20 minutes, 3 shots, Rembrandt skies to Monet skies!!!

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While the last shot, hand held 1/13 sec, f/11 ISO400. If is a wonderful shot as I spent time painting years ago, classical lines so clear to my eyes… hope you enjoy the view! Copyright Vanderhoof Photography 2016

However, just before I crossed the river for that shot,

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Monet skies!!! Yes, I would have to change this to a artistic vision to make the building more “Monet-ish”… but oh my, the fun. Copyright Vanderhoof Photography 2016

Of course, being a landscape photographer, I grabbed this shot as I was walking between the 2 shots,

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Only a tiny piece of buildings, I was watching this build and trying to get something in front of it. These trees work nicely, both clouds and tree branches flow across the photo. Copyright Vanderhoof Photography 2016

However just in case you think this walk was easy,

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Yeah, I went up to find a sunset, then back down to find something to put in front of the skies. I get my mountain climbing workout here easy. Copyright Vanderhoof Photography 2016

This is some of what I saw building of local events… I am on top of the hill about the city.

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In this shot you can see the tourist buses, as things are happening all weekend long. The riverbed, graded flat is also a parking area. Trucks of people, trailers with horses…

Couple of notes, this is a Mexican tourist town, yes there is sewage in the streams, and you smell it in parts of town or as the wind shifts. Toilet paper is put in trash containers after use. So streams are not littered with paper. But as Joe told me of his 2nd house, the bathroom of the house is connected downhill to the next house and so on till there is a channel to a stream or a stream. I recommend carrying a small roll of TP in your camera bag. (nature photographer standard). Walking around town it is clean and decent, you are not going to be aware of that most of the time. Even the courtyard of my peasant level home is clean, non offensive to walk into.


Any man would comes here with a woman that will hit him for glancing at another woman…….

Your hospital bills are your PROBLEM!

Spanish blood, Native Tribes blood, and just to make sure no one is safe, French Blood!!!

I do not shot people a lot, I also do not chase any relationship so I can be free to chase my ART…

My neck hurts……… way too many beautiful women here.

Any style, and as a photographer, yes, I see lots of beautiful styles even if my flavor is not present.

so yes, I may post a face or 2 just because she rocked my eye…



More sunset clouds, and BIRDS!

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This is the nightly flocks coming in to roost for the night. My Joe invited me up to the roof of his place. These are the sights every evening as the birds flock. all across the city.

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We came up for the view, this is the church copula as the sun set… the pigeons start flying circles over the tops of buildings, then a variety of birds start flocking in the trees.

The sunset photos are looking up at Joe’s place.

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right across the street…

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After weeks of blue skies, the past 2 days of clouds and their play in the sky, hours walking the city.

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As we got ready to leave Joe’s roof top, the double spires of my local church standing tall… beautiful sunset gracing the sky.

and a few more street scenes.

Oh, my cousin wanted to know about hotels, so I will post the hotel row shots when I get some… a decent looking hotel just off the plaza wants 300 to 400 peso a night, from what I have seen. 16 peso to the dollar so 100 peso is about $6… so $18 to $24 or so??

20160127, Clouds for a sunset!!!

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Every evening, the birds are flocking on the buildings and trees, across the water the birds were everywhere… this tree…… took a while to fly over.

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On this wide shot, all those birds, just right here…. walking around you will see this every evening.


2016 The Doors of San Juan de los Lagos…

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The door of the courtyard I live in… going out.

Here are the doors of places that have been used and lived in for many years, the decades of use, the styles of many flavors…

the fun of seeing so much…..

Few merchants hang signs in front of their buildings,

The welding shop near a friend’s home….

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A common door some where along the day’s walk…2016 San Juan Lagos-7700

It will be a year of exploring, treasures around every corner, provided I don’t get run over!!!

Street life of San Juan de los Lagos…

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Still shooting from the hip in the crowds. Don’t want pan-handling tagging me around. And not into freaking people out.

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Wens. afternoon and the streets are busy… at night it can be even more…2016 San Juan Lagos-7794

yes, you can get lost in the kilometer after kilometer of stands and carts.

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Senora Mica, her daughter, grand children work a couple of small spot stands here on the plaza. Wens. to Sun. 7pm to past midnight if business is good.

I also want to point out that streets with a climb, are very common…

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Look at the right side, the door past the blue door. I would be worried any time a friend who drank came over!!!!!

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castle anyone????

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2016 San Juan de los Lagos, new home… who’s more curious???

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Yes, this is just a couple of the children in my courtyard. The steps that lead out to the street are next to the fire used to cook. So the steps are common place to sit and talk, children and adults. I am outside, at the opening of my room, leaning on my freezer to take these shots.

The Little girl in the center is the child of the English speaking man, who acts as interpreter for me. She is not afraid of the camera, rather playing and posing some if I point the camera in her direction too long.

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Not quite sure, but at least 5 to 6 families live in this courtyard.

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2 or 3 families with children, so yes, I get a question from a child, in Spanish, I reply best I can. Which is often my smiling and being silly in the case of a couple of them, a couple of repeat offenders. Nope, not even close to learning all these people’s names.

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The others are getting use to me with a camera in hand. I walk around town with gear on too, politely not shooting people too much, but letting the merchants and town get use to me.
I plan on being here 6 months at least.

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Several locations within an hour or 3 of me by driving are also of interest to shoot. I have offers for meals, outing around town to see sights, and offers to show me the area’s mountains, nature stuff.

Night time fun and walking around during the day…..

Was in my room working on the offline work for this post, came out to stretch and ended up eating a couple fresh ceviche tacos. Been involved in 3 birthday parties, by being in the area and amusing to the children. Some quick photos, laugh and enjoy.

In the courtyard, I was helping George work on something he is trying to do. I got told to stop and go over, these teenage girls wanted to ask me questions. I laughed and went over, the girls realized they had no way to ask questions… I ran and got my phone, showed them how to use/change the spanish to english for their questions and I could use the english to spanish back. We talked maybe 15 minutes and I showed some of my photos.

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While this has the european type charm to some extent, I am told of other places near here, with even more european charm and look.
Fresh tortillas deliver scooter comes by noon to 1:30ish, “Pan” bread cart comes through about 3 to 5pmish. A tiny corner market a couple doors down has milk, eggs, cheese, breads, loaf and mexican. The other end of the block has another tiny market. Everywhere a door off the street opens to tiny stores and Huge stores, walk ups and walk downs. Propane delivery in pick-up trucks, bottles of water, (sparklett’s 5 gallon bottles empties exchanged for full ones, not sure of their source, obvious not much sanitary over standard water. duct tape to seal bottles, if sealed at all.) While I have not had any problems, good solid camping gut so far. The women wash clothes in the sink where I get my water, so it is boiled or filtered, matter of sanity. I had been drinking the water for 2 days, when I came out in the morning and the faucet was buried in wet dirty clothes. That was almost ago, and not a problem…. just my humor and patience working over time.
Internet company said it would a week maybe 2, before the company could hook up my internet service. Company is in repairs to system, very nice people, but I let Senorita Mica know it was OK and the representatives for the company understood, I would be OK with what they could do. And that I would look around, not expecting much else. The lady gave us a dsl modem as she was worried they might not have them in a week or so. Supply line issues, Welcome to the computer age, heh.
Getting on local time however is different, I have been here about 2 weeks, and the number of times I have been told in a few minutes we would do something and that few minutes turns into tomorrow… Life in the small town of Quincy, was similar, but whoa! Things slow way down, still trying to get the landlord to understand I need to Upload on internet from my computer. Everyone keeps talking about cable for movies or the internet cafe. Don’t get it that I shoot photos and put MY PHOTOs on the internet “For Sale”. And of course, then they think of Facebook. Free photos???
Well at least I found a coffee shop with it’s own internet wi-fi, so my Adobe programs reset again and as you can see I can post. But for me too upload printing files, not many if any at this point.
Still working on my “hip shooting street photography”, I use manual so much and the scenes vary, night shots specially, can’t see the marks on the lens and often moving too fast for the shutter speed…. collection of blurs??

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Walking these streets is not for the timid, or out of shape. But the twists and turns, the variety of shapes of houses, the amusing paint jobs…. yes, I tried to show this street, the angle of climb… there are barricades top and bottom to keep cars off it… George says the empty building at the top of the street is tilting like the Tower of Pisa.

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This is the car of Senora Micaela, 1st we were going to move it out of the way to get my trailer off the street. Then I had to help find all the parts and let her know what was missing. Not sure how long it has being worked on…….

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But the spider webs, and dust might give an idea…..

OK, so then I had to drive it out to the street and she then wanted it driven to a mechanic about 8 blocks away.

Opps, the trail of fluid showed that was not going to happen. I found an internet connection in this coffee shop. Downloaded some repair manuals and went back to hunting for a clue.

Power steering and Transmission cooler were connected, Not Right. But easy to fix.

Waiting to see if I still have to drive it to a mechanic to finish fixing it.


20160122 Update: San Juan de los Lagos, I’ve landed!

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Hand held, test shots…….. oh my, a night photographer’s dream.

So here is where I landed, a peasant level living in a room. My gear secure and me to wander around this town……..

Tony, a friend of the family wanted me to grab my camera and follow him.

Who am I to turn it down and oh my, walking in to the plaza and seeing this.

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then we went to see this section of aqua duct……._MG_7437FB


Couple days later, I shot these again, hand held test shots, every weekend is a big thing in the plaza.



This old bridge is going to get some attention too. About 1 km from me.




Standard parking on the street, my truck in front of the entrance to my where my room is. Yes, it is peasant living. However there are real hotels in town if you want to visit.


20160110, Made it 800+ miles! “Mad Max vehicle…


Yes, the cops on the right side did give a few SECOND looks, almost 900 miles later, I’m in Aguacalientes, Mexico. I MADE IT!!!


Close up, the truck runs, if I replace the plastic film with the plexigalss, I can see out the side view better. A better mirror too, not much choice in the store, but it did the job.

Yeah, this is my truck, after it made it almost 900 miles, the map said 820 or so, but hey, I got lost and went did differently after hitting about the 4th toll of the day, anywhere from 32 pesos to 192 pesos a stop. And sometimes I was charged for the trailer and sometimes not. The other hwy kept crossing back and forth the toll road, so only a few times did I go far around what I thought was right.

I got asked for permission papers a few times. Explained I did the repairs, where I was going, and lost. We would talk a bit, and they would let me go. At one point an officer brought another officer, his partner and asked again about permission papers. Then explained to his partner, something, I caught on that he was telling the partner that I did not understand what was asked for. We smiled and talked, this was Aguacalientes. I asked if they knew of a hotel/motel not too expensive that I could stay at with my stuff and work on the trailer load and make it more secure. Here I am at the Cityexpress Hotel they told me about.

They saw the printouts of the map to where I was to have a house, I explained someone was in it and I had to call the owner in Calif. USA. That was when I got them to help me find a secure inexpensive hotel. I’m paying {$50} 799 pesos. Not bad, I did some place for less, in a my driving around Aguacalientes.

Mexico does not have many places for some one to pull over and rest or work on a vehicle, I made several circles around town and left it after the police told me I could not park in one spot I thought no one would care at. They showed up in like 10 minutes and I OK, I will. They came back in a couple minutes….. I moved on without the repairs to keep the tire from rubbing. Don’t want trouble, and with my connection for the house being a friend of the police, she said local chief of police, I am better being polite FAST, and let them know I’m OK later.

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Sunrise on the morning of the 8th of Jan. Stopped for a few and watched the sunrise. Yes, driving at night, considering what the truck looked like was a little safer at night.


Sunset on the 9th of Jan. I am at a hotel. It has been clear skies most of the 900 miles, but Very Windy! I was getting 15 mpg, and only going 45-50 mph most of the way. Normal is 20-21mpg.

In the photo above, you can kind of see the load on the trailer shifted backwards.

When I photographing the truck, yep security can over and asked if I had permission……. My truck Sir!!  He waved his hand at the background and said I needed permission to photograph. I explained I was pro photographer, if the hotel did not want free advertising on my blog post I would leave the name and most of the hotel out of the photos. He was happy with that, and left me to shoot the truck shots. So sorry I am only making a quick note on where and nothing of the building which IDs it.


The tire marks, slowly moving backwards, when I used my jack to push it in, it was more up and back of a push. There was only one place I could make the jack work…. but each time it was OK, till the roads got rough again, pot holes are bad most places, and speed bumps of major size are all over the places!!! You are doing 45-50 mph, 60-80-kph and suddenly there are speed bumps!!! yes sometimes you were warned 100 meters before the speed bump.

As you can see the tire rubbing was not bad, per say…… it was a SQUEEKY noise and that made everyone look! Not good.

So I was out of Juarez by a few hours, had crossed a couple of check points, been seen by the police as I was driving by. Stopped and talked to a police or two at the check points. But that night I got stopped on the highway by the Federal police. The officer was laughing so hard at my trailer, like I said no places to turn off easy, so I first pulled over in the grass and then realized I would have trouble and keep going a little and saw a pull out. So he first look at how low to the ground the back was!!! I explained the situation to him and he let me go.

OK, so I had not been stopped by the military yet, but had seen them all over checking the North bound traffic.


The back of the trailer, as you can see, it is shifting back and breaking all the “clothes line”, the tarp is shredding from the wind and I am adding as possible to keep it together……..

And yes, I did get pulled over By the Military……


the front of the trailer, yeah it’s a mess of ropes/strings holding things here too. WHEN IN MEXICO…Bring Your OWN ROPES!!!! and extras….

But they too, listened to me, laughed at the mess, and let me go on my way.

No one demanded a bribe……. if they asked, in some way of being hidden I never saw it enough to respond with any money. I shook a lot of hands, smiled and had papers ready.

The roads were fun, I saw a few “GREAT SHOTS”, but because the truck is not lockable, my gear never secure, I did not show myself as a pro photographer, I did not show my equipment, and I spoke of being financially devastated from the accident.

Sure, I played the compassion card folks and I was not afraid to let myself be guided by my Creator. If this is where it wanted me, it would get me there.

I am here, and LOVED THE RIDE, what a taste of life! What flavor, what a challenge to live.

Today, I will put the trailer together better, the hotel says there is a shopping mall a mile or less away. Hopefully, my friend, will make the connections so that I will know where I am going tomorrow!!!


So battered and bruised but NOT BEATEN, we, my truck, the business and I made it this far.

I hope this INSPIRES OTHERS TO reach out to adventure in THEIR LIVES!!!

I do not know where I will move to from Mexico, but If it is too hard to get photos here, permission please!, that I may just move on in a few months.

Till then, I will enjoy the new atmosphere and landscape!!!

STAY TUNED, there is more to the story.

of last night as I went out, missed the really nice shoot but the colors were great for a few minutes……..


underexposed for the colors in the sky, the red was better but I missed it by about 5 minutes.

UPDATE 20160110 1020 hrs: I have decided to go to the ranch, my truck and trailer need to get off the streets. The house in Aguacalientes will not give me that option. I would be parking on the street outside the house. So a quick change, and maybe for the better specially at this point, the ranch is most likely room to hide the truck and in bus or walking or my bike, I have it and all the parts seem there. But till I put it back together, who knows. Anyway, fixing the trailer to go the final hour to the ranch, and a safer place for what I have left.


20160106, Tomorrow I go forward.

Well, it’s Wens., and while I have most everything packed and the weather is not bad.

Spotty showers, bits of sunshine……. I decided to stay another day.

It has been 11 days since the accident, I have made the repairs and am getting ready to hit the road, and I am wore out……..

So tonight, no not partying, but looking at maps and relaxing, instead of rushing out of here today.

The trailer tire held all night just find. So if I keep an eye on it, it will make the trip.

While it is a bit much the trailer still has half the weight it had before.

I can get a big tarp at the Soriana  store and wrap everything up for the last 800 miles.

I will have my cameras ready, as this is going to be interesting, specially past Chihuahua. Mostly canyon country and with all this weather, I should see a few wonderful sights.

I still have my Zenfolio site and this one to sell through, so I am exploring new ground here.

Not sure how often I will be online till I get set up in Aguacalientes. But I will post of photos when I can.

I hope that those few of you that are reading this, enjoy the face that yes, you can go out in the world and try to do it for yourselves.

Enjoy the flavor of life as it is Served up! Fresh and Spicy!