PREPARATION & Photography tips

All  text and  images are ©Jack Graham/ All rights reserved.

I just returned home to the Pacific Northwest  from speaking and judging at the 48th Annual NFRCC (Nigara Frontier Regional Camera Club in Grand Island NY. Along with Michael Richmann, Rick Sammon, Mike Moats,  Ellen Annon and others, I had a great time and hope that everyone enjoyed what we had to offer.

Friday evening featured a prepared program by Mike Moats and me. kr1_jga5740em1As some may know Mike and I run photography workshop, Macro & More ( where we visit locations conduciveto both Landscape as well as macro photography. Visit our web site for more details .

 We were both pleased to be able to present our program to the SRO audience that packed the room.

On Saturday I did 2 breakout programs on “20 Tips to becoming a better nature photographer”. One was at 8:15 AM but had over 40-50 folks in attendance. The afternoon program was even better attended. My thanks to all.

Mike did a hands on shot of interesting subjects showing all his style and technique.

After the annual dinner and awards ceremony, Michael Reichmnn prsented a most interesting program on some of his magnificent images from around the world. With so much bad information on the Internet these days, Michael’s site is absolutely 1st rate.

I promised the folks I would ost the 2 articles written a few months ago, already published, that my programs were based on.  One is on”Preperation“, a subject often ignored by lots of nature photographers and the other being ” 20 Tips to becoming a better photographer“. BOTH ARTICLES ARE LINKED:



I would personally like to thank everyone I met, the many folks I already know from previous conventions in which I participated as well as Randy Zack, Larry Stevenson, Ann McCooey, Dee Cunningham and others for making me feel so welcome.

Spring is in the air and nature photography should be heating up soon.

Lets all get out and enjoy  it!






March 11 2009


It’s been a busy few weeks and things continue as such for the immediate future. With all that’s going on with our economy, I am the last to complain. More so, it’s been really good to see many of my good friends while traveling around the past few weeks.


So where have I been? Let’s start with my 1st workshop of 2009. I conducted this workshop in Death Valley National Park with my friend Ralph Nordstrom, ( ) img_0298an accomplished landscape photographer living in southern California. We had a great group and fabulous weather. Let’s face it; Death Valley isn’t called Death Valley for nothing.img_0324 However in the winter month’s temperatures are cool and yes sometimes wet. We were lucky to have both. We had great light in the mornings and afternoons. _dsc0788Just before we arrived the valley received some rain. It also rained while we were there a bit. The brief and light rain provided as well as unique images due to the water from the rain, absorbed into the rocks as well as in the “flats” areas. Reflections of the adjacent mountain ranges at sunrise in these temporary shallow lakes are not common. However we were lucky to experience this phenomenon 1st hand. The rain, though for just a few hours in mid day on day two, allowed for the most amazing color to pop within the rock canyons of Mosaic Canyon._dsc0832 Water tends to bring out color not seen when the rock walls are dry. We took advantage of the weather to get some wonderful and unique shots._dsc0833 Our morning photographing on the sand dunes close to Stovepipe Wells was fantastic as well. The early morning “sweet” light against these large dunes was productive for us as well.


Photographing in Death Valley is quite different from other grand landscape areas. As a photographer you are constantly looking for patterns in the rocks, canyons, mountains and sand dunes. However in Death Valley, timing is crucial for getting the best images in the many varied areas of the park. The use shadows _dsc06751is crucial in making good images in areas like the sand dunes near Stovepipe Wells and at Zabriskie Point. ela_np_dv_zab1_0902_0999Though the landscape in Death Valley is as vast and almost unending. It’s also important to get past the vastness and shoot intimate images of rock patterns and the varied colors found within these rock formations which allow the photographer endless photographic possibilities.


Due to the rain however, we were unable to get into Artist Palate, the Racetrack and Dante’s View. However we took advantage of these infrequent conditions to get some wonderful images that are not seen very frequently available for photographers, in this vast, dry piece of land._dsc0889


After our workshop was over I had the pleasure of doing a “one on one” workshop with a gentleman from Maryland, Marty S…, the following day. Being knowledgeable about his gear, Marty was able to concentrate on the patterns and location shots that are almost at every turn in the park. On this day we did get into Artist Palate as well as the other great and varied locations within the park. img_0351 Check out the results of Marty’s shots here.



 I’ll be posting some of our participant’s images soon both here and on my website .



I am already looking to our next workshop in Death Valley in 2010. If you are interested, please contact me or Ralph for information. We have not set a firm date as of yet but it will be sometime in the Feb-March timeframe. We’ll be happy to get you on the list. I’ll be updating my web site next month with images from Death Valley. Also check out Ralph’s site. There are some great photographs here.









The day after I finished in Death Valley, I flew to Albuquerque for the 2009 NANPA Summit ( ). For those of you who are NANPA (North American Nature Photographers Association) The NANPA Summit is a great place to network. For you members who have never attended one of these summits, you are really missing out on opportunities to learn in the many breakout seminars, meet other photographers with similar interests, mingle with some of the “heavyweights” in our business and just have a great time for a few days. Most important as well is meeting new folks.


My friend and workshop partner, Mike Moats ( was there as well which made things a lot of fun. img_0371Mike gave a seminar on how to make a living in the Art Show circuit. img_0384I also enjoyed seeing many of my good friends like Darrell Gulin, Walt Anderson (the developer of the Better       Mike and Walt Anderson                                      Beamer) and others. above Mike conducting his seminar 


Most importantly I finally got to spend some quality time with my dear friend Bill Fortney of Nikon. img_0392Bill and I go back many years to the Great American






                                                                                                 Bill Fortney and yours truly


Photography Workshop days (I still do workshops for them—- (check them out at Since he and I are on the road a lot more than we sometimes would like to be we don’t get the chance to see each other. NANPA provided that. Bill also gave the keynote address to the organization and presented a few wonderful slideshows in the way only Bill can. img_0372



Bill spending time with a young nature photographer at NANPA



Bill has a new Book out co authored by Mark Kettenhofen called AMERICA FROM 500 FEET II. (  This is a sequel of the 1st book published in 2001. The new book has images of areas that most of us will never see in the way Bill and   captured.  I recommend it to everyone. 500feet2Bill and I had some good discussions and lots of stories were told. Maybe Bill and I should do a book someday. I think you all might get a kick out of some of the antidotes that we have our minds from all the years in this business.


There are lots of vendors there as well showing off new equipment and allowing us to get hands on demo of many new photographic items. It was good to run into some colleges and other workshop leaders as well. Les Voorhees, Don Gale, Artie Morris to name a few. Art Wolfe provided lots of good information as well as some entertaining stories, in only the way that Art can as well. Al in all it was a blast.


I left 2 days after getting back to Portland for PMA in Las Vegas. I have to say PMA was not only disappointing (not a lot of new products and the excitement level was not happening) but all in all quite boring. It was good to see my friends at Lowe Pro and Digital Foci. Digital Foci ( did show lots of new items coming into the market in the next few months. (Stay tuned here for more info).


The best part of PMA was getting to spend the day before the show with my good friend Bob Kulon._dsc1164 Bob just escaped Ohio for the beautiful high desert and red rock country of south western Utah (St. George). Check out some of Bob’s new offerings here  Bob has a different and interesting vision that I can only believe will expand now that he is surrounded with new and unbelievable subject matter, Look for lots of new images from Bob. If you want a great experience in this are contact him. He’s also doing workshops that I highly recommend. (




Bob & I got out to Zion National Park for a days shooting capped off by some late afternoon trekking into Snow Canyon, close to his home in St Gorge. _dsc1150










WHATS AHEAD: I’ll be off to Joshua tree next week (as well as Anza Borrego) for the wildflowers

The following weekend I’ll be presenting 2 programs ( one with Mike Moats) at the NFRCC Convention ( a BIG Camera Club association in up state New York and SE Canada)  For my friends in Ohio and other local areas within a short drive.. Consider coming over. I’ll be there with Mike as well as Michael Reichmann and Rick Sammons. The events start Friday evening and end on Sunday AM. You don’t have to be a member of the NFRCC to attend. Details are on their web site.


I am trying to get to the Texas Hill Country to scope out a possible workshop for next year (wildflowers etc) in April as well as back to the southwest. After that I’ll be back in the Southwest (Slots, Vermillion Cliffs, and Lake Powell & Monument Valley in late April. By that time the wildflowers in the Pacific Northwest will be going and my local workshops commence. Please think about coming out for one or 2 or more. Details are at