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