Looking for the perfect cenote for a photo shoot, I have found photos that are beautiful. The tranquility that they transmit to us, and the desire they give us to be in that same place is unique.
But do we ever think about all the effort behind these pictures?
We will probably say: “Wow, what a good photographer”, and it seems simple to us. But I can assure you that getting a good photo is not quite easy.
Today I want to share a bit of the experience I had with the team from La Galerie MalixArt and Joram Mennes. Join me and discover everything about cenote photography.
Doing underwater photography in the cenotes of Yucatan is definitely a new experience for me.
Being there let me see that this process is not as simple as just entering a cenote, getting the model into the water, and taking the photo.
To begin with, all begins with finding the right space, a cenote in this case, a step that was a long journey. Actually, here in Yucatan there are so many cenotes that finding the ideal one can be a bit tricky.
There are cenotes all over Yucatan, all with totally different characteristics: some are cave-like, others are open, some have more natural light entering, while others are practically dark. So, depending on the concept you have for your photoshoot, you’ll need to visit plenty of cenotes before making your decision.
Looking for the perfect cenote by road…
We traveled several kilometers by road from Mérida, looking for the cenote we wanted. The access to that cenote is not easy, as you have to go through a long dirt road that crosses the jungle, where we found plenty of local fauna. But in the end, we managed to reach the cenote.
The necessary material to do a photographic session in the cenote
In addition to the variety of cenotes that exist in Yucatan, there are several factors that we depend on to obtain the desired photograph.
Now you may be wondering how much equipment you need for this type of photography… It is not only the camera, but also the lighting equipment, because although light enters the surface of some cenotes, as soon as you get in the water and start getting down, light starts to fade, keeping the beauty of these wonderful sites in the shadows.
So you need to add a few submersible lights, maybe some ropes and weights to keep them in place. and of course, you will need to add to this list any props, clothes and accessories that you want to use for your picture.
Explore cenotes on my own?
Put it simply, exploring the jungle or cenotes on your own is never a good idea. There are many factors that can go wrong and put you in danger: you can fall or get hurt, you could find a snake or a spider and get bitten. You can get lost in the jungle.. so, the easiest and safest way to get to the cenotes is with the support of the local guides of each municipality.
We are definitely grateful to Abel, who had to put up with us for about five hours, as we toured many bodies of water trying to find the right one for the photograph that Joram had in mind.
And truly, finding the Perfect Cenote for a photo shoot is not that easy. It takes time and a lot of energy to explore the wilderness, so, make sure to get the help of an expert.
Xiimbalil Ja ’Festival
Xiimbalil Ja ’is an annual festival in Yucatán, derived from the photos of Joram Mennes. "Paseo en Agua" seeks to provide, through underwater photos of Cenotes, a better knowledge about them. All this in his call to protect the Yucatán aquifer - Unique in the world.
In 2021, the photos will be exhibited on Paseo de la Reforma, in October. This will be done between the Angel of Independence and the Diana sculpture.
In 2020, we had the pleasure of exhibiting in the convent of San Antonio de Padua de Izamal, Cholul-Mérida. It was also possible to exhibit at Paparazzi restaurant in Valladolid, where a cycle of talks by speakers was made to share and disseminate problems and solutions about the conversation of the cenotes. A sample was also present in Cenotillo Yucatán, on the fringes of the Freediving World Record of Alejandro Lemus - The deepest Mexican in the World.