My Take on Learning Photography in Costa Rica at SOTW
Posted by Jack Albritton on March 25, 2014
I was going through some of my old notebooks lately to try and consolidate important information and get rid of any unnecessary clutter. I came across notes I took several months back while learning photography in Costa Rica at the School of the World. I may have mentioned before but one of the perks of my job here at the school is that I can take various classes when there is space available. Since I take some of the photos for this blog and for our social media accounts I was strongly encouraged to sit in on photograpy for a session.
Technical Aspects of Photography
I have always been a point and shoot kind of photographer. It would probably be more accurate to say picture taker than photographer so when my instructor, Carlos, started throwing around words like aperture, shutter speed, dynamic range and such I started to think that this stuff might be a bit over my head. But, as the website says, the course is suitable for beginners. So I braced myself and started madly taking notes. I found as Carlos talked I took less notes. He explains these concepts in a way that is easily understandable for complete beginners but is also beneficial to more experienced photographers. I was working with a pretty basic point and shoot camera, but it did offer quite a few manual settings. I was quite excited to see my photos progress over the course of two weeks just by getting an understanding on a few of these basic concepts.
Photo Locations in the Area
The field trips and locations used for the classes are absolutely amazing! I live here and was blown away by them. One was a small community, a village really, off the beaten path. It is constructed in the manner of a typical, small Costa Rican town. There was the requisite soccer field, a church on one side, and a small arena for Topes (horse shows). Another location was where the real fishermen of Costa Rica keep their boats and gear. There are great shots to be had here as Ticos work on their boats, repair their nets and prepare to go out for the day. Another interesting location is a beautiful private beach with some spectacular scenery and tidal pools. Carlos has an in with a homeowner there and I try to tag along anytime I can when he is going there.
The Class Attracts some Amazing Photographers
As I mentioned this course is appropriate for complete beginners up to advanced photographers. I have seen some amazing shots from students since I have been back with the school, but had some especially talented photographers the week that I joined in. There was a gentleman named David from the U.K. who was especially talented. If you saw his photos you would probably wonder why he was taking a photography course in the first place. But he probably paid attention more than anybody else. He was definitely a student of photography and improved his already brilliant skills over the course of time he was at the school. His name comes to mind as I’m writing this but I have seen so much good work from a multitude of students in the photography class. I shoot a lot on the go, always trying to capture candid photos for the blog and social media so I still shoot a good number of my shots on automatic. But it is nice to have the knowledge to take a better photo when I am in conditions that require such. Just learning about framing a photo and backgrounds was priceless in helping me get better shots. I can wholeheartedly recommend the photography course at the whether you are just looking to take better photos on vacation or you are a serious photographer. Come sharpen your skills in the land of Pura Vida. Want to learn more? Check out our Costa Rica Photography Classes