Monday, September 10, 2007

A couple of days in Yosemite National Park

I was fortunate to be able to tack a few extra days onto a business trip to California and spend some dedicated shooting time in Yosemite National Park. This was my first time in California and I am sure will not be my last. I was able to spend "Good Light time" in Yosemite Valley, Mono Lake, Glacier Point and a Sequoia Grove. My wife then flew over and we spent a couple of days in the San Francisco area. Hope you enjoy.

I have the full gallery of images at

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Monday, March 19, 2007

Big Bend National Park

I was fortunate to be able to take a photography trip this past month to on of the least know national parks in the country, Big Bend National Park. Most people I talk to have not been and frequently have not even heard of the park. It is located in southern Texas on the border with Mexico. The landscape is quite different from most of eastern and northern Texas with its mountainous terrain.

Chris, a Photographer friend, and I had been talking about taking a photo trip and Big Bend is one of the locations that is within a one day drive from Lafayette, LA (our home base). We made the trip in a about 13 hours and spent three (3) full days exploring and photographing the park. I will be posting few images from this trip by shooting day with a description of the locations of each shot.

View at Sunrise from Grapevine Hills Trail

Taken from the car window on our way into the park

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Sunrise to Remember

Three years ago while on vacation in Wisconsin on Lake Michigan I started getting up to watch and photograph during sunrise (Thanks uncle Matthew). There is just something special at that time of day with the cool crisp air, peaceful surroundings, wonderful light, etc. Well, fast forward three years and I have made a habit of getting up well before dawn to be on location for twilight where ever I happen to be. While on Vacation this October something different happened one morning that made this sunrise over Clingman’s Dome a sunrise to remember. It wasn’t the location, although it was breathtaking; or the clouds, although they were beautiful; or the light, although it was stunning. My Family (Wife and 2 Kids) decided to wake up at 5:00AM and join me for the morning. This was the first time and maybe the last time (only time will tell).

We had an hour and twenty minute drive from the cabin to the parking area of Clingman’s dome. In my infinite wisdom I decided to take a little “short-cut” through the Smokey Mountain National Park and entered through Townsend, Ten. We then took the VERY WINDY little river road to Hwy 441 and up the mountain. OK, so I was in a hurry to get there and didn’t want to miss any of the show so I may have been driving a little faster than normal causing poor Isabella to get sick in the back seat. After a little cleaning and slightly slower pace, we made it through little river road.

With every opening lookout along the way my anticipation built as the clouds were illuminated with a pastel pink and orange glow. We arrived to a full blown light show with a couple of minutes to spare (literally).

We were not alone, there were already 30-40 photographers lining the edge of the parking lot firing away. I proceeded to jump out of the car and set-up the tripod, camera and 70-200mm zoom in record time! Ivonne and Isabella (4 years old) bundled up and sat on the back of the truck drinking hot chocolate and enjoying the view while Tommy (3 years old) slept in the warmth of the car.

Thanks Ivonne, Isabella and Tommy for a Sunrise to Remember

Tom Even

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

"Big Easel" Art Walk - November

I will be participating in a local art walk in the River Ranch area in Lafayette called "The Big Easel" in November. It is a very nice event featuring artists from the area along with food and music. This will be my third Big Easel event in the past couple of years.

I am working on getting some of my latest images from the Smokey Mountains trip ready and matted for the show.

It will be on Saturday November 18th from 8-5 in the town square area in the River Ranch development.


Thomas Even

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Get soft "cotton candy" stream photos

I have always loved those images of mountain streams where the water is flowing over rocks and has a cotton candy effect, but living in southern Louisiana I don't see many of these photographic opportunities. So needless to say getting a few stream shots was high on my list of photographic subject while in The Great Smokey Mountains National Park.

After getting settled in our cabin and getting the sunrise from the top of Clingman's Dome out of my system, I set out for an afternoon of stream photography. I picked an overcast afternoon that quickly turned into a rainy overcast afternoon. As soon as I left the Cabin it started to rain and didn't stop until I returned. I considered waiting, but had already left the family napping in the cabin and didn't want to miss the opportunity to concentrate on photography for an afternoon.

There are a couple of techniques that will help when out photographing moving water that allow an enormous amount of creativity and experimentation. First of all pick a day with overcast sky or early/late lighting. This lower light level will allow you to use slower shutter speeds (up to several seconds). The softer light also provides less contrast and allows the camera's sensor (or Film) to record the full dynamic range of the scene. When I set-up at a location I like to start with a wide angle lens and look for foreground elements to lead the viewer's eye into the scene. I will usually follow with a medium telephoto lens (17-200 mm is a great choice) to isolate elements of the scene and selectively compose smaller cascades. You will want to close down the aperture of the lens to a smaller setting (say f-22 or smaller) allowing for a slower shutter speed to expose properly. In the images I have posted the shutter speed was between 2-4 secs. With shutter speeds this slow you MUST have the camera on a tripod or resting on a stable object of some kind, there is no way you can hand-hold a camera still for more than a fraction of a second.

The rule of thumb is to use a tripod if the shutter speed is slower than the reciprocal of the focal length. as an example if you are shooting at 100 mm then you can hand-hold up to 1/125 sec shutter speed. Of course the newer Image Stabilizing systems allow hand-holding to a couple of stops slower, but this still only gets you to 1/30 sec.

The other advantage of using a tripod is that it slows you down, giving you time to refine the composition, level the camera, bracket exposures, etc, etc.....

I find that using a Polarizing filter not only reduces the light entering the lens (allowing for even slower shutter speeds), but it removes the glare from rocks and leaves creating more saturation and color depth. Another filter that can help if the light levels are too high for slower shutter speeds is a Neutral density filter, this is a neutral gray filter that does not change the color of the image, but lowers the light level entering the lens.

Finally, I shot several compositions and found that looking upstream produces the most pleasing images.

Go out and take some pictures,

Thomas Even

Please post a comment and let me know what you think.