Thailand photography service workshop

Workshops With Purpose Thailand 2017
We are doing a very special photography workshop in Thailand this fall! I've led workshops all over the world, but this one is particularly unique. Why? Because we'll give our talents to one of the most important causes in the world, with some of the most caring people in the world, in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Join the Workshops With Purpose instructor team in Thailand this November.

This workshop is designed for photographers to learn to use their talents to directly assist local service agencies who are creating positive change around the human trafficking situation in Thailand. You'll be guided by photography educators, experienced in world-travel and service work in 3rd world countries. You'll learn while actively donating your photography services to the local agencies that serve Thailand. We'll experience some of the challenges facing Thailand, but not without appreciating its immense beauty, rich culture, and warmhearted people. Oh yah, then there's the food. Wow.

November 1-12, 2017 (Participants will need to arrive in Bangkok, Thailand by the 1st)

Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Chiang Rai

WWP will be working with HUG Project and The Freedom Story. HUG Project is located in Chiang Mai and “exists to prevent, protect, and restore children from human trafficking, exploitation, and abuse.” The Freedom Story is located in Chiang Rai and works to “prevent child trafficking and exploitation through scholarships, mentorship, and resources for at-risk children.”

Benjamin Edwards, Kevin Kubota, and Andrew and Marianne Nicodem

The WWP team will adventure to Thailand in pursuit of learning and loving as we explore a new culture, hear from those creating positive change, and give back with our photography. The photography we capture will allow HUG Project and The Freedom Story to further promote and educate others about the important work they are doing. During our workshop time, we will cover the latest workflow techniques, efficient editing in Lightroom, troubleshooting while photographing on-site, off-camera lighting, and the legalities of working with nonprofits. We’ll discuss how we can use our talents and passions to inspire and give back to the world around us.

Day 1 (11/1/17)
  · Team arrives in Bangkok.

Day 2
  · Group Introductions. Meet organization leaders in Bangkok who are doing their part to fight against human trafficking. Dinner at a surprise restaurant that is delicious and fun!

Day 3
  · Fly to Chiang Mai.
  · Explore Chiang Mai - massages, amazing food, markets, lantern festival, etc.

Day 4
  · Team meeting and class time.
  · Lantern Festival.

Day 5
  · Work with HUG Project, which “exists to prevent, protect, and restore children from human trafficking, exploitation, and abuse”
  · Evening visit to the night markets, last day of lantern festival.

Day 6
  · Work with HUG project.
  · Chiang Mai sightseeing.

Day 7
  · Travel to Chiang Rai.
  · Explore Chiang Rai - markets, temples, more amazing food.

Day 8
  · Work with The Freedom Story, which “prevents child trafficking & exploitation through scholarships, mentorship, & resources for at-risk children”

Day 9
  · Work with The Freedom Story.
  · Evening sightseeing.

Day 10
  · Team prepares images for HUG and The Freedom Story.
  · More Chiang Rai sightseeing.

Day 11
  · Visit the picturesque Anantara resort and elephant sanctuary for elephant experience and amazing lunch.
  · Closing team dinner.

Day 12 (11/12/17)
  · Fly back to Bangkok to fly home, or explore other parts of Thailand!

$3995. This investment covers most meals, transportation (including two in-country flights), and accommidations while in Thailand. This also covers group adventures, translators, instructors, and financial donations to HUG Project and The Freedom Story. Attendees are responsible for their flights to and from Bangkok. Sign up now.

Payments will be made to The Freedom Story, which is a 501(c)(3). This is tax-deductible.

There are only 12 spots available for this workshop! Please let us know as soon as possible if you'd like to apply to join WWP in Thailand 2017! We're so grateful for your interest in Workshops with Purpose, and hope you'll join us on this life changing journey! Get more info here.

WWP Bolivia Highlight Video
WWP Kenya Highlight Video
Drone Footage of where we'll be going in Thailand
Ben's reflections on WWP Bolivia
Holli's experience at WWP Bolivia
Hadassah's experience at WWP Bolivia
Resource Magazine "Kijabe Project - How 10 Photographers Changed their World"

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Can't wait to hear from you!
Kevin & Clare Kubota & the WWP team

The most amazing place I've ever been.

Well, it's at least one of them. I'm checking this one off my bucket list, although I didn't even know I wanted it on there – until I got there. It was all just part of a days work, co-leading a workshop to Bolivia for Workshops with Purpose. Our project was to take a team of photographers to join with Food for the Hungry (FH) in Bolivia, and give them our time and talents as photographers creating images they can use in promoting their amazing work. We had instruction time, teaching the photographers about working abroad, connecting, workflow, and the intricacies of intimacy with their camera gear. We also spent long days working with FH staff, visiting people in the communities to document the projects and services they provide. It was truly amazing to see their generous hearts and success of their efforts. We just needed to help them share it. 

We headed up a few days before the workshop started, to do a little exploring at a place we'd heard amazing things about – the salt flats of Uyuni, about an hour flight from La Paz. My 13 yr. old son, Nikko, came with me on this trip. When I told him I was doing a workshop in Bolivia to help and teach photographers how to give back with photography, he said, "I want to go!" How does a father refuse that!? My good buddy, Benjamin Edwards, who was one of the co-leaders on the workshop also came and brought his 11 yr. old son. Two other photographer friends of ours from past workshops decided to join us as well. Our adventure was in motion. 

The salt flats are amazing. It's one of those places that photos will never quite do justice. You have to stand there, feel the intense sun and struggle to breath in the crisp air – unadulterated and close to the heavens at 12,000 ft. high. You have to stand there and be small, in the vastness of 4000 sq. miles of glistening white salt crystals. You have to be there at night, so close to the millions of stars you've never seen before – feeling as though you could reach out and touch them, their reflections surrounding you like you're floating through space. You have to hear the amazing peace and quiet where the loudest sound is your own heart, beating in your ears, working harder to deliver every breath. You just have to go there. 

Normally this time of year is the dry season up at Uyuni. Many people prefer to come during the fall, when the rains create the thin layer of water and reflections that are so dramatic and amazing. As luck would have it, they had a very unusual rain storm just 2 days before we arrived, leaving us with incredible reflection pools, puffy clouds, and azure skies. 

Our guides picked us up at the airport, and after some introductions they said, "We're going to take you to lunch at the most beautiful restaurant in the world!" We knew what they meant. Eating a sandwich from the tailgate of a pickup while enjoying the salt flats would absolutely be the perfect picnic to me. Little did we know, or expect, the incredible experience they had planned for us. After a long dirt road, 4 wheeling through mud, then driving out in to vast, smooth salt flats, we parked at a beautiful spot and they said they would get lunch ready. We were so overwhelmed taking photos and gawking at our surroundings that we didn't realize at first they were setting up something quite fantastic. Out came the white table cloth, red ribbons, wine glasses, silverware, dishes of hot chicken Milanese, rice, fresh vegetables, salads, wine, sparkling water...oh, wow. 


Our 2 days in Uyuni went by like minutes, then we flew back to La Paz to meet up with the rest of our workshop attendees, flying in from all corners of the U.S. The La Paz airport is located at over 13,000 ft. elevation, so the first thing you notice when you get off the plane is your head pounding. Fortunately, none of our team experienced extreme altitude sickness. Fatigue, yes, but no whiners. Just a team of big-hearted photographers, ready to get busy and photograph. 

It took us another 2 days to make our way out to Torotoro, a small town amidst an incredible national park. Driving out there, on a dusty cobblestone & dirt road, felt as though we were entering Jurassic park. Fittingly, Torotoro is home to fossilized dinosaur footprints, and huge caves, from the age of prehistoric beasts. The intense beauty of the drive again made 6 hours feel like minutes, as we marveled at the epic landscapes unfolding around every turn in the road. 

We spent the next 2-1/2 days working in Torotoro, visiting and photographing locals, sponsored or supported by Food for the Hungry programs. It was amazing to see how much FH has contributed to the growth of the community – encouraging self-sustenance and education on nutrition. Malnutrition is a huge problem there, especially among very young children.  We documented as much as we could, hopefully providing them with images they could use to promote their cause and bring awareness to the need in the area. Our hearts and media cards runneth over.

This was the perfect trip to test and refine some of my travel gear. We had to pack as light as possible, while still carrying a professional level of photo equipment. My main camera bag was my MindShift Rotation 180 Pro. This a fantastic bag that I briefly reviewed when I first got it. Now that I've had a chance to take it with me on an Africa safari, and through Bolivia, I have a much better idea of how it functions in the field and holds up. I'm a fan! First and foremost, this pack is comfortable to carry all-day, full of gear. It fits great, is highly adjustable, and is well balanced. Rotating the main camera section to the front is a quick and simple affair, making your essential lenses and gear readily accessible without having to remove the pack itself. I attached an accessory bag to the belt to hold my 70-200mm and everything I needed was right at hand. 

The top section of the bag has a removable padded lens insert, for even more photo gear. However, I would usually remove this top section and use the large compartment for my daily essentials – warm jacket, snacks, first-aid, extra water, etc. There are outer pockets, perfect for my rain jacket, water bottle, and sunscreen. There is a place for everything, and everything fits perfectly in its place. Carrying a camera shoulder bag while walking for miles a day is miserable. I would never intentionally do that. A backpack is the only way to go, in my opinion, but other backpacks I've owned also require you to dismount it to get at your gear. While this is still better than lugging a shoulder bag, you have to be intentional about stopping and digging out a lens and I'd often find myself not pulling out the ideal lens because it would take too long or be too much trouble. With the Rotation 180, there are no excuses, and I like that. In this way, I actually believe this pack can make you a better photographer.

At the end of one particularly long day, we sat and watched a storm brewing. Fortunately, the Rotation 180, as with nearly all MindShift and ThinkTank gear, has a dedicated rain cover which deployed just in time to protect my gear from the rains as we walked back to our hostel. As we hid under the awnings and cheered at the amazing thunder and lightning show above us, we had no idea that the ensuing storm would also bring hail the size of gum-balls that would soon destroy all the crops of the local farmers. The next day was a sad day – to again walk the villages and see the devastation to the crops. 

At the end of each day we'd sit on our beds, in our tiny little rooms, and – provided the electricity was working, we'd download the daily images. My workflow includes downloading via Lightroom, keywording, meta-tagging, renaming, and converting to DNG in one step. I drop the images straight to an external HD, which is automatically mirrored in real-time to a second external HD via GoodSync software. As soon as my images are transferred, I automatically have 3 copies – one on each external drive and the originals still on the cards. I do my best to do a quick edit, simply marking keepers, as soon as I download. This way I can stay caught up and we can deliver finished images to Food for the Hungry even before we leave the country. No homework when we return – except for writing a blog post :-)

Our 10 days in Bolivia flew by. It seems like just a dream now. To have shared this experience with my son is one of the most special memories of my life. To have shared it with my best friends and new friends from the workshop makes it even better. 

I hope the images inspire you to get out there, see the world, and use your photography to change it for the better. Every little bit makes a difference. Maybe in the process you'll inspire a young person to want to change the world too, and that really is a gift with un-imaginable value.

If you'd like to be considered for participation in our next Workshops with Purpose, drop us a note from our facebook page. Who knows where the adventure will take you!

Travel to Bolivia with Kevin Kubota

Join Kevin, Benjamin Edwards, and Andrew and Marianne Nicodem on their second Workshops with Purpose trip—this time to Bolivia!  The trip will take place on October 9-17, 2014, in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and the surrounding villages. The goal of Workshops with Purpose is to equip media professionals by providing opportunities to advance their craft in a global environment, immersing themselves in other cultures, and realizing the power of relationships and storytelling—while giving back.  The focus of this trip will be to support the efforts of the “Little Ones” project, which is devoted to helping mothers care for their children and provide the nutrition they need. You can view their amazing work in this video here.  

During the workshop the latest in workflow, editing, and off-camera lighting techniques will be covered; along with the logistics of working with a non-profit, and troubleshooting while working on location. Discussions will also include using your unique talents to inspire and give back; all while working alongside Kevin, Benjamin, Andrew and Marianne!

There are only 12 spots available to attend this workshop and they will fill up quickly. Be sure to fill out an application if you are interested in making a difference, and participating in this life-changing journey.