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.

The Pilot

The Pilot
The Pilot

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Poetry of Morning Light


A fine experience it is to have risen early to catch the first rays light.  Even on rather ordinary mornings, that first light of the day is always fresh and inviting. For a photographer, morning light best defines what they do and why they are there…it generates not only that initial glow of the day, but it speaks to those who experience it with the soft words of a poetic verse.

When I desire great light for my photography, what first comes to mind is the morning light. I suppose of the favorite images I’ve managed to capture, the majority were influenced most by the first caress that glows low across the sky. The colors change so rapidly during those fleeting moments, as a photographer I find myself rushing here and there to line up the shot before it changes again. Often, a few seconds can make the difference…a moment of hesitation…and it’ gone. I can visit the same location over and over, and each of those mornings generates a unique light show that showcases the qualities of what is there in different ways. It’s like a brand new performance each time. Anticipating the moment is what is required…having the ability see beyond what is current and recognize what is to come…then stand ready to capture what is displayed before you...can mean the difference between making the catch or missing it.

Countless mornings have greeted me over the years…most were routine…a few stood apart because the circumstances surrounding the moment were so captivating. 

Since moving to Kentucky, I've discovered just how poetic morning light can be. The atmosphere in this part of the country can often generate amazing secondary conditions that enhances the already high quality natural morning light. What adds to the flavor of those mornings is the song that is always present...a song that is filled with natures sounds and emotions. Many times when I review images I've taken on a morning shoot, I can remember clearly the sounds and emotions of the moment.  After all, photography is all about capturing emotions...capturing the light is but one aspect of why any given opportunity becomes important enough to photograph.

As amazing as the morning light is in Kentucky, one of the most magnificent mornings I've ever experienced took place in northwest Oklahoma on a goose hunt many years ago. It was a morning when I had no camera in hand. It was a morning when the constant Oklahoma wind for a change fell calm and the normally churning surface of Canton Lake spread silent under a canopy of stars. 

As the first vestiges of light began to glow on the horizon, every shade, every value was reflected on the surface and as daylight crawled toward its climax, thousands of waterfowl of all types exploded across the sky…circling…singing…calling out to their new day. My only desire at that moment was to lean against a willow tree and watch as the water’s surface was set afire by the brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows that used the sky as a giant pallet. Across this splendid example of what is best about the outdoors, nature presented herself in all of the magnificent glory intended by its creator. 

No camera could have captured nature’s poetry that was spoken that morning...but, the images, sounds, and power of those visual verses that were performed then have stood the test of time…for all other mornings have been tested against that single poetic example.

1 comment:

Pedro Luis López Pérez said...

I come from the blog of Denise (friskychile) - Refine Me and have loved your blog.
I'd like to be a follower of this wonderful space.
A hug.