Photographing Big Bend National Park: A Friendly Guide To Great Images
The features of today's cameras, coupled with the size of some national parks, can make photographing the parks on your vacation a daunting task. But when it comes to Big Bend National Park, Kathy Adams Clark has a book you should read.
The heart of Photographing Big Bend National Park: A Friendly Guide to Great Images, understandably, takes you about this grand, 801,163-acre national park along Texas' southern border to some of its most photogenic spots, places such as the Window, down into Boquillas Canyon, and to Rio Grande Village. And through the chapters Ms. Clark, a past president of the North American Nature Photography Association, offers the best times (and seasons) to take photographs of these places and subjects around them, and offers "simple," "intermediate," and "advanced approaches to taking your shots.
Those three varied approaches can range from simply standing in front of, say, the old post office building at Rio Grande Village and snapping a shot, to hiking up a hillside to the ruins of the Longfellow House and using the building's windows and doorways as "frames" for landscape shots. The author also takes time to note some of the subtleties of these locations that you might overlook.
For instance, in the Longfellow House she notes that "there are some excellent specimens of fossils in the stones used to build the house. A fossil near the doorway makes a great foreground subject for a photograph of the finely layered hillside along the river."
But before Ms. Clark delves into such locations and details, she spends 20 pages explaining the mechanics of cameras and how you can work with, or override, the auto settings. This might sound like trivial material for some amateur photographers, but how many times have you actually sat down and read through the entire manual that came with your camera?
These 20 pages might not reveal all the secrets of your new camera, but will provide the foundation for understanding how it works. She goes into setting light meters, working with shutter speeds and f/Stops, and the ISO, which controls the sensitivity of your camera's light meter.
There also is a two-page map of the park at the beginning of the book so you can get the lay of the land and see where some of the most photogenic spots in Big Bend are.
Along with explaining some of the best landscapes and still photo shots in the park, Ms. Clark also spends a good amount of time on photographing wildlife and wildflowers.
Measuring not quite 6 inches wide by 8.5 inches long, Photographing Big Bend National Park is a handy, helpful book to stick into your daypack, or camera bag, when heading out into the park. And the opening chapter is great to review at home with your own camera to help you perfect your skills before you head out into the parks.
With its combination of desert and mountain landscapes, the dramatic canyons of the Rio Grande, ancient pictographs, and remnants of pioneer ranch life, Big Bend National Park presents a wealth of subjects to the photographic eye. Add early morning and late evening sunlight, summer thunderstorms, and clear, star-spattered night skies, and the opportunities become irresistible.
Professional nature photographer and frequent Big Bend traveler Kathy Adams Clark offers this handy and beautiful guide to maximizing the photographic experience of this visually stunning landscape.
Photographing Big Bend National Park begins with a tutorial on the basics of light meters, shutter speeds, and f/stops, featuring practical, hands-on-camera exercises and answers to common questions. The chapters that follow take readers on six excursions to well-known locations within the park—the Basin, Panther Junction, Rio Grande Village, Ross Maxwell Drive, Santa Elena Canyon, and the Chisos Mountains among them. A primer on night photography (including “light-painting” and star trails) is also included.
Within each chapter are instructions for photographing various subjects at the site using simple, intermediate, and advanced techniques; information on the best seasons to photograph; and tips designed to benefit the novice.
Photographing Big Bend National Park not only provides practical information for photographers of all skill levels, it also offers a visual feast of striking images. Nature lovers, photographers, and anyone who loves this remarkable national park will treasure this latest book from veteran writer and photographer Kathy Adams Clark.