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Author Topic: Hiking For Photographers  (Read 5727 times)
dreed
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« on: July 23, 2014, 05:41:00 PM »
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This article seemed rather light on detail. Are we likely to see more articles from Skip Spitzer that cover locations as well as detail?
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2014, 07:01:13 PM »
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This article seemed rather light on detail. Are we likely to see more articles from Skip Spitzer that cover locations as well as detail?

Interesting and relevant bits about breathing.

In terms of gear what I wrote 4 years ago in minute details remains mostly true today:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/trecking.shtml

Cheers,
Bernard
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Martin Archer-Shee
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« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2014, 07:24:06 PM »
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Hi all

Looked at the reply and have to add /agree, suit the situation. Dress and travel for the situation. Carry the photo gear you need (or can carry...) and enjoy. Don't get too hung up. My wife and I have a small(17 foot)  two seat fold up kayak (Folbot Greenland 11)and we go into the waters of Georgia looking for birds, gators etc. she paddles and I hold the camera (good deal eh?) Mostly we enjoy ourselves and have a great time. Get a few good pictures too.
Carry on and have fun. Smiley

Martin
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2014, 07:39:45 PM »
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Hi all

Looked at the reply and have to add /agree, suit the situation. Dress and travel for the situation. Carry the photo gear you need (or can carry...) and enjoy. Don't get too hung up. My wife and I have a small(17 foot)  two seat fold up kayak (Folbot Greenland 11)and we go into the waters of Georgia looking for birds, gators etc. she paddles and I hold the camera (good deal eh?) Mostly we enjoy ourselves and have a great time. Get a few good pictures too.
Carry on and have fun. Smiley

Thanks for the pointer to Folbot Martin. A couple of questions if you don't mind:

- How long does it take to assemble the kayak?
- Would you say it could be large enough to host safely 2 adults and a young child (3 - 4 years old)?

Thanks.

Cheers,
Bernard
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NancyP
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« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2014, 08:54:01 PM »
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My twin obsessions at the moment are researching good packs in the 60-70L range and motivating my lazy butt to do the dull exercising during the work week.
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dchew
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« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2014, 09:43:38 PM »
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My twin obsessions at the moment are researching good packs in the 60-70L range and motivating my lazy butt to do the dull exercising during the work week.

I've tried a crazy number of packs. Gregory, Arcteryx, Dana Designs, Black Diamond, Osprey, ...
Just found this 60L Boreas and really like it so far. Here is the women's:
http://www.boreasgear.com/collections/packs/products/lost-coast-monterey-grey

Dave
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John Camp
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« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2014, 10:57:31 PM »
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Bernard,

I used to do a lot of canoeing/kayaking, and once looked at a Folbot but came away unconvinced. I would have no problem using it in quiet, close waters (Everglades canals, etc.) but I would not be so sure in more serious waters...or waters that could turn serious. I know that lots of people love them, and they have made some very rugged trips, but if you dig around on the internet a bit, you will find other opinions. Most people give them good ratings, because they have not had problems (of course.) However, those few who give them bad ratings cite very specific and detailed problems -- bad seams, failure to keep water out in rough waves, cuts caused by oyster shells, and so on. You should dig around a bit, I think, before going that way, especially with a child.

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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2014, 12:04:00 AM »
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I used to do a lot of canoeing/kayaking, and once looked at a Folbot but came away unconvinced. I would have no problem using it in quiet, close waters (Everglades canals, etc.) but I would not be so sure in more serious waters...or waters that could turn serious. I know that lots of people love them, and they have made some very rugged trips, but if you dig around on the internet a bit, you will find other opinions. Most people give them good ratings, because they have not had problems (of course.) However, those few who give them bad ratings cite very specific and detailed problems -- bad seams, failure to keep water out in rough waves, cuts caused by oyster shells, and so on. You should dig around a bit, I think, before going that way, especially with a child.

Thanks for the heads up John.

I would certainly not attempt to paddle at sea wity daughter until she becomes a good swimmer, so it would be mostly on lakes in the coming years.

Cheers,
Bernard
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pcgpcg
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« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2014, 11:15:22 AM »
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...In terms of gear what I wrote 4 years ago in minute details remains mostly true today:
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/trecking.shtml

Cheers,
Bernard

Bernard, this is an excellent writeup and is spot-on re. equipment.

One little tip I will add is that I rotate an undershirt during the day.  Bernard mentions merino wool and I am basically head to toe in it (Smartwool) and I keep a spare shirt and socks available.  It is almost impossible to keep my back from sweating while carrying a pack and traveling uphill. At the end of the day and sometimes during the day I will exchange my base layer shirt with a dry one and hang the wet one on the back of my pack to quickly dry. This is not just a comfort issue, as getting sweaty on cold windy days can be scary and dangerous.  A huge advantage to merino wool over poly is that merino wool is practically odor proof, whereas poly will begin to reek.

Re. condensation - I use a double-wall Stephenson's Warmlite tent in winter and, even with venting, it is difficult to manage condensation.  For all other seasons I have found the Big Agnes Ultra Fly Creek UL1 to be very adequate for one person.  The only condensation I ever see in this tent is on the floor when it's pitched on snow.

Re. packs - I use 30L and 45L Cilogear packs which are expandable to 40L and 70L and easy to cinch down to keep gear secure. They are a lightweight climber's pack so have no outside pockets, but the lid on the top serves to stash easy to reach items. They have a customizable strap system which is very handy. I almost always use the 30L unless I'm gone for more than three days. Tripod gets strapped on the outside, along with crampons/ice axe if traveling on snow.  These packs are great if you need a low-profile pack - for climbing or pushing through brush, but I think a standard pack rides a bit better.

Keep camera handy in a small lightweight front pack.  Like Skip says in his article, the front packs designed for cameras are too bulky and heavy.  Do you really need extra padding to protect your camera from your stomach?  I put my E-M1 with one wide-angle zoom, storm cover, Lee Seven5 filter kit, extra batteries, some microfiber in a plastic bag, and remote shutter in the main compartment of a Mountainsmith Kinetic TLS.  In the smaller front pouch I put map, compass, GPS, notepad, TP, and a couple food bars.

I use a storm parka that is designed for climbers, so the pockets are high to clear a climbing harness.  That also makes them high enough to clear your pack harness and front pack, thus making the pockets useable for stashing energy bars, gloves, hat, etc.

Lightweight is key.  Many backpackers strive for ten pounds, but they aren't carrying camera gear and comfort items like an air mattress.
I've got my system down to under 30 pounds for overnight, more in winter.  That includes everything including 2L of water.

« Last Edit: July 24, 2014, 11:18:22 AM by pcgpcg » Logged

Paul
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« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2014, 01:06:43 PM »
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I like the Cotton Carrier vest, which holds the bare camera on a Kevlar chest plate. The vest part goes under the backpack. The camera is held securely by gravity, yet can be removed in a second or two. Hands are free to use hiking poles, to balance, grab things. For day hikes in good weather on popular trails, I just hang some water bottles and lens cases off my belt, sling the tripod (and "nodal rail", cable release, sometimes tile-layer's knee pads) in its case on my back, and stuff the extra socks, round filters/step rings, batteries, spare cards, headlamp, bug and sun sticks, Clif bars, sunglasses, map, compass in various pockets. Now that I am using the Lee system, I may use a fanny pack to hold additional lens, round and rectangular filters, Clif bars, and socks. In high summer, I wear a cotton tee shirt and pray for rain, if I am hiking on a predominantly forested trail. Nylon fishing shirts, long sleeved, are for sunny trails and trails likely to have chiggers. (I am trying out permethrin treatment of my nylon / poly clothing and wool socks. I need to give it a big challenge by bushwhacking through brush or prairie, and then count ticks or chigger bites.)
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pcgpcg
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« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2014, 03:51:22 PM »
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...Are we likely to see more articles from Skip Spitzer that cover locations as well as detail?
Re. locations...I can't speak for Skip (although I can say that Skip's selfie was taken looking east from just west of Munra Point in Oregon in the Columbia Gorge.), but it's no secret that Oregon and Washington have some of the best photo opportunities in the world.  Oregon, in particular, has the Columbia Gorge with over 100 waterfalls, rain forest in the coast range, spectacular rugged coastline, yearlong snowy peaks in the Cascades and Wallowas, and millions of acres of high desert including the Steens Mountains and Owyhee Canyonlands.  While Washington lacks a rugged coastline and a high desert to rival that of Oregon, it has rain forest on the western side and spectacular alpine scenery in Olympic, Mt. Rainier, and North Cascades National Parks, as well as the gently rolling hills of eastern Washington.  

The difficulty lies not in determining where to go, but in getting there. A lot of it requires hiking - hence Skip's essay.  And if you want evening or morning light then it also implies hiking in and camping, unless you are willing to hike in or out in the dark with a headlamp.  (I have an irrational fear of being stalked by a mountain lion while hiking alone in the dark so I don't do that.) You also need to be prepared to deal with weather - in the western part of these states there is incessant rain for nine months out of the year and it can snow in the mountains any time of the year - this week 6" fell in the Oregon Cascades.  Probably the easiest to access are the coastal areas of Oregon, some of which require little or no hiking, but you will deal with crowds.  You can also access some areas of the high desert with little hiking if you have a 4WD vehicle, and there are no crowds in the desert.

An aesthetic challenge for me is that, unless I am in the desert or somewhere more open than forest (which is most of western Oregon), the terrain is often so closed-in and the texture so rich and overwhelming (think lots of branches and moss and ferns with almost no relief) that it makes finding a good composition a real challenge.  Often there is no distant horizon or even sky in sight.  These situations require a rigorous mindset that is constantly searching for a composition, which feels sometimes like searching where to put a piece in a complex puzzle.  Lighting becomes critical and sometimes you just have to spend a lot of time in a location until a chance shaft of light briefly illuminates a few leaves of vine maple against a dark background, for example.  This is when it pays to be there in the early or late hours.  On the other hand, you can go to the coast or the desert where the feeling is more open and the texture of the terrain is not so complex, and find a good composition easily, although the lighting will still render richer colors in early and evening light.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2014, 04:32:49 PM by pcgpcg » Logged

Paul
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« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2014, 05:01:05 PM »
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Part of my challenge is waiting for the right season and right type of clouds (being "weather wise") as well as the right light for an open vista. A lot of the vistas feature limestone bluffs overlooking wooded rolling hills and usually a fine river, Missouri / Mississippi sized to a gentle stream. Frame /foreground seems to be crucial in creating some interest. The rolling hills aren't all that interesting in themselves. The most interesting part of Ozark/ Southern Illinois landscapes to my mind are the exposed rocks with fantastic weathered shapes found on forested hillsides, or rocks that are part of what Missourians call "shut-ins" (small rocky gorges). These are often the easiest type of compositions, because one is close enough to the rock that most times one can find a good view not obstructed by a tree. Macro and near-macro is always worthwhile.

Thanks for pack info. I need to go into REI and see if I can get fitted.
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dchew
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« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2014, 07:14:55 PM »
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Bernard, this is an excellent writeup and is spot-on re. equipment.

Yes! It still holds its own!

Re. condensation - I use a double-wall Stephenson's Warmlite tent in winter and, even with venting, it is difficult to manage condensation.  For all other seasons I have found the Big Agnes Ultra Fly Creek UL1 to be very adequate for one person.  The only condensation I ever see in this tent is on the floor when it's pitched on snow.

Funny you bring up the Big Agnes; I am equally fond of mine. In fact my brother and I are heading to the Wind Rivers in the beginning of September, and I am seriously thinking of the UL3 for the two of us. Replace my age-old Sierra Designs that is 6+ lbs.

Also spot on about carrying the camera in front. I used to attach my Galen Rowell Chest Pouch to the shoulder straps but it is so ragged now I can no longer use it. I'm going to use the small Clik, but I don't like it nearly as well. Too many zippers...

Dave
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dreed
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« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2014, 08:44:44 PM »
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Interesting and relevant bits about breathing.

In terms of gear what I wrote 4 years ago in minute details remains mostly true today:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/trecking.shtml

Choice of shoes is interesting.

After lots of bush walking and rock climbing, I've found that I don't want high ankle things (if I can't bend there when I need to then something else will want to bend as shoes aren't strong enough to stop 80kg of meat falling to the left or right) or inflexible soles. If the sole is inflexible then I may as well be walking on planks of wood with bits glued to them. When I've got light, flexible shoes then there's a better chance that it can curve to grip the surface. (Of course this does not apply to hiking in winter/snow.) The only down side is such shoes can lead to wet feet. A pair of track shoes with good grip can be just as worthwhile as big hiking shoes.
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Ray
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« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2014, 08:21:06 AM »
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Dear me! On the subject of shoes, we are a bunch of babies, aren't we!  Cheesy

These Nepalese women seemed to manage okay with no shoes at all. (Taken with my Pentax Spotmatic and 150mm lens 50 years ago in Nepal. I didn't record the aperture and shutter speed, but the film was Kodachrome 64).

Okay! To be fair, I do wear shoes when I go trekking in Nepal, because I'm a bit spoilt like the rest of you, but not those ridiculously stiff and over-protective walking boots. A pair of basic Nike joggers is fine. On my most recent trekking trip in Nepal, less than a year ago, I reached a height of 5,416 metres, walking on snowy ground with no problems. The Nike joggers were exceptionally comfortable and two pairs of socks were sufficient to keep my feet warm despite the snowy conditions.

« Last Edit: July 25, 2014, 08:42:29 AM by Ray » Logged
JayWPage
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« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2014, 11:15:05 AM »
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Thanks for the pointer to Folbot Martin. A couple of questions if you don't mind:

- How long does it take to assemble the kayak?
- Would you say it could be large enough to host safely 2 adults and a young child (3 - 4 years old)?

Thanks.

Cheers,
Bernard


You might consider the Klepper folding kayak. I have the Aerius II double klepper and it is solid, very seaworthy and safe. The Aerius II takes about 20 minutes for 2 people to assemble it or take it apart, and when packed up it will fit in the trunk of a car or in a small float plane. However I wouldn't bring a small child in it if both seats are occupied by adults.

See: http://www.klepper.com/ or http://www.klepperamerica.com/
« Last Edit: July 25, 2014, 11:20:47 AM by JayWPage » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2014, 11:31:03 AM »
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As a long time lover of the outdoors (hiker, backpacker, mountaineer, geologist, wilderness traveler, etc.) I think Skip has some good tips for people starting out backpacking. I would add that the best way to get started is to go with an experienced person and to limit yourself to doing day trips until you have built up enough experience to be able to make good decisions on your own.

Don't bother spending a lot of money on equipment until you have some experience. The first thing you should invest in are a pair of well-fitting boots suitable for the type of activity you are engaged in. The rest will follow in time.
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OldRoy
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« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2014, 12:01:20 PM »
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British designed and Italian built Altberg boots come in three different width fittings - a frequent deficiency with many other manufacturers where you have to select the maker according to its notions of appropriate width. They are superb - assuming conditions where a full boot's required. No doubt in USA there's a wider selection of boots available - probably even some designed to cope with webbed feet.
http://www.altberg.co.uk/

For lighter use I'm now on my third pair of Scarpa Vortex so-called "approach shoes". I keep trying something else but these are just unbeatable, although like most Goretex lined footwear the Goretex is a mixed blessing and anyway becomes porous long before the shoe's dead. I have exceptionally narrow feet and they're quite slim. One pair survived, relatively undamaged, a few weeks subjected to savage volcanic rock. Compared to most of this type of shoe they have relatively inflexible soles. Everything similar I've tried are absurdly soft.
http://www.scarpa.co.uk/approach/vortex-xcr/

In both cases I find good quality footbeds (I use "Superfeet") help a lot. I have some arthritis in both big toes and I notice the difference.

The Peak Design "Capture Clip" mounted on a backpack shoulder strap is the best value photography/hiking accessory I have ever bought. I have one of the Cotton Carrier system flak-jackets: what a PIA - I got sick of it after two outings.  It's cumbersome and sweat-inducing - in fact, absurd.

Thank goodness for small format mirrorless cameras. Every time I pick up a FF camera I wonder how I coped with clambering about in gorges wearing one.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2014, 12:19:51 PM by OldRoy » Logged
NancyP
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« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2014, 01:07:51 PM »
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Shoe choice depends on the fitness and anatomy of the user, the trail conditions, the season, the weight of the pack, the speed of the hike. If you go barefoot 100% of the time on rough trails, you grow huge calluses. Bare feet are pretty grippy on most surfaces. Most of the rest of us tenderfeet may benefit from wearing appropriate shoes. Amusingly, the latest fad in athletic and hiking shoes is the "barefoot-like" shoe, with individual toes. You have to have perfect feet to fit into those shoes - no hammer toes. The cheapo street-runner trainers with thickly cushioned soles are great for dirt trails, will get shredded on scree, and are lousy in mud. Trainers made with more durable lug soles are now marketed, called "trail runners". The heavy high-top leather expedition boots with deep lug soles are great if you are carrying 20 kilos, or if you are plodding through deep mud or gravel. Low-cut shoes with  shallow grippy lug stiff Vibram soles are great for rocks, for summer light-load hikes, and are not all that good at mud (sometimes called "approach shoes". Then there's the "water shoe" or "water sandal" or "boat shoe", good sole for wet rocks or wet decks, good drainage, worn without socks.

I have narrow feet. Asolo 520 TPS GV narrow-width all leather high-top boots fit me fabulously, and I have been using these as summer day-hike boots  due to the fit - they are really a cold weather / mud / large pack boot, I just carry more pairs of socks. Vasque Breeze boots didn't fit perfectly in the heel, although they are light, and I didn't use them once I got the Asolos.  Salewa Firetail non-Goretex light hiking / approach shoe hybrid is my light hiking and summer shoe, stiff grippy sole, fits narrow feet and has forefoot lacing.

Happy feet = happy hiker.
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summit68
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« Reply #19 on: July 25, 2014, 05:41:19 PM »
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Folbot = Chevy
Klepper = Mercedes
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