Oaxacan Light Tour (January 14–22, 2017)

with Eric Mindling & PhotoJoseph

eats are now on sale!! Scroll down to learn more…

What's this tour all about?


A very personal cultural and photography tour of the people and customs of Oaxaca, Mexico

Las Penyitas Church outside of Oaxaca City (where "Nacho Libre" was filmed, in a very different light) — photo © Eric Mindling

Las Penyitas Church outside of Oaxaca City (where "Nacho Libre" was filmed, in a very different light) — photo © Eric Mindling

Have you ever dreamed of visiting a culture so beautiful, so steeped in history and tradition, so untouched by the modern world, that it appears as if you've stepped back in time?

This kind of experience is not an opportunity that comes along often. Almost by definition, if you're able to book a tour there, then it's a tourist destination. But not in this case.

Eric Mindling has been operating very small, very exclusive cultural tours through Oaxaca, Mexico for nearly two decades. Eric has spent most of the last 24 years living and working in rural Oaxaca, and knows the people as only a local can. They trust him, love him, and invite him into their homes — along with his very small, very occasional tour groups. 

Eric is a wonderful photographer in his own right, and has taught himself to be an incredible photographic visionary. He had the idea to add photography education to his tour in Oaxaca, combining his two passions and loves, but didn't feel he was prepared to teach photography. Which is when he called on me, PhotoJoseph.

Together we have assembled the most beautiful tour of an incredible part of the world, combining the best of cultural tourism, photography experience and education, amazing food, and of course… fantastic fun. 

No it's not a Coke ad… but it is a group of cultural tourists having a lovely time with Eric on a previous tour! — photo © Eric Mindling

No it's not a Coke ad… but it is a group of cultural tourists having a lovely time with Eric on a previous tour! — photo © Eric Mindling

That's Eric, pointing out their next stop. Or their next bottle of mezcal. I can't be sure. 

That's Eric, pointing out their next stop. Or their next bottle of mezcal. I can't be sure. 

The itinerary

This is our current itinerary. The tour will run January 14-22, 2017. In general, we'll spend the mornings and evenings shooting (during the best light), and the afternoons in photo education indoors.

(Itinerary subject to change)

  • (Day 1 » Jan 14) Arrivals ~ Welcome to Oaxaca! We'll have an orientation and group dinner that evening.
  • (Day 2 » Jan 15) Welcome to Oaxaca ~ Photo walks through colonial Oaxaca both morning and evening, with basic "Photo 101" education in the afternoon—just to make sure everyone is comfortable with the basics of photography.
  • (Day 3 » Jan 16) Into the Mixteca ~ More in Oaxaca, photo education on landscape photography, then we'll travel to Mixteca.
  • (Day 4 » Jan 17) — Lost Kingdom ~ Early morning landscape photography of eroded red and beige hills, and a home cooked tamale breakfast. Landscape editing in the afternoon, then we'll travel along winding dirt roads to the seldom visited ruins of the lost mountain-top kingdom of Monte Negro with broad vistas surrounded by dense oak forests, and finish the evening in Yanhuitlan.
  • (Day 5 » Jan 18) — Road Trip ~ A traveling day to the Zapotec Oaxacan central valleys, with a stop at an architectural gem, a 19th century textile mill that's been recently converted to the San Agustin Arts Center. We'll also visit a mezcal still for beautiful photographic and tasting opportunities (don't worry, we have drivers!). We finish the day with a  journey to Mitla where we'll spend the next three nights.
  • (Day 6 » Jan 19) — Celebration ~ Starting with an early morning pre-dawn journey into the hills to find the white stone mineral springs of Hierve el Agua, focusing on great vistas and reflections. We'll also pursue flash photography and environmental portraiture, followed by some off-time (nap recommended!) before photographing the annual celebration, festival, parade and fireworks for the Mitla patron saint that night.
  • (Day 7 » Jan 20) — Food & Festival ~ The nearby Zapotec village of Teotitlan del Valle is famous for weaving and traditional cuisine; both of which we'll experience and enjoy. You'll be able to set down your cameras (or not!) and help prepare a traditional meal in a traditional village kitchen — then eat it (the meal, not the kitchen). We'll visit a weaving workshop and continue pursuing environmental portraiture and off-camera flash.  Then that evening you'll be free to roam, shoot and enjoy the ongoing festival in Mitla.
  • (Day 8 » Jan 21) — Improvisation ~ We'll leave Mitla and take a journey off the beaten path through old-time Zapotec villages, visiting the homes and workshops of village cooks and food producers. We’ll see a baker, a tortilla maker and have a home cooked breakfast in a smokey kitchen—delicious both for our palettes and our cameras. We'll return to Oaxaca for some free time in the city before a wrap up slide show and final group dinner, with our evening spent back on Oaxaca.
  • (Day 9 » Jan 22)Time to go ~ Sadly, this brings our journey together to an end. However it doesn't have to stop here — you can of course extend your stay as long as you like, and now that you know a thing or two about the area, continue to enjoy the amazing area that is Oaxaca, Mexico!
Palemon Barranco, traditional potter in San Bartolo Coyotepec, Oaxaca — photo © Eric Mindling

Palemon Barranco, traditional potter in San Bartolo Coyotepec, Oaxaca — photo © Eric Mindling

Sign up for the Workshop newsletter

If you'd like to keep up-to-date on the workshop, sign up for the newsletter below (even if you can't go), and you'll also be notified of any future workshops this way. Being on the newsletter is a very good idea, as this is where new workshops will be announced first!

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Reserve your seat!

Seats are now on sale! But if you're reading this page, you didn't sign up for the newsletter yet and those people are getting first crack at purchasing seats. Quick, sign up above and we'll send you the newsletter with the secret sign-up page link!!

On August 22, tickets will open to the general public — if there are any left.

About the instructors

Through his deep knowledge of Southern Mexico, Eric Mindling has been able to create pioneering culture encounters through his tour designs for nearly two decades. He is also a published author and photographer. He is currently working on a two-book series of portraits examining traditional fashion and culture in Oaxaca titled Living Threads. But his favorite work is chewing the fat in back patios of some rural village or another, swapping tales and telling lies.

"PhotoJoseph" Linaschke is a photographic storyteller, educator, and the PhotoApps.Expert. He's been leading workshops, classrooms, theater presentations and online education for over two decades, including presenting for Apple, working with K-12 schools around the globe, authoring for Lynda.com, and more. He operates a commercial photography studio in Ashland, Oregon and travels the world for his clients. For more about Joseph, visit Joseph.info.

Macaria Ruiz Hernandez, Teotitlan del Valle. From Eric's traditional fashion series  — photo © Eric Mindling

Macaria Ruiz Hernandez, Teotitlan del Valle. From Eric's traditional fashion series  — photo © Eric Mindling