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

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What I see

Discovering a new way to observe the beauty that surrounds us can be an amazing revelation. Learning how to capture it photographically can be a challenge. Sharing it with others is the reward. This past summer I rediscovered the night sky and spent a great deal of time and energy learning how to not only observe it, but to capture it. It was a challenge that evolved into something much more than an exercise in technique or skill. It became a revelation of seeing.

I've often written about how photography is mostly about seeing light. But it is more than that really. It's about understanding what it is you see. There was a time I saw mechanically meaning I recognized the intrinsic value of what I was photographing, but failed to see beyond the superficial and cliche. Seeing photographically means to see through the superficial to find the solution.

More than likely last summer the efforts I placed on photographing the night sky may have seemed a bit over the top to most of my photography friends. A few of them gave it a try and then went on to other things that interested them more...and rightly so for them. Recently, I began to wonder why I was so captivated by that exercise. Night after night I would stand in some open field staring up at the night sky and painstakingly adjusting the homemade tracking devise I used to follow the stars across the field of view. Then later, after downloading the images and searching through the better ones I would spend time bringing out the best of what they were. Most of those images no one other than myself saw them, but that was okay. Because I wasn't taking them for someone else. I was taking them for myself.

You see what I saw was not just a night sky filled with stars and subtle colors of glowing dust along with nebula's filled with radiant gases. I saw a part of myself. In order to bring out the subtle nature of those glowing nebula's and radiant gases,  a long exposure was required along with patient and attentive tracking. When it all fell into place and that one moving image out of dozens materialized, well, a sense of satisfaction filled my heart.

As a result I began to understand how that experience revealed a great deal about life. Everyone has subtle light in their lives that requires a long personal exposure along with careful and attentive tracking to see. With the right amount of effort and understanding, the light in their lives regardless of how faint, will over time begin to glow with it own unique radiance. When I smile as an image of the night sky begins to form, I am smiling because what I see is so much more than stars floating in the sky . . I see lives beginning to shine.

Keith

1 comment:

Maryellen said...

Seeing stars has brought about a true revelation...awesome pics and thoughts.