Category Archives: Arizona

DISNEYLAND COMES TO THE SLOT CANYONS and OTHER CLOSE BY PLACES !

Text and images @Jack Graham unless otherwise notes… All rights Reserved

_dsf1929Yes folks,  Disneyland has come to the beautiful Canyon lands, red rock land and Navajo Country in Northern Arizona and Utah. For me I am probably done coming back here. It is not even close to being what it was like even 2-3 years ago when it began getting crowded.

I just finished leading another workshop featuring locations in and around Page, AZ, notably Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons (Slot Canyons), Horseshoe Bend, Vermillion Cliffs, Lake Powell and more.

When I first visited this beautiful area things were a lot different. Descending into Lower Antelope Canyon was done by climbing down on wooden ladders, sometimes made out of tree trunks and 2x4s. If you saw another photographer with a tripod, he or she was a really serious photographer.

I knew something was up when I found that most hotel rooms in Page AZ were sold out for my workshop in September 2016 by January 2016. Not only were they sold out but the prices have gone up about 70-100% in the past 2 to 3 years.

Hotel rooms in Page this time of year are $150.00-300.00 for a decent place. (Stay out of the Best Western Plus at Lake Powell—more about that soon!)

_dsf1948-2I arrived into Page only to find that what use to cost $85.00 per person for a two-hour photo tour in Upper Antelope Canyon last year, was now $250.00!—YES ….. $250.00 PER PERSON FOR 2 HOURS!!!!!

I include the canyon entrance fees in my pricing so if goes up I take a bath on it. No one from the Tour Company bothered to let me know about the price increase even though I made my reservations with them long before I arrived …oh well, supply and demand dictates price and the Navajos are really taking advantage of what people are willing to pay. In a casual conversation, my good friend in the tour company asked if I had reservations for Lower Antelope Canyon. Surprised, I asked “Since when did you need reservations?” He said this policy started a few months ago. AMAZING!

Parking lot–Lower Antelope    130+cars–mid morning_dsf1931

 

I had to split up my group into 3 days so everyone could get into both canyons. SO now I had to get reservations at Lower. I secured the last 14 available. I had to split up my group. There were literally no photo tour reservations available for either canyon for 4 to 5 days. I got really lucky. I had reservations for Upper but didn’t know there were reservations needed for Lower Antelope.

The Navajo who are setting limits for how many people can go into the canyon are doing a terrible job. It’s all about the money. There is literally wall to wall people in these canyons for much of the day. Remember this is September. I would not be surprised if the numbers were even larger in the summer…hard to believe but true.

_dsf1934 Lower Antelope Parking Lot

The parking lot at Lower Antelope Canyon which 5 years ago usually had 10-20 cars, now had over 200 cars around 11AM. (Along with tour buses). The one small hut, good for fitting  3-4 folks selling tickets at 35-40.00 a piece,  has now turned into 2 large (and I mean large) houses charging about 85.00 for a 2 hr. photo tour. Again the crowds make taking any quality images difficult to impossible (in both canyons).

How can you get some good images in these locations? First, go in winter. Crowds (at least for now) are much less. The light is a bit different but no better or worse. You’ll see more purples in the sandstone walls than during the summer. Who knows maybe they might even drop pricing in the winter, but the Navajos are getting really greedy so who knows. You cannot…AND I REPEAT … CAN NOT make quality images during these crowded times in the spring, summer and now fall. It’s over, unless the Navajos limit how many people they let into the canyons. I double that will happen.

_dsf1905HORSESHOE BEND: We got there for sunrise. We were there in the dark, the first group there about 1 hour and 30 min before sunrise. Soon after, the crowds came over the ridge and groups of young people showed up yelling, taking selfies, posing on the ledges and making the silence of the red rocks disappear. So much for enjoying what was once a beautiful peaceful place is now Disneyland.

_dsf1908_dsf1909fullsizerenderHere  is a real idiot at Horseshoe Bend…its 950 feet down-posing for a picture with her feet hanging over the rock !!!

I am hearing that the US Government (who owns Horseshoe Bend land. Not the Navajo Nation) is going to charge an entrance fee (or requiring a National Park Pass) to park in the lot. I bet they will do what they did at Zabriskie Point in Death Valley and put up a chain link fence. You heard it here first! That afternoon I counted 167 cars and 4 tour buses in the parking lot of Horseshoe bend….Yes cross this off the list as well.

_dsf1977-edit-edit-2Now on to beautiful Monument Valley. Both the View Hotel (150-200 rooms at 250.00 per night is filled as well as Goulding’s…(219.00 per night), more with new additional rooms…ARE ALL FILLED. Traffic in the valley is the worse ever. Footprints on the duns made by folks who  don’t care about the land make getting images at Totem Pole impossible.

We are heading to Canyon de Chelly  on Friday. It will be interesting to see how things are there. Stay tuned.

cdcsnow1To my workshop attendees who were and are here with me…I apologize for the crowds etc. Most of this is out of my control. What is in my control is whether I come back or not. I am not sure if I or any other workshop leader can deliver a quality experience to anyone in this location anymore. I’ll be monitoring this situation and if it changes I might be back. For now it’s on to other places. The Navajo’s are making lots of money ( funny most of my wonderful Navajo friends are not living any better—it’s all going to the nation , not to the people—sound familiar?)

What a shame. Disneyland is now here! —JG

_dsf2262-edit-edit

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Everything You Need to Know About Photographing Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons, Arizona

  _EYE1155 jack giving direction_1JACK GRAHAM PHOTOGRAPHY www.jackgrahamphoto.com

LEARN to SEE                              LEARN to THINK                    LEARN to CREATE

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2013 Workshop schedule      Workshop Registration Form      Workshop Overview

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NEWS and NOTEWORTHY

I’ll be in Jacksonville Florida for the North American Nature Photography ( NANPA)  Summit Feb 28-Mar 3rd. This should be a great event with some great speakers (come here my friend Guy Tal!), breakout sessions and lots of learning and networking. Details can be found HERE.

I am proud to also announce that I’ve been asked so serve on NANPA’s Board of Directors.

In addition to our (almost full) July 4-14, 2013 Ultimate Iceland Workshop, we have added a second workshop in July with a completely different itinerary. You can access this information here. Again, seats on this workshop are limited.

ULTIMATE ICELAND “1”  July 2013

ULTIMATE ICELAND “2”  July 2013

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

LACAESMONO33_121016_2353_500PX This October, will be my 19th year conducting a workshop in the Eastern Sierra. Again, I’ll be joining forces with my good friend, an amazing photographer and thinker, and co-leader Guy Tal. Please consider joining us. This is a highlight of the year!. Details found HERE.

Also in October, I’ll be back in NE Ohio  for  our bi-annual FALL COLOR & A DAY with the AMISH PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP. (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 workshop in the red rock country in and around Zion NP

 

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!!! HERE is the link to the webinar

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Everything You Need to Know about

Photographing Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons

©Jack Graham and Jack Graham Photography

LAAZLAC12_110331_4740HDR3Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons located in Page Arizona, are one of the many wonders of the world, as far as I am concerned.  The Colorado Plateau Located here in the southwestern United States contains many deep, narrow canyons that were carved out by water over millions of years. Under proper conditions, reflected sunlight makes the canyon walls glow with amazing shades of pink, brown, orange and yellow. These canyons attract photographers from around the world. Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons are also referred to as Corkscrew Canyon.

Dealing with photographing the canyons can be challenging if you don’t know what you are doing, however learning and preparing before you go is quite easy. The canyons are both located close to one another and are on Navajo land. Proper permits and admission fees are required.

It seems that we all, myself included who visit the over photographed Slot Canyons (Lower & Upper Antelope Canyon in Page AZ) look for that quintessential image that will forever be indelibly etched in our brains.  I always make attempts to get some images that are unique, and ones I have not seen in publications before.

Both Antelope canyons are uniquely different, but beautiful in their own way. Both offer some very different experiences. Being prepared for these experiences is essential for successful imagery in the canons.

 

What both canyons have in common

LAAZLAC16_120414C

 

To attain interesting images in all of the many slot canyons in the American Southwest, you need to look for light reflecting off the multi-colored canyon walls.  Often the sunlight is shining down directly on a wall. Look towards the opposite side of the canyon and you will usually see glowing oranges and reds. The parts of the canyon that is illuminated by reflected light will be the most dynamic. You will often find that adding saturation in post processing is not needed.

 

As your time in the canyon moves on, the light will constantly change and transform before your eyes. In the spring and fall, my favorite times to visit the peak times for both canyons are between 11am and 2 pm. I have photographed these canyons in every season with success.

 

Safety first! All slot canyons are prone to flash floods. If you are caught in a canyon during a flash flood you will most likely be unable to exit the canyon before it is too late. Floods can happen all year long but July through August, when the summer monsoons occur, is when the heaviest rainfall and thunderstorms occur. Though they weather may be clear you must be aware that rain falling miles away can drain into the canyons. Lower Antelope Canyon had a bad a flash flood that killed 11 tourists in 1997. There was little or no rain in Page, but miles away there was a deluge. These tourists ignored warnings and paid with their lives.

Upper Antelope Canyon:

LAAZUAC16_110331_4536Upper Antelope Canyon is shorter in length and easier to navigate. You literally walk through the canyon rather than descending down into the canyon. Because of the ease of accessibility, the Upper Antelope Canyon can be much more crowded than the Lower Antelope Canyon. You’ll notice many non-photographers walk through this canyon and depart.

The biggest difference between the two canyons is the availability of light as well as many more and large light beams or shafts of light shining down between the cracks in the sandstone walls. These beams are available from March through about mid-October.

The best time to photograph Upper Antelope Canyon is from around 11 am to 2 pm. Though the light beams last a bit longer during the summer months, I prefer the spring and fall. During the summer, this canyon is even more crowded than it is in the spring and fall.

It is necessary to use a Navajo Guide in this canyon. There are many guides available in nearby Page Az. As a photographer, make sure you ask for the longer “Photography tour” of the canyon. This costs a bit more, but will give you about 2 hours in the canyon, rather than the regular 45-minute to 1-hour tour. Most guides that cater to photographers will know the timing of individual shafts of light and precisely when they will appear. It is uncommon to be in Upper Antelope Canyon without crowds. You’ll need to cooperate with other photographers. Again, your guide should help you maneuver and work with other groups and photographers to allow you to get your image.

Most of the light beams appear and disappear quickly and will move across the canyon floor until they disappear. Since they only appear for a few minutes, you will need to be in place with your tripod and perhaps even make some exposures to make sure your settings are accurate.

Often your guide will throw sand straight up in the air allowing the light beam to reflect off the falling sand.  This creates a reflective area for the light to bounce off and create some very eerie formations.

Lower Antelope Canyon

LAAZLSC21_110416_5711Lower Antelope Canon is located just slightly down the road and across from the Upper Antelope Canyon. The Lower Antelope Canyon is much longer and much less crowded.  Though you must pay an entrance fee, there are no formal tours of this canyon. After paying the fee (ask for a photographer’s badge, you’ll get extra time in the canyon). You can explore and photograph the canyon at your own pace. There will be guides wandering around, perhaps playing a Navajo flute to answer questions and make sure that everyone is moving about in a mannerly fashion.

 

LAAZLAC17_120414bThe first time you approach the narrow slit which you have to climb down into to get inside the canyon you may become wary of the difficulty of getting through this narrow crack. Don’t let it worry you, it gets easier, and easier to navigate one you get lower and used to maneuvering the canyon walls. There are steel ladders attached to the sandstone walls. Years ago it was common to have to climb down wooden ladders, unattached to the walls. It is much easier now. Be prepared to not be as dust free when you exit.

 

Like Upper Antelope canyon I have found the best time to be there is between 10:30 and 1pm.

 

Many areas in this canyon are very narrow especially when carrying a backpack and tripod. Though the crowds are significantly less you may still need to move your equipment to allow other to pass through. At the very end of the canyon, there is a long spiral stairway that leads back up to the surface. You can easily walk back to the parking lot from there. I usually like to walk back through the canyon, tracing my route back to the entrance.. The light will be very different when you are exiting. You can buy water at the pay station after your trek.

 

Must Have Equipment

A tripod and cable release is mandatory. You’ll be making some long exposures. It is impossible to make quality photographs in these canyons while hand holding your camera.  Exposures of thirty seconds or longer are common due to the limited amount of light, as well as the need to use small apertures ( for depth of field) along with the need to use low ISO settings for the best image quality.  If you choose to use a polarizing filter, this will increase your exposure time even further. (Using of a polarizer will diminish undesired reflections and allow the amazing colors of the canyons to come through magnificently.

Lenses

I use wide-angle lens (16-35mm range on a full frame sensor) most of the time in the canyons, I also enjoy using a medium telephoto (50-80mm range) lens to bring out details on the rock walls. You will quickly figure out that there are images all everywhere you look..

Exposing in the canyons

LAAZ_UAC_12_1003_2889Exposures can be a little tricky your first time in the canyons. As always, use your histogram and LCD to evaluate your results. Today’s digital cameras are much more forgiving than those from back in the film days. There were only five stops between total overexposure and total underexposure using Fuji Velvia. We have many more tools now to tell us if we have the right exposure or not.

1)     Avoid using flash. It will not only ruin other photographer’s images but create unnatural images.

2)     First you need to set your ISO. By using lower ISO’s ( 100 -200) you to be able to make higher quality, large  prints  With today’s modern cameras, ISO’s of 400-800, or even higher are quite acceptable and allow you to attain more depth of field. Since you are using a tripod, shutter speeds are not that concerning. However different shutter speeds create different effects when photographing the sand falling through the light shafts in Upper Antelope Canyon, I always try to keep my exposure times to 30 seconds or less since longer exposures increase the digital noise

3)     I like to use apertures of F11-F16 when using my wide-angle lenses.  You will need to adjust your ISO, aperture and shutter speed depending on the conditions (especially the light beams as stated previously). The reality is that other than these beams and sand, there is nothing moving in the canyons, so shutter speeds of 2-10 seconds are acceptable.

4)     Different exposures will render different results. I recommend that you bracket your exposures and decide which you like when you get back to your studio.

5)     Avoid areas of rock that are directly lit by the sun. These areas will be a blown out. For very difficult exposures the proper use of HDR can be helpful.

 

Making Quality Images in the Canyons.

This subject is as important as any. We have talked about the canyons, and technique. Let’s talk about the experience and how you will come away with quality photographs.

The first time you visit these canyons, it can be overwhelming. You have seen thousands of images over the years and now you are finally there, at one of the must photograph locations on any photographers to do list, worldwide. Now, how do you make it so you come away with creative images?  There is one easy way. Slow Down! I always see photographers clicking away with no real purpose. Some figure that the more images they make the better chance of getting a great one is. This is false.

You have to be careful, from a physical aspect in these canyons. You also need to be sensitive to other visitors and photographers as you are attempting to capture images for yourself. By slowing down and studying the light, foregrounds, patterns and textures you will get those images that others won’t.

LAAZUAC17_110331_4550BWPerhaps think outside the box. Though the color can be quite amazing, sometimes a black and white or monochrome image might make for a even more powerful image. We all see images from these canyons in color, few in monochrome. Why not try it

Relax, enjoy the experience and work as a photographer, not the impatient tourist.

 

What to Avoid and Look Out For

1)     With very few exceptions do not include sky in your image. Again, avoid extreme highlights. Look for reflected light.

2)     Be careful of you and your equipment. Maneuvering in these canyons can be challenging to say the least.

3)     Avoid being hasty. Relax and enjoy the experience.

4)     Some are also extremely narrow passages, especially in Lower Antelope Canyon. A large camera bag may, make our movement through these, in spots, narrow canyon walls difficult. Carry as little as you need.

5)     Be careful to not knock your camera against the canyon walls when you are maneuvering through narrow passages. I’ve seen top of the line cameras come out of the canyons broken. That goes for lenses too!

6)     If there was recent rain, some of the canyon floors can be muddy. Be prepared for that and be careful as this mud can be very slippery

7)     It is important to consider dust when in the canyons. There is always lots of dust in the canyon, especially when your guide is throwing sand into the light shafts. On windy days sand can literally blow into the canyon from the surface. I suggest using some kind of wrap or even a shower cap to cover your camera when not in use. Believe me this dust can get into cameras and keeping out is sometimes tough. If at all possible never change in the canyon. There is dust in the air even if you can’t see it. You’ll start seeing dust spots on your images if you are not careful. I carry cans of compressed air to blow on my camera body when I finish my sessions in the canyons (never use this air on glass of LCD Screens!)

8)     Remember, this land belongs to the Navajo. This is sacred land. Please respect the canyons in all ways.

LAAZLAC11_10_03_2955What Else to Bring With You and Think About

1)     You may also want to bring a small flashlight and a bottle of water during the summer.

2)     I would bring a dust blower. Be careful removing dust off your lenses. This sand can scratch you lens easily. DO not use compressed air on your glass.  Remember again to think about protecting your lenses and cameras from dust.

3)     The temperature in the canyons is pretty constant in the spring, and fall. Temperatures are usually in the 60-70 degree range. Winters are colder, summers obviously hotter, but still cool compared to the heat of the summer in Page Az. Though it may be hotter on the surface, it can be a bit cool in the canyons so dress accordingly. Heavy coats are unnecessary.

4)     Good hiking boots are essential.

5)     You’ll be making some long exposures. That means batteries may run out. Bring extras, and make sure your batteries are fully charges before you venture into the canyon.

6)     Don’t forget enough memory as well.

 

Enjoy your experience. You’ll never forget your time here.

 

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503-625-1430 or email Jack @ Jack@jackgrahamphoto.com

 

Where have I been????? FEATUERD ARTICLE: Which one Works #7… The Ferry House, Whidbey Island,Wa.

JACK GRAHAM PHOTOGRAPHY  www.jackgrahamphoto.com

LEARN to SEE                              LEARN to THINK                    LEARN to CREATE

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LATE NEWS:As of a few minutes ago I confirmed ULTIMATE CUBA 2013 PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP. Announcement coming next week. Feb 6-13 2013—-details coming soon!

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

Workshop Registration Form: http://jackgrahamphoto.com/sites/default/files/REGISTRATION-FORM-2012v9.pdf

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

Workshop FAQ’S;  http://jackgrahamphoto.com/sites/default/files/GENERAL-WORKSHOP-QUESTIONS-FAQS-INFORMATION-v2012f.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

Mystery Valley, Arizona

NEWS and NOTEWORTHY

It’s been quite a long time since my last posting. I have been busy away with my 2012 workshop schedule. I’ve spent about 6 weeks in the southwest, and 4 corners region (Navajo and red rock country) then up on Whidbey Island doing a great workshop for the Pacific Northwest Art School (more on that later) then over to Olympic National Park for a week.

I am currently in southern California where I’ll be at the Temecula Balloon and Wine Festival http://www.tvbwf.com/ starting this Friday through Sunday afternoon. I return to Oregon on Tuesday morning and begin my Columbia Gorge workshop Wednesday night and another in the Palouse Region in Eastern Washington the following week. I am so fortunate to be able to get to these places at the best times of the year.

After the workshop I usually take a look at the few images I make (I am there for my customers, not for my own shooting opportunities!). I have had very few acceptable images, this year since workshops have been quite full and my time is spent with my attendees. However this image I made waking back t my truck on the Olympic Peninsula is one I am quite pleased with. I had a metal print made of this which I will get to see tomorrow. This is the Sol Duc River between Forks and Port Angeles in a secret spot I know about.

Sol Duc River, Olympic Peninsula, Wa.

Tech Data  012:05:18 16:34:00  Nikon D700 80-200mm F 2.8 @ 100mm

Sunset, Marin Headlands, near San Francisco, Ca

Below is a list of my workshops for the remainder of 2012. Of particular note is the workshop in Northern California in September 2012http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/autumn-napa-valley-san-francisco-and-northern-california-coast-pacific-northwest-art-school-photogra ) that I will be conducting with the Pacific Northwest Art School. September is a great time to be in this area. The summer crowds are gone and the air is a bit cooler and refreshing. In addition, the cost of this workshop is very attractive considering the itinerary and diverse subject matter. We will spend a full day in the beautiful win county of the Napa Valley. We will travel a bit Northwest through the Point Reyes area, then down to the Marin headlands for some great ocean views and a sunrise shoot of the Golden gate. After a morning in San Francisco, we’ll venture out to the coast, south of San Francisco for more ocean, and intimate landscape locations. Time is set to conduct presentations, image discussions and more. Please consider joining us. You can register with the PNWS here:  http://www.pacificnorthwestartschool.org/all/photography-workshops/graham-jack-fall-in-northern-ca-sep-20-23-2012-1 or by calling 866-678-3395.

My 2013 workshop schedule is coming into shape. You can view it here. Another trek to Iceland is planned for July with an additional 9 day excursion to beautiful ( and quite warm & pleasant  and under photographed) Greenland.  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 also be announcing a workshop in late October 2013 in the red rock country (including Zion National Park) very soon. Details on these and more can be found here:     http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/2013-photography-workshop-schedule

I received requests to link the webinar I conducted  for NIK SOFTWARE , back in March, 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!!!

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

Sunrise, Hunt’s Mesa, Monument Valley AZ

2012 Workshop Info:

COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE …JUNE 2012 – 1 seat left http://jackgrahamphoto.com/columbia-river-gorge-and-mt-hood-photography-workshop  1 spot open

THE PALOUSE, JUNE 2012, SOLD OUT—- 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

 More information found here: http://jackgrahamphoto.com/2012-photography-workshop-schedule

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    FEATURED ARTICLE  -.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.

 WHICH ONE WORKS?    The Ferry House, Whidbey Island, Washington

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 attendees to work the subject while in the field, make final decisions on your monitors at home.

 ….. WHICH ONE WORKS # 7…..

 LOCATION:  Whidbey Island, Puget Sound, Washington http://www.bing.com/maps/default.aspx?v=2&pc=FACEBK&mid=8100&where1=South+Ebey+Road%2C+Coupeville%2C+WA+98239&FORM=FBKPL0&name=The+Ferry+House+on+Whidbey+Island&mkt=en-US

If you have viewed the movie “Snow Falling on Cedars”, 2009, you might remember this house. It is the historic Ferry House at Ebey’s Landing.  The Ferry House was in the movie for only about 30 seconds so have to look quick. This house is owned by the US Park Service and is one of the historic places. The house even has its own Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Ferry-House-on-Whidbey-Island/332890913105

One of the oldest residential buildings in the state of Washington, the Ferry House was built in 1860 by Winfield Scott Ebey as an Inn to provide financial stability for his brother’s children, who were orphaned when Isaac Ebey was brutally murdered and beheaded by Canadian natives. Once completed and opened for business, the building was named The Ebey Inn. With no other nearby accommodations, the Inn — which housed a post office, a tavern, and rooms for overnight guests — quickly became an important place for sailors and other travelers to rest before continuing their journeys to  other towns on Whidbey Island the nearby mainland and points further north. Travelers and locals could also purchase merchandise and groceries at the Inn, which served ferry traffic to and from Port Townsend The house stayed in the Ebey family for 57 years, until Isaac Ebey’s grandson sold the old Inn in 1917.

The old Inn is currently owned by the National Park Service. The Ferry House became part of the 17,500-acre (71 km2) Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve created in 1978 to protect the rural working landscape and community on Central Whidbey Island.

 THE STORY:  Every time I visit Whidbey Island, be it for a workshop or when I am there photographing, I always visit this beautiful location. These three images were made on separate days in different light. These are three of my favorite images, but only one will stand out enough to me to be my favorite image of the Ferry House. I was initially attracted to the location by the look of the old house against the background of cedars. The challenge was how to work the rather large foreground into the scene. In many cases a rock tree, etc. can serve as an anchor for the image, making for an interesting photograph, In this case, using the building in and of itself would have been acceptable, but I wanted to use the beautiful field of barley and the green to serve as my foreground. This was not as easy a task as I thought it might be. This location is best photographed in the morning. The light can be challenging to say the least. Often extremely windy conditions are present due to the proximity to the sound and the ocean. Returning many times is essential.

To create a successful landscape photograph I believe you should learn as much about a location as possible. Learn the conditions such as weather and light, and how they affect the scene and prepare yourself properly. Being at the right place at the right time is rarely by luck. Be sure your camera setting are what you want to make the most of the photograph. Imagine these images taken at F4! When the lights “happening” it usually lasts for only a few minutes. You’ll need to work quick and know how to access your equipment. Not knowing where things are in your camera bag can cost you a great shot.

TECH DATA: All images made using my Nikon D700, Gitzo 3541 tripod and Really Right Stuff BH55 Ball Head.

IMAGE  1   Nikon 80-200mm  2.8 @ 200mm   1/60sec at f16  Apature priority / Matrix metering

-1/3 compensation . ISO 1250

 

IMAGE  2   Nikon 28-70mm @ 70mm   1/ 2.5 sec at F16  Manual /Spot metering –1/3 compensation . ISO 200

 

IMAGE # 3

IMAGE  3   Nikon 28-70mm @ 70mm  1/3sec at F16  Manual /Spot metering –1/3 compensation .

ISO 200

 

 

PROCESSING:

The key to processing is knowing what I want out of the image in the field as I am making the photograph, then applying the processing technique in my studio. I make initial processing

adjustments in cam RAW using Adobe Lightroom. I use NIK SOFTWARE’S “DEFINE” to reduce any noise. I adjust the image further using NIK”S VIVEZA and Color Efex Pro. I used some layer adjustments in Adobe Photoshop to increase contrast. Final sharpening was done using NIK’S Output Sharpener.

All three of these images were processed relatively the same. What makes them different is

1) Composition     2) Light conditions  3) Use of the subject with the foreground

THE EDIT:    There are three very different images and each conveys a different feeling. It is always important to define the subject before making the image. Obviously the subject is the Ferry House. Like all images, weather they be photographs or paintings, how the subject is handled is crucial. The house is depicted in three completely different ways in these images.

IMAGE #1  

IMAGE # 1

This image was taken about 2 months before the others and the green barley field was really nice in green. I think if I was trying to show the house and not the environment,  I would select this image, The adjacent fields and close by water adds something to the image. There are some lines in the field that sort of lead into the subject which I like. The house is sharp and the background fairly clean. Depending on the use, this image works quite nicely. The light was really good this day. It was overcast, quite cool and windy. That is why I set my ISO to 1250. I did not want blurriness in the grasses as the wind was very strong. The house in this image is for my taste is balanced, but too centered. As you can see in the other images there are parts of the environment that I did not want to include in this image. By not including them I came up with this one dimensional image. It’s a nice image but to me somewhat boring.

IMAGE # 2

I went back after the 1st image and arrived at the location early in the morning, during the sweet light, to make this another images of the Ferry House. This time I wanted to use the driveway and pathway, leading to the back of the adjacent property to tell more of the story of where this old house is located. After walking around for quite a while, I selected this spot, while the light remained quite nice. The early morning light really did a nice job on the background. I still to this day cannot decide if I like this driveway or not. Sometimes I think is add something, something I think it draws my eye to the end of the driveway and away from the subject. I also don’t like how the light handled the green barley field. The light though good everywhere else really didn’t work on the grass. Perhaps if I was sold on this composition I could go back into my software and play with the luminosity etc. and adjust the grass a bit, but since I am really not sold on this image, I think I’ll wait until I am, if ever.

IMAGE  #3

IMAGE # 3

Again this image was taken in the early morning. This day featured a cloudless sky and though not bad, the poorest morning light of the three images.  I like the house placement and the green barley field a lot in this composition. This time of year the yellow mustard field in back of the property was in full bloom. I used the blue of the Puget Sound along with the complimentary yellow of the mustard field to work to enhance the image. The light was not quite as good on the house as in image 1 or 2 but not terrible. The biggest drawback for me in this image is the sky. There is no drama here. However we photographers sometime have to work with what we have.

FINAL DECISION

My final decision is to go back and do this photograph again.  What I am after is the composition of IMAGE $3 with some dramatic sky’s or some drama caused by weather. Snow would be great. Fog would be interesting as well.

All three images are nothing I would hang on a wall. Image one might be good to use for editorial purposes.  I can’t come to a firm decision regard the composition of IMAGE2. Until I do I will pass on this composition.  IMAGE 3 is more of what I call a post card image. Yes, the composition is somewhat different from what I’ve seen before, but after a few seconds it is just a nice image, not exciting.

Many that I did not want to include in this image. By not including them I came up with this one dimensional image. It’s a nice image but to me somewhat boring.

Many times, viewers look at some of the better images I have and ask “How did you get that great light “ or “How did you ever get an image looking like that” They wait for a technical answer, thinking I must have a great camera or lenses. My answer always is that I try and go back to a location many times, and you I might be there when everything works.

What do you think?–jg

NEWS / Workshops / Article: Which one Works # 4, “The Palouse”

               Jack Graham Photography                www.jackgrahamphoto.com

Learn to See                        Learn to think                      Learn to create

 

VISIT MORE IMAGES on the 500PX Web site–CLICK HERE  http://500px.com/JackGraham

This is a GREAT website for viewing some simply amazing  images!

 

__________________________________________________________

Out in the Eastern Sierra

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

 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 COMING LATER THIS WEEK!!!!

______________________________________________________________________________

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

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

 

 

Noteworthy

WEBINAR———NIK SOFTWARE: I would like to thank the folks at NIK SOFTWARE for inviting me to host a webinar   at their studio in San Diego from 2-3PM on Feb 28th. You have to register to attend. You need to register for this, and I know there are only a few spots left! ( they can register up to 1000 people). Click here to register: http://www.niksoftware.com/learnmore/usa/index.php/webinars/signup/12851?j=16013119&e=jack@jackgrahamphoto.com&l=175395_HTML&u=205139063&mid=115479&jb=0

I have a featured article in Landscape Photography Magazine this month. You can read it here:

http://landscapephotographymagazine.com/

_____________________________________________________________________

Workshop news and information:

 

WHIDBEY ISLAND & NORTHERN CALIFORNIA—Pacific Northwest Art School Workshops am conducting 2 workshops this year for the Pacific NW Art School. One is on Whidbey Island, Washington in May and the other is in Northern California in September. These are at a very special price and a tremendous value. Please contact them by clicking here, http://www.pacificnorthwestartschool.org/all/photography-workshops/graham-jack-photography-on-whidbey-may-9-12-2012

or call (360) 678-3396 for information      Pacific Northwest Art School Flier

Blue Ice, Iceland

ULTIMATE ICELAND in July 2012—–ONLY ONE SPOT LEFT!… It’s going to a special trip! http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/ultimate-iceland-july-2012

         HIDDEN CHINA and optional TIBET:–Summer 2012 One of the 1st workshops ever to venture into Details here: http://www.phototc.com/tours/tour.php?tour=152

 

EASTERN SIERRA with GUY  TAL — www.guytal.com  OCTOBER 2012—There are only a few spots left for my Eastern Sierra workshop in October with me and my good friend Guy Tal. If you are thinking about joining us, please let me know ASAP. Rooms are also at a premium.

http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/17th-annual-eastern-sierra-photography-workshop-mono-lake-alabama-hills-bristlecone-pine-bodie-more

Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone NP

TETON NP / YELLOWSTONE NP WORKSHOP in September. Details are found here:

http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/fall-grand-teton-and-yellowstone-np-photography-workshop

COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE in JUNE !!   Wildflowers & Waterfalls!http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/columbia-river-gorge-and-mt-hood-photography-workshop


                                             FEATURED ARTICLE:            WHICH ONE WORKS   # 4

© Jack Graham

This is a new feature 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 in our editing process.  The editing process is as important as any stage in the making of a photograph. You should edit carefully, and be your toughest critic. In most cases the slightest difference in composition, light etc makes all the difference between a really good image and a great image.

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.

Though art is subjective, certain aspects of correct composition are less. This writing is my feelings. You may disagree; if you do I’d love to know why. You comments, as always are more than welcome.

“The Palouse”

LOCATION. – The Palouse Region of Eastern Washington, USA. The Palouse is made up of rolling hills, old weathered barns and patterns in the wheat fields, accentuated by the light and clouds, which makes for some simply amazing photography. One must have their creative juices flowing to be successful photographing the Palouse. The Palouse is the richest wheat growing area in the United States due to the geographic location rainfall and rich soil.

These images were made in June, when the area is its greenest.

THE STORY:  One of the most striking things I always look for are the barns, sitting on or within the green hillsides. As I am sure you know red and green, as opposite colors work well together. This time of year, the green is at its peak. When photographing here, it’s important to take the textures, patterns and color all into account in every landscape image. I did that in all 4 of these images. Keeping the image as simple as possible is also primary. These are working farms. There will be tractors, silos, and other added articles around the barns, property and on the roads and along the roads. Sometimes you wasn’t them there, sometimes you don’t. Can you clone them out, sometimes, but sometimes they may cause distractions and be unable to be removed successfully. Can they affect the feel of an image? You bet, as we will see here.

TECH DATA:  These images were all shot back in 2006 on June 12th.  Image and all were taken 8, minutes apart at ISO 200, using A Nikon D200 and a Nikon 300mm F4 lens (which equaled 450mm taking the crop factor into consideration). Apertures were all F16, and shutter speeds were either 1 /40th or 1/30 second.

I did minimal processing on these 4 images. The one which I select will be refined and look better than these, but for this exercise, we’re talking about compositional elements, not processing.

The finial-processed image will be included at the bottom of this writing.

Images were processed using Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop CS4 and as always Nik Software. Define was used first to remove any noise. I did not use Viveza 2 on these images at all, but did add Detail Extractor, Brilliance & Warmth, a slight amount of foliage enhancement and bit of vignette to each image, using the Nik Software’s Color Efex4 Pro.. Sharpening was done in Nik Sharpener Pro. There was minimal cropping done to these images.

The same amount of each filter/ sharpening etc was applied to each image. There are no variations in processing here, just natural light

 THE EDIT:    Let’s talk about each image, the pros and cons.

IMAGE # 1
IMAGE # 1

Image # 1

Pros:  I don’t really see too many here at all.

Cons: Let’s start with a basic question you need to always ask yourself. What’s the subject? IS it the barn? Is it the green hillsides? If you cannot answer this, the image is a failure. I cannot answer that question looking at this image. Can you?

There are many compositional defects in this image. There is a huge excess of foreground that adds nothing to the image at all. Yes the rolling hills are nice, the shadows are to me just ok, but the only reason you know it’s a barn is because it’s red. Could I crop out or clone out that tree in the upper left corner. Why is even there? Perhaps because the D200 was a 95% view finder! Also, to me the barn is not 100% sharp.

TIP—Know what percent your viewfinder is and remember things may creep into your image.  Live view will always show you a 100% view!

This image will be trashed and would never get to the processing area.

IMAGE #2

   IMAGE # 2


Pros:  To me this is an improvement that image #1, because of one factor. To me the barn is now the subject. At least we have one here. The simple placement of the barn in the foreground vs. at the top allows for a defined subject. This image was made 4 minutes after image #1. There is a nice leading line, the road coming from the lower right into the barn & house. The patterns are nice and the hillsides in the background are OK.  Notice how the light changed in just 4 minutes.

Cons:  The barn is not sharp enough, nor is the trees. This is still not anything to keep. Perhaps it might be a nice postcard, but nothing to hold my interest for more than about 10 seconds. It’s better than image #1, but to me, still a boring image.

I see many of these kinds of images, sometimes published—but this image will be trashed and would never get to the processing area either.

IMAGE # 3

Image 3

No matter how I tried the images, even though there were some pros, was unusable for all the reason I stated. In the same general area, Image # 3 was taken 2 minutes later than image # 1&2. Here we have something to look at and to hold interest.

Pros:  Just my looking in a slightly different direction allowed me to see something different. Because of the way it’s constructed, the content and layout is why this image is, so far, the superior. The red buildings and silos in the foreground make a pleasing anchor to the vertical view. This image says” Palouse”!  The added suspense created by the dust blowing off the road at the top, as a vehicle, not seen, creates interest. The spacing on the barns etc is good. The light is quite nice as well. It’s a bit hard to tell in these compressed images but the barn and trees are much sharper.

Cons:  Even though there is better subject matter here, there is also much more “going on” in this image than I really would like as a final shot. My eyes wander from the red barns up to the top and that dust, and then back down. Lets’ look for the subject again? What is it in your mind? I need the subject to be a bit more defined. The trees in the upper right corner also bother me a little but not terribly.

As a documentary image or a stock image this might be kept, but not certainly for a fine art print.

Image # 3, though a big improvement over 1 &2 is still a work in progress.

IMAGE # 4

Image # 4

I remember when I made these sequences of images and remembered how I asked myself how I could define the subject better. Why not try a horizontal image?

Pros: The placement of the red barn is now in the right area. As a horizontal image, there is not extraneous apace on the top or bottom. To me it’s just right. I really like how the leading line (road) comes in from the lower left and through the image. The lone few trees on the left add interest. The amount of spaced used by the hillsides on the upper half of the image add interest as well. There is enough, but not too much.

Cons: I don’t have too many. As a nit pick, when I finish processing the image I’ll remove the shadow in the upper left corner. Did you notice this? I did. These kinds of things can distract from an image. In the final image I’ll add some structure to this image using Nik Software’s Viveza2.

In a span of 8 minutes these 4 images were made and the simple though to make a horizontal image saved the day. This scene just lends itself to a horizontal over a vertical image.

TIP: If in doubt, shoot both horizontal and vertical images. When you get in front of your monitor, and then make the decision. Both can work for different uses.

What do you think?   … and if you would like to join us in the Palouse this June… click here for information:

http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/spring-palouse-now-5-days

The right to download and store or output any content on this website www.jackgrahamphoto.com and  www.jackgrahamsblog website is granted for preview purposes only and may not be reproduced in any form .All Photographs appearing on this site 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 this site you accept these terms. If you need permission to use a photo on this site please call 503-625-21430 or email Jack @ Jack@jackgrahamphoto.com

WHICH ONE WORKS? #3 “Composition, Processing challenges and the Feeling” / Recent News

                            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

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

______________________________________________________________________________

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Noteworthy

LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRPAHY MAGAZINE   http://landscapephotographymagazine.com/

This months issue (Feb 2012)  contains an article entitled “Focus on the Unconventional” http://landscapephotographymagazine.com/magazine/issue-12/ by me. I hope you find it interesting. While you are there, check out his 1st class publication. Compared to many of the print magazines, Landscape Photography is far ahead of the curve. Check out them various sections and innovative layout here. Let me know how you like the article!.

NIK WEBINAR : I’ll be doing a webinar for NIK DOFTWARE, live in their studio from 2-3PM (Pacific Time) on February 28th.  The webinar topic is “Keeping it Simple” and getting the most out of the NIK Software Suite. Click here to register for the webinar:  http://www.niksoftware.com/learnmore/usa/index.php/webinars/signup/12851?j=16013119&e=jack@jackgrahamphoto.com&l=175395_HTML&u=205139063&mid=115479&jb=0

See you there!  (save 15% on NIK Software—order online www.niksoftware.com and enter the code JGRAHAM)

WORKSHOPS; My 2012 workshops are beginning to fill quickly. The links you need to have are at the top of this page. We have only one seat left for Iceland, and just a few for our unbelievable trip to Hidden China and Tibet this summer. Also the workshops in the Southwest this spring are almost filled.. Don’t miss out on these !!!!

__________________ FEATURED ARTICLE————————————————————————————————————

WHICH ONE WORKS?          #3

    “Composition, Processing challenges and the Feeling”

©Jack Graham / Jack Graham Photography

Within these discussion that will appear 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, 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.

You comments, as always are more than welcome.

______________________________________________________________________

IMAGE # 1 Beaver Pond, Lundy Canyon,

 

LOCATION:  Beaver pond, Lundy Canyon, Eastern Sierra, California

 

THE STORY:  Prior to the start of my fall workshop in the Eastern Sierra, in 2011, Guy Tal www.guytal.com) and me, spent a few days together, scouting the area for our coming workshop in early October. Late in the afternoon as some weather was moving in we drove back into the beaver pond past Lundy Lake. I’ve been back here in some wonderful weather tor photography ( for me its dramatic skies; usually adverse conditions!). There is  lots of subject matter here. There is a series of ponds all high maintained by the local beavers who monitor the water level and use the plentiful amount of aspens and other trees for their dens, easily visible from the shoreline.

 

 

IMGAE # 2   Beaverpond Lundy Canyyon
IMGAE # 2 Beaverpond Lundy Canyyon

 

Its’ about 7000’ elevation here and the temperature is usually about 10-15 degrees colder than in close by Lee VIning and Mono Lake. Though the weather was not really terrible, it was about 32 degrees Fahrenheit and windy and raining and snowing at times pretty hard. Unfortunately the wind was blowing right at us. I’ve been in worse. The light was just ok, but for a few minutes when the sunlight pushed through the clouds in the distance hi about the mountains where it was snowing and the snow up high really made this image interesting. Though I had my chamois ready, the raindrops were a factor on my lens as you can see in the raw file.

 

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TECH DATA:

Image 1 ( Horizontal )                                                                                                              Image # 2  (Vertical)

Date/Time: 2011:10:10 16:21:36 Nikon D700 /Nikon 28-70mm F 2.8           2011:10:10 16:04:41 Nikon D700  /Nikon 17-35mm F 2.8

Shutter speed: 1/30 sec   Aperture: 16                                                                    Shutter speed: 1/13 sec   Aperture: 16

Exposure mode: Manual Metering mode: Spot                                                    Exposure mode: Manual Metering mode: Spot

ISO: 400   Focal length: 30mm                                                                                ISO: 400   Focal length: 20mm

 

Let’s discuss processing. II did all my normal processing Adobe Lightroom & did a lot of cloning in Photoshop of the water droplets that I could not prevent from hitting my lens! ( you can see my workflow and processing information in my eBook Series 1 available for sale on my website: I then used my   NIK Software as follows:

Here are the origional RAW FILES of each image

RAW file before processing

 

 

 

RAW file before processing

1)       Define 2.0—noise reduction. With my Nikon D700 at ISO400 there was virtually NO noise

2)       Viveza 2.0 – added a good amount of structure and some contrast to the clouds (see my glossary below & learn these terms). I reduced the amount to light in the upper right, ‘

By adding some structure to the water, I was able to bring out some of the reflections as well. I also adjusted the shadows in the trees and brought out a lot of definition, lost in the RAW file. (This is why we use the RAW format. We have much more to work with and can make these adjustments correctly… a discussion of RAW vs. jpeg can be found here: https://jackgrahamphoto.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/photo-tip-podcast-workshop-info/

3)       Color Efex 4 – I added just a tad of Brilliance & Warmth and then just a little Pro Contrast. I used the foliage adjustment to bring out the greens & the foliage along the shoreline. As always I added a vignette, using the Darken –Lighten center feature. This allowed me to choose where I want the center of attraction to be. I chose the shoreline on the left side of the pone. and adjusted the amount of vignette I wanted as well as the amount of darkening I wanted the boarders to have.

4)       Sharpening _ I used NIK’S Sharpener Pro 3.0 . I wanted the trees and vegetation sharper than the mountaintops and certainly the sky. With the Nik software I can control using the U-Point technology the area I want to have sharper than others. Not all images need this but this one did.

 

After that I added a slight curve and adjusted my levels in Adobe Photoshop and completed the processing.

 

THE EDIT:   

 

Both images deliver a totally different feeling and emoting. I chose image 2.Some of you who know me know I really love vertical images and for a while I tended to photograph more vertical images than horizontal. I’ve now learned to shoot both angles and make the decision later! This is a good example.

IMAGE #2

 

I choose #2 for a few reasons. First there is a much more appealing foreground, which is usually the first thing I look for inn the field when looking for good subject matter.

On my workshops, I always stress to my workshop attendees , that a little thing can make a good image a great one. Sometimes it’s not the obvious, but the subtle that can transform an image. For instance,

I really like how the sun reflection is right at the top of the tree reflection, and the top of the dead tree it pointing right up to the sun that just cresting over the tops of the mountains . I also like, really in both images how the submerged tree act as kind of a leading line to the other side of the pond.

I feel that the composition is simpler in the vertical. My eye keeps moving around looking for somewhere to land in the horizontal image. There is a lot of subject matter in the horizontal. Simple is always better.  In addition the clouds were much more dramatic in image #2.  Also note how two different lenses can evoke a different look and feel to an image as well.  Image was made with my Nikon 17-35mm F2.8 ( a very sharp lens) . I got down low to the ground to get the foreground where I wanted it. Image #2 was made with my Nikon 28-70mm F2.8, also a very sharp lens. There was no foreground where I was standing.

To recap, these items, in order of importance to me are why #2 was my choice.

1)       #2 has a more simple, but stronger composition, delivers a better feeling to the mood

2)       Strong  foreground

3)       Clouds more dramatic

4)       Position of the sun on the top as well as the reflection

5)       Somewhat better light

Let me now what you think!

 

The right to download and store or output any content on the  website www.jackgrahamphoto.com and  www.jackgahamsblog.com  website is granted for preview purposes only and may not be reproduced in any form.All Photographs appearing on this site 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 this site you accept these terms. If you need permission to use a photo on this site please call 503-625-1430 or email Jack @ Jack@jackgrahamphoto.com

 

NEW ADDITION: Which one Works? Choosing the right image

Jack Graham Photography                          www.jackgrahamphoto.com

Learn to See                        Learn to think                      Learn to create

Jack Graham Photograph     www.jackgrahamphoto.com

Learn to See                        Learn to think                      Learn to create

_________________________________________________________________

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

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

______________________________________________________________________________

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

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

 

_______________________________________________________________________

 WHICH ONE WORKS?

This is a new feature I am going to publish 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.

You comments, as always are more than welcome.

______________________________________________________________________

 WHICH ONE WORKS ???.………………….  LOCATION:  Antelope Canyon, Arizona

 

THE STORY:  Prior to leading my  workshop last year in Antelope Canyon ( late March 2011),  I took a day for myself and spent some time making a few images in this glorious location. Because these canyons have been photographed so much, I am constantly looking for images different from what I have seen before. This is one such image.   ( see workshop info above for 2012 Southwest Workshops)

Antelope Canyon ©Jack Graham

 

Here is the image most photographed, do you recognize it? My goal was to find something different!

 

This subject has been photographed before by me and others. My challenge was to use the subject matter i.e. tumbleweed, and other material that had blown down the canyon from the opening above. It had been windy the past few days and there was more material here this year than in past years.  This day was no exception.

Before I continue, for those who have never been into the canyon, you need you know this is somewhat of a “staged” image. If you have not seen this image before, it’s important to know that prior to continuing our discussion. The tumbleweed on the top was purposely placed there by other photographers, for the effect. (This is another whole discussion in itself). Though the tumbleweed does blow in and down the canyon, the chances of it being so precisely placed are remote. The tumbleweed on the ground was there naturally. Had I removed the tumbleweed on the ledge( which I personally would have liked to do) I was sure I’d incur the wrath of the other folks there making images. Though he sand does blown down the canyon walls from above, it usually never does in this volume or at this angle. Yes the sand was thrown up against the rock, only to fall to the ground, creating the patterns you see. Navajo guides do this for the photographers. I do like the sand effect..

Like most days the canyon was quite crowded. Finding an angle I liked and setting up a tripod, at the right time of day (about 11:30 am or so) was a challenge.

 

NOTE: I used ISO 2000 on purpose in order to attain the shutter speed I wanted( 2-2.5 seconds). My Nikon D700 handled this exceeding well. Images were processed identically in Adobe Lightroom , AdobePhotoshop CS4 and NIK Software. ( http://www.niksoftware.com  —enter code JGRAHAM and receive a 15% discount)

 IMAGE # 1
IMAGE # 1

TECH DATA:  Image  #1

Date/Time: 2011:03:31 11:27:59

Shutter speed: 2.5 sec   Aperture: 16

Exposure mode: Av   Exposure compensation: -1/3

ISO: 2000  Lens: 28 to 70mm   Focal length: 40mm

IMAGE #2

 

 

 

TECH DATA: Image # 2

IMAGE 2  Date/Time: 2011:03:31 11:28:24

 Shutter speed: 2 sec      Aperture: 16

Exposure mode: Av   Exposure compensation: -1/3

ISO: 2000  Lens: 28 to 70mm   Focal length: 35mm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My choice: IMAGE #2

 

 

 

THE EDIT:    I chose image #2

Editing these two images was easy.

 

1)       As with all images I ask “What’s the subject” prior to making the photograph. To me it was the sand falling off the rock. My challenge was how to capture it. The pattern in the sand in image 2 is more defined and interesting. This is because of two simple reasons. The Navajo guide who threw the sand up against the rock for us did so prior to image #1. Because of this, he volume of sand is less in image #2, even though my shutter speed is 0.5 seconds less than # 1. ( NOTE:  images were made only 25 seconds apart)

The motion of the sand falling in three lines created much more interest than that of the sand falling in image#1

This is why with these types of images it’s good to take many frames.

 

 

2)       The tumbleweed on the bottom left, in image #2 is not cut off like it is in image #1. I repositioned my camera down and to the left, just a bit to encompass the image the way I wanted it. I also increased my focal length on my lens by 5 mm, from 40mm to 35mm.  By doing this I also was able to bring out more of the sandstone on the lower left side.

Yes, little things can make a difference. Is # 1 a terrible image? If yo had not seen #2 what would you have thought? For most folks #1 would be just fine. However, if you are very critical of your work, (and you should be!) there is a vast difference between both images!

 

If I had not made image #2, image #1 would have been trashed!

When you are out making images, slow down, learn to see, and evaluate your environment. It’s always the small things that make an image work.

Send me some results!

 

Jack

FALL COLOR PHOTO TIPS…East and West.. (updated from 2007 edition)…NEW FROM NIK SOFTWARE-Color Efex Pro4……PODCAST NEWS

PLEASE READ THE ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING Nik Software’s new Color Efex Pro4 AND OUR  PODCAST WITH NIK”S PRODUCT MANAGER Josh Haftel below!!!!!!!!

www.18percentgraymatter.com

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2011 Workshop Schedule  http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/2011-workshop-schedule

Reg Forms & FAQ’S REGISTRATION FORM 2011v9      FAQ’S

2012 Workshop Schedulehttp://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/2012-workshop-schedule

Reg Forms & FAQ’S   REGISTRATION FORM 2012        FAQ”S

WORKSHOP DISCOUNTS   WORKSHOP DISCOUNTS

Jack’s Website   www.jackgrahamphoto.com

PODCAST:  www.18percentgraymatter.com                      WATCH FOR MY NEW E_BOOK       -COMING SOON!!!!!!!

COMING in 2012-–I will be doing a workshop on Whidbey Island , Washington May 10-13 2012  with the folks at  the PACIFIC NORTHWEST ART SCHOOL (www.pacificnorthwestartschool.org). In addition I’ll also be offering a 3 1/2 day Oregon Coast workshop with the Pacific Northwest Artschool in September—-STAY TUNED for details soonhttp://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/whidbey-island-washington-pacific-northwest-art-school

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WHAT’S NEW:

It’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog. Ongoing, I’ll be more active. It’s been a busy workshop season and will continue that way through mid November.

 WORKSHOPS: I have a few spots left for my Fall Color in Ohio Workshop  http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/fall-color-ne-ohio-well-very-special-day-amish-oct-2011  in late October… as well as the Fall color workshop in Napa Valley, San Francisco and the Northern California Coast in early November.http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/fall-northern-california-napa-pt-reyesmarin-headlands-sf-coastline-s-sf Registration forms are available above. These are going to be very special events. Please consider joining us.  The Eastern Sierra Workshop with Guy Tal and me, in mid October has one opening left.http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/eastern-sierra-photography-workshop-1-spot-left

DON’T FORGET ICELAND 2012 (filling fast) http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/ultimate-iceland    and CHINA 2012  http://www.phototc.com/tours/tour.php?tour=152    in 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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www.18percentgraymatter.com PODCAST—BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG NEWS—THE BEST JUST GOT BETTER…—  Recently Bob Kulon and I recorded an interview with Josh Haftel, product manager at NIK SOFTWARE www.niksoftware.com  regarding today’s announcement from NIK about their newly upgraded COLOR EFEX PRO4 program( available today for download). Please take a few minutes and listen to the PODCAST. You can access the site here.   By using the code 18percent, you’ll receive an additional 15 % discount! This is a great program. The new addition has more filters as well as filter stacking (Thanks NIK). Please check it out, you will not be disappointed.  

                                      Remember  code=  18percent    &   save 15% on download  www.niksoftware.com

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Mary & Peter Andrade

GOOD READING: My good friends and past workshop attendees Mary & Peter Andrade have an interesting blog on line. http://pamphotography.wordpress.com/

These folks are good photographers with some different perspectives on some really cool subject matter. They have become good friends and though Mary & Peter are somewhat different in their approach, they have some really great images up in the blog, as well as some really good information. Do yourself a favor and check it out!

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Also, I am really proud of my son, and fellow photographer Matthew Graham. Check out his work, he’s doing some great stuff—Way to go Matt!!!

http://matthewgrahamphoto.com/wp/

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ANOTHER FRAUD  http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/world/celebrated-wildlife-photographer-exposed-as-fraud-in-sweden-61616.html

When will these folks learn——keep this in mind when it’s tempting to cheat. Sometimes editors should ask to see the RAW FILE!

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   And finally–Don’t forget to check out the latest specials from my good friends at Hunt’s

http://wbhunt.com/specials/

                                    AND OF COURSE:  <img src=”http://www.outdoorphotogear.com/affiliate/banners/BlueGreen_OPG_banner_180x150.jpg” alt=”

   just click the banner and start shopping—-you’ll find accessories not found in your local camera store, all under one roof here. These are good people!

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FEATURED ARTICLE…………….AUTUMN, EAST AND WEST, Tips for Fall Photography

(Updated from my 2007 blog post)  ©J Graham

Bridalveil Falls, Ohio

If you love shooting the landscape like me, fall is our time of year. Fall is when the mountains, hills and valleys light up, on fire….. and then go out in a natural blaze of glory.

I have been lucky to have lived and photographed autumns here in the west, as well as the eastern regions of the country. There some major differences in photographic technique in both regions as well as certain skills.  There are also some similarities.

For me,Michigan,Wisconsin, and the Adirondack Mountains of NY North-Eastern Ohio and of courseVermontis the most productive areas for me in the Northeast. Colorado, Utah, The Cascades and the Sierra Nevada Mountains are my favorites in the west. Northern Arizona, from Flagstaff north is also one of my favorites as is Yellowstone and Teton National Parks

In the east the Maples (Sugar, black and red) can be simply amazing. Other species add to the palate such as beech and hemlocks bring out lots of yellows and orange color. It takes a good summer of rain; along with the right climatic conditions bring out the best in fall color. The Maple trees are aided in color when temperatures reach high enough to bring back up the sugar into the tree. After the temperatures drop in the evenings, the sugar drops within the trees system. This is how the color becomes apparent in the leaves.

While the maples in the east blaze in red, the autumn color in the west is mostly shades of orange and gold. The principle tree in higher altitude regions is theAspen.

Aspens in the Eastern Sierra, California

The aspen propagates by sending root suckers through the ground. This makes for groups of trees that are all clones of each other, sometimes referred to as a vein of aspens. You can easily pick these out against the mountainsides in the west. Unlike the east where finding the grand scenic may be a bit tougher at times, I have always  found it easy to capture these veins of aspens in the west. I can remember driving south on US 395 from Bridgeport to Lee Vining (the home of Mono Lake) and shooting the aspens right off the highway.

Be sure to monitor the weather. Weather in the UP of Michigan’sCountry Fall well as most of the west can change within hours. I have been in the Sierra where the morning was 60 degrees, at the height of the fall color, and in the 30’s by sunset, with the leaves dropping. Aspens can loose their leaves overnight. Timing is very critical.

Most states offer fall color information using the State Department of Natural Resources web sites.  Go to a search engine and type in “department of natural resources, then your state.”

Let’s face it, we as photographers….pro’s, amateurs’ or just casual shooters all look forward to the fall color display to get out and capture all that nature has to offer. Unless you are lucky enough to live in an area that offer really interesting photography most of the year, once that cool air, increasing rain and fall color starts, we get that rejuvenated feeling and grab our camera bags and tripods and get out in the crisp, fall air to capture the vibrant colors of the season.

Fall in Oregon's Wine Country

Fall is all about color, and how to make the most of it. Here are some pointers that can help you come home with the best images possible during this magical season of color.

~Overcast and even rainy weather provides the best lighting for both landscapes as well as for close-ups of fall leaves, ferns, mushrooms, berries, and other subjects. Bright sunny weather creates harsh highlights, blocked shadow details, and even a blue cast due to reflected light from the blue sky.  A cloudy sky minimizes the blue cast, reduces contrast, and increases color saturation.  Rain and wet conditions serve to even increase the color saturation. Heavy rain also makes the tree trunks dark, further enhancing the color of the leaves

  •  A credo of nature photography, stated by Ansel Adams, is that “Bad weather makes for great photography”. Streams, rivers, waterfalls and forests are great subjects to photograph when it rains. Take care to keep your equipment dry as well as yourself and get out and shoot in these conditions. You might come home soaked, but making images in rainy weather will be a lot more rewarding than those on sunny days.

When making close up images, always use a circular diffuser, to soften direct sunlight, simulate an overcast sky, and thus improve the lighting for your fall close-ups. You may not think you need it, but even on cloudy days diffusers make a big difference.

  • Early morning and late afternoon lighting on sunny or partly cloudy days can provide dramatic lighting for scenic fall vistas taken in the open.  Weather fronts, which often occur in fall, can also provide sensational light, especially when areas of fall color are sunlit against a dark storm sky.
    • Let’s talk about sky. If the sky adds nothing to your image… LEAVE IT OUT.  White or overcast, less than dramatic sky is poison to an image.
    • Sunny weather is also the best lighting for photographing reflections of fall foliage in lakes, rivers, and streams.  The reflections are most dramatic when the fall color is sunlit and the water is in shade.  Try using slow shutter speeds to create abstracts from fall foliage reflected in the moving water of rivers and streams. Be careful if you are using a polarizer. This can detract from the reflections that you really want, of the color in the water. Refer to this article to get more tips on photographing water. https://jackgrahamphoto.wordpress.com/2011/07/12/2377/

    Misty, damp days can provide wonderful, moody lighting for fall color and waterfall photography.  The air is usually still, eliminating the problem of wind movement, and the moisture on leaves and rocks intensifies their color. 

As with snow scenes, relying on your camera meter may result in misty scenes that are too dark, so you may need to open up by ½ to 1 f-stop to retain the pearly light and luminosity that permeate these quiet foggy fall days.

  • A polarizing filter can be used to intensify colors and minimize reflections from wet rocks and leaves.  An exposure increase of 1 to 2 f-stops will be needed, depending on the amount of polarization.  Your camera meter will adjust the exposure automatically when you attach a polarizing filter.  With most modern digital cameras, a “circular” polarizing filter is needed to ensure an accurate exposure reading. Don’t forget your graduated ND’s as well. www.singh-ray.com
  • Use color to your advantage. Complimentary colors add to impact images. Green foliage combined with the reds and oranges work well. So does yellow aspens against blue skies in autumn.
  • Look for different subjects such as reflections of the fall color in water pumpkins, covered bridges, buildings that can compliment the fall color. Make use of the color. Don’t just go after that grand landscape.
  • Keep your compositions as simple as possible. Remember; don’t try to write a novel in your photographic composition, write the sentence that tells the story. Use the rule of thirds, graphic lines and make your image using a key element as the anchor. Simple is always the best.
  •  Always use a tripod. Walk around with your camera before committing to a spot while it’s on your tripod. Choose your lens properly to get the shot you want.

              

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  • Get out and stay out. You can use this saying in two instances. Especially in the East where we might require getting onto private property to get that “winner” shot, always ask first as to avoid hearing that phrase. Make sure you have all the right clothing and equipment to be able to get out in bad weather. Stay out as long as you have some light. Your best light is always during the golden hours in the morning and evenings.

Most of all enjoy the color display that happens only once per year. In just a few short weeks (at least where I live) it will only be a dream and the realities of winter will set in.

Finally here are a few websites to help you monitor the fall color:

www.foliagenetwork.net

http://usparks.about.com/od/fallfoliage/a/Fall-Colors.htm

http://www.chiff.com/a/fall-foliage.htm

http://www.weather.com/activities/driving/fallfoliage/

http://phototravel.com/fall.htm   (more than you’ll ever need!)

http://www.wxnation.com/fallfoliage/ (lots of cams)

For the west —- www.calphoto.com