By Scott Umstattd
A GoPro Goes To Semana Santa in Antigua, Guatemala: Holy Week in Latin America can be a holy mess. People line the streets. Traffic jams block people from even getting into cities. And the smell of incense abounds day and night. If you haven't seen this spectacle, you are missing out. It is truly a feast for the senses.
While living in Antigua, Guatemala during the entire month that lead up to Holy Week in 2013, we (my wife and I) were treated every weekend to something special.
Being a photographer, this was just what I was looking for. I ventured out whenever I could to take chase down processions and take pictures. I would always take my Canon 60D with my trusty Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM and my Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L USM lenses. At night, I would bring my Canon 50mm f/1.8II and my Sigma 20m f/1.8 to make sure I didn't miss anything.
But it was my GoPro Hero2 that would often bring back the most exciting pictures. I could not use my GoPro at night because the GoPro Hero asks for a lot of light and at night...there is not as much light.
With my GoPro, I was able to walk in processions and get pictures that my Canon EF-S 15-85mm simply couldn't get because 15mm just wasn't wide enough.
You can buy lenses with wider focal lengths than 15mm. The Canon 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye is an excellent lens. But the GoPro costs a heck of a lot less and can take incredible pictures if you give it enough light.
Here is a collection of Semana Santa pictures taken with my GoPro Hero2 while I was in Antigua, Guatemala.
Above: A little sunburst from the side adds a nice dramatic effect to this procession.
Above: All I needed to do was raise my hand and hit the shutter and pretty much everything within my field of view came into frame as I walked within this procession.
Above: Semana Santa is a people event. If you plan on attending any event during Holy Week prepare to press the flesh with a lot of strangers.
Above: These carpets are made with the utmost of care out of colored saw dust. All of this work will eventually be walked over by the processions that make their way all over town. Each "rug" can represent a family or a business or it may just be beauty for beauty's sake. In any case, it's kind of sad to see them destroyed.
Above: Processioners walk all day long carrying large (and heavy) floats. All of the people on the side are standing by to replace anyone who needs a break. They swap in and out like that all day until they reach their final destination.
Above: This picture was taken from the same vantage point as the picture above only about one minute had passed as the float had moved on.
Above: For this shot I was walking in the procession. Even at such a close distance, the GoPro Hero was able to capture the full scene.
Above: Roman soldiers line up to begin their march through Antigua.
Above: Another shot where I was right on top of the action. The GoPro did an amazing job of bringing in the whole story. No other camera that fits in your pocket can do the same thing.
Above: Sometimes the procession can get unorganized. Here, it looks like everybody is just walking along with only a general sense of purpose and direction.
Above: I was just a few feet away and still able to bring in a lot of what was going on during this part of the procession.
Above: Incense is everywhere during a Semana Santa procession.
Above: Some of the looks I get are priceless when taking pictures with my tiny GoPro Hero camera.
Above: Roman soldiers continue their march through Antigua.
Above: While the mood is often a somber one, it doesn't mean you can't take a lollipop break every now and then.
Above: This is where it all begins and ends, in a church.
While the GoPro Hero can come in very handy, it is not very useful when taking pictures at night or when the action is off in the distance. Get some great GoPro Hero photography tips so that you are sure you are getting the most out of this amazing little camera.
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