Category Archives: Old Growth Rainforest

Scouting before a Photography Workshop

© Jack Graham

I am a photography workshop leader. As one, I am constantly looking for new locations to bring my attendees to. I don’t conduct workshops in areas where I am not familiar, but even in familiar locations, I am always looking for new locations for my attendees. (Images below were taken yesterday). We are here scouting in Olympic National Park prior to the start of our photo workshop later this week.

Along with my good friend and able assistant Grant Longenbaugh, we set out for a location that I’ve never been to. Grant discovered this area on his map and after review, we decided to go exploring. We both agreed there was lots of potential. It ended up to be even better than we expected.  Though we had some pesky rain all afternoon (perfect conditions for photographing the rain forest) we were able to find to quite a few locations in this area that will is provide some great locations for my workshop group, starting on Thursday morning here in ONP.

Yes, it was only Monday but scouting locations prior to the beginning of a photography workshop for my attendees is absolutely necessary. , These folks, who are arriving tomorrow night are traveling long distances, taking time out of their busy lives and are spending hard earned money to come here with me.  This is the least I can do is make their time worth it. Again, I love taking folks to new exciting locations. This workshop here in Olympic National Park this week will be no different!

I am heading back there this morning after my office work is completed. I bet we find even more locations to bring folks to. I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but not all leaders do this. As well,  I don’t share these and other locations  with others leaders. This is another reason why if folks come along on a photography workshop with me, we’ll get you into these kind of areas.

Well,  now to get my email and other workshop office work completed so I can get dressed for rain, prepare my gear and get back into the rain forest…another great day of scouting.—JG.







Back from the Oregon Coast/ FUJIFILM EVENT in SEATTLE THIS WEEK….

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.

_DSF0373I 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









Which one Works #6 -Sonoran Desert, make sure you are in the right spot!/ News, Workshop Update

                                    JACK GRAHAM PHOTOGRAPHY

LEARN to SEE                              LEARN to THINK                           LEARN to CREATE


Workshop schedule:

Workshop Registration Form: REGISTRATION FORM 2012v9

Workshop Overview

Individual ONE on ONE workshops


Workshop Referrals:


JACK GRAHAM PHOTOGRAPHY   e books –available for purchase and immediate download

Jack on 500PX     Jacks Photos on PHOTOSHELTER

______________  _________________________________________________________________________________


Last month I recorded a webinar for NIK SOFTWARE, entitled, “Keeping it Simple” ( that you can access via the Nik Software Webinar Library by clicking here:

San Xavier del Bac, Tucson AZ

I am presently in Arizona. The first of 3 workshops ended last weekend. Though this as far from a banner wildflower season, we spent 3 ½ days in and around Phoenix and Tucson learning and photographing the landscape and some of the nuance of the southwest. For example we spent an afternoon at the Mission San Xavier del  Bac in Tucson as well as the old town Tucson area, photographing the buildings and intimate aspects of this beautiful area.

Old Towne, Tucson

2012 Workshop Info:

Arizona Workshops later this month — FILLED

WHIDBEY ISLAND, Washington, MAY 2012 ( few seats left, not many!

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK..MAY 2012 – 1 seat left

COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE …JUNE 2012 – 2 seats left

THE PALOUSE, JUNE 2012, 1 Seat left


OREGON COAST 5 DAYS!—August 2012—2 seats open





THINK TANK CAMERA BAGS: Along with my large bags and my Streetwalker Pro that I use very often, I really love my new RETROSPECTIVE 10“Over the Shoulder” Camera Bag

Here are the Top Features of this bag (abou t$ 150.00-160.00)

Minimalist outer appearance conceals expensive photo equipment …Carries a pro size DSLR with standard zoom lens attached…..Accommodates 2-4 lenses in main compartment with DSLR body in front pocket…Front pocket fits a pro size DSLR (body only) …Organizer pocket built into main compartment for pens, note pad, batteries, etc….Choice of two different colors, black or pinestone, to suit the situation ( I love the Pinestone)….Hook and Loop “Sound Silencers” on the front flap eliminate noise while opening the bag….Soft, adjustable shoulder strap with cushioned non-slip pad….Clear business card holder under front flap….Removable short carrying handle for convenience…Seam-sealed rain cover included for protection against the elements

THINK TANK uses the highest quality zippers available…A lot of thought went into these bags, just like all Think Tank products.—Thanks Think Tank….HIGHLY RECOMMENDED—JG

Order here and enter CODE —  AP371  and receive a free gift!



WHICH ONE WORKS?          #6, the Sonoran Desert…

                                                      .                       . Make Sure you are in the Right Location

©Jack Graham, all rights reserved

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 participants 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: Bartlett Lake area, North and East of the Phoenix, Arizona metro area.

 Note the GPS  DATA BELOW for each image


Sunrise near Bartlett Lake AZ


 I arrived into the Phoenix area about a week and a half ago, prior to my wildflower/landscape workshop in and around Phoenix and Tucson.  I went out scouting areas I wanted to take my workshop participants the morning after I arrived. A rather vigorous storm was predicted for later this day, That information, combined with wanting to be in this location for the sweet light, right after sunrise made it imperative that I get up and out early.

I caught a rather nice sunrise, then ventured down the road a bit, where I came onto a nice area that depicted the beautiful Sonoran Desert. The following morning I was standing in about a foot of Snow up in Sedona, just about an hour and one half north!

TECH DATA:  Both images taken with a Nikon D700 and Nikon 28-70mm 2.8 ED IF Lens. I used a Singh Ray 2 stop, soft , graduated filter on each omage (


IMAGE 1          2012:03:17 06:55:26                             2.8 @ at 70mm

1/3 sec, f/20     Mode: Av    Metering: Multi-segment

ISO: 200        AF mode: MANUAL

White balance: AUTO

Lat: 33°51’16.512″N  Long: 111°37’55.266″W   Altitude: 666m


IMAGE 2   2012:03:17     06:56:31                28-70mm @ 60mm

1/3 sec, f/20  Mode: Av     Metering: Multi-segment

ISO: 200 AF mode: MANUAL

Lat: 33°51’16.758″N    Long: 111°37’54.858″W   Altitude: 669m

Processing: Basic Lightroom processing. Most of the processing completed using NIK Software

in this order  Define 2.0 ( remove any noise), Viveza 2.0, Color Efex Pro4 and Output Sharpener.

( Save 15% on NIK Software when ordering using this code   JGRAHAM )

IMAGE: Finding a good looking saguaro around this area is getting harder and harder. Perhaps the increasing pollution in the Valley of the Sun is having its effect.

These magnificent plants can take up to 70 years to develop a side arm. A saguaro without arms is called a spear. The growth rate of Saguaros here in the Phoenix area of Arizona is about half as fast as those in and around Tucson, Arizona. They can live up to150 years. The largest known saguaro is the Champion Saguaro. It grows close to here in the Phoenix area and is over 43 feet tall with a girth of 3.1 meters (10 ft.). These cacti can grow anywhere from 15 to 50 feet.

Saguaros bloom at night and peak usually in late May & June. The major pollinators are bats, Doves and bees appear to be the primary daytime pollinators. The fruits are highly edible and prized by local people.

I came upon this area and looked for a pleasing composition to tell the store of the beautiful Sonoran Desert The light was really perfect for about 10 or 15 minutes when the angle was still rather low. However as quick as the good light come in, it got very harsh just as quick.

TIP: Always walk around and look for the better spot to plant your tripod. These 2 images were made about 30 seconds apart and just a few feet from one another (see GPS DATA)


 THE EDIT:  WHICH ONE WORKS            I chose image # 2


What BOTH images have in their favor:

1)     Great “sweet” early morning light.

2)     The desert vegetation is nice in both images.

3)     The saguaros add to the image nicely in both images

4)     Better than average sky ( the clouds add to the imagery)

IMAGE 1 over IMAGE 2

1)     Better looking clouds

2)     Better view of the little peak on the top of the hill on the left

3)     There is bit more space between the top of the tall saguaro and the edge of the top of the image

IMAGE 2 over IMAGE 1

1)     The foreground is definitely more interesting and really anchors the image

2)     More colorful foreground (greens)

3)     Better placement of the saguaros

4)     More defined leading line on the left center drawing the eye up into the center of interest.

I cannot stress the importance of foregrounds when it comes to anchoring the image. The empty foreground with the sort of dead brush in image one does not compare to what is featured in image two. Always ask yourself, “What is the subject”? Here it’s the saguaros and the surrounding area. Think of those features like a soloist and the sky , foreground, leading line like the orchestra, making the soloist sound good.

By literally moving 3 meters to the right and turning a bit to the left I was able to include a wonderful foreground. Before planting your tripod, (do you use a tripod all the time? You should as much as possible.) walk around and see if the spot you committed yourself to is the right spot. It might not be. Image one would have been trashed, but by looking around I was able to make a good image as I did in Image 2

Make Sure you are in the Right Location

Sunrise on the Sonran Desert, Arizona

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

                            Jack Graham Photography

    Learn to See                        Learn to think                      Learn to create


   2012 Workshop Schedule

2012 Registration Form   REGISTRATION FORM 2012v9

Workshop Referrals:

One on One, Individual Workshop information




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










This months issue (Feb 2012)  contains an article entitled “Focus on the Unconventional” 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:

See you there!  (save 15% on NIK Software—order online 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 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.










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:

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.




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.



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

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

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

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

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

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

2)       Strong  foreground

3)       Clouds more dramatic

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

5)       Somewhat better light

Let me now what you think!


The right to download and store or output any content on the  website and  website is granted for preview purposes only and may not be reproduced in any form.All Photographs appearing on this site are the property of Jack Graham unless otherwise noted.
These photos are protected by U.S.Copyright laws and are not to be downloaded or reproduced in any way without the written permission of Jack Graham
By entering this site you accept these terms. If you need permission to use a photo on this site please call 503-625-1430 or email Jack @


PHOTO TIP: When you just don’t find a photograph / Photographers vs. Shooters




With the recent disaster in Japan in mind, please note that there may be shortages and certainly delays in photographic equiptment coming in the next few months. If you are thinking about purchasing something you might think about speeding up the process. Check out these great specials from my friends at Hunt’s 


©Jack Graham Photography 

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

Olympic National Park, Wa.

 How many time have you woke up in the dark, grabbed your coffee and headed out the door to capture that previsualized sunrise and guess what, it didn’t happen? All the great images we seen in books are most likely the result of being at the right place in the right time and knowing how to handle the conditions and subject matter. More often than not, the reality is that the potential doesn’t materialize. We often react with “There’s nothing here to photograph” and head elsewhere, or at worse, back home.

 If the light is harsh, yes, by all means head back home. However sometimes you need to hang in there, look around and really make sure. Often times, you may just not see the forest through the trees.

 Take a look at this design… can you tell what is says? (Answer at the end of this essay—but don’t look until you really study this design)


 The message here is that once you know what the design is, the message is extremely apparent and you’ll say, “Wow its right in front of me”!  Like the design, sometimes images are right in from of you, and you are just not seeing them.

 Perhaps you’ve been to a location and know that you made some good images there previously, and there must be a photograph, but on this day you are just not seeing one, even though the light and conditions are pretty good. So what do you do, before giving up and heading out elsewhere?  Here are a few suggestions:

Brandywine Falls, Ohio

1)    Are you using the right lens? If you have on a long lens, try a wide angle, or the other way around .Don’t be lazy, experiment with different focal lengths or use an old 35mm empty slide in front of your eye to se what the scene would look like with different focal lengths. If you have a wide angle lens fixed in your mind, you may be missing an opportunity to capture an image with a longer lens!

2)    Look vertically as well as horizontally. One angle can convey a totally different aspect than the other.

3)    Walk around with your camera unattached to your tripod. Don’t commit to a spot with your camera on you’re tripod until you’ve explored all possibilities.

4)    If you like photographing close up images, try that. Look for subjects that lend themselves to close up photography. There usually is something if you look hard enough.

5)    If weather is affecting the scene (and possibly you!) take advantage of it. Remember white skies are poison to a photograph. So eliminate the sky, focus in to a certain area around you and work it. If there are harsh shadows, use them, perhaps converting the image to a Black & white shot. Use what you have.

6)    Consider what you can do in post processing. It is important to make these decisions while in the field and not at home in front of your computer. Decide is you want to create an HDR image, or if you want to turn this image into an abstract.

7)    Get down low to the ground, perhaps with a wide angel lens. Or conversely, try getting up higher on a rock or tree limb. You might see a different perspective than you were seeing at your eye level.

8)    Relax, look around. Don’t stress about not “seeing” a photograph. Walk around, enjoy the day. You just might find that when you put less pressure on yourself, the image appears!

 If all of the above fails, then it probably is time to go somewhere else. However, from experience, it’s probably you and not the scene.



 All 5 images were made the same morning as I worked the scene in less than comfortable conditions.(Cold!!)


Brandywine Falls, Ohio



Ice design at Brandywine Falls, Ohio



Brandywine Falls, Ohio


Brandywine Falls, Ohio

Separating a Photographer from a Snap Shot Shooter

 Keeping what we just discussed in mind, let’s briefly address the differences between a photographer and a snap shot shooter. Many people, who think they are really “photographers” don’t realize that they are really snap shot shooters.  I see this lot in the field, and believe me there is a huge difference in results.

 Usually the snapshot shooter has little knowledge of the camera, composition and exposure, even though they think they do. They often walk around aimlessly, shooting frame after frame hoping for one that is acceptable (the blind squirrel theory), usually going home with nothing and hopefully wondering what they are doing wrong while they review their images. They usually become uninterested in an area quickly, give up and leave, as the next spot will always produce more opportunity!  The snapshot shooter, more often than not looks for the scenes in a specific location that have been shot before, by some of the great, well know photographers that they have seen in books. When they get to one of these iconic locations, often the subjects don’t look like they did in their books; but yet, they try to replicate these scenes down to the finest detail. They usually fail miserably.

 The photographer uses the conditions (weather, light etc) to make the image more dramatic. Perhaps the photographer does use an icon in their image, but the photographer usually looks for a different way to present it, perhaps in different light or a different angle.

Brandywine Falls, Ohio

 The photographer is relaxed, slows down and becomes involved with the nature of the area and does not press to capture many images. To the photographer one and maybe two quality images equal a good day.

 The photographer is usually the last one to leave, probably after dark and is anything but bored. He or she easily finds subjects, knows how to make them work within the photograph and goes home with a few quality images.

 Ask yourself… what are you?  Obviously we all want to be photographers. It takes more than owning a decent camera and good lenses!

Brandywine Falls, Ohio

   All 4 images were made the same morning, again at Brandywine Falls, Ohio ( in the rain!)

Brandywine Falls, Ohio

Oh yes… THE ANSWER TO THE 1ST QUESTION….. What is this design??

… It says “fly”. Look between the black objects. The white area spells “fly”. It just jumps out at you now? This is seeing the forest through the trees. Think about this next time you are out in good light, good conditions, and not seeing something to photograph

Brandywine Falls, Ohio


                                  Jack Graham & Dr. Bill Campbell present…

                                       “The Gorge, the Mountains and Oregon’s Wine Country”

                                                                Fall Photography Workshop   OCTOBER 20-23  2011                                   $ 795


Fall in the Gorge


 Jack Graham & Dr. Bill Campbell, co-leaders:                         please email me for more information

Dr. Bill Campbell and

Jack Graham


Jack Graham & Dr. Bill Campbell have been long time friends and have talked about joining forced o a workshop for some time now. Finally the opportunity has become reality.

Please consider joining us for an unforgettable experience in one of the most picturesque areas in the world, to experience the great Pacific Northwest in all its fall color and bounty.

Please refer to the above links for biographical info on Jack & Bill



Quaking aspens , Conboy NWR,WA


Fall Color in the areas of SW Washington and NE Oregon are as beautiful, while different and diverse from other parts of the country. During our workshop, we will be in the beautiful and colorful, world renowned wine country of the Willamette Valley and Dundee Hills SW of Portland, the National Scenic area of the Columbia River Gorge and the wilds of Mt Adams and Mt Hood.

We will also visit the Portland Japanese Garden, regarded as the #1 Japanese Garden outside Japan to enjoy and photograph the fall color of the maple trees. Secret, off the main road locations provide some of the most scenic and colorful photography anywhere.

 In the Columbia River Gorge, the oaks and maples provide a palate of color against the waterfalls, and backdrop of rock walls and pine forest. The crowds are gone and we can spend time undisturbed, capturing the change of seasons in one of the most breath taking areas in the world.  We will spend time photographing in the Hood River Valley between Mt Hood and the Town of Hood River. This area is one of the largest fruit producing areas in the world. The beautiful valley, in combination with breathtaking views of Mt Hood will result in some great images.

On day two we will venture about 30 minutes north of Hood River across the Columbia River in Washington to the small town of Trout River and Trout Lake. We will spend time in the Conboy National Wildlife refuge as well as the areas in and around Trout Lake where breathtaking views of Mt Adams and the quaking aspens are plentiful. The afternoon will be spent in the Gifford-Pinchot National Forest. This National forest is over 1.3 million acres and features both Mt Adams as well as Mt St. Helens. We will be photographing in the Mt Adams area during this workshop.

We will spend an entire day in the Willamette Valley and Dundee Hills photographing the fall color in the wine country. The patterns of the rows of brightly colored vineyards provide endless photographic opportunities.

On Sunday morning, we’ll venture to the Japanese Gardens in Portland to photograph the fall color.

Portland Japanese Gardens, October 2010

The Japanese Maples are in full glory. In a study conducted by the Journal of Japanese Gardening, it was ranked first out of 300 public Japanese gardens outside of Japan and considered to be one of the most authentic. This is notable because a traditional Japanese garden normally takes hundreds of years to evolve and mature, but the Portland Japanese Garden evolved much more quickly—a fusion of hurried western style and stately eastern expression. June is when the color in the gardens are at it best!  This in one area not to be missed.

Our workshop will end around 1PM. 


Fall in Oregon's Wine Country


 The majority of instruction and nature photography tips and techniques will take place right there in the field. There’s no need to take notes. After the workshop you’ll receive a complete 50+ page syllabus containing everything we do in the field and more.

 We take time periodically during the day to review our images in informal critique sessions. Special presentations concerning nature photography will also be made during these sessions.

 This workshop is sponsored by NIK SOFTWARE, Photograph America Newsletter, Think Tank Photo Bags, Lensbaby, Hunt’s Photo and Video and the Really Right Stuff. Discounts and some freebies are included in your workshop “pack” that you’ll receive upon arrival.

 Evenings will consist of informal sessions to discuss information on photographing in the area, critique sessions of your work shot during the workshop as well as general photography information.

As with all our workshops, this is primarily a field workshop. We do not sit in a classroom during the daytime. We are out shooting & learning about photography in the field, not behind a desk. However, it is critical as well as being very informative, to take time to review your work, and discuss important aspects of making quality photographs

 Please access the workshop faq’s . Most questions can be answered in this document. at Multnomah Falls


TRAVEL, MEALS AND LODGING is not included in the workshop fee.  


Fly into Portland (PDX). I recommend arriving on the 19th of October. I recommend the Fairfield Inn. (503-253-1400) The rates are reasonable and many of my past attendees have had good things to say about this hotel. We will meet the evening of the 19nth prior to our departure for a few minutes for a discussion on what to expect and outline our photographic objectives

 We will depart from the Fairfield Inn every morning about 6-6:30AM.

 You may be able to fly out Sunday afternoon if you need to, however if you want to extend your trip, please let me know and I can direct you in lots of ways!



 Again, I recommend the Fairfield Inn. (503-253-1400 )

 There are many other hotels in the Portland Airport area. Here is a good sight to find a hotel.

FOOD/DINING…..As in any city, there are many good restaurants. Portland boasts some of the best. The downtown area is about 15-20 minutes from the Airport.

However, we are here to photograph and often the best light is at breakfast and dinner. Please know this in advance.

If you are coming with a non photographer (no extra charge!), don’t worry, the area is still something to see, shooting or not. There is a wonderful market in downtown Portland on Saturday morning and overall great shopping where many local items can be purchased


Fall in the Hood River Valley


Weather can vary. Typically in mid to late October the weather is changing from the dry months to the rainy season. For the Gorge and Wine country days are usually in the mid-high 50’s and all other areas a bit cooler. It’s always wise to prepare for rain as well as good weather.

Specific information concerning weather, photo locations, itineries etc will begin to flow in Mid September.

Please access the workshop FAQ’S which can be found here

This workshop is sponsored by Nikon, Think Tank, Nik Software, Lansbury’s, The Really Right Stuff, Digital Foci, Hunt’s Photo & Video and Bob Hitch man’s Photograph America Newsletter..  

Previsualizing for Potential…2011 Workshops…Savings from NIK Software & Hunt’s Photo…NANPA Summit 2011… Getting it Right

Greetings from Oregon!

Things are pointing to years end and the beginning of another new year. And as usual I am trying to get caught up! First, I would like to wish you all a happy Thanksgiving. We all have a lot to be thankful for.

There’s quite a lot of information included in this entry and some important thoughts on some important  photographic topics. Thanks for taking some time to read through.  I’ve included some information on the new NIK HDR PRO program from NIK SOFTWARE as well as some pretty amazing discounts for those of you who don’t already own these programs. They have become standard tools for processing images by most of the working pro’s I know.  Also, there is a link to some specials that Gary at Hunt’s sent me today. Please check out the NANPA summit information as well.Your comments are always appreciated.



Article: Previsualize the Potential

Ansel Adams introduced the method of pre visualization into the photographer’s dictionary.  This was a term he used to stress the importance of seeing in the photographer’s mind, exactly what the final print would be, prior to attempting to make the photograph. Remember that word “make”.

There are three times we as photographers must go through this pre visualization process.

I) —Prior to reaching a potential location:

I can not remember ever being successful the 1st time I visited a location and tried and make quality images. It always amazes me to see other photographers, and also photography workshop leaders take their students to a location like Mono Lake, California for instance, walk them down to a shooting spot, many times in the dark and ask them to try and make a quality photograph of the sunrise over the tufa. This is almost an impossible task even at ones 2nd or 3rd visits to this area. It’s important to study the area, weather etc and be prepared to make your attempt at a decent image.

However, once you’ve been to a location a few times, it becomes easier to predict what the weather, seasonal environment etc can be. Understanding these criteria, you can now set in your mine where you may locate yourself, and what the best potential for a quality image might be. I do this sometimes even before going to bed, prior to a sunrise shoot. (I always hope for the best but often am often disappointed). Try previsualizing while driving to your location. Instead of blasting music or God forbid the news on the way to a location, try some music to set the mood or maybe no music at all, and think about what the potential of the day could be. Is the image your out to attempt better vertically or horizontally? (I always start with composition). If the light is good, and the subject is what you feel is strong, then think about what lens you may need. Might you need a graduated filter? Without this preconceived image, more often than not, the final image will fail due to lack of technique, however creativity, or the ability to see an image is always primary.

Previsualize the potential

II) Now that you are at the location, previsualize even more.

Upon arrival at your location you’ll find the conditions are either what you though they were, no where near what they could have been, or more often somewhere in the middle. It’s time to previsualize again.

While looking at the scene, think of your final print. There are no cameras, at any level of sophistication can imagine what is in our mind and how we see an image. You now need to think if you must frame the scene differently, and technically make necessary changes as best you can to make the image (and thus the print) look the way you want.

I often hear many of today’s amateur photographers say that their cameras (no matter how sophist aced they may be, just do not produce the images they expect. What they are saying is that they are not getting results the way they see them in real life, or through the viewfinder. Inevitably, many of these photographers blame the camera for failing to deliver the desired results. By previsualing we are far more likely to capture the desired image rather than be disappointed because of not preparing, and trying to photograph a subject without previsualizing.

Making fine art images is not luck. Sure, rarely may you just hit it right. I tell folks to think about their top 10 images they have photographed. I bet none of them were due to luck. You were either prepared beforehand and knew technically what you were doing. The photographer must be part of the creative process from beginning to end

Previsualize the potential

III- The Print……. Think about the print, while in the field!

The final print is where we determine the success or failure of an image (not what we see on a monitor, viewing high compression jpegs.). Believe me; Ansel Adams previsualized exactly what he was going to do in the darkroom, at the time he was making the image in the field. You must do the same.  After the image is made in the field, your aesthetic tastes are now the method of pre visualization.

Before making the image in the fields think about the final print. Should it be black & white? What kind of paper should we use? Will I be using any creative software… and on and on.

The photographer is an artist and as such must be a willing to be an active participant in every step leading up to the image’s final result, which is the print. This theory is explained in depth in Galen Rowell’s book, The Inner Game of Outdoor Photography. However without previsualizing the entire process more often than not, your images will be less than desired.

Previsualize the potential.

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” – Ansel Adams


2011 Workshop Schedule…...

Below is lots of information concerning my  2011Photography  workshops. Please note the discounts: The most important one certainly is the 10% savings if you pre register by Jan 1 2011.

I also put together a 13 page PDF regarding my 2011 workshops. Dates, pricing and descriptions are included. Please contact me if you have any questions.

2011 WORKSHOP SCHEDULE Dates & Descriptions)         REG MASTER 2011 (Registration Forms)        and…. #2 DW_GENERAL WORKSHOP QUESTIONS_FAQ’S INFORMATION


1)       10% discount for returning attendees (you all qualify!)

2) 10% discount if you pre-register for a workshop(s) prior to Jan 1, 2011. Deposit must be received by 12/31/2010.

3)       10% discount for NANPA members (

4)       Bring a friend ( new attendee) — –new attendee comes at ½ price

5)       Refer a friend –choice—a $50.00 credit off your registration is you attend (can be put to a future workshop) or a check for $25.00. No restrictions on referrals.

6)       Buy 4 get one free…..   Attend 4 workshops.. Get one free.


BLACK FRIDAY at NIK SOFTWARE    click here to access:    NIK SOFTWARE

For those of you who have taken one of my workshops and those who know me have heard me say that “the difference between a really good image and a great one is usually not a lot”. You also probably know my feelings about the great products at Nik Software ( In the interest of time; suffice to say that every image I process uses NIK Software in some way. Nik Software has been accepted by working pro photographers across the board and is almost the standard software used to improve your digital images. Over the past month or so there have been 2 new exciting additions to the NIK family. First, now all programs are in 64 bit. Second NIK has introduced the long awaited, highly touted HDR PRO software. I’ll be doing an extended review with examples of the HDR software on my blog very soon. I’ve been using HDR PRO from NIK now for a few weeks and frankly I am blown away not only by the results, but by the ease of operation. And yes, Nik has incorporated its “U-Point” technology into HDR pro, setting it away from the competition.

OK… enough horn blowing for now! NIK has made you all an offer you can’t refuse. If you thinking about purchasing NIK Software by the program or together in the suite, here is an offer you can’t pass up. If you use my code = JGRAHAM when ordering online….

Promo period: 12:00am Wed., 11/24 through 11:59pm Tue., 11/30

Discount Pricing:   remember to use this code JGRAHAM when ordering to receive these discounts  —  click here to access:    NIK SOFTWARE

  • Complete Collection Ultimate Edition $419.95 ($180 savings)
  • Complete Collection Light room/Aperture Edition $219 ($80 savings)
  • Color Efex Pro 3 Complete $209.95 ($90 savings)
  • Dfine 2 $69.95 ($30 savings)
  • HDR Efex Pro $139.95 ($20 savings)
  • Silver Efex Pro $139.95 ($60 savings)
  • Sharpener Pro 3 $139.95 ($60 savings)
  • Viveza 2 $139.95 ($60 savings)

Nik Viveza helped bring out the shadows in the foreground here, using the patented U Point technology!

Remember, the difference between a really good image and a great one is usually not a lot. NIK can put an image over the top. Oh yes–check out their informative web site with tutorials, videos and demo on their entire product. The folks at NIK certainly don’t leave a stone unturned when it comes to education. Find the NIK Radio section under “community”, scroll down to the interview on or about September 1 (I did it with my good friend Mike Moats) and check out the interview I did for NIK radio if you have not already.

Speaking of NIK Software, I’ve really been enjoying the results of the new HDR PRO Program.

Here is a set of 5 images taken at Ft. Point in San Francisco. I used a 1.5 stop setting.

This image would not have been possible without HDR processing. Nik made it simple and the results speak for themselves.

So next I wanted to see what NIK’S  HDR PRO would do in a outside location…..  again very impressive. These frames were shot only 1 stop apart. Different lighting requires different settings.

I did a bit of cropping and used NIK’S Viveza, Color Efex Pro as well as Define to add the  finishing touches

HUNT’S PHOTO & VIDEO   SAVINGS: My good friends at Hunt’s have some super specials starting tonight.  At 10PM. I have been using Hunt’s for my equip needs for quite a while now and I guarantee that one you experience the personal service and guidance, you’ll be please as well. About a year and 1/2 ago I drowned a Nikon 200 Macro lens. They were 9 and I think still am) impossible to find… well Hunt’s found one for me. I recently had a workshop attendee looking for a new Nikon D7000 (go try and find them today!–next to impossible) well John at Hunt’s found one for my workshop attendee.

You can call Gary Farber (Hunts VP) (800-221-1830 x 2332) or his assistant John Duggan direct: 781-462-2314 for the best service, the same or better pricing than NYC and extras for NANPA members!

Here is the link for the specials starting tonight.   HUNTS SPECIALS_STARTS WED 11_24 at 10PM EST



The 2011 NANPA (North American Photography Association) Summit is in Mc Allen en Texas this coming March. NANPA is a growing organization dedicated to everything that we are all concerned about regarding Nature Photography. I encourage you to visit the website and drill down to see the great things NANPA does to help preserve our great landscape for our fellow nature photographers.

If you have never been to a NANPA summit before, it’s really hard to explain the benefits of attending. The networking alone is worth more than the price of admission. There are breakout sessions featuring some of the best nature photographers sharing their information making this one amazing learning experience. Come see Jack Dykinga give the key note address they year in Mc Allen. I could go on, but click here for lots if great information. I hope to see you there!



I edited lots of images last night and as usual trashed most. I really believe to become an above average photographer you must be really tough on yourself and only keep images that are superior… not the ones that are kind of ok.

I think my background in music has made what I am about to talk about really clear to me.

Painted Hills, Oregon

The frustrating thing to me is that every now and then, you (I) actually “Get it right”, meaning getting the image just the way I saw it, wanted it to look and that I did all that needed to be done to make a great shot. This doesn’t happen every time out. It may be every 2nd shoot or 3rd shoot or just once in 6 months., but every now and then you (I) “get it right”… you really “nail the image”, You see it, you know everything you need to in order to create a perfect image… and I mean perfect.

What makes it worse is when you do “Get it right”… you then know you CAN do it, and you know you’re not crazy… and that there is some kind of a truth there.

This “truth” is a standard or a level of proficiency needed to be at, or the level you want to climb to , to be able to “get it right” more times than not,… in what ever you do, in my case in photography.

I think that each time we (I) set out to make images the goal is to become more consistent and get closer to that truth that you have established in you’re mind.
But here’s the kicker! As you get closer to that truth, that truth moves at the same rate, higher and away from where you are, as your standards change and grow. It becomes harder to reach that “level”

This is why creativity can be such a challenge. This is why so many of my fellow photographers are really happy with 10 great images per year, and 3 or 4 “signature” ones!