Category Archives: ONE on ONE PHOTO WORKSHOPS

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.

  

 

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MAKING A SHORT STORY LONG — Long Exposure Photography

MAKING A SHORT STORY LONG … Long Exposure Photography

All Text and Photos ©Jack Graham

Vik Iceland
Vik Iceland

Long Exposure Photography has become very popular in the last few years. Many of our popular websites and magazines are featuring long exposure photography.  Many filter manufactures have also noticed this and have added Neutral Density filters to their offerings.

What is a long exposure? Most of the available DSLR cameras today will allow us to have a shutter speed set automatically up to 30 seconds.  However to me a long exposure is just that, longer than I can render a subject in sharp focus. This could be ½ second or a few hours, depending on the effect I want to create.

Long exposure can be applied in several applications. We can leave our shutter open long enough for a car or bicycle to drive by and create an interesting blurry effect.

Long exposure photography is also used in nighttime photography to capture stars patterns, or trails as well as even sharp stars set in the night’s sky.   When our cameras are on a good tripod and the shutter is left open for a prescribed  time, very vibrant and clear photographs can be made.

Long exposures can be used in light painting, when a scene is very dark. A light source is moved over the subject to add some light and ambiance. Often we need to experiment with the amount of light applied to a subject as to not over do the amount of light shining on our subject.

Finally the most often used application of long exposures for me is with moving water and clouds. The end result is often a mysterious, yet dreamy effect and sometimes even surreal. We can at times add a sense of movement by recording the moving clouds or water across our image. In essence this is a departure from normalcy both from an artistic sense, as well as a viewing experience.

In this essay, I am going to deal with long exposures using clouds and water in landscape photography.

CREATING LONG EXPOSURES

EQUIPMENT

Bandon Beach Oregon 23 sec. exposure/ Singh Ray 10 Stop more-Slo Filter
Bandon Beach Oregon 23 sec. exposure/ Singh Ray 10 Stop Mor-Slo Filter

First, you will need a good quality DSLR. Long exposures can introduce a bit of noise, so the better the cameras sensors, the better your images will appear. You will not see this noise or what we call “hot-pixels” on your LCD, but they will show up when viewing your images on your monitor. You will also need a camera that has a “bulb” setting. The bulb setting allows you to keep the shutter open for as long as needed, allowing you to create some quality long exposures. You will also need a remote shutter release cable or wireless shutter release. There are many of these on the market, some made by the camera manufactures and some after market. If you are going to be doing serious long exposure photography purchase a release that has a built in timer that you can set for the proper amount of time you require for each individual image. It will be a lot more accurate than counting seconds or even trying to look at your watch in dark areas.

Next, you need a good quality tripod and quality tripod head. When photographing in normal conditions, a tripod is necessary to produce sharp images. When making long exposures a sturdy tripod is even more important. Exposures can sometimes last well over a minute. The sturdier the tripod, the better the results will be. Wind, camera shake etc. will be magnified more and more as you increase the time our shutter is open. As always, I recommend never extending your center column. If you do, you now have a much-unstudied mono pod. I sometimes see folks hanging camera bags from their tripod to try to anchor the tripod. A breeze might move this “anchor” thus making the tripod vibrate. Placing a beanbag on your camera will produce better results.

La Push Beach, Olympic Peninsula, Wa / Singh-Ray 2-8 stop Vari ND filter / 9.2 Seconds
La Push Beach, Olympic Peninsula, Wa / Singh-Ray 2-8 stop Vari ND filter / 9.2 Seconds

Finally you’ll need some filters to slow the shutter down. These are commonly known as neutral density filters. Essentially what these do is block out light allowing the shutter to stay open longer. These filters are rated in “stops” Each “stop” reduces the amount of light on the sensor by a factor of two. For example a 3-stop ND filter, (often referred to as a ND 8) reduces the light by 3 stops (2x2x2=8). A 4 stop ND ( or ND16) reduces the light by 4 stops ( 2x2x2x2-=16) and so on. When using a 10 stop ND filter, the light is reduced by 1024 (2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2=1024). This translates to the shutter being open for 1024 times longer than without the filter.

Many filter manufactures make these filters and I have tried most of them. These filters are not easily produced. They must be made of high quality photographic glass, not resin. Good quality filters take some time to produce. Unless a manufacturer has an assembly line each filter is almost hand made. The rate of dye that is added to the filter depends on how hard or soft the graduation is.. Quality manufactures try to eliminate color shift as much as possible. This process is quite extensive. High quality filters are also quite expensive, but considering the manufacturing process, they are really priced very fair.

I use two ND filters. I use the Singh-Ray 10 stop Mor-Slor filter and the Singh-Ray Vari-ND filter. Singh-Ray also produces a 5-stop Mor-Slo filter.

The 10 stop filter is a screw in 10 stop filter available from Singh-Ray (www.singh-ray.com  ) in many thread sizes. The Vari-ND filter is also a screw in filter but using this filter you can vary the amount of stops from 2-8 stops ( Note: to stack Mor-Slo with Vari-ND, at least one filter has to be standard mount with front threads — two thin-mount filters will not stack).This filter is available currently in 77mm & 82mm sizes. You can view how the Vari-ND works HERE

TECHNIQUE

Oceanside Pier, California 86 Second exposure
Oceanside Pier, California 86 Second exposure

Again, remember this essay is about long exposures in landscape photography. Techniques for night photography, light painting and other artistic uses of long exposures do require different techniques than that of landscape photography.

Like any other composition, composing your image, choosing your subject matter and assessing the light is mandatory. Essentially, you are making the same image without the long exposure effect, but adding this effect to create the desired result.

Assuming you have chosen a good subject, with good light and one that has some moving water, clouds, other aspects or all of the above, I’ll discuss how I go about making long exposures.

After setting up my tripod and camera I go through all the things I do for normal photography. I then check the light and properly meter the subject without using any filters. Having a filter on before focusing will not allow you to see a thing. It is just too dark due to the denseness of the filters. After this here is my procedure.

1)      I compose, determine the aperture I want and focus the image in the proper manner (if you auto focus without the filter switch to manual)

2)      I determine the shutter speed based in ISO and Aperture without the filter on.

3)      I carefully screw in my filter of choice, either the 10 stop Mor-Slo or the Vari ND.

4)      I double-check to make sure the screen that closes over my viewfinder is closed. This insures proper metering and prevents light from entering the camera while the shutter is open. This is very important.

5)      I now set my shutter speed to the “bulb” setting allowing my shutter release cable or remote timer to control the shutter speed.

6)      I determine how long I need my shutter to be open based on the shutter speed determined without the filter. This math can get quite complicated. I have developed a timetable, based on the math involved. NOTE: If your shutter speed is longer or shorter than desired, you can change the shutter speed simply by increasing or decreasing the ISO. Remember that digital noise increases with higher ISO’s as well as long exposures!

Normal Exposure

 ND  3 stops

 ND  6 stops

 ND 10 stops

with no filter

1/500

  1/60

  1/8

2

1/250

  1/30

  1/4

4

1/125

  1/15

  1/2

8

  1/60

  1/8

1

15

  1/30

  1/4

2

30

  1/15

  1/2

4

60 (1 minute)

  1/8

1

8

120 ( 2 minutes)

  1/4

2

15

240 (4minuts)

  1/2

4

30

480 (8minutes)

1

8

60 (1 minute) 900 (15 minutes)

2

15

120 ( 2 minutes) 1800 (30 minutes)

4

30

240 (4minuts) 3600(60minutes)

8

60 (1 minute) 480 (8minutes) 7200( 2 hours)

15

90  (1.5 minutes) 900 (15 minutes) 14400(4Hours)

30

120 ( 2 minutes) 1800 (30 minutes) 28000 (8 hours)
Exposure time in Seconds Important: Take 1st reading with NO filter

7)      I set my remote cable release to the desired time based on the shutter speed with no filter attached.

8)      Assuming your light conditions didn’t change…..Make the image.

NOTE: THERE IS A GREAT FREE APP that I use on my I phone— its called LONGTIME EXPOSURES. This one is free… there are other that are not. This one works great!

FINAL CONSIDERATIONS:

Vik Iceland / 71 Second Exposure
Vik Iceland / 71 Second Exposure

There are a few variables that you need to consider when making long exposures.

1)      When making long exposures you’ll need to slow down even more than normal to make sure your settings are correct. Creating a concept for an image when making long exposures is very important. Soon you’ll learn to visualize the final outcome.

2)      After you make the image do not use your LCD to evaluate anything other than our histogram.

3)      Experiment; change the ISO thus making the shutter longer or shorter. When you get back to your monitor then choose the effect you like.

4)      I always recommend shooting RAW files.

ONE LAST THOUGHT

This essay is not an advertisement. It is simply my endorsement. I have experimented with filters from other manufactures. I have found without question the Singh-Ray filters to be of the highest quality without any measurable color shift. Color shift is the biggest problem in filters, especially ND filters. There is no easy cheap way to make a good quality ND. Singh Ray filters are highly recommended.

I recently made two images. One was using the Singh-Ray 10stop Mor-Slo filter, the other with their main competitor in a similar price range. The results speak for themselves. There is absolutely no color shift with the Singh-Ray, but a large one with their competitor. These images were taken about 2-3 minutes apart. Same light, same camera settings 14 sec / F16   -1/3 comp ISO 200Consider this when purchasing filters.

Singh-Ray Mor Slo 10 top filter
Singh-Ray Mor Slo 10 top filter
The "Competitor"
The “Competitor”

Singh-Ray Filters
2721 SE Highway 31, Arcadia, FL 34266-7974 USA

For fastest response, telephone Singh-Ray at 800-486-5501 or 863-993-4100
during business hours, 9am to 5pm Eastern US time, Monday-Friday

Sunset on the Southern Iceland Coast
Sunset on the Southern Iceland Coast

JACK GRAHAM PHOTOGRAPHY www.jackgrahamphoto.com

LEARN to SEE                              LEARN to THINK                    LEARN to CREATE

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2013 Workshop schedule      Workshop Registration Form      Workshop Overview

Workshop FAQ’S       Workshop Referrals       One on One Individual Workshops   PODCAST

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

ALSO VISIT:  www.ultimateiceland.com

                              SEE SPECIAL LAST MINUTE INFORMATION ON WORKSHOPS BELOW!

IMPORTANT WORKSHOP INFORMATION  

ALSO VISIT:  www.ultimateiceland.com

Due to a cancellation, I have one opening for my June workshop in the Oregon Coast. You can access information on this workshop HERE

IMG_1043There are two spots open for the Workshop I conduct for the Pacific Northwest Art School on Whidbey Island, in the Puget Sound neat Seattle in June as well. Information is found HERE. Also there is a spot open for the workshop in the Columbia River Gorge in about 2 weeks. Information found HERE

In addition our July 4-14, 2013 Ultimate Iceland Workshop is almost full. This is a trip of a lifetime for any photographer. Please consider joining us!

ULTIMATE ICELAND “1” July 2013

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

LEAVES_2_HF7This October, will be my 19th year conducting a workshop in the Eastern Sierra. Again, I’ll be joining forces with my good friend, an amazing photographer and thinker, and co-leader Guy Tal. Please consider joining us. This is a highlight of the year! Details found HERE.

Also in October, I’ll be back in NE Ohio for our bi-annual FALL COLOR & A DAY with the AMISH PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP. (Including a private Amish dinner) with my Amish friends on their farm in Sugarcreek Ohio. I’ll be teaming up with my good friend, world-class photographer and teacher Bill Fortney (www.billfortney.com) for a workshop you will not want to miss!

I’ll be in Utah October 2013 for a late October workshop in the red rock country in and around Zion NP

LIMITED SEATS and filling fast:

DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK/ NOVEMBER 2013  Jack Graham & Bill Fortney. Do NOT miss this one!

ALSO VISIT:  www.ultimateiceland.com

NIK SOFTWARE HDR EFEX PRO2 is HERE !–Details…2013 Workshop Schedule / Guy Tal E-Book (must have) / Iceland 2012

Jack Graham Photography

www.jackgrahamphoto.com

Learn to See                        Learn to think                      Learn to create

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

2012 Registration Form   REGISTRATION FORM 2012v9

2013 WORKSHOP INFORMATION AND REGISTRATION FORM: REGISTRATION FORM 2013v1

 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_v2013a

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

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

 

 

 

Noteworthy

ICELAND:

Next Tuesday ( 7/17) is departure day for me for my 2012 Iceland Photography Workshop. We have a great group going and as you might know, I am quite excited. I’ll be updating this site as much as possible with images and notes. Check back often!

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2013:…..My 2013 Workshops Schedule is ready. Please check it out. There are many new locations along with some of the “Old Standards”. Can 2013 be better than 2012. It’s will be tough but adding Greenland, Cuba and Utah are going to be exciting.

Guy Tal ( see below) and I run a workshop every October in the Eastern Sierra. We will be doing this again in 2013. In addition we are now in the beginning stages of putting together a workshop in the early Spring in Capital Reef National Park in Utah—-STAY TUNED!

 

 

 

www.guytal.com

Guy has really outdone himself this time. His new E-Book: Creative B&W Processing Techniques. Designed as a companion to his earlier title Creative Processing Techniques, the new eBook extends my creative process framework with concepts and techniques unique to digital processing of B&W images, along with thoughts on approaching B&W photography as an expressive visual art. The eBook includes examples of using Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop, and is focused on understanding a variety of tools and their application in telling your visual stories.

If you don’t purchase this for ONLY 9.95 —–  your really missing out.

Click here to download NOW! http://guytalbooks.com/catalog_show_ebook.php?bid=4

 

 

 

 

 

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 HDR EFEX PRO 2……..NEW FROM NIK SOFTWARE:   save 15% when using this code JGRAHAM when ordering at www.niksoftware.com

HDR Efex Pro 2 IS HERE!!!!   The new upgraded version of the already “Standard of the Industry” is now available It is a powerful new solution for quickly creating exceptionally realistic or creatively stunning high dynamic range images.

I am really picky about HDR and strive to make the images I DO process using HDR as realistic as I can. (reference https://jackgrahamphoto.wordpress.com/2011/05/20/hdr-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/ ) . After using this program for just a few hours, I can really see a really good improvement, and you are going to love the interface.

Even if you don’t ordinarily shoot HDR, ( I recommend being very picky about what you do and don’t photograph using HDR) you’ll be amazed at how realistic the new tone mapping algorithms will render your images. Combined with many new features, a revamped user interface, and improved performance, HDR Efex Pro 2 is going to be , like the original program, THE industry  standard for HDR.

 

Eastern Sierra Stream, 2011….. Images processed using the NEW…….NIK HDR EFEX PRO2 …LARGER VERSION BELOW

Key New Features:

  • NEW: Improved Tone Mapping Engine – Develop superior results with better color rendering and improved natural styles
  • UPDATED: Interface, Interaction, and Workflow – Benefit from improvements to the merging interface, tone mapping and enhancement controls, visual presets, and more
  • NEW: Depth Control – Enjoy added depth and realism in images with the new and proprietary Depth control, which helps counteract the flattened look commonly associated with HDR images
  • NEW: Full GPU Processing and Multi-Core Optimization – Gain even faster performance with GPU processing that takes full advantage of the processors found on modern display adapters
  • UPDATED: Ghost Reduction – Improved ghost reduction algorithm ensures that artifacts created by moving objects are removed with a single click
  • NEW: Chromatic Aberration Reduction – Reduce color fringes around objects
  • NEW: Graduated Neutral Density Control – Access the full 32-bit depth of the merged image, providing a natural effect especially on images with a strong horizon line
  • NEW: Full White Balance Control – Take full advantage of the white balance in an image with a new Tint slider, which along with the Temperature slider, can be applied both globally as well as selectively using U Point technology
  • NEW: History Browser – Easily review adjustments and different HDR looks via the History Browser which records every enhancement used in an editing session
  • NEW: Extended Language Support – International users benefit by the addition of Brazilian Portuguese and Chinese (Simplified and Traditional) to a list of languages that includes English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Japanese
  • …Dozens more features

 

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

____________________________________________________________

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!

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

 _____________________________________________________________________________

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

                                    JACK GRAHAM PHOTOGRAPHY  www.jackgrahamphoto.com

LEARN to SEE                              LEARN to THINK                           LEARN to CREATE

____________________________________________________________________________________

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

Workshop Registration Form: REGISTRATION FORM 2012v9

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

Individual ONE on ONE workshops  http://jackgrahamphoto.com/one-one-field-studio-photography-workshops

Workshop FAQ’S  GENERAL WORKSHOP QUESTIONS_FAQ’S INFORMATION_v2012f

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

Jack on 500PX  http://500px.com/JackGraham/photos     Jacks Photos on PHOTOSHELTER http://jackgraham.photoshelter.com/

______________  _________________________________________________________________________________

NEWS and NOTEWORTHY

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

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 ( www.pacificnorthwestartschool.com) few seats left, not many!  http://www.pacificnorthwestartschool.org/all/photography-workshops/graham-jack-photography-on-whidbey-may-9-12-2012-1

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK..MAY 2012 – 1 seat left http://jackgrahamphoto.com/olympic-national-park

COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE …JUNE 2012 – 2 seats left http://jackgrahamphoto.com/columbia-river-gorge-and-mt-hood-photography-workshop

THE PALOUSE, JUNE 2012, 1 Seat left 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

________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

http://www.thinktankphoto.com/products/retrospective-10-pinestone-shoulder-bag.aspx

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 www.thinktankphoto.com/affiliate and enter CODE —  AP371  and receive a free gift!

_________________________________________________________________________

FEATURED ARTICLE

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

THE STORY:

 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 (www.singh-ray.com)

IMAGE 1

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

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  www.niksoftware.com 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)

IMAGE 1

 THE EDIT:  WHICH ONE WORKS            I chose image # 2

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 #2

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

 

 

 

_______________________________________________________________________

 

WHICH ONE WORKS?    # 2

This is a new feature I am going to publish here on my blog every week or two.  This is edition # 2 where I’ll discuss and compare images and talk about why I like one over the other(s).

This process of choosing one image over another is a common one that we all deal with in our digital darkroom. The final image is important for whatever project it’s being used for, and spending time determining which image works vs. another is well worth it. In many case the slightest difference in composition, light etc makes all the difference,

Often we may take many frames of a subject in different light and different angles. Each frame can evoke a different feeling to the subject.

Always remember that you need a good subject and acceptable light, or your final image will probably be less than desirable.

 

You comments, as always are more than welcome.

Tillamook Bay Sunrise #
Tillamook Bay Sunrise # 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOCATION:  Sunrise on Tillamook Bay, Oregon Coast. 

Lat: 45°29’27.276″N

Long: 123°55’3.684″W

  There are few more dramatic sunrises along the Oregon coast than at Tilllamook Bay.  Tillamook is about 30 miles south of the famous town and beach, Cannon Bach. It is important to be there at least ½ hour before the 1st light. Often the 1st light is more dramatic than the actual sunrise itself(depicted in these images) , however when there are clouds or fog in the area, making images even after the official sunrise time can be rewarding. The bad hooks around before entering the Pacific Ocean , so you are actually facing southeast in this location for sunrise, over the coastal range looking east. It’s important to not only get here before 1st light, but to hand in, especially on foggy overcast or days like this one. Things can change here in literally seconds.

 THE STORY:  I really love this spot. This is the 1st sunset on my Oregon Coast workshop as we begin to work our way down the Oregon Coast. It’s a great spot, but not at all an easy place to make a quality images. There are many challenges. I really like getting there at a really low tide, The patterns in the mud flats, and water are much better. However this morning, because I knew the weather was going to be a factor, I compromised and dealt with sunrise at high tide.

There are two big challenges here. Composition is one. There are so many ways to choose composition in this location. Choosing your focal length makes for different results. I have taken photographs at 17mm here, using a strong foreground all the way up to 300mm+ depending on the conditions. For this image I chose my Nikon 28-70mm ED-IF F2.8 lens. The second challenge is exposure. Because this light is very dramatic and has almost every tonal range possible, it was important to manually meter the scene, watch the histogram to nail the exposure as best as possible. IS this an image for HDR? Maybe… but these clouds were moving very very fast and that presents problems when taking multiple frames.

This boat has been anchored in this location for as long as I can remember. I’ve never seen the boat anchored here. It serves as a great prop, as well as an anchor (no pun intended!) to the image.

 TECH DATA :   

 I manually metered this scene, spot metering, on a medium point in the image

 Images made 10 minutes and 10 seconds apart

 IMAGE #1         2010:07:03 04:50:15 ( July 7, 2010 at 4:40:15 AM)              IMAGE #2        2010:07:03 04:50:30   ( July 7, 2010 at 4:50:30 AM)

 Nikon D700   Nikon 28-70 ED-IF 2.8                                                                                                   Nikon D700    Nikon  28-70 ED-IF 2.8

Shutter speed: 1/10 sec at F 22                                                                                                                Shutter speed:  1/25 sec at   F22

ISO 200         Exposure mode: Manual   Metering: Spot                                                                     ISO: 200          Exposure mode: Manual     Metering: Spot

Focal length:     62mm                                                                                                                               Focal length:     48mm

 

Let’s discuss processing just for a minute. I did all my normal processing Adobe Lightroom ( you can see my workflow and processing information in my eBook Series 1 available for sale on my website

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

I then used my     NIK Software as follows:

 

1)       Define 2.0—noise reduction. With my D700 at ISO200 there was virtually NO noise.

2)       Viveza 2.0 – added some global structure to the clouds (see my glossary below & learn these terms). Brought a bit of the blue out in the sky on the right.

3)       Color Efex 4 – I added just a tad of Brilliance & Warmth and then just a little Pro Contrast. What really makes these images look special is because I added “glamour glow” to each using NIK’S Color Efex 4. It just adds a finishing touch to the image. As always I added a vignette , using the Darken –Lighten center feature. This allowed me to put the centre point on the boat and adjust the amount of vignetting and the amount to darkening I wanted on the boarders.

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

PS—I bet image will look great in monochrome…. Get out the Silver Efex Pro! By the way, you can save 15% when purchasing NIK Software on  NIK’S website www.niksoftware.com by using this promotional code! JGRAHAM

THE EDIT:    I chose image # 1 for a few reasons

 

IMAGE #1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1)       Though I actually like the positioning of the boat in image #2 a bit better, (Yes that’s a sea gull sitting on the top of the wheelhouse of the boat—could I have asked for more?)

IMAGE #2

2)       Always ask your self when you are making the image (it’s too late when you get home!) “What’s the subject & how do you want to handle it. On those rare occasions when the sky is clear and there is no fog here, the boat can be the subject. However in these images the sky and color is the subject here. The boat serves to add balance and anchor the subject matter. Without the boat the image would already be strong.

 

3)       I processed both images to the best of my ability, but I could not get the sky to look as dramatic in image #2 as images 31. Why was this?  An easy answer… image #2 was taken 10 minutes and 10 seconds after image #2. The sun was higher and was beginning to wash out the sky. That’s why you get where you need to be early!

4)       The composition in image #1 is tighter. It’s common for photographers, especially if you’ve never been to an area so beautiful or when you are there in this kind of great light, to want to use a really wide focal length and get as much of the scene in the image as possible. I call it writing the novel. Sometimes it’s better to write the sentence (or even the phrase) and create much more drama. I think this is a good example. Though each image is only 15mm apart, it’s just enough to make a difference in composition and feeling. You need to be aware of this when you are in the field.

5)       Again, in a perfect world, I’d like that boat in image #1 just a tad to the left. Could I do that in Photoshop, sure, but that’s not my style (another discussion for another day), but I certainly can live with what we have here.

Let me know your thoughts. I’m always open for suggestions and comments.

JG