The 1st Annual Great Smoky Mountains Photography Summit

I’m honored to have been asked to be a part of the 1st Annual Great Smoky Mountains Photography Summit, taking place October 28 – November 1 at the Tremont Lodge in Townsend, Tennessee. It’s going to be a great learning experience and a great time!

Joining me for the field sessions, classroom sessions, Pro critiques, panel discussions and more are:
Jim Begley, Bill Fortney, Ken Jenkins, Scott Kelby, Matt Kloskowski, Bill Lea, Wilson Reynolds, Len Rue, Sr., Len Rue, Jr., Rob Sheppard, Tony Sweet and Brett Wells.

In order to keep this event as intimate as possible, the registration will be limited in number. So check out the WEBSITE for more information and how to register.

See you there!

smokey mountains photography summit

“The Big Deal” is here!!!

the big deal logoPut together by my friends over at Think11, “The Big Deal” is a bundle of photography resources (think Lightroom how-tos and plugins, online video courses, ebooks, subscriptions and on and on …) worth over $4,000 if all bought separately – on sale for only $99!!


To give you an idea of what’s being offered, here’s a very short sample of contributors (in no particular order):

  • Tony Sweet – 13 Videos Covering Macro Photography, Texturing, Infrared, Mirroring plus more
  • Lee Varis – Online Course in Mastering Image Creation & Photo Illustration in Photoshop
  • Bobbi Lane – Posing & Directing Video
  • SharkPixel – Landscape Photography Presets for Lightroom
  • Perfectly Clear – Photoshop and Lightroom Plugins
  • Eyefi – 1 Year Cloud Subscription
  • KelbyOne LLC. – KelbyOne Photoshop and Lightroom Creativity Bundle
  • Photofocus – Develop Great Images in Lightroom & 72 Essays On Photography Ebooks

This truly is a fantastic deal even if you only use a portion of all the products offered!  “The Big Deal” is only on sale until Thursday, June 25, so go check it out.  In my opinion, there’s something for everybody!!!


the big deal poster

Digital outdoor photography at its best!

extraordinary vision magazine cover june 2015It’s truly an honor and a privilege to be featured in this month’s issue of Extraordinary Vision Magazine.

For those of you who may not have of heard of them until now, EV Mag is the #1 Outdoor Photography Magazine published exclusively for mobile.

Each month, Publisher Angelo Ioanides delivers with informative articles, gorgeous photography and interactive video tutorials. Now designed for both Apple and Android, you can get your free subscription at iTunes or Google Play, or check out their website at

If you haven’t seen this magazine yet, you really need to check it out! Thanks, Angelo, for another outstanding issue!!!!


GREEN on GREEN–Olympic National Park, WA

Spring in Olympic National Park
Spring in Olympic National Park

All images made with Fuji X-T1 and the Fujinon 16-55 mm f 2.8 Lens

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK in the Spring… Green is everywhere. Our brain is able to process more hues of green than any other color. Green is abundant … and so many hues make the greens really pop. Add some rain and  WOW!  If you like GREEN, April & May are the two months  to be here.

I spent a few hours scouting the area before my workshop (that starts tomorrow )for some good locations to take my attendees. Here are a few images taken off the normal path that most folks go to photograph.  I’ve been coming here many years and this place never ceases to amaze me. The trick is to learn how to deal with the clutter and make simple, yet powerful images. I’ll be teaching this starting tomorrow!–JG

Below are more images–GREEN!






Critiquing Photography and the Importance of Style and Vision

Jack’s Workshop Schedule
2015 Workshop Registration Form
Jack’s Website      |        Ultimate Iceland
Fuji X Photo Workshops

CRITIQUING IMAGES            ©Jack Graham
_DSF7037-Edit-EditHaving our work critiqued in order to know where we stand in terms of photographic development and how our viewers respond to our images is an integral part of developing our style and vision.

An image critique is certainly not about me or my knowledge of photography. It is about my workshop attendees, or others work. My goal is to help another photographer improve his or her work. Reviewing and critiquing images is an integral part of my teaching.

An image critique can take place in many contexts. These critiques are always part of my photography workshops, are an important part of each workshop and should be equally important to the attendee. These critiques are always meant to be constructive, not destructive. For my purposes this discussion will be based upon landscape, macro, wildlife and photo art photography as opposed to portrait and “people” based photography,  which I do not feel I am equipped to critique images.

There are two ways teachers critique images. They can make the attendee “feel good” and create a warm and “fuzzy feeling” or be honest and deliver information that will make each student gain invaluable input as well as deliver this information to the other students as well. I choose the latter.

_DSF0383-Edit-EditFirst and foremost, critiquing an image is not criticizing the image. Criticizing an image is destructive while critiquing an image is productive. When critiquing an image I look for strong points, subject, what works and what doesn’t as well as the weak points of the image. When one criticizes an image a certain amount of personal feeling is involved, which is destructive.

When critiquing an image I always take into account composition, technical aspects, the feeling that is evoked, etc. A good review covers those items along with the esthetic and artistic nuances of the image.

I always try to address the technical and artistic aspects separately. Technical aspects include exposure, focus, depth of field, sharpness, exposure, how you processed the image if applicable, cropping, and more.

Artistic aspects includes composition, how you used color or B & W, is the light good , is there some personal style in the image and more.

My review of an image is based on facts, not my personal opinions. For example I might say “This image is dark. I see you compensated minus 2/3’s of a stop. Perhaps no composition was needed here.” This is based on fact and if the photographer wanted to create a brighter, more acceptable image and didn’t, then there is something wrong with the image itself.

An example of an opinion-based critique is: ‘I don’t like the sky in this image so you might want to leave it out.” Perhaps the sky meant more to the photographer than to me, so this is a personal decision. I’ll always preface these comments with “In my opinion.” Personal taste of the photographer is important.

LAWA+PALOUSE39_120615_7924I always stress what works and what doesn’t both technically and artistically. Further I critique the work of a beginning photographer differently than that of a seasoned shooter. I take each attendee differently based on skill level. My goal is to use these critique sessions as a growth session for each attendee while offering ideas on how each person can take my input to go to the next level.

It helps if the attendees respond to criticism in a positive manner. Not all do.

Most of the time, one problem or conflict stands out more than others. I will always address that first. Most of the time there is something positive about the photograph. I always try to stress that. If not, I’ll be honest and say so. By pointing out the good parts of the image, the magnitude of the bad aspects are a bit less painful to absorb. I always try to offer constructive criticism and not discourage the photographer totally. For example, I might say ”There is a conflict with lines and too much negative space in this image, however you really nailed the sharpness, exposure and depth of field wonderfully.” These are facts. I’ll then go on to offer a solution to the problems I see in the image and how to correct them.

_DSF6961-Edit-Edita-EditOver many years of critiquing images I have found that negative comments are more powerful than positive comments and linger on much longer. Again I’ll offer solutions to the problems I see. Not all attendees take criticism the same. Some have their confidence and their self-esteem hurt. By trying to balance the positive aspects with the negative aspects I hope to provide a balance that serves everyone better. Remember, few images are totally bad.

I also offer my time at a future date to do another review either by phone or Skype. This is a good way to see if the attendee is progressing.

LAORCST_MWPRTHTRBR16_120905_0652When reviewing images I emphasis the importance of developing your style and your vision.

Developing vision and style does not just form. It is a process that can take many years. It should not take a lifetime either. Vision and style must be apparent to your viewers, not just to you. When I hear Miles Davis play one line of music I know it’s him. This is the highest compliment one can be paid. If your viewers cannot see vision and style in your images, it is simply not there and your images are just another bunch of pretty pictures among millions of others.

BEWARE of the INTERNET. Is feedback on images you post on Facebook valuable? More often not for a lot of reasons. As a photographer you need and want to get noticed. How do you do that? Get good at what you do. Don’t worry about how many “likes” you get on Facebook. You need to be more than just another photographer in an ocean of photographers in today’s world. Work to develop a personal style and vision. Technique and processing trickery is not enough to get by on.

Announcing — New photo blog & FB page for Fujifilm “X” users

fujifilm x logoDo you love your Fujifilm X camera as much as Bill Fortney & I do? Not a Fuji X owner yet, but thinking about switching? Want to join in the fun with other Fujifilm shooters on dedicated Fuji X photo workshops?  Then check out our new blog site: and like our page on Facebook to learn more and to keep up to date with our Fuji X journeys.


_DSF6099-Edit-Edit-Edit-EditOur first exclusive workshop for FUJI “X” SHOOTERS ONLY (Wildflowers and Landscapes of Mt Rainier National Park; Aug. 27-30) is nearly SOLD OUT —- only 2 spots remaining!  An active volcano in Washington, Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S., while the slopes below are covered with subalpine wildflower meadows and ancient evergreen forests. We will use this environment to aid us in creating artistic imagery with our Fujifilm X cameras. Click HERE for more information and how to register.



FujiX-UserGuide-cover-150x112Also, check out Bill Fortney’s  e-book “A GUIDE TO THE FUJI XT-1”. A comprehensive guide to this magnificent camera with over 200 pages and more than 300 photographs, it contains countless tips, recommendations and examples of work done with the Fuji X-System family of cameras. Plus reviews of lenses, buying recommendations, how to build a system, how to carry it all and much more! Click HERE for more information.


_DSF6215-Edit-Edita-EditI’ve said it before and I’ll say it again —- I really love 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.


So please follow our new blog and join us on Facebook for all things Fuji X … See you there!

It’s Not the Camera….. it’s YOU !!

Jack’s Website                       2015 Workshop Schedule




             It’s Not the Camera…… It’s YOU !

©Jack Graham

_DSF7037-Edit-EditIn a current issue of a major American Nature Photography Magazine there is an article talking about taking rich and sharp images. Their quote in a large block next to the text of the article says:

“As a digital photographer you can learn a lot from Ansel Adams. Choose the right gear and emulate the attention to detail that Adams devoted to his craft to get your best possible landscape photos”

“A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed”…Ansel Adams

_DSF6984-Edit-Edit-Edit-Edit-2First we all can learn a lot from Ansel Adams, no matter if we are a “digital” photographer. How would Ansel handle the digital age? Ansel’s darkroom is our Photoshop. More so, Ansel’s attention to detail had nothing to do with equipment! It had to do with how he used his equipment but more so how he looked at scenes, way before pressing the shutter.

In my photography workshops I stress slowing down, simplifying and learning to see. Communicating a scene and story in a photograph comes from within, not from your camera. You camera has no emotion. It does not see. It does not feel. It is piece of machinery and technology that without your proper involvement will certainly not take the “best possible Landscape Photos”.

“A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed”…Ansel Adams

How about I take the liberty to rewrite this paragraph from the magazine.
As a photographer, and developing artist you can learn a lot from Ansel Adams. Learn to see, think and create using your heart, feelings and senses to emulate the attention to detail that Adams devoted his craft, to get your best landscape photos. Don’t get caught up in that 50MP sensor. Get caught up in your vision and communication. Having the “right gear” only gives you the chance to make a good image.

Rhody's on the Oregon Coast
Rhody’s on the Oregon Coast

“Lack of attention to detail fails to explain why a 1999 camera in the hands of a meticulous PH.D who studies the instruction manual won’t produce as many images as a 1939 camera in the hands of a person with a refined photographic eye.” —Galen Rowell


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

… a blog about everything photography


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,398 other followers

%d bloggers like this: