2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition


International photographers flank tourism officials. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.

1995 – International photographers flank tourism officials. Photo: Antonio Figueroa.


Anders Tomlinson plans to return to Álamos, Sonora, Mexico in late February 2017 with a modest camera backpack to continue his documentation that began in 1983. The goal is recording audio and capturing hd-video and hi-res photos to update this website and provide media, especially ambient audio, to finish his film project Good Morning Álamos, Sonora, Mexico and enhance his two Álamos video channels.

A major step along the way is to see what can be done to have the desired equipment approved for travel to Álamos before leaving the USA, thus avoiding any unexpected Mexican Customs’ situations. Anders has made an appointment to discuss this with the Mexico Embassy in San Diego. Suggestions of what to do, or letters of support, are welcomed. Returning to the USA will not be a problem because Anders will have entered Mexico with a U.S. Custom’s manifest to expedite his return.

Between 1994 and 1997 three 22 minute Álamos TV episodes were produced along with live multi-projector slideshow presentations. From 2009 through 2010 editing took place on a prototype three disc DVD collection, Good Morning Álamos, Sonora, Mexico. In late 2010 Anders began re-editing these videos and posting on the newly created Álamos-Sonora-Mexico.com site and Vimeo Álamos Channel. Video editing has been, and will be, an ongoing process through 2017 on the film segments/scenes.

Over the years, 35mm transparencies scanning sessions have produced 5,000 hi-res photos.
Scanning with a powerful new scanner and archiving slides continue. In January 2011 work began on the Álamos Journal which is now over 100 entries/ scenes. These efforts will assist script writing for the next stage of editing and post-production of Good Morning Álamos, Sonora, Mexico. In 2014 an Álamos History Timeline was added and in 2016 a youtube channel ÁlamosVideos was created.

Another goal for the 2017 expedition is contacting in person both the Álamos History Association and Mueso Costumbrista de Sonora to see if it is possible for Tomlinson’s Álamos documentation to be available for interested parties in the future. He has always worked under the assumption that an important audience for his efforts will be 100 years into the future.

Below is the equipment package Anders would like to travel with to Álamos

Inside one big bag are three audio-visuals  bags.

Inside one big bag are three audio-visuals bags.

This external frame backpack will serve as the inconspicuous carrier of all gear and personal
items that Anders needs for the 2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition. This pack has been to álamos
before, see “buses, bags, and checkpoints” at the bottom of this page.

It is amazing what can fit into two small bags.

It is amazing what can fit into two small bags.

Manifest: Canon Powershot 350 pocket camera, GoPro Hero Silver 4, Canon 60D Dslr, Tascam DR-60D audio recorder, all of which have a battery charger, backup battery and data card. Canon 100-400mm L, Sigma 14mm, Canon 18-135mm, Shutterboss v2, Speedlite 550EX flash, Audio Technica AT8024 shotgun/stereo mic, Audio Technica AT2022 stereo mic, 3 mini-tripods, suction cup, USB charger, card reader, 2 storage 128 gig flash drives, earbuds, 2 mini-flashlights.

This compact system can capture video/photos via 3 devices and audio via 2 devices using wide stereo and shotgun/stereo mics. Camera mounts include 2 Magnus bendable tripods, GoPro suction cup with accessories, mini-tripod and window clamp tripod.

To see other equipment options that were considered for the 2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition.

2017 Álamos filming/recording shedule.

The 2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition is planned to be a five day hike with a day spent exploring each of these barrios and their surrounding neighbors: La Campana, El Chalaton, El Barranco, Airport and Centro.

Here are some goals to accomplish with the above equipment:

1.  Record high quality stereo ambient audio for continued editing of Good Morning Álamos, Sonora, Mexico video project.

2.  Timelapse HD video scenes of Plaza, Alameda, sky studies, sunrises, sunsets etc.

3.  GoPro HD video from moving vehicle; Centro to Aeropuerto, La Minas Nuevas to Plaza, Puerta Roja to Pantheon etc.

4.  Match at least 50 photos from previous shoots to show change.

5. Compile HD video and hi-res photos of Álamos during a week in late February 2017.

And here is where the returning Álamos audio and visuals will be post-produced.

Home of alamos-sonora-mexico.com and Good Morning Álamos, Sonora, Mexico.

Home of alamos-sonora-mexico.com and Good Morning Álamos, Sonora, Mexico.

Anders’ digital studio awaits his return from Álamos, Sonora, Mexico with audio, photos and video to edit, produce, share and distribute. Here is where the moving stories comes together in color with sound. One of three editing bays is dedicated to Good Morning Álamos, Sonora, Mexico.

A story worth telling is coming together

Through the centuries this has always been considered a "Special Place."

Through the centuries this has always been considered a “Special Place.”

The first visit to Álamos

A camera in hand is worth two in the bush

Below is the tiny Olympus XA pocket camera that was used for the images in the 1983 video
above and the PowerShot 350 that will be used for the 2017 Álamos Sonic Expedition.

33 years in passing, things change yet stay the same.

33 years in passing, things change yet stay the same.

Many folks who haven’t been to Álamos other than via alamos-sonora-mexico.com tell Anders they hope Álamos hasn’t changed. Change is not stopped and the world has changed since 1983 – just look at the world’s 1983 and 2016 populations. What folks really mean is they hope Álamos’ spirits haven’t changed. And that is what Anders wants to document and share with the world – the spirit of Álamos, Sonora, Mexico in 2017. Whatever equipment Anders is allowed to bring with him to Álamos will produce high quality audiovisual data that will help Good Morning Álamos, Sonora, Mexico and add to the Álamos archival visual bank.

Here’s to an uneventful journey to Álamos with equipment, and dreams, in hand.

Anders Tomlinson in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico plaza, 1995. photo by Antonio Figueroa.

Anders reflects on another wonderful Álamos day. Photo: Antonio Figueroa

Past, present and future comes together, in a special way, as one walks down hand swept cobblestone streets listening to laughing children behind bougainvillea-crowned walls.
Here, is the eternal blue sky that is Álamos, Sonora, Mexico.

And now a little Anders story about buses, bags, and checkpoints

“I always feel that my greatest responsibility on any photo journey is getting the camera equipment from point a to point b.  Once on location I have more control of who, and when, someone sees my gear. I have had some wonderful tales of being stopped at Mexican checkpoints.  As an example  – August 1996 I was on on a bus ride by myself from Tijuana to Navajoa. The bus pulled into an isolated immigration station in the Sonoran desert at 3 AM under a breezy hot star-filled sky. I had a nearly 6,000 cubic inch external frame backpack loaded with 4 cameras, lenses, over 100 rolls of film, a couple of camera vests, two tripods and two boxes of videotape. When i approached the immigration officials the inspection light flashed red. I was the only passenger to not be green-lighted. I had waited to be last because I didn’t want to hold up the other passengers and draw attention to my possessions. An older male inspector asked me to open the top of the fully loaded pack’s main compartment and grabbed the hat on top. He looked up at me and saw I was wearing a hat.  He wagged his finger, no-no-no, and told me I couldn’t bring two hats into Mexico. My first thought was this could be problematic.  Later I would learn I was legally limited to travel into Mexico with two cameras and 10 rolls of film. The young female inspector standing next to him reached into the pack.  Directly under where the hat had been was a project presentation book with photos of my previous trip to Álamos.  She asked where the photos were from and I told her I was going back to take more pictures of Álamos, Sonora, Mexico.   The conversation quickly switched from me to Álamos as the young guard called over other guards to admire my pictures. Meanwhile, the bus has started to pull away.  Several guards ran after the bus to stop it while others carried my pack and bag, including the second hat, as I followed everyone, at a leisurely pace, with nothing in my hands but dreams. My gear was on its way to Álamos, Sonora, Mexico.”

©2016 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.

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