Sunday, November 29, 2009

PADF: The Pan American Development Foundation:

Over the last 8 years I’ve done quite a bit of work for The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), shooting for them in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Cuba, so I’m going to take this opportunity to highlight them in my blog today.
PADF is a non-government humanitarian aid organization that works to empower disadvantaged people and communities in Latin America and the Caribbean to achieve sustainable economic and social progress, strengthen their communities and civil society, and prepare for and respond to natural disasters and other humanitarian crises.
Haiti is the poorest country in this hemisphere and being so close to the USA, one would think we would hear more about it than we do. In Haiti, PADF does everything from promoting agricultural development, to building rural infrastructure, implementing soil conservation, and supporting agro-forestry and improved watershed management. They also work to improve public sanitation, and have a program designed to improve border relations with the Dominican Republic. In April PADF received a $1.1 million dollar grant to expand their work there.
In Colombia PADF has two primary areas of focus; internally displaced persons and former coca growers. PADF provides humanitarian assistance, job training and placement, and related services including health, education, and basic sanitation. Here’s a short slideshow I made about their program to help incenitivize coca farmers to grow non-illicit crops.
A diverse organization with great people and great programs, PADF is one of those organizations that doesn’t get enough attention in the media, so I’m hoping you take the time to check them out, and perhaps pass this info along.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Packing for a trip:

People often ask what supplies and equipment I take with me on my travels. So, here we go…I’m going to break it down for you into three parts. The following describes absolutely everything that I bring on a trip, down to the smallest item. This list is the result of a re-examination of the contents of my bags at the end of each trip, and eliminating any unused item. It doesn’t matter if I’m traveling for two weeks or four months; I always pack only the followin items.

First let’s examine my “checked luggage”. It contains all my clothes, toiletries, and non-essential photography gear. Starting at my feet and working up….1 pair Lowa Tempest hiking shoes. 1 pair flip flops, 2 pairs of ankle length socks, one belt, 3 pairs of Kuhl Jeans , 1 pair of Levi’s 560 comfort fit, 25% poly 75% cotton jeans (this is the one indulgence I grant myself…there is nothing better or more comfortable than a pair of good ole’ American-made, Levis). Next, 6 pairs of underwear, two Coolmax T-shirts, 2 hats, 1 pair nylon running shorts, which can double as a swim suit, 2 Eagle Creek Leg Stash money holders, a dozen plastic zip ties, a few rubber bands, a blower to clean my cameras, 4 extra AA batteries and charger, 1 extra AAA battery, electrical adapters, my Canon Mark II battery charger with 2 extra camera batteries, a Pac-Safe security net and four Snickers bars. All of these items are packed into 3 "packing cubes", two small and one medium.

Next let’s look at my toiletries, they include toothpaste, tooth brush, cortizone cream, triple antibiotic ointment, deodorant, chapstick, tums, razor and shaving cream, sunblock, nail clippers, dental floss, a Leatherman Mico tool, scissors, a flashlight and eseential medications packed in mini zip-lock pill containers which you can purchase at most drug stores.

All of the above items are packed into a Eagle Creek Hovercraft 25, which, when full, weighs 26.6 lbs, or just under 12 kg. I've never paid over-weight charges, even on small regional carriers, many of whom limit checked baggage to 15kg.

Next is my carry-on backpack. It contains my laptop computer and power supply, passport, passport sized photos, cell phone & charger, Ipod Touch with earphones and USB cable, Ambien sleeping pills, ear plugs, two Sharpie markers (one fine point, one medium point), and the guide book(s) for the country or countries that I am traveling to.

Finally, let's take a look at my camera gear. It all goes into my Think Tank belt system: 2 beat up, old, Canon Mark II bodies, a Canon 16-35 f 2.8, a Canon 70-200 f 2.8, Canon 580 EX flash, SanDisk CF Cards, flash memory sticks, external hard drive, reflectors, micro-fiber cloth, brush, press pass and Sony voice recorder.

In my pockets I carry , a Zebra F301 compact pen, chapstick, cash and a Moleskine, Cahier writing pad.

That’s it, that’s everything…nothing more, nothing less.

For more details please visit the "equipment reviews" section of my website.

Bon voyage!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cambodia: 30 Years After the Genocide:

Cambodia has a special place in my heart. I work there often, shooting stories for my NGO clients and also visit as part of an annual photo tour I lead. So, I always log on to the Phnom Penh Post to see what's up and check on news about the ongoing trial of those responsible for Cambodia's genocide in the mid to late 1970's. Today's news was that prosecutors in the trial of a former Khmer Rouge prison chief asked a U.N.-backed Cambodian court Wednesday to sentence Kaing Guek Eav, known as "Duch", to 40 years in prison for his role in the torture and deaths of thousands of his fellow Cambodians during the communist Khmer Rouge regime's rule from 1975 to 1979.

As part of my photo tour, I visit Toul Sleng Memorial and Choeung ek (the killing fields) and over the years I have shot many images of S-21 prison the skulls at Choeung ek. I keep telling myself I need to put together photo story about it and post it to my website. Perhaps writing that here in my blog will light a fire under my butt to do it. Anyway,  Toul Sleng (S21) prison, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia is the site is a former high school which was used as a prison, interrogation and tourture center by the Khmer Rouge regime. Tuol Sleng in Khmer; means "Hill of the Poisonous Trees" or "Strychnine Hill".

From 1975 to 1979, an estimated 17,000 people were imprisoned at Tuol Sleng (some estimates suggest a number as high as 20,000, though the real number is unknown). At any one time, the prison held between 1,000-1,500 prisoners. They were repeatedly tortured and coerced into naming family members and close associates, who were in turn arrested, tortured and killed. 

So, today, with Cambodia's genocide trial in the news, I thought it would be a good idea to make a post and encourage all of you to learn more about Cambodia's dark past. As with Auschwitz and Rwanda...everyone always will never happen again...let's hope it doesn't.

Two final notes, those interested in photojournalism and a photographic record of Cambodian history, I share this.....Last week, while in Bankgok waiting for my flight home, I was perusing a bookstore and saw a new book by Roland Nuveu entitled The Fall of Phnom Penh. The book contains Roland's images of the invasion of Phnom Pehn and I found it fascinating.

And, to see a story I did for Zuma Press, entitled "Cambodia's New Killing Fields" click here
Have a happy Thanksgiving.....and please do take a moment to reflect upon just what that means for us.... in this country we have a lot to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Philippines: Massacre in Mindanao

Yesterday I blogged about my work documenting human trafficking in The Philippines, and today I woke to news about a masacre in Mindanao. To say the least, I was saddened to hear about the recent violence there.

News agencies report that more than 45 people were killed in the remote town of Datu Abdullah Sanki in Maguindanao.According to reports,100 armed men believed to be supporters of the vice-mayor's political opponent attacked a convoy on their way to register the candidacy of the Vice-Mayor for the gubernatorial post in the coming 2010 elections.

For decades, elections in Mindanao have been fraught with problems of violence and fraud. My recent assignment with the Asia Foundation was to document the work they are doing to help facilitate violence free elections.

While in Mindanao, I accompanied The Asia Foundation's staff on a meeting with commanders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in their heavily guarded encampment, near Cotabato. The Asia Foundation is working with MILF to try to broker a peace agreement among the conflicting factions. (Today the MILF issued a statement condemning the recent killings).

I also documented several pre-election seminars, which The Asia Foundation was conducting, aimed at preemptively mitigating election violence.

The situation in Mindanao is complex, with many political and religious groups all vying for position and power.  Organizations like The Asia Foundation play a key role in helping to remedy this volatile situation by bringing key players together and encouraging dialog, but unfortunately, despite their best peace building efforts, tragedies like today's incident, still occur.

With the international spotlight now temporarily on Mindanao, I hope that more international attention will be paid, and perhaps additional strides will be made to help this troubled region.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Human Trafficking

I've recently returned from four months worth of assignments and people have been asking me what types of stories I was shooting for my NGO clients (Non-Government Organizations). So, why not use the blog to explain.....In August I was in the Philippines working for two different NGOs one for a story revolving around the conflict between the Philippine government and Muslim insurgency groups, Abu Sayyaf and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The other story was a documentation of the Human Trafficking problem.

Human trafficking is big business in the Philippines. Men, women, and girls are trafficked for labor and sexual exploitation to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, South Africa, North America, and Europe. The government and NGOs estimate the number of women trafficked to range from 300,000 to 400,000 and the number of children trafficked range from 60,000 to 100,000.

My client, The Asia Foundation supports halfway houses in the ports of Manila and Davao. The halfway houses provide services to intercepted victims of trafficking, including temporary shelter, repatriation, referral, and telephone hotline counseling.

Among the many people I photographed and interviewed was this young girl who escaped from her "employer". With the help of an information leaflet that she found on a ferry boat (a leaflet distributed by The Asia Foundation), she was able to reach a halfway house where she found food, shelter, counseling and financial assistance, giving her the ability to return to her village.

This is the kind of shoot that keeps me motivated....if I can help The Asia Foundation get the word out , perhaps this program will be able to continue and even expand, and there will be more success stories, like this one.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Last night, while driving home, I saw a man in the median holding a cardboard sign which read "Homeless Veteran: Need Money, Please Help". I immediately though about a family that I encountered in Myanmar two months ago.

Since I travel extensively in the developing world I've grown accustomed  to people asking for "donations". I usually give to those people who are obviously disabled in some way, for example mine victims in Cambodia, club footed people in India, and/or those in makeshift wheelchairs; because in most developing countries, services for these people is severely lacking.

Anyway, while in a Burmese market, photographing vegetable vendors, I saw a woman with two disheveled children watching me. I noticed that her tiny, skeletal body was visibly trembling and there was this terrible look of desperation in her eyes. The woman looked at me but said nothing.. It was immediately obvious to me that she was in serious need,. I stopped shooting and just looked back at her. There is something terribly visceral when you see this kind of look in another human being's eyes, and I thought to myself, my god, in this country, with virtually no social services, life must be incredibly difficult for her.

Not knowing what to do, and since she wasn't asking me for anything, I looked at her children and then back at her, smiling as if to, your children are beautiful, then I motioned with my camera as if to say "can I take a photo?" reaction..... I bent down near the two children and using the screen on my digital camera, showed them a photo I had just taken of the vegetable seller just across the aisle. The children both smiled, as children do when they see something interesting and new. Next using my wide lens, I snapped a quick headshot of the two children and showed them... their faces lit up with smiles. With a bit of rapport established and some sign language, I communicated that we should go over to a colorful old truck that was parked just a few yards away. She and the children followed.

I made a photo of the three of them and then a few more photos of the kids standing in front of the truck. Then I reached down with both hands and lifted the little girl up and placed her on the seat of the truck. To my surprise and horror, she was light as a feather and as I lifted her I could feel every rib in her tiny little chest.  I thought to myself, this child has got to get some food! After a few minutes of making and sharing pictures of the children, I smiled at the mother, folded my hands in the Asian "wai" meaning " thank you" and "I respect you". She looked back at me and in her eyes, I could once again see her terrible sense of desperation. Reaching into my pocket, I grabbed some Burmese Kyats and as I shook her hand to say goodbye, I transferred the money into her palm.

For the rest of the day, I couldn't stop thinking about her and her situation. I wondered what her life must be like and how she survives..and what she must feel, being responsible for her two children. Now I regret that I didn't do more for her. I should have purchased a few kilos of rice or something that would help sustain her and the children for a few days.

Since my encounter with this poor Burmese woman and her two children, whenever I see a homeless person with a sign here in the USA, I'm reminded of her and I wonder how she is doing.

No, I didn't give anything to the guy I saw last night, or others who hold signs and stand in the median here at home. I'm confident that they get enough to eat (and smoke and drink). It's those who are truly desperate that I wish we could do more to help.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My Experience with the new Cotton Carrier Holster System

For the longest time, I've been looking for a "waist/holster" camera carrying system that would allow me to carry my cameras "naked", allowing immediate, easy access. Last July, prior to leaving for four month's worth of assignments in Asia, I spoke with Andy Cotton, the inventor of the Cotton Carrier. Andy was launching a camera carrying system for photographers working in what I'll call, highly active situations. The system is designed to be worn as a chest harness and has an optional second "holster" which can be added. Andy and I talked and agreed that I would field test his Cotton Carrier system. Andy tried to convince me to use the chest harness, but I told him I was only interested in the "second holster". Anyway, I persisted and Andy agreed to send me just 2 bare holsters without the chest harness.

I applied the two holsters to my Think Tank Speed belt and gave the "hybrid" combination of Cotton Carrier Holsters and Think Tank Steroid Speed Belt a field test while leading my India photo tour. I also asked one of my tour guests, Peter Fay a well known San Diego based photographer try it out.  Peter is a retired engineer.

Shown below is Peter with his Canon MarkII and 70-200 f2.8 lens hanging in the Cotton Carrier Holster, mounted on a Think Tank Steroid Speed Belt, similar to how I used it.

During the trip, I also ran into Nevada Weir and the National Geographic photo tour group, and low and behold, one of the members of her group was using the Cotton Carrier System! Vicki Athens, a podiatrist and professional photographer from Michigan, was using Andy Cotton's 2-camera set up. Vicki says it's the best camera carrying system she had ever used! Shown below is Vicki with a local Sadhu at Gadisar Lake, near Jaisalmer in Rajasthan.

The Cotton Carrier system is a great way to get the heavy load of camera gear off of your neck and into a position where your cameras are safe, stable and readily available at a moment's notice. The chest harness system that Andy suggests accomplishes all these things. My "aftermarket" application of the Cotton holsters in combination with the Think Tank Steroid Speedbelt worked OK, but I found that the holster, when placed on the Think Tank belt, resulted in my camera hanging too low (Andy had warned me of this, which is why he encouraged me to use the chest harness set up). That being said,  I really did like the fact that I had the weight of my camera off of my shoulder and was ready for instant use (quick draw), from my hip. Below, you can ssee Andy's photo of the "second holster" in use and Andy wearing the 2-camera set up.
In summary, the Cotton Carrier is a well made, innovative system for active photographers who need a stable, quick-release camera carrying system. Learn more about the Cotton Carrier and watch Andy's instructional videos at the Cotton Carrier website.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

David duChemin's Visionmongers Book Released

I'm sifting through mail that has accumulated since my departure in July (it's hard to believe, I had been on the road nearly 4 months!)...anyway, David interviewed me back in June and included my story in his newest book: VisionMongers. Visionmongers is about Making a Life and Living in Photography.
The book is peppered with inspirational and real-world case studies from photographers from various disciplines, including: Chase Jarvis, Kevin Clark, Gavin Gough, Zack Arias,Dave Delnea and, yours truly.

As encouraging as it is realistic, VisionMongers is about making a life and a living in photography.

David is a great guy, with a seemingly endless energy for photography and writing. If you have not already seen it, check out his blog. In my opinion David's blog the best photo blog on the net. I read it weekly for inspiration. see

Back in San Diego after 4 months on the road: Catching up on correspondence.

I've been back in San Diego for two days now but my body is still on Asia time, so I'm up all night and falling asleep at mid day. The generic Ambien tablets that I bought in Delhi are helping but as usual, it will take a few weeks for me to readjust.

With plenty of coffee, and little desire for sleep, I'm catching up on correspondence. My friend, John Cantrell, Editor of Town and Country Magazine with whom I worked earlier this year, on a story about Cambodia's Angkor Hospital for Children, just informed me that our story, entitled "Opening The Way" was awarded Honorable Mention yesterday, in New York, at the min’s Editorial & Design Awards.

I'm delighted that the story is getting additional media attention because Angkor Hospital has a special place in my heart. If you have not had a chance to read the story please have a look here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bodhgaya India

Bodhgaya, Bihar, India. It's here that Buddha attained enlightenment...I'm trying to attain it too, but it doesn't seem to be working. I am here shooting for Pathfinder International. Pathfinder began working here in 1999 to advance the reproductive health needs of underserved and vulnerable populations. Today I was photographing a (FCA)Female Change Agent, meeting with a young mother to discuss family planning and contraception. For more info about pathfinder visit In a few days I will head back to Delhi, then to Bangkok and has been a long 4 months on the road!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

India Photo Tour: Varanasi extension

Varanasi is the most holy city in Hinduism, being one of the most sacred pilgrimage places for Hindus of all denominations. More than 1,000,000 pilgrims visit the city each year. Hindus believe that bathing in Ganga forgives sins and ensures release from the cycle of reincarnation. While many photographic opportunities exist along the river, this morning, I chose to walk along one of Varanasi's many small winding streets. I came across a group of bicycle rickshaw drivers. Using two thirds of a stop of under exposure and positioning myself so that I had a clutter free, monochromatic, medium-dark background, I made this shot of one of the driver's feet resting on the seat of his rickshaw. Ah...India, and its endless stream of photographic possibilities!

We're heading back to New Delhi today as the trip comes to an end. Many are heading home, others stay in Delhi for a few, I'm off to an NGO assignment in Bihar, India's poorest state.

It has been another fantastic India adventure! Thanks for coming along and thanks reading the blog. Happy shooting out there wherever your camera takes you and I hope to see you on another of our tours in the very near future.

India Photo Tour: Varanasi extension

Tonight we took a fantastic sunset cruise on the Ganges. First we paddled down river to the main burning ghats to observe the amazing spectacle of Hindu cremation ceremonies. Every day approximately 300 bodies are cremated here. Photography of the cremations is not allowed, but we will have the images forever in our minds.

After leaving the burning ghats, we had one of the many flower seller girls pose for us on the front of our boat. Her name is Shivana, she's 10 years old. We surrounded her with lit candles combined with flowers in small bowls made from dried leaves. Shivana and other children sell these to be used by pilgrims as offerings which are set adrift in the Ganges. The combination of a beautiful child, the illumination by candle light, and the backdrop of Varanasi was incredible. This shot was made with my Canon Mark II set to 1600 ISO, using a 16-35 f2.8 lens. I chose auto white balance and under exposure of two thirds of a stop.

India Photo Tour: Varanasi extension

Walking the streets of this amazing city provides fantastic opportunities for photography. Sadhus (wandering holy men) abound here. We found this man sitting just steps from our hotel. After a brief chat he agreed to be photographed. The 67 year old man is from the state of Punjab and was formerly a school teacher.

India Photo Tour: Varanasi extension

We've arrived in Varanasi, India's holiest city, situated on the banks of the Ganges river. This morning we took a sunrise boat ride on the river. With a little bit of negative exposure compensation and my camera set to cloudy white balance I made this image of a boat full of Hindu pilgrims silhouetted against the rising sun. Later today we will walk the streets of this ancient city and try to capture some images out of the wonderful chaos that exists here.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

India Pushkar Fair PhotoTour: Vivien Rickaby

Three time Jim Cline Photo tour participant Vivien Rickaby of Cyprus made this wonderful portrait of a gypsy girl at the Pushkar Fair. Vivien can add this wonderful shot to her portfolio of images taken on her three different trips with us. Vivien and her husband John fist traveled with us to Peru, then to Southeast Asia and now India. The subject of Vivien's photo is Anita, a gypsy girl who I've known for years. Each year I find her at the fairgrounds and we hire her for an exclusive photo session on the dunes at sunset. Vivien released the shutter just as Anita tipped her head. She also selectively framed Anita off-center, leaving plenty of blank canvas to the right side of the frame. The resulting, perfectly balanced image is more than a great portrait, it's a masterpiece. As Vivien's husband John would say.... "splendid"!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Our India, Pushkar Photo Tour Group

Our group at the Amber Fort in Jaipur: Standing: left to right, Digvijay, Marcos, Tom, John, Michele and Alice. Sitting left to right, Liz, Vivien, Ayn, Caroline, Pete
Lying in front, Karl

Back Side of the Taj Mahal closed !

We arrived in Agra after our bus ride from Jaipur, checked into the hotel, refreshed ourselves and then headed to the back side of the Taj Mahal. The back side of the Taj Mahal is a little known spot, accessible via road, by driving around and through a very interesting Muslim neighborhood, or by hiring a boat just below the wall on the east side of the Taj Mahal. Unfortunately, when we arrived at our usual spot at the backside of the Taj Mahal we were greeted by several armed Indian army soldiers who informed us that we could not approach the Yamuna river to shoot sunset reflection shots. When DV, our guide asked them why access had been blocked, they said that the Indian Supreme Court had ordered that the back side of the Taj be sealed off for security reasons. The guards also explained that the boat, which one can hire, has been restricted to an area well to the east of the Taj Mahal, a position which doesn't offer good opportunities for photography. With no other option, we spent an hour or so making images from the riverbank, near the army encampment. Here's a shot of the Taj Mahal, looking through the razor wire at the point that we were stopped. Tonight we're going to try to hire the boat and get a bit closer, but for the time being, it looks like no one will be getting those amazing reflection shots that were once a key part of many savvy photographer's Taj Mahal experience.

India Pushkar Fair Photo Tour: Alice McKinnon

Alice McKinnon of Moose Jaw....I mean, Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada has an eye for composition. While walking under an archway leading into Jaisalmer Fort in Rajasthan, Alice paused just long enough to capture this compelling image of two men chatting. The dramatic lighting, combined with the patina of the crumbling sandstone wall makes for the perfect backdrop for this shot of two elderly Indian gentlemen. This image should bode well with the judges in your camera club...knock their socks off with this one!

India Pushkar Fair Photo Tour: Liz Bryan

Liz Bryan a writer and photographer from British Columbia, Canada captured this beautiful still life image of a pot against a wall in the "blue city" of Jodhpur.
Wherever we go, Liz returns with images that few other tour guest capture. Liz has a great eye for landscapes and still life imagery. Here, her use of dramatic lighting along with saturated color and a perfect composition, offers us a visual treat. Thanks to Liz for "seeing differently". Excellent work!

India Pushkar Fair Photo Tour: Peter Fay

My long time friend, Peter Fay of San Diego captured this stunning portrait of a man in a doorway in Jodhpur India. Peter will likely be adding this image to his upcoming India show at the Ordover Gallery in Solana Beach California. Pete is a veteran shooter and frequent Jim Cline Tour participant. He has traveled with us before, to Guatemala and Myanmar and always has a fantastic gallery opening a few months after returning home. Pete, we're looking forward to your India opening!

India Pushkar Fair Photo Tour: (by Blank)

(blank) of San Diego California spotted this bird perched on a motorcycle rear view mirror and captured a magnificent image. The tiny bird only paused for a few seconds but blank was quick to capture the instant that the bird noticed his own reflection. When blank is not traveling he shoots surfers on the California coast, so he's used to reacting quickly and catching the decisive moment. Nice job Blank! (photo and name removed by request )

Monday, November 02, 2009

Digvijay Magazine!

I rarely use Photoshop, but it sure comes in handy when you need to combine images and text. While driving from Jaipur to Agra Ayn Brown and I sat in the back of the bus and created a "Magazine" featuring our local India tour guide, Digvijay (DV for short).
I made the photograph of DV while he was leaning up against a wall at Amber Fort. He was in the shade with some wonderful bounce light illuminating him. The pose was so "GQ" that I had to get it. Using the text tool in Photoshop 7.0 (yes, I'm a bit behind on Photoshop upgrades) I overlaid some text to create what looks like a magazine cover. We presented DV with a printed copy, made a a local one hour photo store while we were enjoying a nice dinner. I think he really got a kick out of it!

Our Photo Tour Makes the Local Newspaper!

Jim Cline Photo Tours highlighted in the local newspaper! While shooting an impromptu sunrise ceremony at Gadisar lake near Jaisalmer, the local newspaper snapped this shot of Vivien Rickaby photographing a sadhu. The caption (in Hindi) reads “Smile for the camera”. Other group members visible in the photo include Pete Fay and Ayn Brown.

India Pushkar Fair Photo Tour: Caroline Villeneuve

Caroline Villeneuve of Bathurst, New brunswick, Canada, one of the novices in our group (and a very quick learner, I must say), immediately began to make many wonderful, interesting and evocative images. Here, Caroline captured three Rajasthani men sitting in a row. She positioned herself so that the three men were at an increasing distance from her lens, and by using a shallow depth of field, created a photograph with an amazing feeling of depth. Way to go Caroline, you've got the eye!

India Pushkar Fair Photo Tour: Michel Sirois

On our second morning at Pushkar Fair several tour guests decided to get up before dawn to photograph the Rajasthani tribal men sitting around the campfires and having their morning masala tea. We situated ourselves at an intersection of two foot paths near a busy tea shop and started panning everyone that walked past. Michel Sirois of Bathurst, New brunswick, Canada, captured this incredibly powerful image by panning with dead-on accuracy. The resulting picture evokes a tremendous feeling of motion. Bravo Michel!

India Pushkar Fair Photo Tour: Ayn Brown

This killer shot is by Ayn Brown of Johannesburg South Africa. Ayn captured this man smoking a chillum. By putting the subject off center and also framing the man's head and the smoke against the darkness of the window, Ayn took what could have been a good shot and made it an extraordinary image. Way to go Ayn!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

India Pushkar Photo Tour: John Rickaby

This fantstic shot by John Rickaby was made today at Amber Fort in Jaipur. John captured this image using an old Canon digital if you think using an outdated entry level digital SLR will hold you back; think again! It's the photographer rather then the camera that matters most. Great shot John!

India Pushkar Photo Tour: Tom Lehman

Everyone on the tour is getting such wonderful images I'm posting them for all to see. The first image I am posting is by Thomas (the bull) Lehman of New York. Tom's image reminds me of a Steve McCurry shot....dark, mysterious and utilizing a very shallow depth of field. Tom is know as "the bull" because nothing can stop him. Although he carries the most gear of any of the tour members, he's always the first to hike the extra mile in search of the perfect image and the last one to opt for a ride home. After an extremely long day trudging through deep sand at Pushkar Fair, Tom "the bull" declined the camel cart ride back to camp and continued shooting even after sunset. He returned to camp with full CF cards, looking as though he had just been on a short leisurely stroll to the corner market and back. Tom, where do you get all that energy? Bravo to Tom for this incredible photo!

India Pushkar Fair Photo Tour update

Just a quick update on our tour. We're in Jaipur now having just left the Pushkar fair. Our group of ten is having a great time. While in Jaisalmer we were working on sillouettes during our evening camel safari to the Khuri Dunes. Every one in our group got some great images. Here's an example I shot using my Canon EOS 1D Mark II set at cloudy white balance and minus 1 exposure compensation. Other tour participants have shots just like this one and even better!

A few days ago we ran across Nevada Wier and the National Geographic Photo Tour group during a sunrise shoot at Gadisar Lake. Nevada is a delightful woman and we chatted about photography for a while and realized that we were staying at the same hotel in Jaisalmer! Then at Pushkar we ran into her again. It seems that the NG tour is on a similar itinerary. What a small world. Check Nevada's excellent blog (just google Nevada Wier). Photo above courtesy of Ayn Brown

I'll try to update this blog when we get to Agra tomorrow. We're heading to the back side of the Taj Mahal for some sunset reflection shots. Meanwhile Jim is with his Day of the Dead tour in Oaxaca Mexico. Life is good.