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Cover of "Liquid" published through Blurb by slurping photos from SmugMug

Here’s another quick and easy way to make a book and publish it through Blurb. I used Bookify™, Blurb’s online book making tool, and the SmugMug photo slurper to make the book in about 20 minutes. It couldn’t have been easier. If you’d like more control, you can download and use Blurb’s free bookmaking software, BookSmart® and slurp your photos from SmugMug. Click here for the Scoop on SmugMug and a great offer.

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"Singular Grace"

Thanks to all who joined me at my exhibit opening at the Peju Winery. It was a great afternoon of art with lots of good conversation, fantastic wine and wonderful food. For all of you who made the trek to Napa — a huge thanks (although having to trek to Napa on a beautiful sunny day isn’t all bad!). I really enjoyed having the chance to meet and talk with people whom I’ve only communicated with through email. To Marianne and Ed, I sure hope to see you on the Croatia trip.

As always, new exhibits teach me new lessons. I’m at the studio today with new ideas for the Marin Arts Open Studios (May 14 and 15. See directions below).  A few of the things I learned at the Peju opening include: bigger is sometimes better, there’s more in some of the photographs than I realized and I could have printed them larger. Another lesson: Don’t destroy the mystery by explaining all the secrets — and I’ll write more on that later!

The show at the Peju Winery runs through July 25th and includes wonderful art from Gail Sterling and Lulu Torbet. If you’re in Napa, stop by.

Also, please drop by my studio during Marin Arts Open Studios on May 14th and 15th. I’ll be there from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. Hope to see you.

Directions to the ICB Building – Studio 106
@ 480 Gate 5 Road in Sausalito
From 101 take the Sausalito / Marin City Exit.
Head South on Bridgeway. Left on Harbor Drive.
The ICB Building is the third building on the left.
Park in the parking lot on the West side of the building.
The entrance to my studio is from the deck on the West side.

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"Catching the Evening Light"

This is a photo of Howard, one of the many great participants who took part in my recent Photography Workshop in Mendocino, CA. He’s looking for that elusive shot in the waning evening light – just as so many of us were during that weekend. The next scheduled workshop is a Travel Photography Workshop in Croatia on the Dalmatian Coast of the Mediterranean, September 16th through the 24th, 2011.

As always, I walked away with some great insights into how I can get the most out of workshops as a participant and a leader. Here’s my take:

Starting with an idea of what you want to learn is critical but being open to the unexpected is essential.

For me, that’s certainly true and this workshop only further deepened my understanding of what it means to approach life and photography with “a beginner’s mind.” I look forward to continuing to instill that in my own photography and to putting what I learned from this last workshop into practice in my workshops to come.

Students from this last workshop gave some great feedback. Here are some highlights:

  • “Jay has a deft and gentle touch with people. He listens carefully, supports and guides, helps his students expand their vision. He also inspires. He handled a pretty diverse group (in both skill and personality) with grace. Got everyone feeling both comfortable with each other and energized. And I believe inspired new photographers to keep moving forward and more experienced photographers to shake up their vision.”
  • “Everything you showed in Lightroom was great. I didn’t know most of the tricks you showed.”
  • “Jay is an excellent teacher with a very calm demeanor that makes it a pleasure to learn from him.”

It was a fantastic turnout for the workshop. Participants ranged from the “eager to learn” to bona-fide professionals, and questions asked spanned the spectrum. Interests included macro, architectural, and landscape photography. In addition to some great sessions photographing in and around the village of Mendocino, we fit in some afternoon sessions during which we covered Lightroom cataloguing and developing, website design, composition,  and RAW vs jpeg capturing.

As expected, The Brewery Gulch Inn was a hit with all the participants and was the perfect place to host the workshop. We will definitely be making a return trip. If you have any ideas on places you’d like me to run a workshop, let me know. I’m open – still working with that beginner’s mind!



  • sabrina - May 24, 2011 - 12:48 pm

    If you plan to have another Mendocino workshop, please let me know. I would love to join.

  • Jay Graham - May 25, 2011 - 4:08 pm

    I’ve put you on the list. Would love to have you at the next workshop!

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Cover of "The Presidio" published through Blurb using the Lightroom 3 plug-in

Cover of "The Presidio" published through Blurb using the Lightroom 3 plug-in

I was able to participate in the beta testing of Blurbs new plug-in for Lightroom 3. It made gathering photos in lightroom and publishing a book through Blurb a simple, linear task. I made a quick collection of the raw images I want to feature in the book and hit the export button. I chose export to: Blurb Bookify and in the export dialogue was able to title the book, add a subtitle, and insert the author information. I was also able to choose the size, style, and page layout. If I decided to use captions and titles with the photos, the plugin would use the meta data from each image file to automatically annotate each photo. The last dialogue allowed me to choose the photos I wanted for the front and back covers. Once I made these selections, I clicked the export button and Lightroom and Blurb did the rest. All I had to do then was finalize the layout and make any changes I wanted in Bookify and then order the book. I’ll have mine in hand this Monday and will order more once I’m satisfied with the real book. Easy, quick, and no math needed. Blurb and Lightroom took care of all the details behind the scene.

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I was once told that the most important tool in the photographer’s kit is the u-turn. It has turned out to be one of the most valuable tools I have. Each of these photos exists because of the u-turn. If you don’t stop and get the shot when you see it, a thousand words won’t let you show it to the world.

The Fisherman’s House. I was on assignment in Vietnam photographing for Indochine Style, a book showcasing design, architecture, and style in Vietnam and Laos. We stopped for lunch and saw this colorful cottage sitting in the middle of this emerald rice field. This shot of the interior is the result of stopping and exploring.

Catching the Mist. I saw this scene on when we were traveling from Hoi An to My Son. I asked the driver to stop so I could photograph the nets. In a few minutes I’d captured a great shot and then saw At Rest as I was heading back to the car. Both of these photos have won awards in the International Photography Awards (IPA).

Taco Vendor. We were in Todos Santos photographing for the Rancho Pescadero Hotel and were gathering some local color at a fall festival. I almost passed this vendor without taking his picture. The u-turn saved the evening.

The Lone House in the Field. Road trips are the best. I was on a road trip from Ely, Minnesota to Mill Valley, California with two eleven-year-old boys. I’d start driving before sunrise when the boys were asleep in the back. I saw this scene, made a u-turn, and got the photograph before the boys even woke up.

Relaxed Color. Another one of those cases of photographing one thing, traveling to the next venue, and seeing a perfect shot on the way. I asked the driver to stop, walked across the road, and photographed this beautiful young girl relaxing in the doorway.

Stopping, turning around, taking an extra few minutes to record the event – That’s the importance of the u-turn!

  • Sabina Knotter-Finney - April 8, 2011 - 8:12 am

    Great story – love the pics. Have fun in Mendocino this weekend, hope it is going to be a great photographic workshop. Weather should be nice!


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