TO Last Flight Out Photography!

My name is Scotty, and I am a photographer based in Jakarta, Indonesia.

This website will house my blog, my latest Instagram photos, some of my portfolio, information about me, and a conduit for us to get to know each other.


Please enjoy browsing through my site !!

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or if you need a photographer!!

Varanasi…A City of Intensity

I spent 4 days in Varanasi along with Tika and Kelly. It is not a place where you go to relax, that is for sure. I don’t think there is another city in the world quite like Varanasi. Probably Baktapur in Nepal comes the closest. Varanasi is the oldest continually habited city in the world (I was told) stretching back 2000 years. It is the place where people come to die and be cremated and your ashes cleansed in the Holy Ganges River. They have “burnings” 24/7. It is also a very holy city where many religions converge, and there are a lot of very interesting people hanging out near the river or on the main street.

On my third day there, I had a photoshoot on a boat with an older Sadhu dressed in his orange robe and with his incredibly long hair. I got a nice shot of him at sunrise (see below). Just after I got the shot, we witnessed TWO men drown in the river in front of our eyes within 5 minutes of each other. The first guy’s head sunk below the surface to never again emerge while the second drifted with the current. Several boats tried to rescue him, but the current was very strong, and one boat ended up running over the poor guy. He was finally pulled onto a boat next to us, but the boat boys had no idea how to do CPR, so we watched in horror as the guy drew in his final breath. Unreal.

These two back-to-back events hit me hard, and it was tough to enjoy the rest of my day. The Old Sadhu noticed I was upset, and he told me to not be…he said, “Sir, this happens nearly every day…last week I saw a group of five men all drown trying to help one in their group…sometimes, people come and drown on purpose just so they can die in the Ganges.”

WHOA…and this is the kind of place that Varanasi is…intense!!

Midjourney AI Images

I have jumped on the band wagon. I kept hearing about Midjourney, and kept seeing some really cool images from the AI program, so had to check it out. At first, I had no idea what it was. Then, slowly, I started to realise that it is an image maker using artificial intelligence. What happens is this: you write a description of what kind of photo you want created…this is called a “prompt”. You can write just about anything such as “portrait of a young princess in a fairy tale city”, and the program dives into its archive of millions of photos, and puts together a photograph. It can be a painting, a drawing or a life-like looking photo. It is pretty amazing, actually. Once you start playing with the prompts, and how you phrase them, you just sit back and watch the magic happen. It is very addicting.

This program along with others that do similar things is very controversial, however, in the Art World. For example, last month, a painting created by Midjourney actually won an Art contest which started a very heated debate. I am not really sure where I stand on this at the moment, but I don’t think it is photography. No camera skills or expertise in composition are needed. Literally anyone can write a prompt and create an image. However, lately, I have been taking the images generated by midjourney, and then altering them in Photoshop. Maybe it can be deemed more of MY art rather than Midjourney’s art? Time will tell…in the meantime, I am having fun with it, and there is no harm in that. I will always declare whether or not an image was created mainly by AI, so there is no confusion if it was one my actual photographs taken and edited by ME or an AI created image.

One last thing…I have been following for some time a photographer that posts AI images on his Instagram. Until I finally heard about Midjourney, I though all of his photos were taken by him, and I was wondering WHERE did he take these fantastic moody photographs? He would only write, “algoritmia” in his descriptions, so it was always a mystery to me. Then, I found out he was using Midjourney and some other AI software to create the images. Well, needless to say, I am not nearly as impressed with his work anymore. Very cool images, but I think it is a bit unethical to not disclose to his followers that they were NOT photographs taken by him. People don’t read descriptions of photographs posted on Instagram. Most all of his comments were along the lines, “fantastic photograph”, “wow…you are an amazing photographer”, etc. He didn’t comment back saying the image was generated from AI…hmmm…

Old Delhi

Ok, yes…it’s been a LOOOONG time since I posted a blog entry to my website. Ha! I have no excuses other that it has bee a whirlwind of stuff happening in my life the past few months.

Kayla graduated. She is now attending the University of Florida and loving it. Tika, Kelly and I have moved to New Delhi, India where I am teaching full time photography at the American Embassy School (AES). We just received our shipment from Jakarta, and have finally made our apartment into our new home. I bought a Royal Enfield Motorcycle, and ride it to and from work everyday.

I have left out A LOT of stuff, but just be secure in knowing all is good in the Graham family, and life moves on…

Since arriving in India, I have been wanting to explore Old Delhi. It is the mecca for street photography…full of life, color and culture. There is a Muslim area, a Hindu area, a Sikh area, a Jain area…temples, mosques, back alleys full of stuff going on…it is really overwhelming, and tough to know where to turn and take photos. I just LOVE it…it is my escape from reality where I can walk around and watch life. When I am in the zone taking photos, there is no other place on earth I would rather be than in THAT moment. It is the essence of Photography!! It is what I live for…

Anyway, I got some pretty decent shots for my first trip to the area…I can’t wait to go back. Old Delhi is only about 6k from my apartment, so it is a real privilege to be able to go there as many time as I like…different from being on vacation when you only get one shot at a location…

Finding a New Creative Outlet

I have been looking for a new creative outlet to my photography. I guess you can say that I have been in a “rut” for the past few months. Stagnated. Stuck. Frustrated. This happens to all artists at some point. It was time to find something new and challenging to move my photography forward.

Instagram has changed the Photography Industry forever. I can’t say whether the change is positive or negative…probably both. On the positive side, it has become so easy to share your work with the world, and to see what other artists are doing and creating. In the “old days”, we only had magazines to see other photographer’s work…or art galleries. Back then, if you didn’t have the connections, your work would never be seen or discovered. Instagram has opened the market to EVERYONE…and there are some incredible photographers out there!!

On the negative side, some of my favorite destinations and before unknown locations have become exploited by the “instagramers” and “influencers” turning many of these locations into tourist traps. For example, in the mid-90’s, a photo of sunrise at Angkor Wat would have been a totally unique photograph and praised world-wide. Fast forward to today, and there are probably hundreds of thousands of photos of the sunrise at Angkor Wat. To get YOUR sunrise photo at Angkor Wat to stand out amongst the thousands of others, what can you do that has not already been done? Maybe a UFO abducting humans above Angkor Wat? Instead, I find myself just ignoring those spots and move onto something else. Sad, though, as these spots used to be so serene and void of people. The bar has risen so high, it is almost impossible to stand out from the crowd.

This is the situation I find myself in now. How do I create a photograph that is different and stands out from the rest of the crowd? I may have found something. ICM (Intentional Camera Movement) could be my answer to my search for something different. Shooting at slow shutter speeds and moving the camera up and down or side to side can create some amazing effects that are near impossible to duplicate. It is very challenging, though, and takes lots of practice. The possibilities are limitless. What I love about it is that I can now return to Angkor Wat at sunrise, and be able to take a photograph that would be totally different from the millions of others. How cool is that??

Last week, I was in Singapore for some medical appointments (hadn’t seen my doctors since 2019 because of you know what). At night, I went to some of the most iconic locations in Singapore to shoot some photos. Marina Bay Sands, Clark Quay, Gardens by the Bay, etc.. There are literally millions of photos of these iconic spots. So instead of taking the same photos I have taken in the past or the same photos that have been on Instagram, I tried doing some ICM. I can guarantee you that no one else on Instagram has a photo anything like the photos I took. They might not be great photos, but they are certainly unique and can’t be duplicated. I like that.

I have lots to learn about this genre of photography, but that is the fun part, and one of the reasons I just love photography. Photography is something that can never be mastered…the learning curve is never ending.

South Quarter Architectural Photography

These buildings are very close to where I live. About a month ago, I had lunch with a friend there, and was impressed with the architecture. So, I returned the next day with my camera to take some photos. As soon as I had my tripod set up, and ready to compose a shot, a couple of security guards came up to me and told me I was not allowed to take photos with a professional DSLR camera. I joked and said it was NOT a DSLR, but a mirrorless camera. They were not amused. I asked if I could take photos with my iPhone, and they said, “sure”. So, I am allowed to take photos with a little point and shoot camera, but with an expensive camera, I am not allowed. Makes a lot of sense to me….NOT!!

Anyway, after a few minutes of telling them how stupid the policy was, I asked what I had to do to get permission to photograph the buildings. They told me I had to go to the marketing office and apply for a permit.

So, I went to the marketing office, but they were closed on the weekends (I was there on a Saturday). I returned on the following Monday, but the lady I was supposed to talk with was not at work. So, I went back the next day, and finally was able to talk to the lady in charge of handing out photography permits. She said I had to email her, and then she could forward the email to her boss, but I had to go back home and send the email (I couldn’t send an email with my phone on the spot). So, I went home, sent my email request, and then waited for a reply. She replied, and then told me to come back to the office to fill out the application. Arrrrggggh….why so difficult?? So, after 4 trips to the South Quarter, I was finally issued a permit. I went with my buddy, Alvaro, this past Saturday to take some photos.

I have been playing around with my editing techniques on black n white fine art architecture photography. I learned from watching youtube videos. I think the results came out pretty well…

Papua Expedition

My buddy, Max Ammer, invited me along for an expedition in the bird’s neck region of Papua to hunt for missing WW2 wrecks never before seen. Our goal was to locate a couple of airplane wrecks rumored to be off-shore and also to find some Landing Craft wrecks that were located off of Amsterdam Island.

Our expedition was somewhat successful, but the underwater wrecks proved very tough to find with only sketchy information where they were supposed to be. We were unable to locate any of the aircraft we were looking for, but will return later to search again. However, we did find the landing craft. Nine of them spread out across the sand ranging in depth from 40 to 150 feet. I only took photos of the most shallow of the wrecks as they were the most intact and had the most coral growing on them.

In the photo gallery below, I included a drone photo of Amsterdam Island. The wrecks were just off shore where you see the boat (little white speck). I also included a photo of a sketch of what the landing craft looks like (thanks google images). The other photos are the actual landing craft underwater. Amazing corals and fish life around the wrecks!

Recent Conceptual Model Shoot

I had a great time in North Jakarta a couple of weekends ago to shoot three models in a very cool location called, Rumah Akar. They had lights set up, smoke machines, and little scenes to photograph the models. It was lots of fun, and I got a few cool shots seen below…

Street Tokos

For years I have been driving by these little make-shift “kyosks” that are built on the street only as wide as a sidewalk. They sell everything from fruit to packets of coffee. Some are very creatively built into a wall, and some are literally metal boxes that unfold. There are some that double as a home. Every time I pass one, I want to take a photo, but I usually don’t have a camera with me or it is too difficult to stop in the middle of the road to take a photo.

Since I am leaving Indonesia after 27 years here, I told myself the time has come to actually set out and take some photos of these, “Street Tokos”. So, the past couple of weekends, I jumped on my Vespa and headed out to explore. When I see a cool little toko, I usually have to turn around, look for a place to safely park, and then walk to get in position to take a photo. It is not as easy as it seems, and many I have to pass up cause there is no place to stand (without being hit by a bus) to get the shot.

Anyway, I will be adding to this gallery as I take more…but here are some of the photos I have taken…

Happy New Year from Bali

New year’s eve was spent down at Sanur. We stayed at the Maya Sanur Resort. It was pretty busy with lots of kids running around which is really “not my thing”, but after the new year, people started to clear out, and we pretty much had the place to ourselves.

I looked over the tide charts, and there was a three day window where low tide occurred with an hour of sunrise. Perfect!! To photography the boats on the beach at sunrise, it needs to be low tide so that you can stand in knee deep water, and use your tripod. The water is also super calm so you can get some great reflections. I had scoped out during the day two boats that I wanted to photograph, and luckily both were very close to the Maya. I woke up three mornings in a row (trying not to wake up my family) at 5:15, and the walked out to the beach. It’s so hard forcing myself out of bed, but man, it is so nice and peaceful early morning. Once up, it is great.

On all three mornings, there was little to no color for Sunrise…a bummer. BUT, the drizzle and dark skies made for some moody photographs. Obviously, I changed the colors of the sunrise in Photoshop to get the feeling I wanted. Even though the colors are a bit unrealistic, it is what makes “art” fun, and these are my impressions.

I also included a couple of water fall photos I took when we were staying in Ubud. We found a “secret” spot void of any other people. It was so nice hanging out there for the day…like having our own private swimming hole and waterfall.

Christmas In Bali

Since we are leaving Indonesia this summer (temporarily), we thought we should go to Bali since it will be awhile until we return. We stayed in Ubud for four nights, and then packed up everything and moved down to Sanur for New Year’s and a few days on the beach. It was a really laid back trip.

I had always wanted to photograph the rice terraces in North Bali called Jatiwulih. It is about an hour and a half drive, and sunrise is the best time to go. So, I got up at 3:30 in the morning, and had a driver take me to the area. When I got there, it was still dark. I walked down the trail a bit, and scoped out a decent spot to launch my drone, and then waited for the sun to rise.

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Scotty Graham is an internationally acclaimed professional photographer specializing in fine art photography and print making.