©Jack Graham

Let’s face it, we as photographers….pro’s, amateurs’ or just casual shooters all look forward to the fall color display to get out and capture all that nature has to offer.  Once that cool air come in for the 1st time, increasing rain beging and fall color starts, we get that rejuvenated feeling and grab our camera bags and get out to make the most of what can sometimes be a short period of vibrant color. Paying attention to the weather and being prepared can go a long way in succeeding when it comes to fall photography.

Fall photography to me,  is all about color, and how to make the most of it. Here are some pointers that can help you come home with the best images possible during this magical season of color.LAORHRV12_0810_0043

Pear trees in the fall…. Hood River Valley, Oregon

  • Overcast and even rainy weather provides the best lighting for both landscapes as well as for close-ups of fall leaves, ferns, mushrooms, berries, and other fall details. Bright sunny weather creates harsh highlights, blocked shadow details, and even a blue cast due to reflected light from the blue sky.  A cloudy sky minimizes the blue cast, reduces contrast, and increases color saturation.  Rain and wet conditions serve to even increase the color saturation. A credo of nature photography is that “Bad weather makes for great photography”. Streams, rivers, waterfalls and forests are great subjects to photograph when it rains. In fact when tree trunks get wet they become darker, sometimes even black. This only enhances the color in the leaves. Take care to keep your equipment dry as well as yourself and get out and shoot in these conditions.LANPCV_TINKERS5


This is Tinkers Creek, Bedford Reservation, just south of Cleveland Ohio. This image was taken in the pouring rain.The rain enhanced the colors dramatically.






  • You can use a circular diffuser, such as a Photo flex, to soften direct sunlight, simulate an overcast sky, and thus improve the lighting for your fall close-ups.





The use of a diffuser made this images possible







  • Early morning and late afternoon lighting on sunny or partly cloudy days can provide dramatic lighting for scenic fall vistas taken in the open.  Weather fronts, which often occur in fall, can also provide sensational light, especially when areas of fall color are sunlit against a dark storm sky.


  • Let’s talk about sky. John Shaw’s sky rule: “If the sky adds nothing to your image… LEAVE IT OUT”!!!  White or overcast, less than dramatic sky is like poison to an image.LACAES_CONWAY5_0710




This is Conway Summit off HWY 395 about 10 miles north of Lee Vining and Mono Lake in California.

Note the lack of sky in this image. The color is the subject NOT the sky



  • Sunny weather is also the best lighting for photographing reflections of fall foliage in lakes, rivers, and streams.  The reflections are most dramatic when the fall color is sunlit and the water is in shade.  LACAES_LUNDY3Try using slow shutter speeds to create abstracts from fall foliage reflected in the moving water of rivers and streams. Be careful if you are using a polarizer. This can detract from the reflections that you really want, of the color in the water.


  • Misty, damp days can provide wonderful, moody lighting for fall color and waterfall photography.  The air is usually still, eliminating the problem of wind movement, and the moisture on leaves and rocks intensifies their color.


  • Look for different subject matter.. think out of the box. For example, my good friend Mike Moats pointed pout to me that is you look closely around still water where decaying leaves are present, there is often a color effect in the water that looks like a sheen of oil around the leaves and the water itselfPHART-WATERABSTRACT_0910_9702

Bacteria in the water , caused by decaying leaves is a very common phenomena. The bacteria can often have a rainbow color, a color that is commonly associated with oil sheen that is seen in a parking lot afer rainfall.

This image was taken with my Nikon D700 and a 200mm F4 Nikon Macro lens. Very little saturation in Photoshop was added.


As with snow scenes where you must open up 1 1/2 stops or more to make the snow white you must do the same in foggy conditions. Relying on your camera’s meter may result in misty scenes that are most times too dark,  so you may need to open up by  1 f-stop to retain the foggy light and luminosity that permeate these foggy fall days.


  • A polarizing filter can be used to intensify colors and reduce reflections on wet rocks and leaves.  An exposure increase of 1 to 2 f-stops will be needed( remember to always check your histograms and expose for the right), depending on the amount of polarization.  Your camera meter will adjust the exposure automatically when you attach a polarizing filter.  With most modern digital cameras, a “circular” polarizing filter is needed to ensure an accurate exposure reading. Don’t forget your graduated ND’s as well.


  • Use color to your advantage. Complimentary colors add to impact images. Green foliage combined with the reds and oranges work well. So does yellow aspens against blue skies in autumn.


  • Keep your compositions as simple as possible. Remember, don’t try and write a novel in your photographic composition, write the sentence that tells the story. Always remember  the rule of thirds, graphic lines and make your image using a key element as the anchor ( basic good compositional technique).  Keep it simple!

The internet is filled with sites to monitor fall color in all areas of the country ( great information on California’s fall color)     LACAES_LUNDY9_07-2564

For  serious photographers is a site I frequent. There are regional groups that are informative with updated color information from members in specific areas.





2010 WORKSHOP SCHEDULE / ONE on ONE Individual Field Instruction / THINK TANK CAMERA BAGS and MORE!

Below is my 2010 Schedule.

 This will include new locations such as the Smokies Mountains, (late April and again in Late July), where Mike Moats and I will be doing a MACRO & MORE workshop with the folks from the Great American Photography Workshop

 Also I’ll be doing workshops both in the fall and winter in Teton and Yellowstone NP’s


One workshop what I am really looking forward to is in July when Mike Moats and I will be teaming up with Bill Fortney ( ) for a 4 day workshop , again in the Smokies called “ Landscape and Macro Photographic Design “ . This will be an intensive classroom as well as field workshop where all aspects of photographic design will be covered. You will be working with three professional instructors, who will cover, in depth, different aspects of design and technique needed to consistently create first rate images, As there are three of us, and you will receive the one-on-one attention we believe will make your time well spent. All of the information and first hand knowledge from Bill, Mike and me, will result in your ability to improve your skills and creative processes in order to grow as photographers.

I’ll once again be partnering up with Ralph Nordstrom  to do our 2nd annual Death Valley _DSC0788workshop in February and then a very special workshop in the Napa Valley, and the San Francisco Bay area, (including time on the coast) in early November 2010.

Those registering for workshops prior to January 1 2010 will receive a 10% discount. I addition I offer an additional 10% discount for those who have already participated on any of my workshops over the years. Lastly, if you are a current member of NANPA ( ), you will receive an additional 10%…. so you can receive up to a 30% discount if you meet these criteria’s!


JAN 21-25          OREGON COAST   5 DAYS         $795.00

 FEB19-23       DEATH VALLEY         4 DAYS $795.00      with Ralph Nordstrom

 MAR 12-14    JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK          3 DAYS       $550.00


APRIL 29-MAY1      MACRO and MORE —-IN THE SMOKIES WITH JACK GRAHAM & MIKE MOATS GAPW EVENT (REGISTER WITH GAPW )     4 DAYS      $795.00 (Note that the discounts below DO NOT APPLY to GAPW workshops)

 MAY 19-23-      COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE —GAPW EVENT     4 DAYS       $795.00 GAPW EVENT (REGISTER WITH GAPW ) (Note that the discounts below DO NOT APPLY to GAPW workshops)

JUNE 3-6           COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE and MT HOOD REGION, OREGON          4 DAYS              $795.00


JUNE 17-20           SPRING in the PALOUSE         4 DAYS       $795.00

JULY 7-11             OLYMPIC PENINSULA           4 DAYS         $795.00

JULY 15-19          OREGON COAST                       5 DAYS            $795.00


AUG 6-8                         MT. RANIER NATIONAL PARK WILDFLOWERS AND LANDSCAPES       2 DAYS            $395.00

AUG 19-23                     OREGON COAST            5 DAYS                $795.00

 AUGUST 27TH           ONE DAY EVENT THE DAHALIAS OF SWAN ISLAND, OREGON         1 DAYS          $120.00

SEPT 24-29            AUTIMN IN THE TETON’S AND YELLOWSTONE         6 DAYS            $895.00



                                      4 DAYS 695.00



DEC 7-8            WINTER IN YELLOWSTONE                    2 DAYS $695.00

DEC 10-11       BIG HORN SHEEP, CODY WYOMING  2 DAYS $695.00

DEC 13-14         WINTER IN THE TETONS                       2 DAYS $695.00



These single day, one on one “PHOTO CLASSROOM in the FIELD”™ photography workshops will offer the beginner or advanced photographer a personalized photographic experience that will offer tutorial information regarding all aspects of photography. All aspects of photography will be covered within this one on one experience. The full day workshop experience will be customized to the individual based on skill level and needs.

 All instruction and discussions are done in the field, not in a classroom in some of the most scenic locations in the world. The day starts with a sunrise shoot and ends with a sunset opportunity. This IS a full day of emersion into photography.

 Advanced photographers can expect as much or as little instruction as desired. I can guarantee that you will get to the best locations here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, at the best times to capture some great images.

The itinerary will be customized to your needs and desires while accounting for the time of year, lighting and weather conditions

Transportation is provided. I drive, you don’t. The time in-between locations also serves to continue the discussion from a prior location and provide hints and tips about what’s ahead, or any specific questions you may have.

 The One on One, single day “PHOTO CLASSROOM in the FIELD”™ PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS charge is $300.00. This includes transportation from your location (or a pre selected meeting point) and back.

ONE on ONE , individual field Workshops are available here in Oregon. We shoot sunrise to sunset. Cost is 300.00 per day. This includes transportation in the field.

ONE on ONE  individual workshops are also available out of the area as well. Cost is $300.00per day + travel expenses. Customer arranges transportation

 _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ I’ll be working closely with the folks at THINK TANK in 2010. THINK TANK is definitely on the cutting edge when it comes to backpacks, roller packs and other accessories for today’s’ digital photographer. The Think Tank Airport SecurityTM V2.0 or the slightly smaller Airport InternationalTM V2.0 rolling bags make it easy when travelling in airports as well as serving as carry-ons. If you need a larger backpack (you can also carry these on airplanes easily), check out their lineup of backpacks. THINK TANK has recently updated their already fantastic website. To view and understand which THINK TANK product is for you, or purchase Think Tank products, click here: and then enter this special code: AP-371. When you order merchandise totaling $50 or more you will receive a free Think Tank bag. You view the choices here:


And finally please consider Hunt’s Photo for you next purchase. These are really good folks to work with. Their pricing is as good as it gets. Their service is the best and most importantly, if you call them, ask for Gary Farber, (and tell Gary I recommend you). Gary actually answers his phone, and returns calls, something not common in today’s photo retailer world. Often he has special purchases available that are quite amazing. Call Gary at 800-924-8682 x2332. Later this month, I’ll be posting images shot in 2009 using the Lensbaby products. ( I am having lots of fun creating images that I never though possible using their accessories. They open up a whole new world of photography and allow the photographer to really stretch his or her imagination.

Ahead to 2010, …The value of a Photo Workshop..Canon G10 in UTAH….. REALLY RIGHT STUFF ACCESSORIES… and MORE!!!

Images and text ©Jack Graham  All rights reserved


                                                 LACALMONO11We have one space availibe for our workshop in the Eastern Sierra next month. Please contact me if you are interested. Details can be found at  or by contacting me at

COMING in 2010!!!!

Now that summer is coming to a close, it’s on to 2010.
I’ll be announcing  next week my 2010 workshop schedule. This will include new locations such as the Smokies (late April and again in Late July), where Mike Moats ( ) and I will be doing a MACRO & MORE workshop with the folks from the Great American Photography Workshop( (The workshop in late July will also feature Bill Fortney  along with Mike and me). IMG_1010
I’ll once again be partnering up with Ralph Nordstrom to do our 2nd annual Death Valley workshop in February eLA_NP_DV_ZAB1_0902_0999and then a very special workshop in the Napa Valley, and the San Francisco Bay area, including time on the coast) in November 2010. I’ll be posting my 2010 schedule here on the blog soon.

                                                                                        Mike Moats having a quick lunch 

 There will be discounted pricing for my workshops for early registration as well as for NANPA  members.





As I continue to conduct workshops all over America, it has become more apparent that lots of folks need training in using today’s modern cameras and lenses in order to get the most out of them. Often I see the person who goes out and buys equipment, sometimes very expensive equipment and neglectes to find out how to use it correctly.  I recently had a customer  who bough a Nikon D3, and had every settings adjusted to:  Program mode, automatic metering and auto focusing. This is all well and good, and this camera, set in these modes will often product superb images. His comment to me, when I offered some advice on how manually metering might help in a certain situation, or by shooting in aperture priority would be a benefit was  … ” I just paid all this money so the camera would do everything I need automatically”. Well folks… as most of you know, no matter how much you pay, YOU… the photographer make it happen and make a big difference in the quality of images you produce._DSC0921

Having said that, I suggest to everyone who is either new to photography, or is upgrading to newer more specialized equipment, to include in their budget some training, in properly useing your  equipment in the field. Weather you do one of my workshops (andI hope you will ) or someone elses, please do yourself a favor and include training $$$ in your budget. It is really important now more than ever. Remember, good equiptment will GIVE YOU THE CHANCE to get good images. The photographer makes it happen. Knowledge is Power.

Also buying the right equipment and matching it to your needs is very important. A few weeks ago I saw a fellow using a Nikon D700 ( not a cheap camera) with a really average after market lens. How did this happen? ell he went into a camera store, and was “sold” this combination by what was probably an experienced sales person, or someone who really didn’t know or care about this customer. That’s why I encourage you, if you have questions about equipment to consult folks who do. Reputable dealers t you can talk to with knowledgeable staff still easiest. Stay away from the big box stores our the chains if you want information you can count on and people you can call back in a month or year if you have questions. (See my comments about Hunt’s below).

Just my $ 0.02



I’ll be working closely with the folks at THINK TANK  in 2010. I’ll also be announcing ways for my attendees to receive discounts in Think Tank merchandise as well.

And finally please consider Hunt’s Photo www.huntsphotoandvideo.comfor you next purchase. These are really good folks to work with. Their pricing is as good as it gets. Their service is the best and most importantly, if you call them, ask for Gary Farber ( ….and tell Gary I recommend you). Gary actually answers his phone, and returns calls, something not common in today’s photo retailer world. Often he has special purchases available that are quite amazing. Call Gary at 800-221-1830.

Later this month, I’ll be posting images shot in 2009 using the Lensbaby products. I am having lots of fun creating images that I never though possible using their accessories. They open up a whole new world of photography and allow the photographer to really stretch his or her’s imagination.

Well, hopefully in a week or so, I’ll be back at 100% after my “event” in Olympic National Park. I would personally like to thank everyone for their good thoughts, especially my good friend Bill Fortney from Nikon  nikonwho has been there for good council and support.


And as always remember to check out Photograph America  for the BEST in where, when and how to photograph Tell Bob I said hi!


Canon G10 at SNOW CANYON, UTAH……. ADOBE TRAINING……………… and more!!!

I recently spent some time visiting some friends in St. George, Utah. After what happened in Olympic National Park (see past blog article) I went through a time when I was pretty unmotivated to do anything, let alone photography. At the urging of my wife and a few close friends, I decided to travel down to St. George for a few days as planned a month or so earlier. This trip was a combination of R & R with my good friends, Bob Kulon, Gerry Emery as well as Bob’s kind offer to work on Photo shop & Lightroom with me in order for me to gain more knowledge in properly using these programs. bootcampbob

Though most of us have our own ways and theories on how to post process. I am always searching out input from those “in the know” to help me  to be better at processing my images. Bob is one such person. Bob is as good as it gets, for post processing knowledge and his ability to teach it  When it comes to CS4, Lightroom, Elements, and lots of other programs we all may use ( or should!),  Bob can, without question,  guide you in attaining the best results possible. ( And by the way he’s not a bad photographer either!).  For those of you in the Las Vegas, or the Southwestern US area ( St/ George is only about 1 hour from Las Vegas!) and even for those not lucky enough to be located there, I would strongly encourage you to get with Bob and learn his techniques.                     It would be well worth it
  Bob’s Online Gallery –

As I am waiting on a replacement Nikon D700 and a few lenses that were unfortunately rendered unusable in the wreck in Olympic NP last month so I took only my Canon G10 with me. What a great little camera. (A new G11 was announced this week!). We spent the better part of Saturday and Sunday (it was over 100 degrees during the day….Sunday turned out to be nice & cool after some rain on Sat!) working inside on CS4 & Lightroom. However, on Sunday morning we ventured out just a short distance from Bob’s to Snow Canyon State Park  to do some shooting, only about 10 miles from St George.

Red sandstone rocks along with white hills make up the cliffs on each side of the valley. LA_UT_SNOCYN6_0908These areas are particularly colorful and provide excellent and endless photographic opportunities. If you like patterns along with amazing color, this area is as good as it gets. Desert plants add lots of color to the area as well.  LA_UT_SNOCYN3_0908_G10Only occasional hikers and photographers are around, which makes things even better for those of us who enjoy working an area looking for some good images. It surly isn’t a crowded park by any means.



All images were made using the Canon G10, Really Right Stuff  “L”  bracket and Gitzo Tripod. They were shot in RAW and post processed in Adobe CS4.

ABOVE & LEFT  : Endless pattern offer great photographic opportunities.




The image below was taken using the G10’s Macro setting. The “L” bracket, ball head and tripod was necessary to get this sharp.



I always enjoy telling my workshop attendees the benefits of using the right equipment. Having a good camera and good equipment gives us the “chance” to make a good photograph, and using many of the products from The Really Right Stuff  Company is almost a must. As most of you know, who know me, know I preach how important a tripod is. It is maybe MORE important with a small point & shoot like the G10 as with a full sized DSLR. The G10 and it counterparts are small, light and even harder to keep from moving than DSLR’s. In steps the really Right Stuff. Along with plates and “L” brackets for every DSLR and lens available these folks actually make an”L” bracket for the G10 (the G11 bracket is on is way!).

An “L” bracket makes it easy to move from horizontal shot to a vertical shot.  IMG_1422I used this bracket; a sturdy tripod and a good ball head (Yes the RRS makes the best!) all the time to make these images. There is NO WAY they would be  sharp without a tripod, ball head and this bracket.

In other words, there is NO FREE LUNCH when it comes to a sharp image. CS4, Light room or any other software you may try will not help if your images aren’t sharp to begin with. (The rumor is that the RRS is coming out with a new tripod that will challenge anything on the market… stay tuned.)JGA_0354

Why not get on their mailing list?

“L” bracket tor Canon G10 by the Really Right Stuff