Daily Inspiration #306 by Wes Helm

Hey Steve,

I’ve been coming to your site since I got back in to photography early
last year. Your reviews and tutorials have been extremely helpful, but
my favorite parts of the site are your picture posts and the Daily
Inspirations series. They do their job extremely well. I am always
motivated to get out and push myself after seeing the excellent work
you and others are putting out!

I was introduced to photography in College. As an Art and Technology
major, I had to take a few photography classes. I learned the
fundamentals of shooting a good picture, but photography never
captured me in the same way as painting or graphic design.

I did not really take much interest until I was stationed in Lesotho
as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer. My wife and I were having
the experience of a lifetime, and our bottom-of-the-barrel compact
just wasn’t up to the task of documenting life here. I started
realizing that I didn’t dislike taking pictures; I disliked my camera.

We invested in an Olympus E-P1 and a Panasonic 20mm F1.7, and it
changed everything. All of a sudden, I couldn’t wait to go out and
shoot pictures. For the first time in my life, I was going out
specifically to find things to shoot. It gave me a much-needed form of
self-expression at a time in my life that my work didn’t require my

While I fancied myself a landscape kind of guy when I bought the
camera, I discovered quickly that I loved taking pictures of people.
The Basotho people are great subjects; they are expressive, excited,
and anything but camera shy. Street and event photography have given
me some great opportunities to push myself as a photographer during my

I have upgraded to an Olympus E-P2 with the wonderful VF2 viewfinder,
and have added a couple adapted film lenses to my bag. I revived my
parents’ old Nikon E series 50mm 1.8, which has become my most used
lens. I also picked up a Konica 135mm 3.2 that is serving me well.

I post pictures regularly to my Tumblr account, Ruined Boots
(www.ruinedboots.tumblr.com) I also maintain a Flickr account
(www.flickr.com/brandiandwes/) with a more diverse range of pictures.
I am still getting my feet wet in photography, so I would love

On to the pictures…

I shot this at Peace Corps Lesotho’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. A
group of dancers performed a traditional Basotho dance as part of the
celebration. The amount of dirt and grass they kicked up as they
stomped made for some cool shots.

Olympus E-P1, Nikon E – Series 50mm F1.8, 1/4000, ISO 160

Muddy Boy:
I knew I had to get a shot of this kid when he ran up outside a school
where I was assisting with a training session. The pattern of mud on
his face was very striking. Just as I was pressing the shutter
release, he put his hand up in front of his face. It turns out he knew
better than I did how to make a great picture!

Olympus E-P2, Nikon E – Series 50mm F1.8, 1/640, ISO 200

Flower Girl:
This young lady was a flower girl at the wedding of a friend’s
daughter. The wedding was a real event, with dancers, singers, and a
dozen flower girls and ring bearers ushering the couple in to the
church. I snapped this as they proceeded in.

Olympus E-P2, Nikon E – Series 50mm F1.8, 1/2000, ISO 200

-Wes Helm


  1. Thanks to everybody for the compliments, and thanks to Steve for posting this! I’m honored, and I’m glad you guys liked the pictures. I have done my best to capture the spirit of Lesotho and the people here in pictures, and it is great to have the chance to share some of my experience with all of you! Thanks again for looking!


  2. Hey Wes,

    Looking at each of the three pictures, I can immediately imagine myself being there…

    Another example to show you don’t need a super fancy camera to capture the mood and communicate with audience.

  3. Thanks for the great photos Wes Helm! I lived in Lesotho for 15 years till 2005, worked with Govt. privatization and Katse Dam, Marshalled Roof of Africa Race every year. Not as bad as Stephen B says. God Bless the Basotho People!

    • Hey Alain,

      It is a small world! I am hoping to visit Katse before we leave. Another volunteer from my group lives near the Dam, and I’ve heard it is a beautiful area. I really wanted to attend the Roof of Africa Race this year, but wasn’t able to swing it. Thanks for the compliment, and God bless!


      • Thanks for the response Wes, keep up the great photography, Google the Roof for videos, and “Khotso Entate”!

        Alan G

  4. Really great pictures and nice to see some positive images from Lesotho, unfortunately one of the most mismanaged and corrupt countries of Africa. The Lesotho people deserve so much more. God bless.

    • Hey Stephen, thanks for the compliment! I can’t speak to the actions of the government here, as my experience here is chiefly with the people of the rural areas, I can say that I have found it to be a place a lot like every other I have been to. Some people are good, some are bad, some happy, some unhappy. The proportions of each aren’t substantially different than America or any other place I have been.

      Lesotho is definitely a beautiful country though, and is quite under-appreciated!


  5. Awesome! Very moving shots.
    Looking forward to check out your other stuff.
    BTW, I`m not a tech freak but I`m really impressed that you can get such results from the setup you`re using.

    • Hey Ulrik,

      Thanks for that, I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures. I have been really impressed with the Micro 4/3 system. I don’t have a lot to compare it to, but it definitely provides a lot of opportunities for newbies like me to play around with different inexpensive lenses. It has been the perfect system to learn with, and I think the results are more than good enough when I do my part!


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