Back from photo camp

Javier Montano’s Photo Camp was this last weekend. We spent Saturday and Sunday in the countryside of Hyogo Prefecture (Tamba, to be exact) learning to take pictures.

This was an amazing event. I feel so lucky that I got to go to what is surely the first iteration of many photo camps to come. I learned a lot and had a great time doing it.

I haven’t started going through all of the photos from the weekend yet so I don’t have much to show here. I took around 600 photos while trying to internalize what Javier was teaching us. I may need another weekend in Tamba just to sort through all of the pictures.


For the record, the photo above was exactly what Javier was teaching us not to do.

We had walked up part of a densely wooded mountain in the rain, umbrellas in hand, taking photos all the way. At our highest point, we stopped at a shrine tucked into a crevice of a sharp slope.

We were soaked but focused on learning our cameras. Everything was a possible subject for a photograph: wet pine needles, leaves on the ground, the steps, the rope dangling in front of the shrine.

After a long series of shoots, I was a bit beat. Apparently photography is hard when you are trying. Who knew.

One our hosts and I laid down on the veranda-like walkway that wrapped around the shrine. We rested our heads on the base of the wall. He was staring up at the foggy sky through the dripping red maple leaves; I was thumbing through photos of maple leaves on the screen of my camera.

I was so distracted with the photos that I didn’t notice the other photo campers gathering to our left to shoot pictures of us. I thought the view from my perspective, four cameras aimed in my direction, would make a great picture. But I felt too lazy and too heavy from the water in my shoes.

So I did everything I was told not to do: still laying down, I stuck my arm straight up in the air, camera in hand, and clicked.