Tuesday, June 28, 2011

camping: a love story?

In the last two weeks I have been camping twice. "Camping?", you may gasp in horror, "You mean the thing with the tents and the bugs and the dirt and no cell phone reception?".

Yep. Exactly. But although those parts of camping aren't exactly the highlights (especially the bugs), there is something about camping that I just love. These were the first camping trips I have been on with a DSLR in my possession. And something about my lovely little Nikon somehow makes everything seem more special- every scene more beautiful, every second more meaningful.

From the smallest bug on a mossy rock to the most expansive sunrise over a sweeping valley: each moment is priceless, delicate, perfect. With my camera in my hand, a profound sense of calm steals over me. Something about capturing that beauty, that fading perfection, while it sill lasts, is incredible, and makes everything seem so much more real, alive, vivid.

We pulled into our campsite in the late morning. It was beautiful, green and secluded. There were literally no other campers in sight. The trees opened up in the front to reveal a pasture dotted with horses and cows, framed by tall hills; in the back, to the sparkling, crystal clear creek.

Almost the first thing I did after getting settled in at the campsite was to wade out into the cold, glimmering water (it was about 1 in the afternoon), put my lens almost to the surface, and snap away. The water had an enchanting gold tint from the rocks on the bottom, and sparkled with rainbows from the high sun.

As I've said before, close-ups are my passion. This is not limited to flowers and grass; I also like capturing the subtle details of living things. This colorful crayfish asked me to take its picture on my blog, so I complied. You're welcome, buddy.

The first morning of camping I woke up to the sound of birds chirping softly, and the sight of soft light filtering dimly through the mesh of the tent. I rolled over, feeling instantly awake, and saw that it was 6 AM. 15 minutes later, adorned in neon orange flip flops, worn-out sweatpants, a bright yellow T-shirt, and a blue knit sweater, I headed out in the frigid morning air, across the cold dewy grass, camera around my neck.

Soft light rose from behind the hills, and fell dreamily over the frosty pasture where the horses and cows were already grazing. 

As I watched, the sun broke over the hills, transforming the scene from tranquil to majestic. 

  The beads of dew on the plants were hit by beams of light, illuminating them.

Later that day we visited a graveyard from the civil war era.  It was worth the frighteningly steep uphill climb to see the old graves. They intrigued me- under each one lay what had once been a person, with a life and a story that I knew nothing about, but just as real as mine.

"Remember friends as you pass by / As you are now, so once was I ./ As I am now, soon you may be;/Prepare for death and follow me." On the grave of Mary A. Carr, who died September 8, 1876.      

Also, I spotted this little guy on a rock, framed perfectly against the green trees behind him.

One of the highlights of this camping trip was catching these little tadpoles, keeping them in a bucket, and then letting them go. We probably caught each tadpole in that creek at least twice before we left. They were adorable little guys.

And then, last week, I went on yet another camping trip with a group of girls. All three of these following pictures were taken by my friend Grace.

I love this water picture, especially seeing the difference between its subtle, reflective lighting in the evening and the intense, rainbow lighting of the creek in the pictures I shared above, taken closer to noon.

This is a great picture too. Almost SOOC, with just a tad of brightening and contrast. Grace is getting her own DSLR soon, and I am really excited to see her pictures.


So, although camping has downsides... mostly having to do with bugs and bathrooms... there are many, many upsides; and undeniable beauty, just as there is anytime you go outside. Camping gives me a feeling of being immersed in natural beauty, and some of life's frivolities start to seem just that, frivolous.

So, although I may deny it some other time, I really do love camping.

There, I said it. :)

Have you ever been camping? If so, do you enjoy it?

If you made it through that entire post, I congratulate you, stalwart reader.

Goodbye, and goodnight.

♥ Stacey


mary☀ann said...

Wow! I love the sun and the lens flare.

petrolin50 said...

Photographs from the water. A charming place to relax.

Lori Shaffer said...

Your writing draws me in as much as your photos, Stacey! Another beautiful post!

♣icefox♣ said...

Aw, that crayfish is so cute!