Help Along the Way

In my development as a travel, culture, and humanitarian photographer, I’ve spent a lot of time researching other photographers who do this type of work. In addition to simply looking at, contemplating, and studying their photos, I also scour their websites for any and all information and nuggets of knowledge I can find. They are typically very helpful in listing the equipment they use, but also offer everything from packing, traveling, and working advice to post-production tutorials.

Pucallpa, Peru – photo by Douglas J. Klostermann

Again and again, I return to Karl Grobl’s website ( to mine it for info.  He has dozens of pages with incredibly helpful advice (follow the “Cameras and equipment I use” link to see them all).  I discovered that I share his fondness for Lowa Tempest Lo hiking shoes, which inspired me to order a back up pair for the inevitable time when my soles are too far worn.

Taquile Island on Lake Titicaca, Peru – photo by Douglas J. Klostermann

My latest discovery is David duChemin.  He’ s rapidly become a real standout in this field – with a recent book, Within the Frame, an upcoming book (which will include Karl Grobl in it), a blog, a video blog, e-books, a forum, you name it.  What I’m really loving about him is what a great teacher he is, and how he is shifting the conversation away from equipment obsession and towards more meaningful topics – such, as he says, vision.  I’ve read through most of the current favorite photo books, where I picked up lots of great info and tips for equipment, composition and lighting, post-production workflow, etc.  But I’ve always found something lacking.  They give you everything you need to know to take technically better photos, but they rarely speak to the content and the purpose of the image – as David might say, they give you the how, but not the why.  They don’t offer much in terms of developing one’s style, of strengthening one’s vision.  And that’s what David addresses, so I’m glad I came across him at this time.  Watch a few of his video blogs (free from iTunes under Within the Frame), and I think you will see what I am getting at.  And as I work my way through his blog archives, I’m seeing that his early development in this field shares many similarities with mine, which is encouraging to me as I follow this difficult but determined journey.