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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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Monument Valley Photo Workshop: Participant Photos

As a student of Kit Frost’s 2014 Monument Valley Workshop, I was very impressed with the entire experience. Having been an amateur photographer for over 40 years, I had never attended a photography workshop and had yet to explore the Utah Southwest. Kit was an extremely capable teacher / mentor and has a unique way of connecting with individual students to help instill their own unique way of seeing the world and capturing their vision within their own photographs.

Aside from her technical knowledge and her ability to capture amazing images, Kit was able to help me “feel” the geography and connect with the natural world in which we were situated. Her personable style and excellent communication skills then helped me to capture imagery that was forming in my mind. 

Click on the thumbnails to see larger images, and to comment.

While I have always felt I was a reasonably accomplished photographer, Kit taught me to see with light and “paint” my compositions with light and shadow in a way that elevated the final images to a level I had only hoped to achieve.

Friends and family have been astounded with the quality and composition of the images I made at the workshop and I am so very pleased with what I gained over the four days. I am looking at local scenes and geography much differently now. “Chasing the Light” has become much more than a catch-phrase, it has become a way of interpreting what I am seeing in everyday life and imagining how those scenes can be captured within the camera. Thank you Kit for opening my eyes to the light. My photography will never be the same.    Tom Fulton, 2014

 

Lessons Learned

We returned recently from our 2014 Monument Valley Photo Workshop.  And wow, the photo opportunities were awesome.  Although the spring winds in Utah and Arizona were sometimes epic, we explored locations to teach the participants composition, right place-right time, cloud shadows as subject, avoiding the “cliche” in a well-photographed environment too.

Our locations included multiple views of the San Juan River as it flowed through the canyons of Utah.  We made photographs using wide-angle lenses to capture the expansiveness of the Goosenecks of the San Juan, ate lunch at river level at the Sand Island Recreation Area, and photographed the big views from up on Muley Point to see the next level of the canyons and the tiny river cutting through.

iPhoneography, we hiked down from the Goosenecks overlook to get a better vantage point. ©Kit Frost

iPhoneography, we hiked down from the Goosenecks overlook to get a better vantage point. ©Kit Frost

We photographed with our iPhones, Smartphones, DSLR’s, and Point and Shoot Cameras.  And uploaded images to Instagram.

A mix of moments from our workshop.  Monument Valley

A mix of moments from our workshop. Monument Valley

Lesson: Find an interesting foreground. Lead the viewer through the frame.

Lesson: Find an interesting foreground. Lead the viewer through the frame. ©Kit Frost

Create a framing of positive and negative space to make a new image of a classic subject. ©Kit Frost

Lesson: Create a framing of positive and negative space to make a new image of a classic subject. ©Kit Frost

 

Monument Valley has been the backdrop of many movies, from Stagecoach to Thelma and Louise.  It takes some imagination to create images that are “different”.  We were blessed with clouds (and blown by winds) so we could use the sky in our images too.

Working with what is presented to us is very important in Workshop Photography.  We cannot control the subject or the sky or the wind or the crowds.  We CAN work with these elements to create images that are unique.

Keep coming back, as we will add more images as the participants submit them for this blog.

 

Use shadows to create positive and negative space in the big scene.  See if you can find a shape that matches the distant scene. ©Kit Frost

Lesson: Use shadows to create positive and negative space in the big scene. See if you can find a shape that matches the distant scene. ©Kit Frost

And just in case you think I’m kidding about the Epic winds.  John Ford’s Point was so windy, that we dared not take our DSLR’s out of the car.  Here’s a link to our You Tube video. And another short clip Here.

 

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I’ve been chosen as Artist in Residence, Acadia National Park

The application process for Acadia was an online submission, complete with email links to photos, resume, statement of intent and commitment to a presentation each week of Residency.

Chosen for a Residency at Acadia National Park, the coordinator asked me to choose any 4 weeks between November 2014 and June 2015.  I chose May of 2015.  I will be making art and photography from a supplied apartment in Winter Harbor.  Oh Yeah!

Sunrise Over Monument Cove, Acadia by ©Tom Bricker

Sunrise Over Monument Cove, Acadia by ©Tom Bricker

National Geographic Photo from Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park

National Geographic Photo from Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park

Link to National Parks Service announcement about Acadia Residency.

Link to Schoodic Institute, the sponsors of the Artist Residency.

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Monument Valley Photo Workshop, April 2014

Carol Lewin - Workshop participant

Carol Lewin – Workshop participant, Mittens view at Monument Valley

Claret Cactus-Student Photo

Claret Cactus, Workshop Participant photo

Moqui dugway-Student Photo

Looking South from the Moqui Dugway, near Valley of the Gods – Workshop Participant photo

Monument Valley-Student Photo

Monument Valley Buttes and Mesas, from John Ford’s point. Workshop Participant photo.

Our Spring 2014 Monument Valley Workshop is just around the corner.  And we still have openings for a few more photographers.

April 28-May 1, 2014.  Participants can expect to explore and photograph at the following locations:

  1. Lower and Upper Butler Wash, outside of Bluff, Utah
  2. Twin Rocks, Bluff, Utah
  3. Valley of the Gods
  4. Monument Valley
  5. Mexican Hat
  6. San Juan River views
  7. Comb Ridge

We have some favorite locations to share with you. The desert wildflowers are in bloom by the end of April, so we’ll scout some compositions to teach you how to best capture the Claret Cactus, Yucca flowers and other wilds of the canyons of Southeast Utah.

Here’s a sampling of the subjects we’ll incorporate to teach you how to use your digital camera.  Most workshop participants find that they are very comfortable with their camera, and know all it’s features by the end of a Chase the Light Adventure.

  1. Grand Scenics
  2. Intimate moments in the landscape
  3. Working with clouds
  4. “No sky, NO sky.
  5. Night Photography
  6. Moonrise in Monument Valley
  7. Star trails in Monument Valley

Skills and Techniques

  • Aperture Priority
  • Shutter Priority
  • Composition
  • Balance
  • Focus priority
  • Depth of field
  • Graduated Neutral Density Filters (in the camera, and post-production)
  • Capturing density for post-production

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5 Steps to Prepare for Your next Photography Adventure

5 Steps to Prepare for Your Next Photography Adventure

Preparation for travel and photography:

  1. Get Inspired
  2. Choose a location
  3. Research online
  4. Make reservations
  5. Prepare camera gear
  6. Get out and STAY out.

Get Inspired.

I love looking at great art and great photography; I visit galleries, museums, and “follow” artists online.  For this week’s travel, to Arizona, my main inspiration is to see the Dale Chihuly Gardens and Glass exhibit at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix.

A friend of mine visited the Chihuly exhibition and these are some of her beautiful images.

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More Inspiration

Photography by Jody Forster

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All Jody Forster images are screenshots from her work at Andrew Smith Gallery in Santa Fe. ©Jody Forster

All Jody Forster images are screenshots from her work at Andrew Smith Gallery in Santa Fe. ©Jody Forster

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Choose a location: Research, Make Reservations

For this trip to Arizona, I chose to camp at the Lost Dutchman State Park.  Located near Apache Junction, AZ in the Superstition Mountains, this location was reviewed by the Wheeling It blog I follow.  Nina from “Wheeling It” is a full-time blogger and helpful with her campground reviews and also posts wonderful photos.  Photographing the Southwest, by Laurent Martres, is a great resource too for “right time, right place” photo locations in Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. In Volume 2, there are a few suggestions for photography at the Lost Dutchman.

Past photography excursions to Southern Arizona have included Saguaro National Monument, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, and lots of trips to Sedona, Phoenix and Tucson.

Prepare Camera Gear

I recently sent my cameras in to Nikon for firmware updates and sensor cleaning.  I am camping at a location that will allow me nightly battery charging.  My gear will include:

  1. Nikon D300
  2. Nikon D5300 (brand spanking new), no, it’s not full-frame, that purchase is in the near future.
  3. Nikon 16-85 lens
  4. Nikon 15-35 lens
  5. Nikon 55-300 lens
  6. Nikon flash
  7. iPad with 32GB
  8. iPhone 5
  9. Rav Power to extend storage on my iPad to 64GB and charge my phone.
  10. Tripod
  11. Monopod
  12. Reading materials on my iPad (kindle books)
  13. Photographing the Southwest by Laurent Martres

Get out and STAY out

My motto.  So until I’m full time retired, I create long weekends.  The drive from Durango to the Lost Dutchman is 7.5 hours so I’m camping one night at Canyon de Chelly National Monument and will enjoy 1/2 day of photography at the Canyons. I called the Navajo Nation Parks service and checked on the campground for open sites.  The ranger was helpful and told me there’s plenty of room these days.

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Next adventure:  Chasing the Light in Monument Valley. I’m teaching a photo workshop from April 28 through May 1st, based in Bluff Utah and Goulding’s Lodge in Monument Valley.