I’m back in Chicago after a wonderful week in Tulum, Mexico. It was my hope to be able to post while I was there, but it ended up being a bit of a hassle so I decided to postpone it until I returned. Whenever I travel the first day out with the camera can be the worst. I’m not sure why, but I’m sure it has something to do with being a tourist and feeling slightly out of place. It’s not uncommon for me to take a few days to warm up to my surroundings. To unthaw I typically try to focus my first day of shooting at public events or parks. In Tulum, near the center of town, there’s a central park with a large gazebo and as luck would have it there were some folks practicing a local dance routine. I watched for a while as I prepared my gear and slowly approached the gazebo stairs. I found a good place where I would be out of the way but still able to get a few shots. The gazebo wasn’t my favorite in terms of aesthetics, but this was where the action was and the people didn’t seem to be annoyed by my presence – so I sat back and relaxed for the next hour taking a few shots here and there. I wouldn’t say I was blown away by any of these shots, but that wasn’t the point either. The point was to get a feel for the area, relax and get into the groove of things. I think all too often as photographers, and especially when we are traveling to new places, we put way too much pressure on ourselves to get “the shot”. Well, I don’t know about you folks, but it’s never really worked out that way for me. The killer shot usually happens when I’m least expecting it and without a doubt when I’m relaxed. I’ve never nailed a good shot when I was uptight. So day one worked for me…I felt good, enjoyed a really cool local dance and met some very interesting people.