Sunday, December 28, 2014

Cell phone, 2014 captures.

Cell phones go with us everywhere, and no photographer can resist clicking them to capture moments and places. Over the year I accumulate my share of cell phone pictures. Time to share those related to the blog motive.

Dog and sea wolf dialogue in Punta del Este harbor. They seem old friends.

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Fish market, Punta del Este harbor.

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Yachts and seagulls in Punta del Este, in winter time.

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Palacio Salvo, Montevideo, in a rainy day - excuse the fancy crop and border.

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A happy, peaceful and productive 2015 to all of you!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Cannabis expo at LATU

You may have read that our little country is legalizing a certain weed, despite a majority of the people against. A large Cannabis Expo was organized in LATU last weekend.

Entrance ticket was about 6 US dollars, very cheap if you consider that this was social history in the making.

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About 6,000 people visited the expo, many of them foreigners. A lot of interest and activity - a whole community coming out of semi-clandestinity.

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As I am not a user, I had never seen all these devices. Glass blowers seem to have a bright future.

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Young people queuing to watch a hemp flower under a low-power microscope.

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One stand was fittingly named in homage to the current President, a big promoter of legalization as a lesser evil.

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It seems that light tents are a key device for cultivating this weed in our climate. These two guys were setting up a LED-lighted portable tent.

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A set of tents already set up and working. These plants are treated as royalty.

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Many people learned for the first time that the hemp plant had other uses too.

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In the expo the dominant colors were black and green (maybe the soccer club El tanque-Sisley was a sponsor). Some well thought-out details.

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Thanks for looking. Pictures came from a Spotmatic 500 with 35mm f/2 lens shooting FP4+. Color pictures are from a Canon G12 digital P&S.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Saint Philip and Saint James!

Felipe and Santiago were the two patron saints of Montevideo, designated by Don Bruno Mauricio de Zabala himself. Maybe he could not choose a single one, or maybe Don Bruno just wanted to hedge his chances. I do not believe that the saints were consulted beforehand.

The two saints must have had more than a few headaches during the 190 years of life of this city. In compensation, a 10k is run every year's end in the saints' name. If you are interested here is some information about the 2014 version.

They run in the Rambla with a light back wind, the setting sun in front and a temperature of 32 C - very warm indeed. I took position about midcourse, old camera ready.

First came the wheelchair leader, making good time.

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The race was a battle of three - Mr. Bruno form Argentina, who won against Mr. Rojas and Mr. Zamora. Mr. Bruno was flying when he passed my station.

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The challengers were near.

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In these races there is a group of athletes that go for the medals and timing, and a much larger group of people that go for the fun and exercise. I singled out a Gaucho with a national flag, greeting a friend.

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In the slower times, the race became a massive walk-run affair, fighting the extreme heat. Along the Rambla, people walked more or less indifferently, watching the exercise and (I think) being very glad that they did not have to run along.

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Technical: Exakta VXIIb with Pancolar lens, FP4+ in Beutler.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

One week before first round

In one week we shall have Parlament elections, along with a first round of Presidential election (all the pundits say that we will have a second round later, but this first round is for sure).

Lots of people want to get inside the Legislativo palace, which is understandable. The venue is nice enough, and good coffee is served free of charge inside, or so they tell me.

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The way to get in, or so it seems, is to get noticed. Flags seem a popular way. This mobile store makes a lot of business in pre-election days.

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There are very large flags in the Rambla, taking advantage of our reliable wind.

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But the core business is just distributing voting papers, which we call lists, because they list the candidates, their alternates, and the alternates of alternates. Lists are papers with a colorful head in whatever the Party colors are, a nice picture of the candidates for president and vicepresident, and chock full of names of candidates to Senator and Representative seats. Sometimes, in these lists you can find an unexpected friend, classmate, colleague or relative, so people look at the lists.

Uruguayans take their list to the voting room, and I believe that there must be more than 100 lists printed for every citizen, so nobody misses their preferred one. In this election, for the first time I saw these smart tents, to protect the militans distributing the lists (and all the paper) from the wind and sun.

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Lists are given in static posts by the streets, or by somebody as you walk along the Rambla,

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or efficiently passed through the car window as you stop for a red light and just make a signal to the waiting operators.

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Sometimes the political militans are insistent. I caught this one in the Old City, trying to convince a mannequin to vote for the Independent Party!

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Best of all, it happens most of the time in a festive mood, with the militants from different parties making noise together and in good peace. Humor and horse-play abound.

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Let us hope that the mood goes on. I hope to document the election next Sunday! Meanwhile, Montevideanos go about their weekends, more detached from politics than the politicians would have us believe.

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Technical: Retina IIIS with Xenar lens, FP4+ in Beutler.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Punta del Este - fishing dock area

I go very seldom to Punta del Este. I am not interested in the noise, glamour and famous people that it attracts in the summer. When I get there, I make a bee line to the harbor and walk to the fishing dock, where my favorite subjects are waiting in the winter light.

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Near noon, there is brisk work on cleaning fish.

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which attracts a lot of seagulls.

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and sometimes, seawolfs too. This is one of the characters that were around the fish cleaners, hoping to get something.

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There are courageous boats, waiting for the order to go out on the ocean in the thick fog.  photo 201412015_zpsc870d084.jpg

Most of the boats were just moored after the day work, or maybe waiting for better weather.

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Technical: Nikon FE, several lenses, FP4+ in Beutler.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Testing old cameras

I have been again in that fishing dock in Buceo harbor, testing old cameras. Overcast weather, as it must be in our so-called winter.

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In the nearby Yacht Club, rows of nice boats wait for the opportunity to sail.

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The boats are tightly moored with old rubber, stretching lazily with the wind load.

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Technical: Exakta (Isco-Westron), Canonet QL17, well-expired FP4+ in Beutler.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Panoramic Congress (Legislative Palace)

This is an Election Year; primaries in June, legislative and presidential elections in October, and probably ballotage in November. Many people will try to get inside this building for five years.

The Palacio Legislativo, our Congress, was built in the 1920s with all luxury, Italian marble and Uruguayan black granite, and very impressive neoclassical architecture.
The legislators inside were expelled at least once by people in uniform. I still remember this building all rounded up by tanks back in late June, 1973, when the storm burst in our politics. Yet, it is a safer place than in other neighboring countries.

I also have been hoping to get inside, but just to take a few pictures. Someday I hope to put on a colored shirt and dark glasses,  and mix with a tourist group from a cruiser's visit.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Those small fishing boats

I went back to my favorite subject, those small fishing boats packed together in the dock.

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In the still water, they show their shadows and reflections.

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Fast shutter speeds may, sometimes, show amazing lines and reflections coming from the fleeting movement of the water.

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In a few weeks, these little boats will be very busy trying to net fish for the Holy Week. But now they just wait together, enjoying the summer heat. I like those bows with their shadows and reflections.

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The stairs are ready if you want to board.

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Technical: FP4+, Beutler, Pentax ME with very standard lenses.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Labeling the city

The city has got a new label in Pocitos, so you do not forget where you are. A test label had come and gone sometime ago (somebody's living room must be full of giant plastic letters!). This one is made of something heavy and solid. Much harder to take away, except as a memory.

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I would have said that such a monument to obviousness was doomed in our dry-humored, gray city. But fortunately I was wrong, which happens often according to my wife.
The giant label is a great hit. People queue for a group or family picture, and tourists flock to it day and night. Welcome, Label!

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Malvin Beach

People in foreign countries talk about Generation Y, Generation X - the whole alphabet. We have just the Sand Dunes Generation in Malvin Beach. It is a project to stabilize sand movement with bushes and palm branches. It seems to work so far. The sand is still there.

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The Dunes Generation plays soccer on the sand, same as we did so many years ago. Hard on the ankles but great fun.

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Families go to the beach on weekends, when the weather is right.

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It gets a bit crowded near Punta Gorda, and the life savers were in a labor conflict (not yet strike, we have many gradations. Fortunately nobody drowned.

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FP4+ in Beutler, with the little Pentax ME getting some air time.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The dead whale

A dead sperm whale appeared Friday evening in the coast of Carrasco, at about the intersection of the Rambla and Bolivia avenue. The beast was about 16 m long and had buried in the sand during the last storm.

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The Prefectura (Coast guard) men tried to seize it by the tail and move it around, without much success. Even submerged, it was way too heavy, and currents were strong. A lot of people had gathered around to watch the show.

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This happened on Saturday. Later, heavy construction machinery arrived, entered into the water, and eventually the poor whale was moved to the beach, to rot in peace all Sunday while local government feverishly contracted transport to a burial site. This is how it looked 24 hours later, on Sunday afternoon.

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Can you imagine the stench of a 20-ton long-dead animal?  I am glad that photos have no odor. Yes, that dark mass near the tail are intestines. The body swelled and broke under the pressure of methane from the formentation. I had to take a closer picture but frankly I am not proud of it. You don't really have to look.

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Another view, this time of the huge head of the sperm whale. The newsmen said that it is the animal with the largest brain in our planet. 

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Yesterday, the whale was finally loaded in a truck and transported for proper burial. Quite an operation from local government and the Coast Guard. It will take about a week for the beach to be clean again.

This incident made me think of Captain Ahab in his Pequod and his special white whale. Before the Panama canal, I believe that there were whalers stopping at Montevideo harbor. In any case, we do not see whalers anymore; our current fishing boats look friendlier.

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Technical: Kiev 4M with various lenses (J-12 and -9, H-103). FP4+ in Beutler.