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, April 8, 2016

An Insecure and Uncertain Spring

Spring arrives insecure and uncertain in Kentucky. Seems like it tarries for several weeks not sure if it is ready to close the door on winter or burst into the glorius warmth we are ready for after a long cold spell. There will be the early flash of color as blooms come forth pink and white, red and yellow, as if brought to life through the magical movement of a wizard's wand. Then nature, as it is inclined to do, sends us a protest event by broiling a storm into life stirring up wind and rain and thunder boomers. One day it is comfortable with gentle breezes and soft warmth embracing the world. The next day cold air filters through again barging its way into every crevice sending chilling winds to remind us that winter is not yet over. Then one morning as if overnight, everything turns green again ushering in the dog days of summer. Those unsettled transitional days, until summer arrives, should be a great time for photographers to rediscover the magic of light.

Oddly, spring may be my least photographed season. It also seems to be the shortest one becoming more of a brief interlude between winter and summer. Every year I remind myself to take advantage of what it has to offer photographically. Yet, before I realize it almost every year, spring has come and gone and I have little to show in the way of photographs.

Spring is also I believe the most difficult of seasons to photograph. How could that be one might ask with all the flowering trees. It's difficult to explain but it is sort of like not being able to see the forest for the trees effect. What we visually encompass is a wonderful array of redbuds and dogwoods with their splashes of color interspersed randomly across the landscape trying to return to a green hue. We observe it with a wide field of view with three dimensional depth perception as a glorified vision of color with eyes capable of separating the various parts. The camera creates a flat one dimensional illusion of the view which in so many ways falls well short of capturing what we see. Placing all of the components into a composition that captures the essence of spring is one of the more difficult tasks for photographer. If we are not careful what we end up with is flat image of a redbud against a tangle of background trees. The photographer to avoid this must use other elements to create an illusion of depth and movement to create an effective composition.  The details of spring are much easier to see and compose for they are easily spearated from the background.

Even so, every spring I make attempts to capture this new face exploding upon the landscape, and each year I get a little better at it. This spring will be no exception.

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