Fishermen on Inle Lake

Location, Location, Location!

This photo was taken at sunrise on Inle Lake in Myanmar, a place of incredible beauty. We went out on boats like the ones these fishermen were using. It was before dawn and still quite dark. Luckily the boat ride was just a few moments to this spot where we could line up the sunrise with the fishermen. The weather was spectacular. This is an experience I could do over and over.

What’s the inspiration behind the shot?

I had heard about the fishermen of Inle Lake, fishing like they have for hundreds of years. I was interested in photographing them in their traditional clothing, using traditional netting to catch the fish. Once I saw the sun begin to rise, silhouetting the fishermen, I had my shot. The water was so beautiful, I wanted to make sure there was enough ripples in the foreground. The sun-line made for a great leading line, so I had to make sure it was right down the middle. All the elements then lined up perfectly and I snapped a few shots. I only had a few seconds before the sun would get too high. I couldn’t be happier with the shot!

Techno-talk: Making it happen

I was particularly interested in lining up the sunrise with the fishermen. My thought was to get a starburst effect, silhouetting the three fishermen. To get the starburst I needed to stop down the lens to f/22. Now, the fun begins. With the lens stopped down, I had 1/60 sec exposure reading. I didn’t want a high ISO because I wanted a clean image with all the dark areas. This left me hand holding the camera with a rocking boat, looking at rocking fishermen, keeping the sunburst in the middle and the beautiful sun-line in the water right down the middle. It was a near miracle I got a sharp shot!

The setup

All I shot with was a Nikon D800E with a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. That was it! There were no filters, tripod or flash. Just me, my camera and the elements.

Camera: Nikon D800E
Lens: Nikkor 24-70mm/f2.8
Aperture: f/22
ISO: 200
Shutter Speed: 1/60
Focal Length: 45mm

Finishing touches

This photo came out of the camera in good shape. I worked in Lightroom and performed just a few adjustments: As you can imagine with the setting, I needed to straighten the photo a little. After that, I added a little warmth, boosted the blacks and sharpened. The photo has a lot to do with mood, so keeping it dark was essential.

A final thought

If you are going to take shots like these where both you and the subject are moving, its best to learn proper hand-holding technique. Then, it’s all about practice! If you have a camera that does not perform well in low light, and you need to have minimal noise in the photo, then you must keep the ISO as low as possible and use proper technique!

Good luck!!


  • ViewBug – Contest Finalist in “Right Down the Middle” photo contest (
  • ViewBug – Feature photo, July 2016
  • ViewBug – Member Selection Award, December 2016