I turned 30 in Guatemala.
What a powerful place to receive a new decade.
I visited Guate for the first time a year ago when my friend Chema invited me to spend a few days exploring one of his favorite places in the world. The highlight of course: Volcán de Fuego. The thundering power of Fuego was exhilarating, addictive. I knew from that moment I had to celebrate my new year returning here and paying another visit to Fuego. But I wasn’t going by myself. Chema and I planned a fantastic photography workshop in the area and soon enough it was January again and we were flying to Ciudad de Guatemala accompanied by a wonderful group of photographers from Costa Rica. All ready for adventure.
The weather was chilly, but sunny with incredible clear skies. After our visits to Pacaya Volcano and our city tour of Antigua, it was time to hike up Acatenango for the mind-blowing views of Fuego and Agua. The volcano was highly active, giving us constant reminders of its mighty power. Sunset came and the sky lit up with yellow and oranges, the bursts of lava flowing from the crater of Fuego were magnificent.
But I had my sight on a higher prize, one that I’ve been planning for over a year now and couldn’t achieve last time I was there.
I wanted to shoot Volcán de Agua, the Milky Way and Volcán de Fuego, all connected in a panorama composed of multiple photos.
I wasn’t sure if it was going to work, but I knew the time the milky way was going to be positioned at the exact place I wanted it to, it was all a matter of luck, clear skies and an epic eruption of the volcano. I was sick, I had a respiratory problem since December and the intense cold and ash wasn’t helping, but I had to wait it out outside my tent with temperatures below zero. Waiting, and waiting and waiting.
At 3am it all fell into place. Nature smiled and I clicked.
What a birthday gift! I had the shot.
Guatemala always seems to try your strength, your endurance and patience, but only because it has so much to offer. I didn’t take lots of photos because I was focused on the photography workshop, teaching, sharing and having an excellent time with the participants, but I still managed to take some I really like.
I spent my birthday doing what I love the most, teaching photography and exploring the incredible wonders of the world.
If this is trip is a metaphor for the decade ahead, bring on the 30s.
Luis Solano Pochet
CEO & Founding Photographer
“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire”
Check out my other posts on Guatemala:
This post is dedicated to our wonderful workshop participants!
Pedro, Luisana, Irene, Patricia, Gabriel, Javier, Gabriela and Alejandro for all the laughs and great times.
And to my friend Chema for introducing me to the wonders of Guatemala.