Author Archives: BPSOP

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Backlight & Silhouettes


There was a time on Inle Lake, Myanmar where the fishermen really did use cone-shaped nets you and where they did in fact move around their long narrow boats in a somewhat acrobatic fashion, but today that ‘old way’ of fishing has been exchanged for the much wider cast of the gill net.

Yet, a number of the ‘old guard’ anticipate the afternoon arrival of tourists like my students and myself, and as the sun starts to set, they put themselves in a position to ‘perform’ and near sunset the performance takes on a more hurried performance, and soon we are witness to a crescendo of movements that are mindful of a ballet performance.

While seated in our long boat, my students and myself, jockey for position, backs bent over and arms outstretched with cameras in hand near the waters edge. We are also afforded the opportunity to direct our subjects in so far as requesting them to row closer, or move left or right or lean back or forward.

Shooting them against the strong backlight of the sun results in countless silhouettes, due to the rapid fire of our cameras motor drive, (CH) and as they move about we are afforded numerous starbursts, as the sun peaks out from behind their dance, starbursts that are made possible because we are using F/22.

And finally, the sun still has 25 minutes before it sets behind the mountains, and there is minimal color in the sky, so how did I capture the GOLDEN SUNSET light, 25 minutes BEFORE the golden sunset light appears? I set my WB to 10,000K and voila, the GOLDEN SUNSET light magically appeared. You keep shooting!

NikonD500, Nikkor 18-300mm, F/22@1/320 sec. 200 ISO…(extra tip: DO NOT USE ANY FILTERS, NOT EVEN UV HAZE/SKYLIGHT FILTERS as this will risk lens flare when shooting into the sun.)

You Keep Shooting,

-BPSOP Founder – Bryan F Peterson

Bryan Teaches:

Understanding Exposure & Your DSLR

Understanding Color, Seeing Color & Composing Color

Understanding Close-Up Photography

Mastering Nikon Flash Photography

The Art of Seeing

Understanding Composition

Sometimes the Magic Works


Sometimes the magic works. On this dark, somber windy morning in Vik, Iceland, the weather and light opened the door to motion-filled opportunities i.e. slow shutter speeds such as 1/2 and 1/4 second were readily available, particularly with low ISO’s and small apertures. Of course, a tripod would be needed as this would allow me to record a razor sharp image of the rocks, while at the same time record the ‘dance’ taking place in front of the rocks.

But since you can’t control the ‘dance’, (waves or the wind) you resign yourself to the act of “pray and spray”, and out of 113 shots, over the course of a mere 10 minutes, I managed to record four images that I felt best expressed this morning’s inclement weather. I liked how the sky and wave appear to be in sync. (In order to elevate the mood of the weather on this cold morning, I set a custom WB between Tungsten/Incandescent and Fluorescent which accounts for the somewhat blue cast seen in this mono-chromatic image.
Nikon D500, Nikkor 18-300mm, at 300mm, (effective focal length 450mm)
F20@1/2 sec. ISO 50.

You Keep Shooting,

-BPSOP Founder – Bryan F Peterson

Bryan Teaches:

Understanding Exposure & Your DSLR

Understanding Color, Seeing Color & Composing Color

Understanding Close-Up Photography

Mastering Nikon Flash Photography

The Art of Seeing

Understanding Composition

Choosing Your White Balance


Having the option to change/choose the WB, at ant given moment is probably my second most liked feature of shooting digitally. (Changing ISO, from one shot to the next if I desire, is my favorite feature; this coming of course from a guy who shot film for 30+ years.) It was around 2pm on this 93 degree July day in Lyon, France, and with my WB set to the Daylight setting, the image looked exactly as it should; a scene of kids playing in the fountains at mid-day. (See this image in comments section)

However, I wanted to create the warmth of the 93 degree day, and so I chose to manually set a ‘custom’ WB of almost 9,000 Kelvin and without question this resulted in a much ‘warmer’ golden image.


In so far as overall exposure, easy stuff; F/22 for front to back sharpness, and needing also a freezing action shutter speed of a 1/1000 sec, I chose 640 ISO, and as I metered for the strong backlight I adjusted my shutter speed until a 1/1250 sec indicated a -2/3rds exposure. With the camera in CH Motor Drive Mode, I just fired at will, at those times when I felt my overall composition was one of an active and filled frame. 

You Keep Shooting,

-BPSOP Founder – Bryan F Peterson

Bryan Teaches:

Understanding Exposure & Your DSLR

Understanding Color, Seeing Color & Composing Color

Understanding Close-Up Photography

Mastering Nikon Flash Photography

The Art of Seeing

Understanding Composition

Manipulated Image


Most of us are familiar with the saying, “When a tree falls in the woods, and there is no one there to hear it fall, does the tree make a sound?” Well, here is a ‘similar’ question, but first the background story. On this particular morning a few weeks ago, outside Haines, Alaska, I SAW a bear cub, sitting right on this rock, and about 10 meters away, his Mom and two siblings were in the shallows of the river feasting on salmon.

But, let’s be clear, the wide angle shot you see here was initially photographed WITHOUT the bear cub anywhere close by (for reasons that should be obvious) and only later that morning, while shooting from the safety of my car, I was able to take a moderately wide angle shot of a bear cub sitting on a different rock. Upon returning home, and through the ‘magic’ of PS, I was able to drop that bear cub onto the same rock which I had seen him sitting upon earlier that morning.

And now to my question; If I ‘move’ a bear from one rock to another in the name of ‘art’ and I don’t make a sound about doing it, is anyone hurt by this ‘lie’? I have very strong feelings about ‘manipulated’ images, “Just because I can, does not mean I should, but when I do, you’ll be in the know.” Okay, now you know how I feel. How about you?

Nikon D500, Nikkor 18-300mm, at 21mm, F/22@1/30 second, 200 ISO.

You Keep Shooting,

-BPSOP Founder – Bryan F Peterson

Bryan Teaches:

Understanding Exposure & Your DSLR

Understanding Color, Seeing Color & Composing Color

Understanding Close-Up Photography

Mastering Nikon Flash Photography

The Art of Seeing

Understanding Composition

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  • "I’ve taken quite a few online classes on different things and this group has been so wonderful-and Bryan and Chris, all I can say is WOW! I’ve learned more in this class than I could have possibly imagined. Your teamwork is great-all questions answered and all photos critiqued both honestly and gently in a very timely manner." Read More
    Betsy Understanding Exposure
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