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.

F-4 Phantom

F-4 Phantom
F-4 Phantom

Thursday, June 6, 2013


One definition of Impression is: A strong effect produced on the intellect, feelings, conscience...the first and immediate affect of an experience or perception on the mind.

Photography is heavily influenced by impression.  In essence virtually every photograph is an impression of a single moment of light. Impression in return is heavily influenced by shape, form, color, and texture. With this being the case…just how can we effectively use the idea of Impression to create interesting photographs?

In a photograph, impression implies something that looks familiar but is somehow different. When we see an impressionistic photograph…what we’re looking at is exactly that…something that is oddly familiar…but it just doesn’t quite fit that normal state of structure we demand in our lives. Our brain wants to perceive the image in one way and yet interpret it another way.

Let me show you an example.

In this photograph we see an impressionistic view of a group of trees. What we see looks familiar, yet the way we perceive it visually tends to affect our view as though it is a series of lights and darks, vertical and angled lines that flow across a dark background. Why it appears this way is because of the isolation achieved by using a telephoto lens. Visually, if we were standing in this location what we would see is a wide angle view of the entire spectrum of the scene…it would…well look like what we would expect a wooded area to look like. When we tighten the view…isolate a smaller section of the larger view…we can achieve this impresionistic capture of a group of trees.

Here is another example.

Reflections on water are in essence all about impression. Water will impart a softer feel to a reflected image…factor in a few light ripples and the light is broken into a myriad of shapes and textures. We know it is a reflection…we sense that the reflected light involves some fall-like colors…yet visually we cannot ascertain the exact nature of what is being reflected. In this case…it’s all about light, shape, and color.

When I seem to grow stale in my photography, I often fall back on the idea of capturing impressions as opposed to capturing physical likeness. By doing so, it allows my seeing to shift from what it wants to naturally lock onto, and forces it to think in terms of artistic flavors. It changes the way your mind perceives the world and allows it to isolate visual cues and shape them into a form and composition that becomes a refreshing perspective. This approach will improve your ability to see physical likeness from a more artistic point of view.


1 comment:

Maureen said...

I love your last paragraph - with applications in any area of making art. Taking what you perceive in a fresh perspective, changing the way your mind perceives, improving your artistic point of view. As I write, to not focus on the obvious, not to copy what I see, but to look for impressions, feelings, attitudes. Good words, thank you.