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

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Make the Extra Step - Solving the Technical vs Artistic Equation

I am constantly looking for ways to improve my photography. One of the more productive ways is to simply observe what others do, examine how they solve the lighting problem, and watch how they interact with the environment and people they are photographing. One of the most important tips I've learned is to not settle for what you have, always seek to do more, to discover more, to take  an image idea and push it further, take it beyond what you might ordinarly accept and explore richer possibilities.

Many times when I setup an image there is something I have in mind as far as what I want the finished product to become. Sometimes...well, it does not work the way I hoped it would. However, when it does, I realize I made another step forward toward understanding how to solve the technical vs artistic equation. Sometimes this mean to try something new even if it falls way outside your current skill level.

For many years I never used a speedlight (flash) because I simply did not understand how to use one. My results always fell well short of what I knew others were able to obtain. So, I began to watch others, study videos, read about the techniques pros were using until one day it all clicked and that 'Light Bulb' came on in the part of my brain where all the dots were connected. Once I began to grasp the concepts, it was a matter of applying that newly obtained understanding with trial and error to perfect the technique. I am still trialing and erroring, but have moved a long way toward not only understanding the concepts of speelight photography, but being able to visualize the results before they happen.

Take your image deeper. Never settle for the ordinary nor the first option. Look past what the camera wants to give you and use it as a tool to create what your heart and creative instincts desire.

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