Woman who inspire change

It is a real privilege when organizations and friends recognize the work I do, but I would like to dedicated this article about my work  to all the women I have met in the slums and villages around the world, the real heroes who have to deal with such adverse conditions and still smile and embrace life with unbeatable energy. They are the real inspiration in my life.

Melissa Della Gatta - This is an AMAZING photo. You captured so much. I love these women too.

Angeles S. - Mamen, eres un orgullo para tu familia. Admiro tu arte pero mas aun tus valores y tu manera de ser. Enhorabuena por tan magnifico reconocimiento ¡Te lo mereces! Un afectuoso saludo

Kauai high surf

During the weekend, I had the opportunity to experience (from a safe distance on the beach) the high surf warning for the north and west facing shores that was in effect this weekend on the island of Kauai. The swell was in the 20-30′ range yesterday. I could have spent hours just looking at the big waves… wait, that’s exactly what I did!

An explosion of colors

I should have been working on another project, but the light and the colors were just unreal right after the rain. I just couldn’t resist the temptation! Now back to work!

Mamen - Gracias Aisha. Let’s try to do more like that together

Aisha Kothari - I like those pictures!!!!!!

Teju - Mamen,
The drops of rain so vivid that they look like miniature glass paper holders.. There is transparent water and a shimmer of silver on many of the water drops..

You have captured each texture so beautifully – I can “feel” the
fuzziness of the purple and the tautness of the red and each ridge in the green leaf.

You have brought out the orange portion really well in the red flower- I am not sure if your raindrop and the light reflected off it made it orange or if the flower had orange and red hues but definitely the magic through your lenses highlighted it.

It is amazing of how you have brought the tropics into the bay area. I have a vision of “warm” humid Singapore like temperatures. I will keep this memory of the rain when it starts to rain here and it is 40 degrees outside..

Amazingly well captured. I am glad you took the time to do this.

Richard - I particularly like image #7 Mamen, but they’re all spectacular. Macro photography is another world and it’s a lot of fun to get lost in it from time to time. Glad you’re trying it out, no doubt you’re going to come up with some great images.

Mamen - Dale, those words coming from a master are truly appreciated! you made my day!

Mamen - Dilip, the pictures were desaturated 10%. Can you imagine the original color?

Dilip Muralidaran - ooof! color overload! :-D

Dale Allyn - Wow! Mamen. What a beautiful series. I’m glad you skipped out on work for a while and captured these beautiful images.

Dancing in the rain

Cartagena. Colombia.

I guess I am sticking to the rain topic on the blog even though today is quite a sunny day in California. So let me ask you, what do you think could happen when you are in a really warm place and it starts raining (I really mean pouring) and you have two curious and imaginative kids with you?

Oh well, one went first, then the second… they drag one of our friends too and, in case you were wondering, by the time I took the picture of my friend jumping in the air I had decided this was one of those moments when it was worth to put my camera away in a tight plastic bag and jump right in. It just looked like they were having too much of a blast. From then on we went all over the old town splashing water and jumping in the puddles.

By the time we went back to the hotel, the water was up to our knees and we were soaked to the bones, but the smile in our faces could tell you we did have one of those special moment we will never forget. No pictures though, the camera stayed in the bag the rest of the day.

The moral of the story? Sometimes is good to go with the flow and let your kids teach you how to turn an unfortunate event into one of the best memories of a trip. And remember to always carry a plastic cover for your camera…

When was the last time you went dancing in the rain? Or did anything like that? I am looking forward to hear from you.



Colombia. Cartagena.

Creo que voy a seguir con el tema de la lluvia aunque hoy hace un sol maravilloso en California. Esta es mi pregunta de hoy  ¿qué crees que podría suceder si estás en un lugar donde hace mucho calor y empieza a llover (quiero decir diluviar) y tiene dos niños curiosos e ingeniosos contigo?

Bueno, primero salto uno, luego el otro … Luego arrastraron también a una de nuestras amigas y, en caso de que os lo estéis preguntando, en el momento en que tomé la foto de mi amiga saltando en el aire ya había decidido que era uno de esos momentos en los que que vale la pena dejar mi cámara en una bolsa de plástico hermética y “zambullirme” de pleno en la situación. Simplemente me pareció que se lo estaban pasando bomba. A partir de ese momento nos fuimos por todo el casco antiguo salpicando agua y saltando en los charcos.

Cuando finalmente volvimos al hotel, el agua nos llegaba hasta las rodillas y estábamos empapados hasta los huesos, pero la sonrisa en nuestras caras indicaba claramente que habíamos pasado uno de esos momentos especiales que nunca podremos olvidar. El lado negativo, no tengo ninguna imagen de esos momentos, la cámara se quedó en la bolsa el resto del día.

¿La moraleja de la historia? A veces es bueno dejarse llevar por la corriente y permitir que tus hijos te enseñen cómo convertir un suceso imprevisto y desafortunado en uno de los mejores recuerdos de tu viaje. Y, por supuesto, no te olvides de llevar siempre una cubierta de plástico para tu cámara …

¿Cuando fue la última vez que bailaste bajo la lluvia? o algo del mismo estilo? Estoy deseando escuchar tu historia.


Jamsheed Wania - When it rained in Karachi, my sister and I would go out onto the balcony and get soaked. The last time I got completely soaked like that was on the hike back from Sykes hot springs camping trip with Ketan and Manish. Soaked feels good in hot weather.

Margo Wixsom - What a lovely story about how our daily lives and travels, along with the people who are close to us, teach us the daily lessons that are valuable. Great compositions beautifully described.

Dale Allyn - Mamen, this is a beautiful collection of images. They inspire a mood of wanting to be there and dancing along with everyone. Great job.

America (Mimi) - Mamen querida… hace tiempo que no se de ti ni de Finilla, espero todos esten bien… aunque no te escriba te recuerdo y quiero con todo mi corazon… es grande la alegria de ver tus dos hijos que ya estan todo unos jovencitos, Dios les bendiga… Te felicito por esas fotos… me impresiona ver las gotas de lluvia, tremenda fotografa… Desde Puerto Rico recibe un fuerte abrazo junto a mis bendiciones y felicitaciones a tu amiga porque en verdad que hacen muchisimos anos en que no bailo bajo la lluvia… Que bueno que disfrutaran cantidad.

Teju - Beautiful pictures. I can feel the moment through your pictures. I know exactly what you mean – you do need warm tropical weather for getting soaked.

The last warm weather jumping in puddles for us occurred in Singapore in 2006. Anika continues to jump in rain puddles in Chicago in the spring.

Mamen - Richard, the wood stove idea is good, but what about we travel to a tropical place in the rainy season and just try this out again?

Richard - Love this. Dancing in the rain around here might mean hypothermia and death. Best to dance by the wood stove!

A fortunate stroke of serendipity

Cartagena. Colombia

Imagine the situation, it’s pouring and I am just trying to keep my camera equipment dry inside a small shop. I saw him coming from far. He was walking happily as if there was nothing that could bother him, not even the downpour and, as he got closer, I just knew I had to take his picture… (for those of you that do not speak spanish “secos” means “dry”). It just felt as if I was in the right place at the right time and I remembered what one of my favorites photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson said once “of course, it’s all luck“.


Right Place, Right Time


Imagínate la situación. Empieza a diluviar y yo busco refugio en una tienda pequeñita intentando mantener mi equipo fotográfico seco. Lo vi venir desde lejos. Caminaba felizmente como si nada le pudiera importunar, ni siquiera el aguacero. Cuando estaba a mi altura supe que tenía que tomar la foto. Es uno de esos momentos en la vida cuando uno siente que esta en el lugar adecuado el el momento oportuno. Y me acorde de las palabras de uno de mis fotógrafos favoritos Henri Cartier-Bresson “Por supuesto, todo es cuestión de suerte“.

Paul Thiebaut III - Those look like some heavy duty stroller wheels.

Dale Allyn - Love it. And what a beautiful street to photograph as well.

Teju - Great picture – you captured his expression very well – he could care less about the weather.

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