I consider myself pretty damn fortunate. I have a day job that I love (my coworkers, my non-routine daily activities, and usually my clients) and a creative weekend gig that pays some bills, bringing sanity to my engineering world. It’s not often that one feeds off the other, but I got incredibly lucky when one of my day job clients invited me to visit his office in Puerto Rico one Friday. Needless to say, I packed my camera gear and planned some touristy stuff for Saturday.
My client lives in San Juan, the capital of the country, which worked out perfectly since most of the great sights were within a 15-minute drive of the San Juan airport. There are two wonderful things about Puerto Rico being a US Territory: you don’t need a passport to get there or back from the US, and you don’t have to worry about roaming charges or coverage issues. Thank goodness, too, because my phone’s GPS was running non-stop.
Friday night I got to check out the beach by my hotel. I decided to do some long exposure shots which really make the water appear nice and fluid, and really bring out the tones in the sky. The trick here was that I didn’t have a tripod, so a rock was the next best thing (though finding a level, flat one was a bit of a challenge). I love the shots I ended up with, especially since I didn’t have to do any HDR work. Saving my camera from the occasional large wave was also fun.
I spent Saturday checking out the El Murro and San Cristobal forts of Old San Juan. A tremendous amount of Puerto Rico’s history can be told just through these forts. Acting as the main protection to the island, the forts were vital in protecting shipping lanes and gateways to the Americas from the early 1600s through the Cold War. You only have to buy one ticket to visit both forts, so don’t throw it away! They’re cheap, at $5.00 per ticket for adults, and good for 7 days after purchase. I highly recommend going to both, but if you can only pick one, go to El Murro. The fort is gorgeous and has a lot of fantastic sights and information. There’s also a stellar scenic trail you can walk around El Murro for free that’ll take you around the western side of Old San Juan and down to where the cruise ships dock.
When leaving El Murro, I saw a bunch of people gathered around a very friendly and relaxed iguana. To say this guy was photogenic and care-free would be an understatement. I realized later I should have taken a selfie with him, because how many people can say they did that? Oh well!
I definitely need to go back to Puerto Rico for a few days to visit the other parts of the island. The Yunque National Forest and the island of Vieques with the fluorescent plankton are two spots that I really want to see for myself. I think it’ll be my next trip since traveling to Europe doesn’t seem like the best idea right now. Thank you, ISIS…..
Here’s to taking advantage of a wonderful opportunity and getting to experience more of this amazing world we live in. Now, back to family photos, weddings, and the holidays!