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)

 

 

 

 

Colorado Wildflowers are Blooming in the San Juans

What kind of flowers are currently blooming in the Mountains of Colorado?

Purple Fringe grows prolifically along this rocky mountain cliff.  Near Highland Mary Lakes in the Weminuche Wilderness. ©Kit Frost

Purple Fringe grows prolifically along this rocky mountain cliff. Near Highland Mary Lakes in the Weminuche Wilderness. ©Kit Frost

Blue Vervain, Colorado Blue Columbine, Silvery Lupine, Orange Paintbrush, Parry’s Primrose, Elephant’s Heads, Sky Pilot, Larkspur, Dusky Beardtongue, Purple Fringe, Fairy Trumpet, to name a few; the wildflower bloom is ON in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.

Above 12,000 feet we hiked alongside fields of Alpine Phlox, Dwarf Clover, Rosy and Sulphur Paintbrush, Old Man of the Mountain, and Moss Campion.  Along the ridge lines I photographed Purple Fringe and Asters, while along the creeks at lower altitudes a mix of Elegant Death Camas, Orange and Rosy Paintbrush, and Sky pilot greeted us in movement and color.

Some locations, like the rocky backdrop for the purple fringe below are along high altitude ridge lines.  The hike to this location is from the Highland Mary Lakes trailhead.  I like to challenge myself physically and photographically to capture these beauties while they last.  Late July snowfields in the background add interest and location to this image.

Other Wildflower Blogs by Kit Frost

A low camera angle (I was laying on the ground) allows me to show the big scene as well as the wilds. ©Kit Frost

A low camera angle (I was laying on the ground) allows me to show the big scene as well as the wilds. Highland Mary Lakes. ©Kit Frost

Join us for lessons on using your digital camera to capture these beauties, we take you to amazing locations in the San Juan Mountains north of Durango, Colorado.  July 26, 9am-4pm, August 1st, August 8th, August 15th, 2pm-7pm.  Email kit@kitfrost.com for more information or to schedule private lessons on how to use your digital camera.

Often by late July, the only places to find Parry's Primrose along high altitude creeks.  This group was photographed at Clear Creek.  ©Kit Frost

Often by late July, the only places to find Parry’s Primrose along high altitude creeks. This group was photographed at Clear Creek. ©Kit Frost

 

 

South Park-52

Although a 3 mile hike to this location along the Silverton/Rico trail, the trail is clear, and the surrounding mountains really add to the photos. ©Kit Frost

I like to include reflections of nearby cliffs in the creeks to grab the interest of the viewer. ©Kit Frost

I like to include reflections of nearby cliffs in the creeks to grab the interest of the viewer. Columbus Basin, La Plata Canyon©Kit Frost

 

 

“Working” your subjects in photography

In the San Juan National Forest, one of the most prolific wildflower locations is Ice Lakes Basin. Here is a mid July creekside composition. ©Kit Frost

When I approach, or am seduced by a subject, I make it a habit to walk around with my camera and frame some ideas.  Hand-holding my camera gives me the freedom to “sketch” a few photos.  The compositions that speak to me most are then committed to by setting up the tripod and “taking myself seriously”.  A good practice for me has been to photograph the same subject in a handful of different compositions.  These example show the same subjects in four different compositions.  In this instance, the creek and the wildflowers were my main subject, but as I “worked the subject” I realized that by including the distant background I could give a sense of place to the photo too.  Do you have a preference for one photograph over the others?

Which version do you prefer? ©Kit Frost

Another example of “working the subject”. ©Kit Frost

Ice Lakes lower basin is full of small creekside compositions. ©Kit Frost

Colorado Landscape Photos edited in Adobe Lightroom

As we summited the saddle near the Grenadiers, I was greeted with light painting just south of the lake where we planned to camp. I really enjoy watching the clouds paint the land with shadow and light. Capturing the light at just the right time is what photography is all about for me. In the mountains clouds form quickly and can build up a dynamic storm in the afternoon and early evening.  ©Kit Frost, all rights reserved

Just a short hike uphill from the camp, I sat for hours watching the shadows flow across the land.  I chose this exposure because I wanted the foreground trees and gulch to separate from the background peaks. My standard workflow for landscape images with clouds is to use a Tiffen Graduated Neutral Density filter and to shade the filter from the sun (with my hat). I use the Lightroom editing panel to open up shadows, paint highlights using the adjustment brushes and I add saturation to each area that “felt” saturated at the time of exposure.

I looked for a sweet foreground to show the reflection and moonrise. The alpine avens bunch met the bill. I focused on the near flowers and underexposed to hold sky detail. In Lightroom I opened up the shadows using the fill light adjustment. I added a Lightroom Graduated Filter adjustment to darken the sky and the moon and clouds too. ©Kit Frost, all rights reserved

Click below for Page 2

It’s wildflower season in Colorado

One sure sign of the start of Wildflower season in Colorado is the appearance of Parry’s Primrose along creeks, meadows and beside alpine tarns.  This group caught my eye as we were filtering some water at Highland Mary Lakes.

Because I chose to photograph this group of primrose against a wall of granite, there was no need for deep depth of field, but I still used f20 so I could capture as much of the detail in the leaves, flowers and the wall in the image.  Its often a good idea artistically to choose subjects that the opposites on the color wheel, the vibrant colors of magenta and bright yellow green, against a neutral background really pull this composition together.  Try it.

A sure sign that Wildflower season is underway; Parry’s primrose in bloom ©Kit Frost

Colorado Wildflower Report

Colorado Wildflowers, Elephants Heads ©Kit Frost

July 8, 2012

I’d have to say that the star of the show so far this year is Elephant Heads Pedicularis groenlandica, growing in profusion along meadows, on alpine terraces, everywhere.  In the past, I’ve seen these magenta beauties mostly alongside creeks, but this year is different.  They are huge, stunning and prolific.  I like to go close to a group, and spend some time photographing the fern-like leaves as well as the “story” of the amazing number of the flowers in the field.  I use my Nikon 16-85 exclusively when I backpack and leave my heavier Nikon 60mm macro at home.  The 16-85 gives me a wide to tele view and I can choose a big scene or a flower “portrait”.   Try shooting your subjects in both horizontal and vertical formats, try different f-stop combinations.  For this vertical image I choose f-7.1 to separate the foreground flower group from the color field in the middle and background.  Elephants heads are tall and blow in the wind so the 160 shutter speed helps to freeze the subject too.

Elephants Heads ©Kit Frost

Right now I’m editing the 600 images I shot in 5 days in the mountains.  I’m really excited to see some of the grand landscape from 13,000 feet overlooking the Grenadier Range in the Weminuche Wilderness.  Vestal, Arrow and the Trinity peaks were stunning and close from the basins and along the high passes of the wilderness.  I use Adobe Lightroom to make my job easier.  I love Lightroom for organizing my portfolios, for creating collections, for direct upload to Photoshelter, and Facebook.  The Edit panel is really simple to follow and allows me to really make my photos speak to how it felt at the time of exposure.  Check out my latest blog on grand and intimate landscape and Lightroom editing.