BELIZE – Go Slow
field report #4
Wikipedia tells the Belize story more thoroughly http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belize but I have better pictures! http://www.callananphoto.com/belize/
To someone used to living in Mexico, Belize is a bit of an anomaly. The two countries are joined at the hip of the Yucatan peninsula but differ greatly in demographics and history. Mexico is Spanish from its Mayan head to its Toltec toes. But Belize, known as the British Honduras until 1973 still carries the Queen of England’s smiling face on their currency, so the heritage is british colonial laced with piracy and its inhabitants are black and speak english, though the overall ethnicity of the islands and the country are more complex than black and white, english or spanish speaking.
The country is organically rich, meaning it has ecosystems that have a high turnover of biomass and are reproductively fecund like her inland jungles, mangroves and wetlands coastally and the world’s second largest barrier reef lying just off her shore. these features and their ancillary activities are her main tourist attractions. Inland theer are forests and mayan ruins and bad roads but they will all have to wait for another trip.
This visit was restricted to the coastal fringe and most specifically to Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye (and a cricket ground outside Belize City covered in a blog below http://callananphoto.blogspot.com/2006/03/flying-visit-to-baja.html).
The Cayes are tiny coralline islands fringed by reef. Most are about as wide as an airstrip is long and you can ride a bike from one end to the the other in about ummm 20 mins without shifting gears.
The island’s motto is, afterall, “go slow”. And so while I slowly criss-crossed and circumperambulated the islands my eye was always caught by hand-painted signs and simple advertising artworks, examples of which were in great abundance and style.
I seem to also be attracted to sequential shots which makes me think I should be looking to a video camera….
Being so narrow, the cayes make it easy to catch the sundown and sunup lighting effects westwards and eastwards almost simultaneously and with clear views to the horizon, though sunsets were almost always more colourful and spectacular.
I also enjoyed experimenting with long exposures in low light, letting the tripod and the processor do the work. It always amazes me how much available light and colour there is that can be gathered over time compared to what we see instantly as ‘dark’. Night-vision glasses with a 30 second delay.
Boats, and sailboats in particular, have been a big part of my life and I am always attracted by their myriad shapes and sizes and purposes, whether they carry idle wunderlusters around the world or loads of sand or tourists between islands.
For more photos and less words about photography and Belize visit: http://www.callananphoto.com/belize/