It was the day before the festival, and I was walking through the streets of El Doreado, a coastal resort in the Dominican Republic’s northern province of Santa Clara, when I stopped in the town’s busy plaza.
A woman approached me, her hair wet from the previous day’s rainfall.
“I was expecting you,” she said.
“But you look beautiful,” I replied.
She smiled and asked if she could take a picture.
I took her picture, and she sent it to me.
I showed it to the other photographers who were there.
One of them, a photographer named Diego Velasco, sent me a copy of the photograph and told me that I was doing something extraordinary.
“You’ve really made history,” he told me.
Velascolos story is a common one for photographers in El DORADO, as it is for many in the island nation.
In the past 10 years, the number of photographers has doubled, and the number who are paid a salary has tripled.
Many of them come from outside the Dominican, or Latin America, and their work has been featured on national television, and on other media, and they are given scholarships to travel abroad.
The Dominican Republic is one of the most densely populated countries in the world.
Most of the country’s 1.2 million residents live in the coastal cities of the northernmost state of Puerto Rico, where the rainy season, which has lasted for two weeks, is particularly hard on many.
A lack of rainfall also causes widespread flooding, and some cities have seen record rainfall in recent years.
The country’s media are dominated by Latin American writers, and while there are few photographers who can compete with them, there are still photographers from the region.
This year, the El Dorado Festival will have its biggest event yet.
A large outdoor stage will be held at the centre of town, and photographers will take photos of the city and its people in the city’s main squares and parks.
Many tourists will be there too, and many will be taking pictures.
But for some of the photographers, this year will be different.
The festival will be a “first for us”, said Carlos Lopez, one of them.
“For the first time in years, we are going to see more of the people.”
The festival has also brought an unexpected influx of tourists.
The number of tourists who came to El Dora, El Doro, or El Dores have been steadily increasing in recent months, but there are signs that this year the number will grow even further.
The weather has been relatively good in El Dorados capital, the capital of the neighbouring state of Guayana, and there has been a significant increase in tourists from there, said Carlos.
“People are coming to El Doradas because they like the island, because of the sun, because they want to be closer to their families,” he said.
But he added that this season, the people in Guayanas capital are not interested in staying for the festival.
“There are no people coming here to stay.
They are here to see the people,” he added.
“The government doesn’t want to talk about this,” he explained.
“It’s a taboo topic, because the people are afraid.”
The country has one of El Dorados highest unemployment rates in the Caribbean, with around 30 per cent of the population unemployed.
However, for the photographers there, the festival is the perfect opportunity to make money.
In January, the Dominican government approved a budget of just $1,800 for the El Diaos festival.
But that money is not enough to cover the expenses of the event, said Lopez.
“If I could pay them, I could cover everything,” he laughed.
The people in El Diao are so grateful that they are willing to accept this kind of money, and have already started to pay for some essential goods, such as water bottles, according to the organisers.
The organisers of the festival have set up a social media account to encourage people to pay their hotel bill, and are working to encourage tourists to donate to local relief organizations.
And with the festival in full swing, many of the other festival photographers have also started to organise more activities, such the El Tiempo photography competition, where photographers have to shoot a series of photos in different locations, such a beach or a church, in a bid to win the coveted El Tiemo prize.
The prize has been won by one photographer who took his entire family to the beach in the capital city of Santo Domingo in 2015, to photograph a picture of a baby that was born to his grandmother.
But this year, he won only $5,000.
And he says that he has no plans to use the money.
“We don’t want this money to go to charity,” he insisted.
“No matter how many times I try to say I want to give back, I don’t have