Mark Graf is an internationally published nature photographer from Detroit, Michigan with more than 15 years experience in creating and providing fine art nature photographs. With an interest in a wide range of nature subjects, his lens has drawn him to explore natural wonders in the depths of the Pacific Ocean, to the wildlife and majestic landscapes of Alaska, to intimate details and patterns formed over millennia in the depths of stone.
One of his guiding philosophies was best remarked by John Muir in 1869; "When we try to pick out anything by itself we find that it is bound fast by a thousand invisible cords that cannot be broken, to everything in the universe. "
Examples of this are everywhere, from wildlife habitat and behavior to the smallest details of a section of stone, to looking out towards the galaxy.. These connections in nature become a muse for his photography. They also guide his philosophy in support for wildlife and habitat preservation, from our mountains to the depths of our oceans.
Mark lives in the Detroit, Michigan area with his wife Lisa and their Alaskan Malamute, Willow.
I wonder if I can see the elements of nature like a poet sees the words of a dictionary.
I wonder where my muse often disappears to.
I wonder what is the secret whistle that brings it back.
I wonder who else has visited this reef or touched this tree.
I wonder if I will be welcomed by the forest, the mountain or the bear.
I wonder if I will be forgiven for my trespass.
I wonder if I will ever see what the wolf sees.
I wonder why some are deaf to nature's language.
I wonder if I can listen any better.
I wonder if the light will ever be this way again.
I wonder if I will be ready for it.
I wonder which has more power over my eyes, my heart or my brain?
My logo was designed to represent my philosophies in nature photography.
Graphically, it is a camera lens aperture surrounding a gray wolf paw print. That's where it starts - looking through that aperture and optics to define and link what you have in front of you with your interpretations of what you are seeing.
Figuratively, it represents a connection to what's around you and the intimacy you establish with your subject through the conduit of a lens. The gray wolf paw print was chosen because it is one animal that remains truly wild to most of us, one I feel a connection with - elusive and secretive in nature, often full of mystery as well as misunderstanding.
This can apply to much of the natural world. A photograph can help us understand, appreciate, and admire an aspect of nature normally overlooked. It can cause us to want to learn more, or become more involved. It can find beauty in something that is feared, find interesting details in something otherwise benign.
My logo is registered with the US Trademark and Copyright Offices.
Mark's photography has been published in a wide variety of magazines, calendars, newspapers, greeting cards, and books as well as for use in advertising in the financial, travel, and education industries. Clients include the Sierra Club, Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, Pomegranate Publications, Gemini Publications, and the United States Forest Service to name a few.
Mark's fine art nature prints are displayed in common areas and patient rooms in many hospitals and health care centers across the US, including the prestigious Henry Ford Hospital West Bloomfield location. Mark's prints also appear in many corporate offices and private collectors homes. His work has been used by the US Forest Service in providing service awards for employees.
I always liked this quote by Brooks Jensen; “Never forget that all the great photographs in history were made with more primitive camera equipment than you currently own.” But other people always seem to ask "what camera do you use?"
I use professional Nikon cameras and mostly Nikon lenses with a few exceptions. I also have cameras from Canon, Panasonic, and Sony. Camera bodies change over time, so I won't bother to bore you with an equipment list. Camera body choice is largely a personal preference to fill the functions you need it for.
Of course photography in this age is intertwined with computers. Since early 2008, I now use Macs for my primary computers, I had finally had it with PC troubles. Although Macs cannot claim to be trouble-free, I certainly have much fewer issues and a much more pleasant experience working with them.
I have a fully color managed / color calibrated digital workflow, and utilize a variety of processing tools from Adobe Lightroom to Photoshop and a few plugin tools from Topaz Labs, Alien Skin, HDR Soft, and Nik Software.
Photo: Me with my tripod about knee deep in Lake Superior at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore - one of my favorite spots in Michigan. Photo courtesy Lisa Graf.