Insights in Photography, Jack Graham PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS 2015

LAWA_PALOUSE42_130612_1696Click on the following links(below)  for all you need to know regarding our 2015 photography workshops. These events are filling fast.

Since this is a busy time of year, I am going to extend my pre-registration discount ( -10%) through January 15th !

2015 WORKSHOP SCHEDULE AND COMPLETE INFORMATION

REGISTRATION AND DEPOSIT FORMS

DISCOUNTS: 2015 WORKSHOP DISCOUNTS v3

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Insights-Issue4-Dec2014-COVER-125pxThe latest edition of my digital magazine :

“INSIGHTS in PHOTOGRAPHY”

is now available. It is in the form of a PDF and is printable ! Enjoy

Click HERE for access.

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Last Minute Gifts for the Photographer

LAST MINUTE GIFT IDEAS FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHER

              Jack Graham Photography Website

Ultimate Iceland Photography Workshops Website

FOR COMPLETE 2015 Workshop info click the following link:2015 WORKSHOP_REG_DEP_FINAL

   Workshop Discounts—Click the following link:2015 WORKSHOP DISCOUNTS v3

_DSC1278-EditThe holidays are here!!!! It really feels like that time of year as well. I live only about 20 miles from Mt Rainier and the few days without clouds allowed a magnificent view of this now snow-capped mountain… amazing.

I am going to list a few ideas for gifts for either yourself or for other photographers. Every one is a product I own and use. I can honestly tell you they will help you make better images and enjoy photography.

First, for some shameless advertising! My workshops are filling quickly (take advantage of the discounts!). Locations in the American Southwest, Pacific Northwest, Iceland ( winter and summer!), the Eastern Sierra in October, Grand Teton NP for fall color and again for winter photography, The Palouse region of Eastern Washington, Death Valley NP in February and again in November… as well as some new spots like the Blue Ridge Parkway, Arches and Canyonlands NP. It’s also our year to get back to NE Ohio for our fall in Ohio featuring a full day with the Amish workshop in October then off to Zion NP.

I am fortunate to co-lead some of these workshops with my good friends and expert teachers and photographers Guy Tal and Bill Fortney.

Why not give a gift or treat yourself? As always contact me for more information.   jack@jackgrahamphoto.com

Heat 3 Smart Gloves (USE CODE JGP10 for 10% off and free shipping)

heat81v9P38xuqL._SL1500___24640.1415644514.1280.1280I personally tested and purchased these last month in Wyoming–yes it’s cold in December in the Tetons! Without reservation I can tell you these are the best gloves for warmth while allowing complete access to my camera dials and buttons. They were originally designed for the European Special Forces for warmth, grip and dexterity. They are the perfect extreme winter gloves for photography. I have looked for the best winter gloves that allows me full functionality of my camera while keeping as warm as possible. They simply do the trick.

They performed way above my expectations. Are they cheap? — NO! Are they the best? — YES! There is nothing like being warm when working in the field in extreme conditions.

Featuring the highest quality construction, the outer shell is made from an Elastic Microfiber with water-resistant and breathable qualities much like Gore-Tex. The palm has full goat leather for added grip, warmth and durability and the insulation is Prim aloft for optimal warmth. With a mitten and glove design, a zipper across the palm opens up to expose the fingers for working your camera. A magnetic clip holds the mitten top in place and the thumb cap uses Velcro. Heat packs can be installed on both sides of fingers and in the wrist. A draw string around the wrist of the extra-long cuffs keeps snow out and wrist safety harnesses are included. The thumb and index fingers are conductive for touch screen operations. The ultimate cold weather glove with the ultimate dexterity! —HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

E_BOOKS

There are literally thousands of really great E-Books available these days.

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FOR THE GENERAL PHOTOGRAPHER:–I would strongly suggest you consider Bill Fortney’s new e-book series on general photography. These books are geared to the beginner to the advanced amateur. They are easy to get through. I would compare these to the series of books published quite a few years ago by John Shaw. Bill takes you, step by step, through all the areas of photography one needs to be proficient at in order to make consistent quality images.

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In addition, for you Fuji XT-1 enthusiasts, Bill has a “Complete Guide to the XT-1” He will walk you through every menu setting carefully explaining the hows, whys and suggested settings. This is a MUST for Fuji owners.

Also check out his “Americana” e-book— it is impressive.

TAKING THINGS FURTHER— I strongly recommend buying and reading over and over every e-book written by Guy Tal. Click HERE for his selection. Guy is a thinker as well as an amazing photographer. There is not a better communicator of the art than Guy. You’ll get insights into all of the photographic processes as well as Guy’s intuitive insights into photography. You’ll be not only a better photographer for reading and learning from these books, but have a different way of looking at the world.

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MY FRIENDS at HUNT’S PHOTO and VIDEO

Check out my good friends at Hunt’s Photo and Video for Holiday specials… Call John Duggan 781-462-2314 and tell him I sent you for great (and I mean great) service. Hunt’s offers the BEST pricing with personal service! I just looked at their website and there are some really good deals going on.

Bataflae 26L Bataflae26L

I LOVE MY GURA GEAR—Yes I belong to the bag of the month club too, just like lots of you folks. However, just like The Really Right Stuff equipment, and Singh Ray filters etc… you do get what you pay for in bags.  NO, they are not the cheapest. Which bag do I use? Well, it all depends. Frankly I have one of each of Gura Gears Bags and they all serve a specific purpose.

They use the best zippers and material available. You will not be disappointed.

LONG EXPOSURES

I am noticing an increased interest in LONG EXPOSURE PHOTOGRAPHY both in my workshops as well as in images I view online. You’ll need 3 things to become a good long exposure. First is a good tripod and ball head. I recommend you buy the best early in your photography life and save a lot of money. I use the REALLY RIGHT STUFF Tvc-33. And the BH-55 head. Like the gloves, they are not cheap, but I know they are going to outlast me! Second you will need a good remote shutter release system.

I use the HAHNEL GIGA PRO 2.4Ghz wireless timer (I use the Canon on my Fuji XT-1… make sure you order the one for your camera).

mor-slo-filter MOR-SLO     ND’S..

Third and most important is using good quality ND filters. I see all kinds on my workshops. The bottom line is if you buy filters from anyone other than Singh-Ray you will most likely run into some color shift or lack of quality. Singh-Ray just makes the best. Again, are they cheap? —NO! Are they the best? —YES! They stand behind their products. I use a MOR-SLO 10 and 15 stop ND. I also would recommend the Vari ND. (If you call them use my code JACK10 for a 10% discount).READ MY ARTICLE ON LONG EXPOSURES ON THE CURRENT SINGH-RAY BLOG

Photograph America Newsletter

REMEMBER..  The best way to photograph America is by using Robert Hitchman’s PHOTOGRAPH AMERICA NEWSLETTER…Tell Bob I sent you!

MISC STUFF

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The best lens cleaning cloths–yes they are for auto detailing, but they are the best I’ve found for removing dust and water from my lenses, (Made by 3M).

I protect my Fuji Lenses in my GURA GEAR camera bags with pouches made by FOTO TECH…check them out!

FotoTech Extra Thick 4 pcs DSLR camera Drawstring Soft Neoprene Lens Pouch Bag Cover size S M L XL for Sony Canon Nikon Pentax Olympus Panasonic with FotoTech Velvet Bag. They are inexpensive and offer good protection…

91iJCbCdxHL._UX522_Protect your ears with the 180TEC Fleece Warmers!-these are really  are great!180s Tec Fleece Ear Warmers—

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FUJI BATTERIES--For under $30 you can get 2 batteries, a wall charger and an auto charger from Wasabi–click this link!—Wasabi Power Battery (2-Pack) and Charger for Fujifilm NP-W126 and Fuji FinePix HS30EXR, HS33EXR, HS50EXR, X-A1, X-E1, X-E2, X-M1, X-Pro1, X-T1

What a deal—and they last as long as the factor ones from FUJI!

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NOTHING TO DO WITH PHOTOGRAPHY—but this is really cool!

Abco Tech Water Resistant Wireless Bluetooth Shower Speaker with Suction Cup and Hands-Free Speakerphone, Black

BOOKS

I don’t know about you but there is something about looking at a print in a book rather than on a monitor. Check out these two awesome NEW books:

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THE EARTH is MY WITNESS by Art Wolfe… Art’s most comprehensive collection yet.. A must have for any photographer—buy it and get inspired!

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THE EARTH”S LAST GREAT WILD PLACES by Thomas Mangelsen. Tom is one our greatest photographers and his new book is impressive. I highly recommend this as well.

FINALLY—— (and I will pour one after this blog post posts!)

I love a good gin and tonic. SO we pour 3/4th of the drink using store-bought shelf tonic-using good gin?  That doesn’t make sense.   —- I use Fever Tree Tonic-–very hard to find but you can find it on AMAZON .COM.

Fever-Tree Indian Tonic Water launched in the UK in early 2005, the brand name chosen due to fever tree being the colloquial name for the cinchona tree in which quinine, a key ingredient for tonic, is found. The highest quality quinine was sourced from the Rwanda Congo border and blended with spring water and eight botanical flavours, including rare ingredients such as marigold extracts and a bitter orange from Tanzania. Crucially, no artificial sweeteners, preservatives or flavourings were added.

Fuji XT-1/ Fuji  55-200MM/ ISO 3200,  F 5.6 at  1/4000 sec
©Jack Graham Fuji XT-1/ Fuji 55-200MM/ ISO 3200,
F 5.6 at 1/4000 sec

HAVE A GREAT HOLIDAY!—-JG

Winter Sunset, Iceland

The right to download, store or output any content on these websites www.jackgrahamphoto.com and www.jackgrahamsblog is granted for preview purposes only and may not be reproduced in any form .All Photographs appearing on these sites are the property of Jack Graham unless otherwise noted.
These photos are protected by U.S.Copyright laws and are not to be downloaded or reproduced in any way without the written permission of Jack Graham
By entering these sites you accept these terms. If you need permission to use a photo on these sites please call

503-625-1430 or email Jack @ Jack@jackgrahamphoto.com

WIldlife Photography with the Fuji XT-1-GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK

2015-Workshop-Schedule   Workshop-Discounts

ALL IMAGES MADE WITH THE FUJI XT-1

AND FUJI & NIKON LENSES

images and text © Jack Graham

_JGP0003-Edit-EditFuji XT-1  Nikon 300mm F4 (with adaptor for Fuji) ISO6400 1/1800th at F4

I arrived here in Jackson Wyoming last night (11/30) just in time for the snow to start. It snowed lightly overnight, perhaps an inch or two. Today I spent a few hours scouting in the Grand Teton National Park in preparation for my last workshop of 2014, which starts on Wednesday night.

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Fuji XT-1  Fuji 55-300  ISO3200 1/4000th at F8

This was my first experience photographing wildlife with the Fuji XT-1. I will be the first to admit I am far from being a competent wildlife photographer.  I also went in to say hello to my good friends in Tom Mangalsen’s gallery here in Jackson. If you want to see a great wildlife, as well as a landscape photographer, check out Tom’s work!

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Fuji XT-1  Fuji 55-200   ISO1600 1/680th at F16

I went into the park with the Fuji XT-1 and my Nikon 300F4 (450mm on the Fuji) and my 18-55mm 2.8 as well as the 55-200. The snow and changing weather really had the animals active (with lots more coming tonight!). Within 3 hours I found big horn sheep, elk, river otters, trumpeter swans, bald eagles and buffalo. The landscape was really beautiful as well.

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Fuji XT-1  Fuji 55-200   ISO5000 1/4000th at F8

Again, I am amazed at the sharpness of the Fuji glass and the ability of the XT-1 to deliver really noise free images up to 6400 ISO. I shot mainly with the 55.200 ( 78-300mm on the Fuji) The big horns at times were so close to the truck even that lens was too much! (When I stopped, they come over to lick the salt off the vehicle left over from yesterday’s trip on the interstate.)

I shot pretty much on continuous low, giving me a short burst of frames of which to choose the sharpest and best pose (Aperture priority). The snow added a nice touch, even though it was about 15 degrees!

So here are a few images from today… enjoy!   —JG

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Fuji XT-1  Fuji 55-200   ISO3500 1/160th at F8

2015 Photography Workshops, FUJI XT-1 Guide… featured article “THE POWER of MONOCHROME”

Jack Graham & Bill Fortney
Jack Graham & Bill Fortney

WHAT’S NEW……… Look for my good friend Bill Fortney’s new e-book “A GUIDE TO THE FUJI XT-1” for sale coming December 5th. It is a comprehensive guide to this magnificent camera containing over 160 pages and 250 illustrations. It is a true user’s guide containing countless tips, recommendations and examples of work done with the Fuji X-System family of cameras. Reviews of lenses, buying recommendations, how to build a system, how to carry it all, and much more! Click HERE for information. _DSC3878-1235-1236-1237

This month’s issue of Extraordinary Vision Magazine has an article on long exposure photography. For those who have interest in long exposure photography take a look. This online magazine (available for iOS and Android) is a very high quality publication and well worth your time exploring. I am honored to be part of it this month! You can read it for free by clicking HERE

_JGA6988WORKSHOPS 2015… HIGHLIGHTS: COMPLETE INFORMATION; HOW TO REGISTER:
2015-Workshop-Schedule (Remember register before Jan 1 and receive a 10% discount (not including International workshops or workshops I do with the Pacific Northwest Art School)
Here is the complete list of my WORKSHOP DISCOUNTS.

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1) Back by popular demand— Bill Fortney will be back in Nelson Nevada and the “Boneyard” (Las Vegas Neon Museum) in March for a sequel to this month’s successful experience in these locations.

Fuji XT-1/Fuji 14,, 2.8
Fuji XT-1/Fuji 14,, 2.8

2) New locations in 2015! — Northern Iceland Photography workshop in July right on the heels of our Iceland, Southern Coast Workshop;  Blue Ridge Parkway & Grandfather Mtn with Bill Fortney in June and back to NE Ohio (and our amazing full day with the Amish) in October.

3) Other locations include: Death Valley, Olympic Peninsula, Fall and winter trips to the Tetons, 2 workshops in Arizona featuring the slot canyons, Hunt’s Mesa and Canyon de Chelley, ….. Zion National Park, 2 workshops on the Oregon Coast, and the Palouse with Bill Fortney

yellow aspens in Eastern Sierras4) Don’t forget … I’ll be in the Eastern Sierra once again (21st year) this October for our fall color workshop with my good friend Guy Tal. We’ll also be doing our Master Class the following week. This year’s was a great success…don’t miss this!

5) PACIFIC NORTHWEST ART SCHOOL—on Whidbey Is, WA—This year in addition to our annual 3 ½ day event in June, I’ll be doing some special 2 day events. Please visit their website for details. These 2 day events are totally different from our June event and are already creating lots of interest.

6) Finally Iceland… Our 2015  ULTIMATE ICELAND winter workshops are sold out and our 2016 winter events are already about ½ sold out…. Register now. There are still a few seats remaining for our July excursions. Look for a big announcement in February regarding another winter location!

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FEATURED ARTICLE

The Power of Monochrome ©Jack Graham

 LAMVHMESA3_110413_5334BWWhen reading this short essay, remember I have no plans to abandon color photography. My feelings are that both mediums have their place. Some images are better represented in color and others in monochrome. The principles of photography carry over to both methods. The only difference is in certain images, the lack of color and the power of monochrome can stand out when applied correctly.

LAWA-CONBOY3_0910_1159b&wI also prefer to use the term monochrome rather than black and white. When viewing a black and white image, we are really looking at shades of gray, not just black and white. When we think of monochrome photography we almost always think of Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier Bresson, Minor White, Robert Frank, Paul Strand, Dorethea Lange and Edward Weston, just to name a few. We think of powerful images delivering a story clearly transmitted to our brains. We think of monochromatic images going back to the acceptance of photography as an art. Thank you Mr. Stieglitz!

TRAZ_CDC1_110411_5637MColor film was actually developed in the mid-1800s but due to the primitive nature of the products, colors faded from the prints quickly. Just before 1900, if one had the money, one could buy the proper equipment to make color images. Only the very rich could afford to play in this process.

LAORCST_BANDON4_130507_6007MIn 1935 Kodak brought to market Kodachrome. However because of the expense compared to black and white, color processing was not the norm until the 1970s, just 50 years ago! Interesting enough it was Polaroid who introduced the first instant color film in 1963. By 1970 color film was the norm for most “snapshots.” However, black and white film was still used by some photographers for the aesthetic nuances that it offers. It was common for black and white photographers to do their own developing and printing. Color film was dramatically improved, but black and white photography continued to be used as a different method to tell the story, in unusual and powerful ways.

Today I strongly feel that deciding to eliminate color, as an option in telling our story through photography, is a choice not to be taken lightly. It is important to decide, even before the photograph is made, if this image is a possible candidate for monochrome. I have made many images where color is actually a distraction from the strength of the image itself as well as subtracting from the meaning I am trying to convey.(See example below)

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PART_BICY1_111027_3060ERBWForm, as well as texture, can be brought out in monochrome much stronger than in color. In monochromatic photography, we are using our eyes and brains to look the form of a subject, the texture of the subject and not confusing ourselves with trying to, at the same time, decipher and process color. When making color images we think about brightness, hue of color and more. With monochrome images we are only dealing with shades of gray. This is one reason why monochrome images can be exceedingly more powerful than color if produced correctly. Again, the process starts before the camera comes out of the bag.

Palouse WA._Barn Photoshop, or any type of computerized monochrome processing that we may be working with today, parallels what Weston and Adams did in the darkroom years ago. In many ways monochromatic photography can exceed the power of color both in emotion and how the image is viewed and interpreted.

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LEARNING TO SEE IN MONOCHROME

_DSF0235-Edit-Edit-Edit-EditWhen working in monochrome consider using tone, brightness, texture and contrast within your image to tell the story and communicate your feeling. Consider that complementary colors like red and green can often look the same in monochrome. If the textures in a monochrome image are identical they become hard to differentiate. Using different textures within an image in monochrome is another way to bring out the feeling from the start. I find differentiating the depth of field of a subject in monochrome photography is more important than if photographing in color. Making one part of the image sharp and the other out of focus can really accentuate the image.

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Using these concepts and techniques will get you on the path to seeing in monochrome and being able to deliver images with significant value. But there is much more to learn about making quality monochromatic images. Understanding the Zone system, proper processing technique in monochrome as well as perfecting your printing technique are all important. I strongly suggest reading and learning from Guy Tal’s Creative B & W Landscape Photography.  Also reading Ansel Adam’s book “The Negative”, originally published in 1981, is suggested.

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FOR ARTICLES AND WORKSHOP PREVIEWS The material and images contained in this writing above may not be reproduced in any form .All Photographs as well as text appearing here is the property of Jack Graham and Jack Graham Photography LLC, unless otherwise noted. These photos are protected by U.S.Copyright laws and are not to be reproduced or used in any way without the written permission of Jack Graham and Jack Graham Photography LLC By entering these sites you accept these terms. If you need permission to use this material please call 503-625-1430 or email jack@jackgrahamphoto.com

FIve things I like about my Fuji XT-1

all text and images © Jack Graham *& Jack Graham Photography LLC

2015-Workshop-Schedule

Icelandic Horses FUJI XT-1 , FUJI 18-55mm 2.8
Icelandic Horses FUJI XT-1 , FUJI 18-55mm 2.8

It’s been 7 + months since I’ve been shooting ( exclusively) the Fuji XT-1. I am often asked why and what I really like about it.  Below are 5 things I really love about this camera. Yes, there are some things I’d really like Fuji to improve but overall it’s just a great camera that produces incredible images and is fun to shoot. My back also loves this system! Here are the 5 main things I love about the Fuji XT-1 —(All images we made with this camera)

1) I simply love the style and feel of the body itself. It brings me back to the SLRs of the past while letting me make the kind of images that we demand today. It is a bit of the “Old School” look and feel with the current technology. The FUJI XT-1 is lighter and smaller (and easier on my back!), compared to today’s heavy and bulky DSLRs. The controls of the Fuji X-T1 do not feel at all cramped. The XT-1 is just plain fun to shoot with while being well built  with a weather sealed magnesium cast body. This is one really good feeling and looking camera.

Fuji XT 1/ Fuji 10-24mm F4
Fuji XT 1/ Fuji 10-24mm F4

2) The electronic viewfinder (EVF) on the Fuji XT-1 is absolutely amazing. Its brightness and clarity sometimes makes it hard to remember I am looking at an electronically generated image. One nitpick is that there is a very (and I mean very) slight pause in the display when the exposure is adjusted. It’s a God send to be able to see my histogram before I shoot. (This should be a feature in every DSLR—listening Nikon & Canon?). It’s great to see my compensation change when I dial it up or down. This is only a feature in the higher end cameras by the competition. But  this isn’t rocket science. All DSLRs should function like this!

Fuji XT-1/Fuji 14,, 2.8
Fuji XT-1/Fuji 14,, 2.8

3) The Fuji X-T1 performs exceptionally well at high ISOs. I would challenge any full frame DSLR to compare images at a very high ISOs. I feel very comfortable shooting up to ISO 1600 knowing my files will be noiseless. Color and black levels hold together right up to ISO 6400. Slight noise increases do occur when shooting at 6400, but they are very manageable.

Fuji XT-1/ Fuji  55-200MM/ ISO 3200,  F 5.6 at  1/4000 sec
Fuji XT-1/ Fuji 55-200MM/ ISO 3200,
F 5.6 at 1/4000 sec

4) A great camera deserves great glass and Fuji has really delivered. The18-55mm (dare I call it a kit lens) is a fast (2.8) lens, extremely well built and produces incredibly sharp and well defined images. Compare it to any other “kit” lens available! I have found other Fuji lenses to be extremely fast and sharp as well. ( I own the 14mm 2.8, 10-24 F4, 55-200mm and 60m macro. I can’t wait for the new 50-140 F 2.8 weather sealed, with a collar mount 2.8 coming next month!) All Fuji lenses have metal mounts. Most of Nikon’s new lenses are plastic. Most of Fuji’s lenses are smaller and lighter than the competitions as well. One cool thing is that Fuji produces a road map of its lenses so we know what’s coming more than a year ahead at times.

Fuji XT-1, Fuji 18-55mm
Fuji XT-1, Fuji 18-55mm

5) Fuji listens to its customers more than any other manufacturer. Fuji has also done a great job of upgrading camera firmware while not forgetting about their earlier models. While other manufacturers make their customers buy newer models, Fuji has done it primarily by firmware. Additional functionality and features on the XT -1 were direct responses by Fuji to their customer’s suggestions. What a novel idea.

Fuji XT-1, Fuji 55-200mm
Fuji XT-1, Fuji 55-200mm

A few things I’d like to see Fuji change:

1) Make the back buttons a bit easier to manage

2) Improve battery life

3) Lock down the diopter adjustment

MORE IMAGES FROM THIS YEAR—all made with the XT-1 and great Fuji glass

Old Truck, Sprague WA.


Ice Cave, Iceland

Palouse WA._Barn

Southern Oregon Coast Sunset

The right to download, store or output any content on these websites http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com and http://www.jackgrahamsblog is granted for preview purposes only and may not be reproduced in any form .All Photographs appearing on these sites are the property of Jack Graham unless otherwise noted.
These photos are protected by U.S.Copyright laws and are not to be downloaded or reproduced in any way without the written permission of Jack Graham
By entering these sites you accept these terms. If you need permission to use a photo on these sites please call
503-625-1430 or email Jack @ Jack@jackgrahamphoto.com

Fall colors & friends in the Eastern Sierras

yellow aspens in Eastern SierrasI recently finished my 20th Annual Photography Workshop in the Eastern Sierras with co-leader Guy Tal! It was a great year to be there … fabulous fall color, awesome workshop group and good times with some old friends.

Below is a post from one of those acquaintances, fellow photographer Greg Vaughn.  Greg is a good guy and good friend …. be sure to check out his books too!

 

Fall in the Eastern Sierra: Iconic Locations and Inspiring People

A couple of weeks ago I wandered to the east side of the Sierra Nevada in California to lead a private photo workshop, meet some long-time photographer friends, and make some photos of the fantastic fall color the eastern Sierras are famous for.

The photo workshop was a great success, with my client declaring after the first morning that the trip had already paid for itself; we were treated to a spectacular sunrise at Mono Lake with a fresh dusting of snow on the mountains and colorful clouds floating in the sky. We went on to work Alabama Hills, the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, Milky Way photos from Mammoth Lakes, weathered wood and rusty metal at Bodie ghost town, and, of course, lots of brilliant fall color around the creeks and lakes between Bishop and Lee Vining. I really enjoy sharing such spectacular beauty with others, particularly those who are enthusiastic about developing their photographic skills.

yellow aspen leavesThe rendezvous with old friends was also great. I first met a couple of these folks twenty years ago in this same area as part of a meeting of shutterbugs from the old Compuserve Photo Forum. Photographing alongside these people at places like Bishop Creek, Mono Lake South Tufa Reserve and Bodie State Park is wonderful as they are amateurs in the original and best sense of the word: those who do something just for the love of it. Their enthusiasm and joy in being in a beautiful location and exercising their creativity is truly inspiring. What good fun to explore a scene when one photographer is shooting with an infrared-converted DSLR, another alternates between shooting black & white IR, winding film through a Holga and straight captures with a digital camera that he will later process with various artistic and alternative effects. A third photographer works his DSLR with the intention of later producing paper negatives and then contact printing them on his hand-made, hand-coated paper. Hanging out with these folks, I’m motivated to try and be a little more creative in my own photography.

yellow aspens against granite mountainIcing on the cake for this trip was a dinner get-together with photographers Jack Graham and Guy Tal. I met Jack several years ago at a NANPA Summit, and we’ve kept in touch via phone, email and Facebook since then. Jack has helped me out several times, including contributing some of his photos to my bookPhotographing Washington. If you’re not familiar with Jack, it might interest you to know that he’s been leading photo workshops for over 20 years, and Jack’s workshops are consistently sold out, with a huge percentage of repeat attendees. He is very, very good at educating photographers and helping them attain new skills.

I was most pleased to meet Guy Tal, a man whose photographs and words have both intrigued and inspired me for several years. Few people can craft such wonderful words to go with their photographs. Eloquent is the operative term for both. I sometimes fancy myself a writer, since I have written two books that won awards for editorial content, but my writing is usually a very literal “I went here, if you go there, this is what you’ll see”, and often when I read Guy’s posts on his blog I think to myself, “Damn, I wish I could write like that”.  Guy doesn’t talk about gear much, delve into the camera, lens and f/stop he used, or how he processed a particular image, but he expresses well the reason for making an image and the emotion behind it. Even if you don’t consider yourself an Artist with a capital A, as photographers that’s something that we should all strive for.

One of the things that attracts me to Guy’s photographs is that they are often rather quiet images. Although some have vibrant color, he doesn’t crank that Saturation slider as some photographers are wont to do these days, nor are most of his images composed of bold graphics. Rather, they are highly detailed, quiet studies. The kind of images that you can stare at for a long time, that you wouldn’t tire of seeing on your living room wall. Photographs that invite meditation and contemplation.

Interestingly, of all the photos that I made myself during this trip to the Sierras, the one that pleases me the most at this point is not one with the brilliant oranges and yellows of sunlit aspens in their peak of fall color glory, but rather a photograph made in the shade, with aspens that weren’t quite in their prime. Tree trunks and leaves against the texture of a granite wall. A rather quiet image, and one that resonates with me and reminds me of what I enjoyed about my wander in the eastern Sierras.

–Greg Vaughn

Eastern Sierra - aspen leaves on granite

4 Accessories for Every Photographer

BRITE STRIKE FLASHLIGHTS….. the UINEA from GURA GEAR ….I KLEAR CLEANING SOLUTION….3M CLOTHS

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Greetings everyone…… Below are just a few of some great products I use when out in the field. I get nothing from these endorsements. I just would like to share some things that make life a bit easier. If you have any for me send me an email at jack@jackgrahamphoto.com. As well let  me know if you use these and how you like them.

I always kid my good friend, assistant and partner in ULTIMATE ICELAND,  Greg Duncan that he is the VP of finding new locations, toys and gadgets…and he is very good at that. However once in a while either I find a few that I really believe in or some of my good friends let me know of some others. These products are ones I use in my photographic arsenal.

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Brite Strike Flashlight –I recently discovered this amazing flashlight (Model BTL-150-MH) and used it for the 1st time last week up on Mt Rainier. This company is known for their tactical illumination products and supply the military and police forces with products. Advanced Digital Power Management computer chips assure full power for up to three hours, which in itself is amazing. The flashlight is only 5” long and deliver 280 lumens. It’s Tactical Touch® Momentary/Hi switch offers the ability to control the rate of micro bursts of light as well. Visit their web site for more products and information

Buy it HERE on AMAZON!

You will also be amazed at the build of this flashlight. It is made of very high grade aerospace aluminum. Brite Strike also makes another product that I am very interested in. They are All Purpose Adhesive light Strips ( APALS-AIR®). They adhere to your hat, arm, shirt or really anywhere and can be seen up to one mile and operate in 4 modes. These 1″ x 2.3″ strips last over 200 hours! Think of  the uses for these when photographing in the dark, let alone the safety value.

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Check out everything else these folks make… the make some very unique products. Click HERE for their home page

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Uinta                       Modules

Gura Gear Uinta Camera Bag – In my closet sits about 30 camera bags of all sizes and manufacturers. Yes, I’m a bag nut and a charter member in the “Bag of the Month Club.” I think I am done looking for the be all and end all in camera bags … I may have found it! I’ve been using the UINTA camera bag from Gura Gear with great success for about 4 months. It has a lot of miles on it and has been exposed to lots of rain, sand, mud etc. I can tell you that this bag, like all the other products from GURA GEAR, is as good as it gets. It’s a modest sized bag with the best overall construction I’ve seen. The zippers are as good as it gets. The CORDURA® and custom weatherproof ripstop X-Pac® is the best rain proofing material I’ve seen…and living here in the Pacific Northwest and traveling to Iceland a few times a year, I know how important rain proofing is!

I use both the small and medium modules. In the medium module I carry my Fuji XT-1 and 4 lenses. There is also room for lens hoods, cable release and more of what I need in the field. Everything is extremely accessible. In the small module, I carry some filters and have been known to fit a jacket or long sleeve shirt in there as well. There are dual openings for each module. You can buy an accessory that holds your water bladder and tripod as well. I would suggest doing this on long hikes or in areas where you need to stay hydrated.Tripod & Hydration System (for Uinta)

Gura Gear cut no corners when producing this bag. It is what I think the best value for the money out there these days. You can buy it HERE from my friends at Outdoor Photo Gear.

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Reflection Lake, Mt Rainier National Park

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Klearscreen.com For a few years now I have been using this marvelous product. Be careful using products to clean your optics, iPhone screens, and computer and tablet screens. Not all products are made equally and many can cause damage.  iKlear’s unique, non-toxic and environmentally friendly formula is manufactured in their California facility. Unlike other cleaners, iKlear is anti-static and is alcohol, ammonia, and sodium lauryl sulfate free. Anything with alcohol or ammonia will damage optics and screens!

You can purchase these products in (different size) bottles, or in travel singles. These are a must! You can buy this product at AMAZON by clicking HERE

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Micro Fiber Cloths by 3M –    3M(TM) Perfect-It(TM) Detailing Cloths 06016,41mFs+BhoML

A good friend from California and I have for years been searching for the BEST micro fiber cloth around. These cloths by 3M are actually made for automobile detailing and are extremely soft. In my opinion the ones you buy for quite a lot of money in camera stores are worthless. All they do is move water around. They are not very absorbent. The clothes supplied by iKlear (mentioned above) are really quite good, actually very good.  You can throw these 3M cloths in the washer (no soap!) and use them over and over. You can buy these in a 6 pack for about $30 at Amazon! CLICK HERE

NOTE: When cleaning your lens, gently remove any material (sand, dirt etc.) from your lens before using ANY cloths—lens can scratch easily!

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