Tag Archives: day of the dead

Day of the Dead Photography, Oaxaca, Workshop Tour 2014 with Frank Hunter

Oaxaca, Mexico, is famous for its Day of the Dead celebrations.  You experience it and capture it for a lifetime of memories!  This is cultural immersion travel photography at its best!  Arrive Monday, October 27, depart Tuesday, November 4— 9 days, 8 nights, $2,295 base price.

  • Limited to 8 participants. Small Group. Personal Attention.
  • Beginners and more experienced photographers welcome.
  • Trailing spouse and cooking class options.
  • Registration is now open!

111

This is our Fifth Day of the Dead Expedition in Oaxaca, Mexico.  More than a tour, this is a hands-on photography workshop for learning and improving technique while you experience Oaxaca’s famed Day of the Dead rituals.  By the end of the week, you will better use your digital SLR camera for visual storytelling and cultural discovery.

Your workshop leader is Frank Hunter, whose photographs are published in the New York Times, and are part of museum collections worldwide. For over ten years, Frank taught at the Duke University Center for Documentary Studies in Durham, North Carolina.  He now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and is represented by Thomas Deans Fine Arts gallery in Atlanta, Georgia.

6_Zapotecs-7

This cultural immersion workshop tour offers you a deeper appreciation for the food, religious symbols, rituals, family celebrations both in the city and in the rural Zapotec village of Teotitlan del Valle.  We take you into cemeteries, local homes, markets and cultural sites.

330

During our week together, we will review each other’s work, give feedback, and offer supportive critiques.  The workshop includes a mix of class instruction and being out on the streets to capture the action.   We offer structured group discussion and opportunities for daily coaching sessions with Frank.

subject 12 subject 3 13a_Man@Xoxo

Technical topics covered include using Lightroom photo editing software, natural light, exposure, manual camera settings, and night photography. Frank says he uses just enough technique to help you express a visual idea. 

DSC_7446 DSC_7335

We emphasize documentary-style photography, an organic, spontaneous form of understanding the culture and people you are photographing.

378 13_Sunset@Xoxo

About Frank Hunter

Frank grew up in the American southwest and spent his early years photographing people and landscapes of Mexico.  He has taught at the university level for more than 20 years.  Frank is a virtuoso photographer, as adept at digital photography as he is with creating 19th century style platinum/palladium prints.  

Don’t be intimated! Frank also taught fundamentals of photography at Duke University. You can read more about him here:

And, if you want more, just Google Frank Hunter.  You will get pages of citations!

1a 21_Lupe

Preliminary Itinerary (subject to change) and Optional Add-Ons

Day of the Dead Workshop Expedition 2014

Day 1, Monday, October 27:  Arrive and check-in to our colonial-style hotel near the Zocalo and main walking street of Macedonio Alcala.  Dinner on your own.  Overnight Oaxaca.

Day 2: Tuesday, October 28:  After breakfast, welcome and learning session on camera settings and exposure, we will go on a city orientation walk, visit markets, gilded in gold Santo Domingo Church, and enjoy a welcome lunch at one of Oaxaca’s slow-food restaurants.   After  a gala welcome lunch we will meet for a Lightroom tutorial to review the workflow that will get your images edited and moved to Dropbox.  Overnight Oaxaca.  (B, L) Dinner on your own.

Day 3, Wednesday, October 29: After breakfast and workshop session, we will tour Monte Alban archeological site and the pottery village of Santa Maria Atzompa. After lunch, you will have the afternoon to roam and capture Oaxaca street parades, and market vendors selling wild marigold, special breads, candies, and other Day of the Dead ritual necessities. We’ll meet in early evening to review our best of day work. Overnight Oaxaca.  (B, L).   Dinner on your own.

Day 4, Thursday, October 30:  After breakfast and learning, session you will have the day on your own.   Today the streets are abuzz with Day of the Dead revelers.  Shops and galleries have extraordinary altars on display.  The sand paintings in the Zocalo and Plaza de la Danza are not to be missed.  Optional afternoon technical coaching session with Frank. We meet again in early evening before dinner to review best of day work. (B) Lunch and dinner on your own.

14_XoxoMourners 3a_ForSale

Day 5, Friday, October 31:  After breakfast and a learning session on night photography, you will have the rest of the morning and early afternoon on your own.  At 2:30 p.m. we depart for the famed Xoxocotlan cemetery for an extraordinary Day of the Dead extravaganza, with a stop first to visit an extraordinary, off-the-beaten-path Arrazola wood carver. Frank is with us every step of the way for coaching and technical support. This could be a late night, so be prepared!  We will stay until at least 10 p.m., maybe later! Overnight Oaxaca. (B) Lunch and dinner on your own.)

Day 6, Saturday, November 1:  After a late breakfast and a debriefing session to review your experiences at Xoxo, you will have the afternoon on your own.  We depart later for the Zapotec weaving village of Teotitlan del Valle.  Overnight Teotitlan del Valle.  Includes breakfast, dinner.  (B, D)

Day 6, Sunday, November 2:  After breakfast and learning session you will share your best photos from the Xoxo cemeteries.  Then, we will pair you with another workshop participant to share a traditional meal with a local host family and go with them to the village cemetery.   This is an amazing cultural immersion experience to learn more about indigenous customs and traditions.  We’ll see you back at our B&B after nightfall.  Overnight Teotitlan del Valle.  Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 7, Monday,  November 3:  After breakfast we will share experiences and photos of the day before in our last learning session. You’ll have the rest of the day on your own to meander and prepare your Best of Week photo presentation.  We get together with a celebratory fiesta with invitations to our host families to join us.  Overnight Teotitlan del Valle.   Includes breakfast and dinner. (B,D)

Day 8, Tuesday, November 4:  After breakfast, depart for your home countries. (B)

DSC_6691

What You Should Bring

  1.  Digital SLR camera with lens(es) — wide angle, zoom, and/or fixed focal point 50mm
  2. Tripod for night photography
  3.  Laptop computer
  4.  Lightroom software installed for organizing and presenting images (Note: If you are an experienced Photoshop user, you are welcome to use this software for photo editing)
  5. External hard drive
  6. External card reader
  7. Batteries (2) and battery charger
  8. Memory cards (at least 2) and data sticks
  9. Pen and notepad
  10. Sturdy, comfortable walking shoes, sun protection, sun hat

(Before the workshop starts, we will send you a complete packet and information guide with suggested packing list, and other useful information.)

314 DSC_6746 flowers (1 of 1)

Cost:  The base cost for the Expedition is $2,295. USD. This includes:

  • All instruction and coaching
  • 8 nights lodging, shared room with shared bath
  • 8 breakfasts
  • 3 lunches as specified in the itinerary
  • 3 dinners as specified in the itinerary
  • Transportation to villages and archeological sites included in the itinerary
  • Entry fees to museums and sites specified in itinerary
  • Gift to local Teotitlan del Valle host family
  • Comprehensive pre-trip planning packet (via email)

red shawl

Not Included:

The expedition does NOT include airfare, taxes, tips/gratuities, travel insurance, liquor/alcoholic beverages, breakfasts and other meals not specified in the itinerary, and optional transportation.

Please indicate your preference.

[  ]  Option 1–Base Cost: Double room with shared bath; $2,295. Deposit to reserve: $1,150.

[  ] Option 2: Shared room with private bath; $2,495. Deposit to reserve: $1,250.

[  ] Option 3:  Single Supplement, private room with private bath;  $2,695.  Deposit to reserve: $1,350.

[  ] Option 4:  Trailing partner/spouse.  Bring them along. Even when they don’t participate in the workshop, they can enjoy all the group activities we have planned.  $1,795

[  ] Option 4:  Add-on Tuesday, November 4 Traditional Zapotec Cooking Class.  Learn how to prepare Oaxaca’s famed mole sauce.  $125, includes one night lodging on November 4, breakfast, lunch, dinner, all recipes.

[  ] Option 5:  Add-on nights in Oaxaca, City at $145 per night per person.

[  ]  Option 6:  Add-on nights in Teotitlan del Valle at $55 per night per person.

127  manos

About Our Accommodations

In Oaxaca City, we will stay in a lovely, highly rated intimate colonial-style hotel close to the Zocalo and all the major activities of the season.  In Teotitlan del Valle, we stay in a family owned and operated guest house/posada where the meals are home-cooked and delicious.

2_Chocolate Shop 263

Reservations and Cancellations

A 50% deposit will reserve your space.   The final payment for the balance due (including any supplemental costs) shall be made on or before August 1, 2014.  We accept PayPal for payment only.  We will send you an invoice for your deposit to reserve when you tell us you are ready to register with your lodging and option preferences.

Please understand that we make lodging and transportation arrangements months in advance of the program.  Deposits or payments in full are often required by our hosts.  If cancellation is necessary, please notify us in writing by email.   After August 1, no refunds are possible; however, we will make every effort to fill your reserved space or you may send a substitute.  If you cancel on or before August 1, we will refund 50% of your deposit.  We strongly recommend that you take out trip cancellation, baggage, emergency evacuation and medical insurance before you begin your trip, since unforeseen circumstances are possible.

To register, email us at oaxacaculture@me.com or  normahawthorne@mac.com.  We accept payment with PayPal only. Thank you.

street beg red umbrella

This workshop is produced by Norma Hawthorne, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC.  We reserve the right to alter the itinerary and substitute instructors without notice.

Don’t let this workshop pass you by!

16_BicycleRider

Special thanks to 2013 workshop participants Barbara Szombatfalvy, Donna Howard, Steve Dank, Luvia Lazo, Starr Sariego, Ron Thompson, Kate Kingston, and instructor Frank Hunter for contributing photographs posted here.

A

 

Day of the Dead Best of Week Photos: Norma Hawthorne

How do you go through over 2,000 photos and select the best 20? Each day, Day of the Dead Photography Expedition participants culled through and selected their best 10 to 15, which we presented for review and discussion.  By the end of the week, we had about 100 photos from which to choose the best 20.  A difficult task.  If we wanted feedback about choice, instructor Frank Hunter was there to help.

This was a breakthrough week for me. I thought I was doing pretty well using the aperture priority setting on my camera. From the first day, Frank said, This is a week to experiment.  I want everyone to use manual mode at least part of the time.  I confess, I struggled with this.  But, the more I practiced, the more I understood how to control for light, shutter speed and “film” speed.  There is no actual film in a DSLR, but the camera operates like there is with the ISO setting. (I still have a lot to learn!)  Practice, practice became my mantra. Frank’s expertise and  gentle coaching style was something I appreciated and he was always accessible to answer questions.

I loved the night photography in the cemetery, taking portraits of village friends, and experimenting by taking photos of people through glass display cases in markets and at private homes.

Let me know if you are interested in next year’s expedition.

Here are Norma Hawthorne’s Best of Week photos.

1_Fruit Through Glass-9 2_Chocolate Shop 20a_Josefina at the Altar 13a_Man@Xoxo 13_Sunset@Xoxo 6_Zapotecs-7 21_Lupe 25_Sister 12_Illuminated Grave 7_Comparsa Niña 24_Abuela At Gravesite 16_BicycleRider 4_Masked Woman 21_Ernestina 14_XoxoMourners 20_Mother&Son 2a_XoxoBicycle 3_House in the Campo 3a_ForSale 26_Reflection

A few key concepts that Frank taught us:

  • Turn the auto focus off and focus manually as best as you can for night photography
  • Take five frames of the same subject using the same aperture and ISO with a different F-stop for each to see the light variables
  • Experiment and don’t be afraid to make a mistake — this is an art form not a science
  • Look up and look down, there are photos everywhere

Day of the Dead Best of Week Photos: Frank Hunter

Frank Hunter is photographer/instructor for our Day of the Dead Photography Expedition (DOTD).  In addition to daily learning sessions that Frank led, he was right along with us shooting photos.  By seeing his work on a daily basis, we were able to identify his photographic style and learn from his technique, as well as getting great advice all along the way.

Frank’s teaches in a low-key, easy-going way that is more personal coaching than “do it this way” direction.  He says there are many different ways to get a good photo and photography requires experimentation as well as the basic fundamentals.  It was a joy to work with and learn from him.

Just before the workshop started, five of Frank’s photographs were published in the New York Times.  That called for a TMM (tamarind mezcal margarita) and a toast to a great upcoming photography week experience. Yes!

Taking a list for 2014 DOTD photo expedition.  Contact me.

Here are Frank Hunter’s best of the week photographs to share with you.

DSC_7335 DSC_7081 DSC_6746 DSC_6854  DSC_7200 DSC_6691DSC_7446 DSC_7439 DSC_6904 DSC_7033 DSC_7061 DSC_6733  DSC_7068 A DSC_6418 DSC_6160  DSC_7106

 

Day of the Dead Best of Week Photos: Luvia Lazo Gutierrez

Luvia Lazo Gutierrez is a talented 22-year old photographer who lives in the Zapotec village of Teotitlan del Valle.  We awarded her a scholarship to participate in this 2013 Day of the Dead Photography Expedition.  She helped us immensely during the week with translation and errands.

A graduate of the Benito Juarez Autonomous University in Oaxaca, Luvia studied languages and speaks fluent Spanish, Zapotec and English.  She teaches English and is a self-taught photographer with a keen and sensitive eye for composition and detail.  She saw things that we didn’t and made our immersion into the culture so much more meaningful.

Her dream is to carve out a professional career as a photographer and attend a U.S. university Master of Fine Arts degree program.  Her family supports this idea if there is scholarship support.  Can anyone out there help direct us? And, would anyone be able to donate a good used, recent model Nikon DSLR (D3100, D5100, D7000) and lens(es)  for Luvia’s use? Send me an email.

Luvia’s grandparents helped raise her and she takes special care now to give back. She is the primary caregiver of her grandfather whose health is failing. In small Mexican villages like this one, extended families live with and care for each other.  The family unit is very important and we saw it as a core value during the workshop experience.

Here are the Best of the Week photos selected by Luvia Lazo Gutierrez.  We hope you enjoy them.

lucecita lilangel2 IMG_5871 IMG_5945 time never stops wherever you are Just a reason IMG_5871 IMG_5512 goneandone IMG_4562 IMG_4934 hope IMG_5813 bestfriends IMG_5203 memories         If you are interested in attending in 2014, send me an email!

 

Day of the Dead Best of Week Photos: Steven Dank

Steven brought his Nikon D7000, a tripod, his new Apple MacBook Pro and lots of enthusiasm to the workshop.  During the week of the Dead of the Dead Photography Expedition, Steve asked for and received personal coaching from instructor Frank Hunter about ways to work most effectively with the manual mode of his camera.  He also learned to  use his new computer and Lightroom for photo editing.

A retired public health officer with the federal Indian Health Service, Steve lives in New Mexico and loves photographing nature.   New Mexico galleries exhibit his photos.  Steve captured Oaxaca’s natural environment as well as her people. An avid collector, he loved being with tapestry weaver Pedro Mendoza and his family during the village celebrations at home and in the cemetery.

Interested in attending 2014 Day of the Dead Photo Expedition? Email me!

Here are Steven Dank’s Best of Week photographs.  Enjoy.

DSC_4996 DSC_4903 DSC_5603 DSC_5126 DSC_5824 DSC_4958 DSC_6324 DSC_5791 DSC_5832 DSC_5234 DSC_5557 photos 10-30-5 DSC_6249 DSC_5974 DSC_6263 DSC_6300 DSC_6219 DSC_6344 DSC_6268 photos 10-30-9 photos 10-30-7 DSC_6196 DSC_6068 DSC_6058