A few days ago I set off on CCE's last Study Tour to Cuba accompanied by two of the Cuba group. Getting to Mexico was is a bit of a flog as you cannot transit via the U.S. which is still trying to wipe out the socialist State with Draconian embargoes. So you have to enter the country via Canada or Mexico City. At the planning stage I thought "Mexico sounds like a good idea for a stopover" (especially after 24hours travel) so off we went.
|Old theatre in Puebla, two hours south of Mexico City|
|Metropolitano Cathedral, Zocalo|
|Spanish church built on top of an Aztec pyramid, Cholula|
Our main (photographic) challenge was when shooting in churches. No tripods and strictly no flash to be used. There are legions of flash Nazis patrolling the aisles of the big churches watching tourists and locals alike. So, shooting required us to lean, prop, sit and brace against anything rigid to get a half-decent result. ISO went through the roof and nearly everything I shot was done as an HDR (i.e. three bracketed exposures post-processed using Photomatix Pro) to compensate for the intense glare outside and the impossible contrast range inside. Some worked, others didn't. TIP: Shooting in really dark places forces you to raise the ISO and of course, open the aperture to the maximum. Doing this reveals just how good the lens is shooting wide open. Most go soft around the edges. Cheaper kit lenses go soft all over so care must be taken - most lenses have a sweet spot, usually f8, f11 - sometimes f16 - that produces significantly sharper results than at f4 - or f32 for that matter. It's a good idea to test this to see which aperture works best for your lens...
|Puebla Church, Santo Domingo and the Capilla del Rosario|
|Doorway, Puebla old town|
|Puebla church with Arabic (Moorish tiles and the (Mexican) symbol of the sun|