Editions by Frederick News

Dodging the Bullet at Chichen Itza

Well, Oleanna and I took a much-needed break and blasted out to the Mayan Riviera for a couple of weeks. While we were there, we decided to use the opportunity to do some shooting around the resort. We knew that there were lots of Mayan ruins nearby, the most famous of which is Chichen Itza, the remains of a Mayan city with a huge pyramid that is soon to be listed as one of the “Wonders of the World”.

Chichen Itza is such a cool location and it seemed such a waste to simply do the usual touristy type shots that everyone gets. Of course, knowing us and our favorite genre, we decided that it was too good an opportunity not to try and shoot nudes at the site. The problem is, Chichen Itza is now a federally controlled site and the Mexicans are REAL sticky about anyone photographing the site for commercial purposes. Our agent, Christine, from Airtransat told us that if we wanted to shoot anything commercial, it would be an expensive and long process to get a permit and we would have to travel to another city which was five hours away to apply.

I said “no” I just wanted to shoot my wife.

“So then, what’s the problem? She asked looking Oleanna up and down.

“We want to shoot nudes” I replied with a deadpan look on my face.

She hesitated for what could have been no more than a second or two and didn’t even blink. “Oh. Well, I see your issue. I doubt you could get permission for that even if you tried. Aside from the fact that Chichen Itza is a federal site and they don’t want any commercial photos taken, it also has a huge religious significance to many people here and you could get into some serious trouble.”

I shrugged. “Will they shoot us?”

She smiled. “No, but I doubt you would want to spend the rest of your vacation or longer in a Mexican prison. Are you ready to risk that?”

I thought for a moment, considered the risks and glanced at Oleanna to see what she thought. Her wink told me everything I wanted to know. I turned back to Christine who was waiting expectantly.

“Well,” I said matter of factly, “they would be pretty cool, wouldn’t they?”

She grinned. “Yup! Pretty cool! I don’t believe anyone has ever done that before.”

Never been done??? Talk about pushing our buttons. Of course, now we HAD to do it! Christine made arrangements for a private tour company to provide us with a car and driver. We tried to also hire a private security guard but after several days of trying, Christine informed us that no one in any of the private companies were willing to take the risk. So, we decided to go it alone. Just before we left, Christine told us that for an additional $80, the driver would act as our “security”. We knew we were being taken for a little extra, but we didn’t care. Even if our driver was a lousy security guy, he was still an extra pair of eyes to keep a look out for us. We planned the trip for the following Wednesday.

On the day of the shoot, we awoke a 4:30 to give Oleanna time to do her makeup and hair before meeting the driver at 6:00. I had pleaded with Oleanna not to dress “normally” as she would draw too much attention. My suggestions for her to wear an old baggy T-shirt, baggy shorts and a hat met with strong resistance. Reluctantly I agreed to compromise on a long Mexican style light cotton dress purchased from the resort gift shop. Of course, she would attract attention wearing anything and when she put this on I still thought it was too sexy but she was adamant that she looked conservative enough that no one would pay any attention to her. Yeah… right.

Nestor, our driver, met us at the lobby entrance at 6:00 as promised. Unfortunately, Nestor could hardly speak a word of English and I felt that this was a bad omen for the rest of the day. It turned out that I was right.

Two hours later we found ourselves at the entrance to Chichen Itza. The gates were just opening and looking around revealed only two other cars of people anxious to get into the site. It looked as though we had lucked out and would be able to find some areas in private to shoot without being bothered by throngs of curious tourists. Upon arriving at the gate to obtain our tickets, the man behind the counter eyed my Canon 5D with suspicion.

“Is that a video camera?” he asked through squinted eyes.

“No,” I replied cheerily. “Just a photo camera.” He hesitated and then agreed to sell us the entry tickets. In retrospect, I should have left the 24-300mm huge yellow lens in the car or stashed it in a bag with the driver. But, you know… 20/20 hindsight and all that. Having a flashy camera was bad enough, but when we left the tunnel to go out into the sunlight of the main yard, I heard excited exclamations being muttered behind us in Mexican. Then I realized what had happened. Oleanna’s light orange cotton dress suddenly left little to the imagination when her figure was outlined against the bright sun. It was clear that she was wearing nothing underneath. I ignored them and we continued out into the main area.

In order to shake their attention from us and to scope out the site, I busied myself with snapping touristy pics of the pyramid and other areas of the ruins. We worked our way around the pyramid (no possibility of shooting anything interesting with that as it was plainly out in the open and the main focus) and began looking for interesting out of the way locations for us to do our shoot. I spotted some cool columns in the distance and we headed for them.

The location was perfect and, with Nestor as lookout, Oleanna quickly lost the orange cotton dress and donned some Mayan-like jewelry to add that special touch. We were able to grab several shots before I heard Nestor inform us that someone was coming. Quickly reversing costumes, Oleanna managed to just finish when a security guard came into the compound where we were shooting. We both smiled pleasantly at him and he quizzed Nestor about what we were shooting. Nestor explained that we were just tourists and that Oleanna and I were husband and wife.

It was clear that he didn’t believe us. Mostly because Oleanna is a young, beautiful, drop dead gorgeous chick with a perfect figure and I am, well… you know… NOT. But lacking any evidence of wrongdoing, he had no reason to press it further and so he wandered off.

We managed to find a few more locations to shoot at but at the last one, things began to go horribly wrong. Having suspected that something was amiss, our security guard friend had returned with reinforcements. Unfortunately, our “guard” Nestor had neglected to warn us of their arrival and if I had not overheard them talking, I would likely be sitting in a Mexican jail right now. I called to Oleanna in Russian that someone was coming and that she needed to get her dress on RIGHT F**KING NOW! Had they rounded the corner five seconds earlier, they would have been treated to a vision of Oleanna’s supple young full breasts. But as it was, she was finishing tying the strap of her dress around her neck.

The jig was up. No way they were going to let us go. One of them demanded to see the images I had shot on my camera. I consented, by starting from the beginning and flicking through the frames I had shot of the pyramid and other artifacts. When it got close to our column shoot, I thumbed the shutter button halfway down and the screen went blank. Not satisfied, he got on the radio and soon another man appeared and by the way they deferred to him, I could tell he was a higher authority. He informed us that we would have to follow him to the main office where they would inspect my memory card on their computer. In transit, I surreptitiously popped out the flash card and slipped in a blank one. No way I was going to let them get these images. I palmed the loaded flash card and walked hand in hand with Oleanna to the office accompanied by our escort of security personnel. Oleanna was clever enough to understand what I was doing and took the card and stashed it out of sight. When we arrived at the office, I told Oleanna to wait for me outside in the main hall. No one objected and I knew then that they had not witnessed the switch.

Even though I knew that the card in my camera was now blank, I didn’t want them to think that I had switched it out, so I began to argue with them as though it was still the original card. I told them that the card had other photos on it besides those of Chichen Itza. Photos I had shot of myself and my wife at the resort. Intimate photos. Photos that I strongly objected to anyone seeing. The head honcho in the office was a stern woman who shushed me into silence and listened to the head security guard describe to her in Spanish what he had seen. While my Spanish is limited to ordering two beers, there were enough similar words accompanied by his hand gestures that I got the idea that he was describing Oleanna as a professional model. He made “huge breast” gestures and others I would be reluctant to describe here while I stood by with a look of utter disgust.

He demanded the flash card from my camera. I popped it out and handed it to him.

“If any copies of these photos of myself and my wife having sex leaks out of this office, I can guarantee you that the legal liability will be huge!” I said through gritted teeth.

The administrator hesitated and glanced between me and the security guard. I could see the wheels inside her head turning. The guard had not actually witnessed anything wrong even though the circumstantial evidence strongly suggested it. I did not look afraid nor was I reluctant to hand over the card. She considered her options.

She turned to the guard and said simply “Give him back his card.”

The guard looked at her incredulously, began to say something and then clamped his mouth closed. He flashed me a fake smile and sarcastically made a half bow as he handed me back the flash card. I took it and replaced it in my camera. As I turned to leave, he called out to me “Take photos only of the monuments. Do not take any photos of your wife.”

“I can’t take any vacation photos of my wife??” I asked astonished and then thought twice. I remembered my Editions by Frederick business cards I had in my camera bag and decided I had better not push my luck any further. “Fine!” I said with an indignant huff and then briskly left the office. Nestor looked as white as a ghost, which is very hard for a Mexican to achieve. He followed me back out into the main hall where Oleanna was waiting anxiously.

We went back out to the ruins but I knew our day of nude photos at Chichen Itza was over. Aside for the fact that we were now most likely being followed everywhere, the place had now filled with busloads of tourists and there wasn’t an inch of the place we would be able to find that was secluded. Oleanna seemed shaken and I knew that her mood for modeling was far from optimal. So we wandered around a little more as I dutifully snapped photos of all the ruins and then left Chichen Itza.

I felt lucky that we had been able to get what we had and much more lucky to not be sitting in the back of a Mexican police cruiser. These feelings were only doubly reinforced upon seeing five federal police cars parked outside the gates as we left.

A brief consultation with Nestor resulted in him making a few calls and locating another site of Mayan ruins, much smaller than Chichen Itza but very secluded. We decided to head there to shoot some more before making the trip back to the resort.

Here are some of our favorite shots: