When visiting Atlixco in October, I was hoping to get some nice photos of the volcano Popocatépetl, potentially with some of the local churches or other landmarks. I thought a photo of the volcano with the small chapel San Miguel Arcángel would be nice. San Miguel sits on top of a small hill, so it’s above the rest of the skyline and easy to see. Ideally, I’d use a very long lens to compress the scene and make the volcano look gigantic.
Prior to arriving, I spent an hour or more on Google maps looking for places to try to take the photo from. I wanted the Chapel to line up with the volcano behind it, so standing in just the right place was important. To use a long lens and compress the scene, I’d need to be a couple of miles away from the Chapel. I found a few spots that looked promising on the highway outside of town. I decided to take a 150-600mm lens with me, which I don’t always like to carry (it’s huge and weighs 5 lbs), but for this photo, it was needed.
When I arrived in Atlixco, the clouds gave me fits for the first day. I wasn’t able to see the volcano, so clearly a photo was out of the question. On my second day, the skies cleared in the late afternoon, so I decided to go for it.
I had a taxi drop me off outside of town, and I made my way to the location I had found. While it looked good in Google street view, it didn’t work in person. I ended up moving to a secondary location, nearby, and it was much better. Here’s the photo:
I think this turned out pretty well. It ended up being very popular on my Instagram feed, and I’m glad I made the effort!