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

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Using Light as the Narrator of Your Image Story

Well, after a long absence I am back. I’ve missed the blogging world sharing photography and outdoor experiences, and I am looking forward to adding to the 200+ stories already posted.

 During my absence I was able to explore more closely certain elements about photography requiring improvement on my part. I watched numerous videos and acquired some extra gear to fill in some of those equipment gaps that constantly haunted my efforts. Also, well I found myself sort of forced into early retirement, well semi-retirement anyway. It’s not such a bad thing.

I discovered again how light in all of its forms is what makes photography fun. Telling a story using light as the narrator became a stronger element. Often stumbling into discoveries like this is like working a crossword puzzle. A word here and one there provides enough hints to help you fill in the gaps. A photo here, a combination of lighting events there, and suddenly you begin to recognize a pattern. Once you see the pattern, compositional gaps are more easily filled.

Take the example image above. It was mostly an overcast morning, but the clouds were breaking apart just enough to allow momentary beams of light to flow across the landscape. The low angle of the sun perfectly filled the image story with beams of light that illuminated the tall grasses in the foreground and lifted the trees in the background toward a separation of contrasts against the sky. The story is one of a country road. The narrator was light who spoke in a soothing language to perfectly express the moment and carried the image beyond the ordinary to become a story with meaning and purpose.


Using light as the narrator of your image story requires one to understand how a story flows. There is a beginning, middle, and an ending. Light, like words, illuminates each part in such a way as to bring importance to each one, but to also tie or bind together the loose ends. Without a good narrator used effectively, the story falls flat. Without effective use of light, your story image will become ordinary. This applies to all forms of photography, and over the next few weeks we will explore more deeply the significance of this concept.

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