Use your smart phone for video

Why Video?

Over the years I have used 35mm, medium and large format film and digital gear to express my vision. Upon returning from an adventure, I spent days in the darkroom, developing and printing in color and black and while. And as the digital revolution began I scanned negatives, large format transparencies and slides. I now work with digital files in the lightroom, my studio.

My goal is to create images that speak to the moments I experience.  I like the slow process of becoming familiar with the subject, letting it speak to me, and then capturing the photograph, or a series of photographs.

p1648395744-4

Expressing my vision with video

On locations, I often find that I want to capture a sense of place beyond the single still image.  Today’s smart phones and digital cameras include the function to record video clips. I use my smart phone (iPhone 5s) and my Nikon gear (D5300, D5200 and varied Nikon lenses) to record short video clips when the muse speaks to me. I record a series of 30-45 second clips. Essential gear is a tripod to hold the camera steady, but a monopod will do too.  And there are really small tripods available for smart phones and they work quite well when set up on a rock or boulder.

p1632380621-4

I usually collect about 10-20 video clips at the scene, and audio, I edit the clips and decide during post-production whether to keep the sound for the final video presentation.

In National Parks, it’s rare to have a location to yourself, so I often explore out of the way places to make my video recordings.  The audio can be edited if folks nearby are chatting.

I upload all my photos to Lightroom, rate and reject, then develop the RAW files.  I aim to reproduce the light, color and essence of the moments I photographed the scene.  In Lightroom, it’s possible to develop a single captured image and apply those changes across the entire group of photos.  This saves tons of time in front of the computer (because I’d rather be in front of the creek!)

Video clips can also be developed for better saturation and contrast than the original.  Lightroom has the tools for that.

What do you like to use your iPhone video capabilities for?  Family gatherings? Vacation? The Auntie Show?

Do you serve popcorn at your laptop presentations?

Links to Video Samples

Capitol Reef Video Sequence: Fremont River Song

Crater Lake National Park: As the Water Speaks (created during my recent Artist Residency in the Park)

And in Zion National Park, a series of still images combined with video clips for my YouTube channel. 

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

Ouray-2014-563

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.

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.

Photographing water and wind

A few weeks ago, while photographing in Zion National Park, two issues came into play in making this photograph.  Shutter speed and wind.  First, in order to show the “lines” of flow in water, I like a slow shutter speed (and love the digital preview to check it).  And second, wind blowing the secondary subjects can mean that the photographer must be patient and wait for the best moment to press the shutter.

Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.”  Ansel Adams

You can see by this image that the wind was blowing the trees on the other side of the river.  I like how the water flowed over the rocks and the feeling of action in these images, but prefer the bottom image because it captured the leaves and branches  as well as the flow of the water.

In this capture, the leaves were blown by strong, gusty wind. ©Kit Frost

In this capture, the leaves were blown by strong, gusty wind. ©Kit Frost

Notice the Golden leaves across the creek in this image they are sharp and NOT windblown. ©Kit Frost

Notice the Golden leaves across the creek in this image they are sharp and NOT windblown. ©Kit Frost

There were about 12 other photographers working this subject along with me.  We enjoyed each others’ company and chatted while waiting for the wind to calm down.  I set my camera up, locked on the cable release, and enjoyed the moments of wind, and then the moments of quiet.  The shutter speed I chose, after a few trial images, is 1/8 of a second, and I chose f25 for deep depth of field; to capture detail across the Virgin River.  While there, many people stopped, took a quick photo, and left.

Related articles

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