Thursday, October 15, 2015


Sad Face
Don't be sad, because I'm still blogging.

Below is the first post I made to this blog, titled Opening day, on July 30, 2004.
It is my hope that as I join the increasingly crowded world of blogging, I will be able to add something unique or at least a little entertaining, even if only to myself.
It's funny now that I thought I was entering a "crowded world" in 2004, but over the years I have continued to enjoy the act of blogging, hope I've been entertaining, but more importantly, I hope that you found it interesting and useful.

With the relaunch of my website using Squarespace several months ago, which I wrote about here, I've now moved the blog there also. From this point forward I will no longer be posting new content here.

You can now find the jfwPHOTO blog at

And while you are there, please click on the navigation links to view my work, or click on the social media links and connect with me there.

Thank you for reading and for the continued support.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Mt. Denali
The final image of Mt. Denali edited in Adobe Lightroom CC and converted to black and white.
When I read the recent news about the name change of Mt. McKinley in Alaska to Mt. Denali, I remembered taking a photo through the window of a U.S. Coast Guard P-3 Orion late last year following an assignment in the Arctic.

After locating the photos on my hard drive, I quickly realized why I never bothered to process them at the time. They were bad. There was little color, no contrast, and very flat light. That was before I even bothered to notice all the dust spots. Nothing to get excited about here, right?

Original raw image shot with a Nikon D3S and 24-70mm f2.8 lens zoomed to 70mm, at 1/400, f13 with an of ISO 250.
Still, I did shoot in Raw, so I really had nothing to lose by bringing the photos into Adobe Lightroom CC and seeing if anything could be done to rescue them. After a few minutes of editing, something wonderful began to appear.

I am continuously amazed by the power of image editing software, especially Lightroom CC. Not only is it powerful software, but it is really easy to use and incredibly intuitive. While I use Adobe Photoshop CC as well, I find myself using Lightroom more and more as my primary image editing choice.

Lightroom has a very good spot removal tool, but because of the amount of clean up needed in this photo, I switched to Photoshop and used a combination of the spot healing and clone stamp tools.
However, when you combine the two programs then you have the ability to do some amazing things. Adobe realized this and now offers a photography plan where you get both programs for $9.99 a month.

Getting it right, or at least closer than I did with this photo, in camera is still the best thing you can do. But it also doesn't hurt to go back and see if you can turn those overlooked photos into something wonderful.

Online resources:

Lightroom Killer Tips
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom tutorials from novice to expert

Tuesday, September 08, 2015


The homepage features a slideshow gallery that advances automatically and displays photographs that do not appear anywhere else on the site.
Until the move to Squarespace, I was a hand-coder. Yes, I can admit it, I hand-coded my website. Even over many years and many iterations of, I continued to hand-code. Most recently it was a fairly simple site, one page deep and featured a java slideshow, my twitter feed and links to everywhere else you could find my work. It wasn't horrible, but it also wasn't anything I was particularly proud of or special and more to the point, I wasn't really driving anyone to the site.

I realized a while ago that it was time to get serious and finally have a website that I actually wanted to share with others and for that reason I made the move and relaunched my presence on the web.

Here are five reasons I made the switch from hand-coding to Squarespace.

1. One location for everything. It gives me a true presence, one URL, that I can now share which will highlight my photography, provide some information about myself, AND still provide a launching point to social media. There is still one BIG thing I have not yet moved, though. This blog. I do plan on eventually incorporating it and Squarespace offers step-by-step instructions on how to transfer most popular publishing platforms, including Blogger, into their framework without breaking links, etc. I just need a little more time.

I'm using the About page to also provide links to tear sheets and affiliate links. 
2. The content management system. I'm already an admitted hand-coder, therefore I know HTML and can build a website from scratch, but the reality is my skills will only allow me to build sites circa 2005. The web is so much more dynamic these days and having the ability to update a site quickly and easily was important to me. Squarespace makes it easy through their CMS and once you understand how it works, you can update or make changes in only a few minutes. I admit that I dove right in during the two-week trial and became a bit frustrated. However, once I took a step back, watched some tutorials, and looked at other Squarespace sites that used the same template I choose, the process of building my site became very easier. 

3. A wide selection of templates. The first thing that drew me to Squarespace was seeing other photographers using the platform. I liked the variety of templates, how most designs were clean and simple. One downside to temples, of course, is that all sites can begin to look the same. To make your site stand out, Squarespace gives you the ability to use custom code which I've started to incorporate and eventually is what I hope will make my site stand out. Also, switching between templates, even after your site is built is really easy to do and makes it possible to experiment with different looks.

This is typical of my gallery pages where I offer both navigation arrows and thumbnails. However, the commercial gallery seen here is the only place I offer full caption information on every photo.
4. Mobile devices. While I don't have current metrics on as proof, it is my belief that most people will be accessing my site on their phones or tablets. While not always ideal, having a website that scales and displays properly on a small screen is critical. Squarespace does a really nice job with this and I love how it looks on my Samsung phone and Apple iPad 2. I already have shared my site with others in this manner. 

5. Support. Let's face it, it's nice to be able to call someone when you have a problem. It's also nice to be part of a user base that offers inspiration, advice, problem-solving and provides customization tips when needed. Squarespace is well established, hasn't stagnated and continues to be one of the leaders in providing website services to photographers and other creative people.

With all the previous versions of my site, I would build it then and mostly forget it. However, with Squarespace I find myself revisiting every couple days, making small changes, or adding more photographs, or experimenting with styles. Why? It's easy.

And that's what it really comes down to after all, ease. A website that doesn't change or one that you don't use because it is too hard to update is a waste of a URL and does nothing to promote you or your photograph. So stop putting it off and give Squarespace a shot.

Friday, August 21, 2015


Homepage of using the Squarespace Ishimoto template.
It's taken much longer than it should have, but I relaunched using Squarespace and finally have everything in one place*.

I've been thinking about this for years and now that the new has been public for several weeks and I've had the chance to work and refine it, I'm glad that I did this and question myself as to why I waited so long.

In a subsequent blog post, I'll go into the details on why I choose Squarespace and offer some insight into the process along with my experiences in building the website, but for now, I hope you take some time to view my site, offer some feedback, and most importantly, ask questions.

Landscape gallery page using slideshow with Show Thumbnails and Show Next and Previous Controls selected. I'm still trying out various gallery styles.
If you are thinking about using Squarespace, they offer a full week 14-day free trial with no credit card required. I would also recommend you watch a few of the tutorials.

* Everything except this blog. Also, I currently have a redirect on the domain through GoDaddy. Both of these will change.

Friday, August 14, 2015


Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash Camera
January 13, 2011. Title: Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash Camera Description: Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash Model dates from 1950-61. Original cost for the Hawkeye was $5.50 and the flash was $7.00. Stats: 1,561 views, 4 faves, 0 comments Tags: brownie, kodak, hawkeye, camera, vintage, classic. Groups: None.
In Part II of my Flickr top ten blog post, I share photos five through ten, which in some ways are very different from the top five, however, there are also are a few similarities.

Number six, seven and ten, are some of the earliest photos I posted to Flickr and were part of a series I was working on about vintage cameras. I suppose that just given the amount of time they have been on Flickr, naturally they would accumulate views. I did notice that I was not sharing my photos to groups during this time, so realistically views could have been much higher. At some point, I did add number ten to several groups after they reached out to me with a request.

Polaroid Swinger Model 20
January 19, 2011. Title: Polaroid Swinger Model 20 Description: The Polaroid Model 20 Swinger was produced by the Polaroid Corporation between 1965 and 1970 and cost $19.95. Stats: 1,545 views, 0 faves, 0 comments Tags: Polaroid, swinger, model 20, vintage, camera, land camera. Groups: None.
Another thing about these photos is that only 400 views separate the number six photo from the number ten photo. I don't know exactly what that means, except that it stood out to me.

Number eight is another photo which features the Manneken Pis, although in a very different way that my number one most-viewed photo which was featured in Part I. In this photo I was focusing on the three people at the table and it was only later during post production that I notice the woman to the left.

Manneken Waffles
August 18, 2013. Title: Manneken Waffles Description: Manneken Pis is a famous Brussels landmark depicting a naked little boy urinating, and can be seen in advertising all over the city. Stats: 1,515 views, 1 faves, 0 comments Tags: X100S, Fuji, Manneken Pis, Brussels, Belguim, Belgium, advertising, coke. Groups: Fuji x100s
Number nine is a photo that I like, but certainly not one that I would put in my top ten favorites. I notice that many of my photos from Europe, especially those taken in Germany, do very well on my Flickr site. If I continued on down the most viewed list you would see many more photos from Germany and Belgium, including another Manneken Pis in the top twenty.

Cologne Cathedral
August 20, 2013. Title: Cologne Cathedral Description: The Cologne Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church in Cologne, Germany, and the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne and the administration of the Archdiocese of Cologne. Stats: 1,221 views, 2 faves, 0 comments Tags: X100S, Fuji, Cologne Cathedral, Germany, church, catholic. Groups: Cologne black & white, Fuji x100s, Digital Black and White.
This has been a fun two-part post to write and has given me a chance to look back over some photographs  that I posted about the same time that I relaunched this blog in 2011. I am constantly reminded how wonderful it is to have photo sharing sites like Flickr, along with social media, to get your work out there, to be shared and viewed by others. I know it has made me fall in love with photography, particularly, my personal work, all over again.

I think back to when I started taking photographs professionally in 1985 and at that time I never had any idea that my work would be seen by this many people. I'm still a small fish on Flickr, something I'm working on changing, but for now I'm content with my followers and looking at the work of those I follow.

Thank you, and let me know you Flickr username. I'll be sure to visit, leave a comment and follow you.
Majestic Toy Camera
July 26, 2011. Title: Majestic Toy Camera Description: Majestic toy camera from the Monarch Manufacturing Company, Chicago. Stats: 1,140 views, 2 faves, 2 comments Tags: Majestic, Toy Camera, Monarch Mfg.Co., Chicago. Groups: Historic Camera,