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

Friday, February 26, 2016

A Season for Every Color - A Season for Black and White

Every season of the year provides its own unique combination of light and scenic value and all seasons carry their own color value forward into the next one. There is one season where black and white is king. That would be winter when light values shift between contrast and brightness.

The stark nature of winter lends itself well to black and white imagery. Trees are bare, reflections are crisp, skies can be clean and clear or filled with texture. Clouds draw wispy lines at high altitudes, or cover everything in a heavy blanket of rolling overcast.

When I am out searching for a dymanic scene to photograph, I will often attempt to see in black and white, or rather, I try to look beyond the distraction of color and visualize the scene as combination of contrasts and textures filled with varying degrees of brightness. It is not unusual for me to take a photo fully expecting to convert it into black and white. It is not always an easy process to accomplish, but with enough practice, one begins to see beyond the ordinary and extract visual clues from the environment that can be enhanced as a black and white.

Some of this process goes way back to my early days of photography when I would process film and develop B&W prints inside my closet darkroom simple images made from a vintage box camera and roll film. Those days turned out to be invaluable to my learning to see photographically. Doing so with black and white in mind helps to train your eye to see through the clutter and distractions and concentrate on what is truly important...shape, form, contrast, composition.

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