Day of the Dead Photo Tour | Chiapas 2018
National Geographic photographers Michael and Jennifer Lewis will lead a seven-day photo and cultural tour in Chiapas, Mexico centered around the famous (but not toursity) Day of the Dead observances. Improve your photography skills and discover one of the most amazing parts of Mexico. We will be based in the colonial town of San Cristóbal de las Casas, and we will visit vibrant indigenous villages for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) observances, photograph and have lunch with a family of weavers, visit a coffee plantation, and explore the lush mountains of Chiapas.
You’ll be inspired to improve your photography and learn to tell the story of your travel experiences with photos. Our class time will emphasize workflow and book design and you will learn to edit and create your own travel book. Each participant will receive a book of the best images from our week, plus a layout of their own photos ready to print as a book
Tour Dates are: October 28 – November 4, 2018
Early Bird pricing listed above is available until August 1, 2018.
Unlike many tours and photo workshops, you will have a private room without paying a single supplement for this tour.
Activity Level Strenuous
Group Size Small Group
Don't miss the incredible experience with National Geographic photographers Michael and Jennifer Lewis who will lead a seven-day photo workshop and tour in Chiapas, Mexico centered around the famous Day of the Dead. Improve your photography skills and discover one of the most amazing parts of Mexico. We’ll visit the colonial town of San Cristóbal de las Casas, vibrant indigenous villages for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), and the lush mountains and exotic rivers of Chiapas.
Take your photography beyond snapshots and learn to tell the story of your travel experiences with photos. You’ll not only make interesting images, but you’ll learn how to edit and select photos for your own travel book. Each participant will receive a book of the best images from our week, plus a layout of their own photos ready to print as a book.
Workshop Dates are: October 28 - November 4, 2018
Unlike many tours and photo workshops, you will have your own room without paying a single supplement for this tour.
Flights arrive and depart from Tuxtla Gutierrez to and from Mexico City daily. We like Interjet, but you can also check flights with Volaris and Aeromexico. Our arranged shuttle will depart the airport at approximately 4:30pm for the one -hour drive to San Cristóbal.
San Cristobal sits at 6,000’ feet, in a valley surround by mountains. We should have warm days in the 70s and cool evenings (50s). Sunscreen and a good hat or cap will be appreciated for the strong, high elevation sun.
OUR LOCAL GUIDE
Patricio (Patrick) was born in San Cristóbal, and except for attending university in Mexico City and UC-Berkley, has spent his life in Chiapas. With a Mexican mother, an American father, and a late uncle (Jtatik Samuel) who was the well-know Bishop of Chiapas, Patricio walks comfortably between the Mexican and indigenous worlds. He has connections in the indigenous communities that will take us to villages and homes where other tourists don't go. We are thrilled to have Patricio as our friend and guide in San Cristóbal and the surrounding area and know that he will make a huge contribution to your enjoyment of Chiapas.
This workshop is for all levels of photographers. If you are a beginner, you should understand your camera's controls and settings and study the ebook that we give to all participants. We’ll cover the use of natural light, artificial light, lens choice, composition, posing and exposure control. Each participant should have a body (a second body is helpful in case you have tech issues with your camera) with a couple of lenses. We don’t recommend bringing a tripod, unless it is a small table-top type. Also, we recommend an easy to use camera bag for walking around.
Editing and workflow are equally important in today’s digital world . We will have several sessions working with each student to create a system for downloading, editing, developing, cataloging and storing photos. In addition, we will work on the layout for your own travel book.
Each participant will need to bring a laptop which has Adobe Lightroom. If you are not prepared to buy the software, you can download a free trial version for 30 days. You will learn to use this indispensable tool during the download, editing and book design sessions at the workshop.
You will also receive an eBook which is a great resource for the fundamentals of photography.
Arrive in San Cristóbal - 10/27
Arrival in Tuxtla Gutierrez and transport to San Cristóbal de las Casas. Free night to explore the city on a vibrant Saturday evening
Opening Day - 10/28
We will have an orientation session with a slide show and talk about the schedule for the week. We'll gather in the evening for local foods, wine, beer and margaritas.
City Walking Tour - 10/29
After an early breakfast, we’ll have a guided walking tour of the historic center’s narrow cobblestone streets, markets, and picturesque churches. Returning to our hotel after lunch we’ll download photos, and talk about photography and workflow. The late afternoon is free for photographing the city.
Chiapas Villages - 10/30
Today we will visit two villages near San Cristóbal, one with an interesting cemetery being decorated for Day of the Dead, and another stop at a coffee farm. We'll have lunch with the family at the coffee farm and learn about their business of growing USDA organic coffee.
Dia de los Muertos - 10/31
Today we'll visit a different Tzotzil village where families are preparing the grave sites for the Dia de los Muertos. After an afternoon critique and editing session, we'll go to the town plaza for photos of children and young adults dressed for Halloween/Day of the Dead.
Dia de los Muertos - 11/1
Our class will return to the village and visit the families we met the day before as they celebrate Dia de los Muertos and honor their ancestors. We'll have a free afternoon and another evening photo session on the streets around the plaza.
Dia de los Muertos - 11/2
We'll visit a San Cristóbal cemetery in the morning, since the city people observe Dia de los Muertos on this day. After, we'll drive through the mountains to visit a family who has started a weaving cooperative in their small village. We'll join them as they prepare lunch and demonstrate the use of the back-strap loom.
San Cristóbal - 11/3
Sunrise photos around the city, then an afternoon critique and editing session. We'll have our farewell dinner tonight.
San Cristobal - Tuxtla
Private transfer from SC to Tuxtla for flights.
Our group will stay in a 4-star hotel in the heart of San Cristóbal, only a few minutes walk from the pedestrian street Real de Guadalupe, the zocalo, and the cathedral.
The hotel is rated in the Top Ten on TripAdvisor and has a 8.7 Excellent rating on Booking.com
Here is a review from a recent visitor: "This hotel is a little gem in the heart of the centre. The room was spacious and well-appointed with lots of unexpected amenities. We were on the top floor with a gorgeous view out over the rooftops of San Cristóbal."
- Airport transfers and all ground transportation
- 8 nights hotel
- All meals
- Park Entrance Fees
- Photo Instruction, eBook and hardcover book from the trip
- Air Travel
- Travel insurance and other emergencies
- Visa fees
- Liquors, beers and other alcoholic beverages (outside of cocktail party)
- Photography accessories like cameras etc.
- Tips for driver and guide
- Baggage gratuities
It's not required, but learning a little of any language before visiting a country will be very beneficial to your success as a photographer. Learn some basic phrases:
Buenos dias bway-nos dee-as (Good morning)
Buenas tardes bway-nas tar-days (good afternoon)
Hola, que tal? oh-la kay-tal (Hi, how are you?)
Bien, gracias bee-en gras-ee-as (I'm fine, thanks)
Me puedo tomar una foto de usted? may-pway-tho toe-mar oo-na foto day oos-ted (May I take a photo of you?)
No, Mexico and Guatemala both are on 110 AC and use the same electrical outlets as the U.S. Some hotels or locations may not have 3-pin outlets, so bring a simple 2 prong to three prong adapter for your laptop.
A good zoom that covers wide to telephoto will work well for outside photography. However, we will be in some situations where there will be low light. That is when a fixed focal length wide aperture (f2.0 or f2.8) lens will be very helpful. Michael loves the 35mm/f2 for most everything.
Use something that is easy to work from. Backpacks do not usually work for street and travel photography. Michael is currently using a LowePro sling bag which holds a couple of lenses, a small strobe, a sweater, batteries, spare cards and his camera. Jennifer bought a canvas bag on Etsy that doesn't look like a camera bag. She customized it with velcro inserts from other camera bags.