2017 Anders in Álamos

This is the first of what will be many 2017 Álamos stories.
It had been twenty-some years since Anders Tomlinson, cameras in hand, walked the
streets of Álamos, Sonora, México. Photos by Antonio Figueroa.

Anders Tomlinson taking a photo of Bishop Reyes Cathedral, Álamos, Sonora, México 2017. Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

Time does not stand still but it remains in spirit. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

There have been changes in Álamos since Anders last visited. Influences and
multiple causations included a copper mine to the northwest and a silver mine to
the southeast opening up, 2008’s Hurricane Norbert, La Fuerza del Destino Mexican
telenova-soap opera filmed in Álamos and airing in 2011 and being designated a
Pueblo Magico by the Mexican Government and tourism industry in 2005.
Over the centuries Bishop Reyes Cathedral, the subject of the above Anders’ photo,
has stood tall. Álamos, like the world, has grown in population and cars.

Anders Tomlinson, 2017, putting gopro camera in place overlooking Álamos, Sonora, México. Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

Attaching a GoPro Camera overlooking Álamos. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

It is also true that Anders Tomlinson has changed in the two decades since his last
visit in the summer of 1996 to Álamos, Sonora, México. The biggest change is that
he is 21 years older and these are years when the changes in body and mind are
accelerating. In these years technology has changed influencing how and what he
uses to document. Anders, above, is attaching a GoPro camera around a tree
trunk with a wrap-able mini-tripod. Colonial Álamos lays before him in all its granduer.
This trip would help Anders understand how much his “eye as the beholder” has
changed. He still approaches projects with the same focus to document and
preserve data for the future to look back on. He stills marshals inclusiveness over
value judgements. Álamos continues on as it always had.

Anders Tomlinson and Tony Estrada at Reynas restaurant in Álamos, Sonora, México, march 2017. Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

Anders with Museo director Tony Estrada. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

Somethings have changed little over the years. Tony Estrada is still the director of
the Museo Costumbrista de Sonora. He has been in this position for 33 years.
He is well-respected in this capacity and is also known as an artist-sculptor.
He and his wife Lupita, herself an artist, also manage Galeria Rincon de Arte
in centro Álamos one block south of the Plaza.

Walking through the large gardens of Hacienda de los Santos. Photo: Antonio Figueroa

A big change in Centro Álamos is the expansion of Hacienda de los Santos from one
Spanish Colonial mansion to three Colonial mansions and one sugar mill including footbridges
that cross the Arroyo Escondido and connect the expansive beautiful garden grounds,
restaurants, theater, and lodging. Anders spent his first two nights here and presented
clips to the Álamos History Association from Good Morning Álamos, Sonora, México
to a standing room crowd in the wonderful theater. Hacienda de los Santos provides its
guests with a map of the grounds. Anders found this helpful. The second night at the
Hacienda was one of the best sleeps Anders has had in decades.

Anders Tomlinson oon a hill in Álamos, Sonora, México, 2017. Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

To the east are Sierra Madre rising foothills. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

Much had happened in Anders’ life since visiting Álamos in the summer of 1996.
He found himself in the Upper Klamath Basin during the 2001 Klamath Irrigation Project
water shutoff that impacted both Klamath Falls, Oregon and Tulelake, California
and made headlines around the world. This became a period of intensive film
production including a film featuring Jimi Yamaichi and the Tulelake Internment –
Segregation Center. This would bring an end to Anders’ traveling days and he
returned to San Diego in 2008 where he remained until the much anticipated
2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition

Anders Tomlinson takes Rigoberto Grajeda portrait at Casa Serena Vista, 2017. Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

Anders and Rigoberto Grajeda do the portrait dance. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

There were many questions in Anders’ mind when the 2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition
crossed the border into Tijuana on February 21st and hopped on an overnight bus to Navojoa,
Sonora, México. The major issue would be how well would Anders travel. Since 2008 the
longest trip he had taken was 24 miles and had slept every night in his own bed.
His health required three hours of daily exercise and maintenance and a restrictive diet.
Folks in Álamos helped Anders including Rigo, seen above, who cooked several meals
at Casa Serena Vista that Anders shared and Rigo also drove him a couple of times
to film the streets and roads of Álamos. With help from Joan Gould Winderman,
Diane Carpenter, Antonio Figueroa, Luis Angel, Humberto Enríquez and others Anders
was able to accomplish many of 2017 Álamos Sonic Expeditions’ project goals.

Anders Tomlinson taking photos in Álamos, Sonora, 2017. Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

The Mirador’s view is 360 degrees of living Álamos. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

The Mirador had changed greatly from Anders’ 1996 summer visit. It is now a
destination unto itself including a restaurant. A walking path, 360 steps, from
downtown brings one to a large modern observation platform. There is a sidewalk
along the road all the way to the platform. It is an example of the fine rock work
that has been accomplished across Álamos from the arroyos to El Mirador.

Anders Tomlinson taking a photo in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico, 2017. Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

Anders looks at the world in terms of shot scale – macro to micro. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

Shooting stills or video for a narrative requires awareness of shot scale to move
the story forward in an entertaining manner. Most of the gear Anders used on
the 2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition shoot was new, small and produced 5,354 photos,
783 videos and 202 audio recordings.

Anders climbing La Capilla in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico, 2017.  Photo by Antonio Figueroa.

Anders knew this would be a many days hike. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

What was intended to be a seven day expedition turned into two weeks. Anders learned
that he still had the endurance that he had twenty years ago. The best purchase he
made for the trip was a pair of Vasquez Talus Pro GTX hiking boots designed for rock.
His feet were always comfortable no matter the conditions. Happy feet make a happy hiker.

Antonio Figueroa on his ranch in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico - 2017. Photo by Anders Tomlinson

Antonio Figueroa spent three days with working with Anders.

It was a pleasure for Anders to be reunited with Antonio Figueroa and his family.
Antonio took photos, video, recorded audio and provided a car for many street-road
videos. Locations included his family ranch east of Álamos, the new barrios to
the north and west, Uvalama, La Capilla, La Aurora, Hacienda de los Santos and
the Plaza. As noted, all of the wonderful photos in this article were taken by Antonio.

To see more about Antonio in the Spring and Summer of 1996 visit
Easter Sunday with the Figueroas on their ranch.

2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition

Anders Tomlinson arrived in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico on February 22 and
departed on March 6, 2017. Antonio Figueroa, an Álamos photographer
and friend from previous Anders visits 21 years earlier, spent three days
with Anders and helped document life in Álamos with video, photos and
audio recordings. This video are photos by Antonio Figueroa edited by
Anders Tomlinson. Soundtrack by Denver Clay and SonicAtomics.

Good Morning Álamos, Sonora, Mexico

The 2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition visited Álamos, Sonora, México between
February 23 and March 6, 2017. This scene includes time-lapse of receding shadows
across the Álamos valley as seen from the Mirador. Video and editing by Anders Tomlinson.
Music by SonicAtomics/Dig Brothers under the direction of Denver Clay.

To see more 2017 Álamos, Sonora, México videos

©2017 Anders Tomlinson and Antonio Figueroa, all rights reserved.

Casa de los Santos

32 … Christmas on the road came home at Casa de los Santos

Living room at Casa de los Santos, 1992, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo by Gary Ruble.

A quiet moment in a beautiful space, the workers are gone for the holidays.

Years of neglect during the 20th century chipped away at Calle Molina #8, yet another grand Almada family mansion turned to ruin. Jim and Nancy Swickard purchased what was left standing in 1988, a central section minus two wings that once surrounded the courtyard on three sides. A four year renovation effort commenced with as many as twenty workers on site at any given time. When we arrived in 1992 the project was nearly finished, a new spirit had taken up residence in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico. Our photographic crew of five, led by internationally renown Gary Ruble, prepared to light the living room, kitchen, interior portales and pool area. Casa de los Santos was ours for a couple of hours.

Kitchen at Casa de los Santos, 1992, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.  Photo Gary Ruble.

A maestro was brought in to create a dramatic domed brick kitchen ceiling.

Kitchens are the engine rooms of Álamos. Here, is where living starts anew each day. Here, is physical and social sustenance. What struck me about Casa de los Santos was its majestic scale anchored by reverent detail. There was much to see but nothing was crowded, everything had its special place, space flowed from here to there as the interior decorating became a pilgrimage in and of itself.

Interior portales at Casa de los Santos, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by gary Ruble.

The inside portal, and climate, provides an inside – outside way of life.

The interior portals are an Álamos way of life. Arches support roofs without exterior walls and protect residents and casa from the elements. Here, under shade, gardens, views and furnishings come together providing living and dining areas. Imagine sitting here, outside the wall are the muffled sounds of town, a dog barks, children play… Inside, bird sings and wings flutter, breezes come and go, water features provide soothing sound, music and guest voices travel across the courtyard. This is now and then, Álamos, Sonora, Mexico.

Pool area at Casa de los Santos, 1992, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico. Photo by Gary Ruble.

It is still, a winter squall has passed. Breathe deep, relax.

Our crew was staying at Puerta Roja Inn on Calle Galeana and Casa Nuzum on Calle Comercio. Though we were separated by only a short walk, mere minutes, we were worlds apart. And this another aspect of Álamos, behind each front door is a social universe unto itself. And it is easy to become lost in the moment and swept away by chance meetings and impromptu invitations. I, as director – producer, was starting to lose control of our efforts. The photo shoot at Casa de los Santos was the first time in days we were all together and on the same page. This moment was my Christmas, we were doing what we came to do. December 1992, Casa de los Santos, and our team in action, priceless.

Hacienda de los Santos 2015 Update

Everyday is history, here the Hacienda's main pool lives on.

Everyday is history, here the Hacienda’s main pool lives on. Photo: Amy Haskell

Casa de los Santos has grown over the years, expanding into other colonial mansions
all interconnected by walkways and maturing gardens.

casa de los santos, alamos, sonora mexico. the largest fountain which was originally the sugar mill's 'Mill'.  It had oxen and a stone wheel to crush the sugar cane.  The operation went into bankruptcy in 1710 and we are the second owner's of record.

Listen closely and one may hear the past come alive. Photo: Amy Haskell

“The Hacienda goes back into a construction mode in July, 2015 with some remodeling work on the sugar mill property to create a true, and long awaited, gift shop adjacent to the Cafe Agave. A new Spa will be ready to open in the Fall and the present spa. We hope to have three totally new Master Suites for next season, plus two inner connecting Hacienda Guest Rooms for families. Our total room and suite count will be 32 for next season. We will have some exciting news this summer about some international recognition for Hacienda de los Santos…” Jim Swickard

To see it as it is today visit Hacienda de los Santos Resort and Spa.

For more 2015 summer updates visit Jim Swickard notes

To see more Álamos Journal pages.

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©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.