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

Creating a sense of place: Case Study #11

This post is one in a series on how to create a sense of place.



Next time you’re taking photos on holiday or during a celebration, include detail shots to flesh out your story. Details shots, when added together with photos of people, help show the mood of your scene.

Have a look at the images in these two case studies. They are variations on the same theme, taken in the same location.

post_11A_sq post_11B_sq

Do you see how each image is different from the rest yet is obviously part of a series? The secret is variation. Now imagine these images as part of a larger series that includes people. Can you see how having a variety of images of the surroundings helps create a sense of place?

Each images is a single idea. By combining several, a story is created.


  1. Vary the camera angle in each shot. Shoot up, down, out, across, or through a subject.
  2. Frame your subject tightly to omit clutter. Reveal part of the subject.



Amazing Travel Photos Made Easy

Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 1

Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 2

Photography Essentials

No post processing skills necessary for any of Brit’s courses.


Amazing Travel Photos Made EasyAmazing Travel Photos Made Easy teaches you how to create a collection of images that not only documents your holiday but that conveys how it felt to be there.

This course focuses on the creative side of photography and emphasizes getting all your shots in-camera.

You’ll learn how to get amazing travel photos using any kind of camera!



Get your camera to finally do what you want!

Do you want to take better pictures but don’t know where to start? Or have you been photographing for a while, but the results are hit and miss?

Everything is explained simply and clearly. This easy to follow course is designed to grow your confidence and skill.

Even if you’ve been photographing for a while, Photography Essentials will help you get great shots consistently.


Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 1Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 1 gets you started photographing how you want your life to look and what you want more of in your life.

Ever wonder if the craziness of your life is, indeed, worth celebrating? The answer is a resounding YES!

Start taking images that that look like they came out of a glossy magazine.

This course focuses on the creative side of photography. You’ll learn how to capture images of your everyday life in a fresh and exciting way.

Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 2Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 2 takes you further by focusing on capturing the essence of your loved ones — think about the little things that you’ll always remember, such as how they hold their favorite coffee mug in their hands!

Do you wish you had images of your loved ones that capture who they are as a person? What about a series of images that portray your life as nicely as a wedding photographer portrays a wedding?

Get ready to have fun creating lifestyle photos that you can’t wait to share with your friends and family.

This course delves into creative ways to capture even mundane moments and beautifully photograph even camera-shy loved ones. They’ll finally stop saying they don’t like seeing themselves in photos!

Get a taste of how Brit will work with you.

You can also work with Brit privately

Mentoring: Schedule a live session with Brit via Skype

Get a private image video review: Private Video Image Reviews

Find out about all of Brit’s courses, including Photographing Fine Art & Craft

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

Find beauty all around you

Beauty is everywhere, but can you see it?

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.” – Ashley Smith


It’s too easy to take for granted the innate beauty all around us: the flowers, trees, and blue skies. But what if you slowed down and really looked…

What if you pulled over off the highway to watch a beautiful sunset?
What if you took the time to feel the warm sunshine on your skin?
What if you listened to the sound of birds chirping?

What would your life be like then?

Life becomes manageable when you slow down. It ceases to feel rushed, overwhelming, and hectic.

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharlal Nehru


When you slow down, you begin to use all of your senses: sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell.

Fresh strawberries taste better when you slow down long enough to smell them. Food is more nourishing when enjoyed fully. The same goes with any other experience.

What do you want your life experience to be? What do you want it to look like?

Find and see the beauty all around you, and your life changes for the better.

“Beauty awakens the soul to act.” – Dante Alighieri


What students say about Brit’s teaching:

“I’ve taken many classes. With the way Brit taught and explained things, I finally said, ‘I get it’. She made me enjoy taking photographs.”

“I have taken quite a few courses offered by BPSOP and learned so much from each one of them. All of your teachers are stellar. Brit Hammer’s class and method of critiquing took me to another level, and I am so appreciative. The video format and her commitment and energy she puts into her students’ work is inspiring and makes you want to work that much harder to utilize her suggestions for improving your photographs.” – Patricia Tedeschi – Galarneau (Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images)

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  • "I have had so much fun learning exposure from you guys. Learning is one thing, but gaining the confidence in your abilities is also very important. Through your teachings, Q&A area, and critical evaluations, I have not only learned, but have truly gained confidence in shooting. Thanks! You guys are the best!" Read More
    Sandi Understanding Exposure
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