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Diego Lezama captures ancient Mayan culture in perfect light

February 15, 2011

Great Plaza, El Gran Jaguar, at dawn, Guatemala. (Diego Lezama)

Name: Diego Lezama Orezzoli

Country: Spain

What equipment do you use:

  • Canon 7D
  • 5D Mark II
  • Canon Lenses 16-35mm F:2.8L
  • Canon 70-200mm F:2.8L
  • Canon 24-70mm F:2.8L
  • Extender EF 2X II
  • 24mm TS F:2.8L
  • Flash Speedlite 580 EX II.

How much time do you spend travelling for photography a year: Two months a year but more than 3 months extra in my home country.

Favourite photography subject: Architecture. Specially ancient Maya archeological sites in Central América. Why? I wanted to force myself to photograph these all-time-photographed-places in a different way (night time) to give even a stronger sense of place.

Most photographic country: Guatemala. This is a clear example of a relative small country with an incredible variety of landscapes, ethnic groups, ancient civilisation and culture.

The best photo you’ve taken: My best photo so far was taken at the ruins of Tikal, The mighty Jaguar Temple of the Mayas. It took me 5 days and nights to match the perfect moment to illuminate this monument with artificial light right before sunrise, with the help of five local volunteers.

What first got you interested in photography: I think what it really triggered my passion for photography was my first 4×4 trip to Morocco in 1989. The mixture of adventure, rich and exotic culture, and no sense of time lead me to capture every scene before my eyes.

What was your first big break: Winning a travel contest just one year after I became pro. The prize was one week trip to Jordan. And this encouraged me to keep travelling ever since.

Tips for budding photographer:  Nobody likes images rejected but this is a symptom that there are too many similar images of the same subject. Always try to be different, but first, look what others have done.

Tips for taking photos:  Over the years I’ve learned that any light conditions are good if you have the right subject in front of your lens. But if the place where you are is too easy to get, be sure it was easy also for another thousand photographers! Be patient and befriend the unexpected.

Next assignment: Turkey Tourism Campaign in 6 provinces

Baby sleeping near bananas at Chichicastenango Sunday Market, Quiche, Guatemala. (Diego Lezama)

Aerial shot of Iguazú river waterfalls, Brazil. (Diego Lezama)

Find out who’s buying what gear on Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree forum.

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Kimberley Coole takes awesome portraits. Check out her profile here.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 26, 2011 10:41 pm

    Is not Iguaza, is Iguazú. Great pictures.

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