• billboard

Operation Road Trip



Ryan Clowers leaves the rest of the world behind to venture out with his Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 VC G2 and SP 70-200mm F/2.8 VC G2 zoom lenses.


More Photo Tips | Video Gallery | Photo Gallery | Enewsletter sign-up


By Jenn Gidman
Images by Ryan Clowers



When Ryan Clowers was a boy, his parents would take him on trips to Yosemite National Park, where they’d set out on lengthy hikes and commune with nature. “When I was a teen, I started losing some interest in that,” he says. “That’s when I picked up my mom’s camera and would head off on hikes, where I’d mess around with taking pictures.”

That sparked Ryan’s interest in what would become a lifelong passion, and today, the San Diego photographer merges his image-making skills with his continued love of hitting the road, camping, and exploring landscapes both near and far. “I’m passionate about the world we live in, and of plumbing it for all it has to offer,” he says. “I now have my own truck and regularly head out on my own adventures.”

On his more recent road trips, Ryan has put two Tamron lenses to the test: the SP 24-70mm F/2.8 VC G2 and the SP 70-200mm F/2.8 VC G2 zoom lenses. “I’ve been shooting so much with the 24-70,” he says. “That lens offers me the versatility I need in terms of focal length. The images are super-crisp, and I love the beautiful bokeh the lens offers, especially for the product work I also shoot. As for the 70-200, that’s a relatively new purchase, and I’m already impressed with it. I especially like the compression it offers when I’m shooting landscapes—it helps me create images that look grand and epic.”

Ryan’s goal when he hits the road is to use his lenses to tell a complete story about his wanderings, from showing off the majesty of the nature and landscapes he encounters to documenting the grit, camaraderie, and sense of wonder inherent in such journeys. “I want the viewer to get a sense of the experience I just had, and to perhaps think about creating such an experience for themselves,” he says.

Read on to see how Ryan used the 24-70 and 70-200 on a few of his recent expeditions in the Mountain and Pacific states.

© Ryan Clowers
70-200mm (200mm), F/2.8, 1/80th sec., ISO 100
Click image to view larger

This photo was taken during my most recent trip to Oregon in July, the first road trip I got to use the 70-200mm on. I was headed home and saw the sky was starting to light up like that, like it was on fire. I pulled off the main highway and onto this side trail and thought it was the perfect time to try out the 70-200mm, so I could compress the scene and make that background, with the mountains and telephone poles, look closer than it really was.

© Ryan Clowers
24-70mm (70mm), F/2.8, 1/3200th sec., ISO 160
Click image to view larger

This photo was taken near the Eastern Sierras, a range of rock formations and hills in California that’s become a hot spot. I was searching for a camping site off of the highway and noticed that I was on this big open road, with the trees and mountains surrounding it—the epitome of an American road-trip scene. I had someone else drive the truck quickly toward me so I could get that dust to kick up and evoke movement.

© Ryan Clowers
24-70mm (70mm), F/2.8, 1/800th sec., ISO 125
Click image to view larger

I wanted to show off the truck we were road-tripping in for this shot. I took this photo in California’s Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, which is a few hours away from me. There’s a road that travels through all of the canyons in the park, and it seriously looks and feels like you’re in a Star Wars movie. Using the 24-70, I shot it all the way at 70mm to get that compression, and to make the truck look a little beefier.

© Ryan Clowers
24-70mm (24mm), F/2.8, 1/400th sec., ISO 100
Click image to view larger

This photo was taken on a hike to Grinnell Glacier, in Montana’s Glacier National Park. It’s a 13-mile trek, and when you get to the end of the trail, there’s a huge lake full of glaciers, like some kind of glacier theme park. It’s incredible. It was hard not to stop and take pictures every second along the trail, because the views are simply breathtaking. Along the way I took this photo. I wanted to show the immensity of the landscape, as well as one of those brilliant blue glacial lakes. I thought adding the pink flowers as a foreground element would make for a nice contrast.

© Ryan Clowers
24-70mm (24mm), F/2.8, 1/640th sec., ISO 100
Click image to view larger

I’ve never experienced a hike like this one in Montana. When I was on top of the mountain shown here, I could see the peaks in Glacier National Park, which is pretty far from this spot. The scenery is so amazing from this vantage point, and I wanted to take a photo that captured that, as well as incorporate the leading line of the hiking trail, which went on for miles, into the image, as well as the way the mountain dropped off on each side of the trail.

© Ryan Clowers
24-70mm (42mm), F/3.2, 1/4000th sec., ISO 200
Click image to view larger

It’s important to me on my road trips to capture images that show the camping lifestyle—those moments when you’re just kicking back with friends after a long hike or enjoying a meal. This photo, from Alabama Hills, was taken in the early morning, before the day’s activities began (the French press on the grill is a giveaway). The 24-70 let me frame the shot so that I could show two friends chowing down together, but also offer a glimpse of the environment they were in. I wanted a photo that would show just how glorious mornings are out in the mountains.

To see more of Ryan Clowers’ work, go to www.ryanclowers.com.






More Photo Tips | Watch Videos | Learn More About Tamron Lenses | Photo Gallery