Beyond The Campfire was created to encourage readers to explore the great outdoors and to observe it close up. 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 of photography 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.

F-4 Phantom

F-4 Phantom
F-4 Phantom

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Look Beyond the Obvious

I spent a few hours this afternoon hiking over on Long Creek, a scenic little creek characterized  by clear water, gravel bottom, long pools, lively ripples, and an abundance of natural beauty.  As always, I took my camera and camera pack.  Most of the fall leaves had already fallen, but a few were still lingering that provided at least some photo opportunity.  As I wandered along, I snapped a few shots of this and that, but nothing really seemed to work.  All the shots were rather cliche'ish.

The obvious photo's included shots of the trees along side the creek, some looking across, some looking up or down its length.  Although they weren't bad shots, I've become a lot more critical of what I produce.  As I shuffled through the images on the camera's viewer, I knew I just wasn't getting the shots I spite of all the natural beauty that surrounded me. When that happens, I'll often challenge myself to quit looking for the obvious and start looking for the subtle things that might not ordinarily be readily visible.

Floating in a shallow portion of the creek were some recently dropped leaves.  Photo's like that create a different kind of challenge for the photographer, for now the image becomes all about shape and form and color.  It's not as easy as it sounds, because it takes an artistic eye to find the right combination of shape and form, balanced by color.  It's a matter of building the composition to create a visually appealing image.

Keith Bridgman

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