Isolation Photoshoot

If there’s one good thing that comes from this isolation, maybe it’s that everyone now has some time to improve themselves and do some self-reflection? Before, those two things were an option for me whenever I had time but lately it seems like it’s almost coming naturally because all I have now is time. When you’re forced to stay home and do nothing, I think it’s natural to go and seek out some other form of therapy/activity that falls within the realm of acceptable practices.

For me, now that the weather is nice and I can finally drive my car – it’s given me a ton of time in the evenings to go out when the kids are asleep to just shoot. The added benefit (not sure if this is the right word) of this isolation is that literally anywhere I decide to go, it’s completely dead and empty. It’s given me tons of new opportunities to go to places that I normally couldn’t go and just shoot in peace. I love not being under pressure to shoot fast before someone comes and tells us to get out or having to move because a car is trying to come through.

I also find that by shooting in these areas in peace and quiet, it gives me time to be a little more objective with my shots and it gives me time to think about how I want to compose the shot. I know, it sounds super lame especially if you don’t really shoot – but having that freedom means a lot for me to be creative and thoughtful. At the same time, I’m thinking about how to edit the shot and how I want it to look. Everyone has their own way of  relaxing and enjoying the moment and this is mine.

Yesterday, I went out and decided to try some spots that I’ve been wanting to shoot at but never had the chance. I wanted to try a bunch of different tones again and as you scroll through the pics, you’ll see where they change drastically – I edited them based on which tone I felt suited the setting best. Some, I edited a lot more than I usually do – and others just tried out different hues, curves and tones… Either way, they’re just more content for you and more relaxing practice for me 🙂

This spot was right near my work and just on the edge of the hill, it overlooks Deerfoot Trail, so you get a nice view of the sun as it sets with no other buildings in the way.

Also – depending on what monitor you’re looking at these first few pics on, it may look a bit off with the light flare and the red ribbon wrapped around the steel tubes. On my calibrated monitor, it looked fine but on my cheaper work monitors, it almost looks too fake. The light flare is not fake btw – just the way the aqua/orange are portrayed I guess.

One thing I’m starting to enjoy more of is shooting right at sunset. I never really did that in the past, but it provides way better colours to set the mood.

I always loved trying different perspectives as well. Using foreground to my advantage to bring a different view to it all. Having the car as the main focus is always great, but giving the eye some slight distractions sometimes provides a different feel too.

As I was leaving, I decided to try driving by the airport to see what it was like. Whenever I drove through arrivals, I always passed the newly constructed section with a bunch of glass and wanted to take some photos, but there was no way I’d ever have enough time to park, get out and get a nice shot without being harassed to move if I wasn’t picking anyone up.

Last night was my chance… As I drove up, it was like a ghost town. It’s actually kind of creepy how quiet it actually was… The airport as I knew it was always bustling – cars in and out, cabs lined up waiting to be called forward, people crossing… Last night, it was like the entire population had been wiped out and I was the only one there. As I drove in further, there were a few cabbies standing outside waiting for what seemed like nothing and as I got to the newer section and parked, it was so quiet that you could hear a coin drop.

As I parked, I naturally hurried and got my camera ready and hopped out trying to get as many pics as I could. But very quickly I realized that maybe nobody was coming? Maybe there was no one around to tell me to leave and if there was, I’d just ask if I could take some quick pics since no one was here anyway. I had my alibi ready but I didn’t have to use it once LOL!

That’s when I started taking my time… I kept looking through the windows and down the road but nothing. Nada. No one walking inside the airport, no security speed walking my way… It was nice. Eerily peaceful.

As you can see – not much in terms of any living souls. Only big windows, nice light, me, myself and my camera.

With these pics, I loved the look the cool blue tones gave off. The same feeling as I had when I was there… Quiet, cool, kind of creepy…

On the other side, where you’d usually see rushes of people walking across with their luggage – not a single one last night…

The sun started to set quickly as I got there and when it did, I decided to switch up the tones a bit. A little warmer, a little darker… Look how damn empty it is!!! You had to be there to appreciate it.

On the stretch home, the sunset looked good. I stopped off on the side of the road and took one last shot. I’m itching to go out again and shoot some more!

Mike McConnell’s Subaru-Powered 1968 Karmann Ghia

This was a long overdue photoshoot – Mike and I have been talking about getting together to shoot his Karmann Ghia for probably a year now since he started building it, and ever since then there has always been something that comes up – he needed to tune it, I had an appointment, something needed a slight fixing, I got caught up in other things… The list goes on. I can’t even count how many times we’ve gone back and forth about postponing our shoots. Anyway – we finally met up and with the daylight fading fast, we had to move quick.

Mike’s car is definitely something to see in person – it breaks necks left, right, and center. This is the first Karmann Ghia I’ve ever seen and before I met Mike, I never would’ve known what it was… It is older than me by almost 2 decades! The work that has been put into this thing and seeing the progress over Instagram is amazing and I’m glad I got a chance to capture this through my lens. As my Instagram caption stated – it is probably the craziest car to ever come through my lens to date. It’s hard not to respect and admire this car after watching it evolve through pictures from day 1.

I’ll add in some details as we go – as I’m sure you’re all wondering about it. Admittedly, though – I did not get all the shots I wanted to… It was a chilly night, we were losing sun extremely fast and we had no strobes to back us up if we needed it. All of these were shivering, handheld shots…

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JC and I met up, Mike came shortly after and had just washed his car, he hopped out and quickly dried the windows with his sleeve and off we went.

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On our way there, we had awesome light – not harsh and very calm – made for perfect color in the clouds and it definitely helped in bringing out the “classic” feel in the photos.

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Immediately you’ll notice how damn slammed Mike’s car is – and it isn’t bagged either like you would expect. This is all static and Mike drives with no fucks given – that’s what I loved about this whole shoot – it was very care free and “do what you need to get the shot”.

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One thing you also might not know just by looking at the pictures is that this car has been painted by Jesse – Mike’s partner-in-crime, if you will in building this car. This was actually Jesse’s car originally but Mike ended up taking it over and with the help of Jesse and his family, they built it into what it is today. I suppose you could say that Jesse is still building the dream, but with Mike at the wheel.

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Another interesting thing to note is that Mike is rocking a set of Porsche “phone dial” wheels – 15×6 in the front and 16×8 in the back. Behind those sit some nice disc brakes as well…

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Under that hatch (which I am regretting not getting a chance to show you guys) is a stock 2.2 turbo Subaru Legacy engine… This paired with a Haltech sprint 500 stand alone ECU from VEX gives it the power it needs to get going. There is currently no intercooler so he runs the risk of running hot but that is probably in the works for next year.

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There are some distinct points that stand out on the car but to me, they are more like beauty marks rather than imperfections. And it works well on a car like this – it gives it character. Funny how as things age, imperfections turn into “character”. I’m sure you won’t disagree…

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Another unique part of Mike’s car is the roof – again, painted by Jesse. There are lot of unique touches on the car that really make Mike’s car stand out and that’s huge these days. You really have to take risks in order to stand out, but you have to be willing to take the potential criticism that comes with it – good or bad. I think this is actually one of the highlights and I enjoy it a lot…

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Kind of a rare shot of the master and the project… Especially when you’re a photographer yourself; it’s rare to have a shot of your own work.

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JC’s car over to the side like usual under that nice sky.

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This shot reminded me of a scene from a gangster movie – don’t ask me which one, it just does.

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A shot to see the lines of the car. Truly one of a kind.

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One other thing to note about Mike’s car is that all the paint work that was done was done with a rattle can. Mike then polished the car to blend the new and old paint together. I would say after looking at it that it would be a tough task to point out exactly where that is… By no means is it a paint booth/professional job but I don’t think that was the intention – Mike’s intention was really just to take a car that is unique and do something crazy and different with it with what they had, and finally get it to the point where it was driveable and they could just enjoy their fruits of labor.

Shooting a car with brand new parts and paint is one thing, but shooting a car where sweat and tears are a must in order to get to a stage of being able to say “finally” is different. There’s more appreciation and more of those moments where you’re standing there admiring the work more than the car at times. You get that feeling with Mike’s Karmann Ghia and it’s a rare feeling.

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A shot to see just how low Mike rolls… There were a few times that we saw sparks fly out from the back and the car is just so low that rocks don’t even get a chance to go under it, it’ll just shoot out the side of the car. Just a little note of caution if you’re driving beside Mike 🙂

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Another shot that better shows how low it is. This road was relatively flat and to someone like me, it’s a great road with little issues. But for Mike, he scraped… And he loved it.

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Mad tuck. Even most bagged guys can’t get that much tuck.

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A nice shot of the rear and his exhaust set up. Under that trunk is a beautiful Subaru 2.2L turbo engine – once again, a thing I regret not being able to capture. But not to worry… I’ll get it the next time we go out for sure.

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The roller I posted up on Instagram that same night.

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Low shots compliment Mike’s Ghia well just because it hugs the road so tight and we all know how good cars look when they’re slammed AND rolling.

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One last shot of the many rollers we took that night that I decided to save for the long winter months. I loved a lot of these shots because we could see the moon so clearly and what better way to capture a beautiful car on a beautiful night.

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We ended up stopping back at our rendezvous point and I had to get a few more shots. Even as we sat in the lot, it was breaking necks – and rightfully so…

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That exhaust!!

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One last shot to leave you all with for a nice and happy Halloween.

This shoot was honestly one of my more stressful shoots because as I mentioned – Mike is a photographer too, and while I was not really losing sleep over what he thought of shooting the car, I wanted to make sure that he loved the photos OF his car. I say this because in many ways, Mike is more than capable of shooting and capturing his own car so that’s where he asked me to step in and take it from a different perspective. I think for the most part, I captured it well even though I didn’t get all the shots I wanted, but at the same time it wasn’t a failed shoot (I do consider some of my shoots failed sometimes).

Thanks for coming out Mike! And I know Jesse is reading this – sorry we missed you! Next time, we’ll make sure we all come out together and do some epic shooting – DUB Dynasty style. Thanks (again and again) to JC for making the trek all the way out to the boonies to get this shoot in the bag with me.

Have a happy Halloween!

Almond’s Brand Spankin’ New BMW M3

There is something about the high performance and iconic cars that will just never go away. Maybe it’s the craft or the presence, or quite possibly the combination of the two – but you can’t ignore it even if you tried. I’ve shot all of Almond’s cars since I’ve known him – from his Mercedes G500 AKA gangster mobile to his now ex-girlfriend BMW 335i. Almond didn’t do anything horrible by any means, cause he cheated on his 335i with her younger, hotter, and better-dressed sister. Isn’t that what men would call “winning”? In other words, an upgrade from someone who isn’t performing as good as you’d like anymore is reasonable, isn’t it? Sure, Almond dressed his 335 up in fancy shoes, gave her a nice purr, and even got her a nice tune to strut her stuff more confidently, but at the end of the day it’ll never be an M3…

Which brings me to my next point… The M3, like I first mentioned, demands attention when you’re around it. It’s one thing to see it in pictures and in commercials, but you really have to be near one, to hear one, to see it ripping away from you to really appreciate all that it is. Almond posts many pictures of it on Instagram and I would too if I owned one. There is something pictures can’t capture, but I tried my best to at least capture the beauty of it and perhaps even a little of its presence.

Even with this being a last minute photoshoot, the stars aligned for us that day and we got some incredible photos. Thanks again to Almond for coming out on such short notice and to JC for coming all the way out of the hood over our neck of the woods to play.

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We’ll start it off with probably one of my favourite photos of that evening. The sun was just setting, the fall colours and the orange sunset in the back made the white pop… And usually (as you may know) I hate shooting black on white, but it didn’t bother me one bit that night. It was an awesome shoot.

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Anyway rewind a bit to the meetup – we decided to meet somewhere more central – Symon’s Valley Ranch. A nice secluded and fairly dead area to just chill. It has been a while since I met up with JC, so it was good to get out.

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Every line on the M3 is just so thoughtfully crafted. No matter what angle you look at it from, it looks good.

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The carbon fiber roof – can’t forget about that…

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The front grill and lower fascia especially is my favourite.

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The new headlights are also a nice change.

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The seats are awesome too. This emblem lights up when the doors open…

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And of course the interior tastefully sports a hefty amount of carbon fiber in all the right places.

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Carbon dash trim.

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The odometer is nice and clean as well with a nice little LCD screen down in the middle and digitally lighted gauges.

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A nice shot of the front portion of the car. The sedan looks way better than the coupe IMO and the way the rear flares blend with the doors is really nice.

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A look at the fitment and stance. Not bad for stock!

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Kind of a side shot…

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Head on. This looks the best.

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The blue big brake kit stands out perfectly behind his wheels and on a white car.

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The rear section of the M3 also looks amazing – complimenting lines from the front. The shark fin is also a great touch.

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JC not knowing what to do so he just held out the lens. As you can see, it was also an awesome night to shoot. It was a bit chilly, but beautiful nonetheless.

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Details come a long way and if you take the time to really look for them, you can appreciate them. Here you can see one of the many cameras mounted on the car to help with parking and get a birds eye view from the inside.

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M3 badging in the most obvious places and also in some easily missed spots as well…

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A closer shot of the headlights. You can take a closer look at how sharp the details are and no corners are cut. The halos still remain but never look tacky on a BMW…

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One final group shot before going our separate ways… JC also back on his stock wheels ready for winter. Me and my stock POS…

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Actually I lied – this is my favourite shot and that’s why I decided to put this last… This was actually one of my favourite shoots lately. Everything worked out perfectly… Almond’s already got some plans for the M3 so I don’t doubt we’ll be seeing this again soon. We’ll see!

Los Cabos 2013 – Part III

OK Part III will be pics from Diana’s camera. It’s mainly pics of places where I wouldn’t have taken my SLR just cause I hate lugging it around for long periods of time. So excuse the lower quality pics and enjoy the content instead LOL.

The night that we got there, this huge ass moth was on our screen door. Even with my hand in the pic for comparison, it’s tough to tell how big it actually was. It’s body was HUGE – if you stepped on it, there would probably be a big mess.

Selfies at the pool.

This couple was probably the most kinkiest couple at the resort – and there were a lot of them… they were all pretty old too. I guess when you reach a certain age, you start not giving a shit about what people think and try to somehow embrace your sexuality in the kinkiest way possible. This lady wore a g-string to the pool everyday. I didn’t notice until she got up off her chair and into the pool that I noticed there were two moons in my face. When she got out, there was probably 2 inches of fabric covering her vajayjay and let me just say… she was as bare as a baby’s bum. SO. WEIRD.

She was sporting the huge implants, botox and everything too. Turned lots of heads whenever she was out hahahahaha

No. She was not good looking.

I don’t remember when this selfie was taken. I’m pretty sure it was after a rum and coke chugging contest… Judging by how red Diana’s face is. LOL

On Thursday we did our first excursion/tour. We headed out to the Marina for the glass bottom boat tour around the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortez. This was at the docks… Super nice place. There was even a Luxury Avenue that I wanted to go take a look at. They sold things like David Yurman, Louis Vuitton, etc…

Here’s a pic of the boat. I thought the whole bottom was going to be glass. Turned out that only the center portion was – as you can see.

A nice sunburnt couple offered to take a pic of us because we are always taking selfies. You can’t see it, but Diana is about halfway to getting seasick. LOLOL

Pelican’s Cove. They call their Pelican’s their Mexican turkeys haha. This is basically where they chill all day and the beach behind them is public so people can come swim in that water. It’s one of the many spots that you can snorkel and scuba dive since there are a lot of crazy fish down there.

The tour guide chucked some food in the water and immediately all the fish came rushing up and you can watch them through the glass.

Probably hundreds down there.

This was one of the many mini caves as we made our way to the Arch. I believe this was called the Lover’s Cave or Couple’s Cave. Either way, the tour guide said “usually two go in, and three come out… 9 months later”. hahahahaha

This was what they called the Arch at the south send of the Peninsula. This is the spot where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez – it is essentially the splitting point.

Up ahead a little further is what they refer to as the “Scooby Doo” rock. It’s kind of shaped in that formation. There were a ton of rock formations that were dubbed something to stand out to tourists.

This little thing is the last tip of the last rock at the Peninsula.

Here is another cave at the end of the beach area.

I zoomed in a bit so you can see, but they said there’s a little boy hitch hiking right outside the cave. You can see it on the right of the cave in the rocks.

On the way back from the boat ride, Diana spotted Justin Bieber’s boat.

We hopped back onto the tour bus and made our way to a glass blowing factory. It was a tiny shop, but man it was hot. I believe the first oven they use – the one to melt the glass is at 1400 degrees. They have another oven at 400 degrees to ‘cool’ down the glass and set it before it’s completed.

Here’s our tour guide who was giving us information on it all. He pulled that Tequila bottle out of the bin to the right. Everything they make is made using recycled bottles – mostly clear ones. Clear glass can be recycled thousands of times.

Here are the four workers. The lady handles the cooling of the finished glass work while the three men work on creating sculptures, culinary items – dishes, cups, etc, and decorations like ornaments and swords.

This was the main dude creating a sample piece for us today. He just pulled that glass out of the oven and is turning and blowing it.

Here’s a good pic of him blowing the glass. It’s funny that they call it glass blowing when he really only blew it twice for about 3 seconds. The rest of the process involves no blowing at all.

This was what he was doing most of the time. Excuse the blurry pic – it’s because I zoomed in quite a bit since we were standing a fair bit away. He used tongs to shape and pull the glass.

His buddy would bring out other pieces of heated glass and press it onto the main piece. This is how shapes are made – out of multiple pieces, not one.

Here he is shaping the second piece that was just placed on.

You can start to see that it’s coming together. Multiple pieces of glass being places and shaped.

Within 5 minutes, he’s done. An elephant made out of 11 separate pieces of glass. Even the eyes were molded, shaped, and colored.

Inside their shop they had a bunch of stuff on display and for sale. I took pics of some of the stuff – here are swords and crosses. That was the end of the glass blowing tour.

We hopped back onto the bus and made our way to the flea market for some souvenir shopping. This picture was of the public beach that was passed while on the boat tour. Anyone and everyone can come here whenever they want. You can see on the right of the picture in the water – there’s a dude using a water jetpack hovering all around. Pretty cool haha

One of the interesting tidbits that we learned from the tour guide was that Cabos thrives on tourism and the money and business that they bring to the city. Cabos is generally a very new place that is only about 150 years old since they started booming. Our tour guide mentioned that the good thing about the city is that there is no welfare – if you want to eat, you have to work. Only 5% of the population in Cabos do not work, and they believe that it’s the 5% of people that simply do not want to work. For the most part, everybody has a job and everybody loves to work.

At the end of the day, it makes you think about whether welfare is worth having. It’s good to be used as a back up cushion should you ever find yourself laid off or unemployed for a short amount of time. However, any sort of safety net means that there is always room for people to take advantage of it. Food for thought.

This was on Friday – our last night in Cabo. We had originally booked the Sunset tour to be on Thursday for Diana’s birthday but we had to swap it with the boat/city tour. The ATV tour was later in the evening so that we could ride along the beach and then watch the sunset – something I was looking forward to all week.

This pic is of the bathroom sinks – just thought it was pretty crazy looking so I took a quick pic LOL.

As we were getting fitted for helmets, Enrique – our guide, fitted Diana with two adult helmets but they were both so big on her tiny head so she got stuck with an infant helmet. LOL

Happy Fox Power!!!

Shots of our ATV’s. We were lucky that we had only one other couple ride with us and fortunately, he was a good rider and was able to keep up.

Getting ready to roll out.

Shot of the bike…

Gangster selfies. We also decided to buy those masks to use because we saw the used ones that they were lending out and they looked nasty. They were also only $3 LOL.

It was a good idea too because half way through the ride, you start to notice that it gets moist from your breath and it would be so sick to be breathing in someone else’s nasty ass moist breath.

Right when we left up the trail.

A pic of the beach as we rode across it. Excuse the pics, the ride was super bumpy and never smooth so it was difficult for Diana to get a steady and straight shot haha

We ended up going up a big mountain and rode past cows and old shacks

Horses too… and none of them gave a shit about us. They just stood there hahaha

We were lucky enough to go far enough and stop in the small, secluded town of Candelaria. If we were in a big group of inexperienced riders – we probably wouldn’t have been able to make it this far. Enrique mentioned that since the trail to get up to Candelaria is somewhat difficult, they usually don’t come this far.

At first glance, it looks just like an ordinary town and it was nothing really special to see. It was actually kind of weird going off the dirt path and into a town with less than exciting views.

However, once we stopped – Enrique gave us a good half hour walk around the town and gave us more information on the people living here.

Here’s Enrique talking about the roof of the houses. He’s pointing to one in the distance, but you can see right behind him that the roofs are all hand made by the people in the town. The leaves are taken from the palm trees and woven together meticulously with many layers. The process of weaving that many layers means that water doesn’t get through and slides right off – a lot more involved and complicated than laying down shingles, but the goal is ultimately the same.

There is one church in the town and it’s a small one. However, it’s big enough for all the people that live here. There are 16 families and about 38 people living here only. The church is used on the last Sunday of every month – but it is open to the residents any time.

One of the more interesting facts about the people living here is that they are some of the oldest people around. Three people in the small town of Candelaria are over the age of 100 and most people here live to be over the age of 90. Everybody works and there is no use of vehicles – they use donkeys. They only eat what they grow and only purchase the things they can’t make – like salt.

The town has three schools – a kindergarten, middle school, and a high school all within walking distance of each other. This is a shot of the kindergarten, and as you can see – it’s as big as a classroom here. That’s all they need for 16 families.

This is a shot of the black basin on top of all the houses. The black basins hold water from the spring not too far away that carries fresh water for the people here. The reason it’s in a black basin and on top of the house is so that it can be heated by the sun for when they take showers, wash dishes and basically use it for anything else in the household. When the water is empty, they have to go to the spring to refill it.

Enrique also mentioned that they only drink the water that they find – they can’t drink bottle water or else it makes them sick – not because bottle water is bad, but because they’re stomachs are not used to the process of filtered water and also eating processed foods. Whether that’s true or not, I’m not sure…

Here, Enrique talks about the many different plants that are around the town. The cactus he’s pointing to is the only type of cactus that carries water inside. Again – can’t confirm it, but that’s what he said.

You can see the Agave planted around as well.

A shot of the church and size.

After the town tour, we made our way back to the trail and back onto the beach to catch the final few minutes of the sunset.

We stopped at the edge of the beach where the waves smashed up against the rocks to watch.

As we were waiting for the sun to peek out from behind the clouds, we took a shot with Enrique. He is surprisingly photogenic… LOL

He also said not to post this on facebook because he’s too popular… hahahahaha

Here is where the sun was finally setting. You don’t know a sunset until you see one go down into the horizon of the Pacific ocean. You could literally look straight at it and watch it slowly move down. It took probably 15 seconds for it to be completely gone. Perfect timing and it was awesome to see.

To be honest, I thought the ATV tour was going to be maybe a half hour long at most and down a dusty trail. All in all, the actual riding time was about 2 hours and we did donuts, went up rocky trails and mountains, passed by tons of wildlife… probably the best excursion we’ve done so far and well worth the money. I told Enrique he had the best job and replied “someone has to do it”.

We ended our final night with another chugging challenge – but this time with Amaretto and Coke. A lot better but I still lost. Jesus Christ.

Part IV will be the last part! Pics from my phone and then we’ll get back to our regular business of cars.