Photography of Bhutan's traditional masked dancers in Punakha

Traditional Bhutanese Dancers

Over the past three years, I’ve been fortunate enough to make several trips out to Bhutan while working on assignment for MyBhutan. The following photo collection contains images that I’ve shot of the country’s various traditional dancers shot in Punakha Valley & Eastern Bhutan.

Traditional snow leopard Bhutan dance photography in Punakha Dzong
Photography of Bhutan's traditional masked dancers in Punakha
Photography of Bhutan's traditional masked dancers in Punakha
Photography of Bhutan's traditional masked dancers in Punakha

Some of my favorite images were shot during the winter in the tiny, disconnected village of Merak with the Brokpa Tribe in Eastern Bhutan. The Brokpa tribe put on an amazing show and even included a large Yak costume that would at times playfully run towards the audience and come close to ramming them with the horns.

 

After the ceremony, I spent some time doing a portrait session with the tribal dancers, unmasked.

Special thanks to Matthew DeSantis, Tshering Wangdi and Bethany Betzler for taking the following behind the scenes images. Also, big thanks to MyBhtuan for having me onboard to shoot and coordinating with the local dance teams to make this series happen.

photographer andrew studer photographs traditional Bhutanese dancers in front of Punakha Dzong in Bhutan

Bhutan is such a special country to me. I strongly feel like visiting should be on everyone’s bucket list. If you’re interested in seeing it for yourself, get in touch with the people at MyBhutan and make it happen!


Portrait street photography of a rickshaw driver walking in the streets of Mathura, India

Street Photography in India

Just before returning home from Bhutan this past March, I made a personal stop in India. Somehow or another I got incredibly lucky as my project with MyBhutan wrapped up just as the famous Holi Festival of Colors had begun.

Now before I share the photo collection that I got from the Holi Festival, I wanted to post a quick collection of images that I shot in-between the festivities while roaming the ancient city streets of Mathura and Vrindavan. I hope you enjoy what I came up with!

While it was honestly somewhat overwhelming at first, I very quickly felt so at home amongst the chaotic hustle & bustle of the city. I spent so much time just wandering through the streets with no specific destination while occasionally stopping to shoot a handful of quick portraits. The people were always kind enough to pause for a moment while I photographed them although I felt like I was happier with the images that I shot candidly.

I also enjoyed photographing the monkeys that roamed the streets. Although they can be slightly aggressive, It was fun blending wildlife photography with street photography while observing how they lived closely amongst humans.

street photography of a monkey climbing a pipe in the streets of Mathura, India

While I ended up spending most of my time shooting your average street photography // portraiture, I slowed down and spent a little bit of time trying to capture the fast pace and chaos of the streets. To do so, I used a slightly longer shutter speed to blur the motion of the background people and vehicles. In hindsight, I wish I spent more time shooting with this style but I know I’ll be back for another go at it once countries begin to reopen and it is safe again to travel.

Street photography is still very new to me but it has quickly become one of my favorite things to photograph. I felt like my time wandering through the streets of Mathura were full of so many amazing and different moments that it was sometimes hard to choose what to point my camera at.

Although it was a relatively short trip, I had an amazing time visiting India. The Holi Festival was incredible and I’m looking forward to sharing that image collection within the next couple weeks or so. Thanks for taking the time to check out this photoseries!


Losar: Bhutanese New Year Celebration

This past February while on Assignment for MyBhutan, I was fortunate enough to be in the Bumthang district of Bhutan during their New Year’s festival known as Losar. It is a festival that reinforces communal ties, strengthens family values and celebrates the amazing cultural traditions of Bhutan. Everyone celebrates differently doing things such as feasting, attending family gatherings, dancing or playing traditional sports like archery and darts.

While out one morning during Losar, I ended up at a small monastery full of young monks. Shortly after I arrived, I saw them run and throw hand fulls of flour at each other. At first, I thought it was part of a prank but then learned that they were preparing to take part in a much larger traditional flour battle in celebration of Losar. With the majority of monks worshipping inside the temple, a small group of other monks gathered outside to ambush them as they exited.

As the monks finished their worship ceremonies and exited the temple, they were quickly bombarded with friendly hand fulls of flour. As strange of a festival as it may appear, the throwing of roasted barley flour on each other is a symbolic gesture, observed in many monasteries around the country, to usher in Losar.

Photographing the flour battle was some of the most fun I’ve ever had while shooting.

Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang

Throughout the entire morning, the monks made me feel completely welcome and made it such an incredible experience. They even invited me into the battle and spent so much time kindly teaching me their traditional dances and songs before inviting me inside for lunch.

 

One monk was kind enough to record the video of me going through the lineup. I never got his name but I’m beyond thankful he was able to capture this memory for me. I can’t express how welcoming all the monks were to me. I felt so fortunate to spend Losar with them and hope to be back again next year.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read! If you’re interested in visiting Bhutan, I highly recommend getting in touch with MyBhutan to plan your trip!


Cinematic Wild Brown Bears Film

A short collection of footage that I shot while photographing wild brown bears in the forests of eastern Finland.

Music by Benjamin James, licensed on Music Bed.

 

4K Footage available for licensing.


Night photography of the Milkyway over Mount Rainier near Sunrise Visitors Center, Washington Photo by Andrew Studer

Mount Rainier Timelapse & Aerial Film

A timelapse & aerial film shot over the course of three short trips to Mount Rainier National Park during the Spring, Summer & Autumn. All aerial footage was shot legally, outside of the National Park. Enjoy!


Behind the scenes of photographer Andrew Studer

Avoiding 'Creative Ruts' as a Photographer

Whether you’ve been shooting in your spare time as a hobby or professionally, you’re bound to feel less motivated and inspired compared to back when you were first starting out. Dealing with a lack of inspiration is something that all artists face at some point and it’s never a fun thing to go through. I’ve been doing photography and video professionally for over the past four years and while I understand that’s not all that long, I’ve faced several periods where I’ve felt a lack of inspiration and fell into ‘a creative rut.’

Over the past couple years of doing something related to photo and video each and every day, I’ve begun to realize several things that I need to do to keep myself out of ‘creative ruts’ and inspired to create. They work really well for me and I hope that they work well for you too!


iPhone 11 Pro Max nature Photography ultra wide angle lens

Photographer Andrew Studer shooting on the new iPhone 11 Pro Max

Excited about the new cameras and potential for photography, I recently picked up the brand new iPhone 11 Pro. I spent two days cruising around Oregon and capturing a few photos and videos. In this review, I focus on the brand new night mode & Ultra Wide lens while also touching a little bit on the portrait modes.

Overall, I’m extremely impressed with the new capabilities! I think that the iPhone 11 Pro’s new night mode is a complete game changer! I was shooting handheld 3s exposures that came out perfectly sharp.

The ultrawide lens is also a great addition! I feel like it has a neat way of making a subject appear to be more fun and dynamic. I typically don’t use wide angle lenses in my photography but I had a ton of fun testing it out!

Big thanks to Ryan Braden & Blake Allen for helping out and filming the BTS footage! Also thanks to Ukaia Rogers for the tech help!


Autumn in Aspen

This past fall,  Toby Harrimanand I decided to hit the road and head to Aspen, Coloradoto see what we could do with the fall colors I knew would be popping up as the weather cooled down. I’m originally from the area and knew that fall is one of the most beautiful times to visit the area and would potentially make for really great imagery.

My past experience proved fruitful once again, as we got some really great stuff. From fly fishing to driving my parent’s dog up the insanely beautiful Independence pass, we definitely got what we came for. Seriously, right around when the leaves are turning is the perfect time to visit.


Shooting Waterfalls

The following is a collection of some of my favorite photos and videos of waterfalls that I have captured over the years.

Landscape photography of autumn leaves in Silver Falls State Park, Oregon
Landscape photography of autumn leaves in Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

This is a photo I captured of South Falls in Silver Falls State Park, Oregon during Fall. The many deciduous trees in the area make it the perfect spot to capture fall color. The beautiful orange leaves that surround the waterfalls combined with the warmth of the early morning light beams made this one of my favorite photos that I’ve taken from the park.

Underwater photography of Punchbowl waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Underwater photography of Punchbowl waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Here is a photo of Punchbowl Falls in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon. I shot this image using my underwater housing. As of now, the landscape around this waterfall is unfortunately very damaged closed off due to a massive wildfire that occurred in the summer of 2017.

A person in a white sweater stands next to Skogafoss Waterfall in Iceland
A person in a white sweater stands next to Skogafoss Waterfall in Iceland
Night photography of the northern lights over Skogafoss Waterfall, Iceland
Night photography of the northern lights over Skogafoss Waterfall, Iceland
My all time favorite image was also captured at Proxy Falls. I'm especially proud of this image because it captures a really special, un-staged moment. Before I even had my camera out, I saw this man walking with his dog across the log and knew I had to capture it. I quickly rushed into the flow and setup my camera and tripod with just enough time to ask him if he'd be willing to hold still for the photo.
Landscape photography of a boy and his dog on a log at Proxy Falls, Oregon

Below is Havasau Falls in the Grand Canyon, Arizona. It’s such an incredible waterfall because of how remote it is. After a ten mile hike down into the canyon, it was so rewarding to be able to swim and relax next to this beautiful waterfall.

Night photography of the stars over Havasu Falls in Arizona

Havasupai Falls is famous for it’s vibrant turquoise blue water that is enhanced in the afternoon light. While I loved photographing the unique color of this waterfall during the day time, I especially enjoyed shooting it under the starlight. Because you’re so far away from any towns and light pollution, the stars in the Grand Canyon are so bright and plentiful making it the perfect place to do night photography.

These two images were both taken at Oneonta Falls in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon during different seasons. Oneonta Falls is also one of my favorite waterfalls in Oregon. After a brief, quarter mile trek up a gorge through the river you’re greeted by Oneonta Falls. It’s a wonderful spot to spend a hot summer afternoon – or cold, winter day. Unfortunately, this spot is also currently closed off because of the wildfire. The forest above was completely burned causing frequent landslides to fall into the gorge.

Sometimes, excessive rain or snow can allow for some beautifully unique conditions at waterfalls. The image on the left is of Elowah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon. The two smaller side falls are not usually there but I was lucky enough to capture them during a very rainy winter.

 

The image on the right is of Wahclella falls during the winter. I captured this image from inside a large frozen snow cave that had formed after a snow storm.

Here is an underwater image I captured at Wachella Falls Oregon during the summer time. I had so much fun swimming around the waterfall photographing the tiny waves and light beams that formed. I really enjoy using my underwater housing to photograph waterfalls in a non traditional fashion.

Underwater photography of Abiqua Falls in Oregon
Underwater photography of Andrew Studer at Abiqua Falls in Oregon

I also enjoyed shooting some underwater photography at Abiqua Falls near Silverton, Oregon. While at Abiqua Falls, I focused on capturing fast exposure images of the underwater bubbles and spray that came off the waterfall. Although it slightly made me look like a chipmunk, I really appreciated having my XCEL Wetsuitand dive gloves to keep me warm as I spent hours swimming in the cold water.

Finally, here is an image of Panther Creek Falls on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge.

I captured these two videos of Panther Creek Falls on two separate visits after a lot of rainfall.


Underwater photography of Punchbowl waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

My Favorite Moments from 2017

2017 was an amazing year full of some very fun trips and photoshoots. I explored new styles and forms of photography including underwater and portraiture photography that I hope to do more of in 2018. Last month, I shared a video highlighting my year. Now, I’m excited to share a short collection of just a couple of my favorite images taken during 2017.

Thanks for taking a look!

Photography of double Rainbows at a lava spout in Hawaii volcanoes national park
Photography of double Rainbows at a lava spout in Hawaii volcanoes national park

I’ve been fortunate enough to make a couple trips out to Iceland over the years but this was the first time I was able to photograph the beautiful landscapes from the air.

Witnessing totality during the solar eclipse was one of the most surreal moments of my life.

Underwater photography of Punchbowl waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Underwater photography of Punchbowl waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Getting into underwater photography was a big part of my year and I plan on doing more in 2018!

Ice made for some really interesting compositional opportunities this past winter.

Photography of two Bhutanese children in Laya, Bhutan
Photography of two Bhutanese children in Laya, Bhutan

Before my trip to Bhutan, I had never done any portraiture or street photography. On my first day in the country, I was hooked! I hope to do more in 2018.

Aerial landscape photography of a lake in Bhutan
Aerial landscape photography of a lake in Bhutan