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.

F-4 Phantom

F-4 Phantom
F-4 Phantom

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Snap Shots...They Really are Okay

Back almost 25 years ago a few buddies and I took a long multi-day float trip down the Buffalo River, one of many over the years, in Northwestern Arkansas. I guess we floated and camped for 3 or 4 nights and traveled 50 miles or so. Great fun we had getting away from work and enjoying doing what we enjoyed most and floating. While temporarily stopped beneath a place called The Nar's, a unique landmark about midway down the rivers route, I managed to catch the largest smallmouth bass I've ever caught. Man what a fight it was trying to muscle that fish out of a deep hole with a strong current swirling around. Once I lifted it clear of the water, I held it high to show it off with a giant grin on my younger face.

My buddy lifted his disposable 35mm camera and snapped a couple of snap shots to capture the moment. What he captured was more than a picture of a big fish, he spontaneously captured a great deal of emotional satisfaction.

All through this blog I write about how to take better pictures hoping that maybe someone might actually improve on their technique and discover the joys of creating amazing photographic art. In the process, sometimes I come across a bit critical of the Snap Shot. So, this blog post will sing the praises of such photographs, because...well, I have way more snap shots laying around than I do works of art, and you know what, I wouldn't trade them for anything.

You see, snap shots are just that; a quickly captured spur-of-the-moment moment. They have an uncanny ability to capture the thrill of the moment, the excitement of the catch, the surprise of it all. No posed or thought out image could ever capture the spontaneity of the snap shot.

Some years ago Kodak and Polaroid and maybe other camera/film producers marketed a whole series of quick use instant cameras. They were extremely popular and for good reason; you got to see your images within a minute or two. Teens loved them, they were great party cameras. Most important was the fact that millions of spontaneous photos were taken, just for fun, and they were amazing.

Today I will look back on all the snap shots I took and can in an instant recapture the moment. I remember places, names, events, and most of the dates when each of those images were created. I have stacked on a bookshelf a dozen or more photo albums, some I call Brag'n Books, stuffed with hundreds and hundreds of mostly snap shots. Oddly enough, I don't have more than maybe a half dozen individual 'Art Works' photos displayed anywhere. And, you know what...the snap shot images are a lot more fun to browse through.

So, if you ever read anything of mine where it sounds like I am being critical of the snap shot, think of it only as a basis of comparison when trying to discuss how to take fine art images. I love snap shots, probably more now than I ever did back when I originally took them. They really are Okay..:)

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