Category Archives: Macro Photography

The Return of MACRO and MORE !

Usually when sequels to movies come out they are rarely good ones. There are some exceptions like the Godfather 2 and others.

moats-mugWell hold on to your hats! Macro and More is BACK!!! (Though for now only one day–read on)

First, let me say that I don’t like the word Macro for a few reasons. Macro photography normally means 1:1 shooting with a macro lens. I rather the term “CLOSE UP” Photography be used. I make a lot of decent images with other lenses, rather than just macro lenses …. just my $0.02. Continue reading The Return of MACRO and MORE !

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Which one Works # 8 The Palouse Region of Eastern Washington… NEWS… & more

JACK GRAHAM PHOTOGRAPHY  www.jackgrahamphoto.com

LEARN to SEE                              LEARN to THINK                    LEARN to CREATE

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Playa Sunset, Death Valley NP

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

 

NEWS and NOTEWORTHY

It’s hard to believe we are now a few short weeks from  leaving for Iceland. I have one seat open should you want to come along. I’ll be updating this blog from Iceland while I am there.

http://jackgrahamphoto.com/ultimate-iceland-july-2012

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 jack@jackgrahamphoto.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!!!!

And dont forget ICELAND     http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/ultimate-iceland-2013-limit-10-attendees

and GREENLAND    http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/ultimate-greenland-new-2013      in  JULY 2013

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.

Napa Sunrise

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

2012 Workshop Info:

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

GRAND TETON NP  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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 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

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LOCATION:  THE PALOUSE region of Eastern Washington

 

Crop Dusting in the Palouse

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

 

THE EDIT:   

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 # 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

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?

 

The right to download and store or output any content on the  websites:  www.jackgrahamphoto.com and  www.jackgrahamsblog  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@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

Which One Works #5 Death Valley National Park , NIK SOFTWARE WEBINAR, ULTIMATE ICELAND 2012

         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    — WORKSHOPS FILLING FAST —!!

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 ready now—interview with Laurie Rubin, NIK SOFTWARE

2012 Workshop Locations incliude the desert southwest, Olympic National Park, Columbia River Gorge, Fall Color in Oregon’s Wine Country & Area, Northern California

http://www.pacificnorthwestartschool.org/all/photography-workshops/graham-jack-fall-in-northern-ca-sep-20-23-2012-1  and  Whidbey Island, Wa  http://www.pacificnorthwestartschool.org/all/photography-workshops/graham-jack-photography-on-whidbey-may-9-12-2012-1   with the Pacific Northwest Art School…. Tetons & Yellowstone, Wyoming Big Horn Sheep in December….   please check out the details here:   http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/2012-workshop-schedule

My fall workshop with Guy Tal  www.guytal.com  in the Eastern Sierra is almost full there are a few spaces left. This workshop is almost at capacity. http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/17th-annual-eastern-sierra-photography-workshop-mono-lake-alabama-hills-bristlecone-pine-bodie-more  Register NOW! ( Check out Guy’s E=Books as well !!)____________________________________________________________________________

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

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

 

 Noteworthy                                                                                       Use code  JGRAHAM when ordering NIK SOFTWARE on line and receive a 15% discount!!!!

Left to Right: Jack, Laurie Rubin, Dan Hughes, of NIK SOFTWARE in their offices in San Diego
Left to Right: Jack, Laurie Rubin, Dan Hughes, of NIK SOFTWARE in their offices in San Diego

Recently I recorded a webinar at the NIK SOFTWARE Headquarters in San Diego. I would like to thank the folks at NIK Software, especially Laurie Rubin and Dan Hughes for making this possible. You can view the entire webinar here: http://www.niksoftware.com/learnmore/usa/index.php/webinars/archives/#/keeping-it-simple-with-nik-software-with-jack-graham/0/0/0/0/0

I just returned from my spring workshop in Death Valley. We had great weather right up until the last few hours when a bad dust storm blew through.  We had good sunsets and sunrises. We had an exceptional group of attendees as well. I’ll be back in Death Valley in early November and have a few spaces left.

Driving into the sandstorm on the way out of Death Valley last week

   Speaking of spaces, I have only one space left for Ultimate Iceland in July 2012. If you are thinking about this trip, please consider coming along. You will be in for an exceptional experience, feathering 10 full days ( I don’t count travel days like some other workshops do!) of photography. You can view the details here: http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/ultimate-iceland-july-2012

Getting set for the webinar at Nik Software

______________________________________________________________________

I received a nice email from a workshop attendee recently. She really summed up what I not only preach on workshops, that being to slow down, Look more and shoot less,  and to try and make some different images than what has already been done. Please give it a quick read!

From: Anne S [mailto:atXXXXXXX2006@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 07, 2012 5:42 AM
To: Jack Graham
Subject: Recent Workshop

Jack,

I finally got a chance to process the photos.  I did not take a whole lot of pictures but each of them reminds me a lot of your instructions and hints.

As you know, I am not out there to just take beautiful pictures though I have some very nice ones with your help to get things tighter.  For me, most importantly, I left the workshop with a good amount of knowledge and technique to help me take better pictures in the futures.  I really appreciated you coming out for this personal workshop.  I certainly have enjoyed it a lot and best of all, I have learned some good technique in photography.

If I get a chance to be in the west again in the near future, I will certainly contact you.  Likewise, if you are in the east coast, please do not hesitate to drop me an email.  I hope we could do another workshop again in a different setting.

Thanks—Anne

____________________________________

My podcast partner Bob Kulon has a new e-book out titled “Getting There”– Bob goes through the trials and tribulations of going pro as a nature photographer–a must read! !!!     http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/bkulon

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

FEATURED ARTICLE
© Jack Graham

WHICH ONE WORKS?  # 5– DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK,   CALIFORNIA 2012

Which One Works is a feather 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 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.

Your comments, as always are more than welcome.

______________________________________________________________________

Badwater, DVNP © Jack Graham

LOCATION:  Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley NP, California USA

Lat: 36°36’44.16″N

Long: 117°07’2.93″W

 Death Valley is a vast baron land, about the size of Connecticut (3.3 million acres) in the southeastern part of California. Due to the many mountain ranges on all sides, rainfall is scarce. I am sure that most of you know that DVNP receives about 2” of rain per year and would evaporate about 150”+. Badwater is over 200 feet below seal level and is usually the hottest place I the United States and even throughout the world. From a photo graphical standpoint, DVNP is a challenging place, even for a seasoned pro photographer. Heat is a huge problem in the late spring, & summer. When arriving at a location the conditions can be vastly different from your hotel or campsite. When photographing in DVNP, its always important to consider textures and patterns. Slowing down and learning to see are both very important factors and go a long way when attempting to create quality images in Death Valley. The bottom line is that DVNP is a great place to learn to be creative. If you are in too much of a hurry, your images will fail.

Image # 1   Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, DVNP  ©Jack Graham
Image # 1 Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, DVNP ©Jack Graham

 THE STORY:

Our group ventured out the 1st morning and the 4th morning of our workshop at sunrise to capture images at the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. It was soon apparent to my workshop attendees that patterns and subject matter had to be considered carefully. At sunrise, the sand becomes a rich orange. Soon after the sun is above the horizon, the shadows of the back of the dunes contrast to the first lit sides, making metering a bit tricky. I often find that automatic metering is ineffective most of the time when shooting these dunes.

I always suggest, especially in this location, that you really work the subject. Take multiple images from different locations. If you are using a zoom lens, just don’t zoom in and out to create tighter shots. Walk around and get the most out of whatever focal length up you are using. The compression of the background is different, especially with mid to long telephoto lenses, when you walk into place and make an image vs. when you stand in one place and zoom in. It’s always good to get on the dunes the morning after a windy night. Tourists (and photographers as well) trample the dunes and leave footprints which can be really tough to clone away. These images were made on the 4th morning after a windless night. I cloned out as many footprints as possible, but many still remain. Wind is the only force that can eliminate these unwanted artifacts which are seen in so many images.

Image # 2  Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, DVNP  ©Jack Graham
Image # 2 Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, DVNP ©Jack Graham

TECH DATA:  On day 4 I decided to put my new Nikon 28-300mm lens to the test (more on this in another blog article). I shot a few images at F22, which I normally do not use very often and at 300mm and 28mm respectively. I was rather impressed with the overall quality. I obtained this lens to use as a travel lens, when weight is a consideration. Does is perform like my 17-35mm 2.8 or 80-200mm 2.8? Not quite but its really better than I expected.

IMAGE 1   Date/Time: 2012:03:05 07:32:35  ( sunrise was about 6:15 or so)

NIKON D700  Nikon   Lens-Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR   set at 300m

Shutter speed: 1.6 sec at  F22  Exposure –Manual  Metering-Spot  at 300mm

–         1/3 compensation  no filters

______________

IMAGE # 2       (11 minutes later)   This images was slightly cropped on the bottom.

Date/Time: 2012:03:05 07:43:32  ( sunrise was about 6:15 or so)

NIKON D700 , Lens– Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR    set at 105mm

Image # 2   Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, DVNP  ©Jack Graham
Image # 2 Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, DVNP ©Jack Graham

Shutter speed: 1/20th sec at F16 Exposure –Manual Metering-Spot

–         1/3 compensation no filters

_____________________

PROCESSING:  Lightroom camera raw adjustments then NIK SOFTWARE—Define, Viveza 2.0, Color Efex Pro4 (Pro Contrast, Darken Lighten Center) Output Sharpener 2.0

The final monochrome image was processed using Nik Software Silver Efex Pro2

Image # 1   Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, DVNP  ©Jack Graham
Image # 1 Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, DVNP ©Jack Graham

THE EDIT:    I really have a tough time discerning which one works. They both work in different ways. There are certainly more lines in image # 2, than the wider view, as well as the crop, depicts what the dunes represent. Both images tell a story. Both images depict the sand dunes well, but in a very different way. The use of the creosote bush to me is better in image #1.

When critiquing images, I use what I refer to as my 5 second rule. If I can not look at an image and in 5 seconds, want to study it more, or know that something is working well, I usually move on. Again both images quality in this respect as well.

I will pick image #1 over image # 2. My eye tends to keep moving around in image #2 looking for a more defined subject than image # 1. I also think that though I made a slight crop in image #2, there is still a bit too much foreground. Perhaps a panorama of this area would have been better suited for my needs. I really like how the bush in image #2 anchors the image. The curve and shape of the large dune in image #1 is a well-defined subject.

After converting image # 1 into monochrome (below), I even like it better. The shadows work much better in monochrome than in color

What do you think?

JG

Image # 1   Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, DVNP  ©Jack Graham
Image # 1 Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, DVNP ©Jack Graham

 

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

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

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!

 

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Thoughts on Choosing the Right Camera for your Needs

Jack Graham Photography Workshops 2011 Schedule  http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/2011-workshop-schedule

Jack Graham Photography  Workshops 2012 Schedule http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/2012-workshop-schedule

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT ON THIS OCTOBER’S “FALL IN NE OHIO / AMISH COUNTRY” WORKSHOP:http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/fall-color-ne-ohio-well-very-special-day-amish-oct-2011

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Thoughts on Choosing the Right Camera for Your Needs                                                                                                     © Jack Graham & Jack Graham Photography LLC

I am very often asked which camera one should own in order to take quality images. The easy answer is that most DSLR’S in today’s market are capable of making good images.

Quite often non photographers will see me in the field with all my gear and ask me” Does your camera take good pictures”. Funny right? Well the short answer is certainly yes, however what I usually tell them is that by owing a good camera and lens, I have only the chance to make a good image. I still have to make it happen.

Consider this comment…”The lack of attention to detail fails to explain why a 1999 camera in the hands of a meticulous PHD who studies the instruction manual wont produce as many publishable images as a 1939 camera in the hands of a person with a photographic eye”… Galen Rowell.

                 

                                                                                                                                                                                               Shooting in the Alabama Hills    ©Michael Strubel

When reading this essay, also, consider this. Working pro’s use pro grade cameras for a reason. Believe me, Art Wolfe, John Shaw, Tom Mangelsen et al , would be more than happy to spend thousands of dollars less on cameras and lenses and be able to carry 1/10th the weight around if they could. But professional photographers can’t compromise. There are significant reasons for owing what we do. Having said that, in most cases the average photographer need not bust the bank account in order to make good publishable images in today’s marketplace. 

Owning a good or even a pro camera only gives you the “chance” to make a good photograph.

There are really 3 grades of cameras available today. Let’s go through these and talk about the differences.

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Consumer Grade Cameras – These cameras are a decent nice step up in quality from point and shoot cameras.   These cameras will make a decent 8×10” print. Most are fairly light weight and affordable for most folks.  These cameras often lack some features needed by more advanced folks and are not built with the integrity of a more advanced DSLR. These cameras are by far sold more than any other category. For the weekend warrior or casual shooter these cameras do a great job and are a good value. On my workshops, I often see folks who use these cameras be quite unfamiliar with the more complicated menus than more expensive cameras use.  They also will not take the elements as well as more advanced cameras. Rain, dampness affects these cameras more. They will not perform at 20 below zero as well. But then again, most folks who own these cameras do not work in these extreme conditions like pro do. The other side of the coin I that if you have thoughts of becoming a more advanced photographer, you may want to start off with an advanced amateur camera as you’ll have more features, better build and quality with these cameras than the entry level consumer grade.

Advanced Amateur – This category is growing quite rapidly with the major manufactures these days. For folks who are a bit more serious about their photography, but are not making a living at it, I would definitely seriously look into this category of camera. For the most part this grade of camera is heavier and much more rugged than the consumer cameras. Though not perfect, they do take the elements better. They will also last longer.

These cameras have easier menus to deal with as well as many pro functions (Depth of field button etc) than consumer grade cameras. The functionality is there as well, bordering on pro grade cameras.

The higher end of this category of cameras is perfectly capable of producing professional quality images and prints over 11 x 14 and over. Just like the Pro category of cameras, you’ll need to be proficient in operating these cameras to turn out quality images. Consumer cameras are usually easier to operate, but will not produce the quality of image that an advanced amateur or pro camera will. I know many pros, me included that use these cameras as backups to the pro line cameras we use every day.

“A lot of people think that when you have grand scenery, such as you have in Yosemite, that photography must be easy” ….Galen Rowel

Lantermans Mill, Youngstown, Ohio

 

 This image was taken using a Nikon D200, Consumer grade camera!

 

Pro Cameras – OK by now you are surly wondering why I do and other pros need a pro quality camera. Here are a few reasons:

1)     I work in extreme conditions, sometimes below -20 degrees (winter inWyoming) and over 110 degrees (Death Valley). I need a camera that will perform in these conditions.

2)     I work in dust storms (last spring in Monument Valley for example). My Nikon D700 performed marvelously, no down time. 

3)     I work in rainforests (Olympic Peninsula and the Columbia River Gorge in winter and theOregon Coast to name a few.

  ©Ray Larose

 I need a camera that is sealed (yes there is a difference between sealed cameras (lenses too) and non sealed cameras). Check out this article  http://raylarose.rm-r.me/?tag=water-proof

Shooting in a sand storm, Monument Valley, UT

 4)     I am not a sport shooter, but next time you see a cameraman get run over by a 250+lb football player consider that the camera will still work! When pros go out to shoot they have to come back with the image every time with no excuses. 

5)      Pro cameras are simply built stronger and can resist more “torture”. The inside mechanics of these cameras are built to a much higher standard than other grades.

6)      Cameras that under perform in less than normal conditions will not perform and inhibit pro photographers from making a living.

7)     Pro camera bodies make menus very simple, the functionality of the buttons, such as DOF, compensation etc are usually much more user friendly and easier to access.

It was well below zero when I made this image in Wyoming...yes, that's freezing fog!

 

A BRIEF LENS DISCUSSION

Let’s briefly talk about lenses. All manufactures have some lenses that are better than others. Just like camera bodies, lenses must stand up to the elements and shooting conditions as well as contain good glass. Some shooters need faster lenses than others. Few, consumer grade camera owners would be willing to carry around large, fast “Pro” lenses on a vacation.  Most dedicated amateurs and us pro’s are usually more than willing to carry around pro (heavier) lenses all the time to get the best quality lenses.

I recommend that if you are on a budget, as most of us are these days; put your hard earned dollars into good quality lenses. I am amazed to see how many folks I run into have pro cameras and average glass. Would you put average tires on a Lamborghini?

Professional gear is worth every print to pro photographers. The build and ease of functionality, in other words, the complexity of pro cameras are worth every dime.  

All of this ruggedness and sophistication comes at a price.  Professional equipment is expensive, and worth every penny to the folks who make their living using it. Having said that, pro cameras are not cheap.

OK … so how do I decide which camera to buy?

Simple… what kind of images do you want tot take. I also have a Canon G10 (Canon is now up to a G11 and will certainly have a G12 soon). My G10 shoots RAW and when using a tripod produces professional sellable images.

If the answer is family, vacations snapshots, children etc I would certainly look to own a consumer camera.  If you think you’ll move to the next level and become a bit of a more serious photographer either as a hobby or making a few bucks along the way, then an advanced amateur camera is the way to go. If you are close to becoming a pro photographer, or already are, and get into places as I mentioned earlier in the conditions I noted, then you need to “bite the bullet” and purchase a pro camera. You may want to purchase a pro camera at the start and save some money in the long run.

You also need to ask yourself the type of photography you enjoy. Differenty types of photography require different equiptment. Bird photographers need longer lenses and perhaps different cameras than landscape shooters. Buying a DSLR is really buying into a system. That system includes cameras, lenses, flash and accessories. For example, some manufactures are better at flash than other; some have better macro lenses than others etc.

This is not an article on lenses, though I touched on lenses briefly. However let’s talk about lenses. All major manufactures have optics in every price category Believe me, there is a difference between a Nikon 70-200 F4 ($ 2000+) and a 70-210 F4 (under 400.00). Do your homework. If you are a Nikon shooter like me this is a great website for honest information www.bythom.com or http://www.naturfotograf.com/lens_surv.html

Even a few after market manufactures make a few good lenses. Tamaron, Sigma are ones I might look into if I were a consumer camera owner on a budget, but be careful, just like the name brands, not all these lenses are created equal!

You are going to hear a lot of opinions from everyone about brands, camera bodies, lenses etc. The bottom line is that today’s cameras, weather consumer or pro way out perform those of just a few years ago. However, they all kind of work differently. I encourage you to go into the camera store, touch and feel them. They all work a bit different. Consider the lens quality and perhaps take the flash systems in consideration when making your decisions. Decide what features and quality is important to you.                  

BE CAREFUL ON THE INTERNET: There a lot of great information out there and a lot of really bad information as well. Use reliable sources.

Where to BUY?—Buy from a reliable source. Do not deal with folks that:

1)     You can’t talk to

2)     Folks that will only help you if you are willing to spend money

Choose a dealer you can trust…..  What happens after the sales is usually more important than before!

                                                                                                                

I choose HUNT’S PHOTO & VIDEO in Massachusetts. I can usually get a hold of Gary Farber (part owner) or his right hand man John Duggan. Prices are equal to or better than NYC with great discounts and above all customer interaction and satisfaction. Call these folks direct and actually talk to a human who will walk you through anything you need!

GARY: (800) 221-1830 x 2332 (tell him I said HI!)

JOHN: (781) 462-2314 John’s direct line 

Rainbow over Hunt's Mesa, Monument Valley, UT