A nomad in Dhotok looks up through a tent flap at a coming storm. His home lies along the Tea Horse Road, which also hosted an ancient postal route. Acting as a kind of relay station in the past for the fast-moving mail, post stations held horses so riders could swiftly change to a fresh and rested mount.
Yunnan – Photo Tip

'Read the light' ahead of time – be ready

Photo by Jeff Fuchs

Yunnan – Photo Tip 'Read the light' ahead of time – be ready

For me, the perfect moments aren’t posed, but happen in a second of life being lived. This portrait of a nomadic headman and former trader was in some ways a question of simply waiting.

Jeff Fuchs
Jeff Fuchs Explorer

Our expedition team had been with him and his family in China for a couple of days already and they were used to our bumbling about. I was sitting in his tent sipping butter tea, when he looked up and that little beam of daylight lit his face. I had my moment.

Getting close to faces intensifies a shot. If there is a light source such as a window, tent flap or beam coming through trees, I try and get the subject so that the light touches them. Then I spot meter the most lit portion of the face. Often I simply take a light meter reading or test shot ahead of time so that if that precious moment happens, I’m ready. I love to have a really shallow depth of field when the background is dark, so shooting at f/4 and even f/2.8 doesn’t worry me too much.

The faces that attract me are ones that show their efforts, their pains, and their joys – people who cannot hide their character. Their features are of a life being lived full on, as though repeatedly touched by the elements.

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A nomad in Dhotok Photo by Jeff Fuchs

Jeff Fuchs

Jeff Fuchs


20 mm

A nomad in Dhotok

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