Arizona

Event Photography: Fiesta en el Instituto Technológico de Nogales

This past August 24, I had the opportunity to travel to Nogales, Sonora, with the Tucson, Arizona-based Watershed Management Group (WMG). I’ve been a WMG volunteer for five years, and I also send them some monetary love via the monthly donation program.

The occasion was a fiesta on the campus of Instituto Technológico de Nogales (ITN). This school is the Mexican equivalent of an American community college, and its focus is on technology.

According the WMG, “Campus projects demonstrate the capture and utilization of stormwater onsite to reduce flooding issues, improve stormwater quality, beautify the campus, and engage students from a variety of disciplines. Faculty and students from ITN have been central to developing water harvesting system plans and designs and implementing systems through hands-on workshops.”

What was the fiesta all about? Celebrating the completion of the first round of projects. Since ITN is an educational institution, learning opportunities were part of the festivities. Like measuring the amount of water that’s being stored in the cistern…

Event photography - measuring cistern storage at Instituto Technologico de Nogales, Sonora

Crucial to the completion of class exercises are numerous discussions…

Event photography - discussing water harvesting class exercises at Instituto Technologico de Nogales, Sonora

One of the best water harvesting construction tools is the low-tech bunyip. It consists of two poles with ruler markings and a clear plastic tube filled with water.

Bunyips are used in figuring the slope between two points. If you have too much slope, water will rush downhill, possibly causing erosion.

Slope too shallow? You have a water pooling problem. That can create a breeding ground for mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus and other deadly diseases that occur in Sonora and Arizona.

Here the students are using a bunyip to measure the slope of a water harvesting basin next to an ITN classroom building…

Event photography - using a bunyip at Instituto Technologico de Nogales, Sonora

After the measurements are done, it’s time to perform the calculations required by the class exercise…

Event photography - performing calculations during a water harvesting class exercise at Instituto Technologico de Nogales, Sonora

Although I’ve been an event photographer for many years, this was my first photo shoot in Mexico.

How was covering this fiesta different than an American event? Well, when you’re running the camera here in the United States, you’re supposed to be like the proverbial fly on the wall. You act as unobtrusive as possible.

Not in Mexico.

You, the event photographer, are expected to share business cards — and lots of them.

Tip: You can never have enough business cards in Latin America. You’ll quickly acquire quite the business card collection, courtesy of your hosts.

You’re also expected to greet people enthusiastically — in Spanish. Be sure to engage in lots of chatting and hugs. With plenty of smiles.

So much for being unobtrusive.

Did I mention that the paparazzi style of picture-taking aggression attracts attention in Mexico?

Word to the wise: Tone it down. It’s best to mellow out and click the camera like it’s a quiet little friend that just happens to be with you.

Although I don’t usually talk about camera gear on this blog, indulge me for a moment. I shot this fiesta with my old Nikon D40. After I purchased the camera I now use, I donated the D40 to the Watershed Management Group.

Working with my former camera was like catching up with an old friend. I turned pro with it! I’m glad it’s found such a wonderful second life with the WMG.

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