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.

Artist in Residence at our National Park

How to Apply for Artist Residencies in our National Parks

Late January and early February were quite busy.  I applied for eight Artist Residencies in our National Parks.  Each application was challenging to write, demanding of my time and a huge commitment, requiring a thorough examination of my portfolio for the “right” kind of images to send.  Most of the applications require a 1-2 page statement of intent, a small sampling of  4-8 images, letters of recommendations, and curriculum vitae.  And all applications include a proposal for the project I plan to complete during the residency. Most residencies offer an opportunity to devote 2-4 weeks’ time in a cabin or other rustic accommodations.  All offer a considerable chunk of time to make art. All require a public presentation each week of the residency, few offer a stipend, except for nominal travel, many require comfort in wild places.

The biggest challenge in the application process was to select a small sampling of images that speak to each park’s specific need. Some, like Crater Lake in Oregon, asked for projects that focused on Climate Change; many parks have a set of specific goals that the committee would like addressed in the application.

I chose to apply to the following parks as I would LOVE to spent time in each of them, increase both my time lapse and still image portfolios and since I love teaching, I submitted plans for “walks in the parks” to share with visitors my vision, techniques and suggestions for digital photography.

Part of the research involved googling each park and reviewing the artists chosen for previous residencies. It’s best to google the parks you’d like to visit.

North Cascades ………Not Offered a residency in 2014-2015
Glacier National Park ………Not Offered a residency in 2014-2015
Great Basin National Park ………Not Offered a residency in 2014-2015
Isle Royale National Park ………Not Offered a residency in 2014-2015
Acadia National Park  ………Chosen for 2015, June
Crater Lake National Park ………Chosen for 2015, May
Petrified Forest  ………Not Offered a residency in 2014-2015
Sleeping Bear Dunes  ………Not Offered a residency in 2014-2015
Great Smoky Mountains  ………Not Offered a residency in 2014-2015
Zion National Park ………Not Offered a residency in 2014-2015, Application pending 2016
Joshua Tree National Park  ………Not Offered a residency in 2014-2015

Results, so far

As you can see, just like submitting art for exhibition, it helps to get thick skinned and to keep plugging away at the applications.

Crater Lake National Park, Chosen as one of the Artists in Residence, May 2015
Here’s a sampling of the images and video clips I made while in Residence.

Acadia National Park, Chose as one of the Artists in Residence, June 2015, wow, was that some cross-country travel.  Oregon to Maine.  Here’s the portfolio I posted of my time in Acadia.  And some time lapse instruction on my blog.


I decided to research the Photographers and Artists who have been chosen in the past or are currently in our National Parks as Artists in Residence.

Rick Braveheart, Native American Fine Art Photographer (blog with link to his website too) Rick is currently At Zion National Park, writing a weekly blog about his residency.

Many of the artists, painters, who participate in Plein Air competitions in our National Parks also have experience as Artists’ in Residence.

Grand Canyon Celebration of Art
Grand Staircase, Escalante Canyons Arts Festival
Zion Plein Air Arts Invitational

Other Links for Arts in Our Parks, please let me know if you have a special event you like to attend or a Park you’ve applied to as Artist in Residence.

Five New Years Resolutions for Photographers

Improve your Photography in 2014

Commit to photograph a minimum of once a week.

  • Photograph subjects that are available to you.
  • Something in your home, office
  • Use your iPhone or digital camera.
  • Make it easy for you to keep this commitment

Buy a bunch of flowers and practice at home, or on your lunch break.

  • Use your iPhone, smart phone or digital camera
  • This is NOT about great photos, but like any sport, you need to practice seeing.
  • Don’t complicate this one, KISS (Keep it simple, stupid)

Selfies are the easiest subject, go for it.

  • Include some hint of your location in the frame, a “sense of place”
  • Sitting at your desk, on your coffee break, lunch
  • No need to share if you’re shy, this is about practicing using your camera

Upload your photos to your computer, tablet

  • At the end of 2014, you’ll be glad you can see your improved skills
  • Share with your friends
  • Share on your blog
  • It’s fun to get comments as your vision improves in 2014

Once a month, go out and make a day of making photos.

Nothing improves my photography more than practice
If you’re serious about your desire to improve then give yourself the gift of time


Join a Photo club
Take a class
Go spend money on that piece of gear you’ve been drooling over
Take a workshop, spend time with other photographers who love to be behind their cameras. (shameless advertising, www.kitfrost.com)





Tips for entering and winning photo contests

I recently won the First Place Price in the National Parks Foundation Photo Contest.  The winning photo was taken at Zion National Park, Watchman Campground.  In fact, the photo was taken very near my campsite.

Flowing water over rocks in the Virgin River, Golden sunrise in the background

It’s important to read all of the contest entry rules before submitting. ©Kit Frost

I wrote a few short blogs recently with examples of entries into photo contests, and gallery exhibitions. A few of those examples won the contests. And with a little help from my friends, are hanging in galleries too.

I thought it would be helpful to share my process of selecting images, the research involved, the rules and requirements, the jurying process to have your photos exhibited online, and at galleries. Additionally, keep in mind the cost of matting and framing if required. many online submissions simply require a login, and fee, and a jpeg of high quality. Galleries, once accepted, require that you ship, or hand-deliver your artwork ready to hang.

Start with concentrating on the theme of the contest.

  1. What is the contest about?
  2. What kind of theme is the gallery showing in its call for entries.
  3. Are you submitting an idea for a one or two person exhibition, or for a specific call for entries?
  4. Are entries free, or do you pay per image, is the contest a fund raiser?
  5. Read the fine print, find out the size restrictions for your online submission.
  6. Read carefully to see who is the final judge of your entry, fans? Favorites, a juror, a group of other artists (jury).
  7. Galleries will often have open calls a few times a year, either juried by the owner, or a guest juror. Find out what you can about the juror’s own work. But remember, most exhibitions are a collection of images meant to be shown as a whole, so I’m often surprised at the final selections.
  8. Black and white or color?
  9. Digital capture or film? Yes, we still use film!

Choose carefully

Here’s where I enlist the help from my social networks, especially facebook.
Often the image i think is the strongest representation of the theme, rates 2nd or 3rd when I put it up for a fan vote on facebook. I think I get really attached to one image over another, based on how challenging it was for me to capture it. It helps to back off from that, post a handful of possible picks and see what my peeps think. Another cool thing about sharing and asking for help is that my followers and friends feel involved in the process and celebrate with me.

Take a look at these online contests.

  1. Share the experience, the grand prize is $15,000. plus seeing you image on the Annual Federal Recreation Lands pass.
  2. Nikon Inspirations, Zoom and Telephoto, the current theme.
  3. The Nikon Everyday Cinema contest
  4. Cafe, For Artists, is an online registry and call for entires all over the world.  Login, upload your portfolio images, be sure you are uploading the correct sizes, then apply to calls.  You will be charged when you submit to calls that are not free.  Higher end management system for artists who what to show our work, apply to Artist in Residence programs.

Next blog:  Winning entries.

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.


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.


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:


IMG_4951 IMG_4952 IMG_4953 IMG_4955 IMG_4958 IMG_4959 IMG_4963 IMG_4966

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.