Welcome to my Ethiopia Studio!

21687936_10215289094131439_3934708581853579206_nWhen you literally ‘move-in’ with the Hamer and Karo tribes of SE Ethiopia, it should come as no surprise that you find yourself in a constant position to create great shots.

Over the course of four days, my seven students and I set up camp in the villages of both of these tribes and on one of those afternoons with the Hamer tribe, we set up a portable studio, outdoors, against the north facing wall of a crumbling schoolhouse. (More about my hope to build a new schoolhouse in an upcoming post!)
We set up a portable studio, consisting of two nikon strobes, one front facing, into an umbrella, and the other, was placed behind the subject with an amber gel to create a hair and rim light. Finally, a black cotton long sleeve shirt that belonged to one of my students, Jeannie Griggs, was hung in the background. No doubt about it; an improvised studio to say the least but further proof that a simple portable makeshift studio is worth packing on your next outing!

Soon word went out into the surrounding hillsides and valleys that a photo studio was ‘open for business’ and the normally empty village of mid-day was soon crowded as both men and women put work aside and came in from the nearby Sorghum and Corn fields to get their portrait taken AND each was also given an Instant Print. The excitement and the lines of willing subjects that formed around the makeshift studio was akin to an IPhone release!

There were many favorites taken by all of us that afternoon, but this one is perhaps my most favorite of all!

Nikon D810, Nikkor 24-120mm, F/8@1/250 second, 50 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

The Question is Not What You Look at, But What You See

Over the course of my commercial photography career, Henry David Thoreau, perhaps unknowingly, played a role in many of my advertising campaigns. I tagged many of my ads with his comment, “The question is not what you look at but what you see.”

I was reminded of this once again in my most recent trip to Myanmar this past February while visiting a small village north of Bagan.

I was initially drawn to the woman you see here because of her ‘unusual and beautiful blue eyes’, blue eyes that I would learn later were actually cataracts.
She was quick to say that she could ‘see’ but that her vision was always cloudy, a bit diffused. I volunteered that perhaps her vision was akin to seeing life through a soft-focus filter, where everyone looked “angel-like, almost heavenly” and she was quick to say that “long before my cataracts, I always saw everyone as angels, gifts from Bhudda!”

Like Thoreau said, the question is NOT what we look at but what we see!

Side note:
The red/yellow background you see here, was initially a folded blanket sitting atop a nearby basket. With permission, my guide, along with the aid of this woman’s daughter, hung the blanket in the background. The woman was sitting on a bench, in an area of open shade, just out of the sun’s reach. Directly on the ground in front of the woman, the bright golden sand, lit up by the sun overhead, acted much like a golden reflector, casting its wonderful softened glow across the woman’s face.
From a distance of about three meters, and with the Nikon D500 and 18-300mm, I zoomed to around 220mm and shot the frame filling composition you see here at F/6.3 @ 1/250 sec.

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

Using the Map Module in Lightroom

Map Camera Lens!

As a landscape and travel photographer, it is important to be able to track where you have traveled and exactly where a specific picture was taken. Sound complicated? Well, not really if you have a smartphone and a digital SLR.

We recently returned from giving a photographic workshop in Iceland and while we are pretty familiar with the geography of the country, it’s another thing altogether to remember the complicated names of the Icelandic language. That’s where Lightroom’s mapping program comes in.

Capturing GPS Coordinates

If you have a digital SLR that already has a built-in GPS unit, you’re one step ahead of the game. It will automatically recognize the location where you took your pictures. Once you have imported your images into Lightroom, all you need to do is open up the map module and all of your pictures with their locations will be there for you as shown below.

Iceland GPS

There are a few other ways to collect GPS information from a camera if you don’t have the built-in option. There are GPS accessories that plug into the hot shoe of your camera which will automatically add EXIF data to your photo files. This data usually consists of the file name, folder location, city, GPS coordinates, date and time captured. You can also capture this information automatically with your smartphone.

If you take a picture with your smartphone and a picture with your digital SLR at the same time, you can use the smartphone picture as your base for your GPS coordinates. Once you have made note of the location the smartphone picture was taken in the map module, you can drag and drop your images taken with your SLR to the same location on the map, and the GPS coordinates will automatically be updated.

Here’s the process: Import your smartphone picture to Lightroom and then open up the map module. You should see your smartphone picture on the map at the precise location you took it. Now, go back to your collection of digital SLR images from the same location. Highlight the ones you would like to tag with the same GPS information that is located in your smartphone picture. Navigate to the map module, and drag that selection of images over to the exact location the smartphone picture was taken. Like magic, the digital SLR images will now have the same EXIF information as the smartphone picture.

In Conclusion

What a great tool for the landscape and travel photographer! As GPS gets more and more advanced, it will be included in more and more cameras and make this process little easier. But for now, using your smartphone to document your location like this is fun and easy to use and adds another handy element to your photo toolbox.

Give it a try on your next trip!

If you would like to learn more about Lightroom and it’s great features for photo editing and organization, take my next Lightroom Quick Start course with BPSOP

BPSOP Instructor – Holly Higbee-Jansen

HollyHolly Higbee-Jansen is photographer, trainer, blogger, and workshop leader who enjoys teaching and the creative process. Her passions include teaching photography workshops in beautiful locations in California, Iceland, Costa Rica and the American West with her husband Mark. Holly also teaches online classes on Lightroom, Photoshop and photographic technique. Get Holly’s Free E-Book on “Landscape Photography and the Light and find out about her newest workshops at Jansen Photo Expeditions.com.

Reach Holly by email at hhjphoto@gmail.com and read her blog at JansenPhotoExpeditions.com/Blog

Holly Teaches:

iPhone Photography
In this class, we will introduce you to the magic of iPhone photography using several shooting and editing apps that will give you the ability to make your pictures sing in a fun and easy way.You will learn how to crop, change saturation, brightness and affect the overall look of your pictures with HDR, drama and grunge filters and other techniques. You will be amazed at the simple and effective methods.


Lightroom Quickstart


Do you want to learn to create images that show the beauty of the scene you saw when you took the photograph? Do you want to learn the other essential side of digital photography, photo editing and get up to speed quickly?

This course is designed to get you up and running FAST in this incredibly powerful program. In this two week information packed class, you will learn how to import, organize and perform simple and effective editing processes that will let you produce beautiful adjustments to your pictures.


For a complete list of Holly’s current workshops go to:

Jansen Photo Expeditions – JansenPhotoExpeditions.com

Holly’s Blog: http://jansenphotoexpeditions.com/blog

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Jansenphotoexpeditions

Instagram – http://instagram.com/photographyexplorations

YouTube – youtube.com/c/Jansenphotoexpeditions

500px – https://500px.com/hhjphoto

Quick Photo Tip: Stop, Look & Listen

hand-with-sunglasses-1-333x500I’m guessing that most of you have heard this saying, but how many know its origin? There have been films with this title, numerous songs sung by an assortment of people, and even a game show, but it was originally a slogan made up for a pedestrian safety campaign in the UK.

I recently saw it written somewhere and immediately though of a photo I took at a flea market in Paris a million years ago with my fellow photographers that were taking my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet. To this day I still think about it when I go out street shooting or mention it to the students that take my BPSOP online classes; unfortunately my pet dinosaur didn’t survive the asteroid like I did.

I digress!

Ok, let’s talk about each word and how in the hell it could possibly relate to the art of “making” interesting pictures. To make it easier to explain my thought process, let’s use these words as they narrate the photo above.

STOP: While walking around looking for interesting subject matter and how said subjects interacted with the light (light is everything), I immediately stopped when I saw these sunglasses and the way the light was dancing on them. They seemed to be sparkling, and as I slightly moved from left to right different parts of the sunglasses were in what is known as “The Law of the Light”, and would glow.

I knew that I had one piece of the puzzle and needed a couple more pieces to make a visually interesting photo…one that would also tell a story; I decided it was worth hanging around.

LOOK: As I was standing there I observed several people walking by giving an occasional glance to the sunglasses but weren’t interested enough to stop. I thought that if I would just be patient and wait long enough I might just get lucky and add another piece to the puzzle; and perhaps complete the work of art I was beginning to form in my mind. I was looking for just the right person.

LISTEN: My patience was rewarded as a couple of women stopped and began studying the rows of sunglasses. I non-nonchalantly moved closer to put myself in a position to capture whatever might happen next, while listening to their conversation. They were asking each other which pair they liked and one of them (the one not in the photo) pointed to a single pair.

At that moment I brought my little Lumix DMC-LX5 up to my chest ( in crowded places my small Lumix is more discreet) so it would be closer to my eye just in case I got lucky, and when you get lucky be ready. The other woman reached out her hand and pointed to the pair she liked, and when she did I grabbed the shot. I was ready for it!!!

-BPSOP Instructor: Joe Baraban

Joe Teaches:

Stretching Your Frame of Mind I 

Stretching Your Frame of Mind II

Translate »