bonneville salt flats

Salt Flats Photo Shoots – Teaching Lighting to Photographers (part 1)

This last weekend I taught a 2-day lighting class to on the Utah Salt Flats to photographers from Idaho. It was my Adaptive Lighting class and it’s the perfect place because the area is so unpredictable. And this time was no different because when we got there the entire area was covered in smoke from the California wildfires.

Instead of wishing we didn’t have smoke, my challenge to everyone was to adapt, problem solve, and create smokey images so amazing, that everyone from now on will want photographs in the smoke. And as you can see from my first example, the smoke could be very beautiful. With some adaptive lighting and gear, my first demo was deepen the sky for a warm, surreal, and golden landscape.

We had an awesome turn out, as you can see in this video, and photographers and models alike were all having a great time. Definitely watch this short video. It’s in 4K, so try full screen if you have the internet bandwidth. It’ll be worth it.

No matter where you are, lighting always needs to be controlled for portraits – and that’s particularly true on the flats because there’s never shade. Many photographers rely on shade to make their portraits work, but learning to nail everything in the harsh environments of the Utah Salt Flats with studio lights and technical know-how means being able to create beautiful portrait anywhere. Out on the Salt Flats, the sunlight changes constantly from morning, to noon, afternoon, sunset, twilight, and even after dark. Being able to rock studio lights at this location is essential.

I am excited by the images I created there, and will post them soon. But first I wanted to share some behind the scenes from the event.

Here’s our entire group in the afternoon on Saturday. I captured this image with my drone, fired with my lower hand. And a special thanks to my friend Cory Waite for coming along as my friend and assistant, and for getting lots of great behind-the-scenes footage.

It was fun seeing all the lighting setups along the flats, and all the photographers and models having a great time.

Here are a few early favorites that I created during various demos.

Here’s a great image of Phil White working. He’s the photographer who put the event on and asked me to come speak for the Professional Photographers of Idaho. If you’re a photographer in Idaho, you should belong to this group.

On Saturday afternoon, we got special permission for our group to photograph at the historic Enola Gay Hangar, nearby in Wendover, Utah. I’m grateful to those who made that happen, and I’m excited to see what everyone creates in this unique spot. With all of our pretty models, lighting gear, and access to this great location, there were lots of ways to solve creative problems and create beautiful images. Here’s some of my early favorites from that location

At one point, photographer Katrina Hoffman was changing her camera settings while photographing a model who was Salsa dancing. I took advantage of the moment to cross through her shot – but Salsa danced through the space. Katrina was quick enough to get this photo of me carrying my lights, and Salsa dancing past her Salsa dancing model. HAHA!

Stay tuned for more great images from this event. And if you’re a photographer looking for training, check out my training website with online courses and schedule for upcoming events. It’s all at BryCoxWORKSHOPS.com.

And if you’re a client and would like to create some amazing portraits, now’s a great time to book a fun new shoot. Give me a call at 801-728-3317.

And until next time, America.