Day of the Dead Photo Tour | Chiapas 2017
National Geographic photographers Michael and Jennifer Lewis will lead a seven-day photo workshop and tour in Chiapas, Mexico centered around the famous Day of the Dead observances. 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), a family of weavers, a coffee plantation, and explore the lush mountains and exotic rivers 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
Workshop Dates are: October 28 – November 4
Only 4 spaces left! Book today!
Unlike many tours and photo workshops, you will have a private room without paying a single supplement for this tour.
Activity Level Moderate
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
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 Archbishop 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 advanced amateurs and beyond. This is not an experience for the beginning photographer. 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.
Part of your tuition will go toward the support of a community organization, Amigos de San Cristobal, which supports many different local NGOs working in education and health in San Cristobal and the surrounding villages.
You will also receive an eBook which is a great resource for the fundamentals of photography.
Arrive in San Cristóbal
Arrival in Tuxtla Gutierrez and transport to San Cristóbal de las Casas. We'll have a get acquainted cocktail party with local food, beer, wine and margaritas.
We will visit the Sunday market at San Juan Chamula, one of the nearby indigenous villages that has retained its traditions. The church is one of the most unforgettable sites in this area (where photos are strictly forbidden). Afterwards, we'll go to a nearby village to spend time with a weaving family who will demonstrate their craft and prepare lunch for us. We'll download and edit when we return to the hotel.
San Cristóbal Walking Tour
After an early breakfast, we’ll have a guided walking tour of the historic center’s narrow cobblestone streets, market and picturesque churches. Returning to our hotel for lunch we’ll download photos, and talk about photography and workflow. The afternoon is free for photographing the city.
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.
Dia de los Muertos
At sunrise, we'll visit a small nearby village to photograph the local people and visit the cemetery for the Dia de los Muertos. At mid-morning, we'll observe the rituals at one of the most important indigenous villages in the area.
Dia de los Muertos
We'll do more Dia de los Muertos photography in San Cristóbal in the early morning. In the afternoon we'll visit the small town of Chiapa de Corzo and the Cañon de Sumidero where we can spot birds, monkeys and crocodiles from our boat.
Design Your Book!
You will have a free morning to visit the markets, photograph streets life or shop. In the afternoon we’ll meet to work on book layouts. We close out our time together with an evening featuring a digital photo presentation and our farewell dinner.
Private transfer to Tuxtla for flights home.
Our group will stay in a small 35-room 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 9.0 Superb rating on Booking.com
Here is a review from a recent visitor: "This is a lovely hotel - large & comfortable rooms, formal garden and large lawn with seating, delicious complimentary breakfast with 7 options for entrees, small bar for beverages, adequate Wi-Fi, friendly & helpful staff - and is located in the historic city center within easy walking distance of great restaurants, bars, markets, & live music. This was my second stay and I will return again. I had to leave too early for breakfast on my final day so staff kindly packed me a bag lunch which was very appreciated!"
- Airport transfers and all ground transportation
- 7 nights hotel
- Meals (7 breakfast - 6 lunches - 1 dinner - 1 cocktail party)
- Park Entrance Fees
- Photo Instruction, eBook and hardcover book from the trip
- Air Travel
- Travel insurance and other emergencies
- Visa fees
- 5 Dinners in San Cristóbal
- 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.