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 in a hammock...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. Grab your camera...strap on your hiking boots...and join me. I think you will enjoy the adventure.

Kentucky Skies

Kentucky Skies

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Moment Just For Me

A rolling creek composes its own kind of music. Sometimes it sings like a flute, other times it chatters like a snare drum, and still other times it chimes in softly like a clarinet. Their moods are as many as there are memories discovered along their banks.

Small creeks and streams are some of natures most enduring photo opportunities. At first I find myself drawn to them for the aesthetic beauty they offer. I will often sit in the shade of a tall tree and simply listen, shutting out the distractions life in general throws at us. Before long I notice a movement, a reflection, how the light filters across the water, or how a leaf spins and sails on the surface. A Kingfisher chatters and dives to retrieve a tasty meal, a squirrel barks after scampering along a low hanging limb, the breeze sings its cheerful song as it catches the trees. A soft blanket of green mossy growth covers the larger boulders and spreads across the bulk of a downed tree trunk. These are but a few of the obvious mysteries to greet anyone who takes the time to look for them.

I raise the camera and search through the lense, moving closer and then back, seeking how the light plays off background clutter. Early in the day mist or fog will often drift across the channel and the morning light cuts numerous transluscent paths through the haze. I search, I look, I stop and simply listen.

Sometimes, most times really, the picture simply does not capture the experience. At the moment I realize I can never truly lock a camera image in place, I will set the camera down and simply create an image of the heart, one that can never get lost, nor forgotten. I say to myself, "For now I will just sit...just enjoy...for no other time will I have this particular experience, and this moment is just for me".

Friday, November 6, 2015

Best Day Ever - There is More to Fishing Than Catching Fish

I do love the soft twirl made by line as it rolls off the spinning reel followed by a girgled ploop as the spinner
lure falls with a natural grace into the stream. When the bail closes with a soft clink joined in motion by the gentle whirl of the gears, memories return from times past, the kind that reminds me of what fishing is all about.

My how life can interfere with the most important of moments. The summer started and ended with all the desire to get out more, but like so many other times, the desire was greater than the ability to follow through with the action, and I managed only a time or two getting out. Before I knew it fall was upon us with winter hovering not far away. Maybe it was because of the fall that stiring to get out surfaced and I found myself once again feeling the cold waters of a clear stream swirling around my legs and feet.

A few turns of the crank resulted in the first fish of the day. A sharp rap, a sudden jerk, the line drawn taught, and the rod arched against the fighter on the other end. He darted left then right, tried to head for deeper water, then into the swifter current which added to the weight of the fight. A moment later a beautiful 12 inch Rainbow Trout I lifted from the water and gently released to slide back into his watery lair.

I could have stopped then and been satisfied on the day, but it was early so I repeated the process of casting across the current and the slow deliberate retrieve. Before long another trout hit the spinner, another release, then another and another. I moved down stream to another location, made a gentle cast into a beautiful blue hole below a rolling set of shoals. Clink...whirl....another hit. This was the best.

Before I called it a day 3 hours or so later, I probably caught and released close to 25 or more trout. Never before on a single outing in so short a time have ever caught so many fish. The moment demanded I stop briefly to survey the country. The sky was broken overcast with occasional beams of light splashing against a hillside still adorned with fall leaves. The lively current danced and tangoed with the gravel shoals keeping time with the light breeze that sang a natural song played amongst the dangle of leaves. I inhaled a deep breath of cool fall air. Yes, this was the best day ever and I am so grateful for the opportunity to enjoy such moments. I do so love the soft twirl made by line as it rolls off the spinning reel, but, there is more to fishing than catching fish. I love the memories made even more.