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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!!

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.

The Adventure Continues…

The time has arrived. I never thought it would, actually. I have known for years that when I reached the age of 60 (in February), I would be forced to retire from Jakarta International School. I’m still not sure if it is an actual Indonesian law or just a school policy. It is a mystery that will live on, I guess. The school maintains it is Indonesian Law. I fought it the best I could, but when you’re going against a huge bureaucracy, the little guy (me) will always lose.

So, after 27 incredible years in Indonesia (minus two years in Korea 96-97), the Graham family is moving onto a new adventure! I was hired as a full time photography teacher by the American Embassy School (AES) in New Delhi, India. I feel very fortunate to find this job. In the international schools, it is rare to find a school that actually has a photography program, and to find one of these schools that is not only a great school but had an open position is even more rare. Someone above was looking after me and my family. My youngest daughter Kelly still needs five more years of school to graduate so the move to India is perfect for her as AES has a fantastic reputation, and will be great school for her to finish her middle school and high school education.

As a photographer, there couldn’t be a better place to live than India. India is the mecca for street photographers. Colors, culture, people, temples, landscapes, nature, mountains…India has it all. There is a reason they advertise India as “Incredible India”… I look forward to exploring every corner of the country and creating new and exciting images. Of course, I am also excited to be sharing my passion with the students (and the community) at AES, and hope to inspire the next generation of photographers!

Kayla will be graduating in May this year. She has applied to 6 schools, and has already been accepted to two of them. The rest she will hear back from in January or February. She is also applying for an AFROTC scholarship, and just had her interview this morning which she said went well.

The pieces of the puzzle are falling into place. The biggest piece has been placed into the puzzle as complete…now to fill in the rest. After 27 years, we have deep deep deep roots here…pulling up those roots and replanting will not be easy, but we will make it happen.

Don’t worry, Indonesia! The Grahams will be back!!

Canon Beach, Oregon

Believe it or not, I am just now getting to my summer photos. A lot has been going on. This will be my last year at JIS, and it means I’ll be starting a new adventure in life. Kayla graduates in May, and will be off to University in the States somewhere leaving Tika, Kelly and I alone. As you can imagine after 25 years in Indonesia, it’s gonna be tough transitioning into new lives, but we look forward to the challenges that lie ahead whatever that may be.

In the meantime, I have thousands of photos to review and edit and get out to the world…so, let’s start with these two from Canon Beach, Oregon.

Amazing Fall Colors in Maine

I had the opportunity (after 30 years of waiting) to see the fall colors in New England again. I went to High School in Connecticut and always loved the fall. Living in Indonesia for the past 25 years has prevented me from going back in October. Bad luck actually brought me to the States for the month of October as I had to deal with some medical problems (all is fine now), so between appointments, I had a week to drive North from Virginia to visit some good friends in Maine. The timing was perfect as Maine was in experiencing their peak colors!! Here are a few photos…

Recent Model Shoots

I’ve attended a couple of model shoots the past couple of weeks. One in Bogor and one in North Jakarta last weekend. They have been fun and it has given me the opportunity to shoot some portraits with my new Fuji GFX100s. The camera continues to blow me away in terms of image quality. I’ve never seen anything like it. The details are simply out of this world. Here are a few shots…

 

Cilicing, Jakarta with the New GFX100s

I brought my new camera to the north side of Jakarta, and found this amazing location. Photos from this camera on-line just don’t do them justice. The full resolution files on my computer are simply out of this world.

Jumped Off The Sony Ship…Bought the New Fujifilm GFX 100s!!

I didn’t think the day would come when I decided to abandon Sony, but it happened within a week of reading about FujiFilm’s new GFX 100s medium format camera. I had never given Fuji a second thought until I saw this camera. WOW!! Medium format (sensor is 1.7 times larger than a full frame sensor), 102MP, about the same size as the Nikon D850, and for six thousand dollars. I started watching every youtube video I could find on this camera, and was 100% convinced it was the camera for me. SO…I traded most all of my Sony gear for this incredible camera and two lenses…the 23mm (equivalent to 18mm for full frame) and the 45-100mm zoom lens. I did keep my A7R3 and the 24-105mm lens, so I am not completely void of Sony, but that’s pretty much it. You can call me a FujiFilm fan boy now…not sure how they have slipped from my radar the past 20 years. Incredible cameras.

Here’s one of my favorite youtube videos on the GFX100s…

And here is one of the first images I took…this is a jpg straight out of the camera. Adobe LR does not yet recognize the files from the GFX 100s. I did download the free version of Capture One Express for Fuji, so I can at least do basic edits of the RAW files.

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…

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