Adjust your shutter speed to thrilling
Arrive in Panama to discover a dichotomy of old and new. Explore the stark contrast between the colonial architecture of the old city of Casco Viejo and the towering steel and glass towers of modern Panama City. This vibrant capital has countless stories to tell and offers a great introduction to travel photography. Fly to Isla Bastimentos, an island paradise off the Caribbean coast of Panama. Here we find an indigenous Gnobe community and a stunning national park dotted with coral cayes and rainforest lined beaches. Learn the basics of photography while sharing this island home with tropical frogs, monkeys, orchids and people from tiny fishing communities nearby. Classes are fast-paced and fun, and initially focused on understanding the technical abilities of your camera. Investigate the island and practice manipulating aperture and shutter speed. The rainforest shadows, summer sun and gorgeous sunsets provide ample opportunity to adjust to different lighting environments. Constant practice and evaluation are key to learning the art of composition. Gather under thatch palapas and relax in hammocks while sharing feedback and learning how to improve your photos.
Frame. Shoot. Inspire
Back on the mainland, venture up and over the continental divide through la Amistad National Park. Travel provides the opportunity to find a new story in your surroundings, and the journey is half the fun. Our destination is Boquete, an adventurous and hip town in the mountains of the Jaramillo range. Settle into the Boquete Valley high in the mountains and get ready for new adventures and photo challenges. Hike through cloud forest to dramatic waterfalls. Whitewater raft down Rio Chiriqui and then relax in the Caldera hot springs. Each experience provides endless potential for creative compositions. Take action shots of friends while they learn to rock climb on beautiful basalt rock faces, or explore the surrounding area for poison dart frogs or scenic mountain overlooks. Check out a coffee plantation and investigate town while continuing to refine the art of using a camera. Also, focus on building technical skills, learn Photoshop editing techniques and practice the full process for producing photos for print and online media.
One photo opportunity after another
Follow the path of explorers over the mountains and down to the Pacific coast of Panama. Enjoy beautiful beaches, relax under palm trees or try your hand at surfing on some of the best waves in Central America. Keep your cameras ready while watching for wildlife or cheering on friends as they learn to surf. Make an expedition to Isla de Coiba, the largest island in Panama and a UNESCO World Heritage site that boasts an astounding biodiversity. Howler monkeys, macaws and over 20 species of whales and dolphins thrive in this protected environment. Quietly glide through the water in sea kayaks for a chance at getting up-close shots of wildlife. Around every bend lies another spectacular photo opportunity and chance to hone your skills. Refine the delicate balance between light and lens, and begin to use your camera to share stories on photo assignments that challenge your technical and artistic abilities.
The photos paint a picture of all that you’ve achieved
The final days of the trip are spent working on your portfolio and final project in the quintessential mountain village of Santa Fe. Edit pictures you have already taken, or embark on a new assignment. The smell of coffee percolates through the air and drifts out into the streets where children play and ranchers and gauchos roam. The village and mountains are quiet, but your project is only limited by your creativity. Explore small farms and shops, dusty roads and waterfalls looking for inspiration. Get to know the community while working on service projects and learn about Panamanian life from a new perspective. Share time and photos with friends, and reflect on all that you have achieved and learned. The adventure will soon come to an end, but the photos you create will allow you to carry your memories and experiences with you forever.