GS Coverpage

Click here for Photobook PDF

This was definitely one of the more time-consuming projects of the semester.  I enjoy that this book looks nothing like what I would have expected at the beginning of the semester.  This class has stretched me and helped me to grow in new directions that I didn’t think I would appreciate.

For this book, the hardest part was definitely doing the layout. Once I knew what photos were going to be included, and I knew what the spread looked like, filling in a design was almost natural.  My greatest hobby is writing and performing music, and with that process it normally goes the same way: either it just falls out of me, or it doesn’t happen.  I normally don’t do gold in my color schemes, but the photographs (especially the condenser microphone shots) seemed to demand it.  It’s kind of crazy to flip from the front (where my favorite work is) to the back and to see the level of growth that has occurred during the semester.  I am nowhere near perfect yet with photography, but I am definitely addicted enough to work on getting there.


Photography Competition Entries

We were asked to, by this week, enter at least one photography competition.  I chose to go the route of online competitions, and have thus far entered two.
The first is the competition themed, “Hello Winter.”  I entered the following two photos:


ISO: 100   Focal Length: 70 mm.   Fstop: 8    Shutter Speed: 1/200


ISO:100    Focal Length: 70 mm.    Fstop: 11    Shutter Speed: 1/400

I chose this first contest because, quite frankly, I figured if I was going to put myself out there I should enter everything I can get my hands on and see what happens.  This was the first on a list of several that I intend to go after within the next day.  For contest/submission rules, feel free to visit

I also entered the Nikon Photo Contest, which operates internationally through December 15th of this year.  I have entered two photos in this contest as well, although one can have up to ten submissions and I intend to use them all.  There are two category options I have utilized so far: the theme, “home”, and an open-theme submission.  I have submitted the following images:


ISO:500    Focal Length: 35 mm.    Fstop: 5.6   Shutter Speed: 1/1000

I submitted this image under the open category.

GrantStoker-Bannack Best-3

ISO: 500   Focal Length: 50 mm.   Fstop: 8    Shutter Speed: 1/2000

I submitted this image under the, “home”, category.

This contest choice was a little more obvious.  Nikon is of course a world-leading photography company, and such a contest has a much larger incentive (although I found out it is in yen, not dollars, which greatly reduced my amazement).  The contest can be accessed through

I’ll update this post as I add more competitions, and if anything ever comes of them I’ll be sure to update the blog here as well!


Silhouette Photography Tutorial

I made a silhouette photography tutorial for my Digital Imaging class.  I actually used PowerPoint for this because I like how it creates clean lines and has easy audio input.  I actually became interested in silhouette photography by complete chance, I started cruising through a dusty, unused Pinterest account and found that I was gravitating towards silhouette photos.  I became curious about how those were recreated right about the time that we received an assignment to create a unique tutorial on something we hadn’t gone over in class.  I did further research and attempted my first silhouette portrait shoot with my friend Shelby.  The original photos were mostly shot on Friday November 7th around 4:30 p.m.

To check out the print version of the tutorial, click here:

GS Instructional PDF


Framed Fine Art Poster

This is the official photo I decided to use for my framed fine art print.  I took this shot in my living room as part of our Perspective of 12 assignment, and I ended up falling in love with it.  I used an aperture of 4.5, a shutter speed of 500, and a focal length of 33 mm to make sure I got high contrast and good background blur. I shot this around 8 a.m. when the sunrise was flooding into the living room through the sliding glass door.  I used low aperture to capture high contrast between the gold of the mic and the black of the background, and to blow out the background.  In editing, I bumped blacks and shadows down, added contrast, and used dodge/burn to deepen the contrast as well.  I also used a sharpening mask to dig into the texture of the microphone grill.  As soon as I saw the final version, I knew that I definitely wanted to get it printed on canvas.  I can definitely imagine this in a home studio some day.  I printed a 16″x24″ locally, and had to add 1″ of black around the border for the gallery wrap on the canvas.  Overall, I was impressed with the results.



Fine Art Template and Typography

I have a confession to make. I am in love with Adobe Lightroom.  I don’t care anymore if the world knows it.

That said, I have had a lot of fun learning some tricks in Photoshop.  There is no doubt that Photoshop is a more powerful program, and I am starting to get to a point where I can appreciate and use some of that power to my advantage.  This week’s gem was creating a template for fine art.  This involves creating a layer with windows cut out of it that an image can hide behind, creating a unique feel.  I tried to do something like this in Comm. 130, and I can tell you it took years longer and didn’t look quite as good.  After the windows were in place, I scanned in a copy of my signature, opaqued it, and placed it over the business name to create a showcase template for both the business and the photo.  Here is how it turned out:

GrantStoker-Fine Art Template

This week I was also able to explore the world of combining typography with photography.  I actually had a lot of fun mixing my “ography’s”, although the assignment did leave the loophole of not specifying what our text should be about.  I figured I could either find some cheesy quote to play off the beauty of nature in my photos, or I could sarcastically mock such things.  Guess which one I chose.  I used Libre Baskerville, an oldstyle serif, as my title font. I also used Walkway Semibold, a modern/san serif, as my body copy.  I’m now in love with that latter one, thanks to this assignment.


I actually found this beaver dam at Eagle Park here in Rexburg.  I pulled out my 70-300 mm. Tamron lens and got some long range shots right around 90 mm.  I used my recurring themes of nature and sarcasm to play off the fact that this is indeed a dam, and it involves nature.


I got this shot off a pathway at Eagle Park.  This is deadly nightshade, which (like it says above) can stop your heart and cause death.  They actually use extract from this stuff to control your heart rate in the hospital.  It’s crazy.  Again, recurring nature and sarcasm theme.  I also bumped a little bit of a vignette to create more of a focal point, and I put an opaque box behind the text.  I used the eyedropper tool to pull an exact shade from one of the leaves so it would match well.

One more little secret.  I used the content aware tool in Photoshop that we learned last week to remove a vertical branch that went right behind the text.  It was distracting, so I Shift F5’d it out of there and used the spot healer and clone stamp to clean up the leftovers.  It was amazing, I already love that trick.


In my life, like many of you, I have seen endless pictures of paths and life lesson quotes.  I figured this would be a fun time to stick to my themes and mock those a little bit.  I feel like the black and white was a good choice here, as it adds drama and–in this case–even more sarcasm.  I took some extra time to hand curve my text around the actual path.  I don’t know if you noticed, but it also gradually gets bigger, gets bold on some key words and phrases, and changes font on Robert Frost.