Antigua, Guatemala Photo Tour | Holy Week | Easter 2019
April 16-22, 2019
This captivating city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was founded in the early 1500s and has been observing Holy Week with solemn processions, mind-boggling floats, and intricate carpets (made from flowers, colored sawdust or vegetables) laid across the procession routes since the early part of the 16th century.
While we work on different photo techniques and approaches, we’ll photograph brilliant 7,000-pound floats, featuring statues of Christ and the Virgin that date from the 1600s. We’ll follow along as they are carried on the shoulders of 80 men (cucuruchos), sometimes for 12-hours. Each of the main churches has a couple of processions during the week, and we’ll photograph them at different times of day.
In the early morning hours of Good Friday, we’ll have a special tour by one of Antigua’s most knowledgeable historians who will show us some of the most intricate and delicate carpets (alfombras).
Chances are, you have never experienced a cultural celebration to rival the magnificence of Semana Santa in Antigua.
On Easter Sunday, we’ll travel into the mountains to the small town of Chichicastenango, home to one of the largest markets in Central America. While there, we’ll have the opportunity to photograph a small indigenous procession from the main church in town.
Join us for an unforgettable experience in April 2019!
We offer a two-day extension to Lake Atitlan, where we will visit villages and craftsmen. There is also an option for a volcano hike during the Lake Atitlan visit. There is also an option for a two-day visit to Tikal, Guatemala’s most significant Mayan archeological site.
Activity Level Strenuous
Group Size Medium Group
Join us in Antigua, Guatemala - April 16-22, 2019
Improve your photography while experiencing one of the world's unique cultural/religious events: Semana Santa (Holy Week).
This six-day tour will include numerous opportunities for street photography, with afternoon critique and editing sessions.
Antigua, Guatemala's settlement dates back to the Spanish conquest of Guatemala in 1526. The city was the original capital of Guatemala, but the location by two volcanos and in an active seismic zone, spelled doom for the city in 1773. Most of the buildings in the city were destroyed and the capital was moved to current Guatemala City.
The Semana Santa processions date back to 1543, soon after the Spanish arrival in 1524. Obviously, a sense of history permeates this beautiful city.
Arrivals by air in Guatemala city are available on the U.S. carriers: United, Delta, American, and Spirit. The international airport is also served by carriers from Mexico, Central America and Europe. Antigua is one to two-hour shuttle from the airport depending on traffic. Arriving photographers should attempt to arrive in the early afternoon for our private shuttle to Antigua.
Our hotel is a colonial-style boutique hotel, refurbished in the past decade. It has tranquil garden areas, a fantastic restaurant and a rooftop terrace with views of the nearby volcanos. The rooms feature cable TV, free wifi, security safes, upscale bathroom amenities (slippers and robes) and bottled water. The morning waiter makes a latte to rival the city's best baristas.
The activity level for this week is rated "strenuous", bear in mind that we will do a lot of walking, much of it on ancient cobblestone streets at an elevation of around 5,000 feet. Great walking shoes are essential. In March, daytime temperatures are in the low 80s (F) and the evenings cool off and are usually in the low to mid 60s. Rain during this time of year is unusual.
This workshop/tour is for photographers of all levels, using cameras with changeable lenses to iPhones. You should be familiar with whatever you use, so we can help with photography, instead of helping you learn how to use your camera. 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.
After our hotel arrival, we'll have a get acquainted party with food and beverages on the terrace of our hotel.
Walking Tour of City
We'll begin with an early morning walking tour of Antigua with the city's most respected historian and preservationist. After lunch we'll have a photo presentation and discuss the week's schedule. The evening is free for street photography.
The major processions begin and we'll be in place to capture them as they move through the city. The evening procession will be a great opportunity to work on the edge of light.
Begin before sunrise to photograph the alfombras that have been under construction since midnight. After sunrise we'll meet the La Merced procession.
We'll have the morning to visit the local market and photograph the "chicken buses". We'll meet for downloading and editing in the early afternoon and be ready to photograph the evening processions with marchers all in black.
We'll depart by private van early for a day trip to Chichicastenango in the mountains. We'll return to an evening of sharing photos and a farewell dinner.
Depart for home, or travel on to Lake Atitlan.
Our comfortable hotel, is one block from the San Francisco Church and nine blocks from the main square, Parque Central. This will be our HQ for sleeping, breakfasts together and for our editing sessions.
[caption id="attachment_2644" align="aligncenter" width="900"] View of volcano Fuego from the hotel terrace.[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_2645" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Courtyard at our hotel[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_2646" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Standard Single Room[/caption]
- Airport transfers
- Six Nights Boutique Hotel - single occupancy
- All breakfasts
- Welcome cocktail party
- Photo Instruction from two professional photographers
- Ground transportation to Chichicastenango
- Professional Guides
- Farewell Dinner
- RT Airfare to Guatemala
- 4 Dinners
- Tips to Guides or Hotel Staff
- Your camera gear and your laptop and software
Definitely wear comfortable shoes for navigating the cobblestone streets. Michael prefers running shoes. Jennifer likes Chacos or Birkenstocks.
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.