All posts by jfrancis1953

My favorite photography is landscapes and ocean scenes. I also do some portrait work and have recently become interested in Liquid photography. It looks absolutely fascinating. I currently live in the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. One of the most beautiful places in the US in my opinion. I've been shooting for about 4 years. Just got semi-serious about it in 2010.

Spring thaw

Photographer in hat
Hard at work

I’m finally thawing out from winter and taking some new pictures. I know, I know, I’m a little slow. When you get older it takes longer for everything, and I mean everything. I feel so guilty of not getting out more this winter and shooting, but I learned a long time ago that I have a real hard time during winter with depression. I deal with it by hibernating just like the bears do. Hey, if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me. The good thing is that even though I didn’t get out and do much shooting during the winter, I did take the opportunity to work on my skills for processing my images. I feel that it was time well spent.

I also redid my website to look better and make it easier to navigate. I’m not totally done with it. I have a few minor things to add yet, but it’s up and working, and looking pretty good, even if I do say so myself. Please take a moment and check it out at and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you.

JKF_20160423_0054JKF_20160423_0042Two of my new images taken recently in my backyard. I’ve gotten on a flower and garden kick lately. Especially with all the plants blooming and showing their spring finery. So many beautiful plants everywhere.

Feeling the Fear

Photographer in hat
Jesse Francis        Photographer / Artist

Tonight I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep. My mind had started churning and doing its’  own thing, as it does far too often anymore.  I finally drug myself out of bed, and staggered to my keyboard. I feel compelled to write about something that seems quite fitting to write about in the dark of the night. Fear. Specifically, my fear.

The fear is keeping me awake tonight.  For those of you who don’t know much about me, I’m 63 years old as of January and attempting to do a restart on my life. I know! 63 years old. What the hell am I  trying to do by having a do-over at my age? I should be sitting around and doing nothing like so many of the other retirees I see. I’ve tried. Lord knows I’ve tried just sitting around, doing nothing,  just watching TV and reading all day long.  I’m actually pretty good at it. For a while. I don’t know whether I can’t do it, or I just feel too guilty to sit around like that.  All I know is that I spent almost 20 years of my life driving truck cross-country. Getting home only 45 days out of the year, losing my wife of 35+ years in the process. For what?  Nothing! The job wasn’t worth it. Not even close to being a fair exchange of their money for my time, my life.  Not for the life style a long haul trucker and their family has to endure.

I had always dreamed about being a photographer and a writer, but the whispers in my ear,  echoes in my mind, constantly trying to seduce me, to convince me, that I’m too old to start something new. That I don’t have enough time left before the creator decides my expiration date has expired. So don’t try.  Just relax like everybody else. People will laugh at me, they’ll tell me that I have no talent. That I’m wasting my time even trying. Just give up. Accept it.  Except, I can’t! I don’t know why I can’t, I just can’t.  The fear keeps me up at night. The fear of rejection, of humiliation. The fear also keeps me from trying something new, sometimes.

I’ve dealt with fear as a constant companion even when I was successful at something. Absolutely sure that someone would expose me for the fraud I was.  I’m guessing that a few of you know exactly what I’m talking about. You have your own voices. Your own fears. We all deal with our fears at some point, somehow.

I’m going to stop here for tonight. I could probably make a book out of everything I’m feeling, but I don’t want to bore you and put you to sleep.  I know it’s nothing that others haven’t dealt with before, but it’s happening to me, so that makes it personal. I just don’t want to leave this world with nothing to show for the time and sacrifices that have been made to get to this point.  I want to leave my family some tangible memories that I was more than a truck driver, more than an occasional visitor to the home they grew up in. Something that they can point to with pride and say, my dad did that.



How do I simplify arranging wall art?

This simple trick from Better Homes & Gardens. Simply cut any paper (newspaper works great too) to the size of your framed photography and position the paper on the wall with painter’s tape until you’re satisfied with the arrangement.

Trying to figure out how large a piece of art you need to fill that space on your wall or how to arrange art to look good on your walls once you have it can sometimes seem like an overwhelming task. This graphic from Better Homes and Gardens can help make it easier. Simply cut any paper to the size of your framed art or to fill the area on the wall and position it on your wall. The blue painters tape works well and it won’t ruin your wall, so you can move it around until you’re happy with the arrangement. This will also allow you to get a good idea of how big a piece of art you’ll need before you make that next purchase. One other piece of advice is that your art should fill about 60% of  the space on your wall, give or take a little.

If you’re getting portraits done some photographers will come out and consult in the home with you. If they don’t offer, ask them if they do this. This way they will have a feel for your home’s color schemes and the best places to hang your new art.  By seeing your homes color palettes the photographer can plan the photo session better when considering backdrops or locations. This is a service I offer for my both personal and business clients.

I also offer Customizable Art for Interior Décor for both home and business.

Thoughts On Becoming an Artist

I want to share some thoughts that have been going through my mind lately. Partly just to get them out of my head, but it’s about my journey to become an artist. A path I’m still on and I’ll probably be on for quite some time. You see I never believed I had what it takes to be an artist. That was someone else. Someone that had talent. Not me. I’ve spent most of my life feeling that way. I’ve always had to have a “real job” to support my family. Everyone knows that you can’t make a living as an artist. Right? And if we don’t know it, friends and family are more than happy to inform us that you can’t. Plus a lot more reasons why I couldn’t, shouldn’t even consider being an artist. I know they mean well, but damn, let me find out for myself. I believe we all have an artist inside us. Buried so deep in some of us that we couldn’t see it with a microscope. But the artist is there. If you’re lucky, like I was, someone comes into your life that believes in your ability or they just encourage you to open yourself to the possibilities. That’s what happened to me. She encouraged me, she nagged me, (in a nice way), but she helped me to believe that maybe I could be an artist. I’m starting to take pride in what I produce, but it’s been a slow process. You just have to keep at it. Work at it. It doesn’t come easily or naturally. Doubt sits on my shoulder almost every day. Some days it yells in my ear, others it’s just a whisper, but it’s always there. I’m trying to learn to tune it out. Not easy. Not easy at all. I feel a strong need to slow down, to quiet my thoughts. Only then can I be the artist that I want to be. To create the art I feel trapped inside beneath the layers of busyness and the outside world’s intrusion. The artist that is inside is trapped by the worlds expectations and judgement’s handed down by people that we think are smarter or more talented than us. Art doesn’t have to meet anybody’s expectations. It only has to make me happy. No one else. If it does, great! If not, to hell with them. I don’t care. Somewhere in the mix, happiness has to play a part. Otherwise why am I here?

Dressing for Portraits


Simplicity is always the best when dressing for a portrait. The following points are the most important to consider and remember when preparing for your portrait session

Solid colors are best. They help keep attention focused on your face. Avoid large, bold, or busy patterns and bright colors as they will draw attention away from the face. Avoid wearing yellow or green as they can create unpleasant color casts on your skin. Think little green Martian. Not exactly the look you want on your otherwise beautiful portrait. 

White, ivory, khaki, or light pastel clothing — shoes, stockings, pants or dresses — look best in portraits taken against a white or light background. They are also better with fair complexions. Save stronger colors and patterns for accent items. Darker-to-medium colors look better with darker backgrounds and dark hair or complexions.

Light tones in clothing tend to emphasize body size while darker clothing tends to minimize body size. Long sleeve shirts and dresses are recommended. They draw attention away from the arms and focus it on the face. And skirts should cover the knees. (Short sleeves are acceptable for infants and small children).

Coordinate your attire from head to toe, carefully selecting appropriate shoes and stockings, in case you are portrayed in a full length pose.

Necklines are important. A vee or scoop neck is best if your neck is short and your face is full. A turtle neck or high necked garment is more flattering if your neck is longer and your face is slender.

If you’re having a family portrait or couples portrait have everyone dress in the same style of clothing. You don’t want to mix casual and formal attire. You also want to have everyone dress in the same color tones and range. Clashing colors won’t look good. Don’t mix light and dark. Save patterns for accent items like scarves and neckties.

 To assure a successful portrait, try to bring along one or two additional clothing choices if at all possible.


WordPress Learning Curve

I recently changed my WordPress theme and I absolutely love it. However, that being said, I have a learning curve to deal with. I just posted some photos I took recently in Port Angeles, Washington. We had our first cruise ship of the season arrive last weekend. Quite a sight for a small town like ours.

Anyway, I posted some of the photos to my Photo Gallery page without any text or article to go with it. I just wanted to populate the gallery page. Need I say it didn’t go well. The photos just didn’t go where I thought they would. I’m still trying to figure out how to get them to go onto the page and display the way I think they should go. So, if you go to my photo gallery and things just don’t look pretty,  you’ll know why. LOL. I am working on it. I wish my grandson were here. He’d probably have it fixed in about 5 minutes flat and have it doing things I didn’t think were possible. He’s one smart cookie, definitely smarter than his grandpa, but I’m not going to tell him that. He’s already got a big enough head as it is.

Later that night…’s amazing what sheer stubbornness can accomplish.  I got it! I got it! I finally figured it out. It was simple once the light bulb dawned, but I was seriously starting to think about threatening  my computer with this small sledge hammer I have in my garage.  Now I can finally go to bed.  Goodnight Y’all.  lol

Olympic National Park

On the path to Marymere Falls in the Olympic National Park
On the path to Marymere Falls in the Olympic National Park

  I don’t know if many of you have had the chance to visit Olympic National Park in Washington State, but if you haven’t you really should try to make an effort to do so. The park is one of the largest in the National Park system and the only temperate rain forest in the northern part of the world. The park has it all except desert. I know where to find that if I get to feeling to damp and moldy.  I’m lucky.  I live in Port Angeles with the Park as my back yard.  It’s an incredibly beautiful area.  Port Angeles, nestles between the  snow-covered Olympic mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, acting as the gateway to the park.

Spring is slowly beginning to make its appearance here, and with the better weather I finally had the chance to spend a day visiting and shooting in the park.  I’ve always loved waterfalls and Olympic National Park has an abundance of them. My plan is to work my way through as many of them as possible. Somebody told me there is something like 27 waterfalls in the park. I’m not sure how accurate that count is. I haven’t looked it up yet, but I will. I’ll let you know, unless you look it up first.  Had a great time, tiring…really tiring, lol, but a great experience.  Walking through the forest was almost like being in a temple. A walk through the forest here is as close as man can get to God without crossing over, and I’m not ready for that yet. This will do just fine.  Take a moment and check out some of my other photos at my website

Moss hanging from trees backlit by a shaft of sunlight


Does the Print Matter in the Digital Era?

I couldn’t agree more with what Marty Knapp has written and that’s why I decided to share his article. Prints will never go away completely. They look and feel different from digital and they don’t depend on electricity to be able to enjoy them. Let me know what you think. Prints. Dead or Alive?


There’s been much talk lately about the demise of the photographic print and the rise of its would-be replacement, the electronically presented digital image. Some will tell you that the battle is already over and that soon there will be no printing and no prints. After all, they say, we already view most of our photographs on laptops, tablets, or, lordy-me, our smart phone screens.  I’ll admit that back-lit, digital photographs viewed on today’s lcd screens are stunning, but I’m not ready to write the obit for the traditional photographic print.

Although the trans-illuminated image and the photographic print each inform and communicate, they affect us in fundamentally different ways. The electronic image is powerful but transitory, depending on electrical charges to exist. It’s elusive, like a dream that’s gone when we awaken. On the other hand, the photographic print is tangible and persistent. We can feel it’s solidity, sense…

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In My Own Backyard

Three Buds              

After watching Bill Fortney’s instructional video on photographing the beautiful Olympic National Park at Scott Kelby’s website, I just had to go out and try some of the techniques that Bill shared and share them with you.

 I live in Port Angeles, Washington, the gateway for the Olympic National Park where Bill established his base of operations for this shoot.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit the Olympic Peninsula yet you really need to put it on your list of must see places. The scenery here is incredible and the people are great. I love living in an area that has been so blessed with such incredible beauty all packed into one place.

Bill shares some very simple tips and techniques that have helped me shorten my learning curve considerably. Bill, thank you for your easy style of instruction. I feel like I’m sitting down with an old friend every time I watch one of your videos. There is so much to learn from his videos and I will be viewing this one repeatedly to try and learn all I can from him. One technique I picked up from his video was such a simple idea that I almost smacked my head against the wall that I hadn’t thought of it myself. Bill carries a spray bottle of water with him for misting plants to help create water drops on the leaves and give them some sheen when doing macro shots. Of course when you’re shooting in a rain forest it isn’t needed very often, but I went out in my backyard the next morning to try out what I learned about macro and misting. It made a huge difference in my images. In my humble opinion this one tip alone was worth my monthly subscription to Scott Kelby’s educational website.

Another tip from Bill Fortney came from a visit he made to Ruby Beach on the Washington coast in the Olympic Park. The weather had not cooperated for the planned shoot to get some images of the setting sun and the beach, so Bill went on to plan B. He had found some rocks on the beach that had interesting textures, but because they were dry, lacked a real photo opportunity. Bill solved the problem by just splashing some water on the rocks he was interested in. Completely changed the image by darkening the rocks and bringing out the colors and textures for the camera to capture. Simple. Easy. I never thought of it.

I know for many of you these tips may seem pretty simplistic and old hat, but for me they provided an ah-ha moment. I’ve been shooting for a while but it’s only been in the last year that I’ve actually started investing in educating myself through online courses in addition to books and magazines. I’m coming to the realization that I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Somebody smarter and more creative than me has already done it and shared their knowledge in print or video. All I have to do is find it and not be so prideful or stubborn to think that I have to figure it out for myself.  I just have to learn it and use it until I learn how to put my own spin on it.

The other thing I’ve been finding is that sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference in my images. Better equipment is always nice and will always help, but I feel that I’m getting a far bigger bang for my buck by learning and focusing on the basics and the details that make the foundation for my shots. As many have stated before me, the best equipment in the world won’t make you a good photographer. Knowing the basics and how to use the equipment you have will give you the best chance to move to the next level.

Lesson learned this week; focus on the basics. Master the little things and the big picture will take care of itself.

“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.”   By Jim Rohn

 I’d love it if you took a moment to check out some of my other images at my website. It’s at



Evening walk Just wanted to share some thoughts about my  transition of becoming something more than just a point and shoot photographer.
 When I started to get serious or at least sort of serious about the idea of improving my photography one of my goals was very simple. Just to be able to become good enough at photography that my family would be proud to hang my art on their walls, because we all know that our friends and family can be some of our toughest critics.
I’m a little older than some of you out there. I just celebrated my 61st birthday. Actually I was trying real hard to not draw any attention from people on how old I was getting and for the most part I succeeded.
I’ve spent a lot of my life behind the wheel of a truck, driving into almost every nook and cranny of the country, but never really getting to see it. I mean really see it. It seems there was always a tight schedule that just didn’t allow me the time to get out and play tourist very often. I never felt like I had accomplished much with my life other than staring at the white line spinning past me. I wanted one simple thing. To leave something behind that my family could hang on their wall, point to and say with some pride that my dad took that. My self confidence in my ability to do that was definitely not real high. Perhaps some of you have said the same thing to yourself as I did. I’ll never be able to be that good, but a funny thing happened on my way through life. Despite that small hurdle I finally bit the bullet and bought a DSLR while I was on the truck and started shooting whenever I got the chance. Slowly my images started getting better and in the last two years somehow I got there. I reached one of my first goals. Still not quite sure how, but I did. Just this last week two of my family members have requested large prints of a couple of my images. One of them a 20″ x30″ or bigger. She has it saved on her phone as her screen saver and her mom said she’s been drooling over it. My sister wants an 11×13 or bigger of another one of my images and this after telling me just a few months earlier that she didn’t want any photos bigger than a 5×7. Needless to say that makes me feel pretty good.

My point is that I wanted to quite more than once. I fet that I had nowhere near enough talent or creativity to be good at something as challenging as photography. Partly because I’m OLD. At least I feel that way some days. I kept on though. And no, I may never be a Peter Lik, or a Scott Kelby or a Trey Ratcliff as much as I would like to be, but I can be me and that’s ok. I kind of like being me most of the time.
The same goes for many of you out there. If you just keep trying and working at the craft of photography you’ll do far better than those that have such an incredible amount of skill they don’t think they have to work at it.  So whatever you do, keep shooting. Never give up. If you enjoy it and get pleasure from it that’s all that counts.  Now go take some pictures.