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  1. #11

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    Easy peasy

    I've backpacked quite a bit, and usually with camera gear. I like the contemplative pace of 4x5 in the field, but in these post-quickload days the film takes up quite a lot of space in the pack. You list yourself as medium format, and I think a tlr or Texas Leica would be a great option. As for a tripod, I find a Tilt-all does the job nicely. Just keep everything in stuff sacks so that it stays dry.

    P.S., backpackers' ponchos are your friends.

  2. #12
    Poisson Du Jour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by batwister View Post
    I've just spent a sum of cash on some camping gear with the intention of spending extended periods in wild places from dawn 'til dusk. I feel this is something that will increase my productivity. Without a car, getting to some of the more interesting places in my area requires day long hikes. Exhausting and a waste of light.

    Had this in mind since the beginning of the year and to be honest, with winter coming around, I'll probably not get much done before another investment in better clothing and probably another tent!
    I'm looking forward to it, but this being my first time wild camping, I'm a little apprehensive. I'm not sure if there are any famous photographers notable for doing this? Something tells me Galen Rowell might have, but I don't know much about his work.

    Landscape photography is by nature a lonely business, and this is taking it to the extreme. Part of me feels this kind of isolation in remote places can be detrimental to creative work? Edward Weston did say anything a mile from the road isn't photogenic. Maybe it has to do with the peace of mind needed to produce images, without worrying about finding a camp, food, how cold it might be during the night. But I'm still wondering why more landscape photographers don't do it. Suppose I'll find out!

    But has anybody done this? And apart from the back strain induced by the added weight of your backpack, how did you fair up? Is it advantageous for a landscape photographer or a bit of an extremity?


    Oh, I just love the idea and reckon you'll find it a real tonic, 'out there' camping solo with the world to yourself. Isolation and the solo experience is the very best you can get for landscape photography. Unfettered and unhinged (well, why not!?) you are at liberty to exercise your creative processes and bring home something truly memorable. Being clever is not enough. The solid human qualities of a freed will and healthy deep feeling, such as what the outdoors provides) must be matched to clear thought.

    Mind you, carting in too much photo gear can dent the experience of pleasure and potentially make it a trial. I speak from experience, both good and bad (others I walk with have taken bigger, heavier equipment but also share a tent carried by somebody else!). I have completed a few short overnight walks and one multi-day 70km walk solo carrying 30kg, which included 3.4kg of camera and one lens. In hindsight, the resulting photo opportunities did not warrant taking that much gear: it rained and rained and rained, a cold wind huffed and puffed, the hills made progress very slow and testing and packing/unpacking the gear dramatically slowed progress. On subsequent walks, I took just my pinhole and light meter and a few rolls of film — much better! Then on another walk I went back with the heavy-hitting camera and got several good scenes (which I printed and framed). For the next walk coming up in this, the southern hermisphere spring, I'm leaving it all at home, taking just the beloved XA and pinhole camera with lightmeter. What's that saying I've said here on APUG many times? Experience is a wonderful teacher.
    .::Gary Rowan Higgins

    A comfort zone is a wonderful place. But nothing ever grows there.
    —Anon.






  3. #13
    Poisson Du Jour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EASmithV View Post
    I hiked 90 miles with nothing but a Rollei 35. Got some worthwhile shots...

    Attachment 56881

    <*GASP*>!!
    If that were a framed print I'd probaby buy it.
    .::Gary Rowan Higgins

    A comfort zone is a wonderful place. But nothing ever grows there.
    —Anon.






  4. #14

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    Have you any idea where you wish to go 'wild camping'? A lot of the places that people go to are sensitive about camping elsewhere except an authorised campsite. I do know that the Lake District national park is OK so long as you don't go over a certain altitude. The Northumberland National Park is a little different. Because there is a large Military Training area next door to the northern area it is frowned upon.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by EASmithV View Post
    I hiked 90 miles with nothing but a Rollei 35. Got some worthwhile shots...
    Next time at least wear some clothes...
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  6. #16
    ROL
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    Hiked, skied, climbed, kayaked... yada, yada, yada, with or without the primary goal of photography, using all manner of camera. In fact, I only returned six weeks ago from a wilderness river run, in which the primary goal was to document the journey. Those kinds of activities are a means to an end, or an end to a means, depending on you. Backcountry won't necessarily make you a better photographer, or a better artist. If you thrive on roadless wilderness, that is an end unto itself. I don't believe I've ever taken "better" pictures any distance greater than right next to a well-traveled road. I count myself lucky if I come away with any more than 5 or 6 worthy fine art prints from a week on trail.

    You may get to less visited and photographed places, but counting on that alone to improve your work is a fool's errand. One needs to have a love of the wilderness, the good sense and experience to survive in it, the technical ability to use your tools (camera included!), compositional skills, aesthetics, something to say artistically, etc. It turns out that those combinations of qualities may actually be kind of rare.

    To be brutally honest, the nature of your question and the issuance of other photographer's quotes indicates to me that you are wholly barking up the wrong tree.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by batwister View Post
    Around the Keswick area in Cumbria before the end of the month hopefully.
    The Lake District can be great in September, it can also be a real crap shoot with the weather - Been there a few times around this time of year and have had high winds, heavy rain, ice & snow (on the hill tops), and glorious sunshine. If it advice you seek, then I would suggest:

    • Pack light - A 45l pack is more than enough for a week or more.
    • Get a titanium spork - Every gramme counts, so start with the basics.
    • Cut the handle off your toothbrush - See above.
    • If your tent weighs more than the camera, get a smaller tent or a bigger camera.
    • Get a decent map and compass - Mobile phones are no substitute


    My last camping trip was to Ambleside - Took the MPP 5x4, bivvy bag, and a sleeping bag for a week long trip. Despite several tents getting trashed in high winds down at Rydal Hall, I survived unscathed and bagged a few goo shots

  8. #18
    Poisson Du Jour's Avatar
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    Drill out holes in your toothbrush and remove 20 bristles. Yes son, every little gram counts...
    .::Gary Rowan Higgins

    A comfort zone is a wonderful place. But nothing ever grows there.
    —Anon.






  9. #19
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    Batwister,

    I'm surprised to hear you're just starting out, but why not? It can't be any harder to learn than, say, analog photography.

    Above all, be safe. Whenever I've been in danger in the wild, the camera stayed in the pack and the safety of my party took my full attention. If you can find a friend to hike with, you improve the chances of a successful trip.

    Galen Rowell was athletic, and it got him some remarkable photographs that I don't think anybody else could duplicate. Instead of just happening to be in the right place - he saw the right place and ran to it.

    I don't treat backpacking like an endurance sport. I suppose some people make it that, but not me. Five to ten miles, that's a good day's hiking. Then drop the pack and take pictures. Leave some energy for the afternoon. This is my formula, its weakness is that I have only brief shooting opportunity during hike times and am always shooting afternoons. Many smarter photographers than me set their alarm for 4 in the morning and get up and out - in position with camera before the sun comes up. You can do that.

    Lightweight gear is great for making hiking more enjoyable. Heavier gear is good for making camping more pleasant. Careful where you draw the line. Once I was quite upset that a trip turned more into a camping trip and I drew lots as the chef. I spent the best afternoon light tending to a stupid pizza in an Outback Oven. But I do have a 6x9 shot that rivals 4x5 from that day.

    By my standards, the heavy side: 50 pounds is about right for a first day out, if the first dinner weighs a few pounds. For my light side: 35 pounds makes for a very pleasant trip. This includes everything including food, water, camera, film and tripod. Before going out for real, just throw on the pack and walk around your neighborhood or take local trails with a full pack. Carry a few gallons of water for fake weight and if you feel like you over-did it you can dump it out.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
    ...I don't treat backpacking like an endurance sport. I suppose some people make it that, but not me. Five to ten miles, that's a good day's hiking. Then drop the pack and take pictures. Leave some energy for the afternoon. This is my formula, its weakness is that I have only brief shooting opportunity during hike times and am always shooting afternoons. Many smarter photographers than me set their alarm for 4 in the morning and get up and out - in position with camera before the sun comes up. You can do that...
    That's why my next backpack trip (in a week) will be a 3-night (4, if I push it)...I'll camp about 6 miles in (1.75 miles down, then the rest up the creek) to where I'll camp the whole time and explore with the LF for a few days -- there are small pocket groves of redwoods and creeks cutting their way up into the hills. I doubt I'll see anyone. With nothing to do but photograph and cook some food, I think I'll be able to enjoy myself. I'll just hang my food high enough out of the reach of bears (and other woodland creatures).

    If photography is one of the important aspects of a trip into the wild, then staying in one place,or staying two nights at a couple different places certainly is the way to go. Going from here to there, eating up time and distance, was fun a long time ago. I just want to be there nowadays. But such a pace requires one to go alone, or perhaps with another photographer. It would drive some people bats!
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

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