Welcome...

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!!

Rice Terraces in Bali (near Ubud)

In normal times (before Covid), this place would have people all over it hiking and swinging on the many swings that have popped up over the years. On this morning, we had the place to ourselves. I guess one of the advantages of Covid…right?? Bali was REALLY quiet in most spots. The only place buzzing with activity was Cangguh. Cangguh is where all of the expats that live and work in Bali live. Traffic there was a nightmare, restaurants hopping, and people everywhere. I’m not a big crowd, partying type, so avoided that part of Bali.

Tumpak Sewu

I have been wanting to visit this waterfall for about three years now. There was always some reason why I COULDN’T go, but I don’t like “no” for an answer, so I finally made it happen. It is not an easy place to get to. I booked flights to Malang, hired a driver, booked two rooms (Tika and Kayla came with me) at a homestay, and ventured out just before Christmas. We were met at the airport by our driver, and made the two hour journey into the mountains arriving at night at our homestay. The route in the mountains was the main route that trucks take to the volcano, Semeru, to collect volcanic sand. The trucks, when fully loaded, travel at about walking speed up the mountain roads. Needless to say, the trip was a slow one getting stuck behind hundreds of trucks passing three at a time when possible.

On the way, the clouds were thick and dark. This was very concerning as to get good photos of the falls, you need clear skies in order to see Semeru behind the falls at sunrise. I had only ONE shot. If it was cloudy the next morning, I would have to return at another time to get the shot I was looking for. It rained most of the night, and I had a terrible time sleeping thinking about the clouds. I was also going over and over in my head how I was going to shoot the falls with my drone. What camera settings to use, how high and far to fly to capture the scene I wanted in my head. Sunrise was at 5:00, so I wanted to be there nice an early.

The next morning, we awoke to clear skies!! YES YES YES!!!!! Man, SOOO lucky!! There were clouds around, but we could see Semeru, so I was very pleased and relieved. It took us 5 minutes to drive to the entrance to the falls, and then a 5 minute walk to the look-out point. Without a drone, you can only just see the top of Semeru on the right side of the falls. The only way to get a shot of the falls with the volcano in the background is to use a drone.

I immediately got my drone all set up, calibrated the compass, and took off. Once I was in the air, I had a look with the camera….damn!! The camera was wobbling all over the place, and I got an error message saying my gimbal was overloaded. What??? Flew the drone back, and landed. Quickly looked up on google what to do….found out I needed to re-calibrate the gimbal. I calibrated, and took off again. Damn!! Still wobbling….time was being wasted as the sun and light were changing by the second. Flew the drone back, and landed again. Shut it all down, and re-started…re-calibrated the gimbal….took off again. Yes!! Finally working. Took a few shots, and then moved the drone into position to capture a panorama. I lowered the gimbal, took 4 shots of the bottom of the falls rotating the drone from left to right…then lifted the gimbal half-way up the falls, and did the same thing…then tilted the gimbal up and took four more shots from left to right. By the time I finished, the light had changed dramatically, and clouds moved in…GOT IT…I HOPE.

When I got home to my computer, I merged all of the shots together using Adobe LR. Took a bit of work blending the photos, and blending the colors and light so that it all seamlessly came together….here is the final shot…

The Saga of My New Logo

I have a new logo!!

It all started a few weeks ago when I decided to make a photography book on Raja Ampat. I am still working on that book, by the way, and will save the story about that for another post in the future. Anyway, I had chosen most of the photos for my book, and then started to work on the cover of the book. I soon realized I didn’t have a good logo for “Last Flight Out Photography”. You know, it’s always cool to put your logo on the cover of a book to promote yourself. So, I put the book aside, and started researching the best way to have a logo made. I came across this company called, Design Crowd . It is really cool. I wrote up what I wanted to have done, and Design Crowd sends out the request to designers all over the world who submit their ideas and compete for a contract. Within hours of my request I had over 50 designs sent to me from places like Pakistan, India, Philippines, Micronesia, The US, Indonesia, and several other places. In a week’s time, I had over 185 designs sent to me. You can comment on the designs, and have the graphic artists make changes and submit new ideas. It is incredible but overwhelming!! With so many fantastic designs, I had a terrible time deciding which I liked best.

I took screen shots of my top 10, and posted them on Facebook to see if my friends could help me out. I was thinking there would be a couple that stood out and got most of the votes. How wrong I was. Votes were all over the place. Every design got several positive comments and votes. I ended back where I started. No decision. I drove my family absolutely crazy asking them which they liked better. I couldn’t even get consensus with my own family. My daughter liked this one, my other daughter like that one, my wife liked a different one. I would settle on a design that I liked when a friend would write to me and talk me out of it or into another one. Oh my God, impossible to choose!!

The process through Design Crowd had time limits. I only had a few days to choose my winning designs, and once the designs are chosen, you have only a few days to request changes. Time was clicking away, and I had to make a decision. For a hundred bucks extra, you could choose two designs, and for another 100 bucks, you could choose a third one. I think you can guess what I did. Yes, I bought three designs. I couldn’t decide between three different logos, so I just bought all three of them. I had decided on some text I liked from one designer, and wanted to combine that text with one of the other “symbols” that I liked. I wanted a symbol that looked like a camera, that was unique, and one that you could clearly see “LFO”. I narrowed my choices down to three. I wanted the symbol to be used as a watermark on my prints…kind of my “signature” to the print. You know, branding!! I needed something cool and unique.

Below are the three symbols I had narrowed my choice to…

Many of my friends liked the middle symbol, and I liked it too. In fact, I liked all three VERY MUCH!! So, I placed each symbol at the bottom right of the same print (where my signature would normally go), and looked at each print to decide which logo looked the best as a “watermark”. The symbol on the left looked cool, but you can’t clearly see the letters “LFO” written, so I eliminated that one. The other two was really a toss-up, but in the end, the logo on the right looked the best on the print, so I chose it as my final logo. I think it is also very cleverly designed. Can you see the camera?? Hint: the “O” is the lens, and the red parts are both the side of the camera and also serves as a “focus spot”. Genius!!

So, combined with the text, you can see the front page of my website…I can also put the symbol to the left of the text to look like below…

Now, I need to put my new logo on my new book, and I can make some new name cards, and maybe even make some new t-shirts!! That would be cool!!

Back in the Saddle…

I am SO DONE with Covid-19

As most of the world is confined to their homes or their city or their own country, it has been super frustrating for us photographers that love to travel to the remote parts of the world to take photos! It is hard to believe that the entire travel industry has been stuck in limbo now for nearly a YEAR.  There are so many places I want to see and photograph before I leave this planet (I’m not getting any younger), and I want to go while I am healthy and able. This year has taken its toll on so many of us. It’s tough to stay motivated when you can’t go anywhere.

Having said that, I am fortunate to live in one of the most photographed countries in the world, Indonesia. Places outside of Jakarta are finally starting to open up for us locals, and I am taking full advantage of that, and jumping at the chance to again travel to my favorite destinations here in Indonesia. Of course, my number one spot is Raja Ampat. I just returned from a week in Raja Ampat, and it was fantastic as usual. Making it even better was that we had the entire place to ourselves. No tourists, no liveaboard dive boats, no other people. It was awesome. It was like the old days back in the mid-90’s before Raja Ampat became famous. We were the last visitors in Raja Ampat back in March, and the first visitors back.

Our next break is Christmas time where I have another 3 weeks to travel somewhere. I’m thinking of taking a road trip through Java all the way to Bali. That could be a very fun adventure…just have to talk my family into coming with me.

Some Drone Shots From Raja Ampat…

 

 

Some Underwater Shots From Raja Amapt…

 

 

Photography During Covid-19

You are probably wondering where I have been??

Believe it or not, I have barely touched my camera since this damn virus hit the world. At first, I was thinking I would be able to travel anywhere I wanted without crowds of tourists, and was kind of excited about it. BUT, that didn’t pan out, obviously…most every country closed their borders, so travel has been pretty much not an option. Even here in Indonesia, I wasn’t able to leave Jakarta. Bali was (and still is) closed, Raja Ampat closed right after we left in March, and inter-island travel is pretty much restricted to business only.

So…I went to the States to visit family. I did bring my camera, but didn’t take many photos.

I did have ONE photo in mind for my visit to the States. For the past few years, I have wanted to photograph the Angel Oak Tree in Charleston, South Carolina. I had done my research beforehand, and knew exactly where to position myself for a panoramic photo of the massive 500-year-old tree. The one positive side of Covid, is that there was only a small group of people visiting the tree at the same time I was there. It didn’t take too much waiting to get a clean shot of no people.

After about a half hour, there was a lull in people around the tree…so, I bounced off the bench and fired off 51 photos in three rows. Just as I finished taking the series of photos, a bunch of people arrived, and the peaceful scene was again full of people. I did make a mistake taking the photos…I shot at f/4, and that was a mistake. When looking at my photos on my computer, some of the background branches are out of focus. Oh well…dang!! But the final photo came out pretty nice, anyway. I did have to do some Photoshop work to remove the yellow chain around the tree, and some annoying signs that were distracting.

Here is the final version…87 million pixels.

How Are You Out There??

Covid-19 Lockdown

Yes…we are still pretty much locked down here in Indonesia. All domestic flights have been cancelled, and the only international flights open are for expats that want to re-patriate. I was thinking of flying my family to the Sates, but we would be stuck in a house there as well. Might as well stay here where we have all the comforts of home, our nice pool, my home office, the school gym, etc.

I have been keeping busy though. I continue to do on-line teaching. That amounts to zoom meetings once a week, and video tutorials. I guess this is all good practice for when I eventually retire. I have also been trying to improve my golf game along with my daughter. There are still a few golf courses open, so after “on-line school” is out, Kayla and I go out and practice for a few hours every day. The gym is also open, and I have been keeping in shape as well. Actually, I’m kind of digging this new life style. Of course, I miss going out to a nice restaurant and going to see a movie, but other than that, my family and I are pretty content sleeping in every day, getting our work done, and spending time with each other. Good family bonding.

Trying to get Creative

So, I have had some time to work through some on-line tutorials with compositing. It is my new “hobby” I like to play around with. I find compositing to be really challenging, but I love a good challenge when it comes to photography. I am still learning, but getting better. Below is an image I spent the last two hours on. This image is a composite of four images. My own beach image, my own image of the girl on the beach, then a stock image of the shark and a stock image of the kayak.

Here are the images I used…

To create this composite…

 

Social Distancing in Raja Ampat

I had the opportunity to go to Raja Ampat for a week, and jumped at the chance. I can’t think of a better place to get away from all the chaos of the Corona virus. The entire area was quiet. No liveaboards, no tourist, and only a handful of divers. It reminded me of the old days diving in Raja Ampat. I would have stayed longer, but Indonesia closed all access to Raja Ampat for at least a couple more weeks…so, had to fly back to Jakarta.

New Custom Sport Photos

Before this outbreak of the Virus, I was busy creating some new custom sport photos. Of course, all business now is on hold while we all hunker down in our separate caves around the world.

Here’s hoping you all are sitting at home with clean hands…

 

Sad News…

You might remember my story from last August about photographing TIM…the largest elephant in Africa. Well, I just found out that Tim died this morning. Fortunately, he died of natural causes, and wasn’t taken out by poachers! I feel so fortunate to have seen him up close in person, and to have photographed this magnificent animal!! RIP Tim!

By the way, he will be stuffed, and put on display in a museum, so he will “live on” for millions to appreciate him.

Happy New Year!!

Yes, I am well aware that is now the 22nd of January, so a bit late to say, “Happy New Year”. Better late than never, right??

When I get around to it, I would like to post my favorite photos from 2019, but you know me…terrible about posting. Funny, I am pretty regular on FB and Instagram, but when it comes to my own personal blog, I am terrible about posting. I could make it my new year’s resolution, but have decided to not do those anymore as I rarely follow through with resolutions. I would actually be interested in knowing what percentage of resolutions made by millions of people everywhere around the world are followed through with.

Any way, how about this shot from Old Bagan in Myanmar for my first post of 2020??

follow me on instagram @scottygraham1

Scotty Graham is an internationally acclaimed professional photographer specializing in fine art photography and print making.
scottygraham1@gmail.com