A very strange day in Jackson and the Tetons…. weather coming in… It sure was a cloud show today… We have some snow coming but things are not certain in any respect…. maybe 2-3″ in town.. more in the park or a lot more. The forecasts have literally been all over the place.day. I’ve been coming here for many years and the weather , though somewhat unpredictable… is really a tough call this year. We certainly have some weather coming in… how bad ( or good!) we don’t know yet….. anyway we are here and ready for what ever we end up with.. for me the worse the better! We would have a foot… or 3-4 inches— Thank God for 4 wheel drive and good tires…..Nobody knows whats coming—its kind of cool not knowing!!
After some inside “office work” this am I got out today. The clouds put on a show… indicating lots of weather changes coming..
We ran into this moose late in the day today…now… I AM NOT A WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER .. But using the FUJIFILM gear to its limits makes me look like I am……… for those of you who think you can’t crank up your ISO’s ( if you have the right gear—- i.e FUJIFILM CAMERAS!!) this moose image was taken with the FUJIFILM X-T2.. ISO 12,800 at F8.using the 2 x converter……Now you tell me is this acceptable?—it sure is in my book! The FUJIFILM XT2 , the 100-400is is AMAZING and the 2x converter provides lossless quality!!!!!!….it really makes the cut!… Someday I am going to compile and a slide show af all my FUJIFILM images made at or above 6400ISO—-more coming tomorrow I Hope come on back!–JG
I am up on Mt Rainier this weekend conducting a photo workshop. Daytime light has been somewhat challenging, but the first light of the morning has been amazing. It’s the peak of the spring wildflower bloom here and at about 5500-5600′ the flowers are quite good. and have been providing some descent foregrounds.
Below are some images captured with the FUJIFILM X-T2. I’ve been using both the 16-55 mm F2.8 as well as the 50-140
The X-T2 continues to impress. I have no doubt this camera is going to give the big boys some healthy competition–JG
Using ExifTool technology, an analysis of camera brands, lenses and how folks photograph ( data including most often used ISO settings, exposure etc) has been compiled. This information is based on about 6.7 million images from sites like Flicker, 500PX and more.
HERE are their findings. I bet you’ll find this interesting. Click on the camera brand on the tab ebelow the pie graph to see lens and camera data by each manufacturer.
Canon & Nikon are about 71% of the pie with Canon leading the way by about 5% over Nikon..
CHOOSING A PHOTO WORKSHOP—–ITS A JUNGLE OUT THERE!
A few years ago ( some thing really don’t change) I wrote an extensive article here on my blog regarding Photo Workshops and how to choose the right one for you. This discussion came up on the phone with a friend yesterday so I am going to re post it here. CHICK HERE to read it. I know it will help those of you looking for the the right workshop!
I returned home yesterday form a 3 day workshop that I conduct for the Pacific Northwest Art School on Whidbey Island. Whidbey Island is a sort 20 minute ferry ride either from Port Townsend or Mukilteo north of Seattle by about 1/2 hr. Once you get on the Island it’s like being in a different world. Thing are very pastoral and a bit slower than the busy big city. The locals kind of pride themselves on that.
As in all my other workshops I not only stress the obvious things we all need to know about photography but I try to get my attendees to slow down, enjoy the experience and begin to learn to see images even before taking the camera out of the bag. This group really “got it”.
I have had few groups that produced the quality of work this one did. We had some great light to photograph the amazing lavender found at the Lavender Wind Farm as well as elsewhere on the Island.
I have more workshops scheduled in 2016 and five coming in 2017. Whidbey Island is a special place!–JG
I would like to take this opportunity to again thank all of my good friends, my workshop attendees, sponsors and supporters for making 2013 a truly memorable year. I spent about 200 nights on the road conducting over 20 workshops plus the 2 we did in Iceland. It looks like 2014 will be even more interesting with new locations and new opportunities.
I was quite amazed to see that I actually made very few images compared to other years. Maybe I’m getting really picky? In 2014 I am going to try and do a bit more photography for myself on the days when I can. My fellow (successful) workshop leaders know all too well that office time is plentiful and gets in the way of being out in the field. One of the myths of being a pro photographer is that you will shoot more images.
What makes me anticipate this year is the pleasure I derive in teaching people to appreciate where they are, slow down and enjoy the journey, as well as make some great images. I am gassed up and ready to get on with another year!
Again, thank you all for your support. There comes a time in everyone’s life where making a living, though important, is secondary to having so many good friends and acquaintances. I have reached that part of my life.
I would especially like to thank my wife Linda for understanding this lifestyle and putting up with the away time. Being gone so much isn’t easy. I could not be gone and do what I love without her support. Quite frequently I’ll bring home other photographers and perhaps a workshop attendee or two to stay the night. There’s always food ready and a comfortable place for me (us) to come home to. Those of you who have been here know. Last Saturday I received a call from a photographer I know who just happened to be in Portland. I asked him if he needed a place to stay and he did. Having heard the phone ring in my office Linda knew something might be up. When I went downstairs, she looked at me and asked “How long do I have?” … Enough said.
WHAT’S AHEAD IN 2014
WE’RE MOVING —- Yes … Jack Graham Photography World Headquarters will be relocating. Sometime in February we’ll be moving a bit north of where we currently are (the Portland, Oregon area) to Puyallup, Washington. Fortunately, we are still in the great Pacific Northwest and will be in a really beautiful location. Stay Tuned!
For many years I have been a loyal Nikon owner and in no way am I saying that Nikon, Canon etc. don’t make great cameras, because they do.
Last spring I began to really enjoy using a Fuji X100S. This is a cool looking, retro camera with a 16mp sensor and a fixed 23mm (35mm in full frame) lens. I was astounded with how this camera performs. –ASTOUNDED!
1)Without a mirror or shutter mechanism, a mirrorless camera body can be smaller than a DSLR.
2)High-end DSLRs use very large sensors called “full frame” sensors that have given them an edge at the high end. The recent offerings by Fuji, Olympus, Sony and Panasonic have closed the quality gap between DSLR & mirrorless, even in some high-performance cameras.
3)DOWNFALL—Power. Mirrorless cameras use a lot more battery power than the average DSLR. I am sure the mirrorless folks will figure that out too.
HERE is an excellent article written by Thom Hogan comparing mirrorless to DSLR. He has NO dog in the hunt and knows his stuff.
After many months of pondering the mirrorless systems, and having the chance to use many of them to compare, I have decided to go that route. I recently began using the new Fuji XE-2 mirrorless camera. It comes with a flat-out tack-sharp 18-55 mm lens (27-84mm in full frame). The 55-200 F 3/5/4.8 is equally sharp and the 14mm F2.8 is one I would compare to any lens in the market for sharpness. There is also a recently announced 10-14mm on the way. There is an adaptor that allows me to use Nikon lenses if I want. My 200mm macro on this camera is just plain amazing.
Digital noise in this camera is almost nonexistent even up to ISO 3200. I made images in the XE2 as well as the X100S at 6400 ISO that show little if no noise at all. Do the homework, you’ll see!
The quality of the Fuji glass has always been well known. The color rendition (Fuji uses a slightly different sensor from what we are used to—but Fuji understands color!) produces amazingly sharp images and has really made me want to get out and take photographs more than ever. My friend Tony Sweet reminded me of a famous Jay Maisel quote in one of his recent blogs. “The more you carry, the less you want to shoot.”
I compared the Fuji to the Olympus new OMD-M1. The Olympus is a really great camera and it’s almost a toss up between it and the Fuji. The Olympus felt really good in my hand and I was pleased with the results. I could not tell the difference between it and my Nikon D700! I (my personal opinion) really think that now the APS-C sensor Fuji offers is better than the 4/3rds sensor on the Olympus. Also, to me, today’s Fuji glass is better and has more offerings in the focal lengths I like with a lot more to come this year. (For years many of the world’s greatest large format photographers have used Fuji lenses. They have a reputation right up there with Zeiss). You can do no wrong going with the Olympus system.
Sony has recently brought out a few great mirrorless (and full framed as well) cameras … great cameras. The menu system in the Sony was, to me, somewhat confusing .. maybe because I was used to the Fuji X100S. Nonetheless, it’s a great camera. Once they get their lens offerings up to snuff, look out.
Honestly I did not play with the Panasonic at all. However, I have seen results from that system from some workshop attendees and it’s impressive.
What about the Nikon DF? I love the body, features and retro look. It’s a lot heavier and probably will, like most DSLRs, take more abuse than the average mirrorless cameras will. It has a D4 sensor in it—absolutely fantastic. However at $3000 it’s a bit pricey. (However the D4 sensor is amazing!) Also, you still have to use your heavy Nikon lenses. It kind of defeats the purpose of having the mirrorless system … doesn’t it? If I had some extra bucks laying around I probably wouldn’t mind having one just to play with.
Canon … I honestly did see them and looked into them. Canon is just not there yet with mirrorless. My view is both Nikon and Canon better get with the program and realize the technology of mirrorless (and other aspects that Fuji, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony) are developing or else they will be in deeper trouble than they are now. Read THIS if you think I’m kidding.
Not only that …The Really Right Stuff makes “L brackets for these cameras! How good is that?
I see so many folks in workshops get caught up in gear, thinking if they have all the gear they will make better images … wrong! It ain’t the camera … It’s the photographer. Having a good camera gives you the CHANCE to make a good photograph.
Listen, there are still needs for Nikon D800’s, Canon 5DMKIII etc. — don’t get me wrong. And for some events and locations, I’ll still shoot my Nikon. But the Fuji XE-2 mirrorless will (for me) be more than I need for about 80% of my work … and now my camera bag is almost the same weight as my tripod and ball head!
I tried for some time to come up with a great name for this writing. I simply cannot. Read on, you will see why.
Most photographers I see these days are very afraid to venture beyond the norm and try something new and different. Why? Perhaps we are afraid of failure. It’s impossible to know the success of every image before you make it. Fearing failure will suppress your creativity and in most cases only allow for the same old view of the same old subject. Allow yourself to experiment with composition and other aspects in photography. Often if you throw away your instincts and don’t worry about the image succeeding, you will succeed in getting a new interpretation of an iconic subject. Allow yourself to be flexible.
Many of the published images I see these days are versions of things I have seen before. The newness and originality is lost. Though they may be technically and compositionally perfect, these images are slight variations of what’s been done over and over before. On workshops I see students capturing the same interpretation of a subject that’s been done over and over. Why not look to do something different?
The first to photograph a subject or location is, by the definition the “original”, the originator of that image. Those who follow may be looked at as non-original. They certainly do not have to be. However if you take the literal definition of original, they are. What is important is whether the photographer’s expression, concept and view of the subject lend itself to originality.
As I return to locations, either alone or with clients, I not only think of how I can photograph a scene different, but try to convey this concept to my clients as well. This happens before the camera comes out and the tripod gets put in position. Why not say to yourself, upon arriving at an iconic place, “What can I do here that I have not seen before?”
Think about perhaps making a panorama of the subject. Last year I ran into a very famous and well known photographer (and a great marketer) in the Portland (OR) Japanese Garden. He (and I, I must admit) along with countless others have photographed the famous maple tree that grows there. Knowing this fellow liked to do panoramas, I walked him to the other side of the garden, away from the crowds and showed him another, less photographed maple tree. His panorama image of this tree is hanging in his galleries and selling for thousands of dollars. Making a panorama of a maple tree? Who would have thought to do that? This is precisely the thinking one must apply in order to be creative when around a subject matter that has been photographed so many times.
Last year in Reykjavik, Iceland we went to the Harpa Centre, the main concert hall and a magnificent structure. Images of the lit up window panes at night are prolific. How could I photograph this different from what I’ve seen? My thought was to make tight abstract images since I have not seen many of these. Try using abstracts to be creative in places often photographed. Abstracts in close up photography can be quite interesting as well.
While scouting prior to a workshop in the Eastern Sierra, I made the image of Mono Lake found here. Most photographers go there for the classic tufa against the sunrise or sunset images. Few photographers, let alone travelers I have shown this image to, even know it’s Mono Lake. It was taken from a different location and under different light than often viewed.
Don’t allow yourself to think later in the day after leaving a subject that “I should have photographed that subject like I was thinking.” Allow yourself to do so when you are motivated to do so and seize the opportunity before you. How often is your first idea your best?
The process of making an image starts with defining a subject, having a concept and using your imagination. It ends with perhaps a fine art print. I remember reading in one of Minor White’s books of this very idea. He said, “We photograph something for what it is and for what else it is.” This is so true.
Take a few minutes and check THIS out! …. And always try something new and different.