lightning storm


1000 frames over an hour squished to 34 secs. music by decoder ring “naked snow”

puerto vallarta, summer 2010



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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