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JW Johnston Quarterly  

Autumn 2019
It IS still autumn, right?  
There's a lot of content here, perhaps more than previous editions.  So, if you have time, grab your favorite beverage, settle in and enjoy.  If you don't have a lot of time right now, come back often.  The Quarterly will be here. Feel free to share with fellow photographers. Thanks.
  • Fog and Foliage 
  • Backstories & How-To
  • iPhone 11 Pro Mini-Gallery
  • 2019 Workshop Work
  • Notes on Composition
  • 2020 Workshops Preview
  • 2020 2RPC Events
  • Looking for Used? 
  • Exhibition Guide
  • WP Fall Fest Contest 
  • Parting Shot
Cover Shot


iPhone Mini-Gallery


Technical Info

All in One - Below
From the Fog and Foliage Series (as seen on Instagram)
Most of the images in this series produced by the iPhone 11 Pro on October 23rd.   

Image Capture:  ProCamera            
Image Processing:  Snapseed

The morning of October 23rd was perfect for photography. The fog lingered well into the morning, reducing troublesome contrast and softening not just the light but objects as well. I'm getting accustomed to the iPhone11 Pro. I'm a big fan, thus far. I appreciate the results I'm getting from its three-lens flexibility: standard (26mm equivalent), "telephoto" (52mm equivalent), and extra wide (13mm equivalent).  I've only scratched the surface thus far.  There's a great deal more to explore, which I'll be doing in the coming weeks.  In the meantime, here's a gallery of recent images captured and edited in the iPhone 11 Pro.  At the end of the gallery, you'll find a link to an iPhone 11 Pro review from Digital Camera World.

Thoughts on Snapseed: This is a wonderful processing app which seems to provide infinite possibilities. It's the app that keeps on giving. It comes in both Android and iOS versions.  And last I checked it was still free. I've been using it for years.  It's a big part of my Smartphone Photography classes. And I'm still learning something new.  There is no space in this newsletter to detail the huge number of adjustments I've made on these images with Snapseed. But you have real hands-on control over your adjustments.  It takes practice and experimentation.  Quite often, less is more.  But one of the great features of Snapseed is it's easy to undo what should not have been done.
Foggy mornings seem to have phases based on the fog's thickness.  That density can ebb and flow with barely perceptible breezes, but the arc bends toward brightness. As the sun continues to rise, fog dissipates, slowly and gently revealing colors and textures of the new day. The first stages are soft subtle, muted, and full of promise.
The light is emerging but we're still in that phase when the fog is thick and we're drawn to, reassured by, even a hint of color.  It's a reminder that as the fog ever so subtly thins and lifts, we're in transition. Good things are happening now.  And more good things will come to those who wait.
The Gate Control Tower at the Whitney Point Flood Control Dam is a familiar sight for me.  But this convergence of dense fog and sun, at this very particular moment, created something unique.  
Fog lifts.  Foliage emerges.  The south end of Whitney Point Lake.
The Fleeting and the Constant.
That moment on a sunny morning when all the fog seems to have lifted.  Brilliance, clarity, warmth, reassurance.
More Fog And Foliage Images on Instagram
Digital Camera World's iPhone 11 Pro Review
Classes and Workshops - 2020

Make your plans now.
Coming in June 2020

The Notion of Motion
3 Mondays   -  June 15, 22, 29  
Save $15 on The Notion of Motion
COMING - August 11, 18 & 25

Updated & Expanded


Save $15 on Composition! Composition! Composition!
Save $15 on Composition! Composition! Composition!
Workshop Work
The greatest reward of conducting workshops such as Composition! Composition! Composition! is seeing the work produced by the participants. Below is just a handful of examples of the wonderful work shared during our Composition workshop image review sessions held in Oneonta and Vestal earlier this year.  You should expect to see more Workshop Work from participants in future Quarterly newsletters.
Jackie Madden makes good use of the lower right intersection of thirds and creates a nice visual path with all those linear "spokes" emerging from the lower right third....a nice blend of organic and geometrical shapes.
Wendy Harrington's macro image is a wonderful example of symmetrical balance.  Anyone who insists that we should try to avoid placing the focal point in the center of an image (and I've done that myself) needs to see this image. While we should always keep in mind the Rule of Thirds when we're composing, we should never let that "rule" get in the way of what works in a particular circumstance. Control of depth of field is always important and this shot is a display of very effective use of minimal depth of field.
Martha Quackenbush utilizes the 'rule of thirds' well in the placement of the fungus.  While some might argue that the subject should usually be somewhere in the right third (and I've been guilty of that as well), this image works very well. The selective focus is extremely effective here. We've all seen and many of us have made photos of fungus and tree branches.  This one is a standout.  It rests easy on the eyes.  
William Eggleston, one of the foremost pioneers in fine art color photography, once said, "I am at war with the obvious."  I'm thinking of that quote because Lisa Fekler's "Otel" could easily be placed alongside some of Eggleston's work. This image was part of an exercise in which participants were tasked with making the usual seem unusual, transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. The light in the scene is subtle and true.
A very effective use of composition fundamentals in Elisa Chrzan's image at the bog in Chenango Valley State Park:  great linear perspective, visual path, wonderfully low camera placement, good use of selective focus enhancing a sense of mystery.
The rule of thirds is well utilized by Lisa with the focal point occupying the junction of thirds in the upper left.  The background is soft, yes, thanks to selective focus. And the background is in shadow, making absolutely sure that it does not distract a viewer from the focal point.  The stem and blossom coming in from the right create an interesting counter-balance to the main stems.  And there is an effective combination of the warm (yellow) and cool (green).
Judy Decker's architectural detail is a great assemblage of the most important element of design:  line, every kind of line:  horizontal, vertical, diagonal and curves.  Camera placement effectively captures the play of light and shadow. Check out the shadows on the upper shingles.  This is a wonderful combination of the geometrical and the organic, man-made and the natural.  
Editor's Note:  In coming newsletters, I hope to include more images from workshop participants such as the examples above.   You could be next.  (I hope that doesn't sound like a threat.)
Coming - March 21 & 22, 2020
Two Rivers Photography Club

 Spring Seminar with

Adirondacks Photographer

Mark Bowie
Mark Bowie / 2RPC Seminar Info & Registration
Backstories and How-To


Composition and Technical Notes:

You could also call this image, "Old Dog Learns New Tricks".   For as long as I've been making broad outdoor landscape photographs, I've done my best to maximize my depth of field just as Ansel Adams did. But as I was photographing in fog so often this autumn I noticed something.  Not only does fog soften light, it softens detail, texture.  I liked the effect and decided to go with it.  So I pulled out my longest zoom and opened it wide. For me that was heresy.  My instinct is to ALWAYS go to a much smaller aperture. I focused on the key element (the tree trunk to the left of the foreground) and let the background go soft.  

Why the garbage can?  I used to try very hard to eliminate signs of humanity in my landscape photographs. I realize now that I was denying myself all kinds of opportunity.  The garbage can helps provide a sense of balance in the scene.  It tells a story about the balance of nature and humanity in public parks.  The can has an important function in this part of the park as does the tree in the foreground.  

I've been working with the Nik Collection's  Silver Efex Pro 2 for BW Conversions and I've been including a hint of sepia. I'm doing a lot of that these days.  I think it helps convey the almost timeless connection I feel to the land where I live.  

Nikon D800   Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 at 95mm  
Exposure:  F/2.8 @1/500  ISO100
Pavilion 2 & Pavilion 3

Photographer Dewitt Jones gives this advice:  "There's more than one right answer."  The two images, obviously made in the same place, offer a case in point.  I don't believe in "one and done."  Work the scene.  If a scene somehow resonates with a photographer, he or she should find out why by examining the scene from all possible perspectives.  The camera viewpoints for the above two images were just a few feet apart.  I'm very happy with them by themselves.  And I think they're even stronger side by side.

Exposure Information:
Pavilion 2  - Nikon D800  Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8  (focal length 35mm)  
f/2.8 @ 1/125  !SO100

Pavilion 3 -  focal length 24mm  f/16 @ 1/2 second
Structure #1 (BW version)
"To see is to forget the name of the thing one sees." 
Composition Notes:
I've seen the above quote, or words to that effect, attributed to both Paul Valery and Claude Monet. While I'm not sure of the source, I AM sure that this is great advice for visual artists. The term 'bridge abutment' didn't cross my mind when I came upon this place. What I saw, instead, was thirds, contrast, a curvilinear shape, a broad range of tones, geometric and organic shapes, contrast and texture.  The key was how best to capture it.  The dramatic curvilinear arc with its tonal detail resonated with me more than all of the other elements.  So I allowed two-thirds of the space to that arc. I felt its drama would be enhanced by having it disappear into (or emerge from) the upper left corner.

Technical Notes:
The incredible detail and texture of this place convinced me to go big with large format film. Yes, I still do that from time to time and it's still wonderful.

Camera:  Toyo 45AII    Lens: Schneider 90mm   Filter: 81A
Film: Provia 100F    4x5 sheet film      Exposure:  F/45 @ 15 sec.

The E-6 film processing by Praus Productions in Rochester.
I scanned the transparency at high resolution at Light Work in Syracuse. After studying the image in color and black and white, I feel the BW version best highlights what's so compelling in this scene.  I used the Nik Collection's Silver Efex Pro 2 for the conversion.

SUNY Broome Continuing Education

Photo Classes - Winter and Spring

Registration Begins in January

Save the Dates Now
Smartphone Photography - Part 1

iPhone 7-Plus  Image Capture:  ProCamera  Editing: Snapseed

Smartphone Photography - Part 1

Whether you make photos with your iPhone or your Android, this course shows you how to make photos that are wall-worthy. 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. Transform your pictures from good to great with an amazing editing/processing app. Plenty of demonstrations and practice during classes and photo exercises in between. Participants can share their work during supportive review sessions. You can see some of my iPhone work at

3 Wednesdays  January 29, February 5, 12    6:30 - 8:45PM

Save the Dates.  Registration starts January at SUNY Broome.


Smartphone Photography-Part 2
Yard Work   

iPhone 11 Pro   Image Capture:  ProCamera  
Processing:  Snapseed
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. 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 Wednesdays   February 26, March 4, 11     6:30-8:45PM

Save the Dates.  Registration begins in January at SUNY Broome.


Shooting Water

Shooting Water

If it’s Spring it must be time for Shooting Water. This class explores all the ways you can most effectively and dramatically photograph water.  Whether your scene is a colorful reflection in a quiet pond, the silky water of a slow-moving stream or the rush of a waterfall, this class guides you through some simple techniques that make beautiful images of water possible, from straightforward 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. One of the course highlights is a class field trip. I'll be your instructor. dSLRs are recommended. Students need to provide their own transportation to field trip site. This class is offered just once this year.


4 Wednesdays  - April 8, April 22, April 29 (field trip), May 6


No Class April 15


Classroom Sessions times:   April 8, 22 and May 6 (6:30-8:45PM)


Field Trip time:   April 29  (6:00-8:00PM)


Registration for Shooting Water begins in January
Looking for Used Gear From Local Photographers? Click Here

Two Events Not To Be Missed 


Saturday,  February 18, 2020  at the Vestal Public Library

Local professional photographer Chuck Haupt will present his images from his trip to Uganda in June 2019. Chuck is well-known in our area for his extensive backgound in photojournalism and for his fine art exhibitions.



Saturday, April 18, 2020 at the Vestal Public Library 

Photographer Irene Hinke-Sacilotto on Saturday April 18, 2020 will present "Tangier Island: A Visual Journey" at the Vestal Public Library.  Irene is well-known for her nature photography throughout the Chesapeake Bay region.

All presentations are open to the public.  More information will be forthcoming soon at  Stay tuned.

So Much to See 
Photography Exhibitions
Check out these links below for more information.
Binghamton University Art Museum
Through December 7, 2019
African-American Portrayals, 1930s to Today

Okay, history of photography buffs. It's not everyday that you can find 12 - count them - 12 Gordon Parks' prints hanging on a wall some place close. But you'll see just that at the Binghamton University Art Museum through Saturday, December 7. The photographs by the legendary and multi-talented Parks are part of an extraordinary exhibition in this beautiful museum. Among the African-Americans portrayed in Parks' photos:  Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcom X, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, and Mahalia Jackson.  A portrait of a young Lena Horne is included in a selection of five portraits by writer and photographer Carl Van Vechten. There's so much more in this multimedia exhibition, including Harriet, a breathtaking linocut by Elizabeth Catlett. This show is so worth your time.  

Museum Hours:  Tuesday through Saturday 12-4, Thursdays 12-7.  The Museum is located in Rooms 179 and 213 in the Fine Arts Building.  607-777-2968  
December 7 is the last day. 
Eastman Museum, Rochester

Through January 5, 2020
Tanya Marcuse: Woven
Through January 5, 2020

A History of Photography

Through April 19, 2020
Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown
Through December 31, 2019
Light Work, Syracuse University
Wendy Red Star: Baaeetitchish (One Who is Talented)

November 4 through December 12, 2019
A-I-R (Artists in Residence):  New Acquisitions 2019

November 4 through December 12, 2019
Whitney Point Fall Festival Photo Contest Results
Kudos to Fall Festival Committee and Contest Organizer Nancy Lee (with able assists from Bill Lee and Samarra Mbenga)  for another successful photo contest and one-day exhibition on October 27. It is a labor-intensive task to organize and stage such a growing event.   More than 150 images were submitted from photographers ranging from the very young to the very...wise.  I had the pleasure of judging once again.  And again, it wasn't easy.  It was also encouraging to see some very wonderful work from the young.  Below is Mary Lou Shapinas' "Collecting Dust", the first prize winner in the Adult Man-Made Category.   For the full list of winners, click on the link just under the photo. Looking forward to another successful photo contest next year.
Whitney Point Fall Festival Photo Contest Results

...Parting Shot...
iPhone 7-Plus            July, 2019

Image Capture: ProCamera

Processing Apps:  Snapseed and Enlight
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.
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Copyright © 2019 JW Johnston Photography, All rights reserved.

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