WHICH ONE WORKS? # 10–Glacial River, Iceland …………. 2013 workshops…news and more……..

JACK GRAHAM PHOTOGRAPHY www.jackgrahamphoto.com

LEARN to SEE                              LEARN to THINK                    LEARN to CREATE


2013 Workshop schedule:  http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/2013-photography-workshop-schedule

Workshop Registration Form: http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/sites/default/files/REGISTRATION%20FORM%202013v2.pdf

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

Workshop FAQ’S:  http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/sites/default/files/GENERAL%20WORKSHOP%20QUESTIONS_FAQ’S%20INFORMATION_v2013a_1.pdf

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



It’s been great year. I just returned from  my recent Death Valley workshop. I’ll be leaving for the Tetons for a winter workshop ( yes its snowing there!!!) in late November.  I am really looking forward to  2013. 2012 was everything I hoped for and more. I’ll be conducting a special 5 person only workshop in Iceland in January, photographing the winter landscape, aurora and ice caves. In February, I’ll be lending a group to Cuba (don’t miss this one— http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/cuba-february-8-15-2013

You can link to the 2013 workshop information by clicking on the links at the top of this post. Remember to check out my workshop discounts http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/sites/default/files/2013%20WORKSHOP%20DISCOUNTS%20v2.pdf. REGISTER BY JAN 1 and receive a 10% discount (does not apply to international workshops and those I conduct for other organizations).

©Jack Graham
Puffins , Iceland , July 2012

There are still a few openings for my Ultimate Iceland™ Photography Workshop in July, Register now http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/ultimate-iceland-2013-limit-10-attendees and Greenland too !!!;;;http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/ultimate-greenland-new-2013

You can see some images made my last year’s attendees here http://jackgraham.photoshelter.com/gallery/2012-ICELAND-WORKSHOP-ATTENDEE-IMAGES/G0000dpVO0jXHKCI/

I’ll be back in NE Ohio in October for fall color and once again a full day (including a private Amish dinner) with my Amish friends on their farm in Sugarcreek Ohio. I’ll be teaming up with my good friend, world class photographer and teacher Bill Fortney(www.billfortney.com) for a workshop you will not want to miss! I’ll be in Utah October 2013 for a late October event  in the red rock country (http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/canyons-and-red-rocks-utah


©Jack Graham
Sunrise at Coupeville, Whidbey Island,WA

And finally… consider doing one of my workshops I conduct for the PACIFIC NORTHWEST ART SCHOOL on Whidbey Island, Wa


I….followed by a workshop in the  Columbia River Gorge& Hood River Valley  this spring.


There are great folks. I really enjoy working with them.


I receive many requests for the link the webinar I conducted  for NIK SOFTWARE entitled, “Keeping it Simple .You can view it here: ( if you purchase any or all of the NIK Software package… enter code JGRAHAM and receive a 15% discount!!!


….I’ll be doing a presentation on Iceland for the KING CITY CAMERA CLUB near Portland Oregon next Monday night, Nov 19th. If you are in the area stop in!


Feel free to contact me with questions etc:




©Jack Graham / Jack Graham Photography

 It’s been a while since my last posting of “Which one Works”. I’ve been pretty much constantly one the road leading workshops this year and time has been precious. In this edition, I’ll talk about an image which was made in Iceland the night after our 2013 summer workshop ended. We’ll be going back to this spot in July 2013 (see www.ultimateiceland.com). It’s pretty special.

The process of deciding “Which one Works” 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. Processing techniques can also make the choice apparent as well.

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.

Remember as well, there is a lot of subjectivity discussed here. Your comments, as always are more than welcome.


LOCATION:  This location was about a 3 ½ drive north and a bit east of Reykjavik, the capitol of Iceland. Along with Greg ( my assistant), I ventured out from Reykjavik late in the afternoon to be where we wanted in the right light..

As you may notice from the tech date, these images were made about in about an hour and forty minutes from sunset, which was about 11:05pm this day. In Iceland,  late in July the golden hour is really the Golden Evening! The good light lasts 4 or more hours. I made three other interesting images in great light for almost 4 hours after this image was made. I wonder how Icelandic photographers sleep in the summer. What do they do if they have to be at work in the morning?

This is only one of the beautiful locations that can be found in Iceland. also check out :


( a website created by me and my assistant Greg Duncan) with lots of great information regarding Icelandic photography and more.


As in many areas of Iceland, swift moving rivers descend from the mountainsides, the water created by melting glaciers during the summer months. As the water rushes down the mountainsides, it picks up lots of sediment. That is why this water is so gray. The rock is carved out from the cascading water. My challenge here was to create an image with the best light possible, while maintain the water effect I desired, based on shutter speed. I needed to keep maintain a small aperture, insuring the best depth of focus sas well as maintaining the textures of the rocks while keeping the sky well defined.

TECH DATA   (I used my 8 stop Singh-Ray variable ND filter on each image) all images made with a Nikon D700 , Nikon 17-25 2.8 lens.

Image 1 

Date/Time: July 31, 2012       21:38:25

Nikon D700 /Nikon 17-35mm 2.8

Shutter speed: 1 second   F 16

Mode: Aperture priority      Metering: Matrix (automatic)

ISO: 200      Focal length:  22mm

Image 2

Date/Time: July 31, 2012    21:46:48

Nikon D700 /Nikon 17-35mm

Mode:  Aperture priority          Metering: Matrix (automatic)

Shutter speed: 0.6 second      F 16

ISO: 400      Focal length:  22mm

Image 3

Date/Time: July 31, 2012    22:12:06

Nikon D700 /Nikon 17-35mm

Mode:  Aperture priority         Metering: Matrix (automatic)

Shutter speed: 1/3 second      F 16

Mode: Manual      Metering: Multi Segmented (Auto)

ISO: 200      Focal length:     17mm

Image 4

Date/Time: July 31, 2012    2218:01

Nikon D700 /Nikon 28-70mm

Mode:  Aperture priority          Metering: Matrix (automatic)

Shutter speed:   1.6 Sec at F16

ISO: 200        Focal length:   24mm

Image # 1
Image # 2


There are 4 images here for evaluation. Images one and two were made well before sunset and images three and four about 1/2 later. For that reason I’ll select one from the 1st two images, and one from the 2nd 2 images. I’ll then decide on which of them I’ll select as the one that works.  The choices were interesting. I am still going back and forth a bit.

The time between image 1 and image 2 is only eight seconds. The main difference is in the sky and the rocks on the left side in image #2. The sun was a bit brighter in image # 2.

The main difference between the two images to me is really the look of the water. The increased light from the setting sun in image 2 made the rocks on the left more defined, which I like better. However in image 1, the sky is more appealing to me. The sky became a factor in the 3rd and 4th image. Read on for my thoughts.

Image # 3
Image # 4

TIP:  THOUGHTS ABOUT  PHOTOGRAPHING WATER…when you must maintain your aperture and want to make several images with different shutter speeds, the easiest way to this is to simple adjust your shutter speed. You can be in Aperture Priority/ Automatic Metering. By increasing your ISO setting you will also increase your shutter speed, thus rendering a different look to the water (conversely—decrease your shutter speed, and decrease your shutter speed.)

If you own a Singh Ray Vari ND filter  http://www.singh-ray.com/varind.html . You can leave everything alone and just “vari” the Vari ND Filter. For example, with a typical outdoor scene, the shutter speed might be slowed from 1/500 at f8 (with no Vari-ND on the lens) to 1/125 at f8 (with the Vari-ND on your lens and set at its minimum density) to as slow as 1/2 second at f8 when the Vari-ND approaches its maximum density You could then convert the latter exposure to even slower equivalent exposures of either 1 second at f11, or 2 seconds at f16, or 4 seconds at f22.

Notice the ISO in both images 3&4 are identical. I adjusted the strength ( darkness of the vari ND)  (allowing less light to reach the sensor) my vari ND Filter in order to slow down the shutter speed. Without this filter, simply adjust your ISO. However in certain light conditions, the vari ND will allow for even slower shutter speeds! You can access more information these wonderful filters on Singh-Ray’s website…


The increased light from the setting sun in image 2 made the rocks on the left more defined, which I like better. However in image 1, the sky is more appealing to me.

Images 3 & 4 were made just before sunset. In the half hour between the 2 sets of images the cloud patterns significantly change, offering more interesting skies. Most everything remained in images 3 & 4 other than the shutter speed. There is almost a 2 second difference in shutter speed between each image.


My choice was one involving how the subject is viewed. The obvious subject is the water. How it appears is controlled by the shutter speed along with the amount of  light. hitting the water.

Image # 1

IMAGE 1 and 2.…. I like the sky in this image but the look of the water and adjacent rocks formations  in IMAGE 2 are more pleasing to me . ….

Image # 2

……….Of these two images I’ll choose image # 2.


Image # 3

IMAGE 3 and # 4 …..Again these are petty  close. Yes the river is still the subject and I like the water affect in Image #4 better than image #3.The cloud patterns that appeared really made an interesting effect. Though the sky is more colorful in image #4 as well., However, ………..

Image # 4

………… I will pick image #3 as my choice between the two, perhaps because it’s the darker, more flowing water effect along with the darker rock patterns that works for me. Perhaps is to add just a bit more shadows to the rocks image #3


Image # 2

Does the interesting cloud patter distract or add to the image. Like everything this is in the eye of the beholder and very subjective. Where is your eye going between image # 2 and Image #3 Are you looking more towards the sky or for today,………………. I’ll pick #3…….

Image # 13

….. There is just more compliment the scene in image #3 but maybe tomorrow, I’ll have a different feeling. What I take away from these evaluations are:

1)     The amount of color in the sky isn’t always the decision maker

2)     Good images can be made all through the golden hour… and in Iceland, during the Golden Evenings!

Image # 3

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