Nicaragua Redux:

I must first begin with an apology.

The goal was the write as we went along. A real-time report if you will, but things got in the way. Like they always do. I could give a list of excuses, but in the end they are just that, excuses. I also think my days of being a reporter are long gone. Distance and time play such a role for me now. Greedy? Yes, without a doubt, but I am admitting this to you now.

Before I pour out my take on Nicaragua I wanted to break down the crew. As many of you know, these workshops are the brainchild of one Fredric Roberts. I’ve written about Fred before, but just know he is the guy pulling the strings behind the scenes. Also on this trip, working as primary instructor, was Sarah Megan Lee who is a San Diego based photographer and someone who has spent considerable time in Latin America. Sarah also has extensive teaching experience, not to mention she speaks Spanish, something that, as you can imagine, came in wildly handy in good, old Nicaragua. Also in attendance was Mike Sakas who should be nicknamed Iron Man. Sakes hails from Hong Kong, so he gets the long-flight prize, not to mention he’s an action sport guy, traveler, dirt-bag (I mean this in a good way and I think he knows what this means coming from the climbing world.) and someone who seems to do well when there is too much to do. Photographer and tech dude, and he’s cool. And finally we had Will Van Beckum, a fellow Santa Fe liver and someone who thrives not only with the kids but with all things technical, Lightroom, Premiere, etc. Will is a big dude but is one of those guys who doesn’t take up much physical space, a trait I see in the best instructors and photographers. Plus, just listening to the kids try and pronounce “Will Van Beckum” was worth the trip. My wife, Amy Kawadler, was also there, as was I of course, but we were more in the background on this one. We did go into the field with the kids, did some teaching and gave presentations of our work, but the uber team of the “main four” had things well in hand. And when I say “things” that is a casual way of saying “A LOT.”

I’m going to spare you the details of the what we had to endure when it comes to logistics, but if you are a glutton you can find more here. Just know that customs detained and held our equipment for the entire trip. LUCKILY, we had a few cameras between us and we begged and borrowed enough to run the workshop. Instead of one camera per student we had one per every two or three students. The kids never blinked an eye and all we had to do was yell “Cambio!” and out went one flash card and in went another. In fact, just so you know upfront, NOTHING phased the kids.

For you photographer friends out there, I need to remind you that this was a teaching trip, not a photography trip. If you THINK you are going to shoot your own work while teaching you quickly realize that is not going to happen. Besides stealing a frame here and there, maybe, if you get insanely lucky, it never really crosses your mind to actually shoot. This isn’t a bad thing. Quite the contrary. Why? Because the kids are so great you don’t really think about doing your own thing. It’s far more interesting to see the kids make images, to see the wheels turning, to see them make manual adjustments and begin to understand things like light, timing and composition.

I think what I’m going to do here, instead of one huge post, is create a series of short posts that recap certain moments.I’m going to include sound as well. Stay tuned.

By the way, we did this pose every single morning as part of our warmup. I was going to photoshop the Managua skyline in the background but ran out of time.

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