13 Tips To Take Amazing Photographs While Hiking

79315_20150109124937It is said that a landscape is its own photograph, but the photographer must still be able to catch the essence of what they see with their eyes. You’ll find hikers taking pictures almost everywhere, but when it comes to taking amazing photographs, it is not where you look that matter. It is what you see.

Photography in the mountains has its own unique set of challenges. The next time you trek up a mountain, keep these tips in mind and you’ll be able to enjoy the beauty of the ascent, finish your climb safely, and take some amazing photographs along the way.


#1. Be mentally prepared. Climbing a mountain isn’t just about stamina or physical prowess. There is also component to a climb that is important to recognize. When a journey becomes difficult, it can become much easier to give up if you are not mentally prepared. Hike with friends who love the adventure of the journey as much as you do and the positive support will help you continue on to see something amazing.


#2. Be physically prepared. Physical readiness is important to a good hike. With enough determination, anyone can reach a summit. This is true. The condition you are in when you reach that summit, however, will be very different if you have prepared yourself physically. The extra energy that comes with higher levels of physical fitness are also directly reflected in your photographs


#3. Hire a porter. Climbing a mountain and photographing a mountain are two very different things. Your mood is important to the quality of the images that can be produced. It is worthwhile to hire a porter to support either your mountain climbing or your photography so that you don’t have to worry about both.


#4. Find a photographer-friendly guide. Some guides have an expectation that you or your group climb a mountain as quickly as possible. That doesn’t work when you’re trying to take some amazing photographs. The photographer must linger, waiting for the perfect moment to take the perfect shot. Hiring a guide that works well with photographers and has patience for frequent stops will help you have a better all-around experience.


#5. Know what to expect before you take a step. There is a certain amount of photography that must happen at a moment’s notice. You make your own luck when it comes to taking great pictures, however, so doing your research before starting a mountain trail is essential to getting a good shot. When you know where the best shots are likely to be, you’ll be able to plan out the framing of your shot as you walk.


#6. Keep it simple. The landscapes are going to speak to the souls of those who view your images. You don’t need to do anything crazy to get a great shot. Go back to the basics of photography: point and click.


#7. Bring a camera that stands up to the conditions. If you are climbing a mountain that sees a lot of rain, then you’ll need a camera that is moisture-resistant or have the appropriate gear to protect it. Research the conditions the last 3 days before taking the trek so that you can bring the lens that will work the best. The conditions on a mountain can change at a moment’s notice, however, so bring some backup gear in case the rain turns to sun unexpectedly.


#8. A tripod is a worthwhile investment. It can be burdensome sometimes to carry along a tripod, but there are moments when you need the stability to take a fantastic shot. Tripods can also help you to create time-lapse images, motion shots with water, or bring out the depths of light in a night sky.


#9. Plan for the cold. When you reach the summit of a mountain, the weather will often be colder than expected. This happens even during warm, tropical seasons. The best advice here is to make sure you’ve got a backup camera on-hand in case your primary camera decides it doesn’t like the cold. Batteries in cameras can be a little finicky and having a spare available will help you make sure you’ve got a great shot.


#10. Bring a spare memory card AND spare batteries. The average camera can take about 500 pictures with a single set of batteries. If you’re using the flash extensively, you may be able to get 100-150 shots. If you’re on a hike that’s longer than 4 hours, you’ll use up your batteries and space on your memory card faster than you might think. Having spares on hand, even if you don’t need them, will make sure you can take the perfect shot when you see it.


#11. Conserve your energy. Do you love looking at your images on the LCD screen? This can help you confirm a great shot, but it also wastes battery power. Resist the temptation to keep looking at your shots until you return home so you’ll have enough battery life to get you through your entire adventure


#12. Protect your equipment. Don’t be like the photographer who loses his camera in a mountain stream or scratches a lens from a rock. Bring a good camera bag that will keep all your gear safe and don’t forget lens coverings, rain shields, and anything else you may need for your specific environment so that everything stays safe.


#13. You are more important than your equipment. Many photographers die every year around the world because they are pushing boundaries to catch the perfect image. You are always more important than a “perfect” shot. It does no good to take amazing images and not be able to enjoy them. If you can’t safely take a picture, then never attempt to do so. 

Taking amazing photographs on a mountain can help you remember every step you take on your journey. Great shots also help people see what you were able to see. Follow these tips on your next mountain adventure and the images that you share will be incredible.

Story by Barry Kusuma
Barry is a professional travel photographer from Indonesia. Readers can go to his blog www.alambudaya.com  and view more of his works and stories about Indonesia.

You can also follow Barry on Instagram: http://instagram.com/barrykusuma (Inspiring Photos through the Lens)

Original article in Bahasa Indonesia http://www.alambudaya.com/2015/03/13-tips-memotret-saat-mendaki-gunung.html

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