Tag Archives: Photography

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 www.jkfrancisphotography.com

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 www.Kelbyone.com, 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 www.jkfrancisphotography.com



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.