An Unexpected Email !

I just returned from almost a month in Iceland and Greenland. More on that soon! I went to bed about 10pm last night, after being up almost 24 hrs. I was at my desk early today getting ready to leave tomorrow for the southwest. I really need a Red Bull, but instead I received this email this afternoon. It made my day.

This note came from a workshop client who did a few workshops over the past few years with me and Bill Fortney. I hadn’t heard from him in about a year but jghsb2was really pleased to here from him again. He has allowed me to share it with you all.

I am traveling more than I am home. Eating ( or not eating) weird food, sleeping weird hours, driving long distances, long flights( like yesterday) scrunched up in coach etc. I am in NO WAY complaining. I am one of the luckiest people on the planet. I get to travel, experience thongs other never can imagine, see the wonders of the planet and meet some great people along the way. Can you be creative in your job? Well I get to be in mine! –how cool is that!

307938_10150353593897324_740357323_10276918_7031142_nI remember this workshop that this person was on . I know he was an above average photographer and loved his passion. In our review sessions, I was pretty tough on him. I know he could do better ( as he stated in his email below). I also remember this morning he made the image he sent along. I remember telling him that as an art show participant, this image would be a great seller for him. I also remember not taking this shot ( though I have a similar one from another angle) making sure he and other got their shot. The fog and conditions didn’t last long.

_img9194_096Anyhow, getting these kind of emails ( which come in every now and again) make all the traveling, etc. worth it. This is WHY I LOVE MY JOB, and frankly do what I do.

My advice to everyone is to slow down, enjoy the journey and in what ever you may do for a living, or just in life, try and make a difference to someone. The world would be a better place….JG



From: Ken  *&^&%$$   [mailto:l&^^$]
Sent: Thursday, September 08, 2016 1:44 PM
To: Jack Graham <>; Bill Fortney <>
Subject: Just wanted to say thanks!

Jack and Bill,

As I head into the fall season of art shows, I wanted to take a second and thank you both for my successful year.  In particular, both workshops I did with you last year helped me tremendously.

Jack was brutal on my photo reviews.  You guys laid into much of my work as ciaos or too busy, or not enough impact.  I took your advice seriously, and really took a hard look at my work.

October, I attended another workshop, and this time, I had a fresh perspective on getting in tight and simplify.  The attached image has been one of my top selling images this year because of you two.  Jack, you told me I would make a lot of money with this, and I have been very blessed by it.  On an average, I sell one of these at nearly every art show this year with an average ticket price of around 1500.00.

As I get ready to head into the Tetons this fall to shoot, I am excited to see them differently, to see them the way I learned from you.

I am also looking at doing a few more workshops with you although I still own my Nikon gear 🙂

Blessings to both of you!



From: []
Sent: Thursday, September 08, 2016 3:02 PM
To: ‘  ……….’ <l(*&^&$>
Cc: Bill Fortney ( <>
Subject: RE: Just wanted to say thanks!


Thanks you so much for your very kind words. Its unexpected emails like this that make what I do worth everything to me.

Often I am asked just what I do for a living sometimes by non-photographers and sometimes even by photographers. I tell them I try to get folks to some good locations, enjoy experiences alone and together, and learn some things that might help them along their path and encourage them to become artist who happen to use a camera to define their art, not just photographers trying to be artists.

I know I can speak for Bill to say we can’t wait to have you on another workshop as well.

As always if I can help in any way please give me a call or send me an email.

Very best regards, and again thank you!



Photography Workshops / Fine Art Prints

 Graham, Washington USA

(O) 503 . 625 . 1430 /   ( F ) 253 251 0644   /    (M)  503 . 333 . 8699




Member of the Board of Directors of the North American Nature Photography Association


© Ken Smith







3 thoughts on “An Unexpected Email !”

  1. What a great story and testimony of your skills as a teacher!

    Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

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