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  1. #1

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    Wild camping & photography?

    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?

  2. #2
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    Just don't be eating any of that yellow snow is all I can advise. I think the great Frank Zappa would agree.

  3. #3
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    I won't speak for anyone specific, but if you read over on the Large Format Forum, there are a number of photographers there who regularly hike into the backcountry toting 4x5, 5x7, and even larger cameras, sometimes for a week or more at a time. So it's entirely do-able. It all depends on your devotion to your endeavour and your philosophical outlook on the exercise. To some folks, being out in the wilderness and camping is half the fun, and if they come back without having exposed a single negative, they still had a good time. So it's all a matter of perspective. Personally I tend to subscribe more to the Edward Weston if-it's-too-far-from-the-car-it's-not-worth-photographing school, but I'm willing to expand that to if-it's-too-far-from-the-well-marked-trail-it's-not-worth-photographing. But if I were to go camping off-trail, I would bring a camera.

  4. #4
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    There are still wild places in the UK?! Just joking.

    I have done a lot of it. Extended solo tramping (up to 11 days) with a 4x5 camera or the Rolleiflex -- planning a solo trip in a week (4 days)...still deciding if to take the 4x5 of the 5x7. When I get back, I'll have a days rest then go out for the week-end with one of my boys' backpacking (tramping) club.

    Just because one is alone does not mean one is lonely...
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera View Post
    I won't speak for anyone specific, but if you read over on the Large Format Forum, there are a number of photographers there who regularly hike into the backcountry toting 4x5, 5x7, and even larger cameras, sometimes for a week or more at a time. So it's entirely do-able. It all depends on your devotion to your endeavour and your philosophical outlook on the exercise. To some folks, being out in the wilderness and camping is half the fun, and if they come back without having exposed a single negative, they still had a good time. So it's all a matter of perspective. Personally I tend to subscribe more to the Edward Weston if-it's-too-far-from-the-car-it's-not-worth-photographing school, but I'm willing to expand that to if-it's-too-far-from-the-well-marked-trail-it's-not-worth-photographing. But if I were to go camping off-trail, I would bring a camera.
    I definitely agree with Weston's quote, but like you say, the camping and just being out there is part of the joy. My intention was to camp with or without the camera, but I know I'll regret not bringing it. The main benefit is being around for the light and not having to worry about walking miles back to the road in the dark. I'm a believer in developing an intimate relationship with natural subject matter, which can take more time pondering and gazing than actually making images. In this regard I see it as a beneficial exercise - if only to try it out for a couple of days. There's an element of romance to it too I suppose, which I'm trying not to get carried away with.

  6. #6

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    Sounds great. Where do you plan on going?
    Steve.

  7. #7

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    Around the Keswick area in Cumbria before the end of the month hopefully. Pembrokeshire is a plan too. Then Cairngorms - but it's getting to that time of year where Scotland might be a bit of a gamble with the weather. The places I've chosen are relatively close to campsites, as a fallback plan. But just trying it out locally first.

  8. #8
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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    When I go remote travelling every ounce counts. So I confine myself to 35mm with an XA, and maybe some other small camera if I am wanting to shoot b&w with the ability to manually set expsoure.

    There are so many great things to shoot in the wilderness I don't find myself being limited when stuck with one fixed wide angle lens on a camera.
    my real name, imagine that.

  9. #9

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    I've done it most of my life. In fact, I recently got back from two weeks in the backcountry with large format gear, much of it off trail at high altitude with plenty of tempermental weather. What's
    the point of even owning a camera if you don't have some bruises and blisters to show for it? But seriously, just find someone already into this kind of game and have them coach you about how to
    navigate the outdoors safely and with appropriate gear. Who wants to hang out in some stinky gym
    like a rat on a treadmill when they can be outdoors shooting? It will keep you in shape.

  10. #10
    EASmithV's Avatar
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    I hiked 90 miles with nothing but a Rollei 35. Got some worthwhile shots...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    www.EASmithV.com

    "The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera."— Dorothea Lange
    http://www.flickr.com/easmithv/
    RIP Kodachrome

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