AZ>UT>CO by Norberto Pena

Traveling is something I've always wanted to do, but have never had the means of doing it until recently. With steady work and the urge to explore, I've been breaking out of my shell and started going to places I've never thought I would go to.

As I was swamped with work, I decided I needed to take a break. I had the idea of visiting a friend in Colorado, and maybe shoot a story or two. There's a place in Arizona I've been dreaming for years about visiting, since I saw it in the film "Tree of Life". It's called the Antelope Canyon and it looks like something out of this world. And I figured, since it's just hours away from Colorado, why not pay a visit?

See it at the 1:38 mark.

This trip slowly turned into a road trip through the desert. So instead flying straight to Denver, CO, I decided to fly to Phoenix, AZ and explore some of the natural wonders on the way.

It was a shock to me seeing the desert for the first time. Cacti were taller and bigger than I ever thought. It was definitely something different to what I'm used to (coming from a tropical island and living in the Florida swamps). 

This would also be my first time driving for such long hours, and I was a bit worried at first but it ended up not being as bad as I thought it would be.

Even though I didn't have much time to waste (since my hotel was about 6 hours away from the airport and I don't like driving at night) I still managed to stop at one of the most recognized National Parks: the Grand Canyon. I'm glad I did because it was such a great experience. I got to meet some really nice people from Canada, had wildlife cross my path and confirm my fear of heights.

When the day was almost over, I finally got to my hotel in Page, AZ. And it was a surprise to see where it was situated.

Any horror film fans in here?

Any horror film fans in here?

My second day started with a tour of the Antelope Canyon, which I've been wanting to visit for a few years now. It was a great and unbelievable experience.

Since I was on the photo tour, I met a few great international photographers, including one from France. It was his third time there so he gave me a few tips on how to shoot the Canyon effectively.

After that, a lot of driving took place to get to my hotel in Utah. My third day began with a visit to Arches National Park. Parking was tough so I only managed to see two arches and went on a short hike through Devil's Garden, but it was well worth it.

Right after this, I began my drive to Colorado. When I was driving through the mountains I finally saw snow/ice on the ground for the first time, which was a great deal for me.

The day after this was a snow overload. I met with my friend Julio and Victor and we went to Rocky Mountain State Park. I felt like a little kid playing in the snow, even though I didn't see it actually falling down. It was a great experience overall, and I even got interviewed for the local news.

The rest of my days in Colorado I just spent resting and driving around, nothing too special, so this brings me to the conclusion of my trip.

I definitely had to take this trip, even though it would mean getting out of my comfort zone in many ways. I definitely managed to forget about everything for a bit and just enjoy the present. Hopefully more traveling will follow.

Here I leave you with a compilation of the aerial shots I managed to get before getting kicked out of a State Park. Hope this will make you want to travel and enjoy a bit more of our little Earth.

Aerial film from my journey through Arizona, Utah and Colorado.

Till next time!

Night Out with the Sony A7ii by Norberto Pena

After about 4 years with my trusty Canon 60D I decided it was time for an upgrade. The buzz in the video/photo world has been the new Sony Alpha cameras, and naturally I started doing some research on them. Each of their models is created for a specific purpose (a7 for general photography, a7r for high resolution photography, a7s for video and low light). I felt like none of them was a good match for me, until I read about the recently announced a7ii.

The a7ii has a great combination of still photography features as well as video. The sensor is stabilized for better use hand held, it has a high megapixel count and some new video features (s-log flat picture profile as well as the same codec used on the a7s). This was the perfect match for me as a photographer and cinematographer.

I made sure to pre-order it because I knew it was going to go out of stock fast. The camera is here, and here's my first quick test with it. All photos shot with the Canon FD 50mm f1.4.

Be on the lookout for a review soon.

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Chasing Harsh Light: St. Augustine, FL by Norberto Pena

On my way to Jacksonville, FL for a shoot I realized that I had to go through St. Augustine to arrive at my destination. It was time for coffee, and since I like this town so much, especially for its historic value and architectural style, I decided to stop by. 

It's starting to be a habit for me to bring a decent camera (not my phone) with me wherever I go, and this time was no exception. I knew the golden hour was approaching shortly. I decided to somehow use the harsh and contrasty golden hour light as the main subject of the photos.

Camera: Fujifilm X-M1

Lens: Fujifilm Fujinon XC 16-50 mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS

All Images ©Norberto Peña 2014

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