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

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Photographer's View of the World

Yellow wild flowers, with a hint of mustard and green, spread like a blanket across the small pasture which
was surrounded by trees on three sides and wooden fence row along the road. Being late in the afternoon the low angle of the sun richoched off and through the flowers causing them to vibrate with a brillant flavor almost glowing from within. It was Kentucky at its best with warm spring temperatures and a clear sky filled with an ocean-like blue. I pulled well off the road and stepped and with camera in hand began to photograph this wonderful little patch of color from the edge of the fence. Within a few minutes I heard a voice from across the road shout, "Can I help you with something?" I turned to find a middle aged lady standing on her porch directly across from where I was standing. I thought maybe she might have owned this little pasture at first, but discovered later she was just a neighbor. Our conversation continued something like this.

"No, I'm just taking some pictures."

"What are you taking pictures of?"

"This little field here with all the yellow flowers."

"You mean all those weeds. Why would you want to take pictures of weeds for?"

I smiled and made one final comment, "I'll be moving along here in a moment. Sorry if I disturbed you."

This encounter was not the first time I had been asked what I was doing while I was taking pictures. Seems more and more I am confronted by people for no particular reason while photographing an interesting place. The interesting thing about this particular conversation was the different points of view the two of us had about the field. The person asking me saw only a field of weeds with no real value to it. I saw a magical moment of light filled with possibilities.

The Photographers view of the world is certainly different than the average persons view. Most anyone can stand on the edge of the Grand Canyon and marvel at the beauty, but photographers have an uncanny ability to see beauty in ordinary things like a field full of weeds. Not sure exactly where it comes from, the ability to see beauty in ordinary things, but I suspect the initial stirring to life that feeling of 'something wonderful is here' must first come from the heart where our creative instincts seem to reside.

As an artist who uses the camera to capture a vision, I've grown accustomed to looking for what others do not always see. Often times, I'll see it well before I can capture it, but what I am actually seeing is not always how I want to capture it. The camera gives us the ability to translate light into the form we desire. Like an artist, the ability to do such things become instinctive, you just see it first in your heart and then in your mind as the form of the composition begins to take shape. Understanding how the camera captures light is an important technical element to have not unlike a painter knowing how to use the brushes and pigments of his craft. It comes with practice.

To view the world as a photographer requires one to see the world from the perspective of light as opposed to an object. Objects can distract us from the real potential of the moment. Looking beyond the object and seeing how it may appear when bathed in golden light elevates the photographer toward viewing the world as an artist would see it. When doing so, even a field full of weeds becomes a magical moment of light.

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