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

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Big Sky - Big Country

As first light brightened over the horizon I realized I was once again running about fifteen minutes late, so I hurried my pace across the rough terrain to close the gap between what I was seeing and arriving at the location to capture it. There was a cool breeze whispering over the top of the prairie and the bottoms of my pants grew damp from the morning dew. A few birds were already beginning their morning songs and I stopped for a moment to absorb the moment. Could not tary long for the sun would not wait and I hurried to setup my camera before the light changed.

Photographing Oklahoma's Tallgrass Prairie requires one to arrive early and stay late. Sometimes it is difficult to separate the task at hand from just simply enjoying the moment, so sooner than I wanted, I began to snap off images as the morning colors progressed across a palet as large as the prairie itself.

The Tallgrass Prairie is one of my favorite places. Browse through this blog and you will discover a number of articles that reflect my fondness of this location. It can be a challenge to photograph sometimes because the diversity that is the prairie makes it difficult to decide what is important to capture. I often find myself second guessing my choice of locations. Once I decide on place, I wonder if maybe I should have chosen the other location. What if? That is a question that plagues my thoughts as I wait for the light. What if I were here yesterday or wait until tomorrow, or should I have setup someplace else, but no, I'm here now so take advantage of what has been offered.

There are elements I look for, things like a compelling foreground to add interest and depth to the landscape. The angle of the light, the color and quality of the light are just a few. Sometimes elements just fall into place, other times I have to search for them, and sometimes it requires taking a hike just to see what lies over the hill. Most of my scouting is done during the middle of the day when the light is flat and harsh. While scouting I look for potential, then hope the light changes as anticipated.

Photographing the prairie can be cold, hot, wet, dry, windy, overcast, and bright sun, all in one day, but it can also be one of the most rewarding and challenging of photo adventures one can pursue. The key is get off the access road, shy away from the cliche, and seek out new potential by walking into the prairie. It is there you will discover its true identity and it will reveal itself to you. Take only its portrait, but leave a part of yourself blowing with the prairie wind.

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