The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe


The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe may be one of the biggest fiestas of the year in Mexico. Certainly some parts more than others, like the Pacific Coast near Sayulita for instance. Here, the Catholic Church’s ‘Patroness of Latin America’ (also known as Mexico’s Patron Saint) is celebrated with gusto for one week in December with parades, pageantry, food, music and fireworks. All culminating in the big event on December 12.

I was in Sayulita for the week leading up to the 12th (and sadly had to leave that very night) and every night the party got started with a bang. A massive firecracker literally woke us from siesta and announced the start of the parade procession. From my laymans’s eyes, I could see the interpretation of Catholic and Mexican history was on full display by the community and very different each night. New marching bands, new floats, different religious icons represented by ‘living statues’ atop said floats. Sometimes posed dramatically as if frozen in time during a pivotal moment of history. Figures of note included the Devil (and his firecracking whip – ouch!), the Crippled Old Man, the Women (that’s a man, baby!), the Gaucho, a Bull, a Hare and many others. After the church service, the plaza explodes (literally) by a man wearing what appeared to be a goat effigy, covered in pinwheels and fireworks, running through the crowd, terrorizing the children and adults alike. Not entirely sure what it all meant, but man, it was a spectacle!

I was keen to work with the new Fuji X-e1 camera to shoot these events. Equipped with a fixed 35mm f/1.4 lens and looking to push the low light capabilities of this camera to the max, I shot with existing light (candles, overhead street lights), got close and pushed the ISO to 12,800. A few years ago, that might have been a major gamble. This time,  I was confident the mix of low profile camera, my ‘fly on the wall’ technique, along with excellent ‘pushed’ film (for lack of a better analogy) allowed for some decent, unobtrusive captures. Have a look and let me know what you think. Images below are from two different nights on the streets of Sayulita.

Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico, 2012.

(Please click an image to see larger and scroll from there.)

One thought on “The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

  1. Pingback: Después de la Fiesta | David Niddrie Photography .:blog:.

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