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

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Kentucky Morning Series - Fourth of July

Nature provided the fireworks on this 4th of July morning. I was up before dawn and out the door specifically heading over to a pond I last visited maybe two years before. What greeted me that morning was another marvelous example of a Kentucky morning.

When I first arrived at the location, the sun was still several minutes from breaking free of the horizon, which allowed me some time to get setup and plan my morning shoot. Sometimes, I only have an idea of what I want to do and often wait until the specific moment before deciding what will work and what will not. To capture a sunrise effectively, you must work at a neurotic pace because once the sun pops above the horizon, it travels rather quickly. Within a few minutes it will climb too high in the sky.

One element I love about Kentucky are the calm winds. Coming from Oklahoma, wind was simply a way of life and you just dealt with it. Here in Kentucky, the wind is much less of a factor and there are times when the air is completely still. That is what greeted me that morning.

I set my exposure to take advantage of the moment using a mid-range aperture, along with an almost negative two stop exposure compensation value. This proved a winning combination as it allowed the camera to capture what I was feeling...not so much what I was seeing. The effect I wanted was to lean toward an exotic, one color look. With the sun reflecting on the water and what haziness there was created a morning glow...the exposure values generated a darker and bolder look than what was physically being displayed.

That is a mistake I see many photographers make...they think they must capture the scene the way it appears visually when in reality, in many cases you can capture the emotion of the moment more effectively.

This 4th of July, the fireworks that nature displayed proved far superior to any of the man made attempts that came later in the day.


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