Getting the Shot: Torres de Satélite

In February 2018, my wife and I took a long weekend trip to Mexico City.  After several trips to the center of Mexico City, I have gotten a little bored with taking pictures of the same things over and over again.  I needed something new photograph.  I spent some time on Google images looking for things, and found something interesting.  The Torres de Satélite is an urban sculpture located in Naucalpan, Mexico, which is a suburb of Mexico City.  The Torres sit in the middle of the Anillo Periférico, the outer beltway of Mexico City — a massive highway with many lanes.  An image quickly sprang to mind — a shot of the Torres (which are nearly 200 feet tall) with traffic moving around them.  The photo would need to be taken after dark, when headlights and tail lights would create beautiful light trails around the monument.

I studied Google Earth, and as luck would have it, there is a pedestrian bridge over the highway south of the Torres.  I formed a plan.  I would have to take the subway from the center of Mexico City as far northwest as I could get.  From there, I’d take a cab out to the Torres.  I’d arrive after sunset, and stand on the bridge, shooting toward the Torres, and using a longer exposure to create light trails.

Arriving in Mexico City, I didn’t try for the image until the third day.  To be honest, I was a bit apprehensive — I’m not at all familiar with the outer areas of Mexico City, and I would be out after dark with camera and tripod, exposed on a bridge above a dozen or more lanes of traffic!  I decided to go for it, and fortunately everything went as planned.  I took the Metro from the Zocalo to the Panteones stop.  I hailed a cab and had him drive me out to the Torres.  I arrived and climbed the bridge.  The view was spectacular and there were no obstructions.  The only difficulty was that the bridge was shaking — both from pedestrians walking across it and the cars below.  After about 20 minutes, I got a window where no one was on the bridge.  I quickly shot an 8-second exposure, and I knew it was a good one.  I checked to make sure it was in focus (it was), and I was done!  I packed up, walked to a nearby shopping mall, and caught a cab back to the Metro station.  From there, I rode the Metro back to the center of the city, then walked to my hotel.

With travel time, the entire shoot took about two and a half hours, and it was well worth it.  Here’s the photo:

Torres de Satélite, Naucalpan, Mexico.
Torres de Satélite, Naucalpan, Mexico.

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