A SPICY POSOLE OF ALL THINGS CANELO. NEWS OF THE CANELO PROJECT AND THE HANDCRAFTED BUILDING MOVEMENT; ATHENA AND BILL STEEN AND THE STEEN FAMILY; TALES AND IMAGERY FROM THE U.S./MEXICAN BORDER; DISPATCHES FROM INTERNATIONAL FRIENDS: LOCAL FOOD AND MUSIC; IDEAS AND PLANS FOR THE POST PETROLEUM AGE.

Artistry with the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch

Obviously a sunflower, Canelo, summer garden.

Photography has gone through a major change.   With the arrival of the iPhone, almost overnite, it became possible to capture high quality images, process and edit them on the phone without a computer, $2 apps replaced much of what expensive photo editing software was needed for.  If that’s not enough, the need for a heavy bag, full of expensive lenses, filters and external flash was greatly reduced.  And perhaps most important, it brought the fun back into photography and made fun and interesting imagery accessible to many more people.

Soon thereafter, Apple’s iPad, iPod touch and other smart phones followed suit with cameras.  Major camera manufacturers followed suit with smaller camera bodies and lenses, touch screens for commands and menu functions, in-camera apps are now starting to be released.  Is the iPhone equal to the better and bigger DSLR cameras, not yet, but it won’t be long before they are truly competitive.  And when it comes to smart phone photography, Apple products clearly have the advantage, much of it due to the large number of apps available. read more »

Posted by Bill at 12:08 pm in Arts, International, IPhoneography, Photography - Digital Imaging, Rio Sonora, Travel | 9 Comments

Dispatch from Sonora

Carolina Acosta and Maria Elena Peraza at Tucson Meet Yourself, 2012

I’m sitting on the town plaza in Banamichi, Sonora, the temperature couldn’t be any more perfect, I’ve got my laptop and it seemed like a perfect time for a little blog catch-up before the drive home this afternoon.  This trip has included everything from helping supervise some construction details at the La Posada del Rio Sonora, getting a marvelous chef from Spain – Ana Borajo, oriented for a several week stay to teach the girls who work the kitchen at the hotel some new dishes and of course visiting a number of friends in the area.  And then there are usual odds and ends to work out for our iPhone photography class in early December, check our website for details.  And since I’m here in Sonora, immersed in spirit of the place, I thought what better thing to do than write about something related to Sonora.

For the most part, the public at large, associates us with our books on straw bale building.  Others, who know us more closely in the natural building circles, are more likely to think of us as the ones who work with clay in building.  Many photographers I know would think of me in those contexts, most recently for work with the iPhone.  And then, here in the area where we live, many think of us as a great place for a day trip, maybe a tour, sometimes an extended stay.  Of those, probably the majority come for the food and a place where they will be certain to find Sonora’s first rate mescal – Bacanora.  Increasingly, many are associating us with our work in northern Sonora, either to tell them about it or to take them there.  Today’s post is about Sonora, specifically a group of high school and college kids, that have dedicated much of their life to traditional Mexican dance. read more »

Posted by Bill at 12:41 pm in Arts, Canelo, Grupo Danza Xunutzi, International, Mexico, Music, Rio Sonora | 12 Comments

Spring, Summer, Etc.

Butterfly with Milkweed, Turkey Creek Cienega, Canelo, Arizona.

I started this blog post back in early July, my thought was to write something that would catch up on our spring and early summer activities.  Well, here we are, almost Sept and I’m just posting it now.  I’ve had to keep adding paragraphs to keep it up to date.

Spring and summer have found us busier than we’ve been in quite some time and obviously lacking the time to sit down and write something interesting. So………..I got to thinking, that after this post, I’m going to try something different for a change and do shorter and more frequent posts. read more »

Posted by Bill at 2:33 pm in Art Projects, Arts, Buildings, Canelo, Grupo Danza Xunutzi, International, IPhoneography, Mexico, Rio Sonora, Southwest, Travel, Workshops | 13 Comments

“Old Style Organic” – Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico

Current day view of Santa Clara with Rio Grande river and Sangre de Cristo mountains in the distance.

Since childhood, when my parents took me along with them to visit Santa Clara Pueblo in northern New Mexico during summer vacations, my life has been connected to that place in one way or another.  Most recently it has been because of my marriage to Athena whose mother was born there, lives there as well as much of her extended family.

After I posted my last blog contribution about organic growers in Mexico, I got a marvelous comment from Athena’s uncle Tito Naranjo, who recounted how similar my descriptions were to his childhood years in the pueblo.  It was a very moving short paragraph, but it inspired me to ask him to write something in more detail about his experiences.  He was most gracious contributing the beautiful story I have posted below. read more »

Posted by Bill at 6:22 pm in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Heirloom Tomatoes, Garlic and Chiltepines – 36 Hours in Northern Sonora

Overlooking the fields of the Rio Sonora at Banamichi.

Why go to Mexico?  For me, the reasons vary and mostly have to do with encountering and seeing things I don’t come across here in the States.  And since I figure life becomes much more interesting through experiences that contrast to one’s everyday life, it’s easy to rationalize taking a trip south.  And I can assure you, Mexico is full of all kinds of things you don’t see north of the border.

In contrast to what one reads or watches from the news media, there are many counter examples that reveal another side to Mexico, one that many positive stories to tell, many of them from the state of Sonora.  I know this is a rather trite thing to say, but one wishes that the news media would at least find a few more positive stories to report than all the negatives.  The Sonoran economy looks pretty good, there’s a growing/educated middle class happening, the police and the Federales are more polite and friendly than I’ve ever seen in my life, American tourism has been down, but Mexican tourism is growing and when it comes to drug related violence, Sonora has been very quiet.  Travel there has been fun and enjoyable.  Clear, nothing is certain nor forever, but for now, things look good in the north. read more »

Posted by Bill at 11:07 am in Food, International, IPhoneography, Mexico, Rio Sonora, Travel | 12 Comments