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JW Johnston Quarterly  

Winter 2020
Yes, it's still winter.

In This Quarterly 
  • Sunrise in Slippers 
  • How-tos & Backstories   
  • Warm Weather Workshops     
  • "Shooting Water" Registration
  • Working a Scene
  • 2RPC Presents Mark Bowie 
  • Workshop Work Mini-Gallery
  • About the Cover Shot
  • Shows: Adams, Lange & more
  • Parting Shot
Photo Class Registration Alert 

Shooting Water

Shooting Water

Starts in April -  Space Still Available 

for This Once-A-Year Class

It's almost time for April Showers and snowmelt.  That means it's a good time for Shooting Water. This SUNY Broome Continuing Education class explores all the ways you can most effectively and dramatically photograph the most fluid (yes, I said it) and versatile of subjects. This class, offered just once this year,  guides you through simple techniques that make possible beautiful images of water, from straightforward to abstract:  

  • Reflections in a quiet pond
  • The silky water of a slow-moving stream  
  • The rush of a waterfall 
  • Zoom burst and camera movements for abstraction
  • Filtration: Polarizer and Neutral Density 
  • Tripod? Yes and No  
  • Find that "sweet" shutter speed
  • Lots of photo exercises between class sessions
  • Supportive in-class reviews of your work
  • 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

Please Note:  No Class April 15      Course Fee - $79

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

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

Doyles River Upper Falls, Water Arc, Shenandoah National Park
I made this image with my trusty old Toyo 45A-II field camera and Fuji Vevia ISO-50 4x5 sheet film back in the '90s. It would take me too much time to research the shutter speed, but I can tell you it was a very long exposure time - conservatively,  30 seconds.  The extended exposure time is what made visible that ethereal arc of water.  As I stood at the falls, the mist arcing off the rock was barely visible.  But a camera, as Michael Kenna has said, "accumulates time".  In this case, the camera accumulated all of the moving mist for however long the shutter remained open.  I love how a camera can open "the doors of perception."
Water Abstract #4.  I twirled the camera, clockwise, with the lens pointed at a colorful reflection in Whitney Point Lake.  Shutter speed was 1/2 second.

Emergence #25, Page Brook, Whitney Point, NY.  When shooting water, it's so often the case that only one very specific shutter speed captures moving water at its most compelling.  The sweet shutter speed for this exposure was 1/4 second. 
Working a Scene
"There's more than one right answer."

                                                                                                       - Dewitt Jones
Grove #1
Grove #2
Grove #3
Grove #4
About the Cover Shot


New Window Treatment Gallery
Recent Additions to Window Treatment Series
Most images in this mini-gallery were made with the iPhone 11Pro. A few were made with the iPhone 7-Plus. Most  of these images were recently posted on Instagram (@jwjohnstonfineart).
About the Cover Shot

East-Facing Window #3
iPhone 11Pro

Image Capture: ProCamera  

Image Processing: Snapseed

Exposure:  1/105 second @ F/1.8 (fixed aperture)

Focal Length of 1X lens:  4.25mm (equivalent to 26mm focal length in 35mm SLR world)

Morning is my favorite time of day. It's quiet. Distractions are few. Thinking is clear. Sometimes, the warm light of dawn appears through the curtains of my bedroom's east window. And when the temperature hovers around zero and frost coats the glass, the moment is even more special. I get out bed, slide into slippers, grab my iPhone and commune with the ephemera.
East-Facing Window #5, Detail, from the Window Treatment series
East-Facing Window #1, from the Window Treatment series.
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The first image is the original photograph, a detail, titled South-Facing Window #4. Sometimes, any straight-on photograph can become an abstract simply because of the subject. And sometimes, abstracts become simply an assemblage of design elements. And sometimes, they can be just as compelling when rotated 90, 180, or 270 degrees. In this case, I prefer the original, but the other orientation has its place.  
East-Facing Window #6.  Occasionally, the subject is as simple as color, or the relationship between warm and cool tones.
South-Facing Window #2.  The more you study a photographic subject, the more you see.  The goal with the Window Treatment project is to find the impact light has when it comes through a window. That leads to a lot of photographs of a lot of glass, frames, and fabric. But I can get so focused on the obvious that I run the risk of missing the play of light on the wall nearest the window.

The clearest-eye genius ever born never saw a landscape in ten minutes.
-Bradford Torrey
Warm Weather Workshops - 2020

Save the Dates!
For the First Time in Two Years...

The Notion of Motion

Early Registration Discount Deadline - April 30
3 Mondays   -  June 15, 22, 29  
Save $15 - The Notion of Motion
  • Stops, Pans, Blurs in Detail 
  • Zoom Bursts
  • Abstract Motion With and Without a Tripod
  • Neutral Density Filters
  • Finding That "Sweet" Shutter Speed
  • Using Design Fundamentals to Create a Visual Path
  • Plenty of Exercises to Keep You Busy Between Classes
  • Constructive Reviews of Your Work During Class Sessions
COMING - August 11, 18 & 25

Updated & Expanded


Save $15 on Composition! Composition! Composition!
Save $15 on Composition! Composition! Composition!
Looking for Used Gear From Local Photographers? Click Here
Coming - March 21 & 22, 2020

Two Rivers Photography Club

 Spring Seminar


Adirondacks Photographer

Mark Bowie
Mark Bowie / 2RPC Seminar Info & Registration

Coming in April from 2RPC

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. Click here for more information.



Workshop Work

A Mini-Gallery

The most challenging - and most rewarding - class I teach is Beginning Photography (ART112), a 3-credit course at SUNY Broome. It's old school: black-and-white film, all manual 35mm SLRs, darkroom processing and printing. Teaching silver-based, hands-on, photography to students whose sole experience with photography has been restricted to smartphones, can be demanding.  At the start of the semester, loading a roll of film for the first time can be intimidating for a novice, not to mention, reading a meter, processing film and making prints.  But by the end of the semester, many students have become quite comfortable assessing and controlling exposure, composition, tone, and contrast as they complete their portfolios.  And when they move on from this class, they take with them the realization that they are quite capable of creating great work while seeing their world with new eyes.

What follows is a mini-gallery of three prints each by two accomplished students - Olivia Grozier and Paulina Heuss -  who completed Beginning Photography in the Fall 2019 semester.  
Paulina Heuss
Paulina produced this image of an old bench in the backyard as part of an exercise to make the usual seem unusual, even compelling.
The above two images are a part of Paulina's portfolio project. Paulina is a custom tailor from Germany where she worked as an apprentice for several years.  Her portfolio subject focused on the world of a tailor.  
Olivia Grozier
Olivia Grozier has an interest in fashion and fashion photography.  The above two images are from her portfolio project.  She used great camera angles throughout her portfolio images and made effective use of lines in the above two images.
Olivia produced this image in the semester's first assignment which required students to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.  Again, she used very effective camera placement and produced a great abstract of light and shadow out of a set of stairs.
Editor's Note:  In coming newsletters, I hope to include more images from students and workshop participants such as the examples above.   You could be next.  (I hope that doesn't sound like a threat.)
So Much to See 
Photography Exhibitions
Check out these links below for more information.
Museum of Modern Art 
Now through May 9.  Dorothea Lange Words & Pictures
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Now through May 10
July 20, 2020 through January 3, 2021 - Photographs: 1940s - 1960s
Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown
Manzanar:  The Wartime Photographs of Ansel Adams
May 23 - September 9, 2020

Vanderbilt Estate, Hyde Park, NY  Blue Gardens:  Photograph by Steve Gross and Susan Daley

Blue Gardens:  Photographs by Gross and Daley

April 1 - September 13, 2020

Pete Souza:  Two Presidents, One Photographer

October 21-December 31, 2020
Eastman Museum, Rochester
Through June 14:

Bea Nettles: Harvest of Memories


Through June 28:

Alejandro Cartagena: Photo Structure/Foto Estructura


 From the Camera Obscura to the Revolutionary Kodak
Kodak Camera, 1888.  Eastman Dry Plate and Film Company, Rochester, NY.  George Eastman Museum, gift of Eastman Kodak Company
Light Work, Syracuse University
Two shows closing March 7.
Dionne Lee:  Trap and Lean-to

2020 Transmedia Photography Annual

...Parting Shot...
Morning yoga with Miss Kitty in the warmth of an east-facing window.  February 15, 2020. iPhone 11Pro.  
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 © 2020 JW Johnston Photography, All rights reserved.

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