Musings, Oaxaca

Our Four Hour Oaxaca Photography Tour

October 18, 2022

What better way to practice my photography and work with my new camera than to hire a photographer for a few hours in a new city? (March 2022)

Oaxaca City is a magnet for photographers and workshops, and I scoured the Internet for one that might take place during our time there. I came up with nothing.

Workshops were on the wrong dates (so many around Dia de Los Muertos), the wrong price (wow, can those be out of our budget), or the wrong itinerary.

I just wanted to have a photography coach and guide. Someone who knew the city’s best spots and could help me with the workings of my Canon Rebel t8i.

I was still getting used to a camera again after not using one for about 20 years. My old ones were all manual Pentax K1000s and a digital camera was an enormous change for me. I knew I could get the new camera to do what I wanted, but first I had to learn its possibilities.

There were a few things that were bugging the hell out of me. A lens that I could put on manual or automatic was a whole unknown element. And mine kept doing something I called ‘breathing.” Apparently, that happens when I am either too close to the subject or when the camera can’t figure out what to focus on – the colors are so similar, for instance. Often the camera would refuse the shot and no amount of pressing the shutter button could get me where I wanted to go. My camera can be stubborn. It needed to be tamed.

There were other things, too, like working in low light – something I love to take photos in. I love those photos where only parts emerge through the dark. I didn’t want to always brighten a shot up.

Perhaps I need a different lens for this, not something I wanted to think about after just spending all the money I did on the ones I currently have. Perhaps not. We had been leaving soon on our three-month trip and I bought rapidly.

Often I brought just one long lens with me and the streets were too narrow to “back up” to get the composition I desired.

It all confuses me; so many options and opinions, blogs, and YouTube videos to sift through. There is never only one “right way.” Creativity has options. And, as an ADHDer,  I have trouble remembering things without learning through constant reinforcement of concepts and hands-on show and tell.

Just getting used to that damn exposure triangle again; shutter speed, aperture, and ISO is info overload. I used to just start turning things and lining up the meter and shooting. Most of the time, that worked with my Pentax.

This camera has a brain. It enjoys making me stumble, usually at a time when seconds counted. Then I would miss the shot. And I would revert back to my iPhone, quick and easy. But I don’t want to do that.


I wanted to get to know this new appendage wholeheartedly. I wanted to become one with my camera. I have grand plans for it. It is going to be the third partner in our travels and daily doings.

So, after much searching, we found a photographer who accepted our challenge. And she had a friend who would come along AND bring her camera for Glenn to use so he could be a part of it all. How nice was that?

We met early in the morning and spent four hours wandering the city, making photographs, receiving feedback, and getting a lesson about Oaxaca at the same time. It was a brilliant way to experience a city. And one we will look forward to doing in the future.

Because we were composing photos, and that was our primary goal, we worked at a pace that was conducive to searching out the perfect shot, waiting to gather its potential, and then taking a photo we hoped would be memorable. Other tours we had taken were interesting, brilliant even, but were at a much faster pace and I was always a block or two behind, rushing through, and then a frustrated me hurried to catch up.

Often I would give up because of that and use the iPhone again.

This morning gave us a taste of Oaxaca and introduced us to areas we could return to later, areas we might not have ever found out about, or passed over after reading a small description.

We “saw” the city differently.

Glenn was reintroduced to using a camera, and bought one for himself after we returned home – a Canon Rebel SL3.

After this outing in Oaxaca, I started to use my Canon as my primary photography tool. I didn’t go anywhere without it for the rest of our trip.

I still have so much to learn. I tend to bracket a lot, not always sure of the shot. And once I went out for the day without a second battery. I don’t do that anymore. And I can get frustrated a lot. It is all part of the process. Bit by bit.

Now I am trying to learn about Lightroom. Well, that is a whole other challenge. One I will hire a tutor for. The YouTube videos are at a pace that I can’t keep up with. And, I am figuring out that sometimes bringing another person into the equation for a few hours helps tremendously.

Being home now in San Miguel reminds me that our town is a conglomeration of shots waiting to be frozen in time. Stories!

Although we enjoy traveling, we also love the fact that we live in a town that fulfills us each day and we build memories, in our minds, through our friends, and in the photos, we choose to take.

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