!!!Buenos Aires
Photo and text by [Stas Sedov|http://rccam.livejournal.com]
member of the [AirPano Team|Geography/About/Consortium/AirPano,_Team] that is a member of the [global-geography Consortium|Geography/About/Consortium]. \\

30 April 2015

with kind permission of [AirPano|http://www.AirPano.com]

The idea of creating panoramas of the capital of Argentina, Buenos
Aires, occurred to us when we were discussing plans concerning our
Antarctic expedition. But my luggage with the equipment had been lost
during my connection in Barcelona, so instead of taking pictures of the
city I was just walking around and going sightseeing.

To my deep relief all my cases had been found, and our Antarctic
expedition was successful. But the shootings of Buenos Aires had to be
postponed for two weeks and to be done on my way to Moscow.

[{Image src='01_Torre Monumental.jpg' caption='Torre Monumental' alt='' width='900' popup='false' height='480'}]

So, on a sunny December evening my airplane landed in the Jorge Newbery
International Airport. After the cold lands of Antarctica, Buenos Aires
greeted me with 30C° heat. I could feel the difference even in an
air-conditioned airport terminal. Having said "goodbye" to the members
of our expedition, I stepped over the porch of the airport into the heat
of the evening city.

Before going to Buenos Aires my friends and local guides, I kept in
touch with, warned me that criminal activity in the city is rather high.
I had an impression, according to their words, that practically every
citizen of Buenos Aires at least once was mugged, robbed or took part in
a robbery himself.

[{Image src='02_Bird_s eye view of the Congressional Plaza.jpg' caption='Bird_s eye view of the Congressional Plaza' alt='' width='900' popup='false' height='655'}]

In our travels, we often visit some insecure places and local guides
usually tend to exaggerate the danger. That was why I did not take the
stories about robberies in broad daylight so serious. But 5 minutes
later, being in a traffic jam on my way to the hotel, I heard a horn of
a taxi going by. A bit later I realised that it was addressed to me in
particular. Having raised my head I saw a driver pointing to my
cellphone and making rather energetic gestures which I understood as
"Lock your door, fool!" To be honest, I was really impressed.

The morning of the very first shooting day our drone was attacked by a
young drug-addicted girl near Retiro railway station. The drone was
peacefully lying on a sidewalk and I was busy with the camera settings.
The girl passing by suddenly turned around and for some reason decided
to trample a bit on our laid out equipment, all the while mumbling
something incoherently. Many thanks to my guide Anna, who quickly
recognized the symptoms and corrected her trajectory towards her
original direction.

[{Image src='03_Palace of the Argentine National Congress.jpg' caption='Palace of the Argentine National Congress' alt='' width='900' popup='false' height='655'}]

By the way, Retiro railway station was almost the only place in the city
that I managed to take photos of without any technical problems. To be
honest, I imagined that my work in Buenos Aires would be, in some way,
an easy vacation after our Antarctic expedition. But as a result I could
not relax here at all. Nearly in all central districts there were
certain problems with the signal: every time the drone gained the height
of more than 30-40 meters the video signal was getting lost. At higher
altitude my camera started to "get mad" continuously releasing the
shutter. We came across such behaviour of the equipment only once in our
photography career, at the time when we making a panorama near TV Tower
of Barcelona. Anna's husband, a professional engineer, guessed that most
probably the problem arose because of badly regulated use of radio
frequency. Everyone does whatever he wants: people use a lot of
low-quality modems, WIFI routers, radiotelephones, and many other
devices that interfere signals, resulting in
malfunction of mobile communication and FM-radio all over the city.

[{Image src='04_Monumento de los Españoles.jpg' caption='Monumento de los Españoles' alt='' width='900' popup='false' height='537'}]

That evening my mind was full of sad thoughts about our Buenos Aires
tour consisting of panoramas made at the height of a three story
building. I was about to send a report to our office that "for technical
reasons" I could not fulfill the task. But, on the other hand, I was not
ready to leave Buenos Aires with its summer weather, local steaks, red
wine and return to wintry Moscow. So, while having supper with the
guides, we decided to try to fly higher in some uncrowded place and
break through the interference area.

The next day I launched the drone in one of the local parks. As usual,
after gaining the height of 50 meters, the video coming from my camera
started to flicker, the shutter was releasing with no control; at the
height of 150 meters I lost the image from my camera completely. The
only thing, to my relief, that was working properly was my
radio-variometer which used its own independent channel unoccupied by
local "masters". Thus I was lifting the drone relying practically on my
hearing. Finally, a sigh of relief: at the altitude of 350 meters the
image appeared again, the camera stopped to release the shutter
uncontrollably. That was the height I could work at. So, the limits of
the interference area were identified and I was full of confidence that
we would create the Buenos Aires tour!

[{Image src='05_Above the Matanza (Riachuelo) River.jpg' caption='Above the Matanza (Riachuelo) River' alt='' width='900' popup='false' height='419'}]

One of the main features most Argentines are proud of is football.
Indeed, the Argentina national football team is one of the most
award-winning team in the world. Having decided that it would be quite
natural to take photos of the River Plate Stadium and to add it to our
tour, we went to visit it. While flying above the stadium I noticed some
motion of the field. As soon as I got closer to the field I realised
that it was a training of the team hosting the stadium. At that moment
we did not know that three days later this team would win the finals of
The Cup of South America within the walls of this stadium.

[{Image src='06_Estadio Antonio Vespucio Liberti (River Plate Stadium).jpg' caption='Estadio Antonio Vespucio Liberti (River Plate Stadium)' alt='' width='900' popup='false' height='655'}]

We had to give up the idea of shooting the game itself because of the
police standing all around the stadium and controlling the crowds of
aggressive fans. During our work me and Anna were trying to include in
our tour as many important sights of the city and its suburbs as we
could. We even managed to take photos of the President's mansion.

Anna managed to find out beforehand that the use of drones is not
regulated in Argentina in any way. There is only one strict rule
prohibiting the flight of drones near airports. That was why we were not
afraid to be seen by the police. More than once policemen came up asking
what we were doing, made some inquiries on the radio and wished us a
nice day. During our conversation with the security near Madero Port we
heard a rather funny dialogue on the radio:

— Base, base! There are some people taking photos with the help of
Android (no misprint here).

— What are they taking photos of?

— Area of the district, Frigate Sarmiento.

— Ok, they can use their Android, let them go on!

This "Android case" is not typical for Buenos Aires at all. Most of the
local people we spoke to had a good understanding of what the drones are
and what they can be used for. Local police use them quite often for
preparation of raids and monitoring of protests. It was not that locals
were aggressive towards us, but it's true they were a bit suspicious
before Anna could explain what we were doing and why we were taking
photos of the city.

[{Image src='07_La Recoleta Cemetery.jpg' caption='La Recoleta Cemetery' alt='' width='900' popup='false' height='528'}]

Anna is a very experienced guide, a great specialist in architecture and
local sights, an expert in the history of Argentina. But she had never
happened to make extreme excursions to the "bad" districts of the city
before we met. As for me, I was given the task by our chief to include
at least one slum district in our tour. So I chose one of the most
popular (according to mentioning in blogs) slums — Villa 31 (in Buenos
Aires a slum is called Villa, or Villa miseria). When I told Anna about
my choice she spoke of several rather pessimistic scenarios of what
could happen to us and our equipment. The main argument for not going
there was the fact that criminal inhabitants of the district had quite a
good understanding of what drones can be used for. If they notice us
they will shoot, said Anna, no matter who we are — policemen or
photographers. Nevertheless, I could not bring excuses instead of
photos. In spite of the resistance of the guide, we set off to Villa 31.

[{Image src='08_ARA Presidente Sarmiento museum ship.jpg' caption='ARA Presidente Sarmiento museum ship' alt='' width='900' popup='false' height='655'}]

Villa 31 is a city within a city situated between railways of Retiro
station and the port. According to the official statistics, there are
more than 40 000 people living in illegally built houses, and more than
100 000 according to unofficial figures. The streets are not mapped.
Electricity and communications are taken illegally from the city. Police
is not a frequent guest here. Villa 31 is the home for the poorest of
the citizens, generally for immigrants.

[{Image src='09_Plaza de Mayo.jpg' caption='Plaza de Mayo' alt='' width='900' popup='false' height='321'}]

In 90s a broad highway was built, dividing Villa 31 into two parts. As
far as Anna did not have any experience of visiting slums, we decided
not to get into the midst of the district and try to launch our drone
near railway on the border of the area. Moreover, on the over side of
the railway there were several luxurious districts, so that we could
create a stronger contrast in a panoramic picture.

[{Image src='10_Over the Viila 31.jpg' caption='Over the Viila 31' alt='' width='900' popup='false' height='655'}]

While Anna was on watch, I lifted the drone into the air and took a
picture of an overall view of the area. It seemed that only railroad
workers noticed our presence, so I went down and walked over the quarter
using the highway as a shield. I suppose that because of the noise of
the road no one could hear our drone, and, considering that it's quite
difficult to notice the drone in the air, all ended well. Nevertheless,
we had received a good dose of adrenalin before the drone landed. We
felt a deep relief only when we were couple of quarters away from the
slums.

[{Image src='11_Obelisco de Buenos Aires.jpg' caption='Obelisco de Buenos Aires' alt='' width='900' popup='false' height='655'}]

I was going home with a good impression of the city and the citizens. I
really enjoyed walking through the streets of Buenos Aires, in spite of
certain desolation. I was really impressed by Recoleta Cemetery and the
suburb — the Tigre delta. Having returned to the cold winter in Moscow,
I was looking through the shots and felt nostalgic for the warmth of the
capital of Argentina. I hope you will feel a bit warmer after sinking
into the atmosphere of a little summer in December 2014...

\\ \\
[17 panoramans in Buenos Aires-1|Geography/America/Argentina/Pictures/Panoramas_of_Buenos_Aires_1] and [19 panoramas in Buenos Aires-2|Geography/America/Argentina/Pictures/Panoramas_of_Buenos_Aires_2].










[{SET customtitle='Buenos Aires (AP)'}]

[{Metadata Suchbegriff='Buenos Aires' Kontrolle='Nein'}]