2015 Photography Workshops, FUJI XT-1 Guide… featured article “THE POWER of MONOCHROME”

Jack Graham & Bill Fortney
Jack Graham & Bill Fortney

WHAT’S NEW……… Look for my good friend Bill Fortney’s new e-book “A GUIDE TO THE FUJI XT-1” for sale coming December 5th. It is a comprehensive guide to this magnificent camera containing over 160 pages and 250 illustrations. It is a true user’s guide containing countless tips, recommendations and examples of work done with the Fuji X-System family of cameras. Reviews of lenses, buying recommendations, how to build a system, how to carry it all, and much more! Click HERE for information. _DSC3878-1235-1236-1237

This month’s issue of Extraordinary Vision Magazine has an article on long exposure photography. For those who have interest in long exposure photography take a look. This online magazine (available for iOS and Android) is a very high quality publication and well worth your time exploring. I am honored to be part of it this month! You can read it for free by clicking HERE

2015-Workshop-Schedule (Remember register before Jan 1 and receive a 10% discount (not including International workshops or workshops I do with the Pacific Northwest Art School)
Here is the complete list of my WORKSHOP DISCOUNTS.


1) Back by popular demand— Bill Fortney will be back in Nelson Nevada and the “Boneyard” (Las Vegas Neon Museum) in March for a sequel to this month’s successful experience in these locations.

Fuji XT-1/Fuji 14,, 2.8
Fuji XT-1/Fuji 14,, 2.8

2) New locations in 2015! — Northern Iceland Photography workshop in July right on the heels of our Iceland, Southern Coast Workshop;  Blue Ridge Parkway & Grandfather Mtn with Bill Fortney in June and back to NE Ohio (and our amazing full day with the Amish) in October.

3) Other locations include: Death Valley, Olympic Peninsula, Fall and winter trips to the Tetons, 2 workshops in Arizona featuring the slot canyons, Hunt’s Mesa and Canyon de Chelley, ….. Zion National Park, 2 workshops on the Oregon Coast, and the Palouse with Bill Fortney

yellow aspens in Eastern Sierras4) Don’t forget … I’ll be in the Eastern Sierra once again (21st year) this October for our fall color workshop with my good friend Guy Tal. We’ll also be doing our Master Class the following week. This year’s was a great success…don’t miss this!

5) PACIFIC NORTHWEST ART SCHOOL—on Whidbey Is, WA—This year in addition to our annual 3 ½ day event in June, I’ll be doing some special 2 day events. Please visit their website for details. These 2 day events are totally different from our June event and are already creating lots of interest.

6) Finally Iceland… Our 2015  ULTIMATE ICELAND winter workshops are sold out and our 2016 winter events are already about ½ sold out…. Register now. There are still a few seats remaining for our July excursions. Look for a big announcement in February regarding another winter location!



The Power of Monochrome ©Jack Graham

 LAMVHMESA3_110413_5334BWWhen reading this short essay, remember I have no plans to abandon color photography. My feelings are that both mediums have their place. Some images are better represented in color and others in monochrome. The principles of photography carry over to both methods. The only difference is in certain images, the lack of color and the power of monochrome can stand out when applied correctly.

LAWA-CONBOY3_0910_1159b&wI also prefer to use the term monochrome rather than black and white. When viewing a black and white image, we are really looking at shades of gray, not just black and white. When we think of monochrome photography we almost always think of Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier Bresson, Minor White, Robert Frank, Paul Strand, Dorethea Lange and Edward Weston, just to name a few. We think of powerful images delivering a story clearly transmitted to our brains. We think of monochromatic images going back to the acceptance of photography as an art. Thank you Mr. Stieglitz!

TRAZ_CDC1_110411_5637MColor film was actually developed in the mid-1800s but due to the primitive nature of the products, colors faded from the prints quickly. Just before 1900, if one had the money, one could buy the proper equipment to make color images. Only the very rich could afford to play in this process.

LAORCST_BANDON4_130507_6007MIn 1935 Kodak brought to market Kodachrome. However because of the expense compared to black and white, color processing was not the norm until the 1970s, just 50 years ago! Interesting enough it was Polaroid who introduced the first instant color film in 1963. By 1970 color film was the norm for most “snapshots.” However, black and white film was still used by some photographers for the aesthetic nuances that it offers. It was common for black and white photographers to do their own developing and printing. Color film was dramatically improved, but black and white photography continued to be used as a different method to tell the story, in unusual and powerful ways.

Today I strongly feel that deciding to eliminate color, as an option in telling our story through photography, is a choice not to be taken lightly. It is important to decide, even before the photograph is made, if this image is a possible candidate for monochrome. I have made many images where color is actually a distraction from the strength of the image itself as well as subtracting from the meaning I am trying to convey.(See example below)


PART_BICY1_111027_3060ERBWForm, as well as texture, can be brought out in monochrome much stronger than in color. In monochromatic photography, we are using our eyes and brains to look the form of a subject, the texture of the subject and not confusing ourselves with trying to, at the same time, decipher and process color. When making color images we think about brightness, hue of color and more. With monochrome images we are only dealing with shades of gray. This is one reason why monochrome images can be exceedingly more powerful than color if produced correctly. Again, the process starts before the camera comes out of the bag.

Palouse WA._Barn Photoshop, or any type of computerized monochrome processing that we may be working with today, parallels what Weston and Adams did in the darkroom years ago. In many ways monochromatic photography can exceed the power of color both in emotion and how the image is viewed and interpreted.



_DSF0235-Edit-Edit-Edit-EditWhen working in monochrome consider using tone, brightness, texture and contrast within your image to tell the story and communicate your feeling. Consider that complementary colors like red and green can often look the same in monochrome. If the textures in a monochrome image are identical they become hard to differentiate. Using different textures within an image in monochrome is another way to bring out the feeling from the start. I find differentiating the depth of field of a subject in monochrome photography is more important than if photographing in color. Making one part of the image sharp and the other out of focus can really accentuate the image.

_DSF0191 Panorama-Edit-Edit-Edit-Edit

Using these concepts and techniques will get you on the path to seeing in monochrome and being able to deliver images with significant value. But there is much more to learn about making quality monochromatic images. Understanding the Zone system, proper processing technique in monochrome as well as perfecting your printing technique are all important. I strongly suggest reading and learning from Guy Tal’s Creative B & W Landscape Photography.  Also reading Ansel Adam’s book “The Negative”, originally published in 1981, is suggested.


FOR ARTICLES AND WORKSHOP PREVIEWS The material and images contained in this writing above may not be reproduced in any form .All Photographs as well as text appearing here is the property of Jack Graham and Jack Graham Photography LLC, unless otherwise noted. These photos are protected by U.S.Copyright laws and are not to be reproduced or used in any way without the written permission of Jack Graham and Jack Graham Photography LLC By entering these sites you accept these terms. If you need permission to use this material please call 503-625-1430 or email jack@jackgrahamphoto.com


FIve things I like about my Fuji XT-1

all text and images © Jack Graham *& Jack Graham Photography LLC


Icelandic Horses FUJI XT-1 , FUJI 18-55mm 2.8
Icelandic Horses FUJI XT-1 , FUJI 18-55mm 2.8

It’s been 7 + months since I’ve been shooting ( exclusively) the Fuji XT-1. I am often asked why and what I really like about it.  Below are 5 things I really love about this camera. Yes, there are some things I’d really like Fuji to improve but overall it’s just a great camera that produces incredible images and is fun to shoot. My back also loves this system! Here are the 5 main things I love about the Fuji XT-1 —(All images we made with this camera)

1) I simply love the style and feel of the body itself. It brings me back to the SLRs of the past while letting me make the kind of images that we demand today. It is a bit of the “Old School” look and feel with the current technology. The FUJI XT-1 is lighter and smaller (and easier on my back!), compared to today’s heavy and bulky DSLRs. The controls of the Fuji X-T1 do not feel at all cramped. The XT-1 is just plain fun to shoot with while being well built  with a weather sealed magnesium cast body. This is one really good feeling and looking camera.

Fuji XT 1/ Fuji 10-24mm F4
Fuji XT 1/ Fuji 10-24mm F4

2) The electronic viewfinder (EVF) on the Fuji XT-1 is absolutely amazing. Its brightness and clarity sometimes makes it hard to remember I am looking at an electronically generated image. One nitpick is that there is a very (and I mean very) slight pause in the display when the exposure is adjusted. It’s a God send to be able to see my histogram before I shoot. (This should be a feature in every DSLR—listening Nikon & Canon?). It’s great to see my compensation change when I dial it up or down. This is only a feature in the higher end cameras by the competition. But  this isn’t rocket science. All DSLRs should function like this!

Fuji XT-1/Fuji 14,, 2.8
Fuji XT-1/Fuji 14,, 2.8

3) The Fuji X-T1 performs exceptionally well at high ISOs. I would challenge any full frame DSLR to compare images at a very high ISOs. I feel very comfortable shooting up to ISO 1600 knowing my files will be noiseless. Color and black levels hold together right up to ISO 6400. Slight noise increases do occur when shooting at 6400, but they are very manageable.

Fuji XT-1/ Fuji  55-200MM/ ISO 3200,  F 5.6 at  1/4000 sec
Fuji XT-1/ Fuji 55-200MM/ ISO 3200,
F 5.6 at 1/4000 sec

4) A great camera deserves great glass and Fuji has really delivered. The18-55mm (dare I call it a kit lens) is a fast (2.8) lens, extremely well built and produces incredibly sharp and well defined images. Compare it to any other “kit” lens available! I have found other Fuji lenses to be extremely fast and sharp as well. ( I own the 14mm 2.8, 10-24 F4, 55-200mm and 60m macro. I can’t wait for the new 50-140 F 2.8 weather sealed, with a collar mount 2.8 coming next month!) All Fuji lenses have metal mounts. Most of Nikon’s new lenses are plastic. Most of Fuji’s lenses are smaller and lighter than the competitions as well. One cool thing is that Fuji produces a road map of its lenses so we know what’s coming more than a year ahead at times.

Fuji XT-1, Fuji 18-55mm
Fuji XT-1, Fuji 18-55mm

5) Fuji listens to its customers more than any other manufacturer. Fuji has also done a great job of upgrading camera firmware while not forgetting about their earlier models. While other manufacturers make their customers buy newer models, Fuji has done it primarily by firmware. Additional functionality and features on the XT -1 were direct responses by Fuji to their customer’s suggestions. What a novel idea.

Fuji XT-1, Fuji 55-200mm
Fuji XT-1, Fuji 55-200mm

A few things I’d like to see Fuji change:

1) Make the back buttons a bit easier to manage

2) Improve battery life

3) Lock down the diopter adjustment

MORE IMAGES FROM THIS YEAR—all made with the XT-1 and great Fuji glass

Old Truck, Sprague WA.

Ice Cave, Iceland

Palouse WA._Barn

Southern Oregon Coast Sunset

The right to download, store or output any content on these websites http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com and http://www.jackgrahamsblog is granted for preview purposes only and may not be reproduced in any form .All Photographs appearing on these sites are the property of Jack Graham unless otherwise noted.
These photos are protected by U.S.Copyright laws and are not to be downloaded or reproduced in any way without the written permission of Jack Graham
By entering these sites you accept these terms. If you need permission to use a photo on these sites please call
503-625-1430 or email Jack @ Jack@jackgrahamphoto.com