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

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Kentucky Morning Series - Back Road Drama

A few years ago I spent some time exploring a new area looking for potential photo opportunities. I happened across a back road that grew progressively narrower and eventually came to a dead end atop a shallow rise. It was midsummer in the early afternoon and at the time the light was rather harsh and the scenery was somewhat ordinary. But, as I stepped out of my Jeep and took a look around I began to see the potential that was actually there. Dropping off to the south were two pastures that were partially split by a spit of trees. On the far side of the fields rose a tall ridge with the Barren River flowing across the base.

Maybe twenty minutes passed as I meandered down the road taking in the sites and breathing in the fresh country air. A few cows greeted me with their mournful bellows. To the east several layers of tree lines arched along the lay of the land and somewhere between them flowed the Barren River. Everything was green and the air was summertime hot, but I knew if I could only return when the conditions were better, that maybe, just maybe something magical would happen.

I did return, several times, the first few times not much of consequence materialized, but on the third trip over there I arrived well before daylight and I discovered a bit of fog drifting down in the fields. The photo's I made that morning were so-so, but that fog encouraged me to return again. Late September, I did return, twice and both times I was greeted by an amazing display of what a Kentucky Morning is all about.

The photo shown here was captured shortly after the sun broke free of the ridge and began to burn off the heavy layer of fog that engulfed the valley below. In an instant, the top layer of fog evaporated leaving the lower layers still clinging to the folding landscape. A moment later, a brilliant sun broke through the haze and the top of the foggy ridges were set alight by the radiant glow. I fired off several shots over the span of a few moments, then, just as rapidly as it had developed, it was all over.

Finding moments such as these become the jewels that adorn a portfolio. They also do not come easy. Relying on random chance would have resulted in never producing such a photographic moment. Looking beyond the obvious and seeing the potential of a location is a skill I rely on more than I realize. Those skills become instinctive with time and experience. Most importantly, I never gave up on the potential of this location. That perseverance paid off handsomely with a display of Back Road Drama the likes of which I never encountered before or since.

Next in the line of this series...another dramatic Kentucky Morning photo from this same location...


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