Global Team for Local Initiatives and the Hamar Tribe of SW Ethiopia

Global Team for Local Initiatives (GTLI) is dedicated to helping indigenous people lead healthy lives. Working closely with tribal elders, GTLI helps implement sustainable development projects for long-term survival and income generating activities for immediate relief.

Currently, GTLI is working with the 23,000 member Hamar tribe in remote southwest Ethiopia. Through projects in water, health, education, and income generation, they are helping this ancient tribe, affected by drought and disease, gain the skills they need for continued survival.

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Wedding Videography: Elizabeth + Kyle Gillum – July 31st, 2010 – Bainbridge Island, WA (full length)

Elizabeth + Kyle Gillum – July 31st, 2010 – Bainbridge Island, WA (full length)

I used a Canon HDv10 camcorder, tripod, Nikon D3 and a combination of 17-35mm, 50mm, and 70-200mm Nikkor lenses to create the following material.

Cameron Karsten Photography offers professional photography & videography services that draws excellence into any industry, specialized to make any business, family and special event shine in the light of infinite creativity. Contact Cameron Karsten for photography services in weddings, portraits, senior portraits, commercial, travel and fine art photography. Extended services included fine art printing, matted and framed.

Contact Cameron for more details: / 206.605.9663

Viewing also available on Vimeo at:

Wedding Photography: Elizabeth Greene + Kyle Gillum wedded July 31st, 2010 on Bainbridge Island, WA

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As the official wedding videographer and not wedding photographer, I had to stand aside from my passion and allow another medium come thru the lens.  In my overall project, I incorporated both still and movement into the film along with words and music.  Here, I present a few select still images.  Stay tuned for the final film.  View Lizzie & Kyle’s engagement photographs.

Book now to reserve Cameron Karsten Photography as your wedding photographer/videographer this coming season.

Film: Adult Functional Literacy with the Hamar by Global Team for Local Initiatives (GTLI)

Film: Adult Functional Literacy (AFL) in Minogelty by Global Team for Local Initiatives

Adult Functional Literacy (AFL) is at the core of the SHIP program. Unable to speak Amharic, the Ethiopian national language, the Hamar are unable to negotiate for themselves with the government or traders. AFL is teaching interested adults how to speak, read and write basic Amharic, as well as literacy with money and numbers.

Travel Film: The Wildside to Lamu

Lamu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Narrow winding alleys, exquisitely carved wooden doors lining coral pathways and the bustling Arabs with the men’s flowing white gowns and the women’s mystic black bui-buis (traditional Islamic head scarves), each sparkling in the fierce village lighting.  The town is enchanting with scents of humanity harvesting, preparing and cooking spicy Swahili dishes.  Mix the aromas with various loads of donkey dung, cat shat, raw prawns and decomposing red snapper, and some squashed cockroaches into the perfume and viola—a rustic seaport ripe with tradition.  Only two cars exist on the island—one belonging to the hospital, the other to the police station—therefore the colony of donkeys dominate transportation, together with the fleets of dhows and long narrow motor boats.

To watch the newest film about our experience in Lamu, which is directed and produced by Cam2Ygoi Productions, please follow the below link.  Forewarned… the film is 10:33 minutes, with film footage, photographs, dialogue and music, so the downloading time will require patience:

The Wildside to Lamu

Viewing also available on Vimeo at:

Travel Photographer Interviews: Cameron Karsten

Travel Photographer Interviews: Cameron Karsten by Lola Akinmade (from The Traveler’s Notebook)

In a new series on Notebook, we interview professional photographers, and discuss their different perspectives on travel photography as well as tips for taking better pictures.

Photographer Cameron Karsten is currently traveling around East Africa, documenting the work of various communities and nonprofit organizations. With a unique eye for composition and lighting, Cameron is capturing particularly soulful images. According to him, “he yearns for expansive adventure of the deepest value in order to express the tales of humanity.”

Cameron Karsten has also written a series of spiritual and health travel articles for Brave New Traveler. He left his formal classroom studies to indulge in dreams of travel at 19 years old, and has been wandering ever since.

Over the past few months, Cameron has also contributed to MatadorU’s Travel Photography Program. Matador Goods Editor Lola Akinmade and Matador contributing editor Paul Sullivan took some time out to ask Cameron a few questions:

How long have you been a professional photographer?

I’ve been practicing photography for six years. It was only two years ago I decided to convert the hobby into a passionate career.

What – or who – got your initial interest going in terms of photography?

Travel. At the age of 19 I left my comfort zone with backpack, journal and pen, and my camera. I began writing and photographing in order to share my experiences and inspire other individuals to follow their passions. Today, with diligent practice and belief, I continue to develop and evolve my skills to create the life I desire.

Cameron Karsten

What were your first photographic experiments or experiences?

The first time I mindfully began photographing was on the first day I landed in Bangkok, Thailand at 19. The new culture, architecture, environment and faces sent my eyes spinning along every street. I was enthralled with the new surroundings and found every detail, from an old shirtless man to the spires of a golden temple, worth photographing.

My family and friends had to see what I was witnessing. It became a way to transport my followers into my traveling adventures and become a part of the journey.

How would you describe the work you do now? Are you involved in the commercial world also? Any stock photography?

I am continuously building and expanding my photographic styles. Currently, I work as a professional portrait, wedding, and event photographer. However, my drive is to develop into a full-time commercial, travel and editorial photographer with fingers in lifestyle and fashion. The possibilities in the industry are limitless, and these options keep me inspired as I move forward.

Which other photographers – old or contemporary – inspire you most?

Ansel Adams with his patient lighting. Ricard Avedon with his brilliant creativity and stylistic eye. Annie Leibovitz through her skill of caricatures and personalities. And Steve McCurry for his wanderlust.

You seem to have an eye for shapes and working with patterns. Is this a fair assessment?

Shapes and patterns are where my eyes are drawn to. Within my surroundings, through my lens and into my brain, I see the world as shapes creating patterns. Everywhere, there are arrangements of order built within a format of forward-movement. From whatever cause, whether my practice in meditation to my careful observations abroad or at home, I have adapted this technique as my first and foremost.

Like jumping into a stream and letting the current take you, I pick up my camera only when the moment feels right, only when that inner fuel burns and that surge of inspiration sears.

Cameron Karsten

When you are approaching subjects to shoot, how do you set about it? Do you chat and explain what you’re doing? Or shoot first, ask questions later?

As mentioned above, when there’s inspiration, I shoot. When there’s none, I leave it alone and keep truckin’. Often, I leave my house, hotel, or camp without my camera.

There are many scenes, subjects and settings that are so captivating, there’s no reason to try and capture it. Then and there, I soak it in and use that moment for my inner fires.

Pick and choose selectively. Don’t shoot everything. Beauty is everywhere, all the time.

When approaching a human subject I wish to photograph, the situation varies. Sometimes I sit down and create a conversation before photographing; therefore, the image will have a deeper story in my memory and in print. Other times, I make eye contact, smile and politely ask/gesture for a photograph.

Other times, when in the zone and feeling the comfort of the atmosphere, I shoot and shoot and keep shooting, moving my feet while snapping the shutter. I go with my instincts photographing, writing, traveling, and daily living.

Cameron Karsten

What’s the craziest or most inspiring encounter you’ve had in general?

Most inspiring moments are when I find myself in nature. I spent four weeks backpacking from Giri to Everest Base Camp alone, without a guide or porter. That time by myself was intense during the off-season. I met locals. I sat alone atop granite spires overlooking the Khumbu Valley. I walked through sun, wind, rain and snow. I sat with locals and heard their tales of The Yeti.

I bumped into Maoist rebels and experienced the tension of a violin string coarse thru my veins. And I drank chai with Royal Nepalese soldiers over conversation about the region’s struggles.

Those memories will live on forever.

What kit do you use / carry with you / can’t do without (camera make, lenses, flashguns etc.)?

Nikon for life. I used to carry two lenses, a 55-200mm Nikkor and a 28mm. Yet, I’ve liked the challenge of cutting out the zoom and forcing myself to get into the scene, closer and more intimate. Therefore, I’ve sold the 55-200mm and dove into the photograph with my 28mm.

Finally, what else are you working on right now and what are your ambitions for the future in terms of your photography work or anything else?

Currently, I’m finalizing a new photography website that will enable me to sell and distribute my work online to a wider audience, which can be found on PhotoShelter. This site is combined with new websites for my writing and multimedia projects. I’m off to East Africa in January 2010 for six months to document the visions and progress of various communities and nonprofit organizations through these mediums.

My ambitions are to continue creating a lifestyle of travel with photography, writing, and multimedia as an outlet to educate and bring awareness to the world about different cultures, their current issues, and how we can preserve their environments for sustainable well-being.

To see more of Cameron’s work visit his site,

Cameron Karsten

Dire Dawa to Djibouti City & The Faces of Ethiopia

The Hamar Tribe of Southwestern Ethiopia

The Hamar tribe of southwestern Ethiopia are a select group of 7,000 – partial nomads, partial settlers – whom have found their community in an evolving catastrophe.  For centuries they’ve lived the way the ancestors have survived, following agrarian and goat herding traditions.  Today, in the midst of a changing climate with desertification and the encroachment of modern technologies, the Hamar peoples are questioning their survival techniques as starvation, lack of clean water and disease threaten their existence.

I, along with Lily Brewis, will spend a length of time with the Hamar tribe this upcoming February 2010, documenting the changes and adaptation of the peoples via photography, article writing and HD film footage.  We will accompanying the Bainbridge Island-based nonprofit Global Team for Local Initiatives (GTLI) who have stepped in to help teach the Hamar to the changing climate, creating water-well projects and sanitation techniques.  Below is an introduction to the Hamar tribe and the work the people along with GTLI have in store.

Cam2yogi Productions Presents…

The latest and greatest development by Cameron Karsten.  A new website was launched for Cam2yogi Productions, representing multimedia captured from around the world complete with high-definition film footage and Cameron Karsten Photography.  Set up as a blog of travel films, this new website will be periodically updated with new content as Cameron prepares for his newest adventure in East Africa.  He will be traveling with Lily Brewis as they begin in Ethiopia before heading south thru Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda & Uganda connecting with various non-profit organizations in an effort to document the change and progress within the region.

The new website can be found at: