This is Baja California / by Marc Cappelletti

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Of all the photos I took during a weeklong trip to Baja California and the Sea of Cortez, Mexico, this one brings back the most memories.  Not memories, but feelings. I took four hundred shots of dolphins leaping in the mid day sun; scenes so crisp you can see individual beads of water running down the sides of their sleek, gray bodies.  You can see into the blacks of their eyes.  There are also colorful landscapes, dramatic sunlit vistas and kayaking shots with the front tip of the kayak at the bottom so the viewer might be fooled into thinking that he is in the shot.  Those, I see.  This, I feel.

In the white wisps of light I feel the cool of the evening air blowing gently from the north.  In the early season it does that.  Later, the air stiffens.  The nights remain warmer. This night it was long sleeve and shorts weather, but it didn't stop me from getting ice cream from the abuela at La Fuente.  Pistachio.  Delicious.

I see the glimmer of yellow and green lights dotting the center, running lights from sailboats and small yachts, and I remember the pull to board one.  I wondered how freeing it would be to cut ties with land and be rocked to sleep by the waves.  But I couldn't leave the comfort of the soft sand on my feet, cooling the sunburn that tightened my skin.  There were no stars out at the time, just a single plane flying south to Cabo.  Resort people, golfers, partiers.  I on the other hand was an explorer, a soloist, or at least I felt like one.  (My hotel was a hundred yards away.)

I remember the spark I felt after taking a dozen still shots from this same spot, placing the masts of sailboats in various positions in the frame, when something told me that the scene could never turn out like the one in my head.  The shot had been taken before. I needed something else.  I needed to sway.  Sway?  Yes, shake from the photographer's sunset haze and put something into the shot that felt better.  Side to side, slow the shutter, increase the blur. I think it works.

Most of all, when I look at this photo I remember feeling silly for typing descriptions of the sky and sea into my iPhone, the shades of blue, water that had earlier appeared aqua or even clear was then an inky midnight blue, no, black, but not quite.  Deep purple, maybe.  It felt good to delete them. I might as well let the photo do the talking.  Might as well let Baja do the talking.  Yeah, that feels right.

And if you are interested in the other aspects of Baja that I came to love, here are two:

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Mexico's Most Beautiful Dance

Common Dolphins Sea of Cortez

Front Row Seat to a Dolphin Stampede

And if you're wondering how to explore it, of course: Lindblad Expeditions. (Although I am obviously biased.)