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.

Prairie Sunrise

Prairie Sunrise
Prairie Sunrise

Saturday, September 3, 2011

For Having Done So - More to Photography Than Taking Pictures

As I have grown older through the years spending time afield fishing, I’ve learned to adhere to a wise old axiom:  There is more to fishing than catching fish.  One could read a lot into that statement or even look right past it.  But, if you were to truly read between the lines I’m sure most people would understand that the act of fishing is more important than the act of catching fish.  I suppose a tournament fisherman might argue otherwise…but, for most of us who do not rely on the sport of fishing to earn our keep, I suppose it makes more sense.

I went fishing once with a guy some years ago who for the most part just held the front end of my canoe down and grumbled the whole day about how bad the fishing was. By the time we pulled out…early I might add…his attitude was one of a wasted day and effort.  Between the two of us I don’t recollect that we caught a single fish…oddly enough, we came away from the trip with two different perspectives;  I loved just getting out…he complained about not catching anything and considered the time a waste.  Seems he missed the point completely and allowed a narrow perspective to ruin what could have otherwise been a great day.  Can’t rightly say that I ever went fishing with that guy again after that…it’s been a long time ago, even so, I’d venture a guess there was a good reason for not having done so.

In recent weeks as I’ve spent time canoe fishing and taking a few photos along the way, I began to reflect on that axiom again…seems my ability to catch fish hasn’t improved much over the years, so I tend to reflect more on the aesthetic values of fishing while casting a line.   Certainly catching a bass or two on any given trip adds to the flavor of the moment, but what’s more important is simply the journey…a journey that really has no end point, just a continuous reaffirmation of the emotional connection to what really matters in life.

One recent Saturday morning, I managed to climb out of bed early and make it over to my fishing spot before the sun came up.  As I paddled across the mirror smooth lake, I spent most of the first hour or so just taking pictures in the soft pre-dawn light.  It was an amazing morning in many ways and when I arrived I had some hopes that the light, and fishing, would be great...but mostly I just wanted to reconnect with one of my favorite pastimes.  As the morning progressed, the light changed with every tick of the clock, and I kept framing photo after photo and between shots simply sat and enjoyed the morning show.  As soon as I would think the best light had come and gone…the light would change again and an entirely new moment would appear.  The colors spanned a range from pale blues and lavenders to bold reds and oranges…thru subtle wispy fog…across bold apparitions and silhouettes…through perfect lake reflections as the sun broke free of the ridge. 

I ended up with some decent images having worked the camera pretty hard during that golden stretch of early light.  When it was finally over, I sat the camera aside and started fishing in earnest again…By then my visions were not so much of catching big bass, they were of remarkable moments of having experienced a special part of God’s world at a time when 
most people are still fast asleep.

Photographs capture a single moment in time…being there at those remarkable times to experience a new day from its first moments of life generates a prolonged feeling that lingers well past the actual event. Every similar outing provides for a new experience…a new understanding of what is important. Being able to capture a few moments afield  photographically…well, it’s sort of like catching a bass while and rewarding, yet, that’s not the main reason why I traveled that’s simply the bonus for having done so.


1 comment:

Jenn said...

I always finish a photo shoot praising God for the beauty of His earth! His creation just leaves me in AWE! Great post, Keith!