Why go to Greenland? If you really want to feel like you are removed from the craziness of the rest of the world, this is the place for you. For us photographers, it’s a paradise.
I took a group of photographers with me. They were all real troopers. They were really great and accepted Greenland for what it is. We all had to deal with getting in and out of boats on rocks or piers that require climbing, non-western facilities, some strange food and smaller than usual sleeping accommodations. We all felt that we lived like the locals do, which is pretty cool.
There are two areas of Greenland, the western area and the eastern area. The population is far lower in the east where it’s a bit harder to live. Due to weather and the topography. Here are a few facts about Eastern Greenland:
Greenland is the world’s largest island
85% of Greenland is covered in ice
Thought geographically, Greenland is part of North America but it’s a part of Denmark and feels like you are in Europe.
Out of a total population of around 56,000 for the entire country, about 3,000 or so live in the Ammassalik area of Eastern Greenland. The largest town is Tasiilaq, population around 2,100.
There are no roads. You get around by foot or by boat.
You can fly into Kulusuk from Iceland (fares are not cheap) then go by boat to small towns in the area.
The population is mostly Inuit that migrated from the north in the 14th and 15th century.
Dogs are everywhere. These are sled dogs, not the kind of pets we know in the US. They are working dogs and provide transportation through the heavy snow in the winter.
We flew from Reykjavik to Kulusuk but at the very last-minute the pilot aborted the landing due to fog and rain. The runway in Kulusuk is dirt, not pavement. After a day back in Reykjavik we finally made it back to Kulusuk then immediately got into our two boats and headed for a small town about 2-3 hrs. away called Tinit.
People live in small colorful houses in eastern Greenland. The Danish government assigns house color by occupation. Red are government workers, school teachers, administrators etc. Blue are for a type of engineer, Green are for another type of engineer and yellow are for health care providers (doctors and nurses). The indigenous Greenlanders feed their families and dogs by hunting whales, fish and seals. There is a grocery store in each village. Food is imported from Denmark from April through October. Weather prevents boats from landing in the winter. Food can be pretty scarce later in the winter. The Inuits do not waste anything. Yes the food we were presented with was traditional. We actually stayed in the blue house on the left (above image)—What a view!
The following morning provided us with a remarkable sunrise. After breakfast we headed out by boat up the fjord to capture the magnificent icebergs. We were quite surprised to be able to see and photograph the humpback whales surfacing, then diving right in front of us.
After one final night in Tinit, we headed out again by boat to photograph and explore the fjord on the way to the town of Tasiilaq. We were able to land the boat on the rocks and hop off and photograph a beautiful glacier and the fjord. This was one of the most beautiful glaciers I’ve ever seen.
Click HERE for a short video of us sailing through the ice on the way to the glacier
We made it to Tasiilaq and were rewarded with a decent aurora at night by August standards. On our last night we sailed out to the largest icebergs I’ve ever seen. I am guessing this was about 20-30 stories tall! The late light was amazing and just kept getting better and better.
We finished our journey with one last night in Kulusuk before flying back to Reykjavik.
Below are some images from our trip. Enjoy them… I sure did making them….Jack
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!
After Iceland and Norway in January 2015, it was off to Whidbey Island here in Washington for a 2 day event, followed by my first of two workshops in Death Valley, California.
We had a good and eager group in Whidbey Island for two full days of presentations and some field work. I really love teaching at the Pacific Northwest Art School. Not only are the folks there great, but the classroom setup is first class. The night before my workshop I was asked to do a presentation on our ULTIMATE ICELAND trips over the years to Iceland and now over to Norway.
I would like to thank the PNWAS for their support and friendship. I will be running more events there in the summer and fall this year. Please consider joining me there for some very special priced workshops. Click HERE for information.
Death Valley…what can I say? We were fortunate to have great light and weather along with an exceptional group of workshop attendees. It’s great when the whole group “gets it”. What I mean by that is they all bought in to my theory of slowing down, enjoying the moment, simplifying your images and learning to see. I’m stressing these theories more and more each workshop.
Making the image is the hard part. The best equipment isn’t going to allow you to become an artist, it just gives you the chance to make successful images. Successful photographers have to deliver images from the heart, and tell their story.
Speaking of equipment. I continue to be blown away with my Fuji XT-1 and the sharp glass. The new 55-140mm F2.8 LM OIS 2.8 (80-210 in 35mm) is incredibly sharp. Having said that I just sold my 18-55mm and ordered the XF16-55mmF2.8R LM WR, a lens that will pair great with XF50-140mmF2.8R LM OIS WR.
We still have an opening in Iceland this summer if you can make it.
WHAT’S NEW……… Look for my good friend Bill Fortney’s new e-book “A GUIDE TO THE FUJI XT-1” for sale coming December 5th. It is a comprehensive guide to this magnificent camera containing over 160 pages and 250 illustrations. It is a true user’s guide containing countless tips, recommendations and examples of work done with the Fuji X-System family of cameras. Reviews of lenses, buying recommendations, how to build a system, how to carry it all, and much more! Click HERE for information.
This month’s issue of Extraordinary Vision Magazine has an article on long exposure photography. For those who have interest in long exposure photography take a look. This online magazine (available for iOS and Android) is a very high quality publication and well worth your time exploring. I am honored to be part of it this month! You can read it for free by clicking HERE
WORKSHOPS 2015… HIGHLIGHTS: COMPLETE INFORMATION; HOW TO REGISTER: 2015-Workshop-Schedule (Remember register before Jan 1 and receive a 10% discount (not including International workshops or workshops I do with the Pacific Northwest Art School)
Here is the complete list of my WORKSHOP DISCOUNTS.
1) Back by popular demand— Bill Fortney will be back in Nelson Nevada and the “Boneyard” (Las Vegas Neon Museum) in March for a sequel to this month’s successful experience in these locations.
2) New locations in 2015! — Northern Iceland Photography workshop in July right on the heels of our Iceland, Southern Coast Workshop; Blue Ridge Parkway & Grandfather Mtn with Bill Fortney in June and back to NE Ohio (and our amazing full day with the Amish) in October.
3) Other locations include: Death Valley, Olympic Peninsula, Fall and winter trips to the Tetons, 2 workshops in Arizona featuring the slot canyons, Hunt’s Mesa and Canyon de Chelley, ….. Zion National Park, 2 workshops on the Oregon Coast, and the Palouse with Bill Fortney
4) Don’t forget … I’ll be in the Eastern Sierra once again (21st year) this October for our fall color workshop with my good friend Guy Tal. We’ll also be doing our Master Class the following week. This year’s was a great success…don’t miss this!
5) PACIFIC NORTHWEST ART SCHOOL—on Whidbey Is, WA—This year in addition to our annual 3 ½ day event in June, I’ll be doing some special 2 day events. Please visit their website for details. These 2 day events are totally different from our June event and are already creating lots of interest.
6) Finally Iceland… Our 2015 ULTIMATE ICELAND winter workshops are sold out and our 2016 winter events are already about ½ sold out…. Register now. There are still a few seats remaining for our July excursions. Look for a big announcement in February regarding another winter location!
When reading this short essay, remember I have no plans to abandon color photography. My feelings are that both mediums have their place. Some images are better represented in color and others in monochrome. The principles of photography carry over to both methods. The only difference is in certain images, the lack of color and the power of monochrome can stand out when applied correctly.
I also prefer to use the term monochrome rather than black and white. When viewing a black and white image, we are really looking at shades of gray, not just black and white. When we think of monochrome photography we almost always think of Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier Bresson, Minor White, Robert Frank, Paul Strand, Dorethea Lange and Edward Weston, just to name a few. We think of powerful images delivering a story clearly transmitted to our brains. We think of monochromatic images going back to the acceptance of photography as an art. Thank you Mr. Stieglitz!
Color film was actually developed in the mid-1800s but due to the primitive nature of the products, colors faded from the prints quickly. Just before 1900, if one had the money, one could buy the proper equipment to make color images. Only the very rich could afford to play in this process.
In 1935 Kodak brought to market Kodachrome. However because of the expense compared to black and white, color processing was not the norm until the 1970s, just 50 years ago! Interesting enough it was Polaroid who introduced the first instant color film in 1963. By 1970 color film was the norm for most “snapshots.” However, black and white film was still used by some photographers for the aesthetic nuances that it offers. It was common for black and white photographers to do their own developing and printing. Color film was dramatically improved, but black and white photography continued to be used as a different method to tell the story, in unusual and powerful ways.
Today I strongly feel that deciding to eliminate color, as an option in telling our story through photography, is a choice not to be taken lightly. It is important to decide, even before the photograph is made, if this image is a possible candidate for monochrome. I have made many images where color is actually a distraction from the strength of the image itself as well as subtracting from the meaning I am trying to convey.(See example below)
Form, as well as texture, can be brought out in monochrome much stronger than in color. In monochromatic photography, we are using our eyes and brains to look the form of a subject, the texture of the subject and not confusing ourselves with trying to, at the same time, decipher and process color. When making color images we think about brightness, hue of color and more. With monochrome images we are only dealing with shades of gray. This is one reason why monochrome images can be exceedingly more powerful than color if produced correctly. Again, the process starts before the camera comes out of the bag.
Photoshop, or any type of computerized monochrome processing that we may be working with today, parallels what Weston and Adams did in the darkroom years ago. In many ways monochromatic photography can exceed the power of color both in emotion and how the image is viewed and interpreted.
LEARNING TO SEE IN MONOCHROME
When working in monochrome consider using tone, brightness, texture and contrast within your image to tell the story and communicate your feeling. Consider that complementary colors like red and green can often look the same in monochrome. If the textures in a monochrome image are identical they become hard to differentiate. Using different textures within an image in monochrome is another way to bring out the feeling from the start. I find differentiating the depth of field of a subject in monochrome photography is more important than if photographing in color. Making one part of the image sharp and the other out of focus can really accentuate the image.
Using these concepts and techniques will get you on the path to seeing in monochrome and being able to deliver images with significant value. But there is much more to learn about making quality monochromatic images. Understanding the Zone system, proper processing technique in monochrome as well as perfecting your printing technique are all important. I strongly suggest reading and learning from Guy Tal’s Creative B & W Landscape Photography. Also reading Ansel Adam’s book “The Negative”, originally published in 1981, is suggested.
FOR ARTICLES AND WORKSHOP PREVIEWS The material and images contained in this writing above may not be reproduced in any form .All Photographs as well as text appearing here is the property of Jack Graham and Jack Graham Photography LLC, unless otherwise noted. These photos are protected by U.S.Copyright laws and are not to be reproduced or used in any way without the written permission of Jack Graham and Jack Graham Photography LLC By entering these sites you accept these terms. If you need permission to use this material please call 503-625-1430 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Long Exposure Photography has become very popular in the last few years. Many of our popular websites and magazines are featuring long exposure photography. Many filter manufactures have also noticed this and have added Neutral Density filters to their offerings.
What is a long exposure? Most of the available DSLR cameras today will allow us to have a shutter speed set automatically up to 30 seconds. However to me a long exposure is just that, longer than I can render a subject in sharp focus. This could be ½ second or a few hours, depending on the effect I want to create.
Long exposure can be applied in several applications. We can leave our shutter open long enough for a car or bicycle to drive by and create an interesting blurry effect.
Long exposure photography is also used in nighttime photography to capture stars patterns, or trails as well as even sharp stars set in the night’s sky. When our cameras are on a good tripod and the shutter is left open for a prescribed time, very vibrant and clear photographs can be made.
Long exposures can be used in light painting, when a scene is very dark. A light source is moved over the subject to add some light and ambiance. Often we need to experiment with the amount of light applied to a subject as to not over do the amount of light shining on our subject.
Finally the most often used application of long exposures for me is with moving water and clouds. The end result is often a mysterious, yet dreamy effect and sometimes even surreal. We can at times add a sense of movement by recording the moving clouds or water across our image. In essence this is a departure from normalcy both from an artistic sense, as well as a viewing experience.
In this essay, I am going to deal with long exposures using clouds and water in landscape photography.
CREATING LONG EXPOSURES
First, you will need a good quality DSLR. Long exposures can introduce a bit of noise, so the better the cameras sensors, the better your images will appear. You will not see this noise or what we call “hot-pixels” on your LCD, but they will show up when viewing your images on your monitor. You will also need a camera that has a “bulb” setting. The bulb setting allows you to keep the shutter open for as long as needed, allowing you to create some quality long exposures. You will also need a remote shutter release cable or wireless shutter release. There are many of these on the market, some made by the camera manufactures and some after market. If you are going to be doing serious long exposure photography purchase a release that has a built in timer that you can set for the proper amount of time you require for each individual image. It will be a lot more accurate than counting seconds or even trying to look at your watch in dark areas.
Next, you need a good quality tripod and quality tripod head. When photographing in normal conditions, a tripod is necessary to produce sharp images. When making long exposures a sturdy tripod is even more important. Exposures can sometimes last well over a minute. The sturdier the tripod, the better the results will be. Wind, camera shake etc. will be magnified more and more as you increase the time our shutter is open. As always, I recommend never extending your center column. If you do, you now have a much-unstudied mono pod. I sometimes see folks hanging camera bags from their tripod to try to anchor the tripod. A breeze might move this “anchor” thus making the tripod vibrate. Placing a beanbag on your camera will produce better results.
Finally you’ll need some filters to slow the shutter down. These are commonly known as neutral density filters. Essentially what these do is block out light allowing the shutter to stay open longer. These filters are rated in “stops” Each “stop” reduces the amount of light on the sensor by a factor of two. For example a 3-stop ND filter, (often referred to as a ND 8) reduces the light by 3 stops (2x2x2=8). A 4 stop ND ( or ND16) reduces the light by 4 stops ( 2x2x2x2-=16) and so on. When using a 10 stop ND filter, the light is reduced by 1024 (2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2=1024). This translates to the shutter being open for 1024 times longer than without the filter.
Many filter manufactures make these filters and I have tried most of them. These filters are not easily produced. They must be made of high quality photographic glass, not resin. Good quality filters take some time to produce. Unless a manufacturer has an assembly line each filter is almost hand made. The rate of dye that is added to the filter depends on how hard or soft the graduation is.. Quality manufactures try to eliminate color shift as much as possible. This process is quite extensive. High quality filters are also quite expensive, but considering the manufacturing process, they are really priced very fair.
I use two ND filters. I use the Singh-Ray 10 stop Mor-Slor filter and the Singh-Ray Vari-ND filter. Singh-Ray also produces a 5-stop Mor-Slo filter.
The 10 stop filter is a screw in 10 stop filter available from Singh-Ray (www.singh-ray.com ) in many thread sizes. The Vari-ND filter is also a screw in filter but using this filter you can vary the amount of stops from 2-8 stops ( Note: to stack Mor-Slo with Vari-ND, at least one filter has to be standard mount with front threads — two thin-mount filters will not stack).This filter is available currently in 77mm & 82mm sizes. You can view how the Vari-ND works HERE
Again, remember this essay is about long exposures in landscape photography. Techniques for night photography, light painting and other artistic uses of long exposures do require different techniques than that of landscape photography.
Like any other composition, composing your image, choosing your subject matter and assessing the light is mandatory. Essentially, you are making the same image without the long exposure effect, but adding this effect to create the desired result.
Assuming you have chosen a good subject, with good light and one that has some moving water, clouds, other aspects or all of the above, I’ll discuss how I go about making long exposures.
After setting up my tripod and camera I go through all the things I do for normal photography. I then check the light and properly meter the subject without using any filters. Having a filter on before focusing will not allow you to see a thing. It is just too dark due to the denseness of the filters. After this here is my procedure.
1) I compose, determine the aperture I want and focus the image in the proper manner (if you auto focus without the filter switch to manual)
2) I determine the shutter speed based in ISO and Aperture without the filter on.
3) I carefully screw in my filter of choice, either the 10 stop Mor-Slo or the Vari ND.
4) I double-check to make sure the screen that closes over my viewfinder is closed. This insures proper metering and prevents light from entering the camera while the shutter is open. This is very important.
5) I now set my shutter speed to the “bulb” setting allowing my shutter release cable or remote timer to control the shutter speed.
6) I determine how long I need my shutter to be open based on the shutter speed determined without the filter. This math can get quite complicated. I have developed a timetable, based on the math involved. NOTE: If your shutter speed is longer or shorter than desired, you can change the shutter speed simply by increasing or decreasing the ISO. Remember that digital noise increases with higher ISO’s as well as long exposures!
ND 3 stops
ND 6 stops
ND 10 stops
with no filter
60 (1 minute)
120 ( 2 minutes)
60 (1 minute)
900 (15 minutes)
120 ( 2 minutes)
1800 (30 minutes)
60 (1 minute)
7200( 2 hours)
90 (1.5 minutes)
900 (15 minutes)
120 ( 2 minutes)
1800 (30 minutes)
28000 (8 hours)
Exposure time in Seconds
Important: Take 1st reading with NO filter
7) I set my remote cable release to the desired time based on the shutter speed with no filter attached.
8) Assuming your light conditions didn’t change…..Make the image.
NOTE: THERE IS A GREAT FREE APP that I use on my I phone— its called LONGTIME EXPOSURES. This one is free… there are other that are not. This one works great!
There are a few variables that you need to consider when making long exposures.
1) When making long exposures you’ll need to slow down even more than normal to make sure your settings are correct. Creating a concept for an image when making long exposures is very important. Soon you’ll learn to visualize the final outcome.
2) After you make the image do not use your LCD to evaluate anything other than our histogram.
3) Experiment; change the ISO thus making the shutter longer or shorter. When you get back to your monitor then choose the effect you like.
4) I always recommend shooting RAW files.
ONE LAST THOUGHT
This essay is not an advertisement. It is simply my endorsement. I have experimented with filters from other manufactures. I have found without question the Singh-Ray filters to be of the highest quality without any measurable color shift. Color shift is the biggest problem in filters, especially ND filters. There is no easy cheap way to make a good quality ND. Singh Ray filters are highly recommended.
I recently made two images. One was using the Singh-Ray 10stop Mor-Slo filter, the other with their main competitor in a similar price range. The results speak for themselves. There is absolutely no color shift with the Singh-Ray, but a large one with their competitor. These images were taken about 2-3 minutes apart. Same light, same camera settings 14 sec / F16 -1/3 comp ISO 200Consider this when purchasing filters.
2721 SE Highway 31, Arcadia, FL 34266-7974 USA
For fastest response, telephone Singh-Ray at 800-486-5501 or 863-993-4100
during business hours, 9am to 5pm Eastern US time, Monday-Friday
Due to a cancellation, I have one opening for my June workshop in the Oregon Coast. You can access information on this workshop HERE
There are two spots open for the Workshop I conduct for the Pacific Northwest Art School on Whidbey Island, in the Puget Sound neat Seattle in June as well. Information is found HERE. Also there is a spot open for the workshop in the Columbia River Gorge in about 2 weeks. Information found HERE
In addition our July 4-14, 2013 Ultimate Iceland Workshop is almost full. This is a trip of a lifetime for any photographer. Please consider joining us!
This October, will be my 19th year conducting a workshop in the Eastern Sierra. Again, I’ll be joining forces with my good friend, an amazing photographer and thinker, and co-leader Guy Tal. Please consider joining us. This is a highlight of the year! Details found HERE.