I finally got a copy of the Texas Highways 2020 Wall Calendar which uses four of my images, including the cover. It is quite a beautiful calendar. Texas Highways does not scrimp and they look great.
I guess I am showing my age, but there is something about a physical wall calendar that is still very satisfying. It feels nice in the hand, and turning the page is dare I say it, a refreshing change from the onslaught of digital tapping and swiping. And there is something tangible and permanent about a physical print of a photo.
I wonder if anyone without an AARP card even buys calendars anymore. Do kids buy calendars today? I wonder. For any kids out there who have never actually held a physical calendar, just “swipe up” to see the next month. It’s like magic!
I also have two more images in the 2021 calendar, but that calendar does not seem to have been released yet. I will try to post that one once it available.
The February image they choose was from a prior assignment to shoot Big Bend in 2018. This is a view of the iconic “Window” in the Chisos Basin. I hiked to the Window and, luckily, found that recent rains meant that the stream was flowing. I photographed until nightfall before pulling away to hike back in the dark. I used a 20 second exposure with a wide angle to capture the stars in the background. I added a little bit of LED light from a small light panel reflected onto the foreground rocks to keep them from being totally black.
20 second exposure at f/6.3, ISO 3200.
I photographed this image outside Vernon, Texas. Vernon is in far north Texas, almost in Oklahoma. I was working a wildflower assignment for the magazine and came across this field with bright sufnlowers and golden grasses. It was really hot June afternoon and I remember driving past this field and thinking that the light was too harsh, the sun was too hot, and I did not want to get my lazy arse out of my comfy car seat. Feeling a little guilty, I stopped, turned around, drove past the field twice more looking at it before finally deciding I could make it work.
The sun backlit the flowers and grasses and somehow filled in every shadow to create a light, high key feel. I also shot with a really long lens (448 mm). I experimented with the aperture from wide open and very soft to more stopped down. The image Texas Highways used was shot at 1/125 sec. at f/22 at ISO 640. That extra depth of field helped make the background grasses stand out a little bit more. I overexposed 1 and 1/3 stops to compensate for the backlighting and open up the shadows as much as I possibly could.
I photographed this image from the Blackland Prairie at Clymer Meadow Preserve, outside Greenville. It is one of my favorite spots in Texas as the native Texas prairie there is as glorious as it is rare.
This again is a backlit image, shot at a very wide 16mm, with my lens just a few inches from the coneflowers. I lined the coneflower with the setting sun so the diffracted light would create a “sun-burst”, Sunbursts are especially prominent when the lens is stopped down to a tiny aperture of f/22. I triggered the camera, with a cable release as I added a bit of extra light to the flowers with an LED light panel.
1/50 second at f/22. ISO 2500. Overexposed 1 and 2/3 stops (just to the point of almost blowing out the sky).
The last image is from a photo shoot I did for the magazine on the panhandle town of Canadian. Canadian is a surprising little town, with cowboys and characters on the streets alongside museums and gourmet coffee shops. It is a town filled with peculiar little surprises and unexpected charms.
The town is nestled on a bluff overlooking the Canadian River, where i took this shot. The river starts as a trickle just outside of Vermejo Park Ranch in New Mexico and carves its way through the earth all the way to Oklahoma before joining the Arkansas River. In the fall, the whole area is blanketed with unique gold and red from the oaks, tamarisks, cottonwoods and other vegetation. In the background of this image is a historic railroad trestle the town renovated and turned into a walking path.
Canon 1DX II. 23mm. 1/15 sec. at f/11. ISO 320.
Lovely photos, Sean. Congratulations. Love that shot from the Window pour-off at night. Amazing.
Outstanding images. Like the wildflowers in bright light. Hard to get it right but you nailed it.
Thank you for sharing these beautiful images with us!
BEAUTY!!! Your zest for color is what I see. I am happy to of got the opportunity to get that one 0n one advise from you in New Mexico in 2005, feels like yesterday!
Thanks all. It never gets old to see and photograph scenes like this. Pure joy!