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Minimalist Photography

Lesson 23 of 27

Snowkiting In the Canadian Arctic - Location Session

Curtis Jones

Minimalist Photography

Curtis Jones

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Lesson Info

23. Snowkiting In the Canadian Arctic - Location Session
Minimalism is not just for Fine Art and Landscapes anymore. Join Curtis and some world class adventure athletes out on the snow covered tundra of Canada’s Baffin Island for some high flying minimalist fun.

Lesson Info

Snowkiting In the Canadian Arctic - Location Session

Yeah. Mhm. Yeah. Right. Yeah, Yeah. Mhm. Yeah. Mhm. For this next minimalist adventure, I wanted to include one of my favorite winter activities. Snow kiting, snow kiting or kite skiing is essentially using the power of wind kites, skis or snowboard to propel yourself around large areas of open snow and space cutting like this can also be done in water as well as sand, basically any place with reliable wind, few obstacles and a motivated team is a great place for cutting. I've created all over the world, but nunavut is where I started. It's still my favorite location. There's a great community of creators and I figured would make an ideal place for a minimalist image I've been thinking about for a while now. Yeah, yeah. After a couple days of location scouting, we finally settled on valley with rolling snow covered hills and unobstructed skies while the guys suited up and started fighting, I went hunting for a suitable backdrop, right? I wanted to find something with enough powder snow...

to make the sequence safe, but also give the necessary clean visuals and perspective. I was after Thank you. I felt pretty good with this small hilltop saddle and after discussing the plan with the team, we got to work okay. It's important to point out that again, communication and clear direction is an absolute must for these types of shoots. I knew once the guys were in place we wouldn't really be able to hear each other. So we worked out an easy set of visual cues. Yeah, yeah, wow. But even the best laid plans can fall victim to the great outdoors. Sometimes snow and wind have their own ideas. Flat lighting and turbulent gusts can crash kites and skiers. It's one more reason to make safety. The priority. The images always come second. It's important to work as a unit to help keep all the athletes jumping and the kites flying okay. Once all the kinks were worked out and the stage was set, it was time to let the team do what they do best. An attempt to capture some magic Pastor. Okay. The actual shot I wanted was quite a simple composition. I knew I wanted to cater jumping a snowmobile and I wanted it set against the vast clean space of the arctic. That's easy to say, but much harder to pull off photography aside the conditions, the wind, the light, the athletes, energy and safety. These things were all a constantly moving target. I also knew I wanted a compressed look. So the 7200 telephoto was my first choice. This was necessary to get the tiny human subject for scale, but not so tiny as to lose the impact and detail of the kite and the snowmobile. Once things were set, it was a matter of shooting the sequence over and over until all the elements lined up that's with shot one in the bag. We decided to try a few closer and wide. I switched out my telephoto for a 16 millimeter wide angle lens to really exaggerate the height of the jump. I wanted to get the kite action as sharp as possible. So that meant shooting with a fast shutter speed. After a few test shots, I decided around one, 2000th of a second To maximize shoot time, I opted for two or 3 frames in the same location. Oh yeah, after a quick check in with the team, there was just enough time left for a few fun power slides and a healthy serving of fresh note of the face before packing up and heading home. Yeah, pretty bad. Mm. Mhm mm.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers. 


  • Understand and apply the fundamentals of creating strong minimalist compositions.
  • Use negative space with intention. Establish mood, control balance in your frame, and elevate your subject from the visual clutter.
  • Avoid common traps that can lead to flat or boring minimalist images.
  • Explore how much information to keep and how much to take away from the image before it loses impact.
  • Understand common gear and technique choices that complement the minimalist style.


Do you ever wonder why certain photographs linger with the viewer long after they see them? Why sometimes the smallest point of interest makes the biggest impression? How so much “nothing” can feel so compelling in a scene? Minimalism photography techniques can add a powerful storytelling element to any genre, they can evoke emotion, and bring balance to your frame. Using Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic as his backdrop, this class will outline Curtis’s approach to creating stronger images with a minimalist mindset.

Learn to use the creative techniques of minimalism to intentionally account for every inch of your frame. Discover how to minimize clutter, work with negative space, and master visual balance to boost the overall impact of your compositions. Working in a clean visual style students will learn to look for strong anchors, shapes, and lines while eliminating visual distractions. Curtis will share his experiences and images from some of the world’s most remote destinations to help kick-start your journey toward simplified, cleaner photographs that capture the essence of our world.


  • Beginner and intermediate photographers interested in outdoor and landscape photography.
  • Photographers who want to understand and create with elements of minimalism to help capture the strength and essence of your subject.
  • Photographers looking to create cleaner, simplified images that leave an impact on the viewer.


Adobe Lightroom Classic (8.4.1)
Adobe Photoshop CC (20.0.8)

Ratings and Reviews

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This is a brilliant course which I can highly recommend. I have done some Minimalist photography but still found the lessons very interesting. I enjoyed the discussion on colour vs. B&W. My favourite part was to learn how long it takes to plan a shoot, wait for the right conditions, even change the subject if the initial idea doesn't work and see the other images taken during the shoot before (or after) the final image. The presentation is excellent - love the cat :-).

Bradley Wari

Great Job! Great course! loved the bloopers, had a few laughs. I really enjoyed how he showed a little of how he worked the scene of a few of his images. showing multiple images and how he got to THE shot.

Deb Williams

Great class, good length and easy to follow along. A fantastic way to challenge yourself to look at composition differently and a course full of useful tips to try out.