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

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Visual Sounds of Summer

There are country sounds, feelings, and aromas that only summer can generate…farmers working their fields, hay being cut, and that warm breeze that makes the trees shake with life...and experiencing its warm embrace while sitting under a shade…I love sitting on the front porch listening to and feeling the spray from a summer rain shower…oh those summer rain showers that fill the air with their moisture laden aroma.  It’s a great time of year for photographers as well.

In Kentucky, the evening sky can be amazingly bold with subtle differentiations between layers where the lowering sun slowly filters through each and redefines their structure with pastel lights.  Mornings carry their unique flavor as well…often clear and fresh, yet with enough character to fill the landscape with golden light…throw in some fog and you have a great mix of mood and drama.

Capturing these images is as much a process of capturing what you feel as it is a technical application.  Understanding how the camera sees light…how it reacts to light…is key to generating those technically great character and mood images, but expressing the mood of the moment involves understanding yourself and how you react to light as well as understanding what generates an emotional response in someone else.  It’s more than pointing the camera at a scene and letting it make all the decisions...it’s understanding why the camera made the exposure decision it wanted to make, and visualizing how you actually want the image to look…then compensating to achieve that goal.


A mistake many beginning photographers make is, believing they have to capture a scene exactly the way it appears to them visually.  Sometimes that may be exactly what you need or want to do…but, the trick is understanding that you do not have to accept what the camera automatically gives you…which in many cases is not the way we saw the scene visually.  The camera, properly used, is capable of imparting drama and emotion even when photographing an area with subpar light…it is capable of making subtle-light bold…bold-light subtle…and great light amazing.

The visual scene is only part of the image generation process…what separates those great emotionally responsive images from ordinary snap shots is having the ability to look beyond the obvious and photograph from the heart…not the eye.

Summer can be a wonderful time to practice this as the light variations are so wide during the day that opportunities abound for those willing to get up early enough to capture them and willing enough to find those potential locations where the light will flood the senses with its magic….then looking beyond that…not simply accepting the average exposure values the camera gives you…but branching out and seeing the scene not from the eye, but from an emotional point of view…then ask yourself one varied but important question; why do I want to capture this scene…what is here that captures my imagination and why is it important to me at this moment…then photograph the elements that play on those emotions.  How to accomplish the technical aspects of it comes with practice…shooting the visual sounds of summer, or any season, with emotion...comes from the heart.

1 comment:

Jenn said...

Great post, Keith!