Aspen circle, June Lake Loop

Aspen circle, June Lake Loop

Eastern Sierra Fall Color: Composition and Creativity Among the Aspens

October 18 (eve.) – 21, 2012

Is an eye for composition something you’re born with, or can it be taught—and learned?

The technical aspects of photography are pretty concrete. With a little instruction anyone can learn to read a histogram or control depth of field. But composition, creativity, and seeing are more nebulous. The infinitely varied world we photograph doesn’t lend itself easily to compositional rules and formulas. There’s a reason no one has yet developed an app that tells you when you’ve framed a good photograph!

I used to think an eye for composition was innate, but over the years I’ve changed my mind. I’ve seen my own compositional skills improve with time, but more importantly, I’ve watched many students—even some who thought they lacked that innate ability to “see”—grow and develop their sense of design, sometimes in great leaps. Composition can be taught, and learned by anyone. And no matter how long you’ve been making photographs you can always learn more.

The key is personal, one-on-one attention, and the right kind of feedback and encouragement. So with that in mind we’ve developed a new autumn workshop called Eastern Sierra Fall Color: Composition and Creativity Among the Aspens.

In this workshop co-instructor Mike Osborne and I will teach you how to identify and isolate the most essential elements of a scene, and apply fundamental concepts like balance and repetition. Then we’ll go beyond the fundamentals and help you tap into your imagination and innate creativity, look past the obvious perspectives, and find your own unique way of looking at the world.

"Ice Curtain" by Mike Osborne

"Ice Curtain" by Mike Osborne

We’ve timed this workshop for the typical peak of fall color among the beautiful aspen groves of the eastern Sierra. Mike and I will take you to some of our favorite locations for photographing these displays; we’ve both been visiting this area for a long time, and know some great spots that most photographers miss.

This workshop is designed to fit into a long weekend. We’ll start with an introductory session on Thursday evening (Oct. 18th), and end around midday on Sunday (Oct. 21st). Rooms have been reserved for participants at Murphey’s Motel in Lee Vining.

I’m thrilled to be teaching this workshop with Mike Osborne, a wonderful photographer and a talented, patient instructor. Mike not only has a great eye for composition, but a special ability to to help others develop and refine their own vision. Anyone who’s been fortunate enough to have Mike as an assistant in one of my previous workshops knows what I’m talking about!

This promises to be a really fun workshop—join us! Click here to register or see more information.

“Your workshop offered more than expected. You inspired me to look at landscape photography from a different perspective. Your guidance, and assistance from Jon and Mike, have opened all the aspects for composing a great photograph. Your workshop opened my visions to creating a great photograph that will allow others to look at them and come away with a feeling of, ‘I want feel that moment of that photograph.’  I will continue using what you have taught me, and I’m glad I was able to attend your workshop and receive knowledge and guidance for taking great photographs from one of the truly great photographers.  I hope to attend one of your spring workshops soon.”

– Jack Aquino, The Digital Landscape: Autumn in Yosemite Workshop participant


Hidden Yosemite

July 16 – 20, 2012

Sunrise, North Peak and Greenstone Lake

Sunrise, North Peak and Greenstone Lake

I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be teaching the Hidden Yosemite workshop again next year for The Ansel Adams Gallery. This will be the eighth year for this class, and each session has been really fun. The idea behind this workshop is that we say, up front, that you have to be in decent shape and capable of doing short hikes at high elevation. This allows us to reach wonderful locations that you can’t drive to. And there’s something about being away from the roads and crowds that makes the experience exceptionally rich and rewarding, and helps develop a great camaraderie within the group.

This workshop has filled every year, so don’t wait too long! Click here to see more information about this class on my web site, or go directly to The Ansel Adams Gallery’s site to register.

—Michael Frye

Related Posts: 2012 Workshops Announced!

Michael Frye is a professional photographer specializing in landscapes and nature. He is the author and photographer of The Photographer’s Guide to YosemiteYosemite Meditations, and Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Great Masters, plus the eBook Light & Land: Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom. He has written numerous magazine articles on the art and technique of photography, and his images have been published in over thirty countries around the world. Michael has lived either in or near Yosemite National Park since 1983, currently residing just outside the park in Mariposa, California.

Workshop students at Greenstone Lake during the first Hidden Yosemite workshop in 2005

Workshop students at Greenstone Lake during the first Hidden Yosemite workshop in 2005