I have 1 opening left for my Josuha Tree NP  wotkshop coming up on March 12-14 2010. The wildflowers should be great!      Please contact me at jack@jackgrahamphoto.com . Here is some information as well …JOSHUA TREE NP WORKSHOP OVERVIEW

I have 2 openings left for my Southwest Workshop  INCLUDING:  Slot Canyons, Lake Powell and Monument Valley  —April 15-18th 2010. PLease contact me if you are interested. Please contact me at jack@jackgrahamphoto.com . Here is some information as well…SW PHOTOWORKSHOP_2010




5 Reasons that IMAGES SUCCEED……… or don’t!

©Jack Graham all rights reserved

 In the many images I view, either online or in person, (and even my own), I see a very wide range in quality. In many cases the difference between a pretty successful images and a fine art photograph isn’t a whole lot. More often than not, the technique may be quite good but the non-technical aspects of making a successful photograph is lacking. One without the other is a prescription for failure. In photography where the rule of thirds, the zone system, and etc. must be applied, certain small fundamentals must be equally be present in our thoughts that go into making a fine art image.                                                        

Sometimes it is impossible, due to circumstances (lack of light, subject, clutter etc) to make a great photograph in a location you have already chosen. However when things do fall into place, take note of the following 4 considerations, and apply them they will make a difference.

(Not in any order of importance… the sum of all parts)

1)…..There is something we a look at and captures our interest. The subject is defined and isolated in our minds. Then,  cluttered foregrounds; distracting objects in the corners must be  identified and eliminated during  the compositional part of creating the image. Perhaps there is a tree or rock though an interesting addition to an image, but it’s in the wrong place. These objects should either be eliminated if possible, or if the can not, just pass on making the image. Sometimes these objects, if the can not be eliminated can be placed in the shadows. If however, these objects are pertinent to the image, as they often are (letting the viewer identify these rocks, trees as part of the location) by all means use them as long as they are located in the right areas of the image and do not distract from the subject.

 The seals swimming in the ocean may NOT be the subject of this image;    however they serve to add context and definition to the image itself.


                                A strong foreground anchors the image                             

 2)……Continuing that thought, when images become simple, uncomplicated, with little or no distractions, they often succeed. As photographers we need to constantly look around, move around, and get flat on the ground, in water at times if necessary  in order to be in just the right place, allowing us to attain the perfect image. Moving to just the correct spot to take the photograph is primary. Remember…..simple. …move around, work hard, think and evaluate your position before making the image.


3)……When we emphasize the most important part of the image, images will always succeed. Again, continuing the previous thoughts, move around, but also try using different focal lengths. Different focal lengths can drastically alter the mood and feeling of your scene. Also, if the subject is either darker or lighter than the surroundings can allow the image succeed.




Good examples of #3—– work the image in many different ways. Both of these images convey totally different feelings .

4)….Successful images are works of fine art. It is almost impossible to replicate to the viewer, either in a print or in an image viewed on a monitor exactly what we see with our two eyes. We see in multi dimensions. A print on a piece of photopaper is not three dimensional. Often photographers may arrive at a vista, view the magnificent scene and internally say to themselves “I want to really make this a great image so I can show so-and-so back home what I am seeing here”. This is almost impossible.

The viewer will not have the emotional attachment since they were not there. They also don’t hear the sounds, smell the smells etc.. we do when out photographing. Quaking aspens, babbling brooks, etc can not be transmitted in a print. Give up trying to photograph to show other where you were and work on making a work of art. Without following this thought, you will make uncessful post card images, not  a fine art print.

 One can not imagine the grandeur, beauty and magnitude of this location in Glacier National Park. Therefore my purpose here was to not try, but to make a fine art print.

 5) …….What we see in our viewfinders is not exactly what is being recorded. Often objects in the scene appear to be further away that they are. A good technique to properly help frame the image and see more of a closer reality than the viewfinder is to use an object (an old slide without the film). Hold this up to your eye, look a round and work on framing the image.

 ©Jack Graham 2010




In the spirit of true nature photographers, we decided to skip Morton’s, and all the other prestigious 5 star restaurants here in Reno NV, and head out, on the recommendation of Bill Fortney, photographer extraordinaire and Nikon NPS fame to the famous JOE’S  DINER . Joe’s  is a time warp, serving typical diner food ( are you listening FOOD NETWORK!). As sounds of 50’s and some 60’s rock n roll were softly heard, but loud enough  to add to the ambiance, we settled in on our 2 retro booths and began to trade nature photography stories about some past , present  and unfortunately for us and our passion, no longer with us… all in good humor.

Bill educated us on the many aspects of the “proper” burger, what goes on, what should NEVER be used (“Mushrooms are for steak.. never on a burger”and the mayo MUST be Hellman’s Real Mayo… no imitations”.  Believe me in Bill’s millions of miles traversing the country over his many years on the road ( www.billfortney.com) her know his stuff.

There were 2 of us who had veggie burgers( God Bless them… ) however the rest of us ordered doubles… loaded  but delivered with lots of fries… making it kind of hard to eat the burger.( You kind of have to eat some of the fries to get to the burger).

anyhow, it’s a fun place to go, but the company was the story of the evening. There were a lot of years in nature photography in these 2 booths.

left to right..  yours truly, Bill Fortney(Nikon), Rob Sheppard(writer,Outdoor Photographer & more, Dr. Bill Campbell, (author,teacher and more!), David Cobb( an outstanding photographer from my home area in oregon)and Richard VanderMeulen(Nikon and maybe the best aviation photographer around www.aviationimaging.com )

               Here are our frineds from Lowepro, Kodak along with Scott Bagshaw, another AMAZING   photographer from Oregon(far right)

This is what makes it worth wild.

Now  to try & digest that diner food!

                                                                                                                   Here is BIll adding Mayo to the burger

MAJOR WORKSHOP ANNOUNCEMENT!! Landscapes, Close-ups and Photographic Design with Bill Fortney, Mikes Moats and Jack Graham, Townsend Tn/ Summer 2010


Take your Nature to the Next Level……………

WITH Bill Fortney, Mike Moats and Jack Graham


Townsend, TN   (Great Smokie National Park)…….

July 29 – Aug 1st                                                                  $ 1050.00


Photography is a medium that is heavily reliant on lots of equipment. Though having competent equipment and properly using it will give you the chance to make a great photography, there are certain rules, practices and concepts that one must adhere to in order to be able to produce consistently good images. In many ways consistency is what separates the professional Nature photographers (and non nature photographers as well!) from the pack 

Poppy Abstract ©Mike Moats 

When the format of this workshop was in its formative stages, we talked abut wanting bring to you a different kind of workshop. Rather than photographing in a location, coming back to the classroom and talk about why the image was photographed at F8 at 1/ 125 sec etc… the main focus for these 3 days will mainly consist of what goes into the thought process in making winning photographs. Though there will be some of that, the emphasis will be more on the concepts of thinking and photographic Design than what F stop you might have used. 

This workshop will be conducted in a classroom environment as well as some time in the field. Learning from three established, award winning nature photographers is invaluable. Both Close up photography and Landscape photography will be covered, as much of the subject overlaps. 

Rarely will you find three photographers, all in one workshop at the expertise of Bill, Mike and Jack. We hope you can attend this practical as well as inspirational workshop. 

Blue Door, Santa    Fe NM   © Bill Fortney 

We will spend time discussing the basic’s that we’ve all come to know the importance of, however we will cover some of the more challenging aspects of making quality nature photographs. We will talk about the many situations that often come up when in the field photographing and how to avoid the tough ones.  

Foggy Sunrise in the Marsh  ©Jack Graham                                         

Finding inspiration will also be part of our workshop. Experiences that Bill, Mike and Jack have all learned from will be included in this discussion. Nature photography is not just about what F-stop to use or what ISO to shoot at. It’s about dealing with artistic nuances, getting motivated when frustration jumps in and how you grow as a nature photographer. 

We won’t guarantee that you’ll walk away and become the next Galen Rowell in one weekend, but the theories and thoughts that you’ll be exposed to will allow you to go home, practice your craft and take your photography to the next level. 

These topics and more will be covered by Bill, Mike and Jack 

>how to put yourself in the proper frame of mind, preparing 

>how to find subject matter, learning how to look and see 

>elements of a great photograph, tonalities, emotional impact, balancing, framing and more                         Foothills Parkway,  ©Bill Fortney 

>how to compose a great photograph 

>how to choose the right lens and perhaps filters 

>how to properly “work” the scene 

>developing your personal style 

>how to evaluate your images 

>yes, we will discuss both compositional & proper exposure technique as well 

……………..  and more 

You will be able to view many of our images; we will go into depth on how each image was made. In addition we will be doing critiques of images we’ll be asking you to bring along. 

Blue Hen Falls, Cyuahoga National Park, Ohio  ©Jack Graham 

In addition, we will take time in the mornings, and late afternoon/ evenings to escape into The Great Smoky National Park where will apply all we have been learning. You will work side by side with Bill, Mike and Jack and be able to ask questions, set up scenes and continue the classroom discussions, there I the field.  We will then look at your images back in the classroom and offer our input. 

This is not a post processing seminar; however we will touch on how to use post processing to your advantage to take your image to the next level. 





The workshop will be based in Townsend TN 

Nearest Airport:   Knoxville, TN 





Hotel Information: 

Townsend, TN
Valley View Lodge


Daily itineries will be sent out a few weeks prior to the workshop 

Thursday: July 29   — Meeting at the hotel about 7PM 

Friday        July 30 ——– Morning shoot, morning classroom Lunch Break, Afternoon Classroom, late Afternoon/evening shoot/ evening classroom session 

Saturday,   July 31——– Morning shoot, morning classroom Lunch Break, Afternoon Classroom, late Afternoon/evening shoot/ evening classroom session 

Sunday,     Aug 1st——– Morning shoot, morning classroom. 

The workshop will end around Noon-1pm for those who need to travel home on Sunday. 


Each participant is responsible for their own transportation; however car-pooling is encouraged both to minimize the number of vehicles at shooting locations and to get to know one another better. 

FIELD WORK, hands on with Bill, Mike and Jack 

If you need or want help, just ask. As we make our rounds, we may ask “How are you doing?” If you say “OK”, we’ll move along. If you say for example “What do you think, am I using the right lens for this scene, or am I composing this correctly? …we will do everything we can to answer your questions so you fully understand the answer. Sometimes, we might even ask to take a peek through your viewfinder. In other words, we will give you as much, or as little, attention as you feel you need. 


 .   Camera body (a spare if you have one)
·   Lenses from 20mm up to 200mm in prime and/or zoom combinations (don’t forget lens shades)
·   If you own a macro lens, bring it along 

·   Tripod and head
·   Shutter release or cable release, if you have one
·   A backpack or a fanny pack will be very helpful.
·   Filters: polarizer, neutral density filters, warming filters (not as mandatory for digital photography, but if you have them, do bring them along)
·   Lens cleaning items – air blower, brush, etc
·   Sufficient memory cards and a good backup system for those cards…. Lots of film for you film users (yes film is still around and can provide excellent results)
·   Camera manual (just in case there are any technical questions with your equipment)
·   Laptop (Digital users)
·   Spare batteries
·   Proper clothing; 
·   Insect repellent…. drinking water and snacks for the car
·   Alarm Clock  

If have a small headlamp you might just want to bring it along as well. 


Summer in this are is typically hot and humid. Afternoon thunderstorms are common. Early mornings are cool and dewy. Though humidity, a bit of rain and dew can be somewhat uncomfortable, these conditions often produce some amazing images. We will provide you with project weather conditions as we come close to the workshop dates. 

Included in the workshop: 

1)      Each participant will go home with a copy of an edition of the Photograph America Newsletter, published by Robert Hitchman. One lucky participant drawn out of the hat) will receive one year’s subscription FREE. 

2)      Discounts on Lensbaby, Nik Software and Think Tank products will be passed on to all ( for example is you buy the Nik Software suite you’ll receive a 15% discount, which is somewhere in the 75.00 dollar range. 


1)      You can go to http://jackgrahamphoto.com/tours.php?osCsid=85cdf891db7905a0a82cc8c6c83282da 

 And click on the registration document link towards the bottom of the page 

2)      You can contact Jack Graham (information below) and I’ll email you           

For more information, please feel free to contact Jack Graham at jack@jackgrahamphoto.com                                                                                                    Spider Web Abstract         ©Mike Moats 

Or at 503-625-1430 

A deposit of 250.00 is required to reserve your space. Checks and credit cards are accepted, Deposit refund information can be found on the registration form as well. 



We hope we see you all in Townsend for what we know will be a memorable, informative and fun workshop. 


Bill, Mike & Jack 









Bill Fortney is a professional photographer of 38 years experience. Bill has been a newspaper and magazine photojournalist, & sports photographer, (He was the official photographer for the Washington Redskins in their strike shortened Super Bowl Championship season). Bill has done medical photography, commercial, annual report work. For the last fifteen years Bill has been one of America’s leading nature photographers, founding the Great American Photography Workshop Company. 

A much sought after speaker, Bill was once called in a newspaper article, “the Will Rogers of Photography”. His best selling books include; The Nature of America, America From 500 Feet, American Vision, and Bill Fortney’s Great Photography Workshop, “Getting Serious About Outdoor Photography.” Bill’s book sales well exceed 100,000 copies, making him one of the top photographer/authors in America. America From 500 Feet was one of the largest selling aviation photography books of all time. Six years ago Bill joined Nikon as a Nikon Professional Services technical representative. He covers the Southern U.S. and is Nikon’s liaison representative for the natural history market for all of America. In 2003 Bill was been named a Fellow by the North American Nature Photographers Association. Bill lives in Corbin, Kentucky, (when he is not on a Delta jet), with his wife Sherelene. He has three adult children and six grandchildren. 







Mike Moats is an award winning, professional Nature Photographer from Sterling Heights, Michigan. I started shooting as a hobby in 2001 and it quickly grew into a full time business. To date Mike has had articles and images published in, Outdoor Photographer Magazine, Natures Best Magazine, PC Photo Magazine, Nature Photographer Magazine, Photo life, Whisper In The Woods, Michigan Game Finder, NANPA’s Expressions Books, Pure Michigan Book, and Fujifilm’s Newsletter (Cable Release),write for Tamron’s blog, and two images on front covers. 

Mike has won numerous local and international awards, and in 2006 was asked to join the Fuji Pro Talent Team. In 2009 Mike was added as a Macro Master on the Tamron Website. 

Mike moderatos the Macro galleries at www.naturephotographers.net  and www.birdphotographers.net   

In 2006 Mike began offering Close-Up/Macro Photography Workshops. 

Mike’s first book was released in Oct 2008 and is called Tiny Landscapes.  Mike now has authored 

Three e-Books sold through on his website. www.tinylandscaped.com 

The bulk of Mike’s income comes from sales of my prints which I market through art shows, art consultants, exhibits, and online through my website. http://www.tinylandscapes.com www.MikeMoatsBooks.com & www.MikeMoatsBlog.com 

Jack Graham 




Jack Graham began photographing nature in the mid seventies while living in the New York City/ New Jersey metropolitan area. While attending Indiana University Jack began to explore the rural landscapes of Southern Indiana. Here is where the appreciation of the natural world began. The rolling hills of Southern Indiana became the integral backdrop and formation of what would lead establishing the vision that is present within Jack today. 

Jack now resides near Portland Oregon, in the heart of the beautiful Pacific Northwest. 

Jack has led his own photo tours in California, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, the Midwest as well as the Pacific Northwest. He has been a field instructor with numerous seminars and photo tours led by many famous nature photographers. By photographing and learning, from such photographers as John Shaw, Jack Dykinga, Art Wolfe, Galen Rowell, Frans Lanting, David Muench, Bill Fortney and others, both his inspiration as well as technique has, and continues to be cultivated. 

Jack now leads his own “Photo Classroom in the Field®” workshops throughout the United States as well as others for the Great American Photography Weekend organization. Recently Jack and Mike Moats have joined forces in developing the Macro & More photo workshops stressing both macro as well as landscape photography in some of the best locations around. Jack also offers single day, workshops for extensive one on one instruction. Jack’s workshops are sponsored by Nikon, Really Right Stuff, NIK Software, Think Tank, Lensbaby, Digital Foci Photograph America Newsletter and NANPA. 

Jack has been successful in publication and stock photography as well. Credits include Outdoor Photography, Nature’s Best Photography, NANPA”S Expressions 2009, California Wild, Current’s (NANPA) and many DNR publications, Audubon, The Nature Conservancy, Chicago Wilderness and Sierra Club publications as well as many calendar credits. Corporate work includes prints and stock applications for internal as well as publication use.   

Jack is a member of NANPA( North American Nature Photographers Association), and serves on NANPA’s Awards Committee;  FNAWS (Federation for North American Wild Sheep, Mono Lake Committee, & SUWA (Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance). Jack can be contacted for workshop as well as speaking engagements via E-Mail at jack@jackgrahamphotography.com