Photography and hiking go well together. Whether you’re planning a quick day hike or a more extended solo trek with a camera, here are some tips to lead you through your adventure.
1) Know your goals for the trip
Planning is everything. Sometimes you have to start with the end in mind. Whether you want just some fun snapshots with a friend or big prints from epic scenery, you need to make a list of reasonable, achievable intentions and put together a strategy to make them a reality.
Research the location you’ll be hiking.
Check maps, info, and news about the trails, so prepare to do some googling. National parks have of course sites of their own, so start there. Also, look for the info that hiking enthusiasts have put online.
2) Take the camera that you’re willing to carry
Sure, that new big DSLR has enough resolution and megapixels for glorious big-size landscape prints. But of course, if you want to enjoy that hike part also, you have to think if you are willing to carry it.
If it is that DSLR that you are going to carry, try to limit your lenses to the bare minimum.
Photo by Alif Ngoylung on Unsplash
If you know there is the opportunity for scenic wide-angle shots, the wide-angle might be the only thing you need to take with you.
Bird and animal photography will require something longer. But the longer it is, it is also heavier, so you have to compromise and maybe settle for something like 70-200mm f/2.8 lens.
It’s so easy to forget a battery to a charger or a memory card into a card-reader
Hikes are always different
Carrying too much gear can do more harm than good. Sometimes it’s better to leave the SLR at home.
Durable and sturdy little point and shoot might be all you need. Think about a camera that is freeze-, water-, and shockproof. You can easily clip it to your belt or backpack for spontaneous shooting wherever you go.
3) Check your gear before leaving
Make sure that your camera, lenses, and equipment are working properly.
Don’t leave the essentials, like a memory card or extra battery, behind. It’s so easy to forget a battery to a charger or a memory card into a card-reader.
Adjust the settings of the camera before you go, so that you are prepared to take that quick shot. I always get a couple of test shots before leaving home, and I check from the screen of the camera that all settings are alright.
4) Dress and pack appropriately
Choose clothing that’s comfortable and functional.
In the cold places, or in areas where the weather changes rapidly, it’s best to dress in layers.
Stack your clothing logically and always make sure to bring an extra pair of socks.
Dressing in multiple thin layers is comfortable than wearing a heavy coat. For the outer layer, consider a rainproof shield.
Oversized pockets can handle a multitude of photo gear and accessories.
Are you trekking in hot climates or at high altitudes?
The sun can be brutal, so don’t forget to cover up with long sleeves, a hat that shadows your ears and neck, and sunglasses.
Vest or bag for camera gear?
For camera and other gear, you can choose between vest or bag.
If you’re carrying a lot of stuff, a large backpack like the Lowepro Flipside Trek might be the better option. Multiple compartments for photo and personal gear helps to bring everything you need with you.
Photo vest like Lowepro S&F Technical Vest might be a good option for those shorter hikes.
5) Have a sturdy support for your camera
A tripod is considered essential equipment for nature and landscape photographers.
Think about that sunrise photo without decent support.
On the other hand, you might need support for your hike in the form of a hiking stick.
Photo by Instagram.com/jamie_fenn on Unsplash
You can combine these with Novoflex Hiking Stick so that you can go out with minimalistic way.
Weighing less than 10 ounces and strong enough to carry a fully loaded DSLR, this is the perfect double-duty walking stick/monopod.
Otherwise you should look for a tripod that packs down extremely small, is lightweight, and still offers reliable support, such as the Benro FTA28CV1 travel tripod.
One lightweight and quite a fun option to consider is flexible Gorillapod. You can buy one in a different size for your point and shoot or DSLR camera. You can use its bendable, gripper legs to attach it to for example to a tree branch, railing posts, and just about anything else you can imagine.