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.

The Dark Horse Region

The Dark Horse Region
A View into the center of the Milky Way

Thursday, December 13, 2012

If it Don't Belong...Get Rid of It

Photography and writing are so similar sometimes it is difficult to separate the two conceptually. Just like brevity in writing, simplicity in a photograph is preferable. I struggle with both at times....I tend to use way more words than is necessary to get the point across, and just as often, I fail to remove all the clutter from my photographs. Both will reduce the effectiveness of each.

Let me give you an example how clutter can ruin an image, and how removing that clutter can improve the composition.

This first image is not a bad image...some might even suggest it's a decent image. When I took this shot, I asked myself...what else is here...what is it that is really catching my attention? When I looked more closely, I realized that what was actually capturing my eye was how the tree limb was angling across the slanted edge of the barn's roof. Everything else was just clutter and really didn't add anything to the photograph.

 When I allowed myself to let the rest of the image go and focused in on what was really important, the composition and the image became much simpler and stronger. Sometimes we want to hold on to something because its there...that's what we see across our field of view when in reality, we need to learn how to eliminate what is not important, and look for those patterns and compositions that truly capture what we're feeling.

Here's another example of the same thing...just a different look at the same problem.

Composition in photography is such a subjective concept it is difficult to compare one person's capture against another persons capture even of the same subject. What one person sees, another may see it in an entirely different way. That problem is more than likely based on personal experience and how each of us view the world. What we must do is to develop a willingness to let go of stuff simply because it is there and look for those combinations of things that truly define what we're trying to accomplish.


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