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

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Look for Order Amongst the Chaos

One morning just before sunrise I packed the camera and tripod and headed out looking for something to photograph.  Didn't really have an agenda, but it was quite foggy so I figured something would appear out of the mist eventually.  Ended up driving over to the Octagon Hall not far from Franklin, Ky, about a half hour drive from my home.  The Octagon Hall is a three story, eight sided, brick building with a lot character and history associated with it.  Various Civil War activities both Confederate and Union, took place in and around the building.  Legend has it that the building is haunted with some funny and odd things happening to visitors.  Today it is museum.

As I walked around the compound that morning I began photographing this and that but nothing was really working like I wanted it.  As the sun rose higher, the fog began to glow with a yellowish hue and things got a bit more interesting.  The hard part was trying to capture the moment with a simplistic image, but I just couldn't quite find the shot.  Too much clutter.  When that happens to me, one thing that always helps is to remember one simple rule: As a photographer, your mission is to create order out of chaos.  So I began to look for that one defining shot that told the story of what I was seeing.  Most of my shots were rather obvious and included the building and scenes around the perimeter.  They were also rather ordinary.

One technique I use to help me find order, is to simply place a long lens on the camera, zoom it out, and slowly pan around until something catches my eye.  The zoom helps to isolate things.  I had taken several images of an old buckboard wagon sitting in the yard.  It was really kind of cool looking but the images were missing that something.  That's when I began to ask myself...just what is it that is really capturing my attention about what I'm seeing here...and that is when I found it...the order amongst the chaos I was looking for.

The general layout shots were not what captured my the shape and form of the wagon wheels with the fog glowing in and around them.  Zooming in closer, I isolated the wheels...and came away with the one shot I was really looking for.

Keith Bridgman

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