Category Archives: Tajikistan Photography

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

         Jack Graham Photography              www.jackgrahamphoto.com

Learn to See                        Learn to think                      Learn to create

2012 Workshop Schedule    http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/2012-workshop-schedule    — WORKSHOPS FILLING FAST —!!

2012 Registration Form   REGISTRATION FORM 2012v9

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

 One on One, Individual Workshop information http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/one-one-field-studio-photography-workshops

Workshop FAQ’s  GENERAL WORKSHOP QUESTIONS_FAQ’S INFORMATION_v2012f

PODCASTwww.18percentgraymatter.com    new podcast ready now—interview with Laurie Rubin, NIK SOFTWARE

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Getting set for the webinar at Nik Software

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

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

Jack,

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

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

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

Thanks—Anne

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

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FEATURED ARTICLE
© Jack Graham

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

Which One Works is a feather I am publishing here on my blog every week or two. I’ll discuss and compare images and talk about why I like one over the others.

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

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

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

Your comments, as always are more than welcome.

______________________________________________________________________

Badwater, DVNP © Jack Graham

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

Lat: 36°36’44.16″N

Long: 117°07’2.93″W

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

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

 THE STORY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–         1/3 compensation  no filters

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

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

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

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

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

–         1/3 compensation no filters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think?

JG

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

 

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

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

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

                            Jack Graham Photography

www.jackgrahamphoto.com

    Learn to See                        Learn to think                      Learn to create

 

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

2012 Registration Form   REGISTRATION FORM 2012v9

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

One on One, Individual Workshop information http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/one-one-field-studio-photography-workshops

Workshop FAQ’s GENERAL WORKSHOP QUESTIONS_FAQ’S INFORMATION_v2012f

PODCASTwww.18percentgraymatter.com

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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

LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRPAHY MAGAZINE   http://landscapephotographymagazine.com/

This months issue (Feb 2012)  contains an article entitled “Focus on the Unconventional” http://landscapephotographymagazine.com/magazine/issue-12/ by me. I hope you find it interesting. While you are there, check out his 1st class publication. Compared to many of the print magazines, Landscape Photography is far ahead of the curve. Check out them various sections and innovative layout here. Let me know how you like the article!.

NIK WEBINAR : I’ll be doing a webinar for NIK DOFTWARE, live in their studio from 2-3PM (Pacific Time) on February 28th.  The webinar topic is “Keeping it Simple” and getting the most out of the NIK Software Suite. Click here to register for the webinar:  http://www.niksoftware.com/learnmore/usa/index.php/webinars/signup/12851?j=16013119&e=jack@jackgrahamphoto.com&l=175395_HTML&u=205139063&mid=115479&jb=0

See you there!  (save 15% on NIK Software—order online www.niksoftware.com and enter the code JGRAHAM)

WORKSHOPS; My 2012 workshops are beginning to fill quickly. The links you need to have are at the top of this page. We have only one seat left for Iceland, and just a few for our unbelievable trip to Hidden China and Tibet this summer. Also the workshops in the Southwest this spring are almost filled.. Don’t miss out on these !!!!

__________________ FEATURED ARTICLE————————————————————————————————————

WHICH ONE WORKS?          #3

    “Composition, Processing challenges and the Feeling”

©Jack Graham / Jack Graham Photography

Within these discussion that will appear on my blog every week or two, I’ll discuss and compare images and talk about why I like one over the others.

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

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

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

You comments, as always are more than welcome.

______________________________________________________________________

IMAGE # 1 Beaver Pond, Lundy Canyon,

 

LOCATION:  Beaver pond, Lundy Canyon, Eastern Sierra, California

 

THE STORY:  Prior to the start of my fall workshop in the Eastern Sierra, in 2011, Guy Tal www.guytal.com) and me, spent a few days together, scouting the area for our coming workshop in early October. Late in the afternoon as some weather was moving in we drove back into the beaver pond past Lundy Lake. I’ve been back here in some wonderful weather tor photography ( for me its dramatic skies; usually adverse conditions!). There is  lots of subject matter here. There is a series of ponds all high maintained by the local beavers who monitor the water level and use the plentiful amount of aspens and other trees for their dens, easily visible from the shoreline.

 

 

IMGAE # 2   Beaverpond Lundy Canyyon
IMGAE # 2 Beaverpond Lundy Canyyon

 

Its’ about 7000’ elevation here and the temperature is usually about 10-15 degrees colder than in close by Lee VIning and Mono Lake. Though the weather was not really terrible, it was about 32 degrees Fahrenheit and windy and raining and snowing at times pretty hard. Unfortunately the wind was blowing right at us. I’ve been in worse. The light was just ok, but for a few minutes when the sunlight pushed through the clouds in the distance hi about the mountains where it was snowing and the snow up high really made this image interesting. Though I had my chamois ready, the raindrops were a factor on my lens as you can see in the raw file.

 

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TECH DATA:

Image 1 ( Horizontal )                                                                                                              Image # 2  (Vertical)

Date/Time: 2011:10:10 16:21:36 Nikon D700 /Nikon 28-70mm F 2.8           2011:10:10 16:04:41 Nikon D700  /Nikon 17-35mm F 2.8

Shutter speed: 1/30 sec   Aperture: 16                                                                    Shutter speed: 1/13 sec   Aperture: 16

Exposure mode: Manual Metering mode: Spot                                                    Exposure mode: Manual Metering mode: Spot

ISO: 400   Focal length: 30mm                                                                                ISO: 400   Focal length: 20mm

 

Let’s discuss processing. II did all my normal processing Adobe Lightroom & did a lot of cloning in Photoshop of the water droplets that I could not prevent from hitting my lens! ( you can see my workflow and processing information in my eBook Series 1 available for sale on my website: I then used my   NIK Software as follows:

Here are the origional RAW FILES of each image

RAW file before processing

 

 

 

RAW file before processing

1)       Define 2.0—noise reduction. With my Nikon D700 at ISO400 there was virtually NO noise

2)       Viveza 2.0 – added a good amount of structure and some contrast to the clouds (see my glossary below & learn these terms). I reduced the amount to light in the upper right, ‘

By adding some structure to the water, I was able to bring out some of the reflections as well. I also adjusted the shadows in the trees and brought out a lot of definition, lost in the RAW file. (This is why we use the RAW format. We have much more to work with and can make these adjustments correctly… a discussion of RAW vs. jpeg can be found here: https://jackgrahamphoto.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/photo-tip-podcast-workshop-info/

3)       Color Efex 4 – I added just a tad of Brilliance & Warmth and then just a little Pro Contrast. I used the foliage adjustment to bring out the greens & the foliage along the shoreline. As always I added a vignette, using the Darken –Lighten center feature. This allowed me to choose where I want the center of attraction to be. I chose the shoreline on the left side of the pone. and adjusted the amount of vignette I wanted as well as the amount of darkening I wanted the boarders to have.

4)       Sharpening _ I used NIK’S Sharpener Pro 3.0 . I wanted the trees and vegetation sharper than the mountaintops and certainly the sky. With the Nik software I can control using the U-Point technology the area I want to have sharper than others. Not all images need this but this one did.

 

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

 

THE EDIT:   

 

Both images deliver a totally different feeling and emoting. I chose image 2.Some of you who know me know I really love vertical images and for a while I tended to photograph more vertical images than horizontal. I’ve now learned to shoot both angles and make the decision later! This is a good example.

IMAGE #2

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

2)       Strong  foreground

3)       Clouds more dramatic

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

5)       Somewhat better light

Let me now what you think!

 

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

 

HIDDEN CHINA & TIBET (optional) SUMMER 2012 … not your average China Photo Tour!

                                          Jack Graham Photography  

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    FAQ’S–  GENERAL WORKSHOP QUESTIONS_FAQ’S INFORMATION_v2012f

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

One on One, Individual Workshop information http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/one-one-field-studio-photography-workshops

Jack Graham E-Book Series 1 & 2 now available for purchase and instant download:     http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/shop/e-books

WEBSITE: http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/home

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                                                “HIDDEN CHINA”        June 20-July 4   2012

                         TIBET (optional)       July   4- July 11 2012           ………….. NOT you average China Photo Tour!

 

NOTE:——-This tour is officially a “go”. We have a few limited seats left. Due to the nature of this tour, the group size is very small.

 Hidden is a word probably underestimating what this tour is about! To my knowledge, very few IF ANY photography tours have visited this region in NW China. This will be a truly remarkable experience.

It is almost impossible to describe this experience. For almost 2 ½ years now Katherine Feng and I have put together this once in a lifetime experience that we are offering this summer. Yes, there are many tours to the usual parts of China but few if any that will venture far, into the “hidden”, areas of the northwestern part of China, by the “Old Silk Road”, and beyond. Other locations and features of this workshop that we are offering are exceedingly unique having not experienced by few visitors. We can offer this experience based on relationships between the people of the area and us. We’ll get to see the inner places and even some rituals that are rare to westerners. Please take a minute and read the information below, you will soon see what I am talking about.

Katherine and I will be there by your side to aid in our photographic experience. This will be made to discuss many aspects of photography and review our images. I am lucky to have Katherine Feng as my associate leader. I met Katherine at a NANPA ( www.nanpa.org ) summit a few years ago. This workshop has been 2 1/2 years in preparation; Katherine has been to this region many times, knows the area well and has met many people there that will aid us in getting images that few westerners have been privy to witness. I have been to China many times as well.

Katherine’s Bio

http://www.phototc.com/leaders/leader.php?who=22

Jack’s Bio

http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/bio

We have chosen Strabo Tours as our workshop tour company. They specialize in international workshops and work closely with Chinese tour agencies in order to make sure that everything (and I mean everything) goes smoothly.  Strabo Tours is known as the premier tour organization, specializing in International Photographic Tours for many years. You can contact them directly Phone: (607) 756-8676 or Email them at: info@strabotours.com  (ask for Jacquie Steedle) with very specific questions and you’ll get answers. If this workshop were going just to Beijing, Shanghai or the  regularly visited areas in China, we still would need to make sure that we are going to have an uneventful trip, but since we are going to areas that, to my knowledge few if any tours have ever gone, it is doubly important. We have, along with Strabo Tours made this happen. They take care of everything. You just need to show up and let us take you to places beyond belief!

………………In other words, this is NOT you average China Photo Tour…………., it’s Hidden China!

Our complete itinerary and pertinent information can be located by clicking on this link:    http://www.phototc.com/tours/tour.php?tour=152  or read on……

Day by itineraries, food concern, and hotel information is included. Everything, including tips is included, from your arrival into Beijing to your departure out of Beijing.

We are including an optional number of days in beautiful Tibet.as well (See Below)

People say that certain things are a one in a lifetime experience. I can guarantee that this excursion is that and more.

This is a very small tour due to our specified itineries. Please do not hesitate in booking your space. There are only a few seats left. Again, you can contact me or Strabo Tours for further information, however all deposits and booking MUST go through Strabo Tours: (Contact info below)

Phone: (607) 756-8676 | Email: info@strabotours.com                       click here for dome idea on what we’ll be photographing!  Random Images

Thank you for considering this once in a lifetime trip!——Jack

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Itinerary:

BEIJING  We’ll start with Beijing a vast city, measuring fifty miles from end to end, with a population of over thirteen million. It has long been a political center of China. Our trip will include some of the Beijing’s most historic and photogenic sites.

The Forbidden City (Imperial Palace): The home and center of the Ming and Qing dynasties; it is now the largest and best-preserved cluster of ancient buildings in China.

Tiananmen Square: Directly opposite of the Forbidden City, this was a meeting place and location for government offices in imperial times and has been the site of major rallies during communist rule.

 The Temple of Heaven: Considered highly sacred ground, it was here that the emperor performed the major ceremonial rites of the year. The Temple of Heaven has become the icon of Beijing.

Purple Bamboo Park: We will make an early morning excursion to one of Beijing’s most beautiful and popular parks.  Here we will have the opportunity to photograph the local people as they exercise, sing and dance.

Beijing Hutong: We will spend a morning aboard a rickshaw riding through a local hutong.  A hutong is an ancient city alley or lane typical in Beijing. As we travel we will visit a local home and photograph the life around one of Beijing’s best preserved hutongs.

The Great Wall: Considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Great Wall was begun over 2,000 years ago. It is over 3,000 miles long, crossing five provinces and two autonomous regions.  We will visit this famous structure at the less crowded Mutianyu section for the late afternoon light.

Kashgar: Located in the western part of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northwest China, Kashgar was once a major hub of the famous silk road. Today, the city covers an area of 15 km² and has a population of about 350,000. Although Kashgar is experiencing rapid modernization, it still maintains many of its exotic characteristics.  The largest ethnic community in Kashgar are the Uyghurs and Islamic culture permeates throughout the city.  To many visitors, Kashgar is a ‘photographer’s banquet’.  Several scenes in the movie ‘The Kite Runner’ were filmed in Kashgar.  We will spend three full days in and around Kashgar photographing must see/experience highlights.

Id Kah Mosque and the surrounding old town: The Id Kah Mosque was built about 1442 with parts of it dating back to 996.  Today it covers 16,800 square meters, is the largest mosque in China and can accommodate 20,000 worshippers.  Behind Id Kah Mosque is the arts and crafts street where artisans can be seen making musical instruments, wood crafts and copper ware.  Kashgar’s Old Town is a Uyghur residential area that has a history of over 2000 years.  Today it has more than 600 homes with over 2000 inhabitants.  Because the government considers the Old Town to be overcrowded and unsafe, homes are in the process of being demolished to allow for construction of newer, more modern dwellings.

Live Stock Market and Kashgar Bazaar:  Every Wednesday, in a small town about 15km from Kashgar, a livestock and general market day takes place.  During our visit you can experience and photograph the bustling activity as farmers transport their animals and barter over the price of their livestock.  With the exception of motorized vehicles and cell phones, one can imagine themselves stepping back in time.  The Kashgar Bazaar is held in a huge covered structure with vendors spilling out onto the surrounding streets.  Dried fruits, spices, ethnic clothing, rugs, handicrafts are common stalls to visit, but colorful bolts of cloth, shoes and even hi-tech items are amply available.

Tashkurgan (also spelled Tashkorgan): Meaning ‘Stone Fortress’ Tashkorgan is located in Xinjiang’s extreme western area and is situated between the Kunlun and Pamir Mountain Ranges. The Stone City was famous for its location at the junction of the middle and southern routes of the ancient Silk Road and for the Chinese arriving from Kashgar and Yarkand, it was the end of the Silk Road. Today, the majority of the inhabitants are Tajik who are known for their warmth and hospitality.  We will have an opportunity to photograph the ruins of the old fortress which was also filmed in the ‘Kite Runner’.

As we travel the Karakorum Highway to Tashkurgan we will visit beautiful Karakul Lake.  At an elevation of 3,600meters, Karakul Lake is the highest lake in the Pamir Plateau and is situated near the junction of the Pamir, Kulun and Tianshan mountain ranges.  We will also have outstanding views of the Kongger Mountain Range and the imposing Muztagh Ata.  Muztagh Ata, with an elevation of 7546 meters ( 24,860 ft) is the origin of 5 glaciers (thus the name Muztagh which means the Father of Ice Mountains).

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OPTIONAL TIBET:——————-The highlights of Tibet

When someone mentions Tibet, many thoughts come to mind: Buddhist monasteries and monks, the Dali Lama, Tibetan pilgrims, incense and some of the highest mountains in the world! Your extension will allow you to see and photograph some of the beast scenery and culture that Tibet has to offer. Highlights include

LhasaWe will start our Tibetan journey in Lhasa, the administrative capitol of the Tibetan

Autonomous Region. Located at an elevation of 3,490 meters (11.450 ft) it is one of the highest capitols in the world. Lhasa covers an area of about 20.5 sq mi and has a total population of over 1 million.  During our stay in Lhasa we will visit the following highlights:

Potala Palace: The Potala Palace was the chief residence of the Dalai Lama until 14th Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959.  The Palace consist of 13 stories of building and contains over 1,000 rooms. Today the Potala Palace is a museum often receiving 1500 visitors a day.

Deprung Monastery: This Monastery is located 5km outside of Lhasa and is one of the four great Gelugpa Monasteries in Tibet. It was once Tibet’s largest and most influential monastery.

Sera Monastery: Also one of the three great monasteries in Lhasa and of the Gelugpa sect, Sera Monastery is located in the northern suburb of Lhasa.  One of the highlights of Sera Monastery is the courtyard debating practice sessions held by the monks most afternoons.

Jokhang Temple: Located on the Barkhor Square, the Jokhang Temple is the most sacred and important temple in Tibet.  It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and the spiritual center of Lhasa.

Barkhor Circuit/Street: Surrounding the Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street is a major part of a Buddhist’s pilgrimage to Lhasa. While the street is now lined with shops and vendors, pilgrims, prayer wheels in hand, continue to make their circuit along this street.

Shigazte: The second largest city in Tibet, the highlight of Shigatze is the Tashilhunpo Monastery which was founded by the First Dalai Lama in 1447.  It covers an area of nearly 300,000 sq. meters (3,229,279 sq. ft), has about 3,600 rooms and is home to approximately 800 monks. Tashilhunpo Monastery is a wonderful place to wander, photograph and interact with the monks and pilgrims.

Gyantse:  Gyantse is home to the Palkhor Monastery (also known as the Pelkor Chöde Monastery).  This monastery which was founded in 1418 and was once a complex of 15 monasteries that brought together 3 different orders of Tibetan Buddhism.  Today, the main attraction is the  Gyantse Kumbum, the largest chörten in Tibet. The structure rises 35meters over four stories surmounted by a golden dome that resembles a crown over four sets of eyes.

Yamdrok Yumtso Lake: Located almost midway between Gyantze and Lhasa, Yamdrok

Yumtso Lake is one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet.  It is over 45 miles long and surrounded by many snow- capped mountains.

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What To Expect

This tour is designed to be a photo tour, and, as such, we must be flexible in our scheduling. Much of what we do,(and when we do it), will depend upon weather and light. We will, however, visit the major sites listed in each city.

While it is hoped that all tour members will join the group on scheduled activities, there will also be opportunities for optional early-morning excursions. These excursions may require additional public/ground transportation not covered in the tour cost. These costs (such as a taxi ride, for example) can be shared, but will be the responsibility of those tour members joining the excursion.

China has made great strides in tourist accommodations and services in recent years, but please remember that it is still a developing country, so we may experience occasional inconveniences.  All our accommodations will be clean and comfortable, with private toilet and shower/bath. The hotels have been chosen for your comfort as well as their proximity to prime photographic locations.  Our motor coaches will be modern, clean, and comfortable.

There may also be some optional activities that may present themselves during the course of our trip which are not included in the itinerary. The activities will be available at your discretion, for a small charge, and dependent upon the cooperation of the local weather.

PLEASE NOTE

In the areas we will visit within the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region the majority of the people are Muslim (Uyghurs, Tajiks, Krygiz) and they do not eat pork.  Therefore, most of our meals will have mutton as our main source of meat.  This is especially true once we leave Kashgar (where we will be able to have chicken and  beef).

Also, the towns and cities outside of Kashgar are relatively unknown to western tourists and can therefore be lacking in modern western conveniences.  Restaurants will be simple country restaurants.  Outside of our hotels, toilet facilities are often Asian squat toilets (that is, no western sit-down toilet). During our travels, sometimes behind a large rock, shrub or tree will be the best place to relieve one-self.  It is hoped that participants will overlook the lack of western comforts with the knowledge that they will have unique experiences and photographic opportunities unlike that of any other photo tour offered.

Health and Fitness

Tour participants should be in good health and good physical condition. Although we will not be running marathons, we will be walking along the Great Wall for a mile or so, which involves some rather steep steps in places.  While in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonmous Region, our travels will take us to Karakul Lake with an elevation of 3600 meters (11,800ft), briefly over a mountain pass with an elevation of about 4000 meters (13,000 ft) and we will spend two nights in Tashkurgan at an elevation of about 3100 meters (10,000ft). People not accustomed to these elevations may feel a shortness of breath.  For those who are concerned about how these elevations might affect their health, it is recommended that they first consult their physician prior to signing up for this photo tour.

Pricing Info

Tour land cost: $7,995 US Dollars based upon minimum of 10 paying participants. There is a small group surcharge of $400 if 8-9 paying participants. All our program prices are based on double occupancy unless noted in exceptions.

Single room supplement: $1,145; single rooms are subject to availability and are not guaranteed. We try to accommodate travelers who request single accommodations, as well as travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested, or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, you will be required to pay the supplement.

Extension land cost: $3,695 based upon minimum of 8 paying participants. There is a small group surcharge of $300 if 6-7 paying participants.

Single room supplement: $345; single rooms are subject to availability and are not guaranteed.

Note: The land costs on international tours are based upon current exchange rates. Although the rate has been relatively stable, should it change, there may need to be an adjustment in the land cost.

 

Last Minute Gift Ideas…. E Book now Available

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         PODCAST:   www.18percentgraymatter.com_________________________________________________________________
 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Did you know?

 1)    Last MinuteHolidayGift?       Consider a workshop.             Consider a One on One workshop.     GIVE a GIFT CERTIFICATE: PRINTABLE GIFT CERTIFICATE

2)    Only 2 spots left for Iceland—July 20, 2012

3)    I’ll have another article coming next month published by Landscape Photography Magazine. Please check out what available within this publication. It is a superior value .

http://landscapephotographymagazine.com/

 

ON THE ROAD IN 2012:  Yes; it’s almost time to head out for another year on the road. Frankly I can’t wait!. Registrations are coming in for my 2012 workshop & one on one workshop schedule. Take advantage of my 10% discount ( amount other discounts!) and register by 1/1/2012.

                          2011 WORKSHOP DISCOUNTSv5

 Unfortunately I cannot offer discounts for international workshops and the two workshops I’ll be conducting for the pacific Northwest Art School. http://www.pacificnorthwestartschool.org/all/photography-workshops/graham-jack-photography-on-whidbey-may-9-12-2012

                                                                                                           AMISH IMPRESSIONS:

 One of my workshop attendees, Don Dennis, from the Syracuse NY area came attended my Ohio workshop this past October. We spent one full day photographing on an Amish Farm–(yes.. on the farm, not from the road!…. and  then ate a magnificent meal right there on the farm!) We all were allowed into all of their buildings and came away with some up front and personal images, that, to my knowledge, no other photography workshop offers. I’ll be repeating this workshop again in 2013.

 Don has attended my Southwest workshop as well as the Ohioevent . His superb work can be found here: http://www.dondennisphotography.com/  Don put together a short slideshow of his images. They are really wonderful shots. Take a minute and check them out!

http://www.dondennisphotography.com/Landscapes/Amish-Impressions/20375780_c7ZkCg#1612127932_Zp8Ws2M

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 Last minute  “cool” gifts…. For the photographer who has everything:…..Don’t miss some great Values hot off the press:

Hunt’s— 5 day specials—-free shipping!

http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?llr=kn4idvbab&v=001zcvTRfzfKBE8d8nPEySSPLzrRbR9KyVvj0Ts26OsmeOYkefWwecwAFDwGtlATP-rlFLTCazS6lNZiNV4pleMCG0HTiI_FxKj2qVvJ8mTjvmtuXiH6c8tv7VpN9049aebg3IbpRfZvdQ%3D


OUTDOOR PHOTO GEAR—every worthwhile photographic accessory, all under one roof! Click on the banner above and check them out! These folks HAVE it all.  Here is their 2011 Gift Guide http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=8819bcc94cd5fa0c347cde75c&id=1839b76b5f

REMEMBER THE GREAT PROMOTION FROM NIK SOFTWARE & THINK TANK   

NIK SOFTWARE: https://jackgrahamphoto.wordpress.com/2011/12/08/special-nik-software-promotion-save-200-00-quietude-portland-japanese-garden/

THINK TANK PHOTO: https://jackgrahamphoto.wordpress.com/2011/11/30/think-tank-photo-gear-holiday-offers-wow/

 

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Three things I am either purchasing or strongly considering!

Product Details1)  Maxell’s AIRSTASH:  —very cool!!!!!     $149.95

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20078485-1/maxells-airstash-usb-card-reader-turned-ipad-storage-expander/

This is a USB SD card reader which, like all card readers, allows users to connect an SD card to a computer and use it as an external drive. However, this is the first card reader that incorporates a Wireless-N access point, a built-in media server, and a battery. This means that when it’s unplugged from the computer, it becomes a wireless storage expander, just like any of the aforementioned devices.

The AirStash can stream data to up to eight wireless clients at a time; the Satellite can stream to three clients at most, and the G-Connect can stream to only five.

The advantage of the AirStash, is that it offers users the flexibility of using any SD card as its storage, meaning, among other things, that you can immediately stream content from the original source, such as a camera or a camcorder. The device is also really compact and, as it has no moving parts. The AirStash supports SD cards of up to 128GB of storage space.

BUY it HERE: http://www.amazon.com/Maxell-AirStash-Computer-A02-8GB/dp/B006473T9M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1323874199&sr=8-1

GoPro Camera HD HERO2 EditionGoPro HD Video:  ……. Why Not?

The advanced GoPro HD Hero2 Outdoor Edition wide-angle helmet cam records professional-quality resolution up to 1080p, capturing your outdoor adventures in incredibly smooth and clear detail.

  • More powerful in every way than its predecessors, HD Hero2 boasts a faster image processor, sharper lens, better low-light performance and an 11MP sensor
  • LCD interface makes this versatile camera easier to use than other helmet cams; LED lights on all sides are viewable from any angle
  • Shoots 1080p HD video at 30 frames per second; 960p at 48 frames per second; 720p at 60 frames per second; WVGA video at 120 frames per second
  • 170° wide-angle lens captures amazingly wide and sharp HD video
  • Shoot up to 6 hrs. of TV-quality video with sound on a full charge with a 32GB SD card (not included)

BUY IT HERE: http://www.amazon.com/GoPro-CHDHH-001-HD-Helmet-Hero/dp/B002VA56I8/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1323874240&sr=1-1

Fujifilm FinePix X100: First-look preview by dpreview.com

I love the retro-Leica look! And the focal length—great low noise too—- but hard to find–new and IN DEMAND!

In amongst a flurry of major camera announcements at Photokina 2010, one model stole the show – Fujifilm’s retro-looking, large sensor, fixed lens compact: the X100. With its APS-C CMOS sensor and fast 23mm F2 lens giving a classic 35mm equivalent moderate wide-angle view, this rangefinder-styled camera has traditional control dials plus an innovative ‘hybrid’ viewfinder that combines a large, bright optical finder with a high-resolution electronic display.

Fujifilm X10 specification highlights

  • 12MP EXR CMOS sensor
  • 28-112mm F2.0-2.8 lens
  • Optical viewfinder (85% coverage)
  • 2.8″, 460,000 dot LCD
  • Extensive manual control
  • Raw shooting and in-camera Raw conversion
  • Continuous shooting up to 7fps at full resolution (10fps at 6MP)

http://www.amazon.com/Fujifilm-X100-Digital-Fujinon-2-8-Inch/dp/B0043RS864/ref=cm_cmu_pg_t

FALL COLOR PHOTO TIPS…East and West.. (updated from 2007 edition)…NEW FROM NIK SOFTWARE-Color Efex Pro4……PODCAST NEWS

PLEASE READ THE ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING Nik Software’s new Color Efex Pro4 AND OUR  PODCAST WITH NIK”S PRODUCT MANAGER Josh Haftel below!!!!!!!!

www.18percentgraymatter.com

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2011 Workshop Schedule  http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/2011-workshop-schedule

Reg Forms & FAQ’S REGISTRATION FORM 2011v9      FAQ’S

2012 Workshop Schedulehttp://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/2012-workshop-schedule

Reg Forms & FAQ’S   REGISTRATION FORM 2012        FAQ”S

WORKSHOP DISCOUNTS   WORKSHOP DISCOUNTS

Jack’s Website   www.jackgrahamphoto.com

PODCAST:  www.18percentgraymatter.com                      WATCH FOR MY NEW E_BOOK       -COMING SOON!!!!!!!

COMING in 2012-–I will be doing a workshop on Whidbey Island , Washington May 10-13 2012  with the folks at  the PACIFIC NORTHWEST ART SCHOOL (www.pacificnorthwestartschool.org). In addition I’ll also be offering a 3 1/2 day Oregon Coast workshop with the Pacific Northwest Artschool in September—-STAY TUNED for details soonhttp://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/whidbey-island-washington-pacific-northwest-art-school

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WHAT’S NEW:

It’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog. Ongoing, I’ll be more active. It’s been a busy workshop season and will continue that way through mid November.

 WORKSHOPS: I have a few spots left for my Fall Color in Ohio Workshop  http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/fall-color-ne-ohio-well-very-special-day-amish-oct-2011  in late October… as well as the Fall color workshop in Napa Valley, San Francisco and the Northern California Coast in early November.http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/fall-northern-california-napa-pt-reyesmarin-headlands-sf-coastline-s-sf Registration forms are available above. These are going to be very special events. Please consider joining us.  The Eastern Sierra Workshop with Guy Tal and me, in mid October has one opening left.http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/eastern-sierra-photography-workshop-1-spot-left

DON’T FORGET ICELAND 2012 (filling fast) http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/ultimate-iceland    and CHINA 2012  http://www.phototc.com/tours/tour.php?tour=152    in 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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www.18percentgraymatter.com PODCAST—BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG NEWS—THE BEST JUST GOT BETTER…—  Recently Bob Kulon and I recorded an interview with Josh Haftel, product manager at NIK SOFTWARE www.niksoftware.com  regarding today’s announcement from NIK about their newly upgraded COLOR EFEX PRO4 program( available today for download). Please take a few minutes and listen to the PODCAST. You can access the site here.   By using the code 18percent, you’ll receive an additional 15 % discount! This is a great program. The new addition has more filters as well as filter stacking (Thanks NIK). Please check it out, you will not be disappointed.  

                                      Remember  code=  18percent    &   save 15% on download  www.niksoftware.com

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Mary & Peter Andrade

GOOD READING: My good friends and past workshop attendees Mary & Peter Andrade have an interesting blog on line. http://pamphotography.wordpress.com/

These folks are good photographers with some different perspectives on some really cool subject matter. They have become good friends and though Mary & Peter are somewhat different in their approach, they have some really great images up in the blog, as well as some really good information. Do yourself a favor and check it out!

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Also, I am really proud of my son, and fellow photographer Matthew Graham. Check out his work, he’s doing some great stuff—Way to go Matt!!!

http://matthewgrahamphoto.com/wp/

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ANOTHER FRAUD  http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/world/celebrated-wildlife-photographer-exposed-as-fraud-in-sweden-61616.html

When will these folks learn——keep this in mind when it’s tempting to cheat. Sometimes editors should ask to see the RAW FILE!

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   And finally–Don’t forget to check out the latest specials from my good friends at Hunt’s

http://wbhunt.com/specials/

                                    AND OF COURSE:  <img src=”http://www.outdoorphotogear.com/affiliate/banners/BlueGreen_OPG_banner_180x150.jpg” alt=”

   just click the banner and start shopping—-you’ll find accessories not found in your local camera store, all under one roof here. These are good people!

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FEATURED ARTICLE…………….AUTUMN, EAST AND WEST, Tips for Fall Photography

(Updated from my 2007 blog post)  ©J Graham

Bridalveil Falls, Ohio

If you love shooting the landscape like me, fall is our time of year. Fall is when the mountains, hills and valleys light up, on fire….. and then go out in a natural blaze of glory.

I have been lucky to have lived and photographed autumns here in the west, as well as the eastern regions of the country. There some major differences in photographic technique in both regions as well as certain skills.  There are also some similarities.

For me,Michigan,Wisconsin, and the Adirondack Mountains of NY North-Eastern Ohio and of courseVermontis the most productive areas for me in the Northeast. Colorado, Utah, The Cascades and the Sierra Nevada Mountains are my favorites in the west. Northern Arizona, from Flagstaff north is also one of my favorites as is Yellowstone and Teton National Parks

In the east the Maples (Sugar, black and red) can be simply amazing. Other species add to the palate such as beech and hemlocks bring out lots of yellows and orange color. It takes a good summer of rain; along with the right climatic conditions bring out the best in fall color. The Maple trees are aided in color when temperatures reach high enough to bring back up the sugar into the tree. After the temperatures drop in the evenings, the sugar drops within the trees system. This is how the color becomes apparent in the leaves.

While the maples in the east blaze in red, the autumn color in the west is mostly shades of orange and gold. The principle tree in higher altitude regions is theAspen.

Aspens in the Eastern Sierra, California

The aspen propagates by sending root suckers through the ground. This makes for groups of trees that are all clones of each other, sometimes referred to as a vein of aspens. You can easily pick these out against the mountainsides in the west. Unlike the east where finding the grand scenic may be a bit tougher at times, I have always  found it easy to capture these veins of aspens in the west. I can remember driving south on US 395 from Bridgeport to Lee Vining (the home of Mono Lake) and shooting the aspens right off the highway.

Be sure to monitor the weather. Weather in the UP of Michigan’sCountry Fall well as most of the west can change within hours. I have been in the Sierra where the morning was 60 degrees, at the height of the fall color, and in the 30’s by sunset, with the leaves dropping. Aspens can loose their leaves overnight. Timing is very critical.

Most states offer fall color information using the State Department of Natural Resources web sites.  Go to a search engine and type in “department of natural resources, then your state.”

Let’s face it, we as photographers….pro’s, amateurs’ or just casual shooters all look forward to the fall color display to get out and capture all that nature has to offer. Unless you are lucky enough to live in an area that offer really interesting photography most of the year, once that cool air, increasing rain and fall color starts, we get that rejuvenated feeling and grab our camera bags and tripods and get out in the crisp, fall air to capture the vibrant colors of the season.

Fall in Oregon's Wine Country

Fall is all about color, and how to make the most of it. Here are some pointers that can help you come home with the best images possible during this magical season of color.

~Overcast and even rainy weather provides the best lighting for both landscapes as well as for close-ups of fall leaves, ferns, mushrooms, berries, and other subjects. Bright sunny weather creates harsh highlights, blocked shadow details, and even a blue cast due to reflected light from the blue sky.  A cloudy sky minimizes the blue cast, reduces contrast, and increases color saturation.  Rain and wet conditions serve to even increase the color saturation. Heavy rain also makes the tree trunks dark, further enhancing the color of the leaves

  •  A credo of nature photography, stated by Ansel Adams, is that “Bad weather makes for great photography”. Streams, rivers, waterfalls and forests are great subjects to photograph when it rains. Take care to keep your equipment dry as well as yourself and get out and shoot in these conditions. You might come home soaked, but making images in rainy weather will be a lot more rewarding than those on sunny days.

When making close up images, always use a circular diffuser, to soften direct sunlight, simulate an overcast sky, and thus improve the lighting for your fall close-ups. You may not think you need it, but even on cloudy days diffusers make a big difference.

  • Early morning and late afternoon lighting on sunny or partly cloudy days can provide dramatic lighting for scenic fall vistas taken in the open.  Weather fronts, which often occur in fall, can also provide sensational light, especially when areas of fall color are sunlit against a dark storm sky.
    • Let’s talk about sky. If the sky adds nothing to your image… LEAVE IT OUT.  White or overcast, less than dramatic sky is poison to an image.
    • Sunny weather is also the best lighting for photographing reflections of fall foliage in lakes, rivers, and streams.  The reflections are most dramatic when the fall color is sunlit and the water is in shade.  Try using slow shutter speeds to create abstracts from fall foliage reflected in the moving water of rivers and streams. Be careful if you are using a polarizer. This can detract from the reflections that you really want, of the color in the water. Refer to this article to get more tips on photographing water. https://jackgrahamphoto.wordpress.com/2011/07/12/2377/

    Misty, damp days can provide wonderful, moody lighting for fall color and waterfall photography.  The air is usually still, eliminating the problem of wind movement, and the moisture on leaves and rocks intensifies their color. 

As with snow scenes, relying on your camera meter may result in misty scenes that are too dark, so you may need to open up by ½ to 1 f-stop to retain the pearly light and luminosity that permeate these quiet foggy fall days.

  • A polarizing filter can be used to intensify colors and minimize reflections from wet rocks and leaves.  An exposure increase of 1 to 2 f-stops will be needed, depending on the amount of polarization.  Your camera meter will adjust the exposure automatically when you attach a polarizing filter.  With most modern digital cameras, a “circular” polarizing filter is needed to ensure an accurate exposure reading. Don’t forget your graduated ND’s as well. www.singh-ray.com
  • Use color to your advantage. Complimentary colors add to impact images. Green foliage combined with the reds and oranges work well. So does yellow aspens against blue skies in autumn.
  • Look for different subjects such as reflections of the fall color in water pumpkins, covered bridges, buildings that can compliment the fall color. Make use of the color. Don’t just go after that grand landscape.
  • Keep your compositions as simple as possible. Remember; don’t try to write a novel in your photographic composition, write the sentence that tells the story. Use the rule of thirds, graphic lines and make your image using a key element as the anchor. Simple is always the best.
  •  Always use a tripod. Walk around with your camera before committing to a spot while it’s on your tripod. Choose your lens properly to get the shot you want.

              

  •  
  • Get out and stay out. You can use this saying in two instances. Especially in the East where we might require getting onto private property to get that “winner” shot, always ask first as to avoid hearing that phrase. Make sure you have all the right clothing and equipment to be able to get out in bad weather. Stay out as long as you have some light. Your best light is always during the golden hours in the morning and evenings.

Most of all enjoy the color display that happens only once per year. In just a few short weeks (at least where I live) it will only be a dream and the realities of winter will set in.

Finally here are a few websites to help you monitor the fall color:

www.foliagenetwork.net

http://usparks.about.com/od/fallfoliage/a/Fall-Colors.htm

http://www.chiff.com/a/fall-foliage.htm

http://www.weather.com/activities/driving/fallfoliage/

http://phototravel.com/fall.htm   (more than you’ll ever need!)

http://www.wxnation.com/fallfoliage/ (lots of cams)

For the west —- www.calphoto.com

                   

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.

Back after 27 days / Workshops / “Curious Gorge”/ featured article; PHOTOGRAPHING WATERFALLS & STREAMS”

 
Hunts Mesa Sunrise

Greeting everyone–YES! I am finally back from 27 days in the beautiful 4 corners are of the United States. Workshop locations included, The slot canyons, Vermilion cliffs of Norther Arizona, Monument Valley, including Hunt’s Mesa and Mystery Valley, Canyon de Chelley, as well as Arches & Canyonlands National Parks. I conducted 3 successful workshops and enjoyed every minute.  We had rain, snow, sandstorms, wind and a few great days as well, but all of that weather made for some amazing photography. In the next few weeks, I’ll be posting some stories and photographs not only from me, but from some of our attendees as well from these workshops but from my Death Valley workshop, last February.. STAY TUNED!

I spent a day with fellow photographer ( and a great one at that!)Guy Tal who lives within Capital Reef NP.  He has a new eBook coming, which I’ll be discussing here soon. Check out his work at www.guytal.com _______________________________________________

COMING WORKSHOPS:—-These are filling up quite nicely and rather quickly. If you are thinking about any please let me know and I may be able to  provide more information.  You can access my remaining 2011 schedule as well as lots of new listings for 2012 here    2011    http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/2011-workshop-schedule

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

Some kind words from past attendees!  http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/referrals

DISCOUNT ON “ULTIMATE ICELAND 2012”    —I have a few spots left for Iceland July 2012—register during May and receive a $300.00 discount!…….http://www.jackgrahamphoto.com/ultimate-iceland

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……and don’t forget my PODCAST, along with Bob Kulon at www.18percentgraymatter.com . You can also subscribe via iTunes

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Also for you Columbia River Gorge Fans: I ran into Scott Cook, the Author of “Curious Gorge”.now in its 3rd edition.. a who, what and where guide to the Columbia River Gorge here in Oregon. Do yourself a favor and BUY IT. Its packed with information, not well known about some great locations. http://www.amazon.com/Curious-Gorge-Scott-Cook/dp/B000TXRYQ6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1303853743&sr=8-1   

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FEATURED ARTICLE——–                                    –CONSIDERATIONS when PHOTOGRAPHING WATERFALLS and  STREAMS

All articles and photographs are the property of Jack Graham/ J Graham/ photography.
All photographs are protected by U.S. copyright laws and are not to be downloaded or reproduced in any way
without the written permission of the photographer. 0905

   I live in the Pacific Northwest. What else says Pacific Northwest more than a waterfall. Spring here in the Pacific Northwest is a glorious time to take advantage of the hundreds of waterfalls  within a short drive. The waterfall  against a backdrop of lush greenery is one o my favorite subjects. Let’s discuss some of the challenges and suggestions that might help you in your waterfall photography. These are in order of how I think about them in the field. They are all equally important  in making quality waterfall images.

 WATER EFFECTS: Silky or Natural?

This should be an easy decision. Slow shutter speeds for the silky effect and faster for less silky, or more action packed water. This is determined by the amount of water coming over the falls or over the rocks in a stream. If you are undecided, experiment and shoot both ways. Sometimes this is the best way to attack the situation and make your final decisions after the fact in front of your monitor.  If you want to convey the overall power, force & majesty of a big waterfall, I usually try to use a fast shutter speed. The converse is true for smaller falls and streams.

 Adjusting shutter speeds is your call. If you want the silky effect (my preference) use slower shutter speeds. If you want moving water to look like it really does, then use a fast speed. Here is a chart that I refer to for the effect that I desire.

                                                                                     Natural          Blurred              Silky

LARGE WATERFALLS   /CASCADING WATER:       1/500sec       1/125sec             1-1/2 sec

MEDIUM WATERFALLS /CASCADING WATER:       1/250sec       1/60 sec                 1/2 sec

SMALL WATERFALLS   /CASCADING WATER:       1/125sec        1/15 sec                    1 sec

MOVING STREAMS:                                                                       1/60sec         1/8-1/4sec               2-4 sec

COMPOSITION:

 As in all other facets of nature photography, composition is a primary concern when making a pleasing image. When photographing waterfalls & streams,  I always ask myself:

1)      How  do I want to portray this waterfall or stream?

2)      How can I use the surrounding environment to support the stream or waterfall..

 As in landscape photography, a strong foreground serves to anchor the image and make the waterfall stand out. Rocks with perhaps a stream running over and around them may serve to anchor the image and make the waterfall stand out. There might be some wildflowers as well or if you really get lucky rainbow created by the waterfall if the light is right. The surroundings of the waterfall often give the viewer an idea on where the waterfall is located. In most cases the surroundings offer lush green vegetation.  Don’t discount the surroundings and get overwhelmed by the waterfall.  Using all the good composition techniques that we all strive for in our photography is primary in waterfall photography as well

 Decide weather you want to shoot the waterfall as a vertical or horizontal image. Like other landscape photography, I recommend making the shot both ways and deciding which one you like when you get home in front of your monitor. (TIP: Horizontal & vertical images are used for different applications… its good to have each in your files.)

   a horizontal view of Proxy Falls!!

 Don’t discount the surroundings and get overwhelmed by the waterfall! Using all the good composition techniques that we all strive for in normal photography is primary in waterfall photography as well.

 LIGHTING & EXPOSURE:

 An important facet of waterfall or stream photography  is lighting and exposure.  Typically, ideal conditions are cloudy, misty days when the contrast is at a minimum. Many waterfalls are located in gorges and are in good light during sunny days, but not always. Depending on the available light conditions, matrix, evaluative (or automatic) metering is perfectly good way to photograph streams and waterfalls.

However often times, light conditions and the volume of water coming over the falls or on the stream can confuse even the best meters in today’s DSLR’s.  Look at your histogram. Do you see blown out areas of the waterfall? Are the surrounding areas of the image too dark? If so, you may need to manually meter the scene. Spot meter a medium tone and adjust your compensation + or  – depending on the scene.

When shooting, I advise you to shoot in the RAW format. You can sometimes save images when shot RAW vs. JPEG in the post processing. It is sometimes possible to deal with some over blown highlights in the RAW format, usually never in JPEG.

Wet rocks also work a lot better than dry rocks–get there in the rain!

               TIP: Try the Singh Ray 8 stop ND filiter special affects…http://www.singh-ray.com/varind.html 

 

 

 

 

 

Other important considerations:

 1)      Do I need to mention tripods? I hope not. Photographing at slow shutter speeds just does not work without tripods… period !

2)      Just as in other applications use the slowest ISO as possible. The slower the ISO, the less grain.

3)      To attain a less silky effect on the water but want to retain your aperture of choice, you can increase the ISO to increase shutter speed. Experiment. Different shutter speeds will create different effects on the water.

4)      Use people or objects to add a sense of scale, especially with waterfalls.(See image on left)

5)      The polarizing filter is a MUST in order to reduce the glare on reflective surfaces. This filter will remove the glare also bring out the colors of the surrounding area making for stronger images. I use a polarizer almost all of the time when shooting waterfalls. When photographing intimate images in streams, such as water flowing swiftly over rocks, I rarely use a polarizer. Here I want the colors and textures created by the light and what is under the water to come through and not be diminished in any way… but that’s a discussion for another time. ( TIP: Not all polarizer’s are created equal. Why would you put a bad polarizer on a great expensive lens?

6)       Depending on the light and elevation UV filters cal play a role in helping bring out colorations. These are also useful in keeping your expensive lenses fry, especially if the lenses are not sealed, (TIP: Never stack filters. This can produce lens flare. )

7)      Carry protective gear for your camera. More often than not, waterfalls are going to get you and your gear wet in order to get the best image. I carry large hefty bags( 2-3 gallon size) to cover my gear.

8)      I use a chamois to remove water from my lens, not a microfiber cloth. My experience with microfiber cloths is that they just move water around. A chamois will pull the water into away from the lens.

9)Get out there in bad weather.Look for the image less photographed like this one of Multnomah Falls incased in ice.

10)      Be careful, not all cameras and lenses are sealed to avoid moisture. Moisture can quickly render some DSLR’s DOA!

 Get out and have fun

 2GREAT RESOURCES FOR WATERFALLS  IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST are :

 1) BOOK: A Waterfall Lover’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest and

2) WEBSITE: http://www.waterfallsnorthwest.com/

All articles and photographs are the property of Jack Graham/ J Graham/ photography.
All photographs are protected by U.S. copyright laws and are not to be downloaded or reproduced in any way
without the written permission of the photographer. 0905

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COMING IN MAY FOR THOSE OF YOU IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST AREA:

My good friend Darrell Gulin is coming to the Portland Area. Darrell will be giving a talk on May 14th. Both Darrell and I will be conducting 2 workshops at the Tualatin River NWR on the follow inf day (Sunday). … one in the AM & one during the PM.  Below is the press release. I hope to see you there!

Canon Explorer of Light, Darrell Gulin, past president of the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) and accomplished nature and wildlife photographer from Seattle will be the featured speaker at an evening event, May 14, 2011 as part of a three day Bird Festival sponsored by the Friends of Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. Darrell will be speaking at the Laurel Ridge Middle School Auditorium, 21416 SW Copper Tr., Sherwood, OR 97140. Admission is free but registration through the web site, www.prophotosupply.com/p-events.htm#gulin is encouraged. More details about the Festival are available at tualatinriverbirdfestival.org