Business, Personal, Travel

May 8, 2016

My Zion Experience | The Tyler Rye Zion Workshop

On April 18th, 2016 I began one of the best and most exhilarating weeks of my life. This is the first of a set of posts I will share with you from my week in Zion National Park at the Tyler Rye Zion Workshop. I do not regret a single moment from that crazy week. I met the most interesting people and got to make some lasting friendships along the way! I have always wanted to attend a photography workshop and when I saw Tyler’s ad on Facebook I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I spent weeks trying to convince myself that I needed to do it, to get out there, to learn from someone else, and to get on a plane and do something with my life! I asked my parents for their opinion and, to my surprise, they were 100% for it!


So, on the 18th I got up and jumped in a car with two complete strangers to travel for three hours to Zion National Park from the Vegas airport! HAHA, ok, well they weren’t COMPLETE strangers, we spoke on Facebook for weeks before the trip. Kelley and Lynn were definitely two amazing people. Lynn and I are actually from two towns so close together (Lady Lake for me and Ocala for her) that it is surprising we hadn’t met until this trip! We had to travel across the country to actually meet each other for the first time! Kelley was from North Carolina and I realized that I had been following her work for some time! We grabbed the rental car, some Starbucks (of course!), and headed out on this crazy adventure together.

First stop was the Valley of Fire. I had been there with McKenzie Stewart only a few short days before, but I knew the girls would LOVE the scenery and that it would definitely get our creative juices flowing! We traveled through the park, climbed some giant rocks, crossed some no trespassing signs, and had the time of our lives attempting to take some selfies!


Next three photos by Kelley Deal!

13096180_10102215972056281_1388479215738481232_n13092063_10102215972046301_1724309530046604468_n13076774_10102215972181031_6437128038698943277_nAfter our adventures in the Valley of Fire we headed out for the remaining two hours of our road trip. We talked about everything, business, clients, photography, shooting styles, favorite moments, personal stuff, the men in our lives… and by we I mean Kelley and I… Lynn slept like a baby in the back seat! ( LOVE YOU LYNN!) We stopped at Subway for lunch, then traveled into Utah. There were so many interesting things to see, we passed through Hurricane and then headed into Zion!

If you haven’t been out there, you need to go. Zion is breathtaking. The cliffs, the valleys, the little river running through, everything is unbelievable. We drove through the park right before sunset so we got to see everything at the most beautiful time of day. It takes about 30-45 minutes to drive from one end of the park to the other. You have to climb this crazy mountain and then drive through a 1.1 mile long tunnel through a cliff to get to the other side of the park. We got to see the big horn sheep and all the other tourists we would be spending our week with!


The house we stayed in was incredible (Although finding it was a feat… *Cough* Tyler’s signs… *Cough*) There were a total of 7 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms that sleeps 24 people. It was right on the edge of a cliff, had a hot tub, an amazing fireplace, a fire pit that we used the first night for Smore’s… and so much more. We spent the evening getting to meet all of the attendees. There were 12 of us, plus Donny Zavala (an amazing film photographer from Oregon) and Tyler Rye (the host!). We did a round of “my name is” and said some interesting facts about ourselves and our businesses. It was so interesting to get to see where all of the others were from, ranging from California to Floria… and then one all the way from Canada! It was definitely a good night of sleep that evening after such a crazy day… but we would all be waking up at 5 Am for a sunrise session the next day!


13063917_10207960289878982_1328328801_oThe next morning we begrudgingly awoke at the waking hour of 5 am… or 4:30 for some. I went downstairs and was surprised to find our amazing model getting prepped for the shoot. Brit is one of the most beautiful people I have seen in a long time. Her perfect blonde hair and the work that Katie did with her makeup made me so excited to see what the first session would hold for us!
Katie Livingston was our hair and make-up artist this week. She has done work for many amazing shoots and has also worked on the Bachelor! Her work with Brit Allen (Andrus) was impeccable and was so easy to shoot!


Zion NP has really been cracking down on groups coming into the park and shooting sessions. It was kind of annoying that we had to split our group into two. So, we had a super sunrise session that half of the group got to attend and then we had a not so sunrise session that my half of the group was a part of. The early morning group got to go up on one of the cliffs and shoot into the sunrise. I admit, I was a little jealous, but knew that later on in the week my group would be the ones to get the amazing cliffside sunset! When we drove into the park we had a plan. The sunrise group would park and do their session for an hour or so and our group would go farther into the park and watch the sunrise! It was definitely an amazing morning and I don’t think I would trade it for anything in the world.


Oh hey! Above is the infamous Kelley!

13047961_10102215972550291_7330745662568935450_oAbove: Photo of me by Kelley Deal!

When we finally got to shoot we shot in two different places. The first was next to a deep canyon. Brit’s husband, Chase, thought it would be funny to try and see how close to the edge he could get… NOT FUNNY! We got to shoot into some not so good light, but it was definitely an experience and really helped me learn how to deal with the light! Tyler taught us some cool tricks of the trade, one of them being a 9-shot photo that we would stitch together later in our editing time!


Here’s my finished product from the 9-shot panorama!


We then went down into the canyon. I will admit. I ate it. Well, actually, my booty ate it. We had to climb down a very VERY steep slick cliff and even with my amazing boots (thanks Nanny) I still slipped in the loose gravel and slid a good three feet down the side of the canyon wall. Worth it, never the less. The shots that we got in the canyon were amazing. I loved the way that Brit modeled for us. She is so amazing at her craft and so easy to shoot. She is constantly listening for the clicks of the camera and always giving her gaze to someone new for each shot! Chase was also amazing, he had such a great personality and listened to all of our crazy requests!

Here are some of my shots from the canyon (There will be a full blog post later!)
CMP_1149-2CMP_1217CMP_1115We went back to the house. My creative juices were flowing. I was so excited for the next part of the day. I couldn’t wait. I explored the house, sat on my computer, talked with the other girls, and worked on some of the photos from the mornings shoot. I was a little jealous of the girls that took naps… I just can’t nap during the day. We waited and waited, then finally, we got ready to leave for the styled wedding shoot. I knew what was coming but had no idea what kind of extravagance would be held that evening.

We piled into the cars and traveled through Zion to a location outside of the park, and then hiked to the location carrying everything from flowers to rocks! The dress was incredible, the table was set perfectly, the archway was beautiful, and everything was exactly the style that I wanted to shoot at least once while in the park! I cannot share with you many of the images, I am currently waiting for Tyler to get his shots published somewhere, but until then, here is what I CAN share with you!


I will never forget the experience that I had that evening. The sunset was amazing and the people I got to spend it with were even more awesome. I was so creatively satisfied. I loved every moment of that evening and every little detail it offered. I learned so much, and really feel as though I was given the most amazing opportunity to really hone in on my own shooting style. When we got back to the house everyone crashed, we crashed hard haha.

The next morning was another early one. We piled into the cars again and headed to another location right on the edge of the park. This time we didn’t have to split into groups but we did split into little teams of two because our location and the little bitty venue we got to use were a bit too small to fit everyone into!

Meet, the Nugget, owned (and refurbished) by Mandy Gubler of Vintage Revivals.

13113272_10208093296244058_1304857166_o-213161351_10208093295964051_1058056021_oThanks again Kelley!13092071_10102215971846701_7230072836739277236_nCMP_1845CMP_2056CMP_2087CMP_1993Tyler took the time to each me how to do a Double Exposure image in camera. It was something I had been wanting to learn and the fact that he took the moment to teach me was so amazing!

CMP_2044I admit… it’s one of my favorite images from the week. HAHA!

While waiting for my turn in the Nugget, Katie, Donny, and I decided to try a little experiment!
CMP_2048CMP_2050We made fire. It happened. It was awesome.

The last night was another favorite of mine. We would be shooting at sunset. My group would have the best light (Just like sunrise group had the best light on the first morning). It was amazing. We had to hike a mile long trail up to Canyon Overlook in the park. We dealt with a fear of heights, some cold weather, and some amazing views. It was such a fun hike with my group of ladies. Thanks for being such a fun group to be paired with!!!

13199129_10208093296484064_602996081_o13063998_10207978687298906_1127518633_oCMP_2132CMP_211913161350_10208093297844098_1245599724_o13055181_10102215972974441_9169936451771226408_o13015364_10102215973089211_241564876429470498_nAnd then… we watched the sun set.

CMP_213313054767_10207978681778768_1882506281_o13078216_10207978683858820_1052400501_oCMP_2195CMP_2371CMP_2247CMP_2422I will never forget these moments.

I was so happy to be able to meet these amazing people. To spend time with others who share the same creative pull that I do. To realize that I am doing things right and that I am not a failure. I was able to really see that I know what I am doing. I am not new at this anymore, and I have a talent for seeing things in a way that is so artistic and interesting! I learned how to do new techniques, new editing styles, how to merge photos to create a larger amazing image, and so much more.

I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything in the world. I made new friends and got to see what a popular and experienced photographer can do. I got to travel to the other side of the United States, and shoot in a land that is nothing like my Florida home. I got to make relationships with others that will last for a lifetime. Mostly, I got to laugh. I got to share my experiences in my business with others. I was able to teach others how I do business, and what might work for them. I realized that I know how to do things! I know what I am doing, and I am not afraid to share what I know with the people around me. I want others to succeed. I say it time and time again, Community is better than Competition. I stand behind the Rising Tide Society and everything that it stands for. I realized that this workshop was something that we all needed. It was a way for us to get out and do something wild. To climb mountains and look over cliffs. To stand on the edge and see what is out there. To really view nature for all that it is really worth and what it beholds.

Thank you Tyler. Thank you for being the best mentor I could have ever imagined. Thank you for baring my sarcasm with a grain of salt. Thank you for sharing your craft and your knowledge with this group of crazy individuals. Thank you for understanding that we all have questions and for answering each and every one of them. Thank you for sitting with me, individually, and taking time out of your day to look at my website and social media. I appreciate everything that you said, and know that change can be a good thing. You have so much to offer to your clients and to your students. You are an amazing and kind person, and you have so much to share with others. You are an amazing photographer, and I only wish I could come to Oregon and shoot again with you and Donny.

This was an experience to never forget and I will cherish it for a lifetime.

13087448_10206475013730021_195574205969555092_n 13199257_10208093296764071_452151688_o13170543_10208093297004077_1556225386_o<<<VENDORS!>>>

All of these amazing vendors can be found using their Instagram handles listed below!!!

Shoot #1
Dress – @truvellebridal
Shoes- @Bellabelleshoes
Suit – @HM
Hair&MakeUP – @katielivingston1
Models – @happilyeverallen & @chasenallen

Shoot #2
Stylist – @forevermoreevents
Florist – @bybloomers
Cake – @sweetcakesbykaren
Jewelry/geodes – @byangeline
Shoes – @bellabelleshoes
Suit – @HM
Dress- @chantellaurendesigns
Hair&Makeup @Katielivingston1
Ties @mosaicmenswear
Décor @stgeorgepartyrentals
Models – @happilyeverallen & @chasenallen
Video – @redtiecinema

Shoot #3
Trailer @vintagerevivals
Models – @happilyeverallen & @chasenallen

Shoot #4
Dress – @truvellebridal
Bouquet @bybloomers
Veil @lovesparklepretty
Shoes- @Bellabelleshoes
Suit – @HM
Hair&MakeUP – @katielivingston1
Models – @happilyeverallen & @chasenallen

  1. kay nova says:

    I’m dreaming of going to Zion, let alone doing a shoot there! Simply breathtaking!

  2. Alora Brown says:

    This looks like so much fun! Love the images & location!!!

  3. Jen Larsen says:

    Wow! This looks like it was an incredible experience!!! Sounds like so much fun! I love what you can share so far from the styled shoots! Can’t wait to see more! 🙂