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It's showtime, folks!!!!!!!
JW Johnston Quarterly - Spring 2019
  • New Work. Old Haunts. Preview
  • Composition! Composition! Composition! Returns
  • Shooting Water
  • Photography Beyond the Basics
  • Photographing the Beauty of Nature
  • Must-See Exhibitions in the Southern Tier and Beyond
  • Watching Out for Ticks
  • Backstories, Takeaways and How-To
  • Wanted:  Your Workshop Ideas
  • Photo Equipment for Sale
  • iPhone Mini Gallery
What kind of class or workshop would you like to take part in?  What would be the topic or topics? Would we meet weeknights or weekends or for a whole week?  Let me know.  If I spot  a trend or a consensus among my fellow photographers, those ideas might soon be a reality.  Let me know. I look forward to hearing from you.  

Drop me a line at  

And speaking of classes and workshops...
 The Return of...




July 16, 23 & 30


Newly Updated




Vestal Public Library

New Exercises!  New Material!

A 3-Session Workshop for $99.00

Discount to $79.00 is Available

Click for Details & Registration Form
Registrations are already coming in for this hands-on, comprehensive exploration of the technical, creative & contemplative components of....well...composition. The "rule of thirds" and "leading lines" are just the beginning. 
Download Details & Registration Form Here
Registration Deadline Near

SUNY Broome Continuing Education

We've Added a Field Trip

Shooting Water

Updated and Returning April 8

Just a Few Spaces Remain
Keep an eye out for the personal and technical backstories for this photograph and others a bit later in this Quarterly.
Shooting Water

Springtime is Shooting Water time.  With the help of snowmelt and April Showers, this class explores all the ways you can most effectively and dramatically photograph water. Whether your scene is a reflection in a quiet pond, the silky water of a slow-moving stream or the rush of a waterfall, this class guides you through simple techniques that make beautiful images of water possible, from straighforward to abstract.  When do you use a tripod and when DON'T you?  How can filters on your lens help?  How can shutter speed transform a so-so scene into a breathtaking moment?  This class shows you.  NEW THIS YEAR - A FIELD TRIP.  It will probably help if you bring your dSLR to all four sessions.  You'll need to provide your own transportation to the field trip site.  Shooting Water is offered only once this year.

Please note schedule:

Classroom Sessions April 8, 22 and May 6 from 6:30-8:45PM

Field Trip:  April 29 from 6-8PM

No class - April 15


or call 778-5012

Summer Photo Classes


SUNY Broome Continuing Education 

Registration starts Monday - May 6  at 8AM
Photographing the Beauty of Nature

Mondays-June 24, July 8, 15, 22
6:30 - 9:00PM

Produce photos  that reflect your unique vision of outdoor beauty. Instructor presentations, take-home exercises, constructive reviews of your work, and a field trip to Chenango Valley State Park are included in this hands-on class that fosters technical & creative growth. Open to DSLR & Smartphone users. This limited enrollment class won’t happen again until next year.

Registration Begins May 6 at 8AM

For more information call Continuing Ed.

Photography Beyond the Basics

Wednesdays-June 26, July 10, 17. No Class July 3
Take charge of your camera's controls and produce stunning photos.  You'll learn how to capture motion with dramatic flair, bring out saturated colors, learn how to use natural light and surprisingly simple artificial light, build composition skills and much more. Whether you want to shoot portraits, landscapes, weddings, sports or just family gatherings, this class helps you be a better photographer. The learning continues after the final session. I will provide a bonus private, online critique of your work.
Registration Begins May 6 at 8AM

For More Information call Continuing Ed

In need of a piece of equipment but can't afford new?  Check out what's available from 2RPC members.
Photo Equipment for Sale by 2RPC Members
Backstories & Take-Aways
The four images featured below in Backstories are
included in the New Work. Old Haunts. exhibition.
Page Brook, Memory

September 30, 2018
Page Brook, Dorchester Park, outside of Whitney Point, NY


Nikon D800   Nikkor 24-120mm @ 120mm   f/3.5-5.6      

ISO 200    f/22    Exposure - Almost 9 minutes    ND 10X


On a warm, sunny June afternoon, Page Brook cast its spell and it's never let go. I was a teenager and it was the late 1960s.   A thin layer of water glided with elegance over  flat shale, the water so shallow it was easy to hop from dry rock to dry rock and make my way upstream.  A siren's song that only I could hear pulled me forward. It was almost horizontal levitation. That memory is as clear as yesterday. And here I am, decades later, still subject to Page Brook's charms.


1-I return to my Old Haunts all the time.  Years ago, when I worked in Syracuse, almost all of my photography time was spent in Labrador Hollow, between Tully and Truxton.  An associate asked me, "I don't understand.  Why do you keep going back to the same place?"  I thought for a moment and then I said,"It's never the same."   The more you know a place, the more you get in tune with the little changes that occur from week to week, from day to day.  Page Brook still has me in the same spell, but there's always something new to discover. 

2-The most remarkable thing about photography is that it allows us to see other worlds. If I had used a shutter speed of 1/125, the photo would look pretty much like what my eyes and brain perceive.  But a nine-minute exposure allows a glimpse into another world. Everything that happened in front of my lens for nine minutes is in this photograph. Fine art photographer Michael Kenna once said that a camera has "residual memory" and that it "accumulates time."  This image is an accumulation of time, of moments, kind of like life. 

3-When using a 10-stop Neutral Density filter, I usually refer to my checklist.  As soon as I think that I don't need a checklist, I forget a crucial part of the process, such as closing off my viewfinder window, or switching over to manual focus. My checklist is the same one that I distribute to photographers in my Shooting Water and Notion of Motion classes.

4-To calculate long exposures I used to use my fingers.  It pretty much always worked.  But the LE Calculator App on my phone comes in handy these days. A client introduced me to that app and I highly recommend it.
Spirits in the Stream

Page Brook, Dorchester Park, outside of Whitney Point, NY


October 6, 2018, late afternoon

Nikon D800   24-120mm f/3.5-5.6,  f/29 @ 5 sec.  with Polarizer


There was a great deal more water in Page Brook than usual this past year. Last fall, on an unseasonably warm late afternoon, I was working to make an image of roaring water alongside leaf-covered shale.  Then, two boys, maybe ten or 11 years old, came into the picture, literally. They were having one of those experiences that can make childhood magical. They sought out places in the stream where the water was rushing with the greatest force. They would cling to a rock for a while and then let go, allowing the water to sweep them along. You can see their ghostly figures in the background. The curmudgeon in me griped for a while about those darn kids ruining my idyllic Page Brook masterpiece. I finally realized that a scene of far greater significance was playing out in front of me.  It was a gift: two boys sharing a experience in this stream they might never forget just as I had had a life changing moment in the same stream half a century ago.  For me, this captures the essence of "Old Haunts" more than any other photograph in the show.


If you're working on a project - a series of images as part of a cohesive collection - it helps to be focused on goal completion.  It's how you get your work done.  But sometimes, flexibility and openness to possibility are called for.  Opportunities can present themselves to us from out of the blue for a very short time.  If we're open to possibility and give ourselves permission to depart from our agenda from time to time, wonderful things can happen.
The Door, Boiler Room Side


December 27, 2018

Nikon D800  Lens: Nikon 17-35mm  f/2.8 @ 24mm     f/14 @ 13 seconds  ISO 100

Lighting - a cheap flashlight in constant swirling motion.


This is a door between the boiler room and the garage in our house.  I love this door and not just because of its serendipitous, random arrangement of elements. The boiler room was a part of my father's domain. If you look closely, you can see my dad's  mathematical calculations or how he might have been testing an electric sander. Someday, these traces of my father, Walter Kenneth Johnston, will  be gone, "improved" by a homeowner far off (I hope) into the future.  But this photograph (I hope) will remain.
General Store


December 30, 2018

Large Format Film  -  Provia 100  4x5"

Toyo 45A-II Field Camera   Schneider 150mm lens  

F/64 @ 15 sec.  Polarizer and 81A filters

Backstory and Takeaway: 

This incredible window is on the side of a building, the location of which I'm not going to disclose at this point. I've photographed this with the iPhone, my D800 and large format film. I selected the film shot for the exhibition largely because it enabled me to make a large 25x40 print. The Provia was processed at Praus Productions in Rochester.  I scanned the transparency at Light Work in Syracuse and then printed the image on Epson Cold Press Natural paper, also at Light Work.  Yes, I still shoot large format film.  Without the benefit of instant feedback from my DSLR, shooting large format film slows me down, fosters both deliberation and a greater connection with my subject. I also take pleasure in the deferred gratification.  
Time to Talk Ticks
Days get warmer. Photographers emerge from winter shelter.  We hear about tick encounters, or worse, have one of our very own. Obviously, we need to take the threat seriously, but by no means should we avoid the outdoors. So, here's my annual public service announcement about our lovely insect friends. First, dress with ticks in mind. Consider the nature boy ticknophobe to the right.   
Ignore the snow in the above photo.  Instead, see what Nature Boy is wearing.
  • Long Sleeves
  • Shirt tucked in
  • Turtleneck fully extended
  • Pant legs tucked inside tall socks
  • Bandana on skull 
  • Red cap over bandana (white cap would be better)
  • Not visible is the Permethrin spray applied to pants, shirts, socks.
  • Spear for really big ticks 
The Latest on Ticks from the CDC
For Your Consideration, Not an Endorsement: Info about Permethrin
So Much to See 
Photography Exhibitions
Check out these links for more information.
Orazio Salati Studio & Gallery

Binghamton, NY
April 5 through May 25
JW Johnston
This is Johnston's first major solo exhibition in more

than 10 years. Perhaps you have heard of him.  He's

local. Click for a New Work Old Haunts preview.

Gallery Forty-One


April 3 through April 29

Opening Reception April 5, 6PM-8PM

Eli Foote

Unorthodox Process

Fenimore Art Museum

April 2 through September 2


Now Showing....

Roberson Museum and Science Center


is back for its third and final visit

The Rockwell Museum, Corning
Through May 5

Eastman Museum, Rochester
Through April 21
Through June 9

A Community Darkroom for Greater Binghamton

Some of my SUNY Broome black and white film students use the facilities at Binghamton Photo.  If you long for the old school darkroom you should check it out.  It's a great facility.  You can DIY or have Binghamton Photo do the processing for you. Plus the gallery is well worth your time.  Hours and more information on Facebook - Binghamton Photo.
iPhone Mini Gallery
There are many cases in which there is simply no time to grab your camera bag, set up the tripod, maybe slap a filter on your lens.  Sometimes you just have to grab the phone and shoot.  

iPhone 7 Plus     Image Capture: ProCamera  
Processing:  Snapseed
This is Impro Topo #51 (impro topo is short for improvisational topography).  The iPhone (or any good smartphone, really) seems ready made for this type of subject, an extreme close-up of some wadded up fabric.  Because the phone can get so close to the subject and because the phone is so mobile, we can get perspectives that would otherwise be extremely difficult if not impossible.   What I enjoy about this series is that it's all about form and light, seeing for the simple pleasure of seeing. While so much of my iPhone work is processed right in the phone, this image is an exception.  Photoshop and a plug-in Silver Efex Pro 2 helped to finish the job.
iPhone 7 Plus   Image Capture: ProCamera  Processing: Snapseed, Photoshop, Silver Efex Pro 2 (Antique Plate 2)
Quarterly.  It has a nice ring to it, a touch more "high brow" than "monthly", but, hopefully, not pretentious. Over the past couple of years, I've worked to produce a quality monthly newsletter.  And that is a challenge.  This past year has been one of great productivity: not just the newsletter, but also an expanded teaching schedule and some personally meaningful and ambitious photography projects. All of that continues in 2019. In order to maintain newsletter standards, it is now a quarterly publication. This is the second Quarterly.  Producing a newsletter every three months will allow me to keep standards high while including more in-depth features about photography in this region and the art and craft of the medium we love.  

I'll still send out special alerts about must-see exhibitions, promotions, contest or registration deadline. 


...Parting Shot...
iPhone 7-Plus        December 11, 2018
Another Addition to the Degrees of Ambiguity series
If you have any regional photography related news, I would be more than happy to spread the word in this newsletter.  Drop me a line at  And as always...

May you continue to find joy in photography.
Follow JW Johnston Fine Art on Instagram
Copyright © 2019 JW Johnston Photography, All rights reserved.

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