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

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Nbr 2 - What I Like About This Shot

I drive by this place almost everyday. As a result I have been able to photograph this scene in all seasons and in just about every kind of light you can imagine. Why is it then this single image stands apart from all the other attempts to capture it?

Before discussing the technical points of the image, those of us who grew up in small towns or perhaps entertained opportunities to spend time on a grandparents farm will understand the emotional impact this image contains. There is something about a country road that takes us back to those times, to rememberances of our youth. An effective image does that. It will rekindle dormant memories of fragrant fall leaves, the aroma of a summer shower, the feeling of a season changing breeze. It serves as a reminder of who we were and bridges the gap of changing times between then and now.

Oddly enough even though I have photographed this location numerous times, most of those images turned out rather ordinary in nature. This one, however, was different, and I knew it from the moment I arrived that somehow, all the right ingredients were there to create something special. It was late fall and most of the leaves had already turned and dropped, but a few were still hanging around. All the fields had been harvested and the cooler seasons were about to settle in for the long haul. I headed down the road just before sunup hoping to see one of those legendary Kentucky sunrises. It was not to be as I was greated with mostly overcast skies that were stirred and churned into a deep caldrun of shape and texture. In reality I had not intended to photograph this location on that day, but as I drove by, as the sun began to burn through the clouds right at sunup, rays of light swept across the landscape in random beams striking where they may. I pulled into the road, ran down the lane about a hundred yards and started shooting.

After a few shots a single beam of light caught the tops of the dry grass growing along the fence row and just lightly highlighting the corn stalk stubble in the field. The one tree that still had leaves on it caught another beam. Still another bounced off the storage silo and the clouds broke into several layers of dark, middle tone, and paler grays. When this image appeared in my view screen, I knew I had captured the one shot I had always knew was there. The range of darks, grays, and lights blended almost perfectly adding a measure of distance and space. The road winding toward the home and beyond connected the view, and the old home standing resolute...well, it just looked and felt right...even in its original color version. When converted to black and white, all the best traits represented here became even more profound.

Why do I like this image? The Depth of the image in all of its aspects is what sets this one apart. It brings me home again. It shouts with nostalgia, with country living, with what is right about America. It is one of those ageless photographs where one can once again remember good times from the past, where wholesome values still exist, values that still encourage with brighter hopes for the future.

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