This past weekend I had a photo-session scheduled for 8am in Viejo San Juan. There were several large events scheduled in the San Juan area that morning creating unbelievable traffic, I was already in the city early to scout the location for my portrait session so I missed the traffic, but the couple I was supposed to photograph got stuck in the middle of it. We decided to reschedule the photo session for sunset the following day. If found myself in San Juan with my camera and lenses on a bright sunny morning and decided to take a photo walk.
One of my favorite places to photograph is the Cemeterio Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis. It is a beautiful cemetery nestled at the foot of El Morro with the caribbean sea as its back drop. To get there you go through a tunnel that is covered in graffiti. The whole place is so rich with metaphors, to me I don’t get a creepy sense being down there, things just feel peaceful. Last January I did a really interesting self portrait photography series there using my infrared camera. I love getting to revisit different locations. There are so many ways of photographing the same place. This time I did some experimenting with double exposures using the cemetery statuary as my models.
I spend most of my time by the sea on the west coast of Puerto Rico, soothing ocean waves and calm breezes. Every so often though, I get the chance to play in the big city. Trips to Viejo San Juan always help recharge my creative batteries. Its important especially as a photographer to give yourself a change of scenery from time to time, it helps keep the eye fresh. On this particular trip I stayed at Da House. A cute boutique hotel above the lively Newyorican Cafe.
The rooftop patio of the hotel is cozy and there is a hot tub. I opted against dragging my lighting equipment up the four flights of stairs to the roof and just used my tripod and a little bit of fill from my on camera flash. I created a few images around the sky light above the stair case. Those tiles at the bottom of the stairs are quintessential Viejo San Juan tiles and the iron work is iconic of Viejo San Juan as well. The last picture is a long exposure of me playing with an LED hula hoop. I love hooping… after photography it really is the other great love of my life. I like to use a similar technique when I’m doing wedding photography. I do long exposures during the reception to create trails of light around dancing guests.