A foggy view from the Lost Mine Trail at Big Bend National Park

The Lost Mine Trail in Big Bend National Park

Photography frequently tops the list of what our readers enjoy most about Texas Highways. To kick off our 47th year of capturing Texas’ beauty, I asked Photo Editor Brandon Jakobeit to give us a peek behind the lens and answer some of our most common photography inquiries.

What makes for a good Texas Highways photo? A good shot is one that tells a story in a single photo. Something that sparks an emotional response from the viewer and adds context and substance to the written word. All of our photographers have a deep sense of curiosity, which I think is one of the most important traits in a photographer.

What’s your favorite place to photograph in Texas? The Big Bend region. It’s such visually diverse landscape to explore.

Because of how beautifully our photographers capture the state, readers sometimes think we drastically alter photos. Can you take us through the actual process? So I have always considered photography to be an art, and that’s a debate I’m sure, say, a painter would disagree with. From the very first photo taken by Nicéphore Niépce in the 1820s, photographers have manipulated their images. It’s done with the type of camera they use, their choice of lens, in the darkroom, and now in Photoshop. These days, the computer allows someone to manipulate an image so much that it no longer is a representation of reality. That is something we don’t do. We do adjust the contrast, or the visual ratio of different tones, to create a rich feeling closer to what the eye would see under optimal lighting conditions. But the most important thing is still the photographer’s eye and the quality of light. Shooting when you have nice light is key, and if you don’t have good light, then you have to know how to use your camera, lenses, and darkroom skills to make it look good.

What’s the most challenging part of photographing Texas? What’s the most rewarding? The challenge is Texas is just so big! Covering every cor-ner of it logistically is difficult. It’s also what makes it so rewarding: the grand diversity of places, cultures, wildlife, and landscapes. You always find something new to capture every time you go out and see our state.

Emily Roberts Stone
Editor In Chief

From the January 2021 issue

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