When I visited Bhutan last year, I took around 8000 images. Now, some of these were multiples and time lapse, but I shot extensively because there was so much happening and you never know if you're going to get another chance. (I will in October 2014, but that's another story.)One of the locations we visited was a small community tucked away in the hills. Bhutan itself is tucked away, so this was tucked away even further! Called Ogyen Chholing, it used to be a much larger establishment, owning most of the lands around it and having the locals work for them. All this changed last century when the land was more evenly distributed among the Bhutanese population (a country wide edict) and so Ogyen Chholing ended up with much less land and the villagers had their own fields to look after.But it seems the villagers today still live in the same houses. The main buildings - the palace and the temple - are still looked after by the villagers and revered. It's a magical location atop a hill with towering mountains all around. And this is where we came to spend a couple of days.I had seen this woman in the village and she was polite, but not necessarily interested in having her photograph taken - she was busy. No, I don't expect people to drop everything just because I have a camera in my hand. However, the next day with her grandchild on her back, she was walking more slowly and was very happy to stop to have her photograph taken. I know this photograph has a lot of baggage for me because I was there, but it epitomises what I love about a portrait.First, it's simple. The shallow depth-of-field produced by the 85mm lens at its maximum (widest) aperture keeps my subject tack sharp, but blurs the wall and the door in the background sufficiently so they are there, but not imposing.I also like the central composition.I get into trouble for this because we all know we should be using the rule of thirds, but it just seems to balance for me. (I don't really believe you should always use the rule of thirds either!) If there's any subject that you can put into the middle of a frame, it is a formal portrait like this. I'm not capturing a candid, my subject has stopped and posed. We have an arrangement. It can sit in the middle.The door in the background and the stone flagging communicate the location's great age - it's not a modern shopping centre. The white wall behind and the grey stone in the foreground are great resting areas, allowing the colour that is elsewhere to really stand out.And there's plenty of colour in my subjects, even to the point that the brightest colour is on the little child's sleeve, ensuring that you see her.I like the fact that at first glance this is a portrait of a woman, but then you see the young face asleep behind her. It's a quiet, dignified portrait.So, did I see and observe all this when I took the photo? Don't be silly! I was panic-stricken that I might miss the shot, I fumbled a bit with my camera and I managed to take three quick frames. Then the lady was gone and something else was happening, but when I downloaded all the photographs taken that day, this was on my shortlist of winnersWell, it may never be entered into a competition, but it's a winner for me!By the way, don't forget we have our Better Photography Photograph of the Year competition on - it closes 31 July 2013. Visit www.betterphotography.com

Discover more inspiring photos like this one.

Download the FREE 500px app Open in app