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Pic of the Day

to the
Lost and Found Dept.

In the course of searches through my files, digital and analog, ancient and recent, I often unearth some hitherto forgotten or neglected image that makes me smile.

Either for their content, photographic merit or for their sentimental significance, I’m creating an archive for these lost souls.

Here then is a halfway house for the orphans, the accidents, the resurrected and the likeable runts of the litter.

Their only common denominator is that I didn’t really know what else to do except share them; there’s no chronology, no connection between successive posts, but I’ll keep adding to them….until the cows come home.


Bahman cattle, dawn fog, Sinaloa


(or the horse)

equine city living, Taxco, Mexico


(or the sheep)

sheep transport, Bishop, Ca.


On the occasion celebrating Lynne Bairstow’s Pluma de Plata award at Gil and Lucy’s. (with Laura & Wayne, Claudia, Coco, Bonnie, Trish, Rogelio and me) 1999?


The kitchen at Trio Restaurant. PV Mexico


yoga in the courtyard of Casa Las Palmas II (De Yturbe architect)


hanging by a thread 12 floors off the deck. Hotel NJ, Mexico, DF


Piñatero needs a hands-free phone…


the skyroad to iztaccihuatl-popocatapetl, Mexico


whimsy on a house photoshoot, Mexico City, DF


kin and campfire, Jalisco, Mexico


Port Davey, Tasmania


La Familia CorderoMartiniFigueroaAuresteguiGooch after a swim

kapalua, maui, hawaii (molokai in background)


Fashion accessory photoshoot with Alexandra, owner of Mosaiqe. Punta Mita, 2001



burningman balloons


Connie on the occasion of her 90th birthday with friend Barbarita who I caught at an unfortunate moment but one which begged for a caption.


The hat I just bought gets a final brush at Helmer’s in Portland.


Under the overpass, Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico


Cooling off at Austin City Limits Music Festival 2007


Anibal relaxes with dolphin



poppies and smokering – Burningman 2008


The Millenium Bug
During a layover at LAX in 2000, this brand new VW beetle was alone on the rooftop parking lot. The mothership beyond that it mimics is the Jetsonesque skyport restaurant. I made a feeble attempt to sell it to VW but they weren’t buying.


Somewhere in Oregon


everywhere in mexico. La Virgen de Guadalupe

Electrical storms are one (and the only?) good and exciting thing about summer life in Puerto Vallarta. This strike hit the water right in front of the hotel zone. Shot from my street in Amapas towards downtown PV.

The Smoothie bus at Kahakuloa on the scenic north coast road on Maui, Hawai’i.


Home sweet home. Sydney CBD from the Harbour Bridge


Cantina las Perras, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico. The sign by the door translates “No women in uniform or minors”

First frame through the lensbaby 3G


Cora Indians at a coffee plantation in Nayarit, Mexico

Happenstance was Burningman 2000; an artcar tribute to the DNA double helix complemented by a twirling dust devil.

Los Indios Tarahumara celebrate Easter with mud, dance, music, tejuino and sleeplessness. Las Barancas del Cobre (copper canyon) Chihuahua, Mexico.

Carlos Santana and his Mum going home to Autlán, Jalisco, 2002
In the pre-plastic glory days of tall ships, the henequen plant provided most of the world’s cordage. A handful of delapidated haciendas in the Yucatan peninsula still process the plant and produce the fibre. Hacienda Ake.

Seafood restaurant wallart, La Islote, Guayabitos, Mexico.

Sunset clifftop dinner set-up for two at Four Seasons Resort , Punta Mita, Mexico

Spiral staircase in Casa Mi Ojo, Careyes, Mexico

Mennonite father and his children, Campeche, Mexico

(above and below) Murals, La Habana, Cuba


Banksia. Floral poker dots of the Sydney bushland.


Me, trying to put some life into yet another silent architectural scene.

Bananaboat ride, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico


Classic Americana diner decor. Salida, Colorado


One of the quasi-religious parades leading up to La Feria San Marcos in Aguascalientes. More at http://www.callananphoto.com/aguascalientes/

what a sad indictment of modern vallarta….I think this is the same woodpecker I found at my doorstep as a fledgling just after they’d started to clear the adjacent lot to make way for another condo tower. I nursed it and released it and watched it fly downhill back to its roost. Four months later there are metal and concrete towers where the huamuchil tree of its birthplace used to be. It’s hard not to be anthropomorphic and suggest that its thought at this moment was “wtf?”


This horse may well have had a similar thought….6th National Charro Championship, PV March ’08


Sydney Storm from North Head


A cuetero watches all his hard work go up in smoke and sparks as hundreds of interconnected fuses and gunpowder charges synchronise and give pyrotechnic life to a classic mexican fireworks castillo (tower).

The seawater baths on the southern end of Mazatlan’s loooong malecon. Very popular with the working class who know how to have fun for free.


This is about as busy as San Felipe ever gets.
Dawn patrol services the departing fishing fleet.(Yucatan)

End of the Line for the Skunk Train. Fort Bragg, Ca.

Cuatro cubanos contentos. Aguardiente-lubricated camaraderie.

EJW leap of faith at the science building. Eugene, Or.

Liverpool Mall (PV) carpark at midnight

This is my foto of Bob Gilbert’s painting of my foto. (and below, some extraordinary tilework designed by Anna the Pom in the house that Bob built at Akunamatata (near Tehuamixtle, Jalisco). The scorpion adorns the threshold, the carp swim in the rockpool.


Negative space. Max’s wigwam in the aspens. Colorado

Sneakin’ a peek inside the cantina. Merida, Yucatán

Study of chair and sculpture.

black and white roadside attractions – 1970 BMW 75/5 and cows


black and white roadside attractions, mexico style.


Point Arena lighthouse, Pug, Mustang


Garcia R first floor detail (with oil paint filter treatment)

Garcia R. forest floor detail with oil paint filter treatment.




Stay tuned



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Los Colores de Careyes

In February 2010 there was an unseasonal but spectacular overlap of climatic conditions along the Pacific coast of Mexico. Winter usually turns this hinterland to dusty earthtones. But this year, sporadic rains throughout the ‘dry’ season maintained the ground cover and shrubs in a dress of summer green while the late winter flowering trees all came into bloom at once for a smorgasbord of colour.
And nowhere along the Costa Alegre was this new climatic phenomenon more dramatically illustrated than at Careyes.
The name is synonomous with its own architectural style and the bold colours with which the Careyes villas are painted. The enclave of satellite mansions contains at it’s centre a hotel and a cluster of multi-coloured, greek island-style stacked dwellings aptly named Las Casitas de Las Flores.


From foreground to background it was a time of complements at Careyes: along roadways and from terracotta pots on terraces, the always blooming bougainvillea burst forth in hues from snow white to papal purple. Midground were the facades of orange, sky blue, yellow and ochre buildings staring out to the blue Pacific. Background was the immutable Sierra Madre Occidental which, at that time, looked like Joseph’s Technicolor Coat adorned as it was with patches of outrageous rosas moradas and primavera in full bloom.
The lagoon between Playa Careyitos and Playa Teopa never looked so vibrant and healthy.

Global climate changes can prompt beautiful mistakes.

For the times they are a changin’ and I was glad to be in Careyes when they did.



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Los Veranos

Meet Jeff.
He’s the only one who gets to ride the Los Veranos Can O’ Peas without a crash helmet.
He owns the joint.
Lock, stock and 14 smokin’ ziplines.
He built it from scratch and still likes to ride after all these years to relive the rush he created
when you step off a platform and scream your way 300m across and above
the mighty Rio Horcones.

For the rest of the world, after a self-guided wander riverside,

the guided tour starts with a harness, helmet and glove fitting with a short demo

and then its off to get high .

and go fast.

There aren’t too many activities where parents, children, grandparents and teenagers all get to experience the same rush and same thrill.

The zipline is an egalitarian tour and proves that there’s no age limit on thrill seeking.

However, like parachuting and scubadiving, ziplining is not an innately human pursuit. To span voids hanging from fibres is not an instinct nor a talent we possess as a species.

Spiders do it , but we have to be pushed, and in the process, convinced that it is really OK. That’s why the first zip is short, slow and low. It’s the teaser that makes you want more. It’s the first of many surprises.

Expect the unexpected: screamers, scream; fears are faced: the mighty crumble and the meek shall inherit the zippydedoodah.

There’s always a helping hand if you need it.

But once you leave the platform, you’re on it and there’s no getting off it, so you might as well relax and enjoy it….et voila! Everyone arrives at the other end grinning like cheshire cats and eager for the next run.

Teenagers, their bravado temporarily checked by lingering thoughts of mexican engineering standards, enjoy the shock of speed, exposure, altitude and experience, for a change, a sport wherein there’s no sexual superiority, no fraternity other than that of secret fear. Equal rights.

Some riders retain the cool throughout the extreme conditions.

some appreciate the passing panorama

and for some, well it’s just too damn exciting for words
(except maybe a shrill and prolonged “OMG…………”!!! )

If children are too small to go themselves they get a personal escort.

(Adult escort service enquiries can be directed to the Head Guide, Pale (pron. pa-lay) Hah!, not really, but girls don’t seem to mind attention from any of the good-looking bilingual guides)!


Having a personal or group video of the tour is an excellent souvenir (and keeps this guy fit).

The names of each ride give clues to the nature of the particular thrill or physical requirements.

(dos cojones)
• •

Throughout the course, the Los Veranos ziplines really constitute a ‘canopy tour’ as they pass above it

Within it

and through it.


After a few hours of group camaraderie, new rivalries emerge and get tested as the tour ends with a challenge race down the river (loser buys the margaritas).


But the tour, the thrills and the challenges don’t stop there….Just when you thought yourself vindicated as a fearless macho, other animals take the stage and
sort the men

and the women

from the boys and the girls.
The animals are part of the casual riverside restaurant atmosphere where you’ll find delicious simple, solutions to the appetite earned from exercise and fresh air.

And after lunch, on a full stomach why not break another few rules and go headfirst into the raging torrent? Ha. not recommended but swimming in all conditions other than wet season floodwaters is a great way to cool off after the tour.

And to continue the los Veranos mantra of doing weird stuff ‘at least once in your life’,
there’s a menagerie of other pettable animals to feed and fondle and freakout over.

You’ll have them eating out of your hand.

Monty Python, the resident boa is a favourite challenge for most people.
Some are totally fearless

and trusting.

Some try and prove something to themselves or to others.

Some just love all challenges (and animals) in whatever guise.

OK. a final challenge quiz question:
Q: what could be freakier than having a tarantula crawl across your face?

A: having it in your mouth!

How will you react?


For more ridiculous fotos from Can o’ Peas Los Veranos
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La Charreada

Mexico stock photography is a significant part of my business and I’m always on the lookout for bread n butter in the guise of archetypal Mexican imagery; a picture that is distinctly Mexican without any prompts other than the content and the context of the photograph. These are the images that advertisers love; when the picture tells the story and they can just come up with a coroborative and witty punch-line.
In February dos mil ocho the stock photo mountain came to Mohammed, on horseback.
So welcome to the ‘Lienzo Charro’, Vallarta-style.
Make up your own captions.

Google doesn’t know who Miguel “Prieto” Ibarra is and I didn’t think to ask on location in his namesake stadium, but suffice to say that the charreria took place in keyhole bullring in colonia Mojoneras in the backblocks of Vallarta at the height of the dusty season, 2008. But whether “Prieto’ was watching from the stands or is long gone and rounding up cattle in the big rancho in the sky, I’m sure he enjoyed the 6th National Charro Championship as much as I did, and these dudes too.

It’s fun for all the family and any tourists or local extranjeros who were adventurous enough to go, saw one of Mexico’s most endearing and traditional cultural activities. In the north of the country it’s more commonly called a jaripeo, but by whatever name it goes there are strict tests to pass before one becomes a true and complete charro. One could be excused for thinking that posturing and alcohol consumption were also part of the competition.

It was a scene of dust, leather, tequila, suede, sweat, cervezas, horseflesh, bravado, musica Norteño, some bewildered livestock, more beer, overworked baños, machismo, a great crowd y mas polvo. It starts under the noonday sun and ends under floodlight. I went twice and got there late afternoon, shot through sunset, twilight and into the mysterious world of sodium and neon. I haven’t processed the b&w (Neopan 1600) yet but the D2X pushed into the grainy zone of lofty ISOs did well.

A charreada is a photographer’s smorgasbord. Not only in the ring but also backstage and within the stands. The trick is to keep moving and changing the background because the fore and midground are never hard to fill in this encapsulated exhibition of man and beast.

Equal doses of active and passive lubed together by lashings of booze consumed by the watchers and the watched alike, the charreada is the equine equivalent of drink-driving with audience participation; it’s a well-paced spectacle of social interaction interspersed with spurts of activity from a long character list of willing exhibitionists and their obliging mounts.

At the Vallarta Nationals there were 3 sessions a day and 4 teams of 8 riders representing ranches and charro associations from all over the Republic. They are judged by their peers.

There is tradionally a competative sequence of 7 tests either performed individually or as a team. There’s a full description of each event at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charreria

But whether you understand the rules or the ritual is less important than appreciating the event and by interacting with and participating in the overall spectacle.

Viva Mexico!

(I’ll drink to that.)

To see more pix of the same event go to http://www.callananphoto.com/charreada/

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Ayurveda Yoga Spa…….Villa Ananda

My work these days is increasingly devoted to architectural photography, which I love, but anything can get stale when you do it all the time, so when opportunities arise to do something more freestyle I jump at the opportunity….

Enter Mindy Reser and an urge to spread the wonders of Ayurveda, yoga and a sensorial array of holistic spa treatments.

She has created Villa Ananda, on the beach at Punta del Burro. This is one of the most secluded and beautiful beaches on Banderas Bay (near Puerto Vallarta) and she and her guests have it to themselves and a few quiet neighbours. Apart from the spa facilities, other star attraction are the surf break and the sunsets.

Villa Ananda is de lujo.

and comprises pool, main house and spa centre.

The beachfront setting is idyllic.

Villa Ananda is many things:


and peaceful.

It is a place of fitness,



and beauty.

A stay there is soothing,


and is a place to sweat, chant and meditate.

Villa Ananda is a place of healing.

and is home to the simple, the good, the wholesome.

It is a place for friends

and groups.

Villa Ananda is a happy and fun place.

but be warned; you’ve got to bring your own beer !

A more complete photo gallery is viewable at