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.

Backroads

Backroads
Kentucky Backroads Wheat Stubble

Sunday, June 3, 2012

First Light

The rocky outcropping that stood sentinel-like overlooking the prairie arroyo by now was a familiar location and with each return visit, I sometimes just sit and allow the prairie moment to engulf my world.  Over time it has become the first location I normally hike into when I visit the Tallgrass Prairie.  Surrounding it late in spring are various prairie flowers and grasses that sway in the ever present wind.  It's the wind that seems to remind us of those special moments standing on the prairie.  With its fragrant aroma it stimulates that sense of connection to a place.  With its gentle caress one begins to feel less like a visitor and more like a part of the complexity that is the prairie.  Just before dawn, the prairie begins to come alive with the songs of birds, the wisp of the wind, the warmth and fragrance of the air, but it is first light that one remembers the most.

First Light on the prairie...few events are more magical as the big ebony star filled sky begins to glow first with a subtle hue and then gradually grows bolder.  It is that transitional moment when the world changes from darkness to light, when what was obscure gray begins to take on color...when the color takes shape and form...shape and form become life.  My favorite moments on the prairie have all coincided with first light...each time something new generated an amazing event and with each passing moment, the light changes and blends with the colors of the new day.

Too often I allow myself to neurotically rush around checking camera settings...composition...angles and position to reflect long enough on simply being there...to allow the moment to simply fill the void that seems to always take up way too much space inside my emotional reservoir.  Even so, one cannot help but become overwhelmed by the moment.  A simple photograph of first light on the prairie is more than a picture...it captures a unique moment in time not just visually, but emotionally.  It is an opportunity for reflection...a stimulus for return...a memory that becomes part of your soul.

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