DISNEYLAND COMES TO THE SLOT CANYONS and OTHER CLOSE BY PLACES !

Text and images @Jack Graham unless otherwise notes… All rights Reserved

_dsf1929Yes folks,  Disneyland has come to the beautiful Canyon lands, red rock land and Navajo Country in Northern Arizona and Utah. For me I am probably done coming back here. It is not even close to being what it was like even 2-3 years ago when it began getting crowded.

I just finished leading another workshop featuring locations in and around Page, AZ, notably Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons (Slot Canyons), Horseshoe Bend, Vermillion Cliffs, Lake Powell and more.

When I first visited this beautiful area things were a lot different. Descending into Lower Antelope Canyon was done by climbing down on wooden ladders, sometimes made out of tree trunks and 2x4s. If you saw another photographer with a tripod, he or she was a really serious photographer.

I knew something was up when I found that most hotel rooms in Page AZ were sold out for my workshop in September 2016 by January 2016. Not only were they sold out but the prices have gone up about 70-100% in the past 2 to 3 years.

Hotel rooms in Page this time of year are $150.00-300.00 for a decent place. (Stay out of the Best Western Plus at Lake Powell—more about that soon!)

_dsf1948-2I arrived into Page only to find that what use to cost $85.00 per person for a two-hour photo tour in Upper Antelope Canyon last year, was now $250.00!—YES ….. $250.00 PER PERSON FOR 2 HOURS!!!!!

I include the canyon entrance fees in my pricing so if goes up I take a bath on it. No one from the Tour Company bothered to let me know about the price increase even though I made my reservations with them long before I arrived …oh well, supply and demand dictates price and the Navajos are really taking advantage of what people are willing to pay. In a casual conversation, my good friend in the tour company asked if I had reservations for Lower Antelope Canyon. Surprised, I asked “Since when did you need reservations?” He said this policy started a few months ago. AMAZING!

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I had to split up my group into 3 days so everyone could get into both canyons. SO now I had to get reservations at Lower. I secured the last 14 available. I had to split up my group. There were literally no photo tour reservations available for either canyon for 4 to 5 days. I got really lucky. I had reservations for Upper but didn’t know there were reservations needed for Lower Antelope.

The Navajo who are setting limits for how many people can go into the canyon are doing a terrible job. It’s all about the money. There is literally wall to wall people in these canyons for much of the day. Remember this is September. I would not be surprised if the numbers were even larger in the summer…hard to believe but true.

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The parking lot at Lower Antelope Canyon which 5 years ago usually had 10-20 cars, now had over 200 cars around 11AM. (Along with tour buses). The one small hut, good for fitting  3-4 folks selling tickets at 35-40.00 a piece,  has now turned into 2 large (and I mean large) houses charging about 85.00 for a 2 hr. photo tour. Again the crowds make taking any quality images difficult to impossible (in both canyons).

How can you get some good images in these locations? First, go in winter. Crowds (at least for now) are much less. The light is a bit different but no better or worse. You’ll see more purples in the sandstone walls than during the summer. Who knows maybe they might even drop pricing in the winter, but the Navajos are getting really greedy so who knows. You cannot…AND I REPEAT … CAN NOT make quality images during these crowded times in the spring, summer and now fall. It’s over, unless the Navajos limit how many people they let into the canyons. I double that will happen.

_dsf1905HORSESHOE BEND: We got there for sunrise. We were there in the dark, the first group there about 1 hour and 30 min before sunrise. Soon after, the crowds came over the ridge and groups of young people showed up yelling, taking selfies, posing on the ledges and making the silence of the red rocks disappear. So much for enjoying what was once a beautiful peaceful place is now Disneyland.

_dsf1908_dsf1909fullsizerenderHere  is a real idiot at Horseshoe Bend…its 950 feet down-posing for a picture with her feet hanging over the rock !!!

I am hearing that the US Government (who owns Horseshoe Bend land. Not the Navajo Nation) is going to charge an entrance fee (or requiring a National Park Pass) to park in the lot. I bet they will do what they did at Zabriskie Point in Death Valley and put up a chain link fence. You heard it here first! That afternoon I counted 167 cars and 4 tour buses in the parking lot of Horseshoe bend….Yes cross this off the list as well.

_dsf1977-edit-edit-2Now on to beautiful Monument Valley. Both the View Hotel (150-200 rooms at 250.00 per night is filled as well as Goulding’s…(219.00 per night), more with new additional rooms…ARE ALL FILLED. Traffic in the valley is the worse ever. Footprints on the duns made by folks who  don’t care about the land make getting images at Totem Pole impossible.

We are heading to Canyon de Chelly  on Friday. It will be interesting to see how things are there. Stay tuned.

cdcsnow1To my workshop attendees who were and are here with me…I apologize for the crowds etc. Most of this is out of my control. What is in my control is whether I come back or not. I am not sure if I or any other workshop leader can deliver a quality experience to anyone in this location anymore. I’ll be monitoring this situation and if it changes I might be back. For now it’s on to other places. The Navajo’s are making lots of money ( funny most of my wonderful Navajo friends are not living any better—it’s all going to the nation , not to the people—sound familiar?)

What a shame. Disneyland is now here! —JG

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An Unexpected Email !

I just returned from almost a month in Iceland and Greenland. More on that soon! I went to bed about 10pm last night, after being up almost 24 hrs. I was at my desk early today getting ready to leave tomorrow for the southwest. I really need a Red Bull, but instead I received this email this afternoon. It made my day.

This note came from a workshop client who did a few workshops over the past few years with me and Bill Fortney. I hadn’t heard from him in about a year but jghsb2was really pleased to here from him again. He has allowed me to share it with you all.

I am traveling more than I am home. Eating ( or not eating) weird food, sleeping weird hours, driving long distances, long flights( like yesterday) scrunched up in coach etc. I am in NO WAY complaining. I am one of the luckiest people on the planet. I get to travel, experience thongs other never can imagine, see the wonders of the planet and meet some great people along the way. Can you be creative in your job? Well I get to be in mine! –how cool is that!

307938_10150353593897324_740357323_10276918_7031142_nI remember this workshop that this person was on . I know he was an above average photographer and loved his passion. In our review sessions, I was pretty tough on him. I know he could do better ( as he stated in his email below). I also remember this morning he made the image he sent along. I remember telling him that as an art show participant, this image would be a great seller for him. I also remember not taking this shot ( though I have a similar one from another angle) making sure he and other got their shot. The fog and conditions didn’t last long.

_img9194_096Anyhow, getting these kind of emails ( which come in every now and again) make all the traveling, etc. worth it. This is WHY I LOVE MY JOB, and frankly do what I do.

My advice to everyone is to slow down, enjoy the journey and in what ever you may do for a living, or just in life, try and make a difference to someone. The world would be a better place….JG

HERE IS THE EMAIL AND MY RESPONSE FROM TODAY’S EMAIL–his image is also found below.

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From: Ken  *&^&%$$   [mailto:l&^^$%0@yahoo.com]
Sent: Thursday, September 08, 2016 1:44 PM
To: Jack Graham <jack@jackgrahamphoto.com>; Bill Fortney <billfortney@earthlink.net>
Subject: Just wanted to say thanks!

Jack and Bill,

As I head into the fall season of art shows, I wanted to take a second and thank you both for my successful year.  In particular, both workshops I did with you last year helped me tremendously.

Jack was brutal on my photo reviews.  You guys laid into much of my work as ciaos or too busy, or not enough impact.  I took your advice seriously, and really took a hard look at my work.

October, I attended another workshop, and this time, I had a fresh perspective on getting in tight and simplify.  The attached image has been one of my top selling images this year because of you two.  Jack, you told me I would make a lot of money with this, and I have been very blessed by it.  On an average, I sell one of these at nearly every art show this year with an average ticket price of around 1500.00.

As I get ready to head into the Tetons this fall to shoot, I am excited to see them differently, to see them the way I learned from you.

I am also looking at doing a few more workshops with you although I still own my Nikon gear🙂

Blessings to both of you!

Ken

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From: jack@jackgrahamphoto.com [mailto:jack@jackgrahamphoto.com]
Sent: Thursday, September 08, 2016 3:02 PM
To: ‘  ……….’ <l(*&^&$%0@yahoo.com>
Cc: Bill Fortney (billfortney@earthlink.net) <billfortney@earthlink.net>
Subject: RE: Just wanted to say thanks!

Ken,

Thanks you so much for your very kind words. Its unexpected emails like this that make what I do worth everything to me.

Often I am asked just what I do for a living sometimes by non-photographers and sometimes even by photographers. I tell them I try to get folks to some good locations, enjoy experiences alone and together, and learn some things that might help them along their path and encourage them to become artist who happen to use a camera to define their art, not just photographers trying to be artists.

I know I can speak for Bill to say we can’t wait to have you on another workshop as well.

As always if I can help in any way please give me a call or send me an email.

Very best regards, and again thank you!

Jack

JACK GRAHAM PHOTOGRAPHY

Photography Workshops / Fine Art Prints

 Graham, Washington USA

(O) 503 . 625 . 1430 /   ( F ) 253 251 0644   /    (M)  503 . 333 . 8699

FAX: 253 . 251 . 0644   /    SKYPE:  JACKGRAHAMPHOTO /  FUJI  X- PHOTOGRAPHER

WEBSITE          BLOG             ULTIMATE PHOTO WORKSHOPS

FUJI X SHOOTERS WORKSHOPS WEBSITE    PHOTOSHELTER         500PX

Member of the Board of Directors of the North American Nature Photography Association

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© Ken Smith

 

 

 

 

 

Notes from our Eastern Greenland Photography Adventure / Aug 2016

All images made with the Fujifilm X-T2 and Fujinon lenses. Images and text are @Jack Graham and Jack Graham Photography LLC

NEXT GREENLAND PHOTO WORKSHOP is SEPTEMBER 3-8 2018

CLICK HERE FOR INFO

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Why go to Greenland? If you really want to feel like you are removed from the craziness of the rest of the world, this is the place for you. For us photographers, it’s a paradise.

I took a group of photographers with me. They were all real troopers. They were really great and accepted Greenland for what it is. We all had to deal with getting in and out of boats on rocks or piers that require climbing, non-western facilities, some strange food and smaller than usual sleeping accommodations. We all felt that we lived like the locals do, which is pretty cool.

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There are two areas of Greenland, the western area and the eastern area. The population is far lower in the east where it’s a bit harder to live. Due to weather and the topography.  Here are a few facts about Eastern Greenland:

  • Greenland is the world’s largest island
  • 85% of Greenland is covered in ice
  • Thought geographically, Greenland is part of North America but it’s a part of Denmark and feels like you are in Europe.
  • Out of a total population of around 56,000 for the entire country, about 3,000 or so live in the Ammassalik area of Eastern Greenland. The largest town is Tasiilaq, population around 2,100.
  • There are no roads. You get around by foot or by boat.
  • You can fly into Kulusuk from Iceland (fares are not cheap) then go by boat to small towns in the area.
  • The population is mostly Inuit that migrated from the north in the 14th and 15th century.
  • _DSF9576Dogs are everywhere. These are sled dogs, not the kind of pets we know in the US. They are working dogs and provide transportation through the heavy snow in the winter.

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We flew from Reykjavik to Kulusuk but at the very last-minute the pilot aborted the landing due to fog and rain. The runway in Kulusuk is dirt, not pavement. After a day back in Reykjavik we finally made it back to Kulusuk then immediately got into our two boats and headed for a small town about 2-3 hrs. away called Tinit.

 

 

 

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_DSF0071-Edit-EditPeople live in small colorful houses in eastern Greenland. The Danish government assigns house color by occupation. Red are government workers, school teachers, administrators etc. Blue are for a type of engineer, Green are for another type of engineer and yellow are for health care providers (doctors and nurses). The indigenous Greenlanders feed their families and dogs by hunting whales, fish and seals. There is a grocery store in each village. Food is imported from Denmark from April through October. Weather prevents boats from landing in the winter. Food can be pretty scarce later in the winter. The Inuits do not waste anything. Yes the food we were presented with was traditional. We actually stayed in the blue house on the left (above image)—What a view!

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The following morning provided us with a remarkable sunrise. After breakfast we headed out by boat up the fjord to capture the magnificent icebergs. We were quite surprised to be able to see and photograph the humpback whales surfacing, then diving right in front of us.

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After one final night in Tinit, we headed out again by boat to photograph and explore the fjord on the way to the town of Tasiilaq. We were able to land the boat on the rocks and hop off and photograph a beautiful glacier and the fjord. This was one of the most beautiful glaciers I’ve ever seen.

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Click HERE for a short video of us sailing through the ice on the way to the glacier

We made it to Tasiilaq and were rewarded with a decent aurora at night by August standards. On our last night we sailed out to the largest icebergs I’ve ever seen. I am guessing this was about 20-30 stories tall! The late light was amazing and just kept getting better and better.

 

We finished our journey with one last night in Kulusuk before flying back to Reykjavik.

 

Below are some images from our trip. Enjoy them… I sure did making them….Jack

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Mt Rainier with the FUJIFILM X-T2

I am up on Mt Rainier this weekend conducting a photo workshop. Daytime light has been somewhat challenging, but the first light of the morning has been amazing.  It’s the peak of the spring wildflower bloom here and at about 5500-5600′ the flowers are quite good. and have been providing some descent foregrounds.

Below are some images captured with the FUJIFILM X-T2. I’ve been using both  the 16-55 mm F2.8 as well as the 50-140

The X-T2 continues to impress.  I have no doubt this camera is going to give the big boys some healthy competition–JG

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CAMERA BRANDS —Choosing a Photo Workshop !

Using ExifTool technology, an analysis of camera brands, lenses and how folks photograph ( data including most often used ISO settings, exposure etc) has been compiled. This information is based on about 6.7  million images from sites like Flicker, 500PX and more.

HERE are their findings. I bet you’ll find this interesting. Click on the camera brand on the tab ebelow the pie graph to see lens and camera data by each manufacturer.

Canon & Nikon are about 71% of the pie with Canon leading the way by about 5% over Nikon..

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CHOOSING A PHOTO WORKSHOP—–ITS A JUNGLE OUT THERE!

_EYE1155 jack giving direction_1A few years ago ( some thing really don’t change) I wrote an extensive article here on my blog regarding Photo Workshops and how to choose the right one for you. This discussion came up on the phone with a friend yesterday so I am going to re post it here. CHICK HERE to read it. I know it will help those of you looking for the the right workshop!

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Below are more FUJIFILM X-T2 IMAGES taken on the Oregon Coast

all images                        ©Jack Graham, All Rights reserved

Monochrome images taken using the Acros Film setting in-camera

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Back from the Oregon Coast/ FUJIFILM EVENT in SEATTLE THIS WEEK….

Rather than duplicate what I published on our FUJI “X”Photography Workshops Site, HERE is the link where you can read about it. I continue to be amazed by the performance of the X-T2 by FUJIFILM. There are many new images on the other site.

_DSF0373I am really getting spoiled. I have had 3 really great groups in a row ( Palouse , Whidbey Island and now the Southern Oregon Coast) Their images were outstanding and they all bought into my philosophy of slowing down, simplifying and enjoying the experience… in other words, becoming artist instead of camera owners!

It will be great to be with my great friends from FUJIFILM later this week here in Seattle as well as my com padre, Bill Fortney who;s also coming out for the event. Please give THIS LINK a read and come join us on Friday afternoon if you are in the Seattle area.

Below are some images from the the X-T2 previously unpublished-  notice the detail!-JG

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IMAGES FROM THE FUJI X-T2

I  received quite a bit of reaction to my blog post yesterday concerning the X-T2.  Last night I attended the VIP event in NYC for the formal “unveiling” of the camera. It was a great party and it was great to see my good friends at FUJIFILM  as well as other folks I know and respect in our industry

It sure was fun getting to shoot this camera for a few months before its formal announcement last night.I would like to thank my friends at FUJIFILM for the opportunity. I hope in some small way those of us who go to test the X-T2 and send along results to Fuji made a difference.

I got a lot of comments and requests to post more images I made using the X-T2.. I really tried to put the X-T2 through its paces.  While in the Palouse region of Eastern Washing I photographer a crop duster flying over an adjacent field.. Along with the X-T2 I used the Fujinon 100-400mm with and without the 2X converter. The image below is  Meta Data

016:06:09 06:51:36…..100-400mm @ 400mm    600mm (in 35mm film)

1/8000 sec, f8    ISO: 2000

WHAT WAS AMAZING TO ME WAS :in Wide Tracking the camera completely locked in and auto-focused perfectly at F8 !!!! impressive.

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Anyhow below are some images showing the detail and ability to render what is to me a visible improvement over the X-T1, which is a very decent  camera.  All Monochrome images were made using the new ACROS film simulation setting…..Enjoy!!!-JG

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… a blog about everything photography

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