MIKE WATSON – When I signed up for the James Wilson and Mark Hemmings San Miguel de Allende workshop I had some specific goals. I wanted to get in front of new and interesting subjects and try a different kind of photography, urban photography, and work on Composition. I had received a very good report from a previous participant, my experience exceeded my expectations, and I recommend this workshop.
C.J. GLYNN – San Miguel Photo Workshops was awesome. The agenda was well-planned with many activities and sufficient time to explore beautiful San Miguel on your own. Jamie and Mark are always available to consult on equipment questions or coach you on technique. Once you arrive, you will fall in love with San Miguel de Allende and San Miguel Photo Workshops.
KENT OWENS – I just returned from the February 2014 week-long San Miguel de Allende (SMA) workshop sponsored by Mark Hemmings and James Wilson. I have been on 9 or 10 photo workshops sponsored by several different groups and I can honestly say this is my best one ever. The way these guys plan and execute their workshop leaves nothing to be desired. They are as “hands-on” or as “hands-off” as you want them to be and, aside from being great instructors, they are truly great individuals. Here are some of my thoughts and comments: I live in Atlanta and 45 degrees F is nothing like 45 F in SMA. In fact, after about 9:30 AM it was short-sleeve shirt weather for the day and it was February. A nice break from north of the border. They pay attention to every detail and vary the workshop so you are never bored. Two of the days were day long trips out of the city and very well planned. The workshop included photo walks around town, open air and indoor markets, botanical garden, churches, people photography, museums, a centuries old silver mine and a model photo shoot among other things. They also said that participation in the different activities were optional if you chose not to participate. They also had the ability to tell if the group was ready to call it a night after dinner or to have a presentation at the villa after dinner. SMA is very safe and very inexpensive. Absolutely no “problems” with eating the food. We stayed in two villas that were out of this world and ate breakfast in two groups. Dinners were group dinners and it gave you a change to get to know all of the participants and dinners were included in the workshop fee. I had been to a workshop in Guadalajara and SMA puts it to shame. SMA is Old San Juan PR on steroids. At the end of the workshop each participate got to present several of their photos and to comment on them. They arranged for transportation to and from Mexico City or Leon airports. Leon is closer and has non-stops from Atlanta, Houston, Dallas and some other cities. If you like the above you will love the SMA workshop with Mark and James.
KATE BREEN – I found myself in Mexico City International Airport, ready to commence another whirl-wind photographic adventure in the exquisite city of San Miguel de Allende. Traversing through the winding cobble stone streets, brimming with artistic opportunity, I realized this trip would be nothing less than I had imagined. We spent the days enjoying the stunning city and it’s vibrant culture. In the evenings we regaled one another with stories of the day while dining over a mouth watering array of authentic Mexican dishes and plenty of margaritas! We would then return to our gorgeous hacienda at the foot of Hernandez Macias to indulge in a discussion of arts and of course the rhyme and rhythm of photography. On the fourth day we journeyed through the countryside, seeking the wonders of the hibernating Monarch butterflies high in the Sierra Madres. When we arrived, the sight we beheld was one of splendor. While witnessing the abundant amount of Monarchs, clinging to the trees for warmth, as the sun warmed the chilling air, one by one they began to take flight, dancing through tree limbs and above the tree tops, all the while we stood in awe of this great gathering. Roaming through San Miguel, camera in hand, ready for anything that should come our way. We captured images of people interacting in daily life, the picturesque architecture, along with the interesting vegetation found growing on every hillside and in every garden. This trip was a great and very humbling experience, and I would recommend it to anyone with a passionate sense for adventure. Mark and Jamie are a dynamic duo and compliment one another well; between teaching styles and their knack for breathtaking photography there is nothing that can’t be learned. If you have an interest in travel and photography then this is the tour for you!
LAUCHLAN OUGH – “I had the opportunity to take Jamie’s and Mark’s photography tours in Mexico and Japan. Jamie is an extremely knowledgeable photographer and an even better teacher. Mark has no problem taking time to show you how to use your camera properly, compose your shots right and point out potential photographs. The best part of the tours are that Jamie and Mark are such easy guys to get along with. Along with plenty of photography you will find yourself laughing and having tons of fun on your
trip! These photo tours go far beyond learning photography; you will experience rich and wonderful cultures, excellent food and meet plenty of interesting people. If you really want to take your photography to the next level and experience traveling to new country in a whole new way Jamie’s and Mark’s photo tour are for you!”
SUE DAVIS – “I knew I was with the right group when James Wilson contacted me before the trip to ask what I would like to learn about photography during my seven days in Mexico. Being mentored by James or Mark Hemmings while in the UNESCO World Heritage city of San Miguel is a wonderful way to rejuvenate your spirit. Experience staying in a lovely hacienda, tour the botanical garden, listen to the mariachi band in the jardin, explore the market, enjoy sumptuous food and see if you can take photos that will tell your story. If you are interested in photography and travel, the San Miguel Photography Tour will provide an unforgettable learning experience.”
JOHN & GINGER GAHAGAN – “My wife and I joined Jamie and Mark for the Mexican Photography Workshop with a bit of caution. Neither of us is a photographer and we own small digital cameras so we thought we might not be the right people to join the group. We should not have worried.
Jamie and Mark took as much time (probably more!) with us as with the more experienced people with the more professional equipment. Our cameras might not have had as many features as the others but we learned how to get every last bit of performance from them. By the end of the week we felt that we knew our cameras well enough and had enough new skills to get some excellent pictures. San Miguel de Allende was a real jewel. Clean, safe and so much to see and do. Our accommodations and meals were so far above expectations that we are still talking about them.” Both James and Mark are very familiar with San Miguel de Allende as seen through the eyes of a photographer. They know the best locations for interesting subjects including colonial era and contemporary architecture, textures, patterns, bright colors, shadows, and the culture and street life that San Miguel has to offer. They know the best times of day to be on location to make the most of the light. They also know of some excellent restaurants. But more than that, they are both very helpful, high energy people and excellent coaches. What I realized on reflection after the workshop was that they had picked up on something of which I was only vaguely aware was missing in my approach, and they worked with me (and others), on that. What I was missing was the act of consciously looking and seeing what was around me in the urban environment, and the spontaneity of shooting. They both went to great lengths to point out subjects and quickly describe why it was a good subject, and would get behind the camera to look at the results and suggest alternative ways of framing and composing the photograph. It was this “look-see” hands-on, behind the camera experience that was most beneficial to me.