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All Images © Jack Graham & Jack Graham Photo LLC unless noted/ Jack uses FUJIFILM Cameras and lenses exclusively
This is a pretty long post –there is lots of info on 2016, 2017 with a hint of 2018 and what I’ve got up my sleeve! At the very end of this post you can see a group of images from this year.
Some folks have asked me “When are you slowing down?” “You can’t keep up the pace of 25 workshops a year can you?” The answer is … this is what I do. This is what I love. I don’t play golf. I don’t go on vacations. When folks ask me about my schedule I always tell them before talking about it that in no way am I complaining. I am honored that others want to come along with me and learn photography (and perhaps some others lessons too!)
Let’s take a quick look back on 2016. When planning 2016 I knew it was a jam-packed schedule, maybe my busiest ever. In mid-2015 I found I had a totally detached retina. I also let it go for more than 2 weeks while conducting workshops in the southwest, not knowing that these things need to be dealt with immediately. It was a bad one and after 4 surgeries to finally get attached, as it is today. Because of this I had to make the schedule of the first 5 months of 2016 not as crowded as the back half, not knowing if the eye would give me more problems.
The year started out in January on the Olympic Peninsula. When I posted this workshop I asked who would want to come here in January. This area can get up to 300 inches of rain in spots per year! Well they did and we kicked it off in style.
The rest of the year domestically was not that different from previous years schedule wise, but some added workshops here and there increased the load to a total of 25 events. That’s not counting weekends spent at summits, Board meetings for NANPA (North American Nature Photographers Association) and other events that I was asked to be at for speaking purposes. I did move both of the southwest workshops to September, hoping for better conditions than April. That worked out pretty well except for the crowds. More on that later.
Internationally, we had two 5 days trips in the winter through Iceland. The weather was really bad in 2016 as opposed to other years.(It’s usually pretty good!) We had some ice and wind… and a lot of it. I remember our group shot on trip one. The camera was about 10’ from the group and you could hardly see us, it was snowing so hard. However both groups got some fantastic landscape images, some that won’t be seen in a long time due to the record-breaking snowfall. We then ventured to Lofoten, Norway ( a 4 hour car trip after a 2 1/3 hr. flight to Oslo and another 2 hrs. to Evenes) for 5 days or so. Things there were calmer weather-wise, but disappointing from an aurora standpoint. After 24 days I returned back to Seattle. March, April & May were really normal with events here in the Pacific Northwest, Oregon Coast and the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee.
Along with Bill Fortney, we are now conducting 4-5 workshops a year for just users of the FUJIFILM Cameras and lenses. These events fill fast! Getting to work with Bill is not only a lot of fun, but as I tell everyone, it’s like learning to hit a baseball from Babe Ruth. More coming in 2017!
I am honored to be one of FUJIFILM’S “X” Photographers. As such I got to beta test the new X-T2 camera. This also meant getting out in my off time to make images for them, which I really enjoyed. It was fun to send back images and see how a company really takes into account what’s happening, tweaking firmware and making this camera one of the very best tools anyone could use. Thanks FUJIFILM for making me look good.
I also conduct 4-5 events for the Pacific Northwest Art School over on Whidbey Island, close to Seattle. I love the location and the folks at the art school. These are 2 day events and fill fast.
After 7 of 10 weekends gone in June & July and early August. We set out for Greenland and Iceland on Aug 13th. Both trips were amazing. Greenland, though primitive was amazing. Some folks are seeing eastern Greenland by boat. Not me, I want to be on land with the people. One afternoon our group saw so many whales I think they got bored and asked “Ok now…what’s next”! In Iceland we circled the island for 12 days. We probably had 10 good sunsets, great aurora and as good light as ever. More in Iceland to come.
The balance of the year included 2 more 3 week trips including the southwest, Teton’s, Zion NP and of course the eastern Sierra with my good friend Guy Tal. I finished up Dec 4th in Jackson Hole Wyoming. Not bad! Bill and I did a great event in Acadia NP in Maine in October… some of the best fall color I’ve ever seen.
LOOKING AHEAD to 2017
I am making some a few changes.
SOUTHWEST: After 1 day in the southwest and seeing the hordes of folks with cameras, selfie sticks, iPhones, etc. in almost every location I go, I decided that, due to the crowds, I cannot do the workshops I’ve been conducting for many many years anymore….or, at least for the time being. What a shame. It’s not just the southwest. Our National Parks and lands are being trampled by people just wanting their picture in front of an icon. Anyway, I CANNOT deliver the kind of experience I want to deliver for my clients. You can hardly get a picture in the slot canyons and other popular areas. OK enough editorial. I think you get the point. I’ll reevaluate this late in 2017. If I go back it will not include Slot Canyons or Horseshoe Bend!
ICELAND. Winter –YES…Summer NO… I am not going to Iceland this summer for a few reasons. Yes, it’s a beautiful country. The people are great and the photography is great but once again it’s overcrowded and getting increasingly expensive.
Four or five years ago I would guess there were about 250,000-300,000 tourists (There is a population in Iceland of about 330,000 folks. This year they expect to put in over 2 million tourists! OUCH!) During the summer months the areas that most folks want to go, Glacial lagoon, black sand beach with ice, waterfall etc., are way over crowded, much like the American Southwest. Additional costs are going up so that my prices as well has to go up. People are not willing to pay this amount of money. SO what do they do? They pack their cameras, fly to Iceland, rent a car, (booking hotels in the summer is very difficult—a year in advance is sometimes not enough) and go. They know via social media and the internet where to go. Many of my friends who also are doing workshops in Iceland are seeing a decline in attendees. It’s all price driven. Do they need a photographic guide? Some do some don’t. Those of us leading workshops there at least for a few years know the place backwards and forwards. Over 60% of the locations I go to are not on the tourist map. Folks going on their own may save some money but in the long run they’re not getting the photographic experience they are looking for. I am looking into different areas of Iceland with new travel partners for summer 2018. Stay tuned!
NEW, well I am bringing back my Northern California workshop this March. We’ll spend 1 1/2 days in the Napa Valley, then over near Point Reyes then a sunset on the Marin Headlands followed by a sunrise back on the headlands and a morning in San Francisco then down the coast near Half Moon Bay CA.–Come with us–going to be great!
FUJIFILM SUMMITS: In addition to our FUJIFILM workshops (totally different experience) Bill Fortney and I are conducting two full-blown summits. These are travel and nature based and will consist of presentations, discussions, other sessions, interaction with Fujifilm personnel as well has having 4 FUJIFILM “X” Photographers in one place for 3+ days. We’ll be in the Smokys in April and Portland in September. Whether or not you shoot the FUJIFILM cameras, please consider coming. More information is found on THIS website
I’ll be doing 5 events for the Pacific Northwest Art School over on Whidbey Island, close to Seattle. I love the location and the folks at the art school. These are 2 day events and fill fast.
This is an odd-numbered year so Bill and I will be in NE Ohio for the fall color including our day (and a great meal) with the Amish. I have some great Amish friends that actually give us the run of the farm before filling us up with some great Amish cooking!
A print out of my schedule is 2017-workshop-schedule
Registration forms :jg_photo-registrationform
FINALLY…..Thank you all who came along with me not only in 2016 but in all the previous years. I work hard to deliver a really great experience and love what I do. I will slow down when it’s time, but for not with a few tweaks here and there I am looking forward to seeing you all again, as well as meeting my friends.
Every morning, just like today, I pinch myself and realize how rewarding my job is. Nobody sees the hours spent in the office etc. But I wouldn’t trade this for anything.
I also would like to thank my wife Linda for putting up with me and this crazy schedule. It takes someone pretty special to deal with all this!
Thank you all!
Jack Graham Dec 16, 2016