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Lightroom 3 is finally out! I am proud to be one of the four experts for Lightroom Workshops 2-day Intensive Workshops that are being offered nation-wide — perhaps in your hometown (or nearby).

Adobe Lightroom allows users to download, organize, manage, develop, and present digital photography using their own laptops. It is considered essential for today’s digital photography workflow.

Lightroom Workshops are led by Jerry Courvoisier, digital maven extraordinaire; George Jardine, one of the original Adobe Lightroom team members; Michael Clark, internationally published extreme sports and outdoor photographer; and Nevada Wier, award-winning photographer specializing in documenting the remote corners and cultures of the globe.

You can see a full list of the cities at (see the jump for a Summer Special)

I will be teaching the weekend workshops (more may be added):

Aug. 7 – 8         Santa Barbara, CA

Sept 18 – 19     Boulder, CO

Founder Jerry Courvoisier, “My colleagues and I offer the best value and most information in this field: a serious 2-day hands-on workshop for just $395. Our workshops offer an experiential, personalized, interactive approach to learning. Participants bring their laptops with the current version of Lightroom 3 installed and we dig in straight away with practical applications for the software and workflow time-saving tips. We like to say, ‘You’ll learn by doing, then walk away knowing.’ This approach is essential to personalizing your own digital workflow.”

© nevada wier         India. Northeast. Nagaland.

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Chattisgarh. India 2009

I’m back in blogging mode. I looked at the comments people made in my poll “I would like you write more about…” and it is time to answer your questions. The overwhelming category in which you are most interested is Creative Photography. I’m thrilled about that because creativity is the heart and soul of photography. It is not enough to just aim the camera at a spectacular subject and click the shutter; anyone can do that. You have reach in and grab the essential moment in a personal and creative way. So I’m going to continue to address this over the summer months.

Also, in the comments section, a number of you asked me to write about The Editing Process. I think learning how to edit your images goes hand-in-hand with being a a Virtuoso of Seeing. Recently I was having a critique session with a photographer whose photographic method mostly meant aiming the camera at an interesting subject, then cropping it into an interesting photograph during editing, and then saturating the heck out of it! I was amazed (and horrified to be honest) at this process. It seemed bass-ackwards to me. If you have taken a workshop with me you know that I’m all about Get it all in the frame and get it right”. Since I evolved from world of slide film and picky editors, I learned very early on that I had to have it perfect in that slender piece of celluloid–no cropping and no changing of content (of course that wasn’t possible in the pre-Photoshop era).

During my travels I have absolutely no desire to document everything in front of me. I am wandering about enjoying myself waiting for that spark of synchronicity with a subject (whether it be animate or inanimate). When I find a subject that touches me then it up to me to interpret it creativity and honestly. Sometimes it is just one click of the shutter, but other times there is time to work it. Usually I am looking for not just one interpretation, but many. Many, many, many if I can. If it is a great subject, then keep evaluating and sensing and thinking until the moment is over, or the person is gone, or it just feels over.

I want to come home and look through a lot of good images and find A Great One. Click and keep on reading, it’s good stuff!

The July 11- 17, 2010 Creativity in Travel workshop offered by the Santa Fe Workshops filled up so quickly that we decided to offer another one the following week: July 18 – 24 in glorious Santa Fe, New Mexico.

I have been meaning to put up this notice for months now but… life has been wonderfully busy. I know it is almost full but if you are interested here is the link

Santa Fe is my hometown so you get a chance to go to some of my favorite places and visit my home and the famous “Grayroom”.

I hope you can make it!

I will presenting a seminar CREATIVITY WITH LIGHT with Dan Westergren (Editor of National Geographic Traveler magazine) on May 16th in Seattle, Washington. If you live in the area I hope you can come!

Creativity With Light

Have you ever anticipated getting to a beautiful location you want to photograph only to arrive and find yourself thinking, “The light’s not right, now what?”  Whether it’s a once in a lifetime vacation to a remote location or an important magazine assignment, you know you have to get the picture.  Join National Geographic Traveler senior photo editor Dan Westergren and world-renowned travel photographer, Nevada Wier as they demonstrate how to find great light and what to do when it’s “not quite right”.

Click to learn more about the seminar

Sawasdee kaa

My last post was about how I unpacked my gear. Well, I’ve packed it all up again and am now in Bangkok on my way to Northern Thailand to photograph a few of the hill tribe New Year celebrations. You can refer back to older posts about how I pack my gear (and in a future post I’ll post some more photos about how I pack my camera bag, but I just can’t at the moment as I’m about ready to get on a flight to Chiang Mai.).

So what is the most important photo item that I packed besides my camera and CF cards (duh!). Drum roll — Advil! For all the gear I carry.

Aside from that, here is a short list of favorites:

Favorite camera: Canon 5D MarkII (my 1Ds Mark III is my backup)

Favorite lens: 16-35mm f/2.8 (2nd choice 24-70 f/2.8)

Favorite CF card: 16GB Sandisk Extreme IV

Favorite camera bag: Lowepro Orion AW (but I’m also taking a belt with lens pouches to go light)

Favorite new compact camera: Canon S90

Favorite flash accessory: LumiQuest FX

Favorite beer: Singha (okay, I have to edit this and be honest… Singha in Thailand but Negro Modelo in the Universe)

And here is a favorite IR image from a recent assignment in Orissa, India

© nevada wier   Orissa, India

I’m mid-flight from New Delhi to Bangkok, and then tomorrow I’m on my way to Myanmar. I have just enough time to reflect a smidgeon on the photography tour I just led for National Geographic to Rajasthan. One of many things I love about National Geographic tours is that they are so international in nature; there were avid photographers from the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Thailand, and France. It was a group of singular synchronicity and fun.

We had many lively discussions. They had very thought provoking questions for me as we went bumping along in our magical bus through the desert of Rajasthan, such as “What is the element that is most important for a photograph?” What makes a photograph great? I’m sure all of you will have your own answer but here is mine, quite simplied.

Those of you who have taken workshops with me know that I talk about how photographs have the possibility of great Color, Light, Action (large in your face action or just a twinkle in the eye), or Pattern (or you could say Composition). CLAP, if you need an acronym.

You need two of these elements to create a photograph but to make a memorial one, one that SINGS… you need an added factor. It could be a punctuation of another element (as I discussed in an earlier blog post). However, I think it is more than that…it is when there is a harmonic convergence of the emotion of the photographer with the emotion of the moment (even if it is inanimate). In a way it is a photographic epiphany. These are rare, but it what all virtuosos of light aim for in their art.

And, because they are rare, this is why I continue to photograph. I don’t expect to reach my photographic Everest; I just love the journey through the ups and downs and many plateaus.


© nevada wier    India, Jodphur. Evening Street Scene.


© nevada wier    India, Rajasthan. Early morning Pushkar Fair.


© nevada wier   India, Agra. Taj Mahal.

October 28 Update: I just arrived at the Pushkar camel fair and have 15 minutes (and a good Indian cell/bluetooth connection) to explain a bit about the images I posted the other night. The updates are in this color red.

October 26: I don’t have much time to write but here are a couple of images from Rajasthan on the sand dunes! I’m leading a National Geographic Expeditions tour and we are having an amazing time. More on the photo technique tomorrow. but for now enjoy … the natural light and exuberance


This image was taken with a 100-400mm lens probably close to 400mm. It is not easy to find the perfect sand dune – where people and camels can walk right on top of the ridge so you can see their feet kicking the sand. So this was a find! We were riding our camels in the evening, spotted some local girls and enticed them to come with us to dance on the dunes. Because of the dusty sky the sun did not flare into the lens. I have so many great ones that it is hard to choose my favorite. I surely do not mind that!

and here is an image combining natural light with a bit of off-camera fill flash with a warming gel


This image was taken the next night at Jamba. This is a spectacular place but not the “perfect sand dune” for silouhettes showing feet so I bent very low, almost lying down, and photographed upwards. I had a slightly amber gel inside a diffuser on my flash which was held by my left hand outwards and upwards, at -1 EV. I took a light reading off the sky (about 20 minutes after sunset) and held the camera as steady as I could with my right hand. But I wasn’t worried about camera motion or the fact that 1/3 sec. at f/3.2; I knew the flash would give the illusion of sharpness. I positioned myself so I could see the two men and the camel in the background. I love images with depth.

And now I’m off to enjoy Pushkar!  more camels. more images. more fun.

I’m on my final flight to New Delhi. I never bemoan long flights because I enjoy the time to read and revel in the fact that I’m not on a steamer ship (plus I use my frequent flier miles to upgrade to business class).

Last year I wrote about Packing Camera Gear for Flights which is still relevant (see below for the new luggage in which I put the Pelican case for flights). So this time I thought I would mention a few travel and photo items that might interest you.

No one will ever convince me that digital photography is less expensive than film. Sure, I don’t have to carry around hundreds of rolls of film but I do bring an abundance of hard drives, accessories and wires. Since I have seen almost everything fail that can fail, I quake with paranoia. All it takes is one bitty wire to break down a system. Therefore I have to bring backups of usb, mini usb, micro usb, firewire 400, firewire 800, firewire 400 to 800, ipod cords, adapters, and endless power chargers. And, all those cords take up lots of room. Thanks to an article in MacWorld a few months ago Shrinking your Mobile World, I was spurred on to abandon my long cords supplied with the devices and search for short ones (sadly short cords are not less expensive, au contraire). The links on the MacWorld site helped but finding short firewire cords wasn’t that simple. Finally I stumbled upon And here are some of the wires I’m bring with me. None are over 9″ except the usb extension cord in case I do need a long one. I love them!


I also found a great travel vest from Scotte Vest. This is not a photo vest but a vest to be worn on planes and other travel situations. It is very evolved and even has little cards in each pocket explaining how it can be used. There are conduits in the vest for ipod cords, a clip for a micro cleaner cloth, hidden pockets for change, etc. At first I thought there were too many pockets but at least they are all slim lined and not bulky.


However, it is definitely not made for tropical weather.

I was roasting inside the Bangkok airport (and it is air-conditioned). I will have to reluctantly abandon it for the rest of my travels in India and Myanmar. Pity… maybe they will make a tropical one soon! I also like that they are tapered differently for women and men.

Someday I’m going to design the perfect lightweight photo vest, because I have tried and rejected all of them. Stay tuned for WierGear — a series of unpadded, lightweight stuff that we all need!

… Now I’m in New Delhi; jetlagged and up at 5am to finish this blog post. I had to take the vest off in the New Delhi airport and it is packed away for my return international flight in December. It certainly will be cool enough at that time to wear it.

Here is one more item that I have been traveling with for years and years — the Eagle Creek Market Pouch


I swear by it because it means that it is always hooked to my belt so I yet to lose a passport, money, and I always have a sundry of small useful items with me. Plus it fits under my camera bag waist strap so it is hidden away from searching fingers.

Look at all the stuff that fits in it! (I have an older model but the new ones look similar). I’ve spread it out on my bed for you and I think it is quite impressive!

Yes, that is a small bag of hot red chili because I can’t live without it (although it does seem strange that I have add chili to India food but they never believe me that I like it really spicy). And I keep a compass, flashlight, and Purell on that small carabiner swinging from the pouch; children covet it.

I have been a BIG fan of Eagle Creek stuff since they first began as a small company eons ago.

So while I’m on the subject of Eagle Creek — I purchased (yes, the world does not shower me with free gear) for this trip two new bags. One is the new HC2 Hovercraft Upright 25 which fits my Pelican Case (plus other stuff) perfectly; it is rigid enough to protect it for international flights. And a new carry-on roller since I had utterly destroyed the last one and even duct tape wasn’t doing the job any longer — the HC2 Hovercraft Upright 22. Yep, my Lowepro Orion fits inside as well as two extra camera bodies, an extra lens, 2 Rugged Lacie harddrives, a jacket and other stuff. I just wish I had gotten blue ones instead of black because everyone has black luggage and it would be easier to identify off the luggage carousel. So instead I have electric blue luggage tags. And, last year I purchased the HC2 Hovercraft Duffel 30 for my clothes since it is lighter, a bit bigger, and less rigid than the Upright but it still has those magic wheels.

Another essential travel item is a flat sink stopper and powdered Ivory Snow because I refuse to pay for outrageously priced hotel laundry.

Finally, I have decided that an Amazon Kindle is a worthy purchase (wish I had the new International one). I am a voracious reader so bringing books on trips has always been a weight issue. Now all I have to worry about is not losing the power cord!

And I’m off to Jodphur tomorrow. I’m thrilled to be out photographing again soon! More blog posts to come.


I suspect that 98% of the travel images in the world are taken straight on with one subject in the frame. That is fine if there is a compelling reason to do so–the expression is remarkable, the action compelling, the light god-like radiant, or it just had to be composed that way.

I have done my share of straight-on shooting. Most of the time I was just being lazy or bereft of vision. Or, maybe I was just having a good time walking down the streets of India, Vietnam, New York or anywhere with my camera. An interesting person, or a pretty door, or a splash of color does not insure a great photograph of these subjects. So, I better have an inarguable reason when I choose one of these images as a select!

Fortunately, when I get to a situation that beckons to me as a photographer I can often pull myself together, back away from the straight-on shot, and elevate my creativity.

Here’s an example of an extremely interesting person that first I photographed as a straight on head shot. It is okay, not terrible, but certainly not exciting.


I rethought the situation and MOVED and looked for more texture, depth and expression. It is still straight-on but now there is a reason.


© nevada wier     Myanmar, Chin State

It meant changing my perspective (the physical distance and angle from myself to the subject). Moving is one of the best ways to become a better photographer (especially if you are using a mid-range lens).

Last year I was in Mongolia photographing the Kazakh eagle hunters. I often take this kind of image so that the person gets used to having me photograph them, or so I can send back a print I think they might like. But then, at the end of the edit they usually end up in the trash.


In this composition there is a clump of horses in the background, the horizon is in the middle of the frame, and there is empty space that has no purpose. It is just another boring shot of an interesting person.

Since everything has to matter in a frame, I moved right under the eagle, and laid down on the ground, in order to shoot up at the sky. It almost looks like the eagle wants to swoop down and eat me (maybe it did!).


© nevada wier     Mongolia. Far west.

I am always looking for an interesting angle. Not long ago I was in Southern India. It is so easy to photograph in India that I feel I have to work extra hard to create a compelling image! I had a wonderful encounter with some pilgrims at the lovely Meenakshi Sundareswarar Thirukoil Temple.


© nevada wier     India. Madurai.

I knelt down with my wide angle lens, exposed for the sky (I often work on manual mode), and added a touch of flash. (I will discuss my use of wide angles and fill flash in future posts). I think you can now image that a straight-on shot would be rather mundane in comparison.

So take your straight-on “insurance” shot — then think, feel, and move!

Recently I had the good fortune of being interviewed by two top-notch photographers who have very forward-looking blogs: Ibarionex Perello, The Candid Frame; and Matt Brandon, The Digital Trekker.

The interviews took place months apart but they happened to be published days apart. This is not the first time I’ve been interviewed on a podcast, but it made me pause and think about The New World Order for photographers.

The Candid Frame #80 – Nevada Wier

Depth of Field: Nevada Wier Part I

Depth of Field: Nevada Wier Part II

(You can also find these podcasts on iTunes)

There has been a steady, gradual shift in the business of photography over the past few years, but I really see a major tectonic shift this summer.

When I started out it was all about magazines. I wanted to be published in magazines; whenever I was interviewed it was in magazines. Editors were The Great Barrier Reef that all photographers had to penetrate.

Magazines are still around but they are not the only forums for photographers, and they have less and less circulation and influence. Conversely, there is an increasing abundance of alternative venues for photo stories (with and without audio), single images, and videos. It is quite exciting, overwhelming, and much more democratic.

But, I can’t help but wonder …who will be paying for it? How will professional editorial (current event, travel, nature, etc.) photographers survive in this New World Order? And, it seems so much more work to me than writing proposals and figuring out to crack into specific magazines.

Plus there is no way to funnel the photographers who rise to the top through talent and hard work into central showcases. Magazines used to be that funnel leading to recognition known throughout out the general public, not just photographers. Now there seems to be a myriad of cells (through Twitter, Facebook, Flicker, Internet forums, etc.) providing platforms for enthusiastic photographers. This is a great boon to a wide range of photographers, but none have a wide range of followers. So it is A Wonderful New World Order for avid photographers and an increasingly stressing one for professionals. But I don’t think this is such a bad thing (ha! fooled you…no, I’m not bemoaning the situation).

I think it is time for a change. The day rate in magazines has not changed in over twenty-five years (I can’t think of any other profession where a pay rate hasn’t increased.) So pros can moan and groan, but it can be very exciting to reinvent one self. And, eventually, I think there will be a new conduit for the world at large to see the creme de la creme of photographers. And will there be will be a new God of Visual Judgment after the demise of magazine editors? (Do you think the median is the best judge of an art form? I don’t.)

I don’t have any answers; it’s exciting and thought provoking (as well as often frustrating) to be at the cusp of such a change.

As Helen Keller said, Life is either a great adventure or nothing.”

So I watch, marvel and try to ride the surf on top of the wave! Whether I get crunched … I don’t know.


© nevada wier          Myanmar. Inle Lake.

nevada’s website


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