Sedona Westerners February Monthly Meeting: The Photography of Mark Frank

March 10, 2017

By Jim and Linda Warren

Mark Frank spoke about Photography at the February Sedona Westerners monthly meeting This divine photo including a double rainbow has been voted by the editors of Arizona Highways to be one of the 100 most beautiful pictures ever to appear in the mag

Are you familiar with the photography of Mark Frank?  You will not find his exquisite photos hanging in any of the galleries in Sedona even though their quality makes them worthy candidates for display.   However, if you are a peruser of Arizona Highways, chances are very good that you have seen Mark’s work on the front cover, back cover, and interior of the magazine.   To be exact, Mark has had 38 photos used by Arizona Highways. 

The Sedona Westerners are fortunate to have Mark as a member of the hiking club, and were even more fortunate to have him present a sample of his work as a slide show and talk on February 8 at the clubs general meeting.  While many of his great photos have been taken in the Sedona area, he displayed others from hikes in the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and numerous backpacking adventures in Utah.   The photos were arranged to illustrate the four seasons of the year.   While capturing towering rock formations, awesomely powerful skies, meadows, and stark western plants, Mark’s expressed preference is to have water be the focal point in many of his photos.  This leads him not just to streams but also to the dry washes that can provide lively flows when Mother Nature provides the precipitation.  He especially likes to play with longer exposure times to achieve the effect of moving water in a still photo.

Clear, sunny, Chamber of Commerce days do not draw Mark into the environs to take pictures.  He told the group that he is most interested in sunrise and sunset shots.  He characterized those times as the magic hours with soft early and late light.   Mark also looks for distorted atmospheric conditions when clouds or storms are in the area.   In order to accomplish this, Mark hikes in the wee hours of the morning and has weathered some adverse conditions in order to be in place to take his photographs.   He recounted one instance when, with lightning in the area, it made great sense for him to get a safe distance from his aluminum tripod.   No one asked if he has a weather station at home, but clearly weather plays a very important role in his photography.  This was evident with some of the great shots of water in places like Pump House Wash and Bear Wallow.

What is very evident when enjoying his finished products is how carefully he has framed his photographs.  Developing this discerning artistic perspective allowed Mark to transition from the average photographer to one who takes outstanding photos.  He looks for the proper material to be in the foreground, middle area and background of his photo.  The foreground may be an almost translucent banana yucca, a bright penstemon, or a leaf on the water.  To achieve the look he desires he uses a 24 megapixel camera, generally sporting a 17 to 40 wide angle lens.  He will take several photos of his selected subject to test the effect of aperture and speed in producing the desired result.  It was clear to all in attendance by the end of his talk that he put great effort into his work which is why it is so wonderful.

For those who want to see Mark’s photography, he has a web site,  Visit it and enjoy seeing what the Westerners enjoyed at our meeting.

If you are interested in joining the club, visit the Sedona Westerners at  We invite you to attend our monthly meetings:  next one will be on Thursday, April 6 2017 at 7 p.m. at Saint John Vianney Parish, 180 St. John Vianney Lane in Sedona.

Sedona Westerners, written this week by Linda and Jim Warren, appears every Friday in the Sedona Red Rock News.


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