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.

The Pilot

The Pilot
The Pilot

Monday, December 12, 2016

A Hike Through a Winter Woods

I have developed a bad case of the use-to-do's. I used to do a great deal of seeking out adventures...use to do a lot of canoeing and hiking...and fishing. Use to spend as much time outdoors as I could muster..use to have a great deal more energy than I do now. Seems I have allowed life circumstances to stifle all the activities I use to do to the point where sometimes I feel like I've lost my identity.

Today I managed to get out for a while and take a hike through the winter woods up to one of my favorite places; Shanty Hollow Lake. While stomping around the bluffs and listening to the solitude, it became very evident just how much I miss doing such things. Seems odd really, to write a blog post for an Outdoor Photography site when it seems I have such a difficult time getting out these days. Oh, the desire is still there deep down in the heart, just that too many of life's issues has interfered with following through with those desires.

I said to myself today...'...you know, you gotta just make time to do this more often and quit making it so difficult on yourself to do so.' I decided right then and there to...well, just do it. To help me get rebooted I plan on starting another semi long-term photo project. The idea is to revisit as many of my favorite places as I can during the winter months, to rephotograph them and take video footage along the way. Never did much videography, just some simple clips here and there. Hopefully, I can manage to capture some interesting footage. So here then is my first Winter Project article...A Hike Through a Winter Woods. 

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The winter woods, how quiet and fresh, how serene and crisp. Even on a gray overcast day, the winter
woods offers within its realm a measure of solitude accented with an array of colors subdued by the very nature of winter. Finding color in an otherwise gray environment is actually rather easy for what color there is stands apart from the dullness of a slumbering woods. Green by far is the boldest color, of lichens and mosses, and a myriad of broad leafed plants that still sprout defiantly amongst the jumble of fallen leaves. No shortage of leaves of course with their brownly buff, rusty tan, and damped oranges. Add a splash or two of red and the variety and intensity of the colors of a winter woods comes to life.

Winter provides for fresh air like no other season. The coolness of it embrace invigorates the soul and cheers you on with each step. It speaks with a language all its own and intensifies with the slightest breeze. A wind will almost make it yell at you, awaken your senses as it slaps your face. Add to it a lively stream, one that rolls and chirps its song without end, each note the same as before, yet somehow blending into a sweet symphony as musically intoxicating as any born from man.

A winters woods, to feel it, to know it one must walk through it, to experience it one must linger within its halls and allow all of its charms to elevate you above what is normal. A winter woods is not ordinary, it is enchanting. Toss in a layer of fresh snow and it is transformed into a world alive with wonder. Oh to walk through the woods on blanket of snow one begins to live again, to find meaning again from a life so often held in check by...life.

A woods filled with winter reverberates with an energetic resonance not discovered any other time of year. A chirp, a subtle splash, a whisper of wind, a hawk circles overhead, and the flow of water as it dances along, around, and through a tangle of bolders and stones. These are the sounds of a winter woods. These are the elements by which one can be restored, to rediscover why one is drawn to such places.

I took a hike through a winter woods and witnessed once again the wisdom of why God created such moments.






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