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.

 

Just added: Location Photography Lessons

Hi Folks, The weather forecast for the weekend photo excursion to Bluff, Utah looks great, a mix of sun and clouds.

I’ve added three more locations to the photography lessons.

Moqui Dugway is an awesome drive up from the Valley of the Gods to Cedar Mesa.  With big views of the San Juan River Canyon and Monument Valley too

We will head out to Muley Point by driving up the Moqui Dugway on Saturday afternoon, the weather forecast is for clouds!  Yeah, No sky, no sky.  But with SKY< add sky.  I’ll be teaching the following hints for grand landscape:

  • Pay attention to your grand composition, watch for centering your “horizon line”
  • Create drama in the big scene by focusing on near, middle and far in the frame.
  • Actual focus point is important, choose a deep depth of field (f16-22) and focus about 1/3 of the way into your composition.
  • Use a graduated ND filter or underexpose the lower part of the frame to hold detail in clouds.
Cumulous Clouds, rain hitting the ground, deep San Juan River Canyon, and Monument Valley in the Distant landscape.

Passing rainstorm visibly hitting the ground, deep San Juan River Canyon, and Monument Valley in the Distant landscape. Just one of the amazing views from Muley Point, looking west. By NOT centering the storm, the viewer is led through the photo. ©Kit Frost

Kokopelli and other ancient puebloan (Anasazi) figures carved into canyon walls

Kokopelli and other ancient puebloan (Anasazi) figures carved into canyon walls. Photo courtesy of BLM, Monticello, Utah

Image showing the winding road of the Moqui Dugway in Utah with Mesas and Buttes in the Background

A favorite location, near Valley of the Gods and Monument Valley too.

Photograph Hot Air Balloons – January 2014

The 16th Annual Bluff Hot Air Balloon Festival is just around the corner; the four corners to be exact.

Kit will be teaching a special weekend workshop, January 17th – 19th, 2014.  Space is limited, as are accommodations in and around Bluff.  We’ve held a few rooms, so register for this workshop as soon as you can!

Reserve your space now.  A perfect holiday gift too.

$650. Personal Instruction and Accommodations in Bluff, Utah
To register, email kit@kitfrost.com or call Kit at 970-946-9727 before December 5th.

By using the Nikon 55-300 lens I was able to create frames that compressed the background buttes and spires.  The balloons, then appear closer to the mesa. ©Kit Frost

By using the Nikon 55-300 lens I was able to create frames that compressed the background buttes and spires. The balloons, then appear closer to the mesa. ©Kit Frost

Full compression of the 55-300 lens.  The background sure appears closer and the composition is fun too. ©Kit Frost

Full compression of the 55-300 lens. The background sure appears closer and the composition is fun too. ©Kit Frost

You can see the wind blowing the balloon to the left.  Shortly after making this photo, all the balloons were tethered to wait own the wind.  ©Kit Frost

You can see the wind blowing the balloon to the left. Shortly after making this photo, all the balloons were tethered to wait out the wind. ©Kit Frost

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.