… and no, you don’t need to be a FUJIFILM “X” Shooter to join us!
Earlier this year the 1st FUJIFILM “X” Photographers Travel and Nature Summit was held in Townsend Tennessee (in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park). It was a great success. We brought together folks from all over along with some of FUJIFILM’S top management and technical field representatives. It was a great learning experience for everyone how not only gained important information from the instructors as well as the Fujifilm attendees, but from each other. This concept went far beyond what Bill Fortney and I had last year when we came up with this idea. Our thanks to Dan BaileyandKaren Hutton (both Fujifilm “X” Photographers as well) for being part of the program! Click HERE for a short Video done by Karen!
Below is essentially what the summit coming this fall to Portland Oregon is about!
Sponsored by FUJIFILM and specifically designed for X Series shooters and people who are interested in the X Series, these workshops will teach you how to maximize your creativity and technical abilities with the Fuji system.
Featuring Bill Fortney, Jack Graham, Dan Bailey and Dan Westergren, ( all dedicated workshop leaders) and learn a wide range of photography methods and techniques from each of us and get firsthand instruction about how we use the specific features of the Fuji cameras in our own image making. Click HERE for Bio’s on each of us.
Through a combination of field sessions, presentations, image reviews and talks about a wide range of photography topics, you’ll learn not just how to expand your photography abilities, but how to make use of the specific tools and features found on the Fuji cameras.
There will be plenty of opportunity for personal, one-on-one time with all of the instructors and informal time to chat and get to know not only the instructors, but the other attendees, as well. You are guaranteed to come away with many new friends! Also, there will be FUJIFILM technical reps and other personnel on hand to provide loaner equipment, enhance your learning experience and answer any questions (or give your own feedback) about the X Series gear. There will even be some free giveaways!
Late summer/ early fall in the Pacific Northwest is beautiful… sometimes too beautiful! We will get out to a few locations to learn to use what you have learned at the summit.
YOU DON’T NEED TO BE A FUJIFILM SHOOTER! If you’re an X Series shooter… GREAT!… or if you’re JUST curious about the Fuji system, and you want the chance to learn from working pro Fuji shooters, then I highly recommend the “X” Photographers Travel and Nature Summit in Portland Oregon this September.
Photography instruction specifically geared towards FUJIFILM X Series shooters.
Exclusive and intensive, multi-day learning opportunity in a beautiful setting.
Field sessions, group presentations and personal image reviews.
Lots of time for informal, on-on-one interaction with the instructors.
Professional instruction in small group settings from 4 professional outdoor and travel shooters, all official FUJIFILM X Photographers
FUJIFILM X Series cameras and lenses for you to try out
Each day will begin with a morning field session in any number of beautiful landscape settings, followed by a late morning presentation. After lunch, there will be 2-3 afternoon seminars that will feature any number of topics, and a feature evening presentation by one of the four instructors. In the evening, there will be lots of downtime for informal one-on-one time with the instructors and other attendees.
Each of the X-Photographers will give at least two focused presentations during the summit, and you’ll also see demonstrations by the FUJIFILM staff that will range from technical aspects and creative use of the X Series gear.
During the summit, you’ll learn a wide range of techniques and creative methods from a small group of long-time working pro photographers. They’ll provide insight about their own creative and compositional methods, as well as specific instruction on how they use the features and tools found in the X Series cameras. You’ll learn how to see and compose powerful imagery, and how to use the dedicated settings and creative tools in the Fuji system to expand your own creative photography boundaries.
Tips towards making better images regardless of subject matter or location
Composition: Seeing creativity and effectively arranging your subject matter
What makes for a truly compelling image
How to be proficient with the different X Series cameras and lenses
Camera Settings: Making sure you know what each menu setting does and that your camera is set where you want it to be.
How to make the most of the gear you already have
Specific instruction on the dedicated modes and creative settings on the X Series gear
How to pull together light, subject and background into single dramatic frameDuring the field sessions, you’ll work in smaller groups of 15 people and one of the X Photographer instructors. All attendees will have at least one field sessions with each of the instructors.
YES WE DO IMAGE REVIEWS: One of the best ways to learn is to have your own images reviewed by a professional. We’ll have a dedicated block set aside for image reviews and you’ll have the chance to submit two of your photographs for review and comment by each of the instructors. (Images should be on a USB thumb drive, 1600 pixels on the long side.)
During the review, the X Photographers will provide personal feedback about your image and give you expert tips on how to improve or expand the creative or technical aspects of your imagery and shooting style.
REGISTRATION ….LODGING and SUMMIT LOCATION
The cost for this 3 ½ day event is $699.00
Lodging is not included in the price of the summit, Information on Lodging and Registration can be found HERE
Rather than duplicate what I published on our FUJI “X”Photography Workshops Site, HERE is the link where you can read about it. I continue to be amazed by the performance of the X-T2 by FUJIFILM. There are many new images on the other site.
I am really getting spoiled. I have had 3 really great groups in a row ( Palouse , Whidbey Island and now the Southern Oregon Coast) Their images were outstanding and they all bought into my philosophy of slowing down, simplifying and enjoying the experience… in other words, becoming artist instead of camera owners!
It will be great to be with my great friends from FUJIFILM later this week here in Seattle as well as my com padre, Bill Fortney who;s also coming out for the event. Please give THIS LINK a read and come join us on Friday afternoon if you are in the Seattle area.
Below are some images from the the X-T2 previously unpublished- notice the detail!-JG
CUBA 2013 !!!! Yes it’s going to happen. Details and itineraries will be published in about a week or so. Dates are Feb 8-15th 2013. Email me email@example.com for information.
MORE in 2013—I’ll be formally announcing Utah (Zion area) in October 2013. Guy Tal (www.guytal.com ) and I are working on a joint workshop in…………. CAPITAL REEF National Park sometime in April 2013—STAY TUNED!!!!
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!!!
WHICH ONE WORKS? …. #8 The Palouse Region of Eastern 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.
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, Most of the time it is very clear which one is better for your individual needs than others, sometimes it’s not.
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.
Your comments, as always are more than welcome.—JG
LOCATION: THE PALOUSE region of Eastern Washington
As a photographer I visit many locations while conducting workshops as well as on my own photo excursions. There are two locations that are diametrically opposed but in many ways are photographically similar. I visit Death Valley National Park at least twice each year. Death Valley offers challenges to even the seasoned photographer. Unlike many of the National Parks, there are few icons. One must be on his or hers “A” game or making successful images in Death Valley will be difficult to impossible. Photographers are there to depict the vastness and sometimes emptiness of the park. We go there to photograph the patterns and textures found within the rock formations. There is little green unless the winter rains produce some vegetation. In the Palouse region of Eastern Washington things could not be more different. If a country, Whitman County Washington, in the heart of the Palouse would be the third largest producer of Wheat in the world. What is more interesting is there is no real irrigation. The wheat that grows here is the result of the rain. What Death Valley and the Palouse have in common however is interesting. Both areas are extremely vast. From the vistas, overlooks and the many rural roads in the Palouse, we can see wheat fields almost to the horizon. In Death Valley, we can look down for miles at the dried playa, rock and sand features, all making up this expanse of dryness. We photographers go the Palouse, just as we go to Death Valley to photograph the patterns and textures, not in rock or salt playa, but in the wheat fields and farmland.
Usually the first two weeks of June allow photographers to capture images depicting the patterns and textures of the wheat fields. Again in August, at harvest time many photographers travel to small towns like Colfax, Oakesdale, Dusty and Steptoe to make images in the light produced by the dust created by the harvest machinery.
Like Death Valley, we must prepare, and slow down to study the scene before pressing the shutter. These two areas are so different in many ways, yet so alike in others.
HE STORY: On the last morning of my recent workshop in the Palouse, I decided, based on the light and weather conditions to revisit a barn I photographed a few days before the workshop started. This barn is on Highway 26 about 15 miles west of Colfax. For many years, I used this location to turn around to drive back east to the Colfax area. It’s a simple structure, not bright red like many of the barns in the Palouse. It’s located I a field that offers no other structures of any kind. By going there I wanted to send a message to my attendees of simplicity. If photographed correctly this location offers a simple but yet powerful subject. Upon arrival, I sensed from my attendees that they were not impressed with my location choice. The barn was not red; there was no foreground or apparent patterns. Why were we here? By the time we left all were happy and got the message. One attendee actually said this was his favorite location of the weekend. After we took our time and understood the subject everything became clear.
The title of this image is “Turnaround” based on my prior stops at this location. The resulting images were made within a few minutes of each other. I was pleased with one much more than the other two.
TECH DATA: All images made using my Nikon D700, Gitzo 3541 tripod and Really Right Stuff BH55 Ball Head de images were taken using aNikon 80-200mm 2.8 lens, ISO 800, Shutter speed of 1/1000 sec at F11.. The ISO was high as was the shutter as the wind was blowing the wheat in the foreground. I wanted no movement showing.
PROCESSING: All images were processed in Adobe Lightroom camera RAW As always I used NIK SOFTWARE to complete my processing. I added some structure and fine tuning using Nik’s Viveza. With Color Efex Pro 4 I added some detail, brilliance and warmth, pro contrast, foliage enhancement and the Darken /Lighten Center filter. (I recommend NIK PRODUCTS without hesitation. You can receive a 15% discount by using my code JGRAHAM when ordering at www.niksoftware.com) .Nik’s output Sharpener was used to sharpen the final images. A final curve adjustment , level adjustment and Nik’s Define program (noise reduction).completed the processing.
IMAGE #1 is more of a study of the barn. It shows the structure in its surroundings. It’s technically done well buy nothing I would put up on my wall. It is kind of a postcard I image. Without taking time to work the scene these type of images are ones often photographed. They do not convey the sense of place.
IMAGE # 2
Image two begins to convey what I was trying to depict in this scene. I used the foreground of the wheat in conjunction with the background to tell the story. The single barn in the field made this fairly minimalistic scene strong. The single cloud on the left also added some drama to the scene. I would have liked a bit more cloud showing and not running out of the scene.
IMAGE #3 After waiting for a few minutes to see if some more clouds appeared, I was rewarded with a scene that was what I was looking for. I reduced the amount of foreground from Image # 2 as I determined that the amount of foreground was overwhelming the image. I also made this wider ythan the previous image in order to further depict the vastness of the area.
FINAL DECISION. Image #1 is a postcard image. Image #2 has too much foreground, not enough open space to tell the story I was attempting. The final image (IMAGE #3) is exactly what I wanted to capture in this scene. After about ½ hour in one location the clouds along with the adjustments made #3 my image of choice. It really tells the story of the Palouse with a minimalist, yet powerful scene I tried to convey. Image #3, to me is much more powerful than the other two images.
During the process of making these images and explaining my thought to my workshop attendees, I indicated that there in the field, I know this would become a monochrome image. I processed the image using Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro . I really feel that the monochrome image is even stronger than the color rendition. When in the field I recommend you have , in your mind , the final result you are seeking. How we will process images is important to think about at the time the image is made.
What do you think?
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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.
Tech Data 012:05:18 16:34:00 Nikon D700 80-200mm F 2.8 @ 100mm
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!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!!!
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.
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 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.
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:
Some of you may have taken a workshop or two with the Great American Workshop Weekend folks. If you did, I bet you had a great time, learned lots and made many friends. Thats how they did thinks from the early days with Bill Fortney and the gang, right up until today, when , sadly, the GAPW will end it’s time in the industry. The GAPW was one of the 1st photographic workshop outfitters to come on the scene when photography workshops were not as available, led by so many folks as they are today. The GAPW kind of set the standard for photography workshops for many years. John Shaw, Galen Rowell, Frans Lanting, David Meunch, Jack Dykinga, Art Wolfe and other photographic luminaries have all been what were called”star speakers” in the early days of the organization. I was lucky enough to attend a few, then help out as an assistant on others. I have been proud to have been on their faculty of instructors for the past few years. Frankly, I “cut my teeth” in this business with the GAPW and am sad to see it go. However, who knows what the future will bring. Hope is eternal.
Having said that, leave it to the GAPW folks to go out with a bang!… and a BANG it will be. We’ll be doing one more worksop in one of our favorite locations Arches & Canyonlands NP in Utah next month.Rather than go into detail myself, please read the information found below. I would encourage you, if at all possible to try and make this event, even though it may be kind of last minute. To my knowledge( as least for me) there has never been the group of quality instructors that will assemble in one workshop, in Moab, Ut. If you have never been to Moab, this should be the time to get there. Trust me, there’s NO PLACE LIKE MOAB, and this region of Utah…. enough from me….
Please read on! JG
BELOW ….is the email that went out from the GAPW offices recently.
After nearly 20 years of sharing our love of photography with dear friends and our extended photographic family we have decided to close up shop and spend some time with our feet firmly planted at home. This is a sad time for us since we won’t be wandering through America’s glorious back yard with you; however, we’re excited about what the future will bring. To celebrate our longevity we’d love for you share in our retirement party; so come join your favorite instructors at our favorite venue, Arches National Park. Tom Bol, Jack Graham, Neil and Susan Silverman, and George Theodore will lead this special event. Not only are the instructors and venue special, but we are also offering a photo contest where we’ll hand out cash prizes for the 10 best photos of the weekend, with first prize winning up to $1000! Does this sound exciting? How about photo opportunities not only during sunrise and sunset, but also star trails, light painting and more? I know everyone will want to attend this extraordinary workshop, but we have to limit it to 40. Call now to reserve your spot!
The workshop will take place in Moab, UT. The Moab Valley Inn is holding a block of rooms ready for you to call and make your reservations. Their phone number is 435-259-4419. Grand Junction, CO is the closest airport to Moab, just 90 miles away. Salt Lake City is the closest major airport to Moab around 200 miles away. I have left the course itinerary below for you to review this magnificent workshop! Call now to reserve your spot because it is filling fast!
WednesdayNight: Meet at 7pm at the conference room for an evening get together. Tonight the instructors will show some of their images and talk about logistics for the workshop. We will split the group up into smaller groups to maximize the shooting time for individuals at each location.
Thursday: We will start off with a sunrise shoot at one of the classic locations in Arches or Canyonlands Park. Groups will go to different areas with different instructors each morning. After a late breakfast and short break, we will meet for classes at 1pm in the conference room. Classes will include qualities of light, exposure and composition. In the evening we will shoot sunset at Delicate Arch.
Friday: Start with a morning shoot at a new location and new instructor. Another late breakfast, then time to download images. Meet again in the conference room at 1 pm for classes on the latest HDR techniques and image optimization. We’ll show you the basics to get the most out of your desert images, and also look at advanced techniques to really make your images stand out. Also we will do image critiques during this session. In the evening off for another sunset shoot.
Saturday: Another sunrise shoot, late breakfast and short break. Meet again at 1pm for classes on TTL flash for the nature photographer, digital workflow and light painting techniques. We will also do critiques of participant images. Evening sunrise shoot, then dinner. After dinner we will head out to do light painting and star images in the desert.
Sunday: Today is the big day! After a late night of light painting and star images, this morning we will meet after breakfast to judge the images for the contest. Cash awards will be given for first through tenth place prize winners. Make sure you don’t miss this session. Class will be over by 11AM this morning.
Folks,……. First just a bit of housekeeping. My website has been down for a few days and I hope its back up later today (Changing servers!)…..Please contact me via email with questions etc. email@example.com .
Below is information on my 2011 workshop schedule, how to register and some great discounts. Again contact me with questions
Finally I would like to bring some attention to 2 great photographers and 2 good guys. I always learn from other photographers. Both Michael Gordon and Guy Tal are at the top of my list for inspiration. I know you will feel the same . Take a minute and see their work and visit their web sites. You will soon see why I feel the way I do about their work. Additionally, they are truly great human beings. It is an honor to call them my friends.
This months special image is in fact very special to me. Next month I’ll be leading my 15th annual workshop to that those of us who love the area call “the East Side”, that being the Eastern Sierra’s of California. Even after numerous sunrises and sunsets at Mono Lake, I always have the same exhilaration upon arriving in the dark and usually cold conditions, just like the 1st time I visited.
This image was taken last year on a cold but beautiful morning. Note the fog lifting off the lake in the background.
To commemorate my 15th year on the “east side” I am offering a limited edition print, as shown above, signed, double-matted and mounted using museum quality materials, in a 16″ x 24″ white mat for the price of $150.00, including shipping within the 48 US states.
Normal pricing on this size would be $290.00. I will be printing only 50 prints of this image. Each print comes with a signed certificate of authenticity.
Registration FORMS: ( can be mailed or emailed back–deposit information included in reg form) REG MASTER 2011
New locations like Redwood National Park, NE Ohio (Cuyahoga NP and the area), Yellowstone, Teton and Yosemite National Parks, as well as 2 special workshops here in Oregon highlight the 2011 schedule. A very special overnight pack trip up to Hunt’s Mesa followed by a day in Mystery Valley ( within Monument Valley) will also be one to remember..
All workshop locations are those at I specialize in. I want tobe able to deliver the best workshop you’ve ever done and provide you the very best value and experience. If guides are required ( typically in Navajo country), I use t best available.
There are a few tentative workshops that are noted as of today. I am working to firm up these
WORKSHOP DISCOUNTS 2011 ………………………Here are a few ways to save.
1)FREQUENT FLYER DISCOUNT: If you are repeat attendee you are entitled to an ongoing 10% discount off future workshops
2) PRE REGISTER before Jan 1, 2011 and receive an additional 10% discount
3) ARE YOU A NANPA MEMBER? North American Nature photographers Association www.nanpa.org . If so, include your NANPA # and accept another 10% discount
4) BRING ANOTHER PHOTOGRAPHER. You’ll get discounts as applied and your friend ( must be a participating photographer) gets a 1/2 price discount on his or hers first workshop.
5) REFER a FRIEND . Refer a friend to a workshop ( you need not be there) and I’ll offer you either a $50.00 allowance off a future workshop or send you a check for $25.00 after your friend completed his or her workshops
6) BUY 4 get one FREE. Yes I have a few customers in the 3,4,5 workshop category… Simple… buy 4 get one free!
Restrictions: These offers DO NOT apply for workshops under $250.00 or for workshops outside the 48 stats of America. Offers DO NOT apply to workshops that are under the auspices of the Great American Photography Workshop or any other workshop company. Only the pre registration discount will apply to the tentative workshop in August with Mike Moats and Bill Fortney.
Please email me firstname.lastname@example.org or call me 503-625-1430 directly for registration. I accept all major credit cards.
I’ve known Michael for a few years now. We used to kid around with each other regarding always running into each other in some pretty remote areas. It really got to be pretty strange that we always seemed to be in the same places as often as we were. We have spent a lot of time discussing photography from the business standpoint to the creative stand point. Last fall Michel and a few other photographers camped for a few nights up on Tioga pass, near Yosemite and the Eastern Sierra. It was a blast sitting around the fire and exchanging stories and information. We’re going to try to do it agin in a few weeks.
Michael photographs with a 4”x5” view camera and film and is a great lover and protector of nature and the wilderness. Michael’s focus in his work, is that of interpreting the intimate and overlooked landscapes, in black & white mostly in California.When you visit his website www.michael-gordon.com and see his images, you will notice the use of textures and forms both in the unusual and ephemeral. Through his work he as succeeded in portraying land and the gifts it’s given back to him.
Despite the plethora of moving rock tracks located on Death Valley NP’s Racetrack Playa, I had never quite seen any this graceful and downright artistic in their form. On this particular day, a couple of friends and I enjoyed the Racetrack to ourselves, reveling in the cosmic nature of the place and the remoteness and grandeur of the setting. On the walk back to the car, I spotted this arrangement, and I always know I’ve stumbled onto a good image when the endorphin-like excitement obscures my ability to think about little else besides making the photograph. Visions of this photograph excited and haunted me until the following day when I set up on it to expose a sheet of film. Although it doesn’t happen often, I conceived the title before I made the exposure.
As a southern California native who has seen and lived near Joshua trees his whole life, far too many years passed before I realized just how unique and photogenic they are. A few years ago I began photographing them in earnest, and my efforts resulted in a new series of images (seen on my website): The Joshua Tree
Many photographers limit their potential by blindly following “the rules” regarding what constitutes “good light” and good subjects. I made this particular photograph during mid-morning hazy overcast light. It was many hours after sunrise, and in theory, this photograph is essentially subject-less and composed only of light (presumably “bad light” given the time of day I made the photograph). This image does not convey well at web resolutions, but most who view it in print form are stopped cold by it. This photograph challenges the viewer to figure out what they are looking at (Western Grebe’s floating on a calm Salton Sea) and challenges the photographer to see beyond their normal limits of seeing
I first came across Guy’s work on The Naturephotogrphers Network ( www.naturephotogrphers.net) probably about 10 years ago now. I was quickly attracted to his style and his creativity. We exchanges a print and to this day, it on the wall here in my office,right in front of me for inspiration. Like Michael, Guy is widely published and has numerous credits to his name in nature photography.
Not only a photographer, Guy is also a writer, and naturalist living and working in the Colorado Plateau, in Torrey, Utah. Utah is one of the most scenic and diverse desert regions in he world. This magical and endangered landscape is not only Guy’s home, but also his sanctuary and main source of inspiration.
To quote Guy’s bio on his website….
” I am often asked about the visual qualities of my work and how they relate to the elusive concept of “reality”. I strongly believe that photography is the most restrictive of the visual arts but at the same time also has the potential to make the most impact with the viewer for one simple reason: photographs have a binding connection with real events, real elements, real light, and real moments in time.”
“Any obvious departure from these realities will cause an image to be dismissed outright regardless of any other aesthetic qualities it may possess. The photographic artist’s tools are primarily well-crafted composition and careful adjustments of the captured image within very narrow margins.”
Recently Guy has opens up a gallery in Torrey Utah. I hope to get over there in 2011. As well guy has published his third E-Book, I finished reading it last night and highly recommend it. YOu can order it via download on Guy’s website www.scenicwild.com
Finally, it’s not a coincidence, that both Michael and Guy are great friends as well….. JG