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I made the cover of RV West Magazine

Wow, how thrilling to receive the link for the Fall 2014 Edition of RV West Magazine and see they chose my life and art/photography workshops as the cover story.

Wow, that's my sweet ride on the cover of RV West Magazine.  Chasing Light and Adventure.  Click on photo to read the magazine online.

Wow, that’s my sweet ride on the cover of RV West Magazine. Chasing Light and Adventure. Click on photo to read the magazine online.

Last year RV West Magazine did a story about Chase the Light Adventures as part of their online issue, now the print edition features a story about my search for “unpeopled” landscape.  Thanks Jessica for a great article, I’m honored.

RV West Magazine link to article about Kit Frost.

 

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Learn to Edit your RAW files

Capture the best information

When I capture an image, at the location, I pre-visualize the post production.  I learned when studying Ansel Adams, the Weston Family and John Sexton.  In the camera, we capture the detail needed to create an interpretation of it later.  In the past, using film, I used the mantra “expose for the shadows, develop for the highlights”.

Digital cameras do a great job of recording a broader range of tones than black and white and color film, but it’s still important to remember that if you are lacking detail in the file, although not impossible, it’s harder to “get it” later.

My thinking process in the field runs something like this:

On location, in the camera

  1. Seduced by the light, I choose the proper lens for the composition.
  2. Many times my hot spot on the lens is somewhere around f16-22.  I like deep depth of field when the subject calls for it.
  3. Evaluate the highlights and see how much underexposure they will need. Clouds in particular need quite a bit of underexposure to hold detail.
  4. Let the shadows fall where they will.  Oftentimes the LCD view of the images will show and image that looks too dark and lacks shadow detail, but this is where digital captures really shine.

Upload and Process the RAW files.

In the LIGHTROOM, I still use the important technique of proper edit, exposure, development.  Mike Yamashita, a National Geo Photographer once told me that if I get any more than 4 good images on a roll of 36 exposures, my standards are too low.

Using Adobe Lightroom:

  • Import from SD or CF Card, add keywords, copyright, organize.
  • Run through the first edit for out of focus, overexposures, boring images. (x-mark for rejection). Be honest but not brutal.
  • Create Collections of my favorites from that photo adventure.
  • Begin using the Develop Mode.
  • In Develop Mode I open the panel (Command/Control D)and usually begin with exposure, white balance and contrast adjustments, saturation and clarity are also important.
  • These days I like the fine tuning available to me in the HSL Panel.  Sometimes when warming up and image the sky turns a bit aqua so HUE is the adjustment. Specific saturation is then applied to hues in the image, and I really like the ability to adjust LUMINANCE at will on individual colors.
  • Compare these adjustments to those we used to employ in the DARKROOM, like dodging, burning, edge burning, contrast filters, etc.
Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 12.11.38 PM

Before edits, RAW. 1/8 second at f22, -1/3 EV

Canyon hiking, Zion National Park

After editing in Adobe Lightroom. I underexposed the image in the camera to hold detail in the highlighted sandy floor of the canyon. ©Kit Frost

As you can see from this example, the RAW file looks bad, boring, and dark in the shadows while overblown in the highlights.  But since I underexposed by 1/3 EV, the highlights maintained detail as I had planned.  I knew it “felt” like a warm subject, so I interpreted it with a bit of saturation, clarity, highlight recovery and added a vignette. I often use a vignette to create a subtle or not so subtle darkness at the top of the photo.

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 12.12.24 PM

Before Lightroom, 1/8 sec at f22, ISO 100, 1/3 Exposure Bias

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After Lightroom adjustments, warmed up the sky, Contrast, Opened up the shadows at the bottom, added a vignette.

In the case of stormy weather, the white balance tilts closer to cool.  And I tend to respond to warm tones better so I often adjust the white balance and tint accordingly.  Interpreting landscape to “feel” like it did to me at the capture is my constant challenge, and when I achieve it, my great joy.

Camera Settings:

  • Most of my photos are either under or overexposed to hold shadow or highlight detail. I use Aperture priority mode and the exposure bias button.
  • I use AUTO White Balance and if I need more warming or cooling, I use Lightroom’s develop mode.
  • In the camera menu I set the picture control to VIVID, this gives me a tad more saturation and contrast in my jpegs (choose high quality jpeg if you don’t care for post-production)
  • I prefer ISO 100 for large prints, but will sometimes photograph using higher ISO when I’m not pre-visualizing a print.
  • I photograph using RAW and normal jpeg
  • I edit the RAW capture using Adobe Lightroom

 

 

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Photography locations in the Southwest USA

This year I retired from my day job.  Don’t get me wrong, I work, it’s just no longer for “da man”.  Instead I teach private and group photography lessons in my studio as well as on location.

Inspiration is everywhere. Locations in the Southwest USA

Every fall I get the internal tug to get out and stay out.  During September you can find me teaching Aspen Photography lessons in the Mountains of Colorado. Here are a few examples of location photography near Ouray and Ridgway.

We stayed at Silver Jack Reservoir long enough for the storm to clear.  As the sun began to get lower in the sky it revealed moments of fall loved across the lake. ©Kit Frost

We stayed at Silver Jack Reservoir long enough for the storm to clear. As the sun began to get lower in the sky it revealed moments of fall loved across the lake. ©Kit Frost

It rained so hard during the night that waterfalls I've never seen were flowing in Ouray.  Slow Shutter speeds and an umbrella make these images possible. ©Kit Frost

It rained so hard during the night that waterfalls I’ve never seen were flowing in Ouray. Slow Shutter speeds and an umbrella make these images possible. ©Kit Frost

Rainbow over the Sneffels Range at Sunset. ©Kit Frost

Rainbow over the Sneffels Range at Sunset. ©Kit Frost

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Location: Ghost Ranch

Abiquiu, New Mexico is home to amazing landscape, and known as the location for many of Georgia O’keeffe paintings and her home at Ghost Ranch.  While at

Ghost Ranch I felt like I was in an O’Keeffe painting.  I was gifted with a week of oil painting lessons, and while I explored the genre of painting, I also hiked, biked, and photographed.  Inspired by the land, seduced by the color and light, I can see why artists flock to New Mexico.

I was obsessed with making an image of these trees high up on the base of this sandstone cliff. ©Kit Frost

I was obsessed with making an image of these trees high up on the base of this sandstone cliff. ©Kit Frost

Pedernal dominates the background while cottonwoods reflect in a pond. ©Kit Frost

Pedernal dominates the background while cottonwoods reflect in a pond. ©Kit Frost

Juicy Cottonwood in Bloom along the Box Canyon Trail. ©Kit Frost

Juicy Cottonwood in Bloom along the Box Canyon Trail. ©Kit Frost

Location: Zion National Park

From October 26 through November 8, I was in Zion National Park.  I love Zion.  Artistically as muse for me, the park is accessible, stunning and grand.  There are opportunities for easy, moderate and strenuous hikes.  The shuttle system is wonderful and as a tourist as well as artist, being able to hop off and on at will is great.  My only complaint is that during my visit I had to change campsites three times.  Their online reservation system is used by lots of folks and it takes time and effort to move that many times in one visit.  I will try to book my fall Zion travel early and get a single campground (there’s a 6 month reservation window).

As I was headed back to camp on the shuttle, I spied this clearing storm over the Patriarchs.  I underexposed dramatically to hold cloud detail and opened up the shadows in Lightroom

As I was headed back to camp on the shuttle, I spied this clearing storm over the Patriarchs. I jumped off the shuttle and made a bunch of images. I underexposed dramatically to hold cloud detail and opened up the shadows in Lightroom ©Kit Frost

Some of my favorite locations were challenging to photograph this year.  I prefer stormy skies to boring bluebird skies.  Changeable light is my favorite as is the intimacy of hiking and biking along the trails, stopping for image making.  The video below shows examples of some locations that sang to me.

Here’s a video sequence of some of my photos from Zion National Park, 2014.

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Our Zion Photography Workshop Images

This YouTube Video is a stellar view of the kind of imagery, landscapes and lessons we worked on while in Zion.  Tom Fulton, one of our Chase the Light Workshop participants and the creator of Memory Minder Productions posted this video.  WOW Tom, well done.

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A lone cloud captured at just the right moment. ©Tom Fulton

A lone cloud captured at just the right moment. ©Tom Fulton

Our Chase the Light Photography Workshop in Zion produced some really powerful images.  Participants practiced their skills in composition, exposure, and camera skills while photographing the Virgin River, the Towers of the Virgin, along the River Trail and reflections too.

I love the quiet moment of this image.  We working working with shutter speed priority and magical light on the Virgin River. ©Tom Fulton

I love the quiet moment of this image. We working working with shutter speed priority and magical light on the Virgin River. ©Tom Fulton

Using a panoramic setting, automatically pieces together this image taken along the Virgin River. ©Bob Rhea

Using a panoramic setting, automatically pieces together this image taken along the Virgin River. ©Bob Rhea

One of the lessons along the river was to choose the proper shutter speed and exposure to hold in the highlights in the scene.  In some cases it’s best to limit the amount of sky so the light meter in the camera doesn’t make the scene too dark.  I like to teach participants to under expose (-+) for the highlights and open up the shadows in post-production software like Adobe Lightroom.

Isolating the subject.  By selecting a few important elements of the scene for inclusion, clutter is limited, and the photo feels "painterly". ©Bob Rhea

Isolating the subject. By selecting a few important elements of the scene for inclusion, clutter is limited, and the photo feels “painterly”. ©Bob Rhea

As we walked along the Riverwalk, we were able to enjoy some quiet moments.  Here, the composition and color is stunning.  I like to teach to eliminate parts of the composition as a painter would do while composing on the canvas.

The day we drove up to the Kolob Terrace, the sky was hazy, so we stopped and made some images along the road.

Using a vertical panoramic setting allows us to follow the sharp turn in the road. ©Bob Rhea

Using a vertical panoramic setting allows us to follow the sharp turn in the road. ©Bob Rhea

Join us next year, late October 2015, for another round of Grand, Intimate and Colorful Zion Landscape Photography lessons.  Stay tuned.

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Fall Color Photography Lessons, 2014

Learn to Photograph Fall Color in Colorado

September 26-28, 2014

Let us teach you how to photograph grand landscapes like this one between Durango and Silverton, Colorado.  ©Kit Frost

Let us teach you how to photograph grand landscapes like this one between Durango and Silverton, Colorado. ©Kit Frost

This year our popular 3-day, Colorado Fall Color Photography Workshop takes place in the San Juan Mountains.  Round-trip from Durango, we take you to our favorite grand and intimate scenic locations throughout Southern Colorado.

Photographing in and around aspen forests is a fun, learning experience on our Fall Color Workshop. ©Kit Frost

Photographing in and around aspen forests is a fun, learning experience on our Fall Color Workshop. ©Kit Frost

Day One finds us exploring the landscapes, light and aspens between Durango and Silverton, and then on to the glorious Red Mountain Pass to Ouray (the Switzerland of America).

Skills learned:

  1. How to properly use YOUR camera to combine f-stop, shutter and ISO to make your images sing.  Discussion of what makes a good photo into a great photo.
  2. Aperture control for depth of field
  3. Shutter control for those “quaking” aspen.
  4. Choosing back-lighting, front, and side lighting to improve your photography

We enjoy plenty of blue skies in Colorado and the autumn color is often dusted with early snow fall.  Learn to work with reflections. ©Kit Frost

We enjoy plenty of blue skies in Colorado and the autumn color is often dusted with early snow fall. Learn to work with reflections. ©Kit Frost

Day Two we visit an exhibition of Autumn in Ouray County and then travel up and along Owl Creek Road to Silver Jack Reservoir.  The Cimmaron Mountains are our backdrop as we explore “near-far” relationships in the autumn landscape.  At sunset we will photograph the Sneffels Range from Dallas Divide, a must see fall scene in Colorado.

Skills learned:

  1. Using leading lines in your photos.
  2. Create near-far compositions and learn to select the proper f-stop
  3. Working with exposure compensation (+-)

It's always surprising to see the mix of color in our golden aspen forests.  Let the landscape show off to you and photograph this awesome display. ©Kit Frost

It’s always surprising to see the mix of color in our golden aspen forests. Let the landscape show off to you and photograph this awesome display. ©Kit Frost

Day Three we photograph our return trip to Durango.  Letting the fall color and mountain compositions “call our names”, while we continue to teach you to improve your photography skills.  Digital video instruction will be demonstrated as we make our way through the mountains, creating short video clips of your adventure, the forests, the grand and intimate scenes.

Tuition and Accommodations

Accommodations in Ouray are at the newly remodeled Matterhorn Motel.  Once registered for our Fall Color Photo Workshop, we’ll pass along more information about suggested gear, clothing. Click here for Kit’s suggestions for adventure gear.

Tuition, includes expert photography instruction, light beverages and lunch at our photo locations. $1298.

Dinner will be at restaurants in Ouray or Ridgway. (costs not included)

For more information about fall color in Colorado.

And Why Leaves Change Color

And while in Durango.

Join us for our Adobe Lightroom class after your workshop,

September 28, 10am-1pm, Tuition $150.

And learn to upload, edit and sequence, title and add music to YouTube and Facebook videos.

September 28, 2-5pm, Tuition $150.

 

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Colorado Wildflower Report, Early Blooms in the Mountains

We’re seeing the typical early summer wilds in the San Juan National Forest.  At altitudes above 9200 feet, the parry’s primrose are blooming along the creeks.  Up along West Mancos Road, we’re seeing the prolific wild lupine in bunches (so glad the cattle don’t eat lupine).  It’s still a bit early up along Mineral Creek Road outside of Silverton, so I’m going back up there in two weeks and will report.  I heard from some hikers that the meadow up on the Engineer Mountain trail is close to peaking.  Will report later this week.

Flowers in bloom

  • Wild Lupine
  • Yellow Snapdragon
  • Parry’s Primrose
  • Giant Green Gentian
  • Marsh Marigold
  • Thimbleberry
  • Cow Parsnip
  • The Columbine are just beginning to show up at around 9500 feet

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