Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

Thanksgiving didnt have the same feeling down here..Actually, I probably would have forgetten about it, since its just a regular day. But, I ended celebrating it a little bit differently (with Malaysian food). So yesterday, I went to shoot a cooking show hosted by the Malaysian ambassador at his house. It quite the posh experience. After shooting the event, we got to eat the food and I actually met the ambassadors to Thailand and Malaysia (Not Bad Eugene, eh?). They were quite nice and friendly. Me and another writer from the Santimes ended up talking to the Ambassador for a long time too. At the end of the event, the Ambassdors driver actually dropped us off at the bus station (its not everyday that somebody gets out of a Mercedes and waits for a bus after that). It was a good time, and I got to meet some good contacts. See my photo blog for the pics.....

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New Blog

Hey gang, Ive launched a new blog dedicated specifically to my photography (so I down overload this site). Here is the link. Feel free to provide feedback on my photos!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I hate the dog outside

So there is a guard dog that lives below me and lets just say that he does his job. Always barking, its very bothersome........Que lata...The problem is when it gets warmer outside and I have to leave my windows open. Man, I am never going to sleep!

Good week. So, since I moved into my place, there has always been a TV in the room, but I turned it on and it didnt work, and that was the end of it. But, 2 months later, I found out that all I needed to do was to plug the cable which was behind the bed for 40 channels of cable! Why didnt I think of that before! I am trying to watch TV very day and learn something..

Tuesday, I shot another protest, this one a lot smaller, but very interesting. It was about the potential building of Dams in the south of Chile. Here is the article for the paper with my photos:

Written by Benjamin Witte
Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Protestors want Patagonia to be dam free
Photo by Kyle Weaver

Several hundred demonstrators gathered outside of Endesa’s Santiago headquarters Wednesday evening to protest the Spanish-Italian electricity company’s plans to build a huge hydroelectric complex in Chilean Patagonia.

Accompanied by a musicians and a troupe of colorful costumed dancers, the demonstrators crowded around the building’s entrance carrying signs that read “Protect Patagonia” and “Let’s Get Chile’s Water Back.”

“I think there are different ways to produce energy and in this case, although it would be relatively clean energy, I don’t think flooding Patagonia is the best option,” Fernando, a natural resources engineering student, told the Patagonia Times.

Endesa, working in collaboration with Chilean energy company Colbún, plans to build five massive dams in far southern Chile’s Region XI: three along the Pascua River and two along the Baker. Together the dams – which have an estimated price tag of US$3.2 billion – would add some 2,750 MW of electricity to Chile’s strained central grid. Chile’s current overall generating capacity is approximately 13,000 MW.

The project is currently being evaluated by Chilean environmental authorities, which must approve the plan before construction can begin.

Dancers added a festive flare to Wendesday's protest outside of Endesa's Santiago office
Photo by Kyle Weaver

Backers say it will go a long way toward meeting the country’s growing appetite for electricity, estimated to increase by some 6 percent annually. Patagonia’s glacier-fed rivers, furthermore, represent clean and efficient energy sources, Endesa and Colbún insist. And, because the water is located right here in Chile, it is not – unlike imported oil and natural gas – subject to uncertain price and supply variations.

The project’s many opponents, on the other hand, say the dams will devastate the Baker and Pascua Rivers and open up Chilean Patagonia – considered one of the world’s last pristine wilderness areas – to further industrial exploitation. Of equal concern, they say, are plans by Canadian-owned Transelec to build a 2,300 kilometer power line, potentially the world’s longest, to transport the electricity from Region XI to energy hungry central Chile. The estimated US$1.6 billion transmission line, critics warn, would mean clear cutting countless acres of wilderness land and promises to leave a lasting scar across southern Chile’s unique landscape.

“Even though there are other ways to produce energy, (Endesa and Colbún) choose what’s cheapest for them and most harmful for us,” said Angelo, a Greenpeace volunteer. “There’s wind and solar energy. Also tidal and geothermic energy. In they end those options require a bit more investment, but it has to be done. In Spain they’re already doing it, because the laws require it. Here, companies do what they want.”

By Benjamin Witte ( patagoniatimes@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it )

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pics from Protest

Here are some of the pics that I took from Tuesdays protest.........

(A shot from the stage. They let photographers take turns up there)

(A drummer)

(A little encounter between cops and a protester)

(These guys dont take no for a answer)

(Someone important)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hello All

I know its been a while, since I have had a update. But sometimes, you just get too busy. I swear that I have no time around here. The funny thing is that, I dont know where all my times goes. I mean, I only work part time! But, between my job, my photography, studying Spanish, playing guitar and hanging out with my friends, time does add up.

The weather is really starting to get nice and hot. Time is really flying and I always forget that its Novemember because of the weather here. Its probably between 70 and 80 degrees, but the nights cool down a lot.

My weekend was good, Friday we played Poker again, and I ended up going head to head for first place, but it got too late and we ended up splitting the pot (not bad about 20 bucks each). But it beats losing!

Saturday night it was my good friend Will`s going away party. He is moving to the far south of Chile. I am bummer because he is a good friend of mine. Its something you have to get used to in this line of work. People dont stay here forever, maybe 6 months, a year, etc. We had a BBQ on top of one of the cerros here. It ended up getting dark and we actually missed the last bus down the mountain! We ended up walking down the thing, it took us maybe a hour, but the view of the lights of the city was really cool.....

I have really been doing more photo work at the newspaper and Revolver (its the sister radio station). Last week, I did 2 photo reviews of restuarants in Santiago. Sometimes, we get free food and sometimes we dont. Another thing, I have been covering more is protests. There was a big protest today, and I got some great pictures of it. I will post them later (I have to edit them first!). People down here really know how to protest and everyday there is something else going on. In my opinion, its something that people from the US have forgotten to do....

Here are some photos that I have taken lately......

(La Moneda)

(Neat Car)

(Old Argentina Embassy)

So the story with this old Embassy is that some land developer owns the property and wants to tear it down to build Condos. The problem is that its considered a cultural landmark and he cant tear it down. So it just rots away.....

Sunday, November 2, 2008

El Domingo

The 3 day weekend has come to a end. I have been so busy and its been go go go all week! We didnt have to work Friday because for some random reason, Chile gets Halloween as a national holiday (its strange considering only about 30% of people here actually celebrate it!)

Friday was great, a couple of us decided to get up early (I mean we had to meet at 10:45AM) and go tour a vineyard about 20KM or so away. To get there we took a train and then at the train stop took a taxi the rest of the way. The Vineyard was beatiful, it was voted the best vineyard in Chile for 2008, so that is why we decided to go there. We got there at about 12:30, had a excellent lunch, with some steaks and several bottles of wine and then at 3:30 went on the tour. It was reasonably priced, it was about 40 dollars per person. Here are some pics:

Friday night, I went to a halloween party which was thrown by one of my friends. But, a few of us had planned to go hiking in the mountains on Saturday, so we didnt stay out too late. Being hungover on a hike is the worst! We went to a area which was about a hour drive from the city called Yerba Loca, it was amazing! Originally, we were going to rent 2 cars, but my friends was able to borrow cars from people. The funny thing is that one of the cars was a Computer repair van! It was the worst thing to take up a mountain. Right after, we parked the car at the trailhead, a bunch of steam started coming out of the hood! At that point, we couldnt do much, so we just left a note and headed up the mountain.....(We fixed it for the ride home)

(our trail for about 20 percent of the time)

(seeking shelter from the storm)

(A good profile for Field and Stream or something...)


(The van that broke down)

(My friends Will and Karlee)

The park kinda reminded me of Colorado landscapes. Our original goal was to make it to the Glacier at the top of the mountain, but it turns out that is a 14 hour hike, a little much to do in one day. The trail was really messy and muddy as well, becuase of Spring runoff. A lot of times our trail was a stream! At first, the weather was beatiful, but about a hour before we were going to turn back, we hit a huge rain/hail storm and had to chill underneath a rock for a bit, until that slowed down..A awesome hike.......