Watch for specials!!!
As often as I can, (but not often enough) I camp out along the Buffalo River for the sole purpose of taking photos. I find that staying right along the River is inspiring, and puts me in position to capture some incredible shots, especially at night. And, I just enjoy being outdoors; it's there that I feel most alive.
In the top photo, I hiked in to Smith Creek Nature Preserve. This magical area is in the upper reaches of the Boxley Valley, and offers lots of photographic opportunities as Smith Creek drops through the valley. Lots of waterfalls, big and small, and lots of moss-coivered rock, also big and small. On this day, skies were clear and the sun created strong shadows. Even after waiting for a few hours, it still wasn't the best for shooting waterfalls. So, I searched for a spot in the shade, and was rewarded with a back-lit waterfall that just glowed. It wasn't the most specacular falls in the area, but the lighting made it the most interesting.
Later that night, the clear skies became a reward instead of a hinderence. Camping on the Buffalo rewards the photographer with some of the lowest light pollution anywhere. In the second photo, I balance the starry skies with the Sycamore tree, and positioned the Big Dipper to the left. Clear skies (and a Sigma f1.4 20mm) allowed me to capture stars at a relatively fast shutter speed.
For students, each shot demonstrates the Rule of Three (NOT Thirds) in which the image is comprised of one main subject, and two secondary (but equally important) subjects.