Which one Works #6 -Sonoran Desert, make sure you are in the right spot!/ News, Workshop Update

                                    JACK GRAHAM PHOTOGRAPHY  www.jackgrahamphoto.com

LEARN to SEE                              LEARN to THINK                           LEARN to CREATE

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Workshop schedule:   http://jackgrahamphoto.com/2012-workshop-schedule

Workshop Registration Form: REGISTRATION FORM 2012v9

Workshop Overview http://jackgrahamphoto.com/workshop-overview

Individual ONE on ONE workshops  http://jackgrahamphoto.com/one-one-field-studio-photography-workshops

Workshop FAQ’S  GENERAL WORKSHOP QUESTIONS_FAQ’S INFORMATION_v2012f

Workshop Referrals: http://jackgrahamphoto.com/referrals

PODCAST: www.18percentgraymatter.com

JACK GRAHAM PHOTOGRAPHY   e books –available for purchase and immediate download http://jackgrahamphoto.com/shop/e-books

Jack on 500PX  http://500px.com/JackGraham/photos     Jacks Photos on PHOTOSHELTER http://jackgraham.photoshelter.com/

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NEWS and NOTEWORTHY

Last month I recorded a webinar for NIK SOFTWARE, entitled, “Keeping it Simple” (www.niksoftware.com) that you can access via the Nik Software Webinar Library by clicking here:

http://www.niksoftware.com/learnmore/usa/index.php/webinars/archives/#/keeping-it-simple-with-nik-software-with-jack-graham/0/0/0/0/0

San Xavier del Bac, Tucson AZ

I am presently in Arizona. The first of 3 workshops ended last weekend. Though this as far from a banner wildflower season, we spent 3 ½ days in and around Phoenix and Tucson learning and photographing the landscape and some of the nuance of the southwest. For example we spent an afternoon at the Mission San Xavier del  Bac in Tucson as well as the old town Tucson area, photographing the buildings and intimate aspects of this beautiful area.

Old Towne, Tucson

2012 Workshop Info:

Arizona Workshops later this month — FILLED

WHIDBEY ISLAND, Washington, MAY 2012 ( www.pacificnorthwestartschool.com) few seats left, not many!  http://www.pacificnorthwestartschool.org/all/photography-workshops/graham-jack-photography-on-whidbey-may-9-12-2012-1

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK..MAY 2012 – 1 seat left http://jackgrahamphoto.com/olympic-national-park

COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE …JUNE 2012 – 2 seats left http://jackgrahamphoto.com/columbia-river-gorge-and-mt-hood-photography-workshop

THE PALOUSE, JUNE 2012, 1 Seat left http://jackgrahamphoto.com/spring-palouse-now-5-days

ULTIMATE ICELAND, 10 days, JULY 2012 –ONLY 1 SEAT LEFT http://jackgrahamphoto.com/ultimate-iceland-july-2012

OREGON COAST 5 DAYS!—August 2012—2 seats open http://jackgrahamphoto.com/2012-oregon-coast-cannon-beach-bandon-5-full-day

NAPA VALLEY, No.CALIFORNIA COAST, SAN FRANCISCO MORE!!!SEPTEMBER  2012 ( www.pacificnorthwestartschool.com ) few seats left, not many!  http://www.pacificnorthwestartschool.org/all/photography-workshops/graham-jack-fall-in-northern-ca-sep-20-23-2012-1

TETONS & YELLOWSTONE, SEPTEMBER 2012 3 seats open http://jackgrahamphoto.com/fall-grand-teton-and-yellowstone-np-photography-workshop

17TH ANNUAL EASTERN SIERRA FALL WORKSHOP with GUY TAL www.guytal.com   JUST a FEW SEATS LEFT—filling fast   http://jackgrahamphoto.com/17th-annual-eastern-sierra-photography-workshop-mono-lake-alabama-hills-bristlecone-pine-bodie-more

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THINK TANK CAMERA BAGS: Along with my large bags and my Streetwalker Pro that I use very often, I really love my new RETROSPECTIVE 10“Over the Shoulder” Camera Bag

http://www.thinktankphoto.com/products/retrospective-10-pinestone-shoulder-bag.aspx

Here are the Top Features of this bag (abou t$ 150.00-160.00)

Minimalist outer appearance conceals expensive photo equipment …Carries a pro size DSLR with standard zoom lens attached…..Accommodates 2-4 lenses in main compartment with DSLR body in front pocket…Front pocket fits a pro size DSLR (body only) …Organizer pocket built into main compartment for pens, note pad, batteries, etc….Choice of two different colors, black or pinestone, to suit the situation ( I love the Pinestone)….Hook and Loop “Sound Silencers” on the front flap eliminate noise while opening the bag….Soft, adjustable shoulder strap with cushioned non-slip pad….Clear business card holder under front flap….Removable short carrying handle for convenience…Seam-sealed rain cover included for protection against the elements

THINK TANK uses the highest quality zippers available…A lot of thought went into these bags, just like all Think Tank products.—Thanks Think Tank….HIGHLY RECOMMENDED—JG

Order here www.thinktankphoto.com/affiliate and enter CODE —  AP371  and receive a free gift!

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FEATURED ARTICLE

WHICH ONE WORKS?          #6, the Sonoran Desert…

                                                      .                       . Make Sure you are in the Right Location

©Jack Graham, all rights reserved

In this series of articles, I discuss and compare images and talk about why I like one over the other.

Choosing one image over other similar images is one that we all deal with in our digital darkroom.

I suggest to you, as well as my workshop participants to work the subject while in the field, make final decisions on your monitors at home. The final image is important for whatever project it’s being used for, and spending time determining which image works vs. another is well worth it. In many case the slightest difference in composition, light etc makes all the difference, Most of the time it is very clear which one is better for your individual needs than others, sometimes it’s not. Often we may take many frames of a subject in different light and different angles. Each frame can evoke a different feeling to the subject.

Always remember that you need a good subject and acceptable light, or your final image will probably be less than desirable.

Your comments, as always are more than welcome.—JG

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LOCATION: Bartlett Lake area, North and East of the Phoenix, Arizona metro area.

 Note the GPS  DATA BELOW for each image

 

Sunrise near Bartlett Lake AZ

THE STORY:

 I arrived into the Phoenix area about a week and a half ago, prior to my wildflower/landscape workshop in and around Phoenix and Tucson.  I went out scouting areas I wanted to take my workshop participants the morning after I arrived. A rather vigorous storm was predicted for later this day, That information, combined with wanting to be in this location for the sweet light, right after sunrise made it imperative that I get up and out early.

I caught a rather nice sunrise, then ventured down the road a bit, where I came onto a nice area that depicted the beautiful Sonoran Desert. The following morning I was standing in about a foot of Snow up in Sedona, just about an hour and one half north!

TECH DATA:  Both images taken with a Nikon D700 and Nikon 28-70mm 2.8 ED IF Lens. I used a Singh Ray 2 stop, soft , graduated filter on each omage (www.singh-ray.com)

IMAGE 1

IMAGE 1          2012:03:17 06:55:26                             2.8 @ at 70mm

1/3 sec, f/20     Mode: Av    Metering: Multi-segment

ISO: 200        AF mode: MANUAL

White balance: AUTO

Lat: 33°51’16.512″N  Long: 111°37’55.266″W   Altitude: 666m

IMAGE 2

IMAGE 2   2012:03:17     06:56:31                28-70mm @ 60mm

1/3 sec, f/20  Mode: Av     Metering: Multi-segment

ISO: 200 AF mode: MANUAL

Lat: 33°51’16.758″N    Long: 111°37’54.858″W   Altitude: 669m

Processing: Basic Lightroom processing. Most of the processing completed using NIK Software

in this order  Define 2.0 ( remove any noise), Viveza 2.0, Color Efex Pro4 and Output Sharpener.

( Save 15% on NIK Software  www.niksoftware.com when ordering using this code   JGRAHAM )

IMAGE: Finding a good looking saguaro around this area is getting harder and harder. Perhaps the increasing pollution in the Valley of the Sun is having its effect.

These magnificent plants can take up to 70 years to develop a side arm. A saguaro without arms is called a spear. The growth rate of Saguaros here in the Phoenix area of Arizona is about half as fast as those in and around Tucson, Arizona. They can live up to150 years. The largest known saguaro is the Champion Saguaro. It grows close to here in the Phoenix area and is over 43 feet tall with a girth of 3.1 meters (10 ft.). These cacti can grow anywhere from 15 to 50 feet.

Saguaros bloom at night and peak usually in late May & June. The major pollinators are bats, Doves and bees appear to be the primary daytime pollinators. The fruits are highly edible and prized by local people.

I came upon this area and looked for a pleasing composition to tell the store of the beautiful Sonoran Desert The light was really perfect for about 10 or 15 minutes when the angle was still rather low. However as quick as the good light come in, it got very harsh just as quick.

TIP: Always walk around and look for the better spot to plant your tripod. These 2 images were made about 30 seconds apart and just a few feet from one another (see GPS DATA)

IMAGE 1

 THE EDIT:  WHICH ONE WORKS            I chose image # 2

IMAGE 2

What BOTH images have in their favor:

1)     Great “sweet” early morning light.

2)     The desert vegetation is nice in both images.

3)     The saguaros add to the image nicely in both images

4)     Better than average sky ( the clouds add to the imagery)

IMAGE 1 over IMAGE 2

1)     Better looking clouds

2)     Better view of the little peak on the top of the hill on the left

3)     There is bit more space between the top of the tall saguaro and the edge of the top of the image

IMAGE 2 over IMAGE 1

1)     The foreground is definitely more interesting and really anchors the image

2)     More colorful foreground (greens)

3)     Better placement of the saguaros

4)     More defined leading line on the left center drawing the eye up into the center of interest.

I cannot stress the importance of foregrounds when it comes to anchoring the image. The empty foreground with the sort of dead brush in image one does not compare to what is featured in image two. Always ask yourself, “What is the subject”? Here it’s the saguaros and the surrounding area. Think of those features like a soloist and the sky , foreground, leading line like the orchestra, making the soloist sound good.

By literally moving 3 meters to the right and turning a bit to the left I was able to include a wonderful foreground. Before planting your tripod, (do you use a tripod all the time? You should as much as possible.) walk around and see if the spot you committed yourself to is the right spot. It might not be. Image one would have been trashed, but by looking around I was able to make a good image as I did in Image 2

Make Sure you are in the Right Location

Sunrise on the Sonran Desert, Arizona
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Which One Works #5 Death Valley National Park , NIK SOFTWARE WEBINAR, ULTIMATE ICELAND 2012

         Jack Graham Photography              www.jackgrahamphoto.com

Learn to See                        Learn to think                      Learn to create

2012 Workshop Schedule    http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/2012-workshop-schedule    — WORKSHOPS FILLING FAST —!!

2012 Registration Form   REGISTRATION FORM 2012v9

 Workshop Referrals:  http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/referrals

 One on One, Individual Workshop information http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/one-one-field-studio-photography-workshops

Workshop FAQ’s  GENERAL WORKSHOP QUESTIONS_FAQ’S INFORMATION_v2012f

PODCASTwww.18percentgraymatter.com    new podcast ready now—interview with Laurie Rubin, NIK SOFTWARE

2012 Workshop Locations incliude the desert southwest, Olympic National Park, Columbia River Gorge, Fall Color in Oregon’s Wine Country & Area, Northern California

http://www.pacificnorthwestartschool.org/all/photography-workshops/graham-jack-fall-in-northern-ca-sep-20-23-2012-1  and  Whidbey Island, Wa  http://www.pacificnorthwestartschool.org/all/photography-workshops/graham-jack-photography-on-whidbey-may-9-12-2012-1   with the Pacific Northwest Art School…. Tetons & Yellowstone, Wyoming Big Horn Sheep in December….   please check out the details here:   http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/2012-workshop-schedule

My fall workshop with Guy Tal  www.guytal.com  in the Eastern Sierra is almost full there are a few spaces left. This workshop is almost at capacity. http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/17th-annual-eastern-sierra-photography-workshop-mono-lake-alabama-hills-bristlecone-pine-bodie-more  Register NOW! ( Check out Guy’s E=Books as well !!)____________________________________________________________________________

Jack Graham E-Book Series 1 & 2 now available for purchase and instant download:  

http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/shop/e-books

 

 Noteworthy                                                                                       Use code  JGRAHAM when ordering NIK SOFTWARE on line and receive a 15% discount!!!!

Left to Right: Jack, Laurie Rubin, Dan Hughes, of NIK SOFTWARE in their offices in San Diego
Left to Right: Jack, Laurie Rubin, Dan Hughes, of NIK SOFTWARE in their offices in San Diego

Recently I recorded a webinar at the NIK SOFTWARE Headquarters in San Diego. I would like to thank the folks at NIK Software, especially Laurie Rubin and Dan Hughes for making this possible. You can view the entire webinar here: http://www.niksoftware.com/learnmore/usa/index.php/webinars/archives/#/keeping-it-simple-with-nik-software-with-jack-graham/0/0/0/0/0

I just returned from my spring workshop in Death Valley. We had great weather right up until the last few hours when a bad dust storm blew through.  We had good sunsets and sunrises. We had an exceptional group of attendees as well. I’ll be back in Death Valley in early November and have a few spaces left.

Driving into the sandstorm on the way out of Death Valley last week

   Speaking of spaces, I have only one space left for Ultimate Iceland in July 2012. If you are thinking about this trip, please consider coming along. You will be in for an exceptional experience, feathering 10 full days ( I don’t count travel days like some other workshops do!) of photography. You can view the details here: http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/ultimate-iceland-july-2012

Getting set for the webinar at Nik Software

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I received a nice email from a workshop attendee recently. She really summed up what I not only preach on workshops, that being to slow down, Look more and shoot less,  and to try and make some different images than what has already been done. Please give it a quick read!

From: Anne S [mailto:atXXXXXXX2006@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 07, 2012 5:42 AM
To: Jack Graham
Subject: Recent Workshop

Jack,

I finally got a chance to process the photos.  I did not take a whole lot of pictures but each of them reminds me a lot of your instructions and hints.

As you know, I am not out there to just take beautiful pictures though I have some very nice ones with your help to get things tighter.  For me, most importantly, I left the workshop with a good amount of knowledge and technique to help me take better pictures in the futures.  I really appreciated you coming out for this personal workshop.  I certainly have enjoyed it a lot and best of all, I have learned some good technique in photography.

If I get a chance to be in the west again in the near future, I will certainly contact you.  Likewise, if you are in the east coast, please do not hesitate to drop me an email.  I hope we could do another workshop again in a different setting.

Thanks—Anne

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My podcast partner Bob Kulon has a new e-book out titled “Getting There”– Bob goes through the trials and tribulations of going pro as a nature photographer–a must read! !!!     http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/bkulon

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FEATURED ARTICLE
© Jack Graham

WHICH ONE WORKS?  # 5– DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK,   CALIFORNIA 2012

Which One Works is a feather I am publishing here on my blog every week or two. I’ll discuss and compare images and talk about why I like one over the others.

This process is a common one that we all deal with in our digital darkroom. The final image is important for whatever project it’s being used for, and spending time determining which image works vs. another is well worth it. In many case the slightest difference in composition, light etc makes all the difference,

Often we may take many frames of a subject in different light and different angles. Each frame can evoke a different feeling to the subject.

Always remember that you need a good subject and acceptable light, or your final image will probably be less than desirable.

Your comments, as always are more than welcome.

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Badwater, DVNP © Jack Graham

LOCATION:  Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley NP, California USA

Lat: 36°36’44.16″N

Long: 117°07’2.93″W

 Death Valley is a vast baron land, about the size of Connecticut (3.3 million acres) in the southeastern part of California. Due to the many mountain ranges on all sides, rainfall is scarce. I am sure that most of you know that DVNP receives about 2” of rain per year and would evaporate about 150”+. Badwater is over 200 feet below seal level and is usually the hottest place I the United States and even throughout the world. From a photo graphical standpoint, DVNP is a challenging place, even for a seasoned pro photographer. Heat is a huge problem in the late spring, & summer. When arriving at a location the conditions can be vastly different from your hotel or campsite. When photographing in DVNP, its always important to consider textures and patterns. Slowing down and learning to see are both very important factors and go a long way when attempting to create quality images in Death Valley. The bottom line is that DVNP is a great place to learn to be creative. If you are in too much of a hurry, your images will fail.

Image # 1   Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, DVNP  ©Jack Graham
Image # 1 Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, DVNP ©Jack Graham

 THE STORY:

Our group ventured out the 1st morning and the 4th morning of our workshop at sunrise to capture images at the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. It was soon apparent to my workshop attendees that patterns and subject matter had to be considered carefully. At sunrise, the sand becomes a rich orange. Soon after the sun is above the horizon, the shadows of the back of the dunes contrast to the first lit sides, making metering a bit tricky. I often find that automatic metering is ineffective most of the time when shooting these dunes.

I always suggest, especially in this location, that you really work the subject. Take multiple images from different locations. If you are using a zoom lens, just don’t zoom in and out to create tighter shots. Walk around and get the most out of whatever focal length up you are using. The compression of the background is different, especially with mid to long telephoto lenses, when you walk into place and make an image vs. when you stand in one place and zoom in. It’s always good to get on the dunes the morning after a windy night. Tourists (and photographers as well) trample the dunes and leave footprints which can be really tough to clone away. These images were made on the 4th morning after a windless night. I cloned out as many footprints as possible, but many still remain. Wind is the only force that can eliminate these unwanted artifacts which are seen in so many images.

Image # 2  Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, DVNP  ©Jack Graham
Image # 2 Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, DVNP ©Jack Graham

TECH DATA:  On day 4 I decided to put my new Nikon 28-300mm lens to the test (more on this in another blog article). I shot a few images at F22, which I normally do not use very often and at 300mm and 28mm respectively. I was rather impressed with the overall quality. I obtained this lens to use as a travel lens, when weight is a consideration. Does is perform like my 17-35mm 2.8 or 80-200mm 2.8? Not quite but its really better than I expected.

IMAGE 1   Date/Time: 2012:03:05 07:32:35  ( sunrise was about 6:15 or so)

NIKON D700  Nikon   Lens-Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR   set at 300m

Shutter speed: 1.6 sec at  F22  Exposure –Manual  Metering-Spot  at 300mm

–         1/3 compensation  no filters

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IMAGE # 2       (11 minutes later)   This images was slightly cropped on the bottom.

Date/Time: 2012:03:05 07:43:32  ( sunrise was about 6:15 or so)

NIKON D700 , Lens– Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR    set at 105mm

Image # 2   Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, DVNP  ©Jack Graham
Image # 2 Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, DVNP ©Jack Graham

Shutter speed: 1/20th sec at F16 Exposure –Manual Metering-Spot

–         1/3 compensation no filters

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PROCESSING:  Lightroom camera raw adjustments then NIK SOFTWARE—Define, Viveza 2.0, Color Efex Pro4 (Pro Contrast, Darken Lighten Center) Output Sharpener 2.0

The final monochrome image was processed using Nik Software Silver Efex Pro2

Image # 1   Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, DVNP  ©Jack Graham
Image # 1 Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, DVNP ©Jack Graham

THE EDIT:    I really have a tough time discerning which one works. They both work in different ways. There are certainly more lines in image # 2, than the wider view, as well as the crop, depicts what the dunes represent. Both images tell a story. Both images depict the sand dunes well, but in a very different way. The use of the creosote bush to me is better in image #1.

When critiquing images, I use what I refer to as my 5 second rule. If I can not look at an image and in 5 seconds, want to study it more, or know that something is working well, I usually move on. Again both images quality in this respect as well.

I will pick image #1 over image # 2. My eye tends to keep moving around in image #2 looking for a more defined subject than image # 1. I also think that though I made a slight crop in image #2, there is still a bit too much foreground. Perhaps a panorama of this area would have been better suited for my needs. I really like how the bush in image #2 anchors the image. The curve and shape of the large dune in image #1 is a well-defined subject.

After converting image # 1 into monochrome (below), I even like it better. The shadows work much better in monochrome than in color

What do you think?

JG

Image # 1   Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, DVNP  ©Jack Graham
Image # 1 Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, DVNP ©Jack Graham

 

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