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.

Backroads

Backroads
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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Photographing Gentle Silence


In recent weeks I've been able to observe from time to time a couple of college students interacting with their friends. The interacting is not so unusual except virtually all of the interaction was done using text messaging. What struck me as odd was the amount of time these two spent with their eyes glued to their phone working those electronic keyboards. My thoughts were one of amazement and sorrow. It seemed these two were so fixated on their high tech gadgets, they failed to grasp just how much of their life was passing away. I once watched for over a half hour as this one person never once lifted an eye from that tiny glowing screen. Even more disconserting was that it continued way longer than the half hour I happened to watch.

I suppose one could compare it to someone who has to have some kind of music...noise really...playing around them all the time. Silence makes them feel uncomfortable. One might also interject that spending hours on end sending and receiving text messages is a kind of silent noise, not unlike the audible noise so many feel they must have in their life. It is like their minds are in a constant state of flux where it dare not slow down for fear of being left out.

Maybe I am unusual or maybe it is a bi-product of my generation, but I seem to crave silence more than noise. Could be too that is why I spend a lot of time in pursuit of captuing photographic art. Most visual arts including photography is a silent art. Once the image is captured and placed on display, it makes no audible sound, yet in many ways a photograph can interject a sense of noise through its interpretation of the visual composition. A good photograph will by its nature pull the viewer into the moment. By doing so the viewer will often hear what the visual effect is trying to portray.

One of my favorite things to do is to sit atop a high prairie knoll and simply allow the gentle part of the moment to fill my heart. The prairie is not silent, nor is it noisy. There is the subtle whisper of the wind as it swirls through the tops of the tall grasses. There are the prairie birds singing to the wind. There are sounds found there one cannot find elsewhere, yet they are so subtle, so soothing, they become a gentle silence.

I love photographing gentle silence.

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