Chinese New Year 2012

2012: Celebrating Chinese New Year

(Hours before midnight on Chinese New Years.  Click image for Pano)

Happy Year of the Water Dragon, everyone!

I love this time of year.  Who wouldn’t? Two million non-professional Chinese citizens legally setting off category 4 professional fireworks at the same time.

Dangerous?  Undoubtedly so.  Amazing?  Truly.

This year I was invited to a few friends party on top of a 19 story high rise apartment in our city.  In years past I’ve hiked up a local mountain and videoed a birds-eye-view of the city from a safe distance.  This year the thought of fireworks exploding at eye level all around me was to much to pass up.  The 2012 New Years celebration was great.  Check out some of the videos, audio, and images from this years celebration.

About a two minute stereo audio of the fireworks recorded on the Zoom H1

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

2012 New Years Video

Read more →

2012: Storytellers Workshop

Learn to tell amazing, rich, and effective stories with your photography

I’ve gotten so many emails in the last few months asking if Plateau Photo Tours has on tap.  I’m excited to reveal another one of our headline tours for 2012 – our 2012 Storytellers workshop

Jerod Foster and myself couldn’t be more excited to announce our first Storytellers workshop.  Jerod and I have been able to develop a close friendship over the last few years, so we were excited when the opportunity to co-lead a workshop presented itself — especially over a topic that we are both passionate about — Storytelling. This workshop coincides with the release of Jerod’s new and amazing book – Storytellers.

Per usually with Plateau Photo Tours, we are excited to bring along some really great sponsors.  For the 2012 Storytellers workshop, we are happy to have Peach Pit Press, Black Rapid Straps, and 3 Legged Thing tripods along for the ride.  This means our tour will come with some great products from all of these sponsors.  You’ll either walk home with some free swag or get the opportunity to use some of their revolutionary products for free while on the tour.

A bit more about the tour:

Read more →

2012: Lhasa, Everest, Nepal Workshop Info

Join Matt Brandon & Brian Hirschy for two weeks immersed in unique Himalayan culture


Matt Brandon and myself are excited for our next workshop.  We announced Plateau Photo Tours annual Lhasa, Everest, Nepal Overland Tour and workshop a while back.  2012’s tour is rapidly filling up with only a few spots left! Last years tour was a ton of fun. We continue to call this trip a ‘bucket-list’ trip because, well, you’re going to see some amazing things!  If you are interested in what all the tour entails, please visit our Plateau Photo Tours website.

We will continue to post about the tour as it gets closer to the workshop date.  Nonetheless, I thought it would be interesting to post a few thoughts today from previous workshop participants.  I asked them to shoot from the hip and answer a few questions for us and tell about their experience on last years tour.

I was surprised by some of their responses!  Check it out our good friends Jere and Simon’s responses after the break…

Read more →

Thoughts on photographing a new culture

Photographic tips for entering a new culture and not "Being that guy"


This article was originally for a guest post that ended up getting cancelled due to time.  If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll see lots of themes we’ve talked about in the past discussed in this article. If you are interested in exploring these concepts more, take a look at my previous posts on engaging culture photographically:


I’ve been able to travel to many unique places and cultures as both a photographer and a traveler. With my job at Plateau Photo Tours I get to help people experience some of the truly unique cultures that western China has to offer – often for the first time. I love the excitement, awe, and intrigue that comes with people experiencing new cultures with fresh eyes — all while discovering the unique parts of those cultures. It has to be one of the best parts of the job.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen the damage that can be caused and the disappointment that can be experienced by first time photographic travelers when they enter a new culture unprepared to experience that culture respectfully and thoughtfully.

With that in mind I started to analyze the difference between those ‘healthy’ travelers and those that leave disappointed, unsatisfied, or worse – caused cultural strife. I believe there are many things we should do before entering into a new culture, but listed below are five points that I truly believe will help a person become a better first time photographic traveller.

Off we go!

Read more →

December Wallpaper: My Hometown

A December wallpaper dedicated to a lazy town in Arkansas

(Download the December Wallpaper here – Right click, Save link as)

After November’s wallpaper failure of being a few days late and being stalked by the angry masses the entire time, I thought I’d jump the gun on December’s wallpaper and keep the villagers happy.

This is a departure from my normal work because I’m not ‘home’ in China.  My wife and I visited my family in the small lazy town in Arkansas where I grew up.  It was fascinating and exciting to see my hometown with new eyes.  There is so much culture packed into a such a small place, which is true of most small towns in the South.  I will have a few blog posts coming up next week about my visit, so stay tuned!!