Scotty's new website

What happened to "Last Flight Out Photography"?

Well, my last website was totally lost by my EX-Webhost, Bludomain. For reasons I have yet to wrap my head around, all my blog posts, galleries, and entire website were lost when their servers failed.


Life goes on...

Welcome to my new and improved website. It is still "Last Flight Out Photography", and it will still contain my favorite images from around the world...underwater, landscapes, street photography, sports, and aerial shots from my drone.

The East Gate To Angkor Wat

My patience was tested BIG TIME for this photo, but it paid off in the end. I don’t even want to say how long it took to get this photo without any people or vehicles going in and out. As soon as it was clear, a bus would come through. You can’t even imagine the frustration. One time, I was ready to take a photo, and I started my exposure, and then a group of people from behind me just walked right into my scene and started taking selfies. I couldn’t believe it. I think it was at least an hour before I finally had about 2 minutes to myself. Even then, I had to “photoshop” a couple of security guards out of the photo…and that was after I asked them politely if they could hide behind the bridge while I took the photo. Ha!!

Bayon in Black n White

If you go to Cambodia these days, be prepared for HUGE crowds of tourists! The Chinese have really invaded. They come by the busloads. The good news is that you can predict where they will be, so the trick is to go where they are NOT. For example, most all of the tourists will be at Angkor Wat to see the sunrise. They start arriving at 4:30 in the morning (or maybe earlier). By the time the sun starts coming up, there will be literally thousands of people there…sometimes 50 people thick along the pond in front of Angkor Wat. So the trick? Great time to go to Bayon or Ta Prohm as there will be very little people there. But, as soon as the sun is up, people will start to invade Ta Prohm as that is the next temple on the list after the sun rise.

The first photo is the East Gate of Ta Prohm. There was only one or two people here when I got this photo, but an hour later, it would have been impossible to get a photo without someone else in the photo. The tourists are mostly Chinese, but also in the mix are tons of Koreans and some other people from Asian countries, and then a splattering of Europeans. I don’t want to pick on the Chinese alone, as they were not the only tourists in the Angkor Wat complex that were totally oblivious of others wanting to get a nice photo of the temples with no people. Some were very nice, and would see a couple of photographers waiting to get a shot, and would move out of the way giving others a turn at taking a photo. But, OTHERS?? Holy Cow!! I sometimes had to wait up to a half hour for some couples to take their selfies from 100 different angles and if there was more than one or two in the group, there would be a photo for every possible grouping of people. In the meantime, there would be four or five photographers with their cameras on tripods waiting for their turn to take a photo with the “selfie people” totally oblivious they were in the way. Us photographers would look at each other, shrug our shoulders, and give the WTF expression to each other…funny. At times, a photographer would just give up (sometimes me), and walk over to the group, and point out all of the people waiting to take a photo, and ask them politely to move out of the way. Whenever I did that, the people would usually be surprised, and apologize, and then move out of the way. But oh my God, it can be really frustrating!

The nice thing is that us photographers are really nice to each other. We respect each other’s space, and are careful to not set up our tripod in the middle of someone else’s photo. If there is a great spot to set up the tripod, and another photographer has already claimed the spot, they are usually really good at getting the shot, and then giving up the spot for another photographer. But, non-photographers don’t have a clue about these “norms”, and jump right in front of a famous temple and at times climb on the temples (despite the signs saying to NOT climb), and remain there in front of all the “real” photographers destroying any good photo. Who wants a photo of the East Entrance of Ta Prohm with two ladies wearing flowered hats and umbrellas hanging out of a window or climbing the roots of a tree growing on the ruins?? Not me….haha.

The photo below is of Bayon. I think my favorite temple in the Angkor Wat Complex. When I arrived at Bayon, I was at the front entrance, and five tour buses of tourists had just arrived. I saw them all getting off the bus, and knew I had only a few minutes before it would be impossible to get a photo without someone in it. So, I booked it to the back of the temple literally running on around the temple to the back. There was nobody there, so quickly set up my tripod, and took some shots. Within ten minutes, there were others there. There is also something about seeing a photographer with his/her tripod set up that attracts other people. They think, “I gotta go over there where that guy is…must be something good over there!!” I think that is what happened, cause I saw a small group of Chinese that spotted me taking photos, and they then walked over. But instead of walking over to where I was, they walked into my scene I had set up. There’s just no way to avoid this, I guess. This is the way the world is today!!

I did some serious photoshop work on this photo. There was scaffolding all over the place, and a really ugly green and blue tarp draped over the foreground on the right. I spent about an hour clone stamping the scaffolding and tarps out of the photo. If you look carefully, you will see my sloppy work, but if I hadn’t told you this beforehand, you probably would not even notice…haha!

Baseball Photoshoot

Big News First

I just found out yesterday that I will be one of five photographers from Indonesia going to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo next summer. I am super stoked, and nervous at the same time. This has been a dream of mine since being a kid, I can hardly believe I will be an official Olympic Photographer. I am still in shock.

Baseball Photoshoot

I took these four photos yesterday, and polished off the post processing today. Here is a kind of “behind the scenes” production…I am posting my shots out of camera on the left, and after post-processing on the right…





The Bayon Temple in Cambodia

I kind of ignored all my photos from Cambodia. In fact, I couldn’t find the folder of photos that I took there last year. As you know, I have been backing up all of my photos, so tonight I found my lost Cambodia photos on a small external hard drive. Going through the photos, I had some good ones I kind of forgot about. I just spent the last hour editing this one. This is one of my favorite temples in the Angkor Wat area.

IASAS Posters

I had a great time putting these posters together. The templates come from Shirk Photography (Thanks, Ben), but there is still a lot of work that has to be done to complete. I had to take photos of each kid separately, remove the background from each photo, and then composite them into the scene. Then color adjustments and lighting has to be dialed in perfectly to make the subjects “belong” in the scene. Shadows are the most important. Without good shadows, the scene will look totally fake. It is what takes the most time. After that is done, fog, water and light are added to make the final touches. Fun stuff, but it takes some time!!

Turtle Meets Man Underwater

This is the perfect example why I should revisit some of my old photos. Found this beauty in my archives why backing up my files…couldn’t resist posting it.

Remote and Abandoned Houses

So, I entered a photo contest over at View Bug. I don’t usually enter photo contests, but I registered with View Bug last year, and haven’t done anything with my account. It looks kind of fun, and easy to do, so why not?? I thought I could enter more than one photo, but I could only enter one…I wish I could have entered all of these below. Ya just never know what the judges are looking for and what they like…it is a real roll of the dice. The one I chose to enter is the top photo…

This photo (below) is from Norway. I remember driving along the road and seeing those trees sticking out of the roof. I had to pull over the car, and get some photos…not often you see something like THAT, right?

This photo is from Iceland…see the little house on the left?…I remember thinking what a great place it would be to wake-up in the morning…

This one (below) is also from Iceland. Check out those beautiful colored hills behind the house…

Also, from Iceland (below). I think it is actually a barn instead of a cabin, but still in the middle of nowhere with a glacier view!

Below is another from Norway up on top of all of the Fjords…tundra. Talk about isolated.

Below one more from Iceland….the best place to find isolated houses…this is one of my favorite images from Iceland…one of only two days where we had blue skies.

This last photo is a close-up of the little red house in the photo above from Norway…

This Would Make A Good Puzzle

I was in Bangkok last weekend, and went on a Photowalk with a group of students and teachers. I couldn’t resist dropping into this guy’s back porch to take some photos. He had quite the collection of junk. Don’t ya think this would make a great puzzle?

An Oldie From Iceland

Yes…I know…been awhile since I last posted.

I have been backing up my files. I bought two 16TB drives, and am now in the process of copying over all of my files from my several external hard drives into a series of just 10 folders. Once I get them all copied over, I will then back up to the other 16TB drive. I will keep one drive at home, and the other at work. I will then upload my important files to the cloud from work…this could take months as I have a few Terra Bytes of data to save to the cloud. Then, I will start over in Lightroom with just ONE library, and a new filing system. This all takes time…I try to get a few folders per night done.

Black Church in Iceland

Tonight, I was backing up my photos from Iceland, and found this beauty. I did a quick edit, and here ya go…

A Few of My Favorite Photos From 2018

I often judge a year by the photos I took. I for sure judge a trip by the photos I took. If I go to some exotic place, and end up with a bunch of crappy photos, and people ask me how I like the place, I will usually have something negative to say about the place. On the other hand, if I come back with a ton of great photos from a certain place, and people ask me the same question, I will tell them that the place was awesome!! The places I treasure the most are the places where I have taken killer photographs, and it is those places I like to return to visit again!

So, how do I rate 2018? Well, on a scale from 1 to 10, I think I will give 2018 a 6. My photos were not bad, but I am getting very picky with my photography, and I feel I didn’t hit any real home runs this year. A few decent shots, but nothing that will go down as one of my best photos ever…

So, in no particular order, here are a few of my favorite images from 2018. A few of them have already been published on this blog, so please excuse the repeats…

This shot (below) is one of my favorite drone photos. Kayla (my daughter) and I were lucky enough to be in Bali when Mount Agung was erupting. Early morning, we heard the rumble of the volcano, so I bolted out of bed, set up my drone, and flew it out over the water, and took several shots that I later combined to make a large resolution panorama of the volcano.

Back in September, I was hired by the Olympic Committee Asia to shoot the Asian Games hosted by Indonesia. What a fantastic experience to shoot some of the most talented athletes in the world up close. I shot every day for two weeks. It was REALLY difficult to choose my favorites from the games. I did get a lot of really nice shots, and some were published. Going through my photos, I think my favorite event to shoot was women’s gymnastics. I was just amazed at their flexibility and athleticism. So, here is one shot that I really liked…

On a trip to Bali with my daughter, we took a motorcycle ride through the back roads of Nusa Penida. We eventually found the cliffs, and a couple of famous beaches. Most people think the shot below is from my drone, but it is actually a shot I took with my Leica 135mm lens from atop a cliff. I had to lean over the edge to get the shot. I really love this shot…

To start the year in 2018, I took my family to Cambodia. We tried our best to avoid the huge crowds of Chinese Tourists (who have taken over the world). Most of the tourists would visit the same temples in Angkor Wat as the same time. That made it easy to avoid them. While most of the thousands of tourists were watching the sunrise at the main temple of Angkor Wat, we went here, and had the place pretty much to ourselves. A mere 30 minutes after I got this shot with NO people in it, it was covered with tourists making it impossible to get a shot without people posing for selfies in front of the temple.

Love this shot of Kayla in Bali.

In March, Kayla and headed to the Komodo Islands for a dive trip. At sunset our liveaboard dive boat moored offshore, and let us climb to the top of Pulau Padar where I got this shot. I have no idea who the guy is standing on the rock, but he was just stepping down off the rock when I yelled down at him to stay on the rock. Him standing there gives the photograph much better perspective.

In July, Tika (my wife) went to Laos without the kids for a nice relaxing week in Luang Prabang. It rained most of the time, but it was really nice just hanging out in cafes drinking coffee and eating non-stop. Every morning (before the sun comes up), the monks walk down the streets of Luang Prabang collecting offerings of rice and other food. It is one of the main events to photograph while in Laos. Since it rained most every morning, I was too lazy to get out of bed to get in the rain to photograph them. On our last day there, I forced myself to get out of bed and make the trek downtown to get some shots. It was pouring rain, and not a lot of fun, but I am so glad I went out to get some shots. This one below is one of my favs from that morning.

This is another shot of Mount Agung erupting. This one was taken at sunset, and I just love the way the light hit the smoke coming out of the mountain.

As you probably already know, one of my favorite places on Earth is Raja Ampat located in West Papua of Indonesia. I have been going to Raja Ampat every year since 1998 for a week in October. They have recently built stairs that you can climb to the top in the Fam Islands. This shot was taken from the top of the climb.

Another gymnastics shot from the Asian Games. When you first see this photo, it looks like she only has one leg. Talk about flexibility!

On my dive trip to Tulamben, Bali, I was able to fine tune my skills in Macro Photography. This shrimp is literally smaller than your smallest finger nail. With my ageing eyes, I found it really difficult to focus, so I used my dive guide to help me out with the focus. I would hold my camera with my left hand, and had my right hand on the trigger. My guid would have his hand on the lens, and would move it in and out until he saw the animal was in focus. He would then make a grunting noise, and I would fire the shutter. It worked pretty well. I got a lot of out of focus shots (most were), but then got a few tack sharp images. The diopter I was using had an extremely shallow depth of field…I am talking millimeters. It was really difficult!!

You can see why I like Raja Ampat so much….amazing sunsets!

There is a dive spot in Raja Ampat where you can always find this LARGE school of Sweet Lips. It is very deep though (about 140 feet). At that depth, I only had about 7 minutes to get some shots before heading up to more shallow waters.

In May, I headed back to Yangshuo, China with a group of students. I have always hunted for this spot, but was unable to locate it. I actually emailed Trey Ratcliff to see if he could hook me up with someone that knew how to get to this spot. He kindly wrote back to me, and referred me to Rick Sammon. Rick wrote me back giving me the name of the guide that took him and Trey to the spot. I can’t thank them enough for that information. This is a really cool spot to take a pano photo.

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