Category Archives: Panguitch Lake

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

JACK GRAHAM PHOTOGRAPHY  www.jackgrahamphoto.com

LEARN to SEE                              LEARN to THINK                    LEARN to CREATE

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

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

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

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

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

Workshop Referrals: http://jackgrahamphoto.com/referrals

PODCAST: www.18percentgraymatter.com

JACK GRAHAM PHOTOGRAPHY   e books –available for purchase and immediate download http://jackgrahamphoto.com/shop/e-books

Mystery Valley, Arizona

NEWS and NOTEWORTHY

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

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

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

Sol Duc River, Olympic Peninsula, Wa.

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

Sunset, Marin Headlands, near San Francisco, Ca

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

My 2013 workshop schedule is coming into shape. You can view it here. Another trek to Iceland is planned for July with an additional 9 day excursion to beautiful ( and quite warm & pleasant  and under photographed) Greenland.  I’ll be back in NE Ohio in October for fall color and once again a full day(including a private Amish dinner) with my Amish friends on their farm in Sugarcreek Ohio. I’ll be teaming up with my good friend, world class photographer and teacher Bill Fortney(www.billfortney.com) for a workshop you will not want to miss! I’ll also be announcing a workshop in late October 2013 in the red rock country (including Zion National Park) very soon. Details on these and more can be found here:     http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/2013-photography-workshop-schedule

I received requests to link the webinar I conducted  for NIK SOFTWARE , back in March, entitled, “Keeping it Simple .You can view it here: ( if you purchase any or all of the NIK Software package… enter code JGRAHAM and receive a 15% discount!!!

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

Sunrise, Hunt’s Mesa, Monument Valley AZ

2012 Workshop Info:

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

THE PALOUSE, JUNE 2012, SOLD OUT—- http://jackgrahamphoto.com/spring-palouse-now-5-days

ULTIMATE ICELAND, 10 days, JULY 2012 –ONLY 1 SEAT LEFT http://jackgrahamphoto.com/ultimate-iceland-july-2012

OREGON COAST 5 DAYS!—August 2012—2 seats open http://jackgrahamphoto.com/2012-oregon-coast-cannon-beach-bandon-5-full-day

NAPA VALLEY, No. CALIFORNIA COAST, SAN FRANCISCO MORE!!!SEPTEMBER  2012 ( www.pacificnorthwestartschool.com ) few seats left, not many!  http://www.pacificnorthwestartschool.org/all/photography-workshops/graham-jack-fall-in-northern-ca-sep-20-23-2012-1

TETONS & YELLOWSTONE, SEPTEMBER 2012 3 seats open http://jackgrahamphoto.com/fall-grand-teton-and-yellowstone-np-photography-workshop

17TH ANNUAL EASTERN SIERRA FALL WORKSHOP with GUY TAL www.guytal.com   JUST a FEW SEATS LEFT—filling fast   http://jackgrahamphoto.com/17th-annual-eastern-sierra-photography-workshop-mono-lake-alabama-hills-bristlecone-pine-bodie-more

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

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

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

In this series of articles, I discuss and compare images and talk about why I like one over the other.

Choosing one image over other similar images is one that we all deal with in our digital darkroom.

I suggest to you, as well as my workshop attendees to work the subject while in the field, make final decisions on your monitors at home.

 ….. WHICH ONE WORKS # 7…..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-1/3 compensation . ISO 1250

 

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

 

IMAGE # 3

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

ISO 200

 

 

PROCESSING:

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

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

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

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

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

IMAGE #1  

IMAGE # 1

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

IMAGE # 2

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

IMAGE  #3

IMAGE # 3

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

FINAL DECISION

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

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

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

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

What do you think?–jg

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BREAK THE RULES.. but know them first! / News and Notes

WORKSHOPS:: www.jackgrahamphoto.com/photo-workshops (2011 & 2012 schedules are there)        PODCAST: www.18percentgraymatter.com

JACK GRAHAM PHOTOGRAPHY MAIN WEBSITE: www.jackgrahamphoto.com

 

OCTOBER 2011—–FALL in NE OHIO & a day with the AMISH —FILLING FAST   http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/fall-color-ne-ohio-well-very-special-day-amish-oct-2011

 

 

             ICELAND 2012—FILLING FAST   http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/ultimate-iceland

 

 

 

 

 

 

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News & Notes:

Outdoor Photo Gear recently had a reprint of an article from this blog on their site (they gave an excellent blog area). Today they used one of my photographs on their home page……

thanks guy’s !!     www.outdoorphotogear.com if you haven’t visited them (click on the banner below) & check them out. They are a truly 1 stop shop for the coolest photo accessories and more around.

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Naturephotgraphers.net (www.naturephotographers.net also published a new essay of mine “The 10 Commandments of Photography” recently. http://www.naturephotographers.net/farchives.html  Give it a read, as well as the other articles from Guy Tal and Alain Briot. NPN is THE premier online forum for photography.

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And don’t forget my friends at HUNT’S PHOTO & VIDEO. http://www.huntsphotoandvideo.com/ ., by far the best in the industry—Call Gary Farber for the best pricing and selection, yes better than NYC!!! (800) 221-1830 x 2332 and tell Gary I said hi!

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And finally a new website advertising workshops both in the USA and abroad is up and running. . All Photo Adventures also contains lots of good tips from some excellent photographers.

They were kind enough to post an article from me as well https://www.allphotoadventures.com/protips.aspx .

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INTERNET EXPLORER 9 vs. FIREFOX & SAFARI

Let’ talk about looking at images on the web on your monitor for a minute. I bet a lot of you didn’t know this. Internet Explorer 9 is not color managed. I REPEAT—NOT COLOR MANAGED!!!

FIREFOX and SAFARI is color managed and will ensure sRGB is read correctly. The problem is with Internet Explorer 9. If you are using IE9 often the greens & yellows will have hues significantly different from your original image. Why this is I have NO idea.

Many folks often discuss, and often critique images using IE9. I think you see my point. To do this kind of exercise correctly, use either Firefox or Safari. If everyone is not on a color managed browser such as in FIREFOX or SAFARI (as well as a calibrated monitor) we are all looking at hues & colors that often are drastically different…….Consider this when viewing images on your (hopefully calibrated) monitor.

One way around this if you want to continue to use explorer 7 on up…. is here http://www.gballard.net/psd/go_live_page_profile/embeddedJPEGprofiles.html#

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New D400 from Nikon? I am hearing lots of rumors about a D400 coming in August. This would make a lot of sense since the D300 line, though extremely successful, has about reached it life cycle. Historically,  Nikon has unveiled follow-up cameras about every 2 years, and this August makes 2 years since the D300s came on the scene.

I would guess the MSRP on the D400 to be around that of the D300s. The “Sweet spot” these days for DSLR’s is $750- $1500.  Competitively, along with Canon & Sony there are many fine cameras in those price points. The D 400 will compete with all of them…………………………..I guess we’ll see in a few weeks!

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Break the Rules….but know them first

© Jack Graham all rights reserved

In all of the many books that attempt to teach one how to be a better photographer, I would bet that there is only a handful that actually talks about breaking the rules. We are so entrenched in getting things right, and following the many common rules of photography, we sometimes forget to experiment and let our creative side flourish.

So what are the “rules”? Without going into each specific photographic “rule”  suffice it to say, before going out into the field attempting to make quality images one must have a good understanding of what works and what doesn’t work. It’s hard enough to “See” an image, but then how do want to communicate that through the lens. What mood do you want to project, and what equipment do you use.

I maintain that if you can be adept at the following basic “rules”, use the light to your advantage and slow down and give yourself the ability to see, you’ll come away with more quality images.

If you understand the basic rules, but do not incorporate them into your photography, you are in essence not using the rules at all and in turn, your images will reflect this lack of understanding. In some ways if you don’t adhere to the accepted photographic rules, you’re already breaking them, however by using accepted photographic rules; you’ll be more successful when you attempt to break them. It takes patience and lots of technique when you break one or more of the cardinal rules of photography. One had better study them, know them inside and out and understand these rules are accepted protocol.

I recently was told that a rather well-known nature photographer, when asked about rules, replied that he has no rules. I admire this person’s work and guarantee, he follows the common rules of photography, but at times successfully breaks them and comes away with great images. In this essay, I am doing to discuss a few common rules of photography and how you might successfully break them, let your creative juices flow and be successful in your photography.

Let’s look at a few, certainly not all basic rules of photography. I’ll demonstrate the use of them and how you can break them to a degree, but still come away with a pleasing image.

LIGHT

RULE: Bad light is bad light and good light is good light. Usually, but not always.

I know some excellent nature photographers that only shoot in the “sweet light” Sweet light is defined by the effects of the sun during the time of day when the sun is at a very low angle or when conditions provide for warm and dramatic light. Typically ½ hr before sunrise and ½-3/4 of an hr after sunset is when this sweet light occurs.

You must know and if possible if possible visualize the light under certain atmospheric conditions in order to make your time in the field successful.

Monument Valley in "sweet light"

BREAK the RULE: However, Can you break this rule and make acceptable images? Certainly for macro photography and in areas where you can control your environment, shooting only at certain times of the day are not relevant. In certain circumstances, you can come away with quality images.

The image on Monument Valley was shot at the so called”Golden hour”, in very good light.

Oregon Coast

The second  image was taken about 2PM on the Oregon Coast with a rather bright, but partly cloudy afternoon. First I limited all but a touch of sky and made the movement of the grasses the subject. I shot this 2/3rds under exposed to darken the image a bit. One might see this as being shot on an overcast day, but it was far from completely overcast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMPOSITION:

RULE: Always follow the rule of thirds………………….  Well, not always

The rule of thirds is the most important rule of composition. It is intended to place subjects in areas that are aesthetically pleasing. This rule was not invented yesterday. It’s stood the test of time

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The “Rule of Thirds” divides each image into three areas both horizontally and vertically.  In turn, a grid with nine squares, similar to a tick-tack–toe board is created.  Each of the individual points of those squares is where your subject could be placed.  The basic idea of this rule is to avoid centering an object.

Following the rule. The male cardinal is  nowhere near the middle of the image. The rule of thirds is followed in this image.

In the two images below, it is easy to se why moving the center of the image just a bit makes for a much more pleasing image

This center of this image is kind of bulleseyed
the center is off center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BREAK THE RULE

Hawaiian Church

There are a few special times when centering an object or subject works. Most often is when the leading lines are all moving in concert to the center of the image.

The image of the church on the left is a good example of a centered subject. In this case the subject takes up most of the frame. The  flowers act as a leading line , bring you right up to the stairs and the front door of the church.  Though the subject is in the middle, the image looks just fine.

Pigeon Point Lighthouse, California ( image shot on Fuji Velvia--remember film?)

It is important to determine how much negative space you want to have in your image. Negative space is the area around the subject.  For example, if a subject happens to be is long and thin or on the smallish side, having more negative space will make the subject look lost within the image. Conversely, too little negative space might cut off the subject. …. And you may want that! Remember, if it works, break the rule.

Have I ever broken the centering rule, yes, when it works. If I choose to center an object because its shape allows the image to be more pleasing.  Circular objects are a good example.  A photo looking up into a domed ceiling usually works better with some centering

A round flower often needs centering to avoid cutting off portions of the petals. Buy why not cut off the petals, break the rule and get creative.

I never make breaking rules a habit, but sometimes it works.  In the end I usually use the “Rule of Thirds” as my guideline.

 

 

 

VERTICAL or HORIZONTAL

The other main decision with composition has to do the deciding if the subject lends itself to a horizontal or vertical image.

RULE: The amount of negative space required to make a pleasing images is a major factor in determining which format is the best….) and then as always, consider the rule of thirds in both formats when making the image)….. And think creativity. If I break the rule, would it improve my image?”

As a photographer when in the field I will typically shoot both formats of a subject if there is any question as to the best format. I then make the decision at a later date which format works for me. Usually, each format conveys a very different feeling.

When I photograph waterfalls, trees or flowers with long stems, I tend use the vertical format. However if the same waterfall, flower or tree is photographed without the long stem or falling water, then the horizontal format might be considered over the vertical so there is more space surrounding the subject.

Both images are of the identical waterfall.

Again, if breaking the rule makes for more pleasing images, then by all means do it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HORIZON LINES in composition are critical.

RULE: Horizons should generally be low to feature the sky, or high to the foreground.  They should always be level straight and level.

Again, thinking creatively, you may want break this rule. Most often if I do, I exaggerate the horizons, making somewhat of an abstract image. You either want to follow this rule to the tea, or really break it and use your imagination.

   

The horizon line in the image of Monument Valley is almost right down the center of the image, however in this image I think it works quite well.

 

 

 

 

Green Heron on the prowl

One area I almost never break the rules is when photographing subjects that are not stationery.  Birds in flight, moving objects like boats, planes or cars should point in a direction they are moving towards.  Without this direction they look like they are running out of the frame and into an invisible dead-end on the end of the image.

Big Horn Ram, Wyoming

But I sais almost.  The ram below is almost dead center. I wanted to show the path from where he came from in the background. Did I break the rule, of course, but purposely to show the environment he lives in and appeared from.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exposure

Exposure is basic. One must take Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO into consideration. Each has an effect on the other, though by themselves are separate considerations.

Rule: Smaller apertures will always give more depth of field, and a larger less. and a slower shutter speed will always cause more blurring, and a faster less. A higher ISO ( though modern technology is changing this drastically) will always create more noise in an image  Proper exposure comes from knowing how these three affect each other and thus making the right choice for each scene.

Oregon Coast, underexposed by 2/3 of a stop

Rule: Exposure itself should match whatever the lighting is in that situation.

Moonlit landscape at Death Valley... about a 40 second exposure at F4, ISO 400

For example, a moonlit landscape should look moonlit and not like mid afternoon. The rules for ISO, aperture, and shutter speed, are not debatable.  However, a we can use these rules them to convey a feeling using light. I often try to replicate the scene as I observed it when making the image. However, experiment, and perhaps underexpose your image (usually overexposure will be less advantageous). You may find a totally different feeling being felt. If it’s interesting and pleasing, by all means break the rule!

Even is you have an acceptable composition, a bad exposure will destroy the image. Break the rules of exposure only after you master them. By the end of a workshop, my attendees are usually sick of hearing me preach getting the exposure (and composition for that matter) right in the camera. Editing often can not fix everything.

Photographers use rules, or lack of, and creativity to make pleasing images. We all are different and see in different ways.  This is what makes each image and each photographer unique.  Remember; break the rules only when you have mastered them. Be creative

We are all using creativity when we photograph a subject. Just breaking the rules doesn’t work by itself. One should spend time experimenting with the composition and the light, Using your creativity is the way to make pleasing images while breaking the rules.  If a certain rule of photography blocks out your creativity, then choose to use it or try something different. Creativity along with other parameters is what makes one photographer stand out from another

Our life is filled with rules. We stop at red lights; sports are based on rule books. There are rules that we are not permitted to break. However in the arts and science, though based on rules as well. Many great discoveries were made by someone breaking a rule………………In photography, some rules can be more definitive and some more vague.

What’s new… Utah,Jan 2011… CHINA , TIBET & ICELAND 2012 ANNOUNCEMENT

Please visit http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/photo-workshops

 For complete 2011 workshop information. Many workshops are filling up fast. Now that the holidays are over time is starting to fly by!!

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  Had a great time , as always in Utah!!!!

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Presentation for the Tualatin National Wildlife Refuge Photographic Society, Oregon ( Feb 3, 2012)

Presentation for the NFRCC ( Niagara Frontier Regional Camera Clubs)  50th annual convention, Niagara Falls, NY (Feb 25-27 2011)

Death Valley National Park Photography Workshop Feb 19-22 2012    SOLD OUT

NANPA SUMMIT( www.nanpa.org) Mc Allen Texas  (Mar 9-12)

MARCH—–Off the the southwest for workshops in the four corners area including Monument Valley, Slot Canyons , Hunt’s Mesa, Canyon de Chelly and more…

see:    http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/great-american-photography-weekend-workshopslot-canyons-monument-valley-vermillion-cliffs-lake-powel

and http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/hunts-mesa-mystery-valley-withing-monument-valley-and-canyon-de-chelley   for details!!!!

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IN THIS EDITION….. there is lots of interesting information. Please read on to learn about China, Tibet and Iceland in 2012.

 In addition.. Check out the specials at Hunt’s Photo and Video  http://wbhunt.com/specials/.    Pre order Nik Software’s latest creation, Silver Efex Pro-2. Save 15% by using the code JGRAHAM on checkout! www.niksoftware.com

                                                                                                                           Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah    January 2011                                    ©Jack Graham

I spent some time recently in southwestern Utah.  Along with the pleasure of presenting a program for the COLOR CAMERA CLUB, located in St. George, I also spent some time with my good friends, and fellow photographers, Bob Kulon, http://www.bobkulonphoto.com/, Gerry Emery (thanks for the couch and the hospitality!), Debbie Bice and Jo Hickman.  We had a lot of laughs and I was quite pleased to come away with a few images as well. Even though Bryce Canyon NP has been photographed over and over. Bob and I drove over there thinking we might get some decent light and we were right. Add that to the rather large amount of snow, it made Bryce look somewhat different from what I have seen in the past. This image is a pan of 3 images shot vertically, making more of a square presentation and offering a wider /vertical view. It’s often a challenge to photograph iconic images different from others.

                                                                                        Morning glow in Snow Canyon State Park,  Utah at sunrise,    January 2011                                  © Jack Graham

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 LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO PHOTOGRAPH IN JANUARY?

 Every month, I’ll be publishing some of the best places to photograph around the country according to my good friend Bob Hitchman and his Photograph America Newsletter. Here are the hot areas for January.  The numbers on the left of the location are the reference numbers of each of his. Publications. If you don’t already subscribe… please do yourself a favor and do it.

www.photographamerica.com

January
   1: Death Valley
   3: Winter in Wyoming
  11: Kauai—Na Pali Coast
  28: Winter in Yellowstone
  35: Canyonlands National Park
  45: Valley of Fire, Nevada
  49: Bosque/White Sands
  51: Louisiana Wildlife Refuges
 104: Back to Death Valley
 109: San Francisco in the Rain

NEW E BOOK:…….Later this month I’ll be publishing my SERIES 2 E-Book. Articles will include my 10 Commandments for Nature Photographers, A Guide to seeing, and more. Sty Tuned.

2012 CHINA & TIBET

 

CHINA, “Beyond the Wall”   June 20-July 4

TIBET,   (optional)              July 4-   July 11

I’ll be devoting a complete blog edition soon with complete details on these workshops. There is too much information to just breeze through it here.

However, the event IS as they say “put to bed” and ready to go. I’ll be joined by master tour guide and a quite accomplished photographer in her own right, Katherine Feng for a 3 week trip into far NW China along the old Silk Road, and Tibet (optional) Very few, if any,( and I don’t know of any yet) have led a photography workshop into this far away region. Few westerners, let alone photographers have ever seen what we’ll be able to see and experience.

 We have chosen STRABO TOURS to handle the booking. STRABO TOURS is long known for first class international photographic tours and workshops and this will be no exception. All travel within China, (passes, permits etc) will be handled by Strabo. Pricing includes EVERYTHING from Beijing and back. Our itinerary has been carefully planned. Katherine has herself been to this region many times and knows the ins and outs.

 An optional week in Tibet will follow….  Need I say more?

 Please visit  http://www.phototc.com/tours/tour.php?tour=152 for details.

A very brief flyer on the trip. However please visit Strabo’s site for interesting information) 2012 CHINA/TIBET FLYER

 Please email me of you have questions but stay tuned… I’ll have even more details soon.

 This is a truly ONCE IN A LIFETIME EXPERIENCE, that few westerners will ever get to be part of.

 This trip will be limited to only 12 people so please don’t delay.

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 ICELAND 2012

 Right on the heals of the China trip, my 2012 ICELAND workshop will begin. Tentative dates are July 20-July 31.

 Our itinerary has been set and a few other details will be worked out this week. This will be an all inclusive trip. Transportation, accommodations (10 nights) meals, meeting facilities is included.

 In order to insure the best possible experience, we will have 3 experienced photographers to offer you the highest possible service. In addition to me, my good friend and award winning photographer Tim Vollmer, an Icelandic native with vast knowledge of the island along with another fellow workshop assistant Greg Duncan will guide you through the amazing sites found only here in Iceland. Greg has assisted me on may workshops here in the states. http://www.gregduncanphotography.com/-/gregduncanphotography/

 We will photograph the amazing geothermal areas as well as the mountains, waterfalls, glaciers, coastlines and icebergs. Accommodations are truly representative of Iceland.

 Complete details and pricing will be published here in about a week……….Every time I think about this event, I wish it were tomorrow!

 Again, contact me for information.   jack@jackgrahamphoto.com or 503-625-1430

10 OF MY SECRET LOCATIONS

Listen to descriptions of these locations on an interview I did for NIK Radio ( see NIK SOFTWARE DISCOUNT on the blog-right hand column) CLICK HERE for the interview:

http://c4.libsyn.com/media/19968/nik100812.mp3?nvb=20100813165536&nva=20100814170536&sid=e8ab0a98100b1a36af78e2fb86a1fb39&t=019d465cbda3ece987148

Every professional photographer I know has a few “secret” locations that they like to go back to as often as possible. Many times these spots are very close to ones that are well known and visited by hoards of photographers, often photographing the icons of that well know location. I too shoot the icons, always I always look for a different vision ( o we need more postcards?) but more often then not, take that turn, away from the popular spots and head off to the roads less traveled.

Here I’ll discuss just a few of my spots, not as well known, but one I’s like to get back to more often. Some of these are becoming a bit more visited than years ago but are still in many instances close to areas that are much more photographed. I am not going to get into how to get to these locations, the internet can do that for you, but here are some tips when you get there.

If you have any specific questions please email me at jack@jackgrahamphoto.com

1. MYSTERY VALLEY, ARIZONA

Every year, thousands of photographers from all over the world come to Monument Valley on the Utah/Arizona border in the remote northwestern part of the Navajo Nation for the ultimate American western experience. Navajo guides accompany photographers by 4 wheel drive trucks or horseback through Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park past the famous Mittens and other monoliths. The Navajo people have lived in this area for at least 500 years.

Mystery Valley is a relatively unknown destination that features ancient ruins, rock art and many box canyons along with breathtaking views of the wide open spaces within Monument Valley. Mystery Valley is actually located right next to Monument Valley but unlike the valley itself Mystery Valley has little or no tourist traffic and provides a myriad of photographic opportunities. Areas I like to photograph include: Mitchell Butte, Gray Whiskers and Sentinel Mesa.

There are many dwellings that are still in good condition. There are many theories on why the natives left so quickly, which is another story that I’ll discuss sometime, but much of the stone and mud construction still remains intact and the cliff dwellings remain as they were. While there, be sure to visit Square house Ruins (GPS coordinates 36o 53.491’N, 110o 11.416’W),… Baby House Ruins (GPS coordinates 36o 53.277’N, 110o 11.133’W),…. Honeymoon House Ruins GPS coordinates 36o 53.318’N, 110o 10.487’W….. and the House of Many Hands GPS coordinates 36o 54.144’N, 110o 10.160’W.

A Navajo guide is required.

2. THE PALOSE, SOUTHEASTERN WASHINTON

Located in southeastern Washington, the Palouse region is well know to photographers for its patterns of green wheat fields and never ending images of old barns, rolling wheat covered hills in unending shades of green. In August during the harvest season the same hills turn brown and then black after the harvest and burning. Because of its location, perfect rainfall and soil content, the Palouse is the richest wheat producing area in the world. Virtually no irrigation exists. This are, like Monument Valley is a Mecca for photographers from late May through August. Towns like Colfax, Palouse, Dusty, Steptoe, St John, and Rosalia are caught in a time warp. These areas offer great photographic opportunities and are throwbacks of 20-50 years ago.

There are endless opportunities in this are. Here are just a few of my favorite spots to travel through and look for great views and patterns in the fields. Barns, grain elevators and old buildings are everywhere.

While most folks are up at Steptoe Butte, why not check out some of these locations:

Washington State Route 27 out of Pullman—good afternoon spot

SR 272 out of Colfax heading east towards the town of Palouse

Baird Road off Hwy 195 (unpaved) at milepost 60.

Marvin Wells Road and Abbot Road—near Kamiak Butte County Park

File Road west of the town of McCoy between Rosalia and Oakesdale

Kelso Road—same area

Waverley Road—same area

Prairie View Road—same area

The bottom line is to try and stay on the unpaved roads. Some are marked “primitive” and some “summer road”. Get stuck in the deep mud o the “summer road” and you’ll quickly figure out why they are called summer roads. Be careful if there is any rain at all.

3. STRAWBERRY HILL STATE PARK, CENTRAL OREGON COAST

Just south of Yachats (pronounced yahots) on the central Oregon Coast many small State Parks such as Neptune SP and Stonefield Beach are quite popular with visitors and photographers alike. A small state park between Neptune SP and Carl S. Washburne SP is Strawberry Hill State Park… Don’t drive fast, you’ll miss it. Wonderful rock formations, tide pools and crashing waves at high tide make this a hidden gem. Low tide in the evening usually provides for great sunset opportunities.

4. CUYAHOGA NATIONAL PARK, OHIO

Blue Hen Falls

Why is a National Park on a list of secret locations? Frankly it’s because while living in the area for a few years, I rarely found photographers from outside the area and western Pennsylvania photographing there. Within this park are waterfalls, rolling hills, lakes and marshes with both landscape and wildlife photographic opportunities.

Here are a few of my favorites:

1)The Beaver Marsh and Boardwalk area ( great sunrises off the road looking the marsh when its fogs I the spring & summer)

2)Blue Hen, Bridleveil and Brandywine Falls —great in the spring and for fall color

3)The ledges.

4)Hale Farm area

5_Bath Blue Heron Rookery (on Bath Road in the park)—hundreds of herons nesting

… And more—-if you run into a local … say hi for me.

5. SNOW CANYON STATE PARK, SOUTHERN UTAH

Not long ago some good friends and fellow photographers moved to St George Utah. When I visited them they raved about a close area that offered. Snow Canyon SP is everything and more than they promised. I’ve been back a few times.

I was amazed at the lack of other photographers in an area close to Zion NP and other wonders of southern Utah. Striations and patterns in the rocks, along with some interesting plant life make for wonderful images. Is it “The Wave”? Well not really, but in my opinion, pretty close!

Snow Canyon SP is 11 miles west of St. George. Next time you get to Zion put this on your must see list. Get there in good light.

6. PANGUITCH LAKE , UTAH

I always love sunsets here. This good size lake is off HWY 143 ½ way between Cedar Breaks and the small town of Panguitch, Utah. Looking east across the lake at sunset can be great. The area also offers a lot photographically.

7. HOOD CANAL, WASHINGTON

Hood Canal flows for 65 miles at the base of the Olympic Mountains. The canl is kind between Puget Sound and the mountains. This area offers some of the most magnificent scenery anywhere. There are nine state parks along the canal. US 101 parallels the canal on the west side with easy access to the shoreline. At low tide oysters are plentiful on the mud flats. My favorite areas are the Toandos Peninsula, Quilecene Bay, Black Point, and Triton Head. Take your time and enjoy!

8. GRIZZLY ISLAND WILDLIFE REFUGE AND SUISUN MARSH, NO. CALIFORNIA

If you enjoy photographing birds, you’ll love this spot. Grizzly Island Wildlife Area is located in the heart if the great Suisun Marsh, approximately ten miles southeast of the City of Fairfield in Solano County, California The Suisun Marsh is the largest remaining contiguous area of coastal wetland in California. (It contains 54,000 acres of marsh and upland areas plus an additional 30,000 acres of waterways). In winter, it is an important feeding and resting area for waterfowl traveling the Pacific Flyway, at times with as many as 1,500,000 ducks and geese.

Within the Grizzly Island and Suisun Marsh it is common to be able to photograph hawks, great herons, egrets, Blue Herons and more right from your car (your car makes a great blind… bring a long lens and a beanbag. I use a window mount by Kirk Enterprises) Driving deeper into marsh the wildlife becomes more concentrated and varied. In the winter it’s common to see herds of Tule Elk feeding in the mornings.

The road into the marsh is paved until you reach Grizzly Island ( crossing a bridge). There the road quickly becomes unpaved. Be careful of fisherman driving fast as well as the dust. The canals and marshes offer some of the best waterfowl and wading bird photography anywhere.

Getting there:
From Interstate 80 in Solano County, exit CA 12 east (exit 43). Drive about 4 miles east on 12, then turn right onto Grizzly Island Road. Drive about 9 miles on Grizzly Island Road, to the park office on the left side of the road. Stop and register, then continue on Grizzly Island

9. LITTLE FINLAND (or HOBGLOBINS), NEVADA DESERT

Little Finland, ( has nothing to do with the country) also known as “Hobgoblin’s”, is located in a very, (and I mean very) remote area of Nevada, off a backcountry road named then Gold Butte Byway.
A high clearance 4WD vehicle, a GPS and topographic map are mandatory to get there. However, I guarantee that it’s worth the effort as you will get to photograph some of the most extraordinarily sandstone formations, with amazing and unusual and shapes reminding one of animals or other creatures Late afternoon or early morning( that means camping! Provide the warm light necessary to bring out the deep sandstone colors.

Over time, the sand cements into rock and is totally shaped, looking like fins ( thus the name Finland) by the wind, leaving some incredible formations. Some of the shapes look like dragons or beasts, other like faces.

Tread lightly as the formations are very fragile.=

Getting there is a tough trip, this isn’t a state park and there are NO facilities or water. Be prepared. This can be a dangerous trip. I suggest not going alone, and if possible take 2 vehicles. There is neither cell phone availability nor a way of communicating with the outside world…

DIRECTIONS: About five miles from Mesquite, take I-15 exit 112 towards Riverside/Bunkerville (about 1 hr from LAS VEGAS). Follow directions for Gold Butte Backcountry Byway and take a right onto the road. After a few miles the pavement ends and the road urns to dirt.

Follow signs for “Devil’s Throat” – a sinkhole. Where the road forks, bear right and follow it until it turns into Mud Wash, the river bed you will drive on. Follow it for a few miles and take the right branch again where it forks. This should lead you to Little Finland.

I would strongly suggest purchasing issue 113 of the PHOTOGRAPHIC AMERICA NEWSLETTER (Secrets of the Nevada Desert) and read it carefully before attempting this trip.( for that matter I’d buy all of these newsletters—if you do, tell Bob Hitchman I sent you) www.photographamerica.com

10. HIGHWAY 19 from the PAINTED HILLS north TO INTERSTATE 84, OREGON

Lots of photographers go to the beautiful John Day Fossil Beds and the Painted Hills of north central Oregon to make images of these beautiful formations. If you go (and you should) take a little extra time and follow the meandering state highway19 from the Painted Hills in Mitchell, OR north to Interstate 84 and the Columbia River. You’ll drive through towns like Fossil (yes you can dig them there) Condon, Mayville and others. These towns are similar to those in the Palouse as far as being about 30 years behind the times. The canyons, old barns offer lots of photographic opportunities. It’s about a 2 hour drive (so add time to photograph) up to the interstate.