Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Suddenly it's almost Summer

After a busy Memorial Day Weekend things quieted down briefly and Freddy and I were able to get a closer look at the tent camping area.

I have visited hundreds of campgrounds and can honestly say this is the coolest one around.

If the young ones are a little rowdy, try one of the "corral" sites. Built in boundaries.

And there are several sites along the river.

See, I love being able to launch my canoe or kayak right from my campsite. No putting your paddler on wheels. Which I have done.

It sat next to me while I cooked up a batch of tacos.

But I digress.

The tent island was empty so we took a closer look.

There are four sites there perfect for a group outing.

By the weekend it was filling up again.

And kids were playing in the river.

Freddy thought about jumping in a canoe.

But I took him for a walk instead. There are several fun places to stretch your legs here.

Heading back west on the entrance road will take you to the lake.

Heading east from the camp the road dead ends in about a mile, showing the perfect paddling water alongside.

From inside the camp, one of the trails leads to a nifty overlook.

Great place to watch the sunset. You can see the pool and the lodge near the lower left.

One of the perks I plan to offer campers here this summer is a complimentary family portrait.

Yep. Free. Like our firewood and boats and wifi, etc.

If you see Freddy and I walking around just give us a holler. Or just look for the pink flamingos I will have in front of my trailer by the upper restroom.

Like the Belkot Family did.

Finally, I have written a series of articles regarding outdoor photography. Tips, if you will. I will share my 40 years of professional photography experience over the next 10 blogs or so.

Are you curious?

Then let's start with Photo Tips for Shooting Water and Reflections.

The sun has risen but the wind has not kicked up yet. The lake is still mirror smooth. Time to take some pictures.


With the sun still low in the sky, the trees around the lake shore cast interesting shadows like these in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho.

You need to keep low as well. Sit or lay down on the shore if you can. Try not to keep the camera at normal eye level. That's what everyone else sees and does. It will make a dramatic difference in your photographs.

As the sun climbs in the sky, don't just look at the scene in front of you, look how it reflects on the water and frame your picture accordingly.

Do you want a mirror image? Then put the far shoreline in the middle.

Nice, but kinda static. I like asymmetrical photos. Put a bit of foreground into your frame to break it up.

Adding some foreground and using a tree for the right border gives the image some energy. Here is a question for you. Look at that photo for a minute. What do your eyes keep being drawn to? The screen house on the right? That is because our eyes search for a focal point, a main point of interest. It doesn't have to be in the center of the frame. 

We see the sky, the mountains, the reflection, but our eyes like linear lines. A pathway. So they end up looking at the far shoreline and follow it left to right (the way most of us read). They bounce off the tree border and settle on the screen house. Then you notice the covered boat next to it and your eyes relax and you start thinking about your camp setup. Right? And how it would look there.

Leading lines are a big part of photography, painting, and art in general. You want to lead the viewer into, not out of, your image and it's focal point. Unless it is some abstract art that is meant to be confusing and headache inducing.

But enough of my babbling. Oh, that is Stanley Inlet campground in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho.

Focus Underwater

I don't mean for you to strip to your skivvies and pretend you are a fish, I mean don't focus in the distance. Focus on the lake bed in front of you for your next lake picture. Here is an example. Alturas Lake in Idaho.

I focused on the rocks at my feet. Just aim at the lake bottom, hold your shutter button down halfway so your camera sets focus and exposure, then without letting go recompose your shot and press the shutter button.

My eyes move from the rocks underwater to the reflected clouds, the reflected mountain, the mountain, and finally the clouds. They end up back on the rocks. Like my love life.

I did this in the photo below as well. It allows you to see detail under the water.

Paulina Lake in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument in Oregon. If I had focused on the mountains in the background I would have lost all definition on the patterns of the sand in the foreground. Another example.

I don't care if the background is a little blurry because the point of interest for me is the foreground. Indian Springs campground near Yuba Gap, CA.

Add Props

So your favorite reservoir has been drawn down and you want to "reflect" your feelings? Do something like this.

Little Grass Valley Reservoir near La Porte, California, was about 18 feet lower in 2008 than 2006. I dragged my canoe down to the muddy shoreline to create a shipwrecked look, waiting for the right time of day to have the reflection brighter than the shorelines.

I waited again on the sun for this next photograph.

The clouds in the sky are blown out but it doesn't really matter. I just want to get in and paddle!

By incorporating the gear you have in an image, you can make the picture tell a story.

Like This one.

North Cascades National Park in Washington. Mid-day, choppy water, nothing much going on. My office. Enough said.


Greg and Freddy and the great staff at Camp Coeur d'Alene

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