How I Blacked Out (Literally) Amid a Chiang Mai Photography Workshop

Within seconds of turning around, I was feeling queasy. I can’t remember exactly when I blacked out during that Chiang Mai photography workshop: all I remember is how I suddenly started seeing double…

Then, black.

Chiang Mai photography workshop, tuk tuk

As I’m told by Kevin Landwer-Johan, director and tutor at Chiang Mai Photo Workshops, I was only gone for about 10 seconds. Yet, as I slowly opened my eyes, I briefly lost consciousness.

I started to freak out, borderline screaming, wondering why there were two men above me.

Seriously: for a few seconds, I thought I was being attacked.

Seeing the panicked look on my face, Kevin reacted quickly: “you are back! Are you okay?” Upon seeing his beautiful camera, I quickly calmed down and realized where I was.

“Chiang Mai. Thailand. Photography workshop.”

These “men” were teaching me before I knocked myself out with a camera lens.

Chiang Mai photography workshop

Yes, really.

Still a bit shaken, I asked: “how long was I gone?!”

“Just a few seconds. How are you feeling?” Kevin responded.

“Eh…okay, I guess…”

Suddenly, I started to bleed profusely through my nose.

Honestly though, I couldn’t tell you whether that happened before or after I blacked out…

Man oh man, am I clumsy or what?!

I went from learning how to play with light at night, highlighting beautiful reflections and even ‘ghosting out’ tuk tuks, to passing out on top of a dirty bridge by a local market.

Chiang Mai photography workshop, local market

I was taking part of my very first photography workshop, one of many unique things to do in Chiang Mai. I had just bought a Canon EOS 1200 D in Indonesia–and couldn’t wait to get out of auto.

Kevin and Pu taught me a lot about the nuances of night photography. We I learned how to play with aperture and even how to use and external flash in order to convert moving objects into “ghosts.”

I was new to manual, but another participant was advanced & also catered for

Being one of only two participants meant each of us got to enjoy a beautifully customized experience. Both Kevin and Pu switched between us every couple of shots–each providing tips from unique perspectives.

Kevin is such a character, by the way. ‘Funny’ fact: my blacking out episode ensued after I got distracted during one of our wonderful conversations as my shutter went off.

Chiang Mai photography workshop portrait

young longneck tribe girl by Chiang Mai Photo Workshops

We were exchanging Couchsurfing stories, Kevin telling me how he photographed every person he’s ever hosted.

The portraits were so beautiful I almost wanted to book a portrait workshop right then!

It was during one of the moments I was waiting for my shutter to go off that Kevin said something that cracked me up. I twirled and hunched, unexpectedly swinging to my left without looking…


I hit myself square in the face with Pu’s giant camera lens as she passed by.

I started giggling, as the impact was so hard and blunt I couldn’t even feel my nose for several seconds. Then, my nose started to burn. Then, I announced I was feeling dizzy. Then…

Chiang Mai photography workshop, ghosting truck

I slowly melted on my back. Blacked out.

Oh boy. As if the truck had hit me in the head.

While I was in pain for about half of the workshop, I still retained all the wonderful tips and advice Kevin and Pu instilled. Furthermore, my photography improved greatly throughout my epic Southeast Asia travels this summer–most of my shots requiring minimal to no editing prior publication.

Needless to say, I highly recommend this Chiang Mai photography workshop!

Can’t wait to go back to Thailand’s North and photograph the beautiful Mae Sa:

Chiang Mai photography workshop in Mae Sa

Have you ever been to a photography workshop? What did you learn?

Special thanks to Kevin and Pu from Chiang Mai Photo Workshops for allowing me to take part of one of their unique photography workshops free of charge. All opinions (and incidents!) told in this article are real–very real. So watch out for camera lenses as you crack up to one of Kevin’s great stories…

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About Maria Alexandra

Maria Laborde, aka latinAbroad, is an open-minded, highly-energetic woman with the spirit of a child. A world citizen, Puerto Rican at heart, carrier of an American passport. A passionate translator and writer, sprinkling Latin spice around the world!

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