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Happy New Year!  May 2019 be a year of peace, joy and fulfillment.
Shenandoah National Park, Downstream from Whiteoak Canyon Falls No. 6

Cover shot details, backstory and takeaways below
  • Cover Shot:  Details-Backstory-Takeways
  • Creative Lighting Techniques Class from 2RPC
  • Bob Johnston Photography Competition Results
  • First Major Solo Exhibition in More than a Decade.
  • Call for Artists - First Ever Broome County Arts Trail
  • Winter Photography: Staying Creative, Staying Alive
  • Must See Exhibitions in the Southern Tier and Beyond
  • Winter-Spring-Summer Course Registration Is On Now
Congratulations to Mary Lou Shapinas.  Her image, Earth's Energy (above), is Best of Show at the 8th Bob Johnston Memorial Photo Show & Competition. Sandra Kirker (Departing Light) and G. Thomas Holdredge (Zen)  received Judge's Choice Awards for Black & White. Judge's Choice Awards for Color went to Kirk Van Zandbergen  (The Road to Harford) and Rod Sutton (Red Shouldered Hawk).  

Ten images received Honorable Mentions.  Mike Ricciardi received 3 Honorable Mentions and Joshua Lasky received two. The remaining 5 Honorable Mentions went to Jessica Fridrich, Julie Davenport, Andrew Pavlik, Bill Schumacher and Andrea Wood. 

The show runs through January 26 at Cooperative Gallery 213, 213 State Street, Binghamton. More details in this newsletter's So Much to See section.

Reliable sources tell this newsletter that the judge had an extremely tough time this year (as always) because there are so many worthy images in this show.  If you haven't yet seen this exhibition, what are you waiting for?
Registration Is Underway

SUNY Broome Continuing Education

Photo Classes - Winter and Spring

Links for additional details and to register are below.
Smartphone Photography - Part 1
Above Photo:  Wagner's Vineyards, Seneca Lake    
  iPhone 7Plus  ProCamera  Snapseed

Smartphone Photography - Part 1
Whether you make photos with your iPhone or your Android, this course shows you how to produce breathtaking images. We begin with photography fundamentals that anyone with a camera needs to know. You'll learn how to apply those basics using the best image capture apps available. You'll transform your pictures from good to great with an amazing editing/processing app.  And you'll have fun doing it.  Plenty of demonstrations during class and photo exercises in between. Please note: this is basically the same course that used to be called Smartphone Photography with no "Part 1" in the title. The slight name change is because we're now offering a Part 2 course.  [See below.] You can check out my iPhone work at: 
or at my website

3 Mondays  January 28, February 4, 11    6:30 - 8:45PM


Register for Smartphone Photography - Part 1

or call 778-5012


Smartphone Photography-Part 2
Above Photo: Footbridge to Somewhere, CV State Park
iPhone 7 Plus    Apps:  ProCamera, Snapseed, Enlight

Smartphone Photography-Part 2
Photographers who have completed the original Smartphone Photography or iPhone Photography class during the past two years or so are considered to have completed Part 1. Many of you have asked for a Part 2 class. So, here goes. We pick up where Part 1 left off, exploring more deeply what's possible with the best image-capture and processing apps available for both IOS and Android phone photography. We then go further with Lightroom and Photoshop phone apps. You'll learn how to produce images worthy of the family album AND a gallery wall. Plenty of in-class demonstrations, between-class exercises and supportive reviews of your work. It is strongly recommended that you take Part 1 before Part 2. Again, you can check out my iPhone work at

3 Mondays   February 25, March 4, 11     6:30-8:45PM



Get More Information & Register Here

or call SUNY Broome Continuing Education at 778-5012


We've Added a Field Trip

Shooting Water

Updated and Returning in April
Upper Lisle Bridge   Nikon D300   Nikkor 24-120mm @ 120mm   f/3.5-5.6
ISO 200  f/16   1/10 sec.

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
The Two Rivers Photography Club has unveiled its Saturday Education/Seminar Schedule. Mark your calendars:

This coming Saturday - January 19 -

Creative Lighting Techniques
                                - with Jen Lasher of Jen Lasher Originals

Vestal Public Library   10:15AM - 1PM   $5.00 for non-members

February 2 - "Ready-Set-Create" - Club members create photo challenges and still life exhibits.  They'll help participants master techniques needed to capture unique images.   

February 16 - Rick Marsi - Award-winning writer, naturalist, photographer  - "The Mystery of Migration"

March 2 - Chesapeake Bay photographer Irene Hinke-Sacilotto - Life in the Chesapeake Bay - Tangier Island, A Visual Journey

 Much more info at the Club website.  Click below:
Two Rivers Photography Club Education/Seminar Info
 The Return of...




July 16, 23 & 30





Vestal Public Library

A 3-Session Workshop for $99.00

Discount to $79.00 is Available

Click for Details & Registration Form
A hands-on 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
Call for Artists
And that also means you, fellow photographic artists. Broome County, NY, is alive with great art.  If you visit our galleries and museums you already know this. So, what if a huge number of local artists showed their work on the same weekend throughout the county?  This could be big, an exciting and beautiful celebration of our home.  And a great opportunity for you to promote your fine art.  The Broome County Arts Council is taking on the herculean task of creating the first-ever Broome County Art Trail on June 1st and 2nd. The BCAC is pushing hard to get as many artists to apply as possible in January. The final deadline to apply is February 15. For more information and to apply, click here.
It's Winter.  Embrace it.  
Winter is our longest and (duh) coldest season. And we can spend month after month after month indoors, hiding from the weather. Or, every so often, we can choose to get out there, making sure we fully prepare our gear and ourselves in order to produce successful winter photographs. Winter presents us with an abundance of possibilities. For the image above I was flat on my back looking up with my 17-35mm Nikkor lens at 17mm.  I wasn't roughing it. About 20 yards away, my warm truck awaited along a country road about 5 miles from the house.
And sometimes, you can walk about 10 feet from your back door to photograph an exotic '"snow dune".
Snow can look like sand dunes or waves.  It can take on the appearance of clouds rhythmically stretching to the horizon as seen from above in a jetliner.  Snow is flexible, lending itself quite easily to abstractions and interpretations.  And as photographers, we can explore all that abstract potential or create beautiful straight ahead representational images. 
But when it's dangerously cold, discretion is called for.  There's very little point in risking our lives if we don't have to. And on those mornings when the temperature is in single digits or colder, we can still produce great Winter images while wearing slippers and sipping hot chocolate.  

For much more detailed Winter photography advice to help you stay creative and stay alive, click here for the Feb. 2018 JW Johnston Photography Newsletter. 
Cover Shot

Details - Backstory - Takeaways
Toyo 45AII Field Camera, Schneider 150mm lens, Polarizer, 81A Warming Filter, Kodak E100SW 4x5" sheet film. 

Once upon a time and not too long ago, photographers everywhere used an exotic, light-sensitive materiaI called "film".  I was one of those photographers and this is my story. I made this large format image with Kodak's E100SW film in 1998. I had wrapped up making photographs of Shenandoah National Park's Whiteoak Canyon Falls No. 6 under an overcast sky.  About a mile downstream, not far from my car and a quick ride back to the cottage, what appeared was this lyrical assemblage of shapes, line and sweet, warm light. I had to hustle because the light was fading and my gear was stowed in my pack. I managed to set up the tripod and head, open my 4x5 field camera, install the lens, fine tune focus and other adjustments, slap on some filters, get my reading and make two exposures before the light disappeared. 

1- Dewitt Jones tells us to train our technique. And this image is a great example of why training our technique is essential. During the late 90s and early 2000s shooting large format film was pretty much all I did. Setting up and tearing down my gear became second nature. I didn't have to do a lot of thinking. Had I been even the slightest bit slower that late afternoon, you wouldn't be looking at this image. Photographers owe it to themselves to practice adjusting their settings again and again so that they become fluent in the technical.

2- Be open.  Be receptive to the beauty (or sometimes, the compelling or even the ugly) that surrounds us. That's part of a photographer's job. The last thing I wanted to do was unpack and set up my gear. I just wanted to get to the car, make a quick drive to the cottage and enjoy a hot supper. But I saw what I saw. And I knew dinner would not taste as good as it eventually did had I chosen to pass up this moment.  

3- Using the polarizer. More often than not, the polarizing filter earns its keep when photographing landscape. In this case, the polarizer tamped down the glare on the foreground water, enabling the viewer to see the rocks just under the surface.

4- Dress for the occasion. This was the end of a long cold day of photography.  But because I'm an old Boy Scout, I was layered with moisture wicking fabrics and quite comfortable. Discomfort messes with creativity. Hypothermia messes with health. 

For the first time in more than a decade I will present new work in a major solo exhibition. The show is called New Work.  Old Haunts. And I'm thrilled to tell you the venue: Orazio Salati Studio and Gallery, 204 State Street, Binghamton, NY. The work in this show is the most personally meaningful of my career. I don't think I am overstating this. These are photographs I was meant to make. The image of the sycamore tree above will be included. The show opens on Friday, April 5 and runs through May. I hope to see you there.
So Much to See 
Photography Exhibitions
Check out these links for more information.

Through January 26
The Cooperative Gallery 213
213 State Street, Binghamton
Fridays 3-6PM Saturdays 12-4PM


Eastman Museum, Rochester
Through March 31 
Through April 21
A History of Photography
January 25 through May 26

January 25 through June 9

PLEASE NOTE:  At some point, if you're visiting our nation's capitol and if the partial government shutdown is over, you might have the chance to see two powerful shows listed below.   
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Through February 18, 2019
Gordon Parks: The New Tide,

 Early Work 1940–1950

Through March 24, 2019

Dawoud Bey:  The Birmingham Project

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
One of my favorite parts of smartphone photography is the perspective it can give us.  We are able to get extremely close to our subjects such as this grassy detail while still managing to achieve focus.  We end up seeing so much more as a result.  It is a great aid to composition.  

iPhone 7 Plus     Image Capture: ProCamera  
Processing:  Snapseed, Photoshop, Silver Efex Pro 2
There is great potential for abstraction with something as basic as a curtain window and a smartphone. Just as with the close-up of grass (above), the iPhone was extremely close to the fabric. And that helped zero in on an intriguing form, discarding any peripheral distractions. This is from my Impro Topo series.
iPhone 7 Plus   Image Capture: ProCamera  Processing: Snapseed
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 will continue in 2019. In order to maintain newsletter standards, it is now a quarterly publication. This is the first 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 28, 2018
A New 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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