2019, Fall Color Photography Lessons

Capitol Reef National Park, October 2019

Join us for two days of photographing the Splendor of Wingate Sandstone and Fall Color in Capitol Reef, and Boulder Mountain Aspens in Utah.

We will create amazing photographs as we “loop the fold” following the Waterpocket Fold, from the Fruita District, to Boulder Mountain to the Burr Trail and beyond.  Bring your favorite camera gear, camp, or we can suggest accommodations in nearby Torrey, Utah.

Kit Frost will teach you her favorite photography and post-production techniques to capture the Gold.  Kit spent 14 weeks at Capitol Reef and knows the Park very well.  There are slot canyons, huge Navajo and Wingate Sandstone Walls, Orchards and the Park is an International Dark Sky location.

Contact Kit Frost for more information and to confirm 2019 dates for the best locations for golden color in Capitol Reef.

Artists in Our National Parks

As an Artist in Residence at Capitol Reef National Park,  I organized a talk about the History of Artists and Art in our National Parks.  When chosen as a residence, one of the “give backs” is to lead a hike, give a presentation, or any number of ways to contribute to the Park.  I presented to a group of visitors some techniques for using their smart phone more successfully.  And, I made a presentation at the Fruita Campground Amphitheater in Capitol Reef, and a public presentation at Mesa Verde National Park.

Artists have contributed to the formation of our parks from the early days of the Hayden Survey in 1871, all the way up till the present day, where the Artist in Residence programs thrive in our Parks.  Thomas Moran, William Henry Jackson, Frederick Dellenbaugh, painted and photographed in the West, as did many others. Today, contemporary photographers and artists contribute to our understanding of our precious National Parks and create images that speak to the preservation and expansion of our Parks.

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Click this link for a full copy of the presentation of Art in Our National Parks.

Contemporary Art in our National Parks

Visit any National Park Service site and you’re bound to see photographers, artists, film makers, musicians, sculptors, writers, inspired and working on-site.   And many visitors use their smart phones for selfies, and bring home memories in our Parks, our Public Lands, and recreation areas.

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Many of our Parks sponsor Plein Air Invitationals and host Artists in the Parks. Capitol Reef joined the list of about 50 National Parks that offer time and support for an Artist in Residence in 2017.  I was honored to be chosen as their first AIR.

Links to contemporary art being created in our Parks

Long-time Alaskan Kim Heacox spent a part of 2012 as one of Denali’s three writers-in-residence, and donated this essay after his experience.

A 2010 residency at Devil’s Tower allowed Chavawn Kelley to experiment with photography, and later inspired her written works here

Kathy Hodge, Artist in Residence.

Here’s a link to my portfolio of Artist Residencies in our Parks.

 

Hillman and Lookout Peaks, with Wizard Island.

My first look at Crater Lake. Artist in Residence, 2015

Annie Spring-Snowmelt

Annie Spring, Crater Lake National Park. ©Kit Frost

Clouds moving over Capitol Reef National Park

Autumn Gold, Capitol Reef National Park. Between 2016 and 2017 I spent about 14 weeks at Capitol Reef. In 2016 I volunteered as an Information Ranger. And in 2017 I was honored to be chosen as the first Artist in Residence in the Park. This image was made during the golden days of autumn in Cap Reef.

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Long House, Mesa Verde National Park. ©Kit Frost, 2017 Artist in Residence

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 continue to be the Director of Chase the Light Photography in Durango. I teach private and group photography lessons in my studio as well as on location. In the studio I teach digital camera instruction as well as Adobe Lightroom post production and digital video.  In the field, we have been out to photograph Fall Colors, Grand and Intimate Landscapes, Zion National Park.  I have made some personal excursions to Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico and to the Valley of the Gods, Utah.

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

Telluride. We all photographed while lunch was being prepared on our Fall Photography Workshop.  This image was taken while protecting the camera gear from the drizzle. ©Kit Frost

Telluride. We all photographed while lunch was being prepared on our Fall Photography Workshop. This image was taken while protecting the camera gear from the drizzle. ©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

In this lesson, students practiced looking through the warm aspen leaves into the cool landscape of the distant ridge. ©Kit Frost

In this lesson, students practiced looking through the warm aspen leaves into the cool landscape of the distant ridge. ©Kit Frost

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The assignment here is to experiment with including the forest floor for texture and color. ©Kit Frost

 

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

Another version of my passion for this light, subject and composition.  Along the Box Canyon Trail, Ghost Ranch. ©Kit Frost

Another version of my passion for this light, subject and composition. Along the Box Canyon Trail, Ghost Ranch. ©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.

How wonderful to be at the Court of the Patriarchs during a somewhat clearing storm. ©Kit Frost

How wonderful to be at the Court of the Patriarchs during a somewhat clearing storm. ©Kit Frost

While hiking in a off the beaten road location at Zion, we walked along a creek that had some "stuck" tree trunks.  Wow, what storms must have brought those through this wash. ©Kit Frost

While hiking off the beaten path at Zion, we walked along a creek that had some “stuck” tree trunks. Wow, what big storms must have brought those through this wash. ©Kit Frost

I like to work with quiet subjects like fall trees and leaves against sandstone. ©Kit Frost

I like to work with quiet subjects like fall trees and leaves against sandstone. While many of the trees in Zion did not display peak fall colors, a few had finished dropping their leaves. ©Kit Frost

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

Two of my Photos Chosen for Exhibition

Juried Exhibitions are my favorite, especially International Exhibitions. The caliber of photos jumps up a few pegs when their is a cost involved in entering and when the exhibition is juried.  This past Friday night, the Exposures Exhibition opened in downtown Durango, Colorado, at the Open Shutter Gallery.

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A moment of Sunrise. 22×28 framed. ©Kit Frost

Juried by Cara Weston, of the Weston family of California (Edward, Kim, Brett), made the show one I wanted to enter.  This image and a second reflection was chosen by Cara for inclusion. The Exhibition will hang until the first week in January 2014.  I was challenged to know what kind of images to submit, as the only “hint” was the name of the show, “Exposures”.  I chose two reflections as they are both new photographs.  I asked my social networks, Facebook, and my blogs, for input.  Lots of viewers “liked” the reflection below.  So I went for it.

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Haviland Lake, Clearing Autumn Storm. 22×28 framed. ©Kit Frost

Another thing I really liked about this exhibition is that a handful of my students ( I teach digital photography) were also chosen for the exhibition.  Here we are at the opening reception:

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Fall Color is peaking in Zion National Park

As you can see by the scene below, the cottonwoods in and along Highway 9 through Zion were in full bloom, and lots are just past prime. But there are plenty of opportunities to get your “fix” of fall color in Zion. The Riverwalk, and the trees along the Virgin River are past prime fall color, but go ahead and think about isolating a few examples of bloom. It snowed up on the Kolob Terrace Road but if you can get to Zion when the storms are rolling in or out you’ll be treated to great big skies. These images were created on my recent trip to Zion, October 27-November 1, 2013

What do you think?  Compare these two images and comment on the "right time" to press the shutter. ©Kit Frost What do you think? Compare these two images and comment on the “right time” to press the shutter. ©Kit Frost

I climbed high along the Watchman trail, and set up this image.  Two hours later the light I was hoping painted across the scene.  Patience people.  ©Kit Frost I climbed high along the Watchman trail, and set up this image. Two hours later the light I was hoping painted across the scene. Half the fun for me is planning the photograph, arriving at the location, and enjoying the light as it changes over time.©Kit Frost

Check out my other blog about photographing BIG Scenes

Fall Color and the Big Scenes in Zion National Park

I just returned from 5 nights in Zion National Park. I camped at the Watchman Campground.  The weather forecast predicted rain and show at higher elevations, my kind of trip.  What I love about photography in general is the excitement I feel when planning a trip, getting on the road, and then I feel like a kid in a candy store when I get to the location.  When rain is in the forecast in the Southwest it usually is accompanied by beautiful clouds, cumulus, and if I’m lucky, cumulus- congestus too.   This trip was like that.  I drove my camper from Durango to Lake Powell, stayed one night at the Wahweap Campground, took off for Zion in the morning.  And each day that the weather stayed changeable, I enjoyed playing with light and cloud shadows in my photographs.

As you can see by the scene below, the cottonwoods in and along Highway 9 through Zion were really stunning.  Closer evaluation shows that it’s really about a week late for full bloom.  But there are plenty of opportunities to get your “fix” of fall color in Zion.

Photographing the Big Scene

What do you think?  Compare these two images and comment on the "right time" to press the shutter. ©Kit Frost

What do you think? Compare these two images and comment on the “right time” to press the shutter. ©Kit Frost

I climbed high along the Watchman trail, and set up this image.  Two hours later the light I was hoping painted across the scene.  Patience people.  ©Kit Frost

I climbed high along the Watchman trail, and set up this image. Two hours later the light I was hoping painted across the scene. Patience people. ©Kit Frost

 

Why go to Zion in the late fall?

  1. Autumn Color is at it’s height from mid-October through early November.
  2. Zion National Park is awesome year round but especially beautiful in it’s fall glory
  3. The Zion Shuttle system runs until November 3rd, 2013, it is a brilliant system for exploring the park, no need for your car once you get to the park.
  4. Cooler fall days make the steep hikes wonderful.
  5. It’s a quiet time of the year, less visitation than in the summer.
  6. Bring a bike, you can have the Canyon to yourself at times.
    Load up the bike on the shuttle bike rack, or walk from shuttle stop to shuttle stop.
  7. Amazing Photography locations throughout the park.

Tips for Photographing in Zion National Park

  1. Bring a tripod, 98% of my photos are made with a tripod, I like the slow, methodical way of composing images, the ability to choose slow shutter speeds, and deep depth of field.  Yes, you can choose to “up” the ISO but I prefer printing large, so I like low ISO settings, around 100-320.  A tripod is not simply about steady images, it’s also about the ability to refine my composition.
  2. Explore the park, watch the light move through the canyon. Take a round trip shuttle, getting off wherever you like, and set up an important composition.  Many digital camera users simply shoot lots of images, moving to the next location, repeat.  I like to come away with a few “scouted” images. I like to commit to a few great compositions, then plan for the best light.
  3. In October and November, the days are short, sunrise hits the narrow canyon at around 8am and sunset is at around 6pm, so plan accordingly, wear layers, scout your locations to be at the “right place, right time”.  The sun didn’t hit my campsite until 11am, so next year I’ll plan better for morning warmth at my “cafe”.
  4. I underexpose all of my images by at least 1/3 and sometimes 2/3 to hold detail in the highlights.
  5. Plan for post-production, as Ansel Adams would suggest, pre visualize your final print.

Iron like a Lion in Zion – Zion National Park, UT (travelpod.com)

Join me next year on a Photography Adventure of a Lifetime, in Zion National Park. October 26-30, 2014.  Right place, right time.

Here’s a time-lapse from my first morning at camp.  This series of 320 photos was made into a time lapse sequence using the Interval Timer setting on my Nikon D300. When I got back in the studio, I uploaded the images to Lightroom, edited each one of them to fix the sensor dust, then exported jpegs to iMovie for sequencing and additional story board.