Style on “Snow Day” – Test shoot with Houston creatives

Faces, personal, Style

Test shoot with Houston creatives
by Houston commercial photographer – Nicki Evans Photography

This didn’t technically happen on “snow day” in Houston, but it was quite frigid…and I like alliteration in headlines.

A couple weeks ago, on a cold and dreary Houston morning, I met up with a group of creatives/small business owners to network and hone our skills. I planned to photograph a high school senior during the allotted time of the styled shoot, since that’s an area of work I really enjoy and was hoping to promote in my retail photography. Unfortunately, the senior model booked for the day didn’t arrive in the time frame I was available.

But, lucky for me, there were a couple of lovely ladies on hand who took a few minutes to step in front of my lens for some test shots. One is a model who happens to work as another photographer’s assistant…Brittany. In her free time (is there any?), she is also an aspiring photographer herself. And the second, Karissa, is a travel blogger who promotes solo travel for the female variety through her blog, workshops, and vacations, of course. Check out She Flies Solo.

Bloggers in need of a fresh 2018 portrait? Seniors, Class of 2018, who haven’t booked those senior portraits? Here is a tiny sample of what NEP can offer you.

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For more stylish portraits by NEP, visit the Style section of the portfolio, or for more senior portraits, hop over to the retail side of Nicki Evans photography here.

Nicki Evans Photography – 2017
Have camera. Will travel. 

Nicki Evans Photography – Houston, TX – Commercial Photographer

Always board. Never bored. Part 2 – Slaying the best of both worlds

Projects, Recreation

Always board. Never bored. Part 2 – Slaying the best of both worlds
by Houston commercial photographer – Nicki Evans Photography

When I began searching for wake boarders to participate in my “Always board. Never bored.” project, Brandon was one of the first riders to respond. After chatting with Brandon a few times, I knew we were cut from the same cloth. We share the same love for water…that deep, unexplainable Moby Dick attraction to H20.

I actually had quite a few responses to my initial search for wake boarders, but finding people was less of a problem than making schedules align on days when the weather was nice. It happened that both fell into place on a Saturday in August when SMG Wake (where Brandon works) was hosting a demo day at the San Bernard River in conjunction with Liquid Rides and the Boomstick.

When I arrived at the party, there were tons of boats and people ready for a good time. I hopped on the new Malibu 25 LSV that SMG was demoing and got to hang out with Brandon and a rotating crew of riders for the afternoon. I made a few shots of some guys wake boarding, and a few of people wake surfing, before I was able to catch a set behind the boat. Such a fun ride (and bonus of photographing wake boarding)!

Then, just a few minutes before sunset, Brandon had a chance to strap on a board and take a set. With no real warmup at all, he was throwing some big hits and tearing up the river. His aggressive style and the soft evening light were the perfect combination for a few great shots! Unfortunately, a storm was rolling in, so it got dark quickly and we had to head in.

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Since Brandon is both an avid boat and cable rider, we decided to get together for more photographs at Hangar 9 in Conroe, where he often rides after work. We booked a day in October, and I arrived a couple of hours before Brandon, so I could play on the cable lake awhile. Then it was time to get to work. Well, who am I kidding? Photographing wake boarders is more play than work to me 😉

Since I’d shot with Parker at Hangar 9 a few months back, I wanted to try to get some new angles in my shots. In addition to the detail and straight-forward action shots, I used the towers from the cable to frame Brandon on a few shots, got a ride to the middle of the lake on the coolest barge ever (it had a built-in picnic table) to get closer to a few rails and then tried out my waterproof bag for a few in-water shots. And then, since I’m a sucker for a good sunset, I had to get a few shots as the day came to an end.

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Nicki Evans Photography – 2016
Have camera. Will travel. Just add water.

Nicki Evans Photography – Houston, TX – Commercial Photographer

Up, up and away – The Great Texas Balloon Race

personal, travel

The Great Texas Balloon Race
by Houston commercial photographer – Nicki Evans Photography

For quite a few years I’ve wanted to attend the Great Texas Balloon Race in Longview, TX. Every year, when it finally shows up on my radar, I realize I already have something planned for that weekend and can’t make it. So last year, as soon as I knew the 2016 dates, I went ahead and put it on my calendar.

As the weekend approached, the weather was a little questionable. But since it was only about a 20-30% chance of rain, my husband and I decided to go ahead and make the trip. We arrive Saturday midday, visited some family, grabbed a Jucys Burger (famous in East Texas) then headed over to the airport early to make sure we had good access to the balloon glow.

The balloon glow was my main reason for wanting to attend this event. I’ve always thought the sight of hot air balloons against a blue sky was beautiful. But to see them all lit up at night…I was like a kid in a candy store, just thinking about the beautiful photos I would make.

As we approached the airport, the sky was starting to cloud up a bit, but the forecast still looked to be in our favor. We parked and began walking in, only to reach the gate and find out the balloon glow had been canceled. Long story, short…we ended up being stuck in a parking lot during a thunderstorm for about an hour, trying to exit the airport with not much luck, and we didn’t get to see the balloon glow.

We were both pretty disappointed but still wanted to make the best of the weekend. We decided to wake up early Sunday morning to watch the actual balloon race, so we could at least see some balloons. I’m not much of an early riser. I rise for wake boarding, vacation and taking photos…that’s it. This early morning turned out to be worth it though, because I was able to experience something new and photograph it too.

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It took a few minutes before we began seeing balloons. This was the lone balloon for quite a while. He led the race by quite a large span.nevansphotos_tx_houston_photographer_editorial_commercial_advertising_hot_air_balloon_great_texas_balloon_race_nicki_evans_photography-1_0001nevansphotos_tx_houston_photographer_editorial_commercial_advertising_hot_air_balloon_great_texas_balloon_race_nicki_evans_photography-1_0005
Then, before you knew it, there were about 30 balloons all heading our direction.nevansphotos_tx_houston_photographer_editorial_commercial_advertising_hot_air_balloon_great_texas_balloon_race_nicki_evans_photography-1_0009nevansphotos_tx_houston_photographer_editorial_commercial_advertising_hot_air_balloon_great_texas_balloon_race_nicki_evans_photography-1_0006
As a sidebar to the race, a target drop is held along the “racetrack.” Each balloon pilot tries to drop a marker in a target area for extra prize money. If they are really on track, they can try their hand at tossing a ring onto a pole for even more money. nevansphotos_tx_houston_photographer_editorial_commercial_advertising_hot_air_balloon_great_texas_balloon_race_nicki_evans_photography-1_0014nevansphotos_tx_houston_photographer_editorial_commercial_advertising_hot_air_balloon_great_texas_balloon_race_nicki_evans_photography-1_0012nevansphotos_tx_houston_photographer_editorial_commercial_advertising_hot_air_balloon_great_texas_balloon_race_nicki_evans_photography-1_0017
As I was photographing this balloon, I noticed something wasn’t quite right. Then I heard the crowd start chattering and gasping a bit. The balloon was on fire. In the few seconds where there were actual flames, I was thinking like a photojournalist + getting a little scared that this balloon was going to engulf in flames and fall out of the sky right in front of me + praying that this guy would be okay. Luckily, prayers were answered, and the fire was gone quickly. The pilot made a safe landing a few hundred yards away. It was a bit scary for a few seconds though.nevansphotos_tx_houston_photographer_editorial_commercial_advertising_hot_air_balloon_great_texas_balloon_race_nicki_evans_photography-1_0013
On a happier note, there was a penguin-shaped balloon. Now you’re smiling, right? nevansphotos_tx_houston_photographer_editorial_commercial_advertising_hot_air_balloon_great_texas_balloon_race_nicki_evans_photography-1_0011nevansphotos_tx_houston_photographer_editorial_commercial_advertising_hot_air_balloon_great_texas_balloon_race_nicki_evans_photography-1_0015nevansphotos_tx_houston_photographer_editorial_commercial_advertising_hot_air_balloon_great_texas_balloon_race_nicki_evans_photography-1_0016nevansphotos_tx_houston_photographer_editorial_commercial_advertising_hot_air_balloon_great_texas_balloon_race_nicki_evans_photography-1_0010
Hope you enjoyed my trip to the Great Texas Balloon Race. Maybe I’ll have to add the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta to my travel list next.

Nicki Evans Photography – 2016
Have camera. Will travel.

Nicki Evans Photography – Houston, TX – Commercial Photographer

Home is where…, Part 2 – The oysters are harvested

Projects

Home is where…, Part 2-The oysters are harvested
by Houston commercial photographer – Nicki Evans Photography

With a large part of Chambers County touching Trinity and/or Galveston Bays, it’s no wonder that so many people who call this county home have jobs related to the water and seafood. So the first installment of “Home is where…” features Jeri’s Seafood.

Jeri’s Seafood, based in Smith Point, began in 1970. Since then, multiple generations of the Nelson family have worked in the business on Galveston Bay harvesting oysters and practicing sustainability of the local reefs.

At Jeri’s Seafood, the day begins around 5:30 a.m., when employees arrive to head out to the reefs or begin shucking and packaging oysters. With little light (no sunlight at all), bucket after bucket of ice is loaded onto the boats that will go out to the reefs in Galveston Bay. During the summer months, trips to the reef are short because of the heat.

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Close to 6 a.m., when the sky is just beginning to lighten up, the boats leave for the bay.NEvansPhotos_Jeris_Seafood_Smith_Point_TX_Chambers_County_Home_is_Where_Oysters_Houston_Photographer_Commercial_Editorial_Advertising_Nicki_Evans_Photography_0003
About the same time, another crew works on moving bags of oysters between trailers and a giant drive-in freezer.NEvansPhotos_Jeris_Seafood_Smith_Point_TX_Chambers_County_Home_is_Where_Oysters_Houston_Photographer_Commercial_Editorial_Advertising_Nicki_Evans_Photography_0010
Inside, men dressed in hoodies (because it’s cold in there) and rubber boots line counters from one wall to the next shucking piles and piles of oysters. Pop the shell, drop the oyster into a bucket of water and knock the shell into a crate on the floor.NEvansPhotos_Jeris_Seafood_Smith_Point_TX_Chambers_County_Home_is_Where_Oysters_Houston_Photographer_Commercial_Editorial_Advertising_Nicki_Evans_Photography_0006NEvansPhotos_Jeris_Seafood_Smith_Point_TX_Chambers_County_Home_is_Where_Oysters_Houston_Photographer_Commercial_Editorial_Advertising_Nicki_Evans_Photography_0001NEvansPhotos_Jeris_Seafood_Smith_Point_TX_Chambers_County_Home_is_Where_Oysters_Houston_Photographer_Commercial_Editorial_Advertising_Nicki_Evans_Photography_0008NEvansPhotos_Jeris_Seafood_Smith_Point_TX_Chambers_County_Home_is_Where_Oysters_Houston_Photographer_Commercial_Editorial_Advertising_Nicki_Evans_Photography_0007
After about 30-40 minutes of shucking, the crates of empty shells begin to fill up. Two guys begin emptying the crates into the bucket of a forklift, so those shucking oysters never have to stop the process.

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After the forklift bucket fills up, the oyster shells are then taken outside, much to the happiness of waiting seagulls, where they are poured into a dump truck. Later these oysters will be returned to the bay to help sustain the reefs. NEvansPhotos_Jeris_Seafood_Smith_Point_TX_Chambers_County_Home_is_Where_Oysters_Houston_Photographer_Commercial_Editorial_Advertising_Nicki_Evans_Photography_0013
Around 6:15 a.m., the first full buckets of raw oysters are being sent to the next point in the assembly line for washing, sorting, weighing and packaging.NEvansPhotos_Jeris_Seafood_Smith_Point_TX_Chambers_County_Home_is_Where_Oysters_Houston_Photographer_Commercial_Editorial_Advertising_Nicki_Evans_Photography_0014NEvansPhotos_Jeris_Seafood_Smith_Point_TX_Chambers_County_Home_is_Where_Oysters_Houston_Photographer_Commercial_Editorial_Advertising_Nicki_Evans_Photography_0015NEvansPhotos_Jeris_Seafood_Smith_Point_TX_Chambers_County_Home_is_Where_Oysters_Houston_Photographer_Commercial_Editorial_Advertising_Nicki_Evans_Photography_0016
Once the oysters are placed into buckets for delivery, they are sealed, placed in boxes and then covered in ice until it’s time to be loaded onto an 18-wheeler. NEvansPhotos_Jeris_Seafood_Smith_Point_TX_Chambers_County_Home_is_Where_Oysters_Houston_Photographer_Commercial_Editorial_Advertising_Nicki_Evans_Photography_0017NEvansPhotos_Jeris_Seafood_Smith_Point_TX_Chambers_County_Home_is_Where_Oysters_Houston_Photographer_Commercial_Editorial_Advertising_Nicki_Evans_Photography_0018
The sun has now been out for about 15 minutes. Some people are probably just leaving for work or maybe even waking up, and the well-oiled machine that is Jeri’s Seafood is already on a roll for the day. NEvansPhotos_Jeris_Seafood_Smith_Point_TX_Chambers_County_Home_is_Where_Oysters_Houston_Photographer_Commercial_Editorial_Advertising_Nicki_Evans_Photography_0019NEvansPhotos_Jeris_Seafood_Smith_Point_TX_Chambers_County_Home_is_Where_Oysters_Houston_Photographer_Commercial_Editorial_Advertising_Nicki_Evans_Photography_0020
Stay tuned for the next installment of “Home is where…” Hopefully there will be a second part to the Jeris’ Seafood blog, when I have a chance to ride out to the reefs.

Nicki Evans Photography – 2016
Have camera. Will travel.

Nicki Evans Photography – Houston, TX – Commercial Photographer

Home is where…, Part 1

Projects

Home is where…, Part 1
by Houston commercial photographer – Nicki Evans Photography

It seems that many people (who grow up in small towns) want to get away from their hometown as soon as they have a chance. Many of them say it’s because there’s nothing to do. They want to see “bigger and better” things.

I always had a tiny desire to live in loft apartment in a big city, most likely inspired by the TV show “Friends.” But my desire was never based on wanting to escape my small-town life, just the chance to do something new and different.

Deep down though, I’ve always been a hometown girl. I loved growing up in a small town. I didn’t think of it so much as a type of lifestyle; I was just having fun being a kid. In hindsight, I know that most of the things I got to do as a kid are not the norm for kids in a big city…or probably not even in most smaller towns today.

We used to ride bikes from one house to the next, stopping to jump on one friend’s trampoline or take a swim in another one’s pool. We cruised around town on go-carts, scrounging up change from couches and laundry baskets to buy a pint of ice cream or a can of Spaghetti-Os at Hill’s Grocery (just for an excuse to drive the go-cart to the store). We fished and had mud wars. We roller bladed while pretending to be Nancy Kerrigan and attempted roller hockey. Other than occasionally stopping to play Donkey Kong on the Super Nintendo, we were rarely indoors.

As we got older and began to drive, whole new realms of fun opened up, as we could now hook up to the boat and go wake boarding any time. After that, summers and weekends revolved completely around the water…lifeguarding at the wave pool some days, wake boarding in “The Channel” at Fort Anahuac Park or occasionally taking a day trip down to the beach.

I guess I’m getting a little sidetracked while reliving my childhood. The point of the story and this blog series is to showcase my hometown, Anahuac, and the county, Chambers, where I grew up and spent the majority of the first 2.5 decades of my life.

Somewhere along the way, I discovered that aside from being a place where you can have a pretty great childhood, there’s so much more to Chambers County…incredible people with stories to tell, lots of history, a variety of industries and beautiful scenery.

There are about 14 cities or communities that make up the county: Anahuac, Double Bayou, Oak Island, Smith Point, Monroe City, Stowell, Winnie, Wallisville, Hankamer, Cove, Beach City, Old River-Winfree, Mont Belvieu and parts of Baytown. The people in these communities are fisherman, farmers, ranchers and hunting guides. Some people raise gators or longhorns, some harvest oysters, some fly crop-dusters,  some help conserve the marshes and wildlife within. And some do a little bit of it all.

For a few years (maybe more), I’ve had it in the back of my mind to do a photo series featuring all of those stories in Chambers County. This summer, I finally decided to stop thinking about it and just make it happen. The photo series, “Home is where…” will hopefully be one that continues for a long time, with blog posts as frequent as possible, depending on when I can fit these little adventures into my schedule. I hope to learn more about the place I call home and meet more people who can tell me their stories. And above all, I hope to tell these stories through my photographs.

Visit Part 2 to see the first story from Chambers County.

 

Nicki Evans Photography – 2016
Have camera. Will travel.

Nicki Evans Photography – Houston, TX – Commercial Photographer

 

Always board. Never bored. Part 1 – Parker rides park

Projects, Recreation

Always board. Never bored. Part 1 – Parker rides park
by Houston commercial photographer – Nicki Evans Photography

A few weeks back I mentioned in my “Love affair with water, Part 1” blog,  I was beginning a new photo series. Because of the Houston floods, I got a later start on the project than planned, but I finally have some images to share, so welcome to the first installment of “Always board. Never bored.”

Meet Parker.

I met Parker a couple of years ago at a grassroots wake boarding tournament just outside of Houston. We stumbled upon he and his family at the tournament because my husband recognized his mom from a restaurant we frequented in a small East Texas town (where we previously lived and where they currently live). Confused yet? Okay, so basically with less than 7 degrees of separation, we knew each other. We ended up hanging out most of the tournament with them and had a great time.

While chatting, we learned about Parker’s start in wake boarding. He grew up in an action sports family. While riding motocross at a Conroe track, he fell (figuratively speaking) into the world of wake boarding and began getting riding tips from one of the wake boarding community greats, Pat Panakos, while Panakos was in town building a new cable park.

At the time of the tournament, Parker had only been wake boarding about a month or six weeks but was already doing quite well in his novice state, hitting rails and landing 360s and backflips.

Fast forward two years to this summer. I started asking around Facebook to see if any wake boarders would be interested in being photographed for my project. Quite a few volunteered, including Parker. So Parker and I met up at Hangar 9 (the Conroe wake park previously mentioned) for an afternoon of him riding and me shooting.

In just two years, Parker is a completely different rider. He did trick after trick, hardly falling on anything. He pressed, grabbed, spun and flipped through so many tricks, I can’t even name them all. Let’s just say, I was thoroughly impressed. Hopefully you’ll be equally as impressed with his riding and the images.

Enjoy!

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Next: Slaying the best of both worlds

Nicki Evans Photography – 2016
Have camera. Will travel. Just add water.

Nicki Evans Photography – Houston, TX – Commercial Photographer

A love affair with water, Part 2 – Get Salty

Recreation, travel

Get Salty
by Houston commercial photographer – Nicki Evans Photography

If this is the first you’re hearing of my love affair, you might want to hear the full story. So start here: A love affair with water, Part 1 – Get Fresh 

If not, thanks for visiting my fresh blog. Now it’s time to add a little salt.

Like mentioned in my previous blog, I was born into this water life. I have memories of visiting the local Texas beaches as a kid, playing in the surf and picking up seashells. From a young age, I was always fascinated with surfing but don’t know what brought that on. For my family, the salt life was more about fishing than surfing. Maybe a movie or magazine article inspired that wonder.

But I think when I really became a saltwater soul was around age 10 or 12. We took a family trip to Pensacola, FL for my parents to go scuba diving. It was my first taste of white sand and blue-green, clear water. I was hooked.

Since then, I’ve been taking any chance I have to get away to those blue waters.

One of my favorite trips was to Ventura, CA, where my husband was working on a 6-week project. I flew out to spend 10 days with him. On the days when my husband was working, I would hop on my rental bike and just cruise around town, soaking up the West Coast life, reading on the beach and taking photos. It was pretty sweet!

Like with my wake boarding images, most of my beach photographs are from personal vacations, but I’d love to branch out with that type of photography as well and be able to work on some projects with those living the saltwater lifestyle. Whether it be surfing, sailing, kiteboarding or fishing, I’d love to follow the sun, capturing the magic that occurs within the deep blue.

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Nicki Evans Photography – 2016
Have camera. Will travel. Just add water.

Nicki Evans Photography – Houston, TX – Commercial Photographer

A love affair with water, Part 1 – Get Fresh

Projects, Recreation

– Get Fresh
by Houston commercial photographer – Nicki Evans Photography

If you know me at all or have seen my Instagram feed, you would know that I have a love affair with water. I can’t really help it. I was born into it.

About 15-16 years ago and within the same year, I bought my first film SLR and my first wakeboard. Some might think these are two unrelated items, but for me, they tend to go hand-in-hand. Where I go, my camera goes. Where there’s water, I will follow.

There are many songs and quotes about water, but I think the first few paragraphs of Moby-Dick really capture the connection that I feel.

“There is magic in it. Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries- stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead you to water…”
Moby-Dick

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Fast forward a few years (add a digital SLR and a few more boards), and I’m approaching college graduation. I have great plans to move to Florida (wake boarding mecca) or to the Hill Country (first Texas cable wake board park and lots of lakes). I send out resumes and CDs of images to wake boarding magazines and newspapers all around those areas.

Unfortunately, my dreams were built on ambition, and not the incredible portfolio I thought I had. It wasn’t meant to be. So I became the sole photographer at a daily newspaper close to home, The Baytown Sun.

Ten years of photography experience, various photography gigs, and who knows how many shutter clicks later, here I am…still coming back to the water.

The majority of my water-related photography has been limited to my everyday life and personal vacations. But I recently began to think, “Why not make a project out of something I already enjoy?”

And so began, my personal project: Always Board. Never Bored.

The images in the blog are what I mentioned before, mostly snapshots of lake days with my husband and friends. But soon (prayers…stay away Houston floods) I’ll be shooting with local Houston wake boarders at lakes, rivers and cable parks. The images will feature portraits of riders, lifestyle images of all that makes up the wake boarding culture and of course, action shots of them riding.

Stay tuned for a blog series and more. Until then, enjoy these images.

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Next: Get Salty

 

Nicki Evans Photography – 2016
Have camera. Will travel. Just add water.

Nicki Evans Photography – Houston, TX – Commercial Photographer