During the photography workshop we packed in photo shoots everyday. We were up and often at our destination by 5am most days, trying to get the best light and sometimes sunrise. We usually had a break in the middle of the day, which often included us hanging out in the amazing pool and getting coffee, then off to another shoot for the afternoon and evening. We went to so many locations, I can’t possibly talk about all of them, so I will focus on a handful of favorites.
The Barrios: Two times throughout the week we visited barrios, or neighborhoods in Granada. Many of the students we worked with lived in these barrios. Walking through the streets, witnessing all the life that was going on, made this my favorite destination to shoot and to experience. The people of this barrio were so incredibly warm and friendly. We always asked before taking pictures, but most people would smile and even pose, excited to have the camera pointed their way. They would want to see the photos taken, and the smiles got even bigger when their reflections smiled back at them on the screen. The people living here do not have a lot and live in conditions I couldn’t imagine. They are so incredibly hard working and they just amazed me. So many of them were truly people to admire and I feel honored to have been given the opportunity to capture their images.
Santa Ana: Santa Ana is a farming community outside of Granada that Empowerment International serves. Here we got to milk cows, see plantains cut down, and watch daily life go on. My favorite part of the visit was watching a grandma and her grandchildren watering the crops. The two kids were having a blast playing in the water.
The Market: The market in Granada is hectic, lively, strange, and incredible. Everything is sold from toothpaste to fish to mango. It is crowded and loud and easy to get lost. The participants were paired with a kid who was familiar with the market so we could find our way. We asked all kinds of people in the market if we could take their photo and almost all were very willing participants. The market made for some great photography, but also a great way to experience the Nicaraguan culture.
Masaya and Mombacho: These are two very different Volcanos. Masaya was visited first for a sunset shoot, where Varina really helped me understand how to get the smoke from this active volcano to look just right. Mombacho is only reached by special trucks that take you way up in the cloud forest. The vegetation is so dense and lush. Due to lighting, it was one of the most difficult places to shoot, but we all enjoyed the challenge and the chance to spend time in the cool air up there.
The Isletas: The Isletas are a series of 365 islands that are found throughout Lake Nicaragua. They are all different, some housing private residences, others with restaurants and bars and even one with a hotel, and some with just wildlife including the famous “Monkey Island”. While on the boats we also captured many people rowing along in canoes, a few swimmers, and some fisherman ready for today’s catch.
Laguna de Apoyo: Laguna de Apoyo is a lake in the crater of a now extinct volcano. It is gorgeous with a great view of Mombacho volcano in the background. We visited two areas overlooking Laguna de Apoyo; Cueva de Tigre for sunset and Catarina for sunrise. We had a blast playing around with silhouettes during sunrise.
These were only a few of the thousands of pictures I took throughout the week, but ones I am proud of.
“Take a Picture” -Filter