This is the blog page for Detroit photographer Juan N. Only. Click the link at the top of the page to go to the home page.

Birthday Trip to Mexico

March 25-28, 2011:
Scarlet Macaw Parrot [50D-4458]
My sweetheart gave me a surprise birthday present of a trip to Mexico. I found out on the evening of Thursday, March 24th. The next morning, we were on a direct flight to Cancun, Mexico. We stayed at a resort just North of Playa Del Carmen, about 70km/43 miles South of Cancun on the Caribbean Sea.

Saturday morning, we went into the town of Playa Del Carmen and wandered around the shopping district. We found this nice little shop that sells locally-made clothing, mostly cotton, linen, etc. I bought a cool shirt and my honey bought a nice summer dress.

We knew we wanted to visit some Mayan ruins, however, if we were to go to Chichen Itza (which is one of the most popular sites for Mayan ruins and which my partner kept referring to as "It's a Chicken"), it would have taken a whole day. We only had three days there, so on Saturday afternoon, we went to the ruins at Tulum, which is about 60km South of Playa Del Carmen. It was very interesting and provided great photo ops.
Mayan Ruins at Tulum

On Sunday afternoon, we were sitting on the balcony of our hotel room, when we heard a rustling in the trees. We then saw a monkey climbing and swinging amongst the branches. He grabbed some fruit from the tree and had himself a little meal. I grabbed my camera and began snapping shots. He disappeared into the branches and then another, larger monkey appeared and he also ate some fruit from the trees. The little one came back before they both swung away and left us delighted to have seen them.
Spider Monkey

Photographic lesson learned from this experience: Don't rely on auto-focus. The auto-focus usually focused on the branches and leaves that were closer to us rather than on the monkeys.

We got up very early Monday morning--before having to get ready to leave Mexico for home--in order to go down to the beach to catch the sunrise over the Caribbean Sea. Cloud cover on the horizon, however, made it rather disappointing. I tried to make the photographic most of what I had with which to work.
Sunrise Over the Caribbean

Sunrise Over the Caribbean

That afternoon/evening, we returned home to Michigan and 30-some degree temperatures--a rather unpleasant reality check after having days in the 80s and nights in the 70s.

Click here to view my set of photos from our trip at
Or click here to browse the set of photos on a black background here at

Introduction - Who I am, why I have such a silly name and what is this KAP crap?

Way back when I was in undergraduate college, I bought my first SLR camera--a Ricoh XR7. It was also while in college that I went to my first Jazz festival: the Montreux/Detroit International Jazz Festival (as it was called back then). I took my fine new camera and photographed the musicians. Thus began my pursuit of live music photography and my love of Jazz (and of Detroit Jazz in particular).

It was also in college that I picked up the nickname of Juan and it stuck. When I decided I needed a business card for my photography, I added the 'N. Only' onto my nickname just to be cute or clever and to make an easily remembered name. For now, I plan on continuing to use this name, but there may come a time when I feel I need to use my legal name.

Most of my music photography has focused (so to speak) on the Detroit Jazz scene--both local musicians and those visiting from out of town. However, because my musical tastes are a bit eclectic, I also have photographed musical performances in other genres, including Indie Rock, Hardcore Punk, Folk, African pop and traditional music (I don't like the term 'World Music', so am intentionally avoiding it), etc. You can browse my sets of live music photography by clicking here.

In the summer of 2007, while on vacation travels, I picked up a small, dual-line, stunt kite (also known as a sport kite) from a shop in a tourist town on the Western side of the state (Michigan, that is) and started playing around with it. I got hooked, then obsessed and started pursuing kiting information on the internet. Through this research, I first learned of Kite Aerial Photography (KAP) and decided to combine two hobbies.

In Kite Aerial Photography, a camera is mounted in a rig which hangs from the kite line. The kite is then used to lift the rig into the air for some low-level aerial photographs. The rig can be very simple, in which the camera is in a fixed position within it, or more complicated with servos that change the pan and/or tilt orientations of the camera. The servos may be controlled automatically by electronics on the rig or through radio control (RC) from the ground. The triggering of the camera shutter can be through automatic circuitry internal or external to the camera (such as an intervalometer) or by a servo that presses the shutter button. Again the servo can be controlled automatically or by RC.

In the fall of 2008, I purchased a KAP kit over the internet, assembled it and, after a little learning curve, succeded in taking my first kite aerial photographs. I also managed to destroy two cameras--one slipped out of my hand and dropped onto pavement while putting it into the KAP rig and the other was destroyed when, through foolishness on my part, the kite line reel got away from me and the KAP rig, with camera in it, went bouncing across the roof of a building as it was dragged along by the kite.

I've now been pursuing this hobby for two years, however, I don't get out doing it nearly as often as I would like. You can browse my sets of KAP photos by clicking here.

Thanks for stopping by and I appreciate any feedback, including constructive criticism.