Yoga and Photo Safari Retreat on Lake Atitlan

December 3 – 10, 2011

Rejuvenate, Relax, and Surrender to the mystical energy of Lake Atitlan in the mountains of Gorgeous Guatemala. Expand and energize with daily yoga and meditation followed by enthusiastic and professional photo safari guidance with Mary, a portrait and art photographer for 25 years. You will learn how to use your camera, how to love people with your camera, explore and identify luminescent light, surprising angles, graceful composition and exquisite timing. Portraits, animals, and nature are emphasized.

A photographer is a painter in a hurry. The viewfinder is your canvas. Being in this lavish and lush environment will strengthen your vision and inspire your creative expression.

Be inspired to capture moments and express your vision on the shore of Lake Atitlan at the enchanting Villa Sumaya Hotel, a lush lakeside hideaway.

Luxuriate in peace and creative stimulation. Enjoy delicious and healthy meals, serenity, the sun and blue sky shining above sacred Lake Atitlan. Day trips to lakeside villages, hiking, massages, and volunteering with locals if you like.

At this more relaxed time of year there are less people, more sunshine, and clear skies. You will also have free time to explore, rest, meditate or simply be still.

You will touch the bliss within you. Guaranteed.

Flex your imagination and  and  gain peace, confidence, and well being while flexing your creative muscles.

“It made me see in a new way!” – Satya, Spain

“I had an awesome time and learned so much.”  – Kristin, Germany

Learn how to love people with your camera, anticipate shots before they happen. and see with fresh eyes while traveling. Strengthen your unique perspective by learning all Mary’s photo secrets.

Mary Bartnikowski, a portrait and art photographer for 25 years and published author with her own thriving photography business in Palo Alto, California has led programs at Stanford University, Intel, Apple Computer, and her own photo workshops worldwide. She has shot thousands of portraits: babies, CEO’s, families, authors, yoga masters, teens, and over 700 weddings. Her latest book is Kitten Heels in Kathmandu, Adventures of a Female Vagabond, about her 6 years of wanderlust and teaching in 27 countries on 4 continents and including over 90 photographs.

Contact:  [email protected]

Online photography course:

 Want to talk? Call me: 336-775-7171

Luxury accommodations, inspiring practice spaces, nourishing meals, exciting cultural experiences, and an exotic location at very reasonable rates.

7 days includes all meals, lovely room overlooking the lake, and all instruction.

$1500 for singles

$900 each for doubles.

Guidance and help on air travel, boat launches, and transport to the hotel.

More info: Call Mary 336-775-7171


Van Halen Made Me Cry

Kitten Heels in Kathmandu, the Adventures of a Female Vagabond (Friends and Family Version)

Van Halen Made Me Cry

I was sitting on a chicken bus in Guatemala over the 2nd set of tires, the only white girl on the bus again. My fellow passengers: real Guatemalans, the ones who were born here and may not know Van Halen personally but he was blasting out of the bus speakers, “Go ahead and jump!”

I hadn’t heard Western music for 5 months and here I was on a local bus on my way to Antigua to do a photo shoot; happy and free with a deep sense of well being. Crying and laughing at the same time. I didn’t want to be anywhere else.

Now I didn’t feel that way on the following 3 buses when I was crammed into a seat with 2 other people – one butt cheek kept slipping off into the aisle.

This is my life and it is a happy and simple life. Van Halen may never know how profoundly he affected me. I wanted to dance in the aisles but I didn’t and next thing you know Thriller by Michael Jackson came on and I thought what a gift there has been no Western music in my life until now not since January, 6 months ago, when I left the USA.

This was no ipod moment this was a universal beauty shouting out of the bus speakers. Loud unadulterated rock music – maybe the only thing about the West I miss is the music; rather than this endless too loud Spanish patter that folk here listen to at 6AM on horrible speakers as they have never had Bose in their lives. Every song sounds exactly the same as the one before it.

I believe I am officially tired of Spanish.

Maybe some day I will learn it but for now Van Halen can sing to me and I will relish his fierce passion and smoky voice. Bring it on David Lee Roth.

It was liberating to feel the waves of music in my heart and enjoy each time Van Halen yelled, “Jump!”

I took it to mean something more profound than taking drugs and having sex with all and

It took it to mean:

Leap into life and don’t look back.

Don’t plan too much it won’t happen like you think anyway. It will all be different.

Van Halen will be there to help you. If not in person he will help you by singing Jump! When you want to take that first big leap but are thinking too much about it. Just jump.

Guatemala is mystical – that is why I am still here. It is misty with profound happenings: meeting shamans in my own town and experiencing the portal to the divine here on the most beautiful lake I’ve ever seen in my life. More on that later, in my new book.

And I have a drop dead gorgeous view of the volcanoes and lake from every window and deck on my house. When I wake up in the morning the lake greets me, the volcanoes say hello and I am out on the patio drinking my tea happy to be alive.

My New Book: Kitten Heels in Kathmandu, the Adventures of a Female Vagabond (Friends and Family Version)