Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dakar 2009

The sound of the engine comes from far away, behind a gentle hill in the road. Grave and deep, it announces its arrival much before you see it. Slowly, from the roof to the huge wheels, it appears from behind the hill. Motorbikes and cars have passed by all the morning, but this is different. Your blood freezes and you feel small when the 8 tons, 3 meters high thing passes you at full speed, just meters away. A bit later the engine drops down the revolutions and the big mass waves a little under the powerful braking, but not for long: a quick turn to right and it accelerates again to disappear in the distance. Welcome to the awesome spectacle of the Dakar's trucks...

After calling off the 2008 edition of the traditional raid París-Dakar due to terrorist threats in the African part of the route, the organizers (ASO) took a risky decision: to move the 2009 edition to South America. Organized together by Argentina and Chile, the Dakar 2009 went through the wonderful landscapes of both countries in a route that took it from Buenos Aires to the Patagonia, through the Andes and to the driest dessert in the world, and back to the departure point two weeks later. Two weeks that will stay in the history of the competition because the risk taken by ASO was rewarded with a resounding success, specially between the public: in a country where motorsport runs trough the veins of the majority, millions rushed to the roads to see the passing of motorbikes, cars and trucks. I was among them and this is a little sample from the last stage for you to enjoy.

You are warned, however: you can see, listen and read everything at your disposal, but nothing and nobody can transmit you nor prepare you for the power of a massive truck in full competition...

"A challenge for those who go. A dream for those who stay behind."
Thierry Sabine

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Afternoon in the garden

How many times have we heard that the best moment to take pictures is the sunset? Well, it's true: the soft shades of the Sun in the hours that precede the night give a unique aura to everything they touch. And it's not necessary to go too far away to take advantage of it, it's enough to go out to your house's garden...

But the hummingbird isn't an animal of sunsets. To "hunt" this flying marvel you have to arm yourself with patience much earlier, in the heat of the midday hours. Fortunately it's a bird of habits: it comes every day at the same hour.

"The sound came vague and dull, like the fall of a chair on the carpet or a stifled whisper of conversation. I also heard it, at the same time or a second later, at the end of the corridor that takes from those rooms to the door. I throw myself against the door before it was too late, I closed it quickly leaning my body; luckily the key was on our side and I also closed the big bolt for more safety."
Taken House (Bestiario), Julio Cortázar

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Sunday, November 15, 2009


It's not common to find a big spider in your home's floor, ready to pose for the camera in all detail. Those who can, enjoy it... :P

Photographic tip: spiders don't react to the flash nor to a finger resting 10cm from them (at least this one didn't, I'm not responsible if somebody repeats the test...)

"The girl distractedly dropped a hand and fitted an inexpressive golden mask to her face. Then she took a gold spider from her pocket and let it fall while the captain was still talking. The spider climbed docilely to the girl's knee, who was looking unexpressively at it trough the holes in the mask."
The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Laguna Negra

Deep and dark, locked between mountains, Laguna Negra it's a place of peace and tranquillity. When the last patches of snow stand out over the black rock and are reflected in the cold waters at the end of the winter, nothing can be wrong with the world.

And in such calmness there are animals that aren't afraid of the camera, as long as they can get some bread's crumbs...

"The Doors of Durin, Lord of Moria. Speak, friend, and enter."
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, J. R. R. Tolkien

To the memory of Santiago Delgrosso, my grandfather.
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Monday, September 7, 2009

Snow at Frey

Winter retreats, spring is among us. But high in the mountains the snow still covers the slopes. It's a good moment to start the summer season. In this case, the 2008 at Frey-Catedral.

Photography in this case is a little bit tricky but gives good opportunities, with big contrasts between the snow, the sky and the ground. I still expect the opportunity in which a condor will get much closer than that (and gets me prepared...), but seeing them fly always marvels...

Well, flowers don't move...

"You must have moderation in your habits. The poet already said: - Last night I saw a feathered dragon clearly drawn on the moon. I should drink less. -"
Initiation to the Martial Arts, Les Luthiers

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Misery Quartet

Half-way through the year a group of friends took part of a swimming competition at a local club. It was an hour with relays every one hundred meters; and under the name of 'Misery Quartet' they managed to arrive in a very respectable third place in their category, less than 100 meters from the second. This is my tribute to such a venture:

Incidentally, this was also my first incursion at indoor sports photography without flash, armed of only high-speed film (1600ASA). The result isn't stunning (too much grain), but it's acceptable as a last resort.

"Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim."
Dory, Finding Nemo (PIXAR)

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mondial de l'Automobile Paris 2008

The Paris Motorshow takes place every two years in the exhibitions hall at the Porte de Versailles; and there I went for the second time after my first experience in 2006. It's not a motor show in which you would expect impressive novelties from the motor world, but rather more one to find nice cars and some historic jewels. Here are the pictures for you to enjoy, road and race cars, from now and yesterday (I want that Maserati! :-) )

It's sad to see that several of the official teams represented by those cars would finally retire from competition shortly after. Subaru and Suzuki never started the 2009 WRC season; Honda retired from F1 at the end of 2008; Mitsubishi announced they won't take part of the 2010 Dakar. Crisis times...

"I owe motor racing all I have, which is a lot. My friends came to me thanks to the motor racing, because this is how the shed was born first; and how I passed to the garage later. Friends that many times were much more than that, which is already a lot."
Juan Manuel Fangio

While I'm writing this comes the news of the dead of Henry Surtees, 18-year-old son of 1964 F1 champion John Surtees, in a Formula 2 race at Brands Hatch. Sad day, R.I.P. Henry...

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Going German

After touring around the Italian speaking part, I crossed to the North of Switzerland and went to the German border. A day of visit at Konstanz and Zürich left few pictures owing to the rainy weather, mainly from the botanic garden at Mainau (Konstanz) and the surroundings of the Rathaus (Zürich).

"-Are you afraid of darkness?
-I am the darkness"
Let's All Kill Constance, Ray Bradbury

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Going South (part 2)

Second part of the pictures from Switzerland's South (see here the first part). In this case, images from Mendrisio (the town where I was sleeping), Lugano, and above all, Bellinzona (with three spectacular castles).

"Then you would have us retreat to Minas Tirith, or Dol Amroth, or to Dunharrow, and there sit like children on sand-castles when the tide is flowing?"
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, J. R. R. Tolkien

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Going South (part 1)

The South of Switzerland, full of valleys and lakes between the mountains, offer tens of small towns to visit. Going down from Bern and going past Lucerne; I installed myself for three days at Mendrisio and devoted some time to travel around.

In this first part, photographs from Lucerne (just passing by), Milan (the Duomo and the Castello Sforzesco), Como (idyllic lake when it's clear), Locarno (the Madonna del Sasso), and Ascona (the Swiss Monaco).

Update: Going South (part 2)

"After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified: -I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me-."
The Bible, John 13:21

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

The garden of the roses

Across the Aare river, with a panoramic view of the old Bern, it is located the Rose Garden (Rosengarten). With tens of varieties, it must be a place worth seeing in spring...

"-But, if you domesticate me, we will need each other. You will be unique in the world for me. I will be unique in the world for you...
-I start to understand, the little prince said. There is a flower... I think that she has domesticated me...
-It is possible, the fox said. One see all kinds of things on Earth..."
The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

The old Bern

History tells that an unknown assistant at the patent office of Bern shook the physic's world in 1905. His inspiration might well have come from walking the streets of the beautiful old quarter of this city. The cobbled paving, the arcs, the fountains, the views from the gullies and the bridges, invite us to visit her peacefully (including, at one tip, the roses' garden).

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery -- even if mixed with fear -- that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds: it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity. In this sense, and only this sense, I am a deeply religious man."
The World As I See It, Albert Einstein

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sunday's Genève

First city that I visited in a one week trip through Switzerland, Geneva didn't turn out to be one of the prettiest cities of the tour. However, some places of the city are worthwhile and are portrayed on these pictures: tortuous passages from the old city, the lake Léman and the parks at its shores, and, of course, the famous water jet...

"There is a concept which corrupts and upsets all others. I refer not to Evil, whose limited realm is that of ethics; I refer to the infinite."
The Avatars of the Tortoise, Jorge Luis Borges

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Chantilly, but not the crème...

The Château de Chantilly is located 40km to the north of Paris and it represents a nice Sunday visit. Not too much showy, of simple lines in the outside, it is surrounded by spacious gardens of several styles (including mazes), and by one of the few big French forests still standing. In spite of its name, the famous crème wasn't invented here, but its renowned creator (François Vatel) served during many years as grand chef and parties organizer at this place.

(the two first pictures belong to the church Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, near Gare du Nord, from where the train to Chantilly leaves)

"--I SHOULD see the garden far better,-- said Alice to herself, --if I could get to the top of that hill: and here's a path that leads straight to it... at least, no, it doesn't do that...-- (after going a few yards along the path, and turning several sharp corners), --but I suppose it will at last. But how curiously it twists! It's more like a corkscrew than a path! Well, this turn goes to the hill, I suppose... no, it doesn't! This goes straight back to the house! Well then, I'll try it the other way.--"
Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, Lewis Carroll

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Visiting the kings

Right in the outskirts of Paris, to the north, rises the Saint-Denis Basilica. The outside view is very nice at sunset, with the Gothic style that fits so well to French cathedrals.

Burial place of Saint Denis (famous for walking 5 kilometers between Montmartre and Saint-Denis, giving a sermon with his recently beheaded head under his arm...), with the passage of the centuries it became the official tomb of the French royalty. More than a thousand years of history literally lie inside it.

"Some laboriously naif spirits insist to highlight the miraculous nature of the most spectacular phenomena of Nature. The dawn, the rain, the flight of the birds, a spider's net, are for these thinkers a reason of perpetual amazement.
I dare to object that the central point of a miracle is its unusual character. That is to say, the miraculous thing would be that it didn't dawn. Nevertheless, the Islam perfects and ennobles that idea: the existence of God is demonstrated through the order and the beauty of the world. The miracle is something rather pernicious that comes to disorder the things."
Hell's Bar, Alejandro Dolina

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace

From the beginning of time the man has wanted to fly, but only since the end of the XIXth century we have leaved the world of the dreams and we have turned it into a daily reality. To the north of Paris, at the airfield of Le Bourget, it is located the Museum of the Air and the Space. It can be easily visited in one-day, but nevertheless it's surprising the quantity and the kind of machines it has.

In the inside, relics from the first pioneers: Bleriot, Levavasseur, Santos-Dumont. Outside: airliners (like a Boeing 747) and modern fighter planes (MIG-23, Lockheed F104G Starfighter), plus a couple of Ariane rockets (obviously they also have an indoor section devoted to space). But the stars of the visit for me were the planes of the temporal exhibition about the second war, with names that go back to the golden age of dogfight: P-47D Thunderbolt, P-51D Mustang, Spitfire MK XVI,...

"P-51! Cadillac of the sky!"
Empire of the Sun, Steven Spielberg

"Ce pour quoi tu acceptes de mourir, c'est cela seul dont tu peux vivre"
("The reason for which you're ready to die is the only reason to live")
Citadelle, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Montsouris macro

A small preview of the beauties of the macrophotography, from the Parc Montsouris (Paris)

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Scandola Natural Reserve

As part of the school in Cargèse (Corse) we did a boat excursion to the Réserve de Scandola. It is a natural park that spans huge rocky formations by the sea, full of colors in the earth as in the water.

The excursion includes a stop at the small town of Girolata, which consist of only an old castle, a few houses, and the harbor.

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Saturday, February 28, 2009

French Moon

The Moon is the same everywhere, but even so she doesn't stop of attract me as a photography subject. In the night of Cargèse, from a window, the Moon was falling over the sea...

The last image has labelled the most visible features in the pictures (the assignment is a little dubious in the area of Clavius). The sources I've used in the identification were the amateur site Observatorio ARVAL and the free program Virtual Moon Atlas.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

In the mountains

Corse is not only the Mediterranean beaches, so that taking advantage of the free Sunday we went to travel around the marvelous valleys and woods of the island's mountainous interior. Near Évisa there are several paths from where to enjoy the spectacular views of the region.

These pictures cover the stops of the route between Évisa and Piana, with views not only of the valleys but also of the town of Ota and Porto's bay.

(esta entrada en español)