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Life in Mexico Photography

Pozos: Beautiful Sawdust Carpets

Sawdust carpets or alfombras de aserrín are one or more layers of colored sawdust and/or other materials laid on the ground as decoration. The tradition of decorating streets in this fashion began in Europe and was brought to the Americas by the Spanish. The tradition is still found in Mexico especially during Semana Santa (Holy Week) and Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).  Traditional carpets in Mexico and Central America are done with colored and uncolored sawdust; however, various other materials are used with it and sometimes in place of it. These include flowers and flower petals, pine needles, rice, fruit, colored earth, ashes and other usually organic materials.

The Dia de los Muertos events in Pozos included the building of a beautiful alfombra de assurín that ran from the Parroquia all the way to the smaller cathedral at the top of the hill. There were many young people from Pozos who created the designs along with guidance from the older residents. I photographed as they carefully poured the sawdust onto stencils and lightly sprayed it with water to prevent it from blowing away. They also had to keep an eye on the local street dogs to keep them from walking on the sawdust and undoing what they had completed. It’s a lot of work, but the result is worth it!  It was beautiful.

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Here’s a short video that I shot to give you a sense of all the activity around building the sawdust carpet:

Day of the Dead – Building the Alfombras de Aserrín from Carol Watson on Vimeo.

Life in Mexico

La Noche Mágica en Pozos

The Festival del Globo, an annual event in Guanajuato, visited Pozos in November.  Our little Pueblo Mágico became packed with visitors. We were able to view the nighttime festivities from the rooftop deck of our casa.  I love hot air balloons. It was a magical night.

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The streaks of light are drones circling the balloons.

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Photography Travel

A Rainy Day in Hungary

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”

— Rabindranath Tagore

Dedicated to Timea.

Images photographed on rainy days in Budapest and Debrecen, Hungary.

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Annie Lennox – Nostalgia


I’ve always been a big fan of Annie Lennox.  Her take on some 1930’s and 1940’s standards is wonderful listening as you’re sipping wine after dinner. The arrangements are lush and her voice is still as beautiful as ever.  Take a listen.


The Color Palatte of Infrared Photography

I’ve been photographing in digital infrared (IR) for nearly 15 years and for the last two years, I’ve been playing around with color IR after having two of my Nikon cameras converted to 590nm and 720nm IR cameras. I thought I’d provide a sample of the different color palattes you can achieve in Lightroom and/or Photoshop.  I shot these images from the apartment in Vancouver in November when some of the leaves were turning color and falling from the trees.

Here is a color digital infrared image directly out of my camera.  You’ll notice the red cast.

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I edited the image in Lightroom using a preset that I created to neutralize the red cast which helps you see how the foliage becomes cotton candy blue in IR. Here’s the resulting image:

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Another technique I use is to bring the original image into Photoshop and use the Channel Mixer to swap the red channel and the blue channel. This will change the foliage to warm colors rather than the cool blue:

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The color palatte I choose for the final image will change depending on the composition of the photograph and the elements in it.  Which does your eye prefer?


Vancouver in November

I decided, on short notice, to surprise my youngest daughter on her birthday. So I hopped on a flight to Vancouver, BC, Canada in early November. I booked an apartment in Yaletown with a great view.  Despite the weather being typically rainy and cold, I still enjoyed my week there because I was able to spend some quality time with my daughter. I love Vancouver anytime of the year. Fall color was starting to appear in the city as evidenced by some photographs I took from the apartment.

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Recipe: Thai Chicken

Image ©

We tried this recipe last night and it was incredibly delicious.  And easy too!! It’s important to use chicken thighs with the skin on. My husband wanted to steal the crispy spicy sweet skin off my plate, but there was no way I was going to let him.  I also can’t recommend enough to you to try out the Plan to Eat website and sign up for a free trial.  It’s the best recipe capture and storage site ever!  I’ve got over 500 recipes in my recipe book there!

Print Recipe

Easy Thai Chicken


Course: Main Course

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 30 min

Total Time: 40 min

Serves: 8


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 14 cup peanuts chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 12 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 lime Juice of
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha or more, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. To make the sauce, whisk together chili sauce, soy sauce, garlic, fish sauce, ginger, lime juice and Sriracha in a small bowl; set aside.
  3. Melt butter in a large oven-proof skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, skin-side down, and sear both sides until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Stir in chili sauce mixture.
  4. Place into oven and roast until completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 25-30 minutes. Then broil for 2-3 minutes, or until caramelized and slightly charred.
  5. Serve immediately, garnished with peanuts and cilantro, if desired.

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Happy Birthday to me…

There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why. — William Barclay

This image was shot at Motherwell Ranch in Colorado.  The Rainbow Huipil was created by Lena Bartula and she kindly let me use it for my conceptual shoots. Sophia, the model, took on each part of the shoot with such fearlessness. This image is part of an ongoing series called “Tethered”.



Happy Holidays!

Seasons Greetings from my two dogs: Igor, the Boston Terrier and Ali, a street dog that we rescued last year.

Igor is used to having me dress him up and so he’ll keep still for a portrait (despite never looking impressed with the whole situation).  He’s such a character.  On the other hand, Ali, our street waif, is not sure about this dress-up thing and, by nature, does not sit still.  It’s tough to get a portrait of her.  It’s a shame, because she’s such a pretty dog.

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Beauty Photography

Winter Solstice Portraits

It’s the winter solstice and I decided it was a good day to host a small celebration with some of my female friends here in Pozos. I invited them to spend the afternoon “to celebrate our beauty together”.  We started out with some champagne and snacks. Then, I introduced them to EVER Skincare products during facials for each of them. Following that, we had a light make-up session and I wrapped up the afternoon by taking a classic portrait of each of them. My goal was to encourage them and told them, that despite their reluctance to get in front of the camera “at my age“, it’s important to exist in photographs for yourself and for the people who love you. Given their response to the final portraits, I would call the event a success. Each of these women are beautiful, inside and out.  I’m happy to call them my friends.