THE IMAGE: Basotho Horseman

The tiny “Kingdom in the Sky”, with its imposing peaks, deeply cleft ravines and sub-alpine grassland rucking up along the Maluti ranges, always delivers when it comes to gold-standard imagery. Lesotho remains an unspoilt country, and it brims with mountain culture and age-old traditions, making it a photographer’s paradise.


Colour, character and composition abound in the bleak hinterland
of this tiny landlocked country. The natural grandeur forms the perfect backdrop for human subjects, who accentuate the vastness of the landscapes.

This image was shot at a slow shutter speed to show the movement of the Basotho horseman, and to create an ethereal and painterly effect. This blurs the background while keeping some segments of
the image in sharp focus. The blanket adds splashes of colour to
the composition.

Adding flash to the technique would create more sharpness.
In order for this to work effectively, you would need to be much closer and would need to stop the aperture down to tone down the natural light.


Early morning light creates beautifully warm tones, and makes for easy framing with a 100-400mm zoom lens. The panning motion needs to be executed so that you follow the subject at the same speed they are travelling. This is generally easier without a tripod. You do need a steady hand, and to make sure the movement happens within the corresponding plane of motion to keep the subject sharp.


Jacques Marais is a professional photographer and author who regularly contributes to a wide selection of premium local and international magazines, and covers prestige sporting events. You can also find his work at



Camera Nikon D800

Lens Nikon 100-400mm

Shutter Speed 1/20 second

Aperture f5.3


Natural light only


Slow shutter pan following subject movement


Final post-production was done in Adobe Lightroom.