidbey Island, Washington, USA

12. Sunset on the Washington Coast, Olympic National Park, Washington, USA

13. Temple Of The Mad Man, Bhutan

14. Monks at ceremony, Jakar, Bhutan

15. Blossoms and field, Jakar, Bhutan

16. My daughter and her friend exploring trees, North Cascades National Park, Washington, USA

17. SMORES!!!! Sequoia National Park, California, USA

18. Looking up, Sequoia National Park, California, USA

19. My wife and daughter at a Papohaku Beach, Molokai, Hawaii, USA

20. My daughter flying a kite, Molokai, Hawaii, USA

21. Sunrise over Maui aboard the UnCruise Adventures Safari Explorer, Hawaii, USA

22. Jessie breaks open coconuts, Molokai, Hawaii, USA

23. A mega-pod of dolphins off the coast of California, USA

24. Military gravestones, Medical Lake, Washington, USA

25. Playing with LEDs, Mt. Baker, Washington, USA

26. Rust and waves, Metchosin, British Columbia, Canada

27. Moths to a flame (look closely and you’ll see the repeating pattern as the light hit them), Clinton, Washington, USA

28. Spinning dancer, Paro, Bhutan

29. Nature’s ladder, Washington, USA

30. Keeping pace with the falls, Oregon, USA

31. How to make an okay sunset even better (panning blur), Whidbey Island, Washington, USA

32. Sunset on our second to last night on our honeymoon 🙂

Experiencing The Final, Fire-Laden Ceremony Of The Kharchu Dratshang Drupcheen in Jakar, Bhutan

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I love good fortune. While we had some days with rain for our 2013 Bhutan Photo Tour, we had some good fortune as well.

Having previously been to the Namkhe Nyingpo Goemba (Monastery) above the town of Jakar in Central Bhutan, I knew it as a great spot for sunset photos. After a day of trouncing around the countryside our group gathered in our trusty van and headed up the small, winding road (this describes almost ALL Bhutanese roads, by the way) to the monastery, hoping for a break in the clouds just at sunset.

What we were greeted with instead was a parking lot full of cars. Monasteries in Bhutan don’t have a lot of cars because the monks don’t drive much, if at all. We came to find out there was a retreat going on and that the next day there would be a ceremony in the courtyard. I’ll have more on the indoor ceremony we found that night in another post as it was a unique experience (we were allowed to take photos during the ceremony inside the temple, which is usually not allowed).

At the appropriate time the next day we headed up the hill again and watched as the monks set up for the ceremony, burned a lot of offerings and then ignited a huge fireball near the end of everything. You can see the fireball about 2/3 the way into this photo essay.

The experience was fascinating even though we didn’t understand a word of what was being said. I loved the pageantry and colors most of all and it was fun to be at on a local event.

How To Use This Slideshow For Best Effect

If you are reading this in a RSS viewer or on email, I suggest you click on over to a webbrowser. It works on your phone, tablet or computer. The bigger the screen the better. Here’s a link to make it easier for you.

Now do you see that x in the upper right corner above this text? Once you click that, you’ll have a full browser view of the images. You can then use the control arrows at the bottom of the image or your mouse’s scroll wheel. Or just flick them aside on your tablet like you would other pictures.

Feedback, Please

I would love you feedback on this new format. I know it will load slower as the images are each about 2MB (and there are 57 of them here, so that’s 100MB+), but other than that, how does it work for you?

Sunset Tonight

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I know shooting photos of the sunset is mostly considered a cliche by the establishment of accomplished photographers, but I don’t care. It was gorgeous tonight. I hope you have a great day.

Photograph Copyright Peter West Carey. Image Available For Commercial Licensing (email).

Image may be reproduced for personal, non-commercial use (details) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Non-Licensed Commercial use is prohibited without consent and attribution to this post must be given, please.