Oaxacan Light Tour II (October 16–24, 2017)

with Eric Mindling & PhotoJoseph

Join us for an incredible photographic, cultural tour of Oaxaca, Mexico and the surrounding region!

As you saw in the video above, this is no ordinary photography workshop!

Do you love travel? Do you love photography? Then join us in Oaxaca and let us introduce you to beautiful historical sites and unforgettable landscapes, to unique dining experiences complete with local specialties, to private homes and small businesses where you'll see artisanal creations in the making, and of course, to wonderful, welcoming people. And through all of this, you'll benefit from photography education tailored to your experience and desires! By keeping the group small (eight students maximum), your two instructors, Eric Mindling and PhotoJoseph, will be able to dedicate much of their time to your education and experience.


"This trip was fabulous and I highly recommend this workshop."
"I give you my highest gratitude and praise for showing us the most beautiful and thought provoking views of Oaxaca, Mexico. You and Eric did a fantastic job of balancing the group and different photography styles, and complex journeys into the Oaxaca valley."
"Eric and Joseph ran an intriguing and active photography workshop that seriously looks at the quality of Oaxaca culture and landscape. I am a novice photographer who takes photos as reference material for drawn and painted work. I was able to practice creating better compositions and capturing different light value. I appreciate the intimate participation of capturing photos of locals at work. I felt I was paying a respect to the culture."
 A flash portrait made on the January 2017 tour  — photo © Eric Mindling

A flash portrait made on the January 2017 tour  — 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 25 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. 

PhotoJoseph is a portrait, commercial and travel photographer based in Ashland, Oregon who's been shooting and teaching photography for most of his life. As an educator on global workshops and many online courses, one of Joseph's unique skills is the ability break down any complex issue into simple parts so photographers of all levels can benefit. 

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. 

Photos from our previous tour

Enjoy a handful of photos from our previous tour (all photos © Joseph Linaschke or © Eric Mindling)

The itinerary

The tour will run October 16-24, 2017. In general, we'll spend the mornings and evenings shooting (during the best light), and the afternoons in photo education indoors or traveling between locations.

(Itinerary subject to change)

  • (Day 1 » Oct 16) Arrivals ~ Welcome to Oaxaca! We'll have an orientation and group dinner that evening.
  • (Day 2 » Oct 17) Welcome to Oaxaca ~ Photo walks through colonial Oaxaca both morning and evening, with an optional "Photo 101" education in the afternoon — just to make sure everyone is comfortable with the basics of photography.
  • (Day 3 » Oct 18) Into the Mixteca ~ We'll take advantage of a second morning to once again walk the city and make pictures.  Then we'll pack our bags and travel into a region called the Mixteca, spending the next two nights at a legendary little Shangri La called Apoala with rustic cabins, enormous cliffs, a blue waterfall, cypress trees and fields of wheat and corn. We'll have opportunities for landscape and village photography and fun exploration, with your evening spent exploring Apoala on your own.
  • (Day 4 » Oct 19) — Apoala ~ Roam and photograph! Our day will be spent immersed in the beauty of this remote location. To add flavor to the tasty stew, we'll hike to the foot of the waterfall as well as visit an old timer who makes agave beer, a.k.a. pulque, followed by an evening together in Apoala.
  • (Day 5 » Oct 20) — Road Trip ~ After a last morning of good light in Apoala, we'll return to the Zapotec Oaxacan central valleys. We stop at an architectural gem, a 19th century textile mill that has recently been renovated and turned into the San Agustin Arts Center — photographer eye candy! Then onward to Mitla where we’ll spend the next 3 nights in a colorful hotel in the center of town. Before the light of day fades, we visit the ruined palaces of Zapotec kings that have made this village famous. Our evening will be spent in Mitla.
  • (Day 6 » Oct 21) — Too Many Chefs! ~ Yep, today we have all have a chance to be a chef! We'll spend the morning in a traditional village kitchen learning how to make lunch Zapotec style. Chilies and clay pots, stone mortar and pestle and delicious flavor combinations. Cook, photograph, or both!  We’ll visit the home workshop of ceremonial candle makers as well as a wool tapestry weaver, and we’ll begin learning about off camera flash portraiture working with a local model. Today will be rich in visual texture and unique access.  Overnight in Mitla
  • (Day 7 » Oct 22) — Food and Folk Art ~ Food and folk art are the focus of the day. We'll visit village households today, getting an inside peek at home life and arts. From the kitchen of Lucia, who will make us breakfast, to the house of Dalia who will show us how a ritual cacao drink is prepared. In the afternoon we visit a mezcal distillery and see how wood, fire, billows of smoke and crusty country men turn agave plants into a delicious distillate called mezcal. Photo ops abound! Evening in Mitla.
  • (Day 8 » Oct 23) — Mineral Springs and Mezcal ~ Up before dawn, we'll travel into the hills and to the cliff-edge, white stone mineral springs of Hierve el Agua where we'll focus on great vistas and close up reflections. Mid-morning finds us at the hotel in Oaxaca with time for editing, then we meet for our final meal together and some photo sharing. Overnight in Oaxaca. 
  • (Day 9 » Oct 24)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!

Reserve your seat!

Thank you for signing up to attend the Oaxacan Light Tour on October 16-24, 2017! Seats are limited to eight guests. The pricing, based on double occupancy, is as follows:

USD $3,495* : DISCOUNTED PRICE for paying in full by May 31, 2017 ($500 savings)
USD $3,745 : DISCOUNTED PRICE for paying in full by June 30, 2017 ($250 savings)
USD $3,995 : FULL tour price

Final payment must be made by September 17, 2017 (90 days before departure)

Upon requesting a seat, you will be sent an invoice. Minimum payment is $450 to reserve your seat (reservation not confirmed until payment is made); discounts available for paying in full before specific dates (see above).

USD $450 : Minimum deposit to hold your seat.
USD $390 : Single supplement (pricing is based on double-occupancy; you will be paired with another member of the tour. If you prefer a single room, the single supplement must be included).

* Prices are for bank transfer or payment by check. Credit card payments will incur a 4% processing fee

What's included

  • All Lodging during trip based on double occupancy
  • Most Meals
  • Transport in private van
  • Entry fees
  • Superb Guide and Photography education!

What's NOT included

  • Airfare to Oaxaca, Mexico and transportation to and from the airport
  • Lodging before and after the trip
  • Personal items purchased during the trip
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Some meals are not included. On these trips, we invites you to explore the local cuisine at your leisure.
  • Gratuities
  • Room Service
  • Travel Visa Fee

Physical Requirements Disclaimer

We will do a considerable amount of walking on this trip, although most of it is on streets at a leisurely pace. On the previous tour, we averaged over six miles (10 km) per day, with some days approaching 10 miles (16 km)! The altitude of Oaxaca is around 5,000 ft (1,500 meters), which is something to keep in mind if you're coming from sea level.

Complete this form to request a seat

Tour dates are October 16-24. When considering travel, you'll want to arrive no later than late afternoon on the 16th to join us for dinner. Many guests choose to arrive the day before. For departure, any time on the 24th is fine, although again many guests choose to stay additional days.

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Tour Options
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A USD $450 deposit is required to hold your seat. Full payment of $3,995 is due by Aug 11. Discounts for paying in full early are noted above.
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If you are requesting multiple seats, please note that here. If you have any dietary or health restrictions, please list those here. There is considerable walking on this tour (we averaged over 6 miles per day last tour), but most of it is leisurely street walking. We will do some off-road hiking as well as a bit of bumpy road driving.

Sign up for the Workshop newsletter

If you'd like to keep up-to-date on the workshop (even if you can't go), sign up for the newsletter below. 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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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. His most recent book is called Oaxaca Stories in Cloth, a series of portraits examining traditional fashion and culture in Oaxaca, and he is currently working on a photo project focused on woman's rights in India. But his favorite work is chewing the fat in back patios of some rural village or another, swapping tales and telling fascinating 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, running the week-daily live YouTube photo show PhotoJoseph’s Photo Moment, 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.

Check out Eric's recently-release book, "Oaxaca Stories in Cloth"!

Oaxaca Stories in Cloth
By Eric Sebastian Mindling

Want to know more about this book? 

Enjoy this video interview between Joseph and Eric where we get to learn all about the making and significance of this beautiful project.

Join me for a PhotoJoseph's Photo Moment with Eric Mindling to discuss his new book, "Oaxaca: Stories in Cloth"! Eric and I are hitting the road in January to provide an incredible photography tour of Oaxaca, Mexico. To sign up and learn more about this workshop opportunity, visit http://photojoseph.com/workshops/