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Thread: Traveling in the Yucatan

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Traveling in the Yucatan

    Does anyone have tips on traveling and photographing in the Yucatan?

    Do the major sites allow tripods? Is it safe to travel + drive around with gear that might look expensive?

  2. #2

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    Re: Traveling in the Yucatan

    I cannot speak for the Yucatan, but I spent a month in Oaxaca with a Hasselblad 503 and a Xpan. Never had a problem.

    But, you cannot use a tripod in any place deemed "historic" such as some ruins and churches, without a permit that can only be obtained in Mexico City.

    I am sure Jorge will chime in and given more up to date info.

  3. #3

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    Re: Traveling in the Yucatan

    I spent a week in the Yucatan but it's been quite a while ago. The two major sites, Chichen Itza and Uxmal (hope I have the spelling right) were very crowded. I wasn't using a tripod back then but I think I remember reading a thread here a few months ago where someone said tripods weren't allowed at any of the ruins. But even if you could use one, it would be difficult to get a photograph at the two major ruins that didn't include hordes of people. We stayed in Merida and hired a guide for a week who drove us all over the countryside to many relatively unknown and unrestored Mayan ruins that I found more interesting, and a whole lot less crowded, than the more famous ones. I would think you could use a tripod in places like that just because there were usually very few people there. Both Chichen Itza and Uxmal are well worth seeing but probably not for the photography unless things have changed since I was there.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  4. #4

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    Re: Traveling in the Yucatan

    Sounds like I might not even take the large format if it's not possible to use a tripod.

    Unless I get some lensboards for the Speedgraphic and try hand-held shots. Sheesh.

  5. #5

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    Re: Traveling in the Yucatan

    Quote Originally Posted by Rider View Post
    Sounds like I might not even take the large format if it's not possible to use a tripod.

    Unless I get some lensboards for the Speedgraphic and try hand-held shots. Sheesh.
    Please don't abandon LF just because of my statement. As I mentioned, I have no personal experience with tripods in the ruins, I was recollecting something I think I read here a few months ago. If you search for "Yucatan" you should be able to find that thread pretty easily.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  6. #6

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    Re: Traveling in the Yucatan

    I found the thread you are referring to. It sounds like they are pretty adamant about enforcing the tripod rule at the sites.

    On the one hand, I feel I need a LF to give those ruins justice

    On the other hand, I don't think the way to get unique images is to stick too close to the beaten path.

    So maybe I'll take a disposable camera to the ruins and look for other opportunities for the LF. I might take the Speedgraphic instead of the Wisner after all.

  7. #7

    Re: Traveling in the Yucatan

    I have been many times and would suggest you rent a car. Many great ruins can be seen this way at your own pace, and often not a tourist in site. Uxmal ( pronounced ooshmal) and Chichen Itza are not to be missed, but lots of people there. Many small towns are worth stopping in for a snack and cold beer.
    If you do get a car, check out this page.
    http://www.locogringo.com/research/ruins.html

    By the way, there was ferry that left from Florida to the Yucatan a few times a week. It cost about $170 round trip with your car.

  8. #8

    Re: Traveling in the Yucatan

    No, you cannot use a tripod on any of the main site managed by the INAH. You are required to get a permit, this permit takes about 1 or 2 weeks to get, you need to go to the local INAH office in Merida to get it and it costs $300 USD per site per day. The INAH is very disorganized and getting the permit, even if you are willing to pay the fee is a crap shoot.

    Having said that, you might be able to bring a bean bag or something where you can prop the camera on top of it so that you can take the picture. The rules state you can use any camera, just not a tripod.

    If you do use a LF camera, you will be challanged, so if you don't speak spanish and are able to argue with them, your best bet is a hand held 4x5. This is the case where a razzle dog or a littman would work great!

  9. #9

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    Re: Traveling in the Yucatan

    When I went to Monte Alban, I did argue with them, in spanish, but the answer was still no. And I was told quite sternly that a bribe was out of the question.

    Oh well. I shot it with an Xpan and some medium format.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    573

    Re: Traveling in the Yucatan

    How about a Speed Graphic on a monopod?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorge Gasteazoro View Post
    No, you cannot use a tripod on any of the main site managed by the INAH. You are required to get a permit, this permit takes about 1 or 2 weeks to get, you need to go to the local INAH office in Merida to get it and it costs $300 USD per site per day. The INAH is very disorganized and getting the permit, even if you are willing to pay the fee is a crap shoot.

    Having said that, you might be able to bring a bean bag or something where you can prop the camera on top of it so that you can take the picture. The rules state you can use any camera, just not a tripod.

    If you do use a LF camera, you will be challanged, so if you don't speak spanish and are able to argue with them, your best bet is a hand held 4x5. This is the case where a razzle dog or a littman would work great!

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