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
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
In a current issue of a major American Nature Photography Magazine there is an article talking about taking rich and sharp images. Their quote in a large block next to the text of the article says:
“As a digital photographer you can learn a lot from Ansel Adams. Choose the right gear and emulate the attention to detail that Adams devoted to his craft to get your best possible landscape photos”
“A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed”…Ansel Adams
First we all can learn a lot from Ansel Adams, no matter if we are a “digital” photographer. How would Ansel handle the digital age? Ansel’s darkroom is our Photoshop. More so, Ansel’s attention to detail had nothing to do with equipment! It had to do with how he used his equipment but more so how he looked at scenes, way before pressing the shutter.
In my photography workshops I stress slowing down, simplifying and learning to see. Communicating a scene and story in a photograph comes from within, not from your camera. You camera has no emotion. It does not see. It does not feel. It is piece of machinery and technology that without your proper involvement will certainly not take the “best possible Landscape Photos”.
“A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed”…Ansel Adams
How about I take the liberty to rewrite this paragraph from the magazine. As a photographer, and developing artist you can learn a lot from Ansel Adams. Learn to see, think and create using your heart, feelings and senses to emulate the attention to detail that Adams devoted his craft, to get your best landscape photos. Don’t get caught up in that 50MP sensor. Get caught up in your vision and communication. Having the “right gear” only gives you the chance to make a good image.
“Lack of attention to detail fails to explain why a 1999 camera in the hands of a meticulous PH.D who studies the instruction manual won’t produce as many images as a 1939 camera in the hands of a person with a refined photographic eye.” —Galen Rowell
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
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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.
Fuji XT-1 Nikon 300mm F4 (with adaptor for Fuji) ISO6400 1/1800th at F4
I arrived here in Jackson Wyoming last night (11/30) just in time for the snow to start. It snowed lightly overnight, perhaps an inch or two. Today I spent a few hours scouting in the Grand Teton National Park in preparation for my last workshop of 2014, which starts on Wednesday night.
Fuji XT-1 Fuji 55-300 ISO3200 1/4000th at F8
This was my first experience photographing wildlife with the Fuji XT-1. I will be the first to admit I am far from being a competent wildlife photographer. I also went in to say hello to my good friends in Tom Mangalsen’s gallery here in Jackson. If you want to see a great wildlife, as well as a landscape photographer, check out Tom’s work!
Fuji XT-1 Fuji 55-200 ISO1600 1/680th at F16
I went into the park with the Fuji XT-1 and my Nikon 300F4 (450mm on the Fuji) and my 18-55mm 2.8 as well as the 55-200. The snow and changing weather really had the animals active (with lots more coming tonight!). Within 3 hours I found big horn sheep, elk, river otters, trumpeter swans, bald eagles and buffalo. The landscape was really beautiful as well.
Fuji XT-1 Fuji 55-200 ISO5000 1/4000th at F8
Again, I am amazed at the sharpness of the Fuji glass and the ability of the XT-1 to deliver really noise free images up to 6400 ISO. I shot mainly with the 55.200 ( 78-300mm on the Fuji) The big horns at times were so close to the truck even that lens was too much! (When I stopped, they come over to lick the salt off the vehicle left over from yesterday’s trip on the interstate.)
I shot pretty much on continuous low, giving me a short burst of frames of which to choose the sharpest and best pose (Aperture priority). The snow added a nice touch, even though it was about 15 degrees!
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