Feb 2017 Varanasi Lighting Workshop

Here is a quick look at the recent Master Class in Lighting and Portraiture that Piet Van den Eynde and I led in Delhi and Varanasi, India, this past February.  I gotta say, the workshop went off close as planned, and that’s pretty good for a workshop ran in India. In India, anything can happen and usually does. There are always a few hiccups and bumps along the way in any field-based photographic workshop. In spite of that, I feel that I walked away with some really stellar shots and I saw some amazing photos by participants as well.


Varsha Dasgupta poses as the god Ganesh.


Era Dogra looks through the veil in this kathak pose.

We started the trip off with two days in Delhi. This gave us just enough time to visit some of our favorite haunts.  But the highlight of our Delhi time for me was the model shoot we worked out. A few years back while visiting Humayun’s Tomb in New Delhi, we met some very fun and quirky young ladies. They asked us to take their photos and of course “friend” them on Facebook. I soon came to know that one of the young ladies was a traditional kathak dancer. One thing led to another and soon we had a photo shoot of beautiful Indian dancers for our New Delhi portion of the workshop. What a great way to start the trip!

After our time in Delhi, we took the night train to the holy city of  Varanasi. Here we had previously arraigned photo opportunities as well as models for the group to photograph. To call a few of eccentric holy men models, might be a stretch. But we did work it out with several to be our photographic subjects aka model. Together, we photographed them on the river bank, in buildings, around temples and even on boats.

Below is a set of a few images from this trip. I hope you enjoy them.



Of course, we didn’t set everything up. You can tell from the selection of photos above, we did a lot of walking around flower markets, fish markets and even visited a traditional Indian wrestling club where everything was spontaneous. We were lucky, this time at the wrestling club, they didn’t have Piet and I strip down to our skivvies like the last time we visited.

When is the next workshop?



Overall it was an amazing time and one that stretched all of us to try new things and come up with new and exciting images. If you want to join us for the next workshop, we will be offering it this coming Nov 26th through Dec 3rd. But this time we will be replacing Delhi with Kolkata! What an amazing city. Did you know that Kolkata is the last remaining place on the planet where you can still find and photograph hand-pulled rickshaws? It’s true! If you are interested in joining us, be sure to sign up so you know when registration for the workshop goes live. Last time the workshop sold out in an hour. You don’t want to just check your blog feed and hope you time it right. We will be letting subscribers to our newsletter know in advance the day and time when registration will go live. This past workshop I asked participants who they got in on the registration so quick. almsot every one of them said they set their alarms. As such I will give you a hint, we move the timing so folks from the U.S. all they way to Asia will not have to wake up in the middle of the night. But you will need to sign up now so we can let you know the timing. You know what they say, “Timing is everything!”

Don’t miss the next Master Class because you were sleeping. Want to know in advance when registration will go live? Then, remember to sign up for my newsletter if you want to be notified first. 

Depth of Field Podcast: Piper Mackay

Piper Mackay

Piper Mackay

Piper Mackay represents the dream of so many photographers out there. She was working a successful career and gave it up to follow her new found passion of photography.  Her career was in the fashion industry and the area of photography that captivated her was wildlife and later cultural work. In this interview we look at how she did her own, “Great Migration”. Piper speaks openly and honestly about her fears and her doubts. Did she make a mistake to follow her passion. Will she make it in the field of wildlife photography when other more experienced photographers she respects tell her she is nuts to enter.

Join Piper Mackay and I talk about her journey and her struggles. This will be an encouraging shot in the arm if you are a struggling photographer. It doesn’t matter if you are an enthusiast or a professional, there is nuggets in this hour that will make you say, I really can do this!



Follow Piper Mackay’s works:

Website: pipermackayphotography.com

Blog: HERE

Tour/Workshops: HERE

Facebook: HERE

Twitter: @pipermackay1


2014 Ladakh Photo Trek…WOW!


Namgyal Tsemo Monastery, Leh, Ladakh

Namgyal Tsemo Monastery, Leh, Ladakh


Piet Van den Eynde, Alou and I just concluded what might have been the hardest workshop I have ever ran. Not because we didn’t have fantastic participants. On the contrary, we had great participants, many of whom were repeat clients. Not because they were not all really talented photographers – they all were – even though that is not a requirement to participate in one of our trips. It was because so many things just happened. Like God looked down and said, “I think I’ll give you a little run for your money, Matt. You need some new stories to tell!” Continue reading

Congratulation to…

Peter Bergmeier and  Erika Brunner who are the winners of the X-Rite give away. Erika won the compact and handy X-Rite ColorChecker Passport and Peter’s  is now set up to calibrate his monitors with his new X-Rite ColorMunki.

Gavin and I want to thank all who participated in this contest. Thank you for helping us get the word out about the Thaipusam Photo Workshop with your blog posts, tweets, Facebook posts and more.  This week Gavin and I will be meeting over Skype to talk all about the details of the workshop and we I thought it might be fun to record this little chat for you. Look for it this week as we bring you all up to speed on what the participants can expect during this week long event. So keep a close watch on this space.

In closing, thanks to all our sponsors  Phottix, Spider and X-Rite for providing the prizes.

Wallpaper: June 2011


I think you will enjoy this wallpaper this month. It is one of my favorites. This was shot in Shigatse, Tibet’s second largest city at a monastery called Tashilhunpo. These workshops are really a joy to run and I as you can see below our participants really feel they get their money’s worth.


Adventure of a lifetime…another notch in the bucket list! Matt, Brian, and Jamin were knowledgeable, approachable, and perpetually concerned about everyone’s well being. This trip was an incredible value in all parameters, I would highly recommend entrusting your hard-earned vacation dollars with this trio. ~ Jim M.

This trip was everything and more. Learning so much about photography, mechanically (in all situations of lighting and fast paced street moments) and humanly (connecting with the locals) in such an incredible landscape and culture, such as Tibet will be hard to top… A true trip of a lifetime, which will always leave me feeling warm and rewarded. Thanks is not enough! ~ Simon S.

Brian, Matt, and Jamin provided us with a such an amazing, perhaps “once-in-a-lifetime” experience that will not soon be forgotten. Bottom line: I wouldn’t go to Tibet with any other folks, folks. The expertise on the area, the choice of accommodations and food, the willingness to help when needed, and the overall friendliness of these gentlemen made the trip. Thank you again, guys, and maybe I’ll see you next year! ~ Nicole R.

But more importantly, I believe I learned and improve and I thank you both. I think that it is important to note that all of you saved no effort to make it a great trip and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I believe your approach and attitude positively affected the group in its formation and the overall friendly environment. One “small” request – can you add some greenery to the plateau’s desert? All the best and thanks again. ~ Ruti


These are the typical of the responses we received about this workshop. If you would like to join me on a workshop this year, you have one last chance. I will be teaching with three heavy weights Karl Grobl, Gavin Gough and Marco Ryan July 11- 25th at Angkor Wat.  Angkor is one of the most culturally and visually exciting places in the world. I love shooting there. In fact Gavin Gough is at Angkor right now and is posting some amazing images. Check out his posts HERE and HERE.

Let me introduce you to the talented instructors that I will be teaching alongside.


Karl Grobl is a humanitarian photojournalist specializing in the photographic documentation of relief efforts and development work of NGOs worldwide. His images have appeared in publications such as Newsweek, CNN, Geo, Town and Country magazine and The Chronicle of Philanthropy, but the largest majority of his photos appear in the annual reports, newsletters and communications materials of his humanitarian organization clients. Karl’s non-NGO work is represented by Zuma Press, the premier international editorial picture agency and wire service. His 2005 Haiti photo-story “City of God” was nominated for a World Press Photo Award.


Gavin Gough is an independent, freelance travel photographer. Originally from England, Gavin is currently based in Bangkok, Thailand, from where he travels extensively, working on assignment, on commission, creating stock images, writing and teaching. He has been commissioned by a variety of NGOs, humanitarian and charitable institutions and has completed commissions for organisations as varied as Sony, Vanity Fair magazine and the Vietnamese Tourist Board.


Marco Ryan is originally form the UK but moved to live and work in Cairo in 2008. He is a lecturer and author on Digital Media and how businesses need to react to the increasing disruption caused by the web and digital media. He is also a passionate photographer. He founded the popular Cairo Photo School and is the joint owner of the Cairo Photo Studio. His love and passion for travel and humanitarian photography has taken him all around the world, and he has a vast network of Professional photographers, editors and enthusiasts that he regularly keeps in touch with through social media and his blog.


The Angkor Photo Workshop is limited to 15 participants and we only have three spots left! This small enrollment provides each and every participant plenty of face time with our 4 instructors during the workshop portion of the trip and with 3 instructors during the “road trip” portion of the tour. This workshop is unprecedented, you will have one-on-one with four of your favorite photographers.  If your interested and would like more information about this workshop you can simply visit this link HERE. You will find all the information you need and email links for even more. Join me, Karl, Gavin and Marco for a great time at Angkor Wat!

New Angkor Wat, Cambodia Workshop

Just quick FYI about a new workshop opportunity. Karl Grobl, one of the most prolific humanitarian photographers out there, has put together what has been called by one tweeter a “dream team” led workshop. I don’t know about it being a “dream team” but there are some very talented photographers converging at Angkor Wat in July of this year. Karl corralled, cajoled and did whatever it took to gather me, Gavin Gough, Marco Ryan (and himself) to lead this amazing workshop. This is not just a “lets go out and shoot together” style workshop..oh no.. this is “study in the classroom, get the know-how and then go out and shoot” type of deal. OK, that was a confusing sentence. Let me rephrase. For this workshop, participants will gather in the mornings and listen to lectures and have group interaction over new techniques and concepts. Then, in the afternoon, when the light is great, they will all go out and practice what they have just been taught.

This workshop is not limited to just Angkor Wat–as if that would have been a bad thing. Participants will also be exploring and shooting the capital city of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. So as you can see this will be an amazing opportunity for 15 people. For more information click HERE and HERE. Hope to see you there!

Click on the an image below to view larger.

IGVP Turkey Photographic Workshops


Turkey is a country that is filled with amazing beauty. From its lush forests to its azure beaches, from its modern high rises to its ancient mosques. It is full of rich and exciting culture. The food ain’t so bad either, it is a mix of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and European all rolled in to one fat pita. One of the highlights of this past year was my four days spend in transit in Istanbul. In just four days I fell in love with Turkey, or at least the idea of Turkey. So when Mario Mattei, of IGVP asked if I wanted to co-lead two workshops in Turkey with Matt Powell I was doubly excited. Not because it was two workshops, but because it was Turkey AND Matt Powell. So, I jumped on it. Matt is a extremely talented photographer from the United States that has worked for eight years as a staff photographer and multimedia producer for the humanitarian Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse. If you Google “Humanitarian Photographer” Matt’s name is at the top of the list. These trips have been priced very reasonably and are kept to a length, around one week, that gives you no excuse not to attend. In fact, they are back to back, so if one week is not long enough for you then you have the opportunity to attend both workshops.

So here is the scoop. The first workshop is in Trabzon, Turkey, May 14-20th. Trabzon is situated on the Black Sea on the North Eastern coast of Turkey. Here is something that I was surprised to find, it is actually considered a part of the Silk Road. For centuries it has been a trade gateway to Iran in the southeast, Russia and the Caucasus to the northeast. This city has it all, rich culture, fascinating people, old ruins and ancient fortress walls and mosques. It is definitely a visual feast.

If you are interested in the Trabzon tour you can get more info HERE or by clicking the photo above.

Then, without a rest, we begin the next workshop in Sanliurfa, Turkey also known as “Urfa”, May 21-27. This city is has a rich Biblical heritage. Abraham, as in “Father Abraham”, the daddy of the Big Three faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam is said to have been born here (apparently Urfa is thought to be Ur, as in “of the Chaldees”). Names like Jethro, Job, Elijah all are said to have lived in this city. That’s cool, but not why we are going to Urfa. We are going there to photograph the people and culture. Urfa is a mix of Turkish, Arab and Kurdish culture, and they all come from the countryside to haggle and shop in its traditional bazaars. These bazaars date back to Ottoman times at least. Join us as we walk the back alley ways of bazaars that date back to 1562. Inside these bazaars you’ll find such goods as carpet, kilims and felt, not to mention food!

If you are interested in the Urfa tour you can get more info HERE or by clicking the photo below.

So as you can see, between theses two cities there is a lot to discover and photograph. Way too much to go over in this short post. So, lets just say this trip is going to be very, very cool indeed! Oh, and each participant get 15% off any new f-stop Gear!