Beyond The Campfire was created to encourage readers to explore the great outdoors and to look at it more closely. Get out and take a hike, go fishing or canoeing, or simply stretch out on a blanket under a summer sky...and take your camera along. We'll talk about combining outdoor activities with photography. We'll look at everything from improving your understanding of the basics to more advanced techniques including things like how to see photographically and capturing the light. We'll explore the night sky, location shoots, using off camera speedlights along with nature and landscape. Grab your camera...strap on your hiking boots...and join me. I think you will enjoy the adventure.


Kentucky Backroads Wheat Stubble

Sunday, July 9, 2017

You Know it When it Happens - Photograph with a Purpose

Photographing with a purpose in mind helps you the photographer to focus on the task at hand without getting all caught up in the X's and O's of the game. Many times over the years my photographic efforts have tended to take the approach, well, let's go out and see what happens. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it does not. In recent years I have shifted somewhat away from that approach, mostly, to focus more on creating one single style of other words, I go about it with the intended to purpose to capture a certain type of photograph...a personal vision of sorts.

Photography is about a great deal many things and creating a personal vision ranks very high on the list. Almost every photographer I know develops their own personal style and style in the visual arts is influenced by the personal experiences we all have. In just about everything we do, we can discover analogies that serve to define what we do. For instance one axiom about photography I've learned has a direct connection to all the bass fishing I managed to do over the years. You see, you may find fish-holding structure without bass, but you will never find bass without structure. The same applies to photography. You may experience great light without capturing a great photograph, but you will never capture a great photograph without great light.

Photographing with a purpose does require a shift in the way we go about taking pictures. When photographing people, what I try to do is to continue to take the photo idea further with each photograph. The idea of taking the photo further is something I picked up watching a Joe McNally video a few years ago. He was reviewing and commenting on some photos submitted by individuals. On one particular image he said some good things about it then he said...Don't be afraid to take it further...push it...look for a uniqueness and do not settle when you think you have got it.  

That idea has stayed with me and as I progress photographically, I find myself wanting to do more, wanting to take the image to another level. I try to visualize what my finished product will look like when all the ingredients are there...and when I get there...well, I just know it when it happens...yet I still believe there is always something more I could do.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Sometimes, I Just Wonder

Sometimes, I will browse through many of the previous stories I've posted just to remind myself of what is there, then I realize I've written hundreds of them, most all unique compositions totalling hundreds of thousands of words related to mostly photography, but also about experiences around those photographs. A life collection of sorts they are, about adventures in photography and at times mis-adventures in life. Occasionally, I will re-read one, or two, or three and think, you know that was a good article, and then wonder if anyone else thought so for there are few if any comments attached to them. 

Those stories will be there for a very long time, maybe long after I am gone. They contain photo captures of moments in time that will never again present themselves, but more importantly, they reflect a part of who I am and how I see the world. I suppose that makes them me anyway.

Sometimes I do wonder why I do this...write all these blog posts. I often wonder if people actually read them or do they simply click LIKE and move on, or just move on with indifference without doing anything.

Then, I wonder to myself, again, who am I doing this for? Is it for the few people who actually take time to read the articles, or is it for myself to satisfy some kind of creative inner desire to share what I know with others. Not sure I really know the answer, nor am I sure I want to know.

Still, I have many photographer friends and I've enjoyed associating with them over the years, but sometimes I wonder if I have managed to ignore other just as important parts of my life because of it. Often that kind of association can lead to certain assumptions that may or may not be accurate which eventually, when reality sets in, I often discover I have made incorrect assumptions about the ideas I was contemplating.

The results of such thoughts can often lead to disappointment and maybe even some feelings of rejection. Then again a good dose of reality can slap you back into focus and redirect your desires and whims to realign them with what truly is important.

Not sure why I am writing this post as it is so different from all the others I typically write, driven mostly I suppose by melancholy thoughts resulting from missed opportunities or rejected attempts to connect with people in a positive way. It is a difficult pill to swallow to have your efforts and work seemingly go unnoticed, maybe unappreciated, but, that is a part of life all of us must endure from time to time.

Oh, I understand not everyone thinks the same way and they have lives too that carry them here and there, to the point what small token offering I might supply seems rather unimportant. I'm sure I've done the same thing. I suppose, if I wonder about it long enough, I'll get over it and continue to do what I've always done; create simply because I can, pursue simply because I want to, and enjoy what I do regardless of what others might think.

The important thing is to keep striving, keep moving short, to keep wondering about hopes and dreams regardless if they come true or not. I would rather have wondered about such things most of which may never come true, than to go through life stuck in a rut filled with little or no wonderment about what is out there and never having known the excitement of what can be.

I've found myself alone at times wondering what lies over a distant hill, then I hiked to the top of it just to see what was there. I've gazed toward a dark night sky searching for hidden wonders. I've stood facing a prairie storm with nowhere to hide, and drifted on silent waters under a canopy of stars.

I've heard the thunder of a thousand stampeding bison, and listened for hours to the calming silence of a wandering breeze. I've stood knee deep in a drift of snow stung by a biting wind at my face, and held a hundred delicate blooms in my hands. I've captured the subtle movement of a sunrise and the bold flavor of a thousand setting suns.

When I write about photography or when I offer to do a workshop, it is not just the technical X's and O's I offer, I'm offering an opportunity to share the experiences associated around those photographs. I only hope others will understand such things.

Why do I wonder?  You know...maybe I've just answered my own question.